Select It Sunday: Sharon Baldeagle

This week’s Select It Sunday is Sharon Baldeagle (often named as Sharon Bald Eagle), chosen by Fluttergirl. She was twelve when she disappeared on September 18, 1984, and her case has for some reason fascinated me since I started getting interested in MPs, back when I was the same age that Sharon was when she was taken. I actually blogged about her once before, exactly three years and one week ago.

Sharon and a fifteen-year-old friend ran away from Eagle Butte, South Dakota, which is on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, the fourth-largest reservation in the U.S. Sharon was Native American, presumably Cheyenne River Sioux, and probably her friend was too. They were hitchhiking in Casper, Wyoming, almost a six-hour drive from home, when they got picked up by Royal Russell Long, a truck driver who took them to his house in Evansville. There he attacked them, raping the older girl and beating Sharon. Sharon’s friend escaped and went for help, but by the time the authorities arrived at the scene, Long and his other captive were gone.

Long wasn’t arrested until the following year; by then he’d gone to New Mexico. He claimed Sharon was alive and well the last time he saw her, but let’s face it, what are the chances of that? He was convicted of two counts of kidnapping — that of Sharon and her friend — and died in prison 25 years ago.

Long was probably serial killer; he’s also a suspect in the cases of Carlene Brown, Christy Gross, Deborah Rae Meyer, Jayleen Dawn Baker, Charlotte June Kinsey, and Cinda Leann Pallett, who ranged in age from ten to nineteen. Carlene and Christy disappeared together from a rodeo in Rawlins, Wyoming in July 1974, and Deborah and Jayleen disappeared, nineteen days apart, from the same area in August of that year. Cinda and Charlotte from a fair in Oklahoma in 1981 — Long was actually charged with their murders, but the case was dropped for lack of evidence. Only Christy and Jayleen’s bodies were ever found.

I think it’s pretty obvious what must have happened to Sharon; I only wish her family had answers. Her father was alive as 2013 and still hoping to find her — he looked all over the country for her. I’m not sure if he’s still living as he had cancer in 2013, but I can’t find an obituary for him.

I wonder if anyone’s ever written a book about Royal Russell Long. Serial killers are a popular topic in literature, after all. If someone has, I’d love to read it.

Let’s talk about it: Ashok Narain

NamUs gives the year 1987 for when Ashok Kumar Narain disappeared from Eugene, Oregon. Other sources say it was in April 1988. Regardless, Ashok’s disappearance is a very mysterious case — was he a murderer, a victim, or both?

The story begins in 1983 when Ashok, a native of Fiji, married Raj, a fellow Fijian from his village. It was an arranged ceremony. The couple moved to Oregon and subsequently had a little girl, Kamnee Koushal Narain.

The Narains regularly wrote letters to their families back in Fiji. Nobody back home detected anything amiss from the letters; it looked like a normal marriage and Raj seemed happy enough. The letters eventually stopped, but the couple’s Fijian relatives weren’t worried.

In the meantime, in September 1987, the dismembered remains of a pregnant woman were found in two different rivers in Washington and Oregon. A few days later, a toddler’s body was found in yet a third river in the vicinity. Although the police suspected the woman and child were related, they couldn’t prove it, and there were no missing persons that matched either of them.

Ashok’s brother reported the Narains missing in 2006. He’d heard about the dead woman and baby in Washington, and Raj’s family couldn’t find any trace of her online. In 2007, DNA testing confirmed the bodies were Raj and Kamnee. Mother and daughter were taken back Fiji for burial. Raj was 24 years old at the time of her death; Kamnee was only fourteen months.

I haven’t seen anything about a cause of death. It’s possible the police don’t know due to the condition of the remains. It’s equally possible that police do know and are withholding this information from the public.

So… where’s Ashok, the last surviving member in the family? Nobody knows.

When a woman, particularly a pregnant woman, is murdered, the police always start their investigation by looking at the husband or boyfriend. Yet, there’s no warrant for Ashok’s arrest and he isn’t even being called suspect; he’s only wanted for questioning as a witness. He certainly seems to have dropped off the map entirely since his wife and daughter’s killings — although I must admit, he had a really good head start.

Yet the dates here are pretty significant, because if the 1988 date is correct, that means Ashok was last seen over six months AFTER Kamnee and Raj’s killings. And that’s kind of hard to explain away.

I have no idea whether or not Ashok committed the murders. I do, however, think whoever did it was someone close to the victims. I believe this because the killer(s) went to a great deal of trouble disposing of the bodies and concealing their identities. I mean: dismemberment, hiding Raj’s head where it would never be found, and dumping the pieces in three different rivers in two different states. I think if the person was a stranger or only a slight acquaintance, they wouldn’t bother with all that.

R.I.P. Raj, and the baby you were carrying. R.I.P. Kamnee. I hope they find out who committed such a terrible crime.

And… let’s talk about it.

Witness

Michael and I were hanging out last night like we do. Because he’d come home right at the beginning of an episode of Say Yes to the Dress (my worst vice) and was forced to sit there watching silly girls try on overpriced wedding gowns for half an hour, I told him to pick whatever he wanted for the next show. He went on Netflix and selected something called Witness, because it “looks cool.”

Witness was FASCINATING and I highly recommend it to the type of crowd that reads the Charley Project and this blog. It’s a documentary where Bill Genovese, the younger brother of Kitty Genovese, who was the victim of an infamous murder in 1964, tries to figure out the truth behind his sister’s death and the story about how 38 people witnessed her murder and none of them lifted a finger, or a phone, to help save her.

I originally heard the murder story in a freshman psychology course at Ohio State. It’s become kind of part of American culture over the years. I think most people in the country have heard this story in one form or another. It got mentioned in the film Boondock Saints and served as part of the McManus brothers’ motivation to go on their vigilante spree.

(Spoiler alerts follow.)

The business about 38 apathetic witnesses is pretty much a myth. Their number probably did not equal 38, most of them did not realize that a murder was taking place, and some of them DID call the cops or otherwise tried to intervene. But the myth shredded Kitty’s family, lead to the early deaths of her parents, and cost Bill Genovese his legs.

I really had to admire Bill; he seems like a very tough person and also a very level-headed, good-hearted man. He tried to meet with Kitty’s killer Winston Moseley — who by any standard was a monster — and when Moseley refused to meet with him, he met with his son and stressed that he was trying to understand what had happened and hopefully find forgiveness in his heart. (Moseley died early this year, after the documentary came out. Good riddance.)

At the end of the film, Bill actually hired an actress to stand outside the same apartment building where Kitty died and sort of reenact the crime while he sat in his wheelchair nearby and listened in the dark. At the end of the scene the actress broke down sobbing; Bill was very calm and took her into his arms.

It was a very interesting and emotional film. Michael and I were still talking about it at lunch today.

An MP-related article from Cracked!

Robin Warder (who does that Trail Went Cold podcast I wrote about not too long ago) did an MP-related Cracked article that got published yesterday: The 5 Most Insane Twist Endings Of Real Missing Person Cases. Included was the case of Bobby Dunbar, who was “found” in 1912 but is actually still missing (long story). I thought I’d let y’all know about this article. Like most Cracked articles it’s interesting, informative and funny.

Incidentally, the most recent podcast for The Trail Went Cold is for two Catholic priests, father Reynoldo Rivera and Father John Kerrigan. The former was the victim of a horrific murder; the latter disappeared and was never found but was almost certainly also murdered. Both cases remain unsolved. There’s some speculation that the cases are related, although the murder happened in New Mexico and the disappearance in Montana. Father Kerrigan had spent some time in New Mexico, and in both cases, it seemed like whoever did this had a serious grudge against the church.

I actually updated Father Kerrigan’s casefile last month, with some significant new information. (I found out he was accused of sexual abuse.) I wonder if it’s a coincidence, then, that Warder did this podcast now. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet so I don’t know.

Podcasts are fun and entertaining, and I highly recommend them to true crime buffs, but unless I have some time to kill, I usually don’t listen to them myself. If I’m already familiar with the case, a podcast usually just provides a few shreds of extra info for the most part, or sometimes nothing at all. It would take much less time to read an article about the case and those often have more info in them. I wish more podcast included the written text as well as the recording.

Some news in Chance Wackerhagen’s disappearance

Per this article, the police no longer believe Chance Wackerhagen‘s father, Lee “Dub” Wackerhagen Jr., murdered his live-in girlfriend and then abducted Chance. The two have been missing since Christmas 1993, after Lee’s girlfriend, Latricia White, was found shot to death in her home. At present, Lee is listed as Chance’s abductor in his casefile. But the cops have a new theory, that someone else killed Latricia and that Lee and Chance also met with foul play.

That’s something I had considered myself, because it seems like those two dropped off the face of the earth. I didn’t think Lee had the kind of skills and resources necessary to keep himself and his son off the radar for so long when he was wanted for murder, and it seems like Chance would have found some way to call home if he could have. (And perhaps he did. See casefile.) I thought both of them had probably died a very short time after Latricia did, but I didn’t know if it was a murder-suicide situation or if another person altogether had been involved.

Now that I have the police endorsing this new theory, I’m not really sure how best to update Chance’s casefile. Should I make a whole new casefile for Lee as a missing person in his own right, do you think?

The article also has a color version of my previous black-and-white photo of Chance. I have replaced the photo accordingly.

I hate it when this happens (on again)

I listed 18-year-old Daryl Martinez, missing from Albuquerque, New Mexico since last July, today. Then I had to remove him about five minutes later. Annoying.

This is Mr. Martinez’s missing persons poster with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.

This is an article about a young man also named Daryl Martinez, who was the same age and bears a striking resemblance to the photo on the poster, being arrested for murder in Albuquerque last September. He shot a guy in an argument over $1.

Barring some conclusive evidence that the two Daryl Martinezes are NOT the same person, I’m inclined to believe the New Mexico DPS website is behind in the times and Daryl was located eleven months ago.

YouTube Saturday: I am just on fire this week

Gotcher vids, hot and fresh: eleven of them to be exact, covering sixteen MPs. In chronological order:

Alfred James Grimes and Sammy Lloyd Jackson, 1968

Barbara Aurora Burhans, Carmen Garcia and Diego Garcia, 1982

Jasmine Kirlissa Collins and Melissa Ann Collins, 1991

Keith Chau and Ai Wei Kaung, 1995

Ruben David Felix, 1997

Yim Yeung Tsui, 1998

Yamaira Vivian Montes-Gonzalez, 2000

Sonya Lynn Bradley, 2002

Yaroslav Victorovich Iventyev, 2003

Joey Lynn Offutt, 2007

Marizela C. Perez, 2011

Another pet peeve

A headline I found today: 4 Years Later: Man Indicted in Case of Missing Prince George’s Woman. I thought, ooh, a MWAB case. Then: huh, she’s not on Charley. Then: dang diggity darnit, she’s not missing.

I really wish news outlets would not say “missing person” in headlines when the person in question is no longer missing. How hard would it be to substitute “Murdered” for “Missing”? It would be a more accurate headline, and the word is only one letter longer. Hrmph.

Finally some activity in the Shauna/Zaylee Fryar case

I wrote about missing baby Zaylee Fryar last summer. She vanished without a trace in 2011, along with her mother, Shauna Fryar. Shauna was found dead in a river several days later, but there was no sign of Zaylee. Well, after nearly four years the police have finally disclosed some information about the mother’s death: namely, that it was a homicide and they think she was killed in Millersville, Tennessee (the town she and Zaylee lived in and vanished from) and then taken to Nashville, Tennessee and dumped there. They haven’t disclosed the cause of death or much other information.

The local authorities are blaming the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for losing some records. The TBI claims they gave the records to the local LE. Shrug. There are two suspects in the case, neither of whom have been publicly named. Zaylee’s father is presumably not one of them as he was in jail when Shauna was killed.

Shauna’s death left one child missing and six others without a mother. I can only hope that Zaylee is still alive. She turned four years old on the 14th of last month.

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