MP of the week: Ayyub Pugh

This week’s featured missing person is Ayyub N. Pugh, a 45-year-old black man who disappeared from Layton, Utah on August 14, 2010. There isn’t much information about his disappearance, but there apparently aren’t any indications of foul play and he could still be alive somewhere.

Pugh suffers from mental illness and could be in a mental hospital/treatment program. He has used several different alias names in the past. He has previously lived in Florida and New York. If still alive he’d be 55.

EastPark John Doe, missing persons events, and other stories

Colorado: There will be two events to honor the May 10, 2020 disappearance of Suzanne Morphew from Chaffee County. (I haven’t added her yet cause it hasn’t yet been a year.) The first will be held at the Poncha Springs Visitor Center at 7010 U.S. Highway 285 in Poncha Springs, Colorado at 7:00 p.m. on April 30. This day would be/have been Suzanne’s fiftieth birthday. The second event is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on May 2, at the Community Garden at 202 East Church Street in Alexandria, Indiana; Suzanne grew up there and many family and friends still live there. I might attend that event as it’s only an hour and ten minutes from where I live.

Kentucky: In EastPark, on the edge of Boyd County, last July, hunters found the badly decomposed remains of a murdered man partially buried. He had been dead for between approximately two weeks and a month. The man was wearing only boxer shorts and there were no personal effects. The man was between 20 and 40 years old and about 5’8 and 140 to 160 pounds, with brown hair between earlobe length and shoulder length. He had been shot, but also had drugs in his system when he died. The place where he was buried, although somewhat secluded, had easy access to the interstate; the dead man “literally could have come from anywhere.” The man has yet to be identified.

Also in Kentucky: Skeletal remains found in Hardyville in February 2020 have been identified as Jacob Lewis Tipton, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Berea on April 23, 2016. Unfortunately there wasn’t much left of him and they couldn’t establish a cause of death.

Also in Kentucky: They’re still looking for Andrea Michelle Knabel, a 37-year-old woman who disappeared from Louisville on August 13, 2019. A retired homicide detective has taken an interest in the case and believes he’s found a three-hour discrepancy in the timeline of the night of Andrea’s disappearance.

Mississippi: They’re still trying to identify a Jane Doe who were found under a bridge over the Pearl River in Rankin County in 1978. She was nude and wrapped in an old blanket. She had died of multiple blows to the head and may have been killed by serial killer Samuel Little, who died late last year. They’re looking into the possibility that the Jane Doe may be Wendy Susan Byron, a 24-year-old woman who disappeared from Glendora, California just two days before Jane Doe was found in Mississippi.

New York: They’re still looking for Flossie A. Wilbur, a 75-year-old woman who disappeared from Angelica on August 24, 1985. David Sherk, one of her then-neighbors, confessed to her murder in 2020 and told authorities he had buried her body near the Almond Dam, but the body has never been found. Doesn’t mean the man was lying; the dam has flooded multiple times since 1985. Sherk had terminal brain cancer when he made his confession and I’m not sure he’s still alive now, but he was never charged.

South Dakota: In Rapid City, groups and leaders both from town and from Native American reservations across the state united yesterday to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous people. Here are some photos of the event.

Virginia: It’s been ten years now since Robert Lee Hourihan disappeared, leaving behind a wife and six-year-old daughter her adored. Foul play is suspected in his case. His wife has never remarried and still hopes every day that he will be found.

Also Virginia: Human remains found in the woods on the campus of Hollins University back in February have been identified as Jessica Darling Dickson, a 30-year-old woman who disappeared from Roanoke on June 1, 2019. Jessica’s death is under investigation, but the police said there doesn’t seem to be any connection to the university and they don’t think the students (it’s a women’s college) are in danger.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada: There’s an interesting article/podcast episode on the systemic failures of Toronto Police and missing persons cases.

New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada: They’re still looking for Debbie Hutchinson, 59-year-old woman who disappeared on April 15, 2017 and wasn’t reported missing for twelve days. Her niece found groceries lying on the floor of Debbie’s home, and her car later turned up abandoned and burned.

MP of the week: Timothy Keays

This week’s featured missing person is Timothy Lee Keays, a 32-year-old man who was last seen on the campus of Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) in Ashland on June 27, 1989. At the time of his disappearance, he lived with his mom in Talent, Oregon.

I don’t have much info on his case, but foul play is possible. He’s a Vietnam veteran and was taking medicine for “respiratory problems” at the time of his disappearance.

MP of the week: David Bellah

This week’s featured missing person is David Wayne Bellah, a 38-year-old man who was last seen by his family when he came to visit them in Roseville, California for Easter in March 1991. I don’t have an exact date of his disappearance, and in such cases my policy is to select the earliest possible oneā€”that is, March 1. However, I should note that Easter was March 31 that year.

Bellah didn’t see or contact his family often but would come to visit them for things like holidays. After Easter 1991, they never heard from him again. The most recent photo I have for him is from 1980.

Little information is available in Bellah’s disappearance, but he’s had a hair transplant, which might stand out if he’s a John Doe somewhere.

I wanted to drop a recommendation for y’all

So this podcast series, “Through the Cracks: The Untold Story of Mbuyisa Makhubo” came out in 2016, but I didn’t discover it until a few days ago. I really wanted to tell everyone because it’s an awesome series, four episodes, great journalism, very thorough, telling a fascinating story about a missing person.

Mbuyisa Makhubo was a very ordinary teenage boy living in Soweto, South Africa in the 1970s when he became world-famous by accident. Basically, what happened was that a 1976 youth protest against the brutal apartheid regime got out of hand and the police opened fire on the crowd, killing a twelve-year-old boy named Hector Pieterson (and a lot of other people). Mbuyisa was the one who picked up Hector after he was shot and carried him to a nearby car — a photojournalist’s — to take him to the hospital. The journalist’s photos of Mbuyisa, running with a dying Hector in his arms and Hector’s screaming, hysterical sister running next to him, were displayed in newspapers across the world. You might have seen the images yourself; they’re still famous.

The result was that Mbuyisa (who hadn’t even been attending the protest, he just happened to live on that street) became a target of South African security forces. Afraid for his life, he had to flee the country. He got a scholarship to attend a school in Nigeria, but couldn’t adjust, began deteriorating physically and mentally, and ended up on drugs and living on the streets of Lagos. Sometime in 1978, he disappeared, and his family in South Africa never heard from him again.

Then he may have resurfaced, thirty years later, alive and well in a Canadian jail. Or maybe he didn’t.

From there the story just keeps getting stranger and stranger and more and more complicated. I don’t want to say anything more for fear of spoiling things, but I wound up listening to the whole podcast in one streak, ruminating on it for hours and puzzling it over with my friends afterwards.

So yeah, listen to it.

This is pretty odd…

On the face of it, it doesn’t seem like the cases of Nicole Shante Moore and Bobby Lee Johns would be related. She was a black woman in her twenties; he was a white man in his sixties. They disappeared a year and a half apart. And while they both are listed as missing from Amarillo, Texas, that city has a population of almost 200,000 people. So, not much in common on the surface.

However, I wonder.

Nicole is believed to have gone to the Adrian, Texas area, fifty miles down Interstate 40, on the day of her disappearance. Her cellular phone last pinged near there. Bobby was also possibly en route to Adrian. When police were searching the vicinity of the cell phone ping for evidence in Nicole’s case, they found Bobby’s abandoned car on the interstate.

So, both disappeared from Amarillo. Nicole was thought to have been headed for Adrian, and so was Bobby. His car was found near where her phone had last pinged.

It’s entirely possible, within the law of averages, that the cases had nothing to do with each other. After all, a lot of missing people’s cars are found abandoned on interstates, and a lot of missing people’s phones ping along interstates, simply because of the fact that those are major travel routes.

But it is a bit odd.

We have a pretty good idea what happened to Nicole. But what happened to Bobby? And where are they?

MP of the week: Carold Hodges

This week’s featured missing person Carold Lloyd Hodges, a 71-year-old man who disappeared from Houston on July 20, 2013, leaving all his belongings behind at home. He had left home before, sometimes for extended time periods, but would always tell someone he was going to do so. This time he was just gone.

I don’t know what happened here and there isn’t much in the way of information. If still alive, Carold Hodges would be 79 today.

Seeing them living once more

With recent cases, it’s pretty common to find the missing person’s social media accounts from prior to their disappearance and get to learn about them, their personality, their likes and dislikes. For older cases, pre social media, this is less common, but it still happens sometimes.

Today, out of nowhere, I decided to look up Monterrio Holder on the newspaper archives, simply because his name is unique enough that I thought I might find something. As it turns out, Monterrio was an athlete when he attended Washington High School in Indianapolis and college in Tennessee. He did play football, but his real talent was in track, specifically jumping.

He was one of Indiana’s top high jumpers in his time. He did a 6’8 high jump as a seventeen-year-old in 1988. In 1989, as a high school junior, he made an attempt at a city record in the high jump and, though he missed it, he did account for all 28 of his track team’s points in that competition. In March 1994, just months before his disappearance, he competed at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship and finished third in the high jump, 7’3. The Indianapolis Star had several photos of him at competitions, some of them mid-jump. I added three to his casefile.

Nothing about his disappearance, however. What happened to this young man?

MP of the week: Jonathan Hamby

This week’s featured missing person is Jonathan Alan Hamby, a 37-year-old man who disappeared from Mishawaka, Indiana on February 26, 2017. After some problems with substance abuse and run-ins with the law, he’d turned his life around, found religion and gotten a job. But then he stopped taking his depression/anxiety meds and his loved ones noticed he seemed to be struggling. And then he was gone, and his cherished car with him.

Usually when a person disappears with their car, and neither of them turn up, I tend to believe both the person and the car is in a body of water somewhere. I almost kind of hope that for Hamby, because the alternative — something that his parents believe — is that he was murdered.

If still alive, he’d be 41 years old now.

Finally out of Facebook Jail! And other stories

Two months and ten days after my one-month Facebook Jail sentence began, Facebook has finally deigned to let me out. Yay. Now let’s see how long I can stay out before the modbots once again take offense at some perfectly acceptable meme I posted years ago.

Arizona: A Portland, Maine man who disappeared from the Grand Canyon on December 20 has been, amazingly enough, found alive and in good health.

Connecticut: Found this article featuring various missing persons from that state.

Georgia: In Atlanta they’re going to set up a memorial for the missing and murdered children lumped under the Atlanta Child Killer case. The city council has allocated funds and approved a design. Just a few days ago I watched the series on the Atlanta child murders on HBO Max. It was very disturbing. I don’t know if Wayne Williams killed anybody, but he DEFINITELY did not get a fair trial.

Michigan: They’re still looking for Dean Marie “Deanie” Peters, a 14-year-old girl who disappeared from Grand Rapids in 1981. The article focuses on the theory that a local teen boy drove at Deanie to scare her and make her think he was trying to hit her, but he accidentally DID hit her and killed her. This person allegedly told different versions of this story to a couple of dozen people before his death, but it has never been confirmed.

Oregon: They’re still looking for Kacey Ann Perry, a 10-year-old girl who disappeared from Portland in 1990. The article has several photos I’d not previously seen.

Pennsylvania: They’re still looking for John Francis Lango and the local paper has done a two-part series on his disappearance: here’s part one and part two. Although his family and most of his friends recall John as a happy-go-lucky, popular sort of guy, one acquaintance said he’d grown shy, introverted and “sullen” prior to his 1988 disappearance from Pottsville, a month before his eighteenth birthday. None of his loved ones think he ran away.

Texas: They found the car of Carey Mae Parker in Lake Tawakoni. Carey was 23 when she disappeared from Quinlan in 1991. So far they’ve only been able to recover one half of the vehicle, and so far no human remains have been found.

Utah: Here is an article about the disappearances and murders of various Native American people in Utah.

Australia: They’re still looking for Colleen Walker-Craig, a 16-year-old girl who disappeared from Bowraville, New South Wales in 1990. Her clothes were found in the river, weighted by rocks, but no sign of her.

Also Australia: A jawbone that washed up on a beach in New South Wales in 2011 has been identified as Bill Moran, a 24-year-old man who was lost at sea when his boat sank off Evans Head in 1979. Bill’s wife Philippa also died in the accident, but I think her body was found earlier.

Canada: There’s been a podcast episode about the 1997 disappearance of 27-year-old Danny Gaulton, who was last seen in Grande Prairie, Alberta. He told his roommates he was going to work, but in fact he called in sick that night. Neither he nor his car was ever found.

England: They’re still looking for Anne Simpson, a 60-year-old woman who disappeared from Skegness in 2004. She was last seen drinking with two biker types and her partner.

Japan: I found this interesting article about how North Korea kidnapped some people, including a thirteen-year-old girl, from Japan and took them back to North Korea so they could help train future spies.