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.
I checked my user stats and saw this:
It is my understanding that “visits” represent the number of unique visits/visitors to charleyproject.org. And it’s up a bit for some reason. The average is currently 10,134 visitors a day. (Actually it’s 10,133.6; I rounded up. /pedantry) As opposed to last month when the average was 8,339. In May it was 8,171 and in April it was 8,070. Not much of a change there. Every day this month, though, save July 1, the number of visitors has been above the average 8,000-ish range.
Judging by the casefiles my visitors are looking at most often: Caleigh Harrison, Aliayah Lunsford and “Baby Kate” Phillips, I’d say the spike in visits has something to do with that unidentified little girl they found off the case of Massachusetts. I know there’s been speculation that one of the three missing girls could be her. Kristine Hamilton is also being looked at a lot though, and she DEFINITELY isn’t the Massachusetts Baby Doe and I can’t find any recent news about her. Shrug.
It’s been awhile since I rapped with ya. What can I say? All is going well. My birthday is tomorrow; I’ll be 29. Presents are starting to trickle in. Dad got me the Sims 4 game in September as an early present. Michael and his parents have given me their gifts: he got me a copy of Shoah and they got me a pair of shoes.
I know it’s been several days but I promise I’ll update tomorrow. The breaking news with Sharon Marshall being identified means I’ll have to make some major changes to her son Michael‘s casefile. That case is about as complicated and sordid as I’ve got on Charley. I’ve also got to do the Lyon sisters’ cases. The police are saying they think there’s a good chance they can recover the girls’ bodies. Me, I’m not holding my breath.
And here’s most of the books that I own but have not yet read, that I’ve resolved to get through by the end of the year. You can click on the picture to see a bigger version and read all the titles. After I took this photograph I went out to get the mail and three more books arrived, used books that I’d ordered cause they cost only a penny on Amazon. (Plus $3.99 shipping. So really, $4. Still a bargain.) Some of these books are gifts — some of which I’ve had for years and haven’t read yet. *guilt* Others I got for free from book publishers in exchange for writing a review of them — another responsibility I’ve neglected. *more guilt* But there’s nearly three months left in the year and I figure I can manage to get through all twenty — or rather twenty-three, now. The main problem is that I keep making trips to the library to check out books which I feel obliged to read first because I have to return those.
If I stick to my promise it shouldn’t be all that difficult to get through the books by the end of the year. But who am I kidding? Next trip to the library, I’ll come determined to just return read books and leave, but then I’ll tarry in front of the new arrivals shelf and wind out walking with a stack…
That’s all I’ve got to say.
Selected by Lauren: Michael Anthony Hughes, abducted from his school in Choctaw, Oklahoma in 1994. In the extremely unlikely event that he’s still alive, he’d be 26 today.
I can’t even really begin to summarize his case. (Jennifer Marra wrote the casefile that’s on the Charley Project.) It’s about as sordid as I ever heard tell of, and notorious online. This is a case of intergenerational abduction: Michael’s father, Franklin Delano Floyd (who wasn’t his biological father, it turns out, but had believed he was) also apparently kidnapped his mother when she was a child, although he claims she was abandoned by her parents and we might never know because she’s dead and her true identity has never been established. I’ve read the book about it, A Beautiful Child by Matthew Birkbeck.
It’s kind of a long story. And a very sad one.