Awesome two-part series on Gary Mathias and his four missing friends

Two years ago I blogged about the 1978 disappearance of Gary Dale Mathis and the mysterious deaths of his four friends, who went missing with him from Oroville in Yuba County, California. The comments on that entry are, I think, well worth a read.

I’m happy to announce that the Sacramento Bee has done a really good two-parter on the case.

Part one is titled: Out in the Cold: Four mentally disabled men died in woods. But what happened to the fifth? Part two is Were 4 mentally disabled men set up to die in the California woods?

The articles provide a lot more background information than I had had previously, regarding the disabilities all the men dealt with, and Mathias’s criminal history.

Most people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are not dangerous to anyone but themselves, but Mathias was a violent man with a history of attacks on both men and women. This probably had more to do with his drug abuse problem than his mental illness. It’s not clear to me whether Mathis was ever violent when he WASN’T under the influence of some illicit drug or other. But both mental illness and violence ran in his family.

The articles posit the theory, put forth by the families of the dead men and by others, that Mathias was in some way responsible for the situation that lead to their deaths. Certainly that’s possible.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone is ever going to find out what happened, and I don’t see any reason to believe Mathias is still alive. But it is an intriguing mystery.

More on Randi Boothe-Wilson

This article has some more on the disappearance and identification of Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, which I blogged about the other day. Included in the article is a color photo of Boothe-Wilson. It looks like she was light-skinned and had straight hair, which might explain why the body, when it was found, was thought to be a white woman.

They got the DNA sample from “a stamp from a letter purportedly sent by Boothe-Wilson.” That’s clever. Sometimes investigators have to get creative. I read about another article today that was accomplished by fingerprints, and they got the prints, not from an arrest or military record, but from a pawnshop. When you pawn something you have to give a fingerprint.

(The stamp thing wouldn’t work for me. I loathe the taste of them and I buy stamps with sticky backs, or I use a wet sponge to dampen them.)

So it looks like Randi really did send that goodbye letter. It says the cause and manner of death is unknown, as of course is how she made her way to North Carolina. Such a strange case.

Florida Jane Doe identified as Randi Boothe-Wilson

Per this article, a woman who was found in a wooded area in Jacksonville, Florida North Carolina [sorry I am dumb] in December 1995 has been identified as Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, missing since October 1994.

I’m pretty surprised by this. The image of the unidentified woman shows what appears to be a white person with light brown hair. Randi was black. She also didn’t disappear anywhere near Jacksonville; she went missing from New York City, something like 1000 570 miles up the coast.

The photos I have of Randi are black and white though, and not in the best quality, so it’s hard to tell what she looked like. And she left some goodbye notes, so perhaps she left New York voluntarily, traveled to Florida North Carolina and met her end there.

I’m glad her family will finally get SOME answers, anyway, although the identification seems to ask a lot more questions.

The strange death of Cerilla Doyle

I discovered that skeletal remains found in Mason City, Iowa in May of this year have been identified as Cerilla Ann Doyle, an ex-cop from Bentonville, Arkansas who disappeared from there in the autumn of 2008.

Investigators note there is “no indication of foul play.” Mason City is over 500 miles due north from Bentonville.

I’ve gotta wonder what happened and I don’t have much. Cerilla’s husband had died several months before her disappearance, after a long illness, and there were reports that Cerilla was suicidal, but her family denied this. Why did she leave Bentonville and leave all her things behind? What brought her to Mason City? Did she know anyone there? Did she deliberately go there to die?

Unless her family decides to disclose further information, I suppose we’ll never know. RIP Cerilla.

Some more photos and APs

I was checking all my runaway cases the other day and wound up purging quite a few as no longer with the source site and probably recovered. I also found some more photos and age-progressions of people. As follows:

  1. Erika Brown (age-progression updated)
  2. Krystyn Rae Dunlap (age-progression updated)
  3. Francheska Sugel Martinez (age-progression updated)
  4. Misheila Sugel Martinez (age-progression updated)
  5. Tavis Robertson (seven new photos)
  6. Lutricia Steele (one new photo)
  7. Luzmeida Vargas Damazo (one new photo)

I’m a bit unsure about Tavis Robertson. I found this article saying a Tavis Robertson, age 18, was murdered in New Orleans last year. The Tavis on my site would have been 18 last year, and he’s missing from Gretna, Louisiana, which is right next door to New Orleans, and it was said that he might be in New Orleans.

Unfortunately I can’t find a photo of the Tavis who was murdered, to compare to the one listed as missing. He’s still listed as missing on the NCMEC, but the NCMEC has proven itself to be notoriously unreliable when it comes to removing resolved cases.

Pride Month: Doris Carter

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Doris Wade Carter, who disappeared from Plant City, Florida on December 16, 2011. She went missing with her lesbian partner, Kelly Moriarty, although the two women were reported missing separately.

Two days after Christmas, Moriarty’s leg washed ashore in St. Petersburg, Florida. It wasn’t identified until March, the rest of her wasn’t found, and obviously the authorities couldn’t determine a cause or manner of death based on just a single leg. Interestingly, however, they think the leg had only been in the water for a couple of days, and by then Kelly and Doris had been missing for a week and a half.

Her death, and Doris’s disappearance, remain a mystery — murder, accident, suicide? Some combination thereof? Unfortunately for the two women’s families, we may never get answers.

The start of an interesting “Unsolved” series

Starting yesterday, First Coast News has begun an “Unsolved” series about the disappearances and murders of five girls in a three-month period in 1974 in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

Two of the girls, twelve-year-olds Virginia Suzanne Helm (missing on September 27) and twelve-year-old Rebecca Ann Greene (missing October 12) were found murdered. Nine-year-old Jean Marie Schoen (missing July 21) and the sisters eleven-year-old Annette Anderson and six-year-old Mylette Anderson (missing August 1) were never located.

Of course, one inevitably wonders about a serial killer, and Paul John Knowles confessed to the murders of the Anderson girls. The other cases remain a mystery, however.