Let’s talk about it: Zaylee Fryar

Zaylee Grace Fryar would have turned seven years old in January, assuming she’s still alive. She’s been missing from Millersville, Tennessee since the age of three and a half months.

Late in the evening May 1, 2011, Zaylee’s mom, Shauna Fryar, took her out, supposedly to go to the store, but probably to buy drugs. Shauna can’t have planned to stay out long, because she left everything behind, including Zaylee’s diaper bag — I’m given to understand that’s a kind of essential item when you’re dealing with an infant. In any case, mother and daughter never returned.

(I need to insert a word here about Shauna’s domestic situation: she was married and the mother of eight children, but most of them, including Zaylee, weren’t her husband’s. They both saw other people and were on more of a friendship basis with each other. Shauna’s husband was at the hospital when Zaylee was born, and invited them to crash at his place as they were homeless. Zaylee’s biological father was in jail at the time Shauna and Zaylee disappeared.)

Five days later, Shauna’s body was pulled out of the Cumberland River in Nashville, less than twenty miles south of Millersville. For a very long time the cops had nothing to say about her death, the cause, anything. It wasn’t until 2015 that they finally disclosed she’d been the victim of a homicide and they thought she’d been killed in Millersville and dumped in Nashville. They also said they had suspects. They haven’t said anything more since then.

So what happened to Zaylee? No one appears to know.

Usually, in circumstances like these, the women are killed FOR their babies. Andre Bryant‘s is a good example of that; two women lured his mom away with him, killed her and vanished with the baby. In homicides where the woman just happens to have her baby with her, the killers tend to either leave alive it at the crime scene or abandon it alive somewhere. (I’ve got a couple of cases where women have disappeared and their babies turned up abandoned: Norma Morales, Kimberly Palmer, etc. I tend to assume if that happens there’s a very good chance the woman is dead.) Rarely do they also kill the baby; I mean, it’s not like it would be able to testify against them in court.

Shauna’s drug habit and the circumstances of her disappearance would seem to indicate her murder was probably drug-related, but I have no idea whether there’s any actual evidence to support this because, like I said, the police haven’t said much. It’s possible Shauna was killed for an entirely different reason. But even if it was a drug-related homicide, that doesn’t mean Zaylee isn’t still out there, perhaps having been sold for drugs. I mean, she was adorable, and healthy infants do have some street value.

Sadly, I think it’s also possible she could have been put in the Cumberland River with her mother. Three-month-old girls tend to weigh only 12 to 14 pounds. A body that size would be easy to miss.

So what do you think happened to Zaylee? Is it likely that she’s still alive? Let’s talk about it.

In honor of Kamiyah Mobley’s case being solved…

Here’s a list of others like her, who were abducted by strangers as babies and may very well be still alive out there not knowing who they are. I’m including cases of children 3 and under where non-family abduction is either the only explanation or is more likely than not, and it’s also more likely than not that the abductor(s) intended to either raise the child or give/sell it to someone who would. I’m not counting cases where it could be a non-family abduction but I have virtually no evidence available to say what happened.

  1. Christopher Enoch Abeyta, who would be 31
  2. Sabrina Paige Aisenberg, who would be 19
  3. Emmanuel Kalief Birts, who would be 27
  4. David Ezell Blockett, who would be 36
  5. Andre Terrance Bryant, who would be 27
  6. Christopher Milton Dansby, who would be 29
  7. Bryan Dos Santos-Gomes, who would be 10
  8. Paul Joseph Fronczak, who would be 52
  9. Elizabeth Dorothy Funchess, who would be 40
  10. Elizabeth Ann Gill, who would be 54
  11. Raymond Lamar Green, who would be 38
  12. Sausha Latine Henson, who would be 15
  13. Melissa Suzanne Highsmith, who would be 47
  14. Shaina Ashly Kirkpatrick, who would be 17
  15. Alexandra Marie McIntire, who would be 23
  16. Donel Jacoby Minor, who would be 32
  17. Vivian Paola Montanez Castellanos, who would be 30
  18. Mary Agnes Moroney*, who would be 88
  19. Saure Blizhaid Sanchez Vega, who would be 23
  20. Marlene Santana, who would be 31
  21. Aleacia Di’onne Stancil, who would be 22
  22. Tavish Sutton, who would be 23
  23. Angel Torres-Irizarry, who would be 41
  24. Jacqueline Vasquez, who would be 16
  25. Shane Anthony Walker, who would be 29
  26. April Nicole Williams, who would be 33

*Okay, Mary Moroney’s probably dead now just because of the passage of time, but there’s no reason to believe she didn’t live to adulthood.

Honorable mentions: Tiffani Claudette Wise, 2, and her half-sister Brandi Jondell Summers, 5, who would now be 41 and 45 respectively. It looks like the girls were taken by Brandi’s dad, Roy, but the case is, ah, a bit complicated, not a simple family abduction, and it’s likely they were raised by others. Brandi had cystic fibrosis, a very serious condition that is life-shortening even now and was much less treatable in 1977, and so she may be dead. But I haven’t seen any evidence that either of the children were murdered.

Yates girls found safe after 31 1/2 years

This has been all over the news so chances are you’ve heard it already: one of my oldest family abductions, the 1985 case of ten-month-old Kelly Ann Yates and her big sister, 3-year-old Kimberly Ann Yates, has been solved. The girls, who are of course now adults, turned up alive and well in Texas.

I haven’t removed their casefiles yet; you can still read them for now. This article from the Providence Journal also provides a really good grounding in the case.

And I want to address an issue that has come up time and time again in family abduction cases, particularly cases where the children were taken by their mothers: the assumption so many people make that the abductor must have been “saving” the children from an unfit and/or abusive parent.

Several of the news articles (such as this one) have brought up the fact that, before Elaine Yates took the children and vanished, there was a domestic argument between herself and Russell, and he struck her. However, if you check out my casefiles for the girls, I include the information that, according to Russell, he only kicked his wife in self-defense after she attacked him first and struck him several times.

I’ve had people being like “How do you know that’s really true” and “How do you know that’s the ONLY incident, maybe there was more.”

I don’t know. That’s the thing. But just because I don’t know does not mean I am going to assume, based on a single incident that did not result in charges and that may have been self-defense, that Russell was an abusive husband and father.

What is DEFINITELY true is that Elaine committed a serious crime and put Russell through a lot of pain and grief for the past 30+ years. Elaine’s offense is much worse than Russell’s offense, which was basically simple assault.

Elaine will get a chance to tell her side of the story in time, but until then, I am a bit sickened by how some people people are automatically giving her the benefit of doubt. People don’t generally do this for most other crimes. Someone commented on my Facebook page about this case saying “some people do this [kidnap their own children] for a good reason.” Well, sometimes people who rob banks do it for a good reason — perhaps they have seven children and no food in the kitchen and they’re behind on the mortgage and about to be turned out of house and home into the frozen cold, and they really, really need the money. But nobody makes such remarks in response to news stories about bank robbery.

I cannot speak specifically on the Yates case because I don’t have all the facts. What I can say is this: in most family abduction cases, the abducting parent is not trying to protect the child or give it a better home. Most abducting parents take their children in order to spite the other parent. They hate their ex and want to hurt them in the worst way possible, by taking away the most precious thing in their lives.

Furthermore, parental abduction is child abuse. Most of the victims are lied to, told that the left-behind parent is dead or doesn’t want them anymore. In many cases the children are shifted from pillar to post, forced to live a lie, use false names, etc. Many times they don’t have access to education or health care while they’re missing, aren’t allowed to have friends, aren’t allowed to live a normal childhood.

I hope Kelly and Kimberly Yates prove willing to at least give their father a chance to get to know them again. That’s most important. I think it’s also important, though, that they follow through with prosecuting Elaine. I don’t think people should be allowed to get away with this sort of thing. The fact that it’s been thirty years does not lessen the gravity of what she did.

A New Year’s miracle

As several people have already told me, Kamiyah Mobley has resurfaced alive and well in the small town of Waltersboro, South Carolina. After EIGHTEEN YEARS. She is, I believe, the youngest person profiled on the Charley Project; she was abducted from the hospital in Jacksonville, Florida only hours after birth, on July 10, 1998.

It’s much like the story of Carlina White: Kamiyah was raised under the name Alexis Manigo, and thought her abductor was her mother. A couple of months ago, “Alexis” started to suspect there was more to the story, and DNA testing has just verified her true identity.

The abductor, 51-year-old Gloria Williams, has been arrested and will be extradited to Florida to face kidnapping charges. Her prior criminal offenses include welfare fraud and writing bad checks. If convicted of kidnapping, she could get a life sentence. (Carlina’s kidnapper got twelve years.) If you ask me, in cases like this, the abductor ought to have to serve AT LEAST one day for every day the child was missing.

From what little has come out so far, Kamiyah/Alexis grew up in poverty and moved around a lot across several different states. She was able to graduate high school, though. It says Williams is married, but I don’t know whether she was married to this man when Kamiyah was taken or whether he was complicit in the abduction.

I am delighted for Kamiyah’s family, though I feel very sorry for Kamiyah herself; she must feel absolutely torn to bits right now. The sheriff was quoted as saying Kamiyah/Alexis “appears to be a normal 18-year-old woman” who is “taking it as well as you can imagine.” A neighbor said, “She wasn’t an abused child or a child who got in trouble. But she grew up with a lie for 18 years.”

Maybe Carlina can offer some advice to Kamiyah. I know Elizabeth Smart reached out to Jaycee Dugard after the latter was found alive.

A few articles:

Make-a-List Monday: Special needs children

This list is of kids who were under 18 when they disappeared, who had serious medical conditions. I’m talking about the sort of thing that would have them frequently hospitalized and/or put in special education classes at school.

  1. Patrick Kennedy Alford Jr., 7 (ADHD and possibly emotional problems)
  2. Steven Eugene Anderson, 17 (moderately mentally disabled)
  3. Marble Ace Arvidson, 17 (behavioral problems, classified as a special needs child)
  4. Kevin Jay Ayotte, 3 (developmentally disabled, hearing-impaired and with limited speech skills)
  5. Nicholas Patrick Barclay, 13 (ADD)
  6. Allison Taylor Bayliss, 15 (Asperger’s Syndrome aka high-functioning autism)
  7. Emad Ali Ben-Mrad, 3 (hearing-impaired)
  8. Samuel Savage Becker Boehlke, 8 (Asperger’s Syndrome)
  9. Edward Dylan Bryant, 9 (ADHD)
  10. Fidelmar Liborio Cadenas, 10 months (unknown, but said to be “medically fragile”)
  11. Monica Cassandra Carrasco, 16 (anorexia and depression)
  12. Kevin Andrew McCarthy Collins, 10 (dyslexia)
  13. Cassie Kay Compton, 15 (possible bipolar disorder or depression)
  14. Jeremy Ray Coots, 4 (severely hearing-impaired)
  15. Carla Rebecca Corley, 14 (epilepsy)
  16. Chris Andrew Cunningham, 6 (seizures)
  17. Christopher Gage Daniel, 7 (unspecified, just says he’s classified as a special needs child)
  18. Mark Anthony Degner, 12 (developmentally delayed with bipolar disorder)
  19. Landon Lee Deriggi, 13 (severely hyperactive, visually impaired and learning-disabled)
  20. Adji Desir, 6 (severely mentally disabled and almost completely nonverbal)
  21. Christian Taylor Ferguson, 9 (severely physically and mentally disabled due to a prior stroke, needs life-sustaining medication)
  22. Andrea R. Gonzalez, 5 (severe emotional and behavorial problems)
  23. David Eduardo Gosnell, 3 (developmentally delayed)
  24. Ember Skye Graham, 6 months (epilepsy)
  25. Kenneth Warren Hager, 11 (mentally disabled and mute, severe epilepsy)
  26. Jyrine Kyese Harris, 2 (ostogensis imperfecta, aka brittle bones)
  27. Justin Phillip Harris, 13 (mentally disabled and cannot function without psychiatric medication)
  28. Bryan Andrew Hayes, 13 (developmentally delayed with bipolar disorder)
  29. James P. Higham III, 16 (mentally disabled with developmental and emotional issues)
  30. Mark Joseph Himebaugh, 11 (emotionally disturbed with behavioral problems and possible OCD)
  31. James Richard Howell, 9 (hyperactive)
  32. Elisabeth Ann Huster, 9 (hyperactive)
  33. John Christopher Inman, 17 (seizures)
  34. Danny Randall Jackson, 12 (ADHD)
  35. Tiahease Tiawanna Jackson, 10 (diabetes, high blood pressure, a kidney disorder and learning disabilities)
  36. Hevin Dakota James Lee Jenkins, 2 (autistic and nonverbal)
  37. Shanta Marie Johnson, 3 (exposed to cocaine in utero; classified as a special needs child)
  38. Lenoria Eleise Anne Jones, 3 (exposed to cocaine in utero, had ADHD)
  39. Barry James Kephart II, 11 (dyslexia)
  40. Adam Benjamin Lake, 17 (Crohn’s Disease)
  41. Patricia Ann LeBlanc, 15 (“unspecified condition that may endanger her welfare”)
  42. Marjorie Christina Luna, 8 (hearing-impaired)
  43. Louis Anthony MacKerley, 7 (hyperactive and learning-disabled)
  44. Dennis Lloyd Martin, 6 (learning-disabled and slightly developmentally delayed)
  45. Tiana Neshelle Martin, 10 (Graves Disease, a potentially fatal autoimmune disorder)
  46. Ashley Renee Martinez, 15 (bipolar disorder)
  47. Clayton Lynn McCarter, 15 (mentally disabled)
  48. Betty McCullough, 10 (deaf and mute, and said to be terminally ill though I’m not sure why)
  49. Alexandra Marie McIntire, 7 months (premature, developmentally delayed, lung problems)
  50. Brandy Lynn Myers, 13 (brain damage)
  51. Tristen Alan Myers, 4 (severe behavioral problems, possibly had ADD, was possibly mentally disabled)
  52. Amy Sue Pagnac, 13 (seizures and possibly bipolar disorder)
  53. William Fred Patient, 16 (ADHD, bipolar disorder and substance abuse issues)
  54. Larry Wayne Perry, 9 (moderately mentally disabled)
  55. Robert Thomas Pillsen-Rahier, 15 (behavioral and emotional problems)
  56. Bianca Noel Piper, 13 (ADHD and severe bipolar disorder)
  57. Angelo Gene Puglisi, 10 (epilepsy)
  58. Blake Wade Pursley, 14 (seizures, partial paralysis, and learning and behavioral problems)
  59. Eric Wayne Pyles, 12 (severe emotional and behavioral problems)
  60. Jaliek L. Rainwalker, 13 (severe emotional and behavioral problems including reactive attachment disorder, exposed to cocaine and alcohol in utero, can be violent)
  61. Natasha Marie Shanes, 6 (epilepsy, developmentally delayed)
  62. Jason Sims Jr., 15 (said to be autistic and nonverbal)
  63. Austin William Sparks, 15 (severe emotional problems)
  64. Roland Jack Spencer III, 3 (mentally disabled, hearing-impaired, can’t really walk, seizures)
  65. Aleacia Di’onne Stancil, 9 months (premature, born addicted to drugs)
  66. Brandi Jondell Summers, 5 (cystic fibrosis)
  67. Amber Jean Swartz-Garcia, 7 (hearing-impaired)
  68. Ricky Lane Thomas Jr., 13 (severe behavior problems, could be violent)
  69. Wilfredo Torres (learning disability)
  70. Daffany Sherika Tullos, 7 (epilepsy)
  71. Alissa Marie Turney, 17 (ADHD)
  72. David Clayton Warner, 12 (epilepsy)
  73. Brittany Renee Williams, 7 (AIDS)
  74. David Edward Williams, 13 (mentally disabled and has seizures)
  75. Fredrick James Workman, 15 (ADHD and ODD — that is, oppositional defiant disorder)
  76. Daniel Ted Yuen, 16 (depression and other emotional problems)