Remember my happy announcement that Linda Pagnano was identified with help from Carl Koppelman’s forensic art and Websleuther Ice190’s research? Well, erm, it turns out the announcement was a bit premature. Carl got the news from Linda’s family that dental records proved it was her, but it seems the medical examiner wants to wait for DNA results to make it official.
Sorry about that, y’all.
That said, I’d be VERY surprised if this body turned out to be someone other than Linda. See for yourself at the above link; all the stats match and she very closely resembles Carl’s drawing of the UID.
Per Carl Koppelman, Linda Marie Pagano has been identified. (That link’s not gonna work much longer; I intend to remove her today.) The seventeen-year-old had been missing from Akron, Ohio since September 1, 1974, but I think she wasn’t added to NamUs till last year, and I just added her case last month. She was beautiful, doe-eyed. Her body was found in Strongsville, Ohio, less than an hour from Akron, in February 1975, only a few months after Linda disappeared, but no one made the connection until now. In fact the UID wasn’t even listed on NamUs until June of last year. Carl says,
An online sleuth discovered this forgotten case while researching cemeteries for graves of John and Jane Doe’s. Websleuths member Ice190 [whom I know, she’s a Facebook friend] obtained the casefile via a FOIA request.
(Muttergrumble. Just how many more of these forgotten UIDs are out there?)
Just to show what an amazing, talented forensic artist Carl is, I’m going to show his drawing of the UID. He calls it a “rough reconstruction” because he had only the side view to work with, and no lower jaw. Yet it looks amazingly like Linda. Here’s Carl’s drawing on the left, and a photo of Linda on the right (I cropped Carl’s drawing and made it smaller because I don’t have a bigger picture of Linda).
Linda had been shot in the head, and her hands and feet were deliberately removed. Her mandible was missing also, though I’m not sure whether this was done by the killer or by nature.
Since the killer made a considerable effort to make sure Linda wouldn’t be identified, my guess is he or she was someone Linda knew. Given how long ago she died, there’s a good chance her killer is also deceased. But at least her family will get the opportunity to bury her decently.
I’ll cover the recovery of the Yates girls in their own entry, but here’s some other missing persons news:
- This accountant’s hobby? Identifying missing people through his drawings
My friend and Irregular Carl Koppelman has been featured in the Orange County Register. He does wonderful sketches of UIDs and was instrumental in identifying Cali Doe as Tammy Alexander. Congratulations, Carl!
- Trial date in 20-year-old cold case pushed back to October
A year and a quarter ago ago, more or less, Kirsten Renee Hatfield‘s two-doors-down neighbor was charged with her murder. The headline of this article is pretty self-explanatory, and the news story explains why: the suspect has new lawyers now who need time to review the evidence.
Kirsten’s case, for whatever reason, fascinated me back when I was a child and first started getting interested in missing persons. I had a website when I was twelve or so, with some poems and stories I wrote, and one of them was a poem called “Missing, Presumed Dead” and it was based on Kirsten’s disappearance, as I explained on the site. Kirsten’s mom found it and emailed me, saying she was touched that a little girl in Ohio was thinking of her and her lost daughter, but she didn’t believe Kirsten was dead.
- Judge orders suspect in cold case homicide to trial in district court
Apparently the motive for Cari Lea Farver‘s homicide was a love triangle; both she and the suspect, Shanna Goylar, were seeing the same man. According to prosecutors, after Goylar killed Cari, she burned the body and then went on Cari’s social media accounts and tried to make it look like she was still alive.
- Missing Oklahoma woman found more than 20 years after disappearance
This case isn’t one of mine. It’s a really awesome story, though, how hard Shelly Jennings’s daughters looked for her, and how she was found largely through their efforts. Twenty-three years after she walked away from her family in Oklahoma, she turns up at a bus station in Modesto, California. I hope they can reconcile, although given Shelly’s mental illness, this may not be possible.
- For families of missing persons, not knowing is excruciating
This is about the disappearance of Cody Henry Turner, who went missing from Washington in 2015.
- Missing Minnesotans: Susan Swedell
Obviously, an article about Susan Anne Swedell (for whom I recently posted an updated AP).
I thought I would share with you a comprehensive retelling of the famous unidentified man “Benjamin Kyle”, who is unidentified no longer, and the twelve-year search to give him back his name. Given my line of work, I’ve known about the case since the outset, but never followed it closely. This is a really good article about it. It’s really long, but it kind of has to be, as the case is so mysterious and took so long to come to a conclusion.
Two people — named Andi and Andy, oddly enough — have asked me to do Brian Neil Hooks for Select It Sunday. The 21-year-old has been missing from Florence, South Carolina since September 24, 1988 — nearly 28 years ago. He may go by his middle name.
Andi thinks Brian may be a John Doe whose skeletal remains were found in in St. Louis, Missouri in 1992. The decedent, who is estimated to have died sometime between 1989 and 1992, had been stabbed to death. About that suggestion, I have no comment. Matching MPs with UIDs has never been my thing.
Someone, a relative I think, set up a Facebook page for Brian. The most recent post as of this writing, dated June 24, would resonate with anyone who has a missing loved one:
I would do anything to talk and hug you one last time! You cross my mind more than I see your face, I pray for you more than you may hear my voice, I miss you more than you think and I love you more than you know sometimes you just have to be strong ..to keep yourself from breaking You will never know how much you miss hearing a voice until that voice is silenced forever…the worst thing in this world is not knowing where you are we miss you an love you so much the pain of you not being here is unreal at times it’s been to long for us not to know what happen to you […] The worst goodbyes are the ones that are never said, And never explained…
Brian was either gay or bisexual, and had a boyfriend at the time of his disappearance. The boyfriend claims he simply “ran off” without saying where he was going, and never came back. That’s a story I’ve heard many times before. Another source I found claims Brian’s boyfriend gave three different stories to explain Brian’s disappearance, and also says the man had been convicted of murder.
That certainly doesn’t look good. Almost 30 years of complete silence looks even worse.
Per ABC Chicago (for some reason), they’ve have discovered the bones of a child hidden in some outdoor planter boxes in San Francisco. There’s some speculation that the bones are from Kevin Collins, a San Francisco child whose disappearance is legendary, but so far the authorities have released exactly nothing by way of information. No cause of death, no gender or approximate age, etc.
Whoever this is, I hope the cops are able to identify him/her quickly and put some family’s agony to rest.
Given my morbid mindset and the work I do, I often speculate what would be the best way to hide a body. I’d never considered planter boxes before. That idea does have some merit I admit, though you’ve to wait until the remains were skeletal and no longer smelly.
This story actually ran on July 2, but I didn’t find out about it till now: “Paul Fronczak” has been identified. In a nutshell, for people who aren’t familiar with this case: a newborn named Paul Fronczak was abducted from a Chicago hospital in 1964. In 1965, a toddler who was about the age Paul would have been was found abandoned in New Jersey. The Fronczak family thought he was their missing son, but the identification could not be conclusively established due to unavailability of DNA testing, etc., at that time, so they had to go through adoption procedures. There the matter rested until 2012, when “Paul” had himself tested and found out he was not related to his presumed parents. This made national news and the baby Paul Fronczak was re-listed as missing at the time.
Well, according to the article I linked to above, not-Paul Fronczak has been identified by a “genetic genealogist” as a child named Jack, one of five kids in his family. His parents and one of his siblings are dead now; two are still alive. Jack has a twin sister named Jill (groan) and she’s missing. The twins disappeared shortly before their second birthdays, but their parents never told anyone; both sides of their family thought the children were living with the other side. The family’s last name has not been released as of yet, but relatives told not-Paul “dark tales” about the parents.
In other words, this seems like a Michelle Pulsifer type case. You gotta wonder how many times this sort of thing used to happen back in the days before computerized public records and what have you.
I wonder if Jill was also abandoned somewhere and is still out there, not knowing who she really is. It seems a lot more likely, though, that she died about fifty years ago.
Meanwhile, the real Paul Fronczak remains among the missing. What a bizarre case.