Home again, exhausted

So I was away for a bit cause my dad to have his thyroid gland removed at a hospital several hours away from our respective homes and I went with him to help out. Everything went fine in the surgery but they made him stay overnight, basically cause he’s old. So I had to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. They don’t let you camp in the waiting room anymore cause covid.

Dad has, or had, an extremely indolent form of thyroid cancer. So minor that for the past ten years he’s left it untreated because it was not causing any issues at all so why fix it? But the cancer did eventually start messing with his thyroid hormones so they decided to yank the whole gland out, cancer and all. As it had (still) not spread, no further treatment is necessary. Just replacement thyroid hormone medicine.

I’ve got a vested interest in all this because there’s a significant chance the same thing is going to happen to me. Dad’s cancer is caused by a genetic issue and there’s a 50% chance I’ve inherited the bad gene too. And if I did, there’s a nearly 100% chance that I too will get thyroid cancer, unless I have my thyroid removed before it can get sick. In fact, as this illness usually occurs in young people, I might have it already and might have had it for years, like Dad did.

Dad’s cancer is so ridiculously wimpy and pathetic that I’m not terribly concerned about my having possibly inherited the cancer gene, but I need to have a screening done anyway.

In other news, a woman is threatening to sue me for supposedly libeling her father, which I really don’t understand because the woman and the Charley Project are pretty much in agreement as to the facts of the case. In fact I’m not 100% sure she’s even actually read the casefile cause she’s wasting her time emailing me the story, the details of which I know already, having already written them all on the Charley Project. Sigh.

You’d be surprised how often this sort of thing happens.

In the Nguyen family case there is news: they have identified Stephanie, the mom, but there’s no indication as to what happened to either of the two kids. I don’t see this as good news; in fact from my perspective it’s almost worse than finding nothing at all.

The family is still stuck in limbo, wondering if the kids were in the car when it went in, or if she did something else with them. It seems likely that they WERE in the car and are still in the river somewhere. But there’s no proof of that. The case might remain unsolved forever.

I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep or eat much of anything while I was gone. I came home to the discovery that our new kitten, Viola, had made a mess, and I was almost too tired to care, but I cleaned it up.

See y’all tomorrow.

MP of the week: Celina Mays

This week’s featured missing person is Celina Janette Mays, who was last seen in Willingboro, New Jersey on December 16, 1996. She was twelve and a half years old, and nine months pregnant; the baby was due on the 29th. She’s biracial, with black hair, brown eyes and eyebrows that tend to grow together. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’0 and 120 pounds, but she might have grown since then.

It appears that she sneaked out of the house in the night, with the intention of returning; she’d left behind all her things, including her purse and prenatal vitamins. There’s speculation that she’d gone out to meet with the father of her baby, but the problem is no one except Celina knew who the father was. She didn’t even tell her obstetrician.

Celina’s father, CJ, was threatening to have paternity tests done to determine the identity of the father, and whomever it was could obviously have faced serious criminal charges.

When a child as young as Celina becomes pregnant, one tends to suspect incest (or at least I do). Per this article, the father of Celina’s baby could not have been CJ, as he’d had a vasectomy. But there were rumors implicating one of Celina’s cousins.

I don’t think she lived long after leaving her house that night. It seems like, if she had run away, she would have resurfaced at age 18, if only to collect the inheritance due her from her mother’s life insurance. (Celina’s mom had died a few years earlier.)

But if Celina is still alive, she would be 37 today, and her baby would be about to turn 25.

So many watery graves

Due in part to the activites of Adventures with a Purpose (and they are awesome, check them out and give them money or something), it seems like there have been quite a few missing persons are turning up inside their cars inside lakes and rivers lately. I have many cases to resolve.

Most recently we’ve got, in no particular order:

  1. Miriam Ruth Hemphill, 84, missing from Oak Ridge, Tennessee since July 22, 2005. Her vehicle was found in Melton Hill Lake with human remains inside.
  2. Samantha Jean Hopper, 19, and her unborn baby, and her 1-year-old daughter, Courtney Esther Danielle Holt., missing from Russellville, Arkansas since September 11, 1998. Their car was found in eight feet of water in Pope County, Arkansas, although the news articles I’ve found haven’t said which specific body of water.
  3. Judith Ann Chartier, 17, missing from Chelmsford, Massachusetts since June 5, 1982. This was a surprise, as everyone had suspected foul play in her case. But it turned out she’d (probably accidentally) driven her car into the Concord River in Billerica, Massachusetts. The remains inside have already been identified as hers.
  4. Van Thay “Stephanie” Nguyen, 26, and her two children, 4-year-old Kristina Thay Nguyen and 3-year-old John Thai Nguyen, missing from Cincinnati, Ohio since April 18, 2002. Their vehicle was found in the Ohio River in October, something which isn’t terribly shocking since Stephanie had threatened to drive into the river and they were last seen near a boat ramp.
  5. Brian E. Goff, 64, and his 55-year-old girlfriend Joni E. Davis, missing from St. Clairsville, Ohio since June 10, 2018. Their car was found in the Ohio River with two bodies inside, still seat-belted in.

In these cases where multiple people were involved, I am not sure what to do at this point. Like, we can safely assume that the human remains inside Miriam Hemphill’s car are Miriam’s. But when people disappear like this and years or decades later it turns out they drove into water, sometimes not every person can be recovered. Like, it’s entirely possible that the remains found in the Nguyen’s car belong to just one or two of them, and the river took the other person.

Of course in such a case the individuals not found in or near the vehicle would be presumed dead as well, but the Charley Project usually keeps the case up until remains are found, regardless of what the circumstances indicate.

I’ll start sorting it out tomorrow I guess.

Olisa Williams’s dad charged with murder

I’ve been pretty sure Olisa Williams‘s dad killed her for a decade and a half now. Like, since before the Charley Project was ever even a thing. I never expected the case to actually get solved, though.

Well, 39 years after the fact, Isiah Williams has finally been charged with one count of open murder. “Open murder” doesn’t mean he committed the crime in public or anything. It just means they aren’t picking a specific degree of murder, like first- or second-degree murder.

The Michigan Attorney General did a press conference about the case and another, unrelated case, an hour ago, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot that’s publicly available about the case against Isiah. It does say Olisa’s body has not been recovered. I’m not sure there’d be anything left of the poor baby by this point. (The comments at the bottom of the press conference link aren’t about Olisa’s case but about the other one being discussed. Plus some bonus homophobia thrown in.)

I hope the case processes through the system quickly. Isiah is not getting any younger.

AP dump today, first in awhile

Today I updated what felt like about a million missing persons’ age-progression photos. As is the custom, those aren’t crowding up the Charley Project’s updates page; instead I’ll list them below

  1. LaMoine Jordan Allen
  2. April Dawn Andrews
  3. Bob Louis Richard Boyes
  4. Laronda Marie Bronson
  5. Gina Dawn Brooks
  6. Kellie Marie Brownlee
  7. Olivia Addison Edwards-Tuttle
  8. Randi Layton Evers
  9. Robert Joseph Fritz
  10. Jose Francisco Fuentes Pereira
  11. Izar Isaac Godinez Sanchez
  12. Royce Henson
  13. Ethan James Hernandez
  14. Melissa Suzanne Highsmith
  15. Mark Joseph Himebaugh
  16. Alice Fay Jefferson
  17. William Ebenezer Jones III
  18. Karen Beth Kamsch
  19. Dennis Lloyd Martin
  20. Laureen Ann Rahn
  21. Benjamin Melvin Roseland
  22. Aaron Cody Stepp
  23. Marisa Velasco
  24. Mary Anne Wesolowski
  25. Shawn White

Murder charges filed in Ashley Parlier disappearance; I wish other cases would get moving

I had written in May about how a suspected serial killer had “links” to Ashley Marie Parlier, who disappeared from Battle Creek, Michigan in 2005. Well, I guess these were more than just links, because the suspect, Harold Haulman, will be charged with Ashley’s murder. He was earlier charged with murder in the 2018 disappearance of Tianna Ann Phillips and the 2020 death of Erica Shultz.

I’m glad that happened. Murder-without-a-body cases are becoming increasingly common, and I hope this continues.

One case I’d love to see charges filed in would be the disappearance of Amiah Robertson. I really don’t understand why that hasn’t happened. I mean, a man left with a baby — not even HIS baby — and came back without her and without any credibly explanation as to her whereabouts, and nobody has been charged in that case. It’s been over two years. The baby was eight months old; it’s not taking care of itself. It was a frustrating case to write up because so much of the available info was contradictory. The only thing I’m sure of is that no one in that child’s life did right by her.

MP of the week: Kristian Justice

This week’s featured missing person is Kristian Dejuan Justice, age 7 months, who disappeared with his six-year-old half-sister, Kaylah Neveah Hunter, from Detroit, Michigan on May 24, 2014.

Kristian’s father is Erin Maurice Justice. (Kaylah has a different father.) Erin had been married to the children’s mother, Alicia Marie Fox, for only four months when the couple separated and Alicia moved out with both kids. June 6, nearly two weeks after the children were last seen, Kaylah missed her kindergarten graduation ceremony and their family reported Alicia, Kaylah and Kristian missing. On June 9, Alicia’s body was found in the basement of a vacant home in Detroit.

Erin was subsequently arrested in Atlanta and charged with murder in Alicia’s case. He had left town on May 29. Although Erin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 45 to 80 years, he never revealed what happened to the children.

Authorities can only hope that Kristian and Kaylah are still alive. There has been no indication of their whereabouts since 2014.

MP of the week: Kamyle Burgos Ortiz

This week’s featured missing person is Kamyle Stephanie Burgos Ortiz, a 12-year-old girl who disappeared from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico on July 8, 2006. She is of black and Hispanic descent.

Although Kamyle is classified as a runaway by some agencies, authorities think she was actually the victim of a suspected serial killer, Amilcar Matias Torres. He and Kamyle knew each other and spoke on the phone less than an hour before her disappearance. He’s never been charged with murder, but is in federal prison serving twenty years for soliciting sex online from underage girls. He’s also a suspect in the disappearances of two other Puerto Rican girls, Yeritza Aponte-Soto and Cristina Ester Ruiz-Rodriguez.

If still alive–which seems unlikely–Kamyle would be 27 years old today.

Former cult leader Anna Young, believed responsible for three Charley Project disappearances, dies

So Anna Young died a few days ago at the age of 79, having served just 33 days of a life sentence for second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Anna pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Emon Harper, aka Moses Young, a toddler who was beaten and starved to death in 1988 or 1989. His body was never found. The manslaughter conviction was for the death of Katonya Jackson, a two-year-old who died after being beaten, tortured and denied her epilepsy medication. (For some reason her death had initially been ruled as natural.)

Anna is also connected to two unsolved disappearances: that of two-year-old Marcos Antonio Cruz, whom she allegedly had abandoned at a church in Puerto Rico in 1992, and that of her six-year-old stepdaughter Catherine Barbara Davidson, who was last seen in 1973. Per one of Catherine’s siblings, she didn’t actually vanish while on a family outing to a state park in Michigan but had in fact been bound, gagged and placed in a closet where she died.

Pretty awful stuff.

I wonder if Marcos is still alive out there, or if he was ever abandoned in the first place and didn’t meet with the same awful death as Emon and Catherine and Katonya did.

We may never know.

Tragic news in one child’s case, and justice for another two

Yesterday a child’s body was found in a camper near Garryowen on the Crow Reservation in Montana; it has been identified as Mildred Alexis “Millie” Old Crow, who disappeared sometime in 2019 or 2020. She was living with her guardians, her aunt Roseen Lincoln Old Crow and Roseen’s wife Veronica Dust, and was last seen with them in April 2019. No one’s exactly sure when she disappeared and nothing much has been released yet about her death. It seems likely she was murdered; little girls don’t just die for no reason.

Meanwhile in Florida, former cult leader Anna Young was sentenced to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder in the beating/starvation death of Emon David Harper, a toddler who disappeared sometime in 1988 and whose body was never found, and manslaughter in the death by neglect of Katonya Jackson, a two-year-old girl with epilepsy who died because Young withheld her medication. Both children and their families were members of Young’s cult.

This article talks about the plea deal and sentence Young accepted, but fails to mention that Young is tied to two other missing children: the 1973 (pre-cult) disappearance of Catherine Barbara Davidson, Young’s six-year-old stepdaughter, and the 1984 disappearance of two-year-old Marcos Antonio Cruz, another child whose family was involved in the cult. Marcos may have been abandoned in Puerto Rico by a cult member at Young’s orders. Catherine, however, was almost certainly murdered; one of Young’s other children reportedly saw her body in a closet before her disappearance was reported. It seems unlikely that Young will confess to her involvement in her stepdaughter’s case or help authorities recover the body; she’s got nothing to gain by it.