McStay family maybe found?

I have gotten a bunch of emails with links to articles saying Joseph McStay, his wife Summer and their kids Joseph Jr. and Gianni have been found buried in the desert near Victorville, California.

They DID find four bodies, and some news orgs are quoting sources that it’s the McStay family, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet so I’ll leave it there. Though I’m pretty sure it’s them.

Select It Sunday: Johnny Lee Mills

After a month’s silence, another Select It Sunday, as selected by Princess Shantae: Johnny Lee Mills.

This is a pretty peculiar case, out of a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, of someone who’s both an MP and a John Doe. The cops picked “Johnny” up in August 1990. They assumed he was a runaway and placed him in a shelter while they tried to figure out what to do with him. He told him he was thirteen. On September 21, he ran from the shelter and was never seen again. All the information he provided — name, date of birth, etc. — turned out to be false. The only trace we have of the real Johnny is two black-and-white photographs of a sullen-looking kid with his hair hanging in his face.

The police closed Johnny’s case in 2003. I can’t say I blame them; they’ve got nothing to go on. Johnny may be lying dead in a potter’s field somewhere, perhaps the victim of a local serial killer who preyed on young male prostitutes. Or he may have gone back to his family, grown up, and is now a soldier or a corporate lawyer or whatever with kids of his own. I doubt this case will ever be solved.

I suppose I ought to mention

During this recent episode, while I was incommunicado, a Spanish-language TV station wanted to interview me through an interpreter. They actually interviewed me once before (I think about the Cleveland girls case) but actually never used my interview. This time I declined. The subject of the requested interview was Baby Hope and her recent identification and the arrest of her presumed killer.

I was not in the mood to talk to anyone, the media least of all, and more importantly, I had nothing to say about Baby Hope. I have never been interested in unidentifieds and leave that work up to the many people who comb the Charley Project’s casefiles looking for matches. The only things I knew about Baby Hope came from articles I’d read after the case broke, and I’d only read a few of those. I just didn’t think I was the person to go to.

This is the first interview request I’ve ever declined, except for a few I wasn’t able to do because of time constraints.

The identification of “Baby Hope”

As many of you must know by now, the unidentified child formerly known as “Baby Hope” now has a name: Angelica Ramirez. I applaud the cops for not giving up on this case over the years.

I would also note that Angelica was reportedly the victim of a family abduction. So many people assume that if the child is with a parent, it must be more or less okay. Not so.

Writing up the Paul Fronczak case

I’ve started writing up the story of the disappearance, recovery and un-recovery of baby Paul Fronczak. (Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you know who he is already.) It’s going to take awhile. The Facebook page about his case has loads of articles from back in the sixties when this happened.

It’s a heck of a story, Bobby Dunbar all over again. With the difference that Bobby Dunbar’s parents died believing they had their son back, and Paul Fronczak’s parents are both still alive. I wonder how they’re taking it. He was their second child; the first had been born dead.

The chances of finding the real Paul Fronczak are remote. Even more remote are the chances of finding his abductor alive. If she was 35 to 40 years old in 1964, she’d be in her eighties now and very possibly beyond the reach of what justice humans can mete out. That woman sounds absolutely chilling. She hung around the hospital for at least four fracking hours, apparently baby-shopping. She had the hospital’s layout and staff routines down. And she stayed calm the whole time and fooled patients and staff alike. I think she must have been plotting for months.

The Fronczak parents are of Polish and Croatian descent; the boy they raised, according to his DNA, has Jewish ancestry. managed to track down a third cousin in their database, but that’s not much of a lead because people usually have thousands of third cousins they have no idea exist.

In the meantime, for me, writing up this case is troublesome because there are two Paul Fronczaks here: there’s Paul the kidnapped baby and Paul the adult who, it turns out, was not the kidnapped baby, but has no other name. How do I refer to them so there’s no confusion? Maybe call the kidnapped one “baby Paul” and the other just “Paul”?

Recent MP news

I’ve been idling these last few days, offline almost entirely. I’m back now but not sure if I’ll update today or not; I’m not feeling very well and have some distractions.

Recent news in the MP world:

Bill Crider, the husband of Joyce Crider, was killed in a car wreck a week ago. He was never ruled out as a suspect in her case and in the article I just linked to, Joyce’s mom openly accuses him of murder. In the comments section several people who knew Bill are quite indignant about her remarks.

A suspect, John Alan Mellquist, has been charged in the murder of Annelise Schweikardt, who disappeared from Sarasota, Florida in 2003. She had rented a room to him and was attempting to evict him at the time of her disappearance, and he tried to explain her absence by saying she had left the country. A lot of blood was found in her home, enough so that the police were pretty sure a homicide had taken place. But Annelise was a German citizen who had no immediate family in the United States, and it took a long time to create a DNA profile for her to test against the blood.

There’s an article about Herlinda Ann Soto, who vanished in 1993 and left behind an ex-husband, two kids and the bloodiest crime scene the police had seen in years. The article has a little more information than I had before. Herlinda’s ex-husband would be the obvious suspect, but he had an alibi. The police believe someone murdered her inside her home, transported her body in the trunk of her own car and then disposed of it — the body, not the car, which was abandoned — somewhere. They think more than one person was involved.

There’s been a spate of news about Kevin Collins, a ten-year-old who vanished from San Francisco in 1984. It was a very famous case at the time. The police have searched the former residence of a suspect, Wayne Jackson Dan Leonard Therrien, who died in 2008. (He apparently used several alias names.) He lived across the street from Kevin’s school, had a history of sex crimes against children, looked like the man with the dog whom witnesses saw talking to Kevin before his disappearance, and owned a similar dog. Alas, the search turned up zip, zilch, nada, except a few bones that are in all probability animal bones, though they got sent to a lab for analysis just in case.

And I don’t usually talk about unidentifieds, but this article touched me: three little girls and a young woman, murdered sometime in the late seventies or early eighties, stripped naked, stuffed into two metal barrels and dumped in the woods in Allenstown, New Hampshire. The barrels were found fifteen years apart. Two of the children were toddlers, but the other child was old enough to be in school. The woman and two of the children are related, but not the third child. The police don’t have the foggiest idea who any of them are. (Their NCMEC poster is here.) To me it looks like some man, probably husband and father of the victims, decided he didn’t want to have a family any more and killed them all. But who knows. It was a lot easier to hide that kind of thing back then.


Remember “John D108 Doe” that I mentioned yesterday? Well, he now has a real name! His cousin saw the article I’d linked to and recognized him. His real name is Maurice Williams (he’d told the foster care people that was his name, but they weren’t really sure if that was accurate). He’s 46 years old and disappeared in 2008 a few months after his mother, who’d cared for him all her life, died. He’s got two sisters and like 30 cousins.

I don’t understand why he wasn’t identified sooner, since it says his family filed a missing persons report for him. They’re going to reunite with him but he may not recognize them. Maurice was diagnosed with schizophrenia after he was found, but his family says he’s autistic. He’s almost mute now, but apparently he talked more when he was a child.

I’m very glad for a happy ending to this story.