National Hispanic Heritage Month: Jose Chavez and Gilberto Gonzales

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is two men who disappeared together: Gilberto Gonzales, 23, and his relative, coworker and roommate Jose D. Jesus Chavez, 19. They were last seen in Tucson, Arizona on January 20, 1996.

I don’t have that much on these disappearances; they seem to have vanished into thin air, leaving all their things behind.

I think I might have set a record for “smallest part of a person recovered”

I found out the other day that they discovered an itty bitty piece of Richard William Moss‘s body: a single vertebra (one of the sections of your spine) not far from where his car turned up a little over a year ago.

I think this is the smallest partial remains recovered where I resolved a case. I have a case up where they found a woman’s finger, but you can easily live without that.

Frankly I’m surprised they found even that much of Moss. He accidentally ran his car off a cliff in coastal California known as the Devil’s Slide in May 2017, but the accident wasn’t witnessed and no one realized what had happened until July. The rest of him has presumably been claimed by the ocean.

Moss isn’t the only person on Charley who met his end at the Devil’s Slide. In 1945, a 14-year-old girl named Thora Chamberlain was murdered and thrown off there. They never found her body, only her socks, wedged in the cliff face. Her murderer was identified, confessed and was executed.

Thinking aloud on one of today’s cases

From what information I have (which isn’t very much), the disappearance of Brian Lee Drew is pretty puzzling. He went missing three years ago from his home in Tucson, Arizona.

Drew’s NamUs page makes it look like he could have left of his own accord; he “mentioned going to Mexico to help feed the hungry.” But if he did, he left his vehicle and most of his stuff behind. I don’t know how he would have gotten to Mexico without those things.

If he did indeed cross the border there should be a record of that. NamUs said his wallet disappeared with him, but what about his passport? He should have needed one to cross the border — although I’m aware that American border officials are much more concerned about keeping people out than keeping people in.

His Facebook page is puzzling. In one of his last posts, less than a week before he went missing, he writes:

drewfacebook

I don’t know if he really was at risk or if he was just paranoid.

As is often the case, his Facebook was a rich source of photos of him, and photos of his tattoos as well. He had a bunch of them.

I hope he is alive and well and decides to contact his family soon.

This gave me a double take

I’m updating the cases of Peggy Parmenter and Bernard Rusness, a couple who disappeared in 1976 after a house fire that claimed the life of their son, and found the following quote in an article:

“Also discovered amidst the debris were the remains of the two family dogs and a skull (which had been given to [Peggy] by her mother and was used as a planter).”

Two thoughts:

  1. WHAT? Who uses a SKULL as a planter? That’s morbid and weird even by my standards.
  2. Are they 100% sure the skull was the one used as a planter? I hope they didn’t just assume that and fail to check to see if it was Bernard’s or Peggy’s skull.

MP of the week: Gerald Marks

This week’s featured missing person is Gerald Alexander Marks, a 57-year-old man who disappeared from Detroit, Michigan in September 2007. For some reason he wasn’t reported missing until May 2011, nearly four years later. I don’t know anything else about his case but wonder if he was transient or had no family, and perhaps that’s why his disappearance wasn’t reported sooner.