Strike that, reverse it: murder-without-a-body cases

It has been brought to my attention that Walter Shannon Stevenson, whose case I resolved yesterday, has not been found after all. This article, from which I got the original information, has issued a retraction. A suspect, Jeffrey May, has been charged with his murder, but Walter’s case is currently a no-body homicide.

I hope the body turns up soon. In the meantime, I’ll remove the resolved notice and put up Walter’s casefile again with the next update (probably today).

And speaking of murder-without-a-body cases, it looks like the only indicted suspect in Katherine and Sheila Lyon‘s 1975 disappearances is about to plead guilty. Some articles:

This isn’t the end of the story — there’s another suspect who is also believed to have been involved — but it might be the beginning of the end.

As of this writing, the Corpus Delicti section of Charley — my three lists of murder-without-a-body cases currently on the website — has approximately 615 names. (I saw “approximately” because a few names are on more than one list due to multiple defendants and multiple outcomes. I wish I could find the outcomes for more of those cases on List Three, which surely must have been resolved by now.)

For more details about murder-without-a-body cases, I highly recommend you check out Tad DiBiase’s website (particularly this PDF) and book.

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Let’s Talk About It: Tiffany Papesh

This week’s “Let’s Talk About It” is Tiffany Jennifer Papesh, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from Maple Heights, Ohio, in the Cleveland metro area, on June 13, 1980. She’d be 46 today if she is still alive, which is unlikely.

Tiffany’s case is one of the few murder-without-a-body cases where I believe the suspect, Brandon Flagner, may very well be innocent. He was convicted of murder but I really can’t see why. The only thing I can think of is his defense must have been very inadequate.

Flagner confessed to Tiffany’s kidnapping and murder something like 30 times, and he is definitely a serial child molester who had a history of threatening his victims — all young girls — with violence if they didn’t do what he said. Those confessions and his criminal history were, as far as I can tell, pretty much the entire case against him.

However…

Flagner also had an excellent alibi for the time of Tiffany’s abduction: he claims he was at work up until half an hour before Tiffany disappeared. Tiffany’s Charley Project casefile says Flagner’s workplace was 40 miles from where she disappeared; this source says 58 miles. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other: at either distance he wouldn’t have had the time to race over to Maple Heights and abduct the little girl.

Now, it’s true that by the time the police got around to asking, no one specifically remembered seeing Flagner at work that day. But his time card WAS stamped, and furthermore, he worked in a factory production line that needed a certain number of people — him included — to function properly. Since the factory was functioning just fine that day, that seems like a pretty strong indication that Flagner was exactly where he said he was.

The police investigating Tiffany’s disappearance, as well as Tiffany’s own family, think the way that I do, that Flagner is innocent (of this crime anyway) and someone else abducted her. The case is still open. You can see a lot of articles and stuff about Tiffany’s disappearance and Flagner’s conviction here. He made headlines again about ten years ago when he claimed the Ohio Department of Corrections violated his religious rights by forcibly cutting off his beard (he had converted to Orthodox Judaism while in prison).

Flagner comes up for parole in 2019. Given his background as a serial child molester and his insistence that he’s innocent of Tiffany’s murder, I highly doubt he’ll get released then.

I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the man himself. I think he’s a danger to the community and belongs behind bars, but not for this reason. And as long as he sits in prison convicted of abducting and killing Tiffany Papesh, that means whoever DID abduct Tiffany is still out there.

So what happened here? Does anyone think Flagner is guilty? How did he get convicted in the first place, and how can this problem be fixed? If Flagner didn’t do this, who did? Let’s talk about it.

Sigh, there are things people should know

I read a really long article that was recently published about a nearly twenty-year-old case of a missing child and learned a lot about her case that I hadn’t previously known. Not so much the details of disappearance, mind. There isn’t much: she just vanished into thin air basically, there are no leads and no suspects, and if anyone saw anything they’re not talking.

What I learned was some crucial physical/medical information. Such as the following:

  1. She had a malfunctioning bladder and, at the age of eight, still had to wear Pull-Ups (disposable, absorbent underpants which are normally worn by toddlers in the toilet training stage).
  2. Her kidneys didn’t work right either and she’d had to have surgery on them at least once. (I spoke to a relative on Facebook and she told me more details about this, saying the right kidney was underdeveloped from birth.)
  3. One of her kneecaps was out of place and she had to wear a leg brace as a result. (The relative I spoke to confirmed she was still wearing the leg brace when she disappeared.)
  4. Because of her state of health, the police don’t think she would have survived to adulthood without continuing medical treatment.

But what I want to know is: where was this information before now? The girl is listed on both the NCMEC and NamUs and neither source says doodly squat about any of this. In fact it never came out at all before now, as far as I can determine.

If you ask me, it should have. This is pretty important information. I mean, if they find a body somewhere, an eight-year-old girl wearing Pull-Ups, that would be a huge thing right away. And if they find skeletal remains with no clothes or anything left, there’s that thing with the kneecap.

People need to KNOW these things. They shouldn’t have to wait almost 20 years for this information to come out.

Wasn’t expecting this

I got an NCMEC message in my email saying Aleacia Di’onne Stancil has been found alive. This comes as a most unexpected surprise. Frankly, I had not expected her to be found at all, never mind found alive. The police were outright admitting they had no idea where to look for her.

The NCMEC, of course, offers no details, and as of this writing, there’s nothing in the news. I’d love to know the circumstances under which Aleacia, who would now be 23 years old, was located, and what sort of woman she’s become. I’m hoping she was properly raised and is in college or something like that. It seems like the odds are against her growing into a functional young adult, but we can hope, right?

I’ve got a case, one of my “foul play is suspected but few details are available” cases, involving a toddler who disappeared in the eighties. A relative emailed me to say the child’s mother sold it for drugs. I don’t doubt this information, but I wasn’t able to confirm it with any official source so it’s not in the casefile, just in my head. In a way I hope that kid WAS sold for drugs, because if it was, maybe it’s still alive.

I often wonder about the little babies on my site who disappeared ages ago and are presumed to be still alive — I wonder what they’re like now. Alexis Manigo/Kamiyah Mobley and Nejra Nance/Carlina White seem to have turned out all right in spite of being raised by their abductors. Aleacia’s mother struggled with drug addiction and was murdered a year after her daughter disappeared; it’s entirely on the cards that whoever raised Aleacia was able to provide a more stable home environment than she could have gotten from her biological family. But the circumstances of Aleacia’s disappearance aren’t that clear and I’m not sure if she was, in fact, abducted.

I hope there’s something in the news soon. I’m happy to learn this baby lived to grow into a woman.

 

There’s been a social media storm these last 24 hours

For those who haven’t heard, there’s a woman who claims she is Jennifer Klein who disappeared in 1974. This story has been floating around the internet for about a month, but yesterday there was a YouTube video published where the woman claimed she had DNA testing done and it proved her identity.

This woman also claims her abductors were members of a Satanic cult and that they kidnapped Kurt Newton and Etan Patz (who both disappeared in the 1970s, across the country from Jennifer) as well. She says she was brainwashed and didn’t start remembering what happened until after she was injured in a car accident.

As for what I think, well, I didn’t write this editorial but it pretty much sums up my own position on the matter.

Hopefully the truth will come out over the next few days or so. Until then, that’s all I’ve got to say.

Thinking aloud in today’s updates

Yeah, I went a bit nuts this night.

  • Regarding Angelica Gandara:
    It would appear from the neighbor’s account that someone was stalking Angelica prior to her abduction. I’m not sure what to make of the account by the witness in San Antonio, though.
    It’s certainly plausible but I don’t know if it was ever verified — I could find only one article about it. Nowadays it would be pretty easy to verify since I’m assuming all convenience stores have security cameras, but I don’t think that was the case in 1985.
    If that girl WAS Angelica, though, it would seem to indicate she was kept alive for an extended period after her disappearance, which makes me wonder if human trafficking was involved. Perhaps she might even still be alive today.
    The fact that the little girl didn’t ask for help doesn’t mean this witness’s account is discredited — Shasta Groene didn’t ask for help either, although she did keep walking up to people and staring at them in right the face.
  • Regarding Carol Woolsoncroft:
    I tried to find out what Eugene LaFaye is doing nowadays but came up with nothing I could verify. I couldn’t find anyone by that name listed in the sex offender registry. I couldn’t find him listed in the Florida Department of Corrections database.
    I did find mention of a Eugene LaFaye in the Fort Myers area in 1979 and I’m pretty sure this guy was Carol’s boyfriend’s father, since (a) the 1979 Eugene was 65 is and Carol’s Eugene would have been in 19 at the time and (b) I know Carol’s Eugene is a junior, so his father would have had the same name.
    I did find mention of an “incapacitated person” named Eugene LaFaye in the Fort Myers area in 2001. I’m not sure which Eugene this is. Eugene Sr. would have been 87 by then.
    At any rate this is a very sad but all-too-common kind of disappearance — domestic violence. It’s like super-obvious what happened, they just can’t prove it.
  • Also… I found photos of Ivan Gutierrez and Charles Gibson! They’re not even really awful photos, either! I mean, they’re not the greatest, but they’re about as good as you can expect from newspaper archives, and I could finally add the cases to Charley!
    Though why Gibson is in FDLE and Gutierrez isn’t, I don’t know; one of the articles said Gutierrez was officially reported missing by his father. Shrug.

New pictures list

The last few days I’ve added a bunch of new pictures to casefiles. See the list below:

  1. Edward Dylan Bryant
  2. Tynescha Marie Chilton
  3. Robert Joseph Fritz
  4. Rafael Chavez Gonzalez
  5. Crishtian Michael Hughes
  6. Ryan Jan Kemp
  7. Keith Allan Kirby
  8. Saiun Sam Lotus
  9. Andy Guy Nguyen
  10. Emily Michelle Sawyer
  11. Danyel Lou Sparpana

Also, Grace Noel “Gracie” Reapp has a new AP.