National Hispanic Heritage Month: David Arrieta

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 David Sosa Arrieta, who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on October 7, 2001, at the age of thirty. His car was found abandoned a few days later.

Although foul play is suspected in Arrieta’s disappearance, I can’t find any articles about his case. I did find a few possible mentions of him from prior to his disappearance. In the Arizona Republic I did find mentions of a baby born in 1999 to David and Antoinette Arrieta, of Apache Junction; this David might be the same man who disappeared two years later.

David Arrieta has four distinctive tattoos, of which I have photos. It looks like the pics were taken before any of the tattoos were completed, so they might look different now.

If still alive, today he’d be 48 years old.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Trinidad Alcantar

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 Trinidad Alcantar, a 55-year-old man who disappeared from Las Cruces, New Mexico on February 2, 2007. He had an unspecified mental condition requiring medication, which he didn’t take when he left.

Alcantar’s wife thought he might be having an affair with another woman. Police talked to the alleged mistress, who admitted she knew him and claimed he’d been abused by his family. She said she didn’t know where he was but thought maybe Mexico. Alcantar’s relatives suggested Deming, a town sixty miles west of Las Cruces, as a possible new residence for him.

I don’t think he was in Deming. It’s not a big town, and the cops weren’t able to locate him there. In 2016, nine years after his disappearance, the police put out an appeal to find him, but it was fruitless. He’s still listed as missing.

All accounts indicate Alcantar left on his own and doesn’t seem to want to return. It would be nice if he could be taken off the missing persons register, though, and the police can only do that when they find him. If he wants to get in touch with the cops, by law they’re not allowed to tell anyone his whereabouts.

MP of the week: Catalino Gomez

This week’s missing person is Catalino Gomez, a 54-year-old Hispanic man who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on June 3, 1994.

He was visiting relatives in Florida and someone accused him of molesting a ten-year-old girl. Afterwards, Gomez ran away without any of his belongings and was never seen or heard from again.

There’s a theory that he returned to Puerto Rico, where he’s from, and chose not to resurface because of the sex abuse allegation, but I’m not sure. As far as I know, there’s no warrants out for his arrest. Plus, how is he going to get to Puerto Rico? You would need to get on a ship or (probably) a plane, and would need money to buy a ticket and also probably identification, and he didn’t have those. I wonder if the possibility of suicide was investigated.

If he is indeed still alive and had gone into hiding in Puerto Rico, I highly doubt he’s going to reappear after 25 years. Given his age now (79) it’s possible he’s deceased.

MP of the week: Brian Perlish

This week’s featured missing person is Brian Perlish, a 30-year-old man who disappeared from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 23, 1997. He was last seen leaving his residence. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other details about his disappearance.

I did find traces of pre-disappearance Brian in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1984, when he was sixteen and attending Pennsbury High School, he was quoted in an article about students learning math by studying the size of pizzas ordered from various chains. They calculated the size of the round pizzas, in square inches, using the Pi R Squared formula, then divided this by the price to determine how much the pizzas cost per square inch.

Two years later, Brian was quoted in another article about a university employees’ strike at Temple University. It said he was a music major. He would probably have been a freshman at the time, based on his age.

Brian’s father died in 2015, and Brian is listed, without comment, as one of his children in the death notice. From the notice I learned he has three siblings, all of whom are married, and four nephews and a niece.

Alas, I have learned nothing about what happened with Brian going missing.

Five (sorta) missing people in the wreckage of a crashed plane

So, if a plane crashes and they find the crash site but are unable to recover the bodies for whatever reason, I don’t usually consider those people to be missing, even by my quite generous definition. After all, their fate and the location of their remains is known.

But today, I added five people whose case fit those parameters: plane crash, wreckage found. I decided I could just about wedge the case within the Charley Project’s case requirements because, after the crash site was initially located, it vanished again. It moved.

I doubt that happens all that often, but this was in Alaska, the Land That Eats People.

A small plane carrying four Polish tourists and their pilot was on an aerial tour of Denali National Park when it hit the side of the mountain. This was at 11,000-foot elevation, on an unstable field of ice and snow. When park rangers found the site a few days later, the plane was embedded in snow right on the side of a cliff, as you can see in the photo accompanying this article. The fact that it’s gone now is not terribly surprising: shifting/melting ice and snow, wind, etc.

So anyway, the victims are now up on my site: the pilot, Craig Layson, from Michigan, and the four passengers: Janusz Intek, Maria Libacka, Kazimierz Miernik and Robert Sieniawski, all of them Poles. Rest In Peace. The mountain is their grave.

MP of the week: Charles Rutherford Jr.

This week’s featured missing person is Charles “Chuck” Rutherford Jr., a 34-year-old attorney who disappeared with his girlfriend, Lana Stempien, while they were boating on Lake Huron on August 11, 2005.

Rutherford and Stempien at the Presque Isle Marina in Presque Isle, Michigan, and planned to go to Mackinac Island, but never arrived. Their boat was found idling in the lake, ten miles off Mackinac Island, the next day. Two weeks later, Stempien’s body washed ashore. There was elevated carbon monoxide in her blood, but the cause of death was drowning.

In spite of some mutterings about foul play and things being “mysterious”, it looks to me like Rutherford was probably also the victim of an accidental drowning; there’s a theory that they went swimming and became overcome with fumes from the boat motor.