Circumstances can be misleading

So, the now-resolved case of Desiree Thompson on the Charley Project used to start off like this:

Thompson was last seen in the 20900 block of 83rd Street in California City, California on January 7, 2012. In the early morning hours she had had a domestic violence incident with her estranged husband, Edward “Face” Gibson III, where he showed up at her door and pointed a shotgun at her.

At 10:00 a.m., Thompson’s mother tried to call her but was unable to reach her, and so came to her apartment. She found Thompson at home but very frightened, with furniture stacked against the apartment door. Thompson’s mother offered to take care of her children until Thompson could get the situation sorted.

Then later that day she disappeared, and so did her husband. It was sort of assumed, under the circumstances, that he must have kidnapped or murdered her. Certainly he sounds like a dangerous individual.

Well, the assumption was wrong. Edward Gibson may not be the nicest person, but he didn’t kill his wife. Desiree, it turns out, was the victim of a random predator who got mad at someone else and decided to take it out on her, a complete stranger whom he happened to see walking down the street minding her own business. Quite a disturbing story.

FBI publishes list of missing Native Americans

The FBI has put out this list of 170 Native American people listed as missing in New Mexico and throughout the Navajo Nation (which comprises 17.4 million acres in NE Arizona, NW New Mexico and SE Utah).

The list sometimes has pictures of the MP, although the way the PDF is formatted makes the pictures really small and not very helpful. It also has the MP’s date of birth and date of disappearance.

This list is quite helpful because it’s current and all these people are confirmed to be missing right now. Both NamUs and the New Mexico state database are absolutely terrible at removing resolved cases and I can’t really trust either source when I’m trying to verify that a person is in fact still missing. Regarding the New Mexico database, one time one missing person had like three or four separate, successive entries. He was a chronic runaway and would always turn up eventually. And he kept going missing, getting added to the NM database, not getting removed after he was found, then going missing again and getting another entry on the database. *facepalm*

I’m going to have to go down the list and start adding people to Charley, and adding dates of birth to the cases I already have.

MP of the week: Bun Wa Chew

This week’s featured missing person is Bun Wa Chew, a 39-year-old man who was last seen in San Francisco, California on February 12, 1994. He is Asian, of Chinese descent, with black hair and brown eyes. He had a very slight build at the time of his disappearance: 5’7 and only 112 pounds.

Unfortunately… that’s all I have in this case. Bun Wa Chew’s case is one of the few that have NEVER been updated in the entire history of the Charley Project (which will turn 17 years old in October). The classic “few details are available” type of case. I’ve got a date, a city, and nothing else.

If still alive, he’d be 68 today.

MP of the week: Michelle Wells

This week’s featured missing person is Michelle Wells, a 13-year-old girl who disappeared from Detroit, Michigan in 1982.

And… that’s it. That’s all I have for this case. I don’t even have an exact date of disappearance, which is very sad, especially given as Michelle was a child.

I also only have one poor quality photo of her, and not much in the way of a physical description: of Native American and white descent, with red hair — though it doesn’t look red in the picture. No height and weight, no eye color.

If she’s still alive, Michelle would be about 53 years old today. It’s cases like this that deserve attention most of all, and that’s why I picked her for my missing person of the week.

I’ll be out of Facebook Jail in a week. Here’s some more news.

From California:

  • They’re still looking for Khrystyna Carreno, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Bakersfield in November 2020. (The article spells her name “Khrystina” but the NCMEC and CDOJ spell it “Khrystyna” so I’m going to go with that.) I don’t have her on Charley but figure I should add her. Twelve is very young, obviously, and she’s been missing for a year and a half now. I hope she’s alive and hasn’t been trafficked. Here’s Khrystyna’s NCMEC poster.

From Florida:

From Georgia:

  • They have finally identified the little boy whose corpse was found outside Atlanta over 20 years ago. His name was William DaShawn Hamilton and he was six years old when he was murdered. William was never reported missing. His mother, Teresa Ann Bailey Black, has been charged with felony murder, cruelty to children, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another.

From Michigan:

  • They’re still looking for Kathy Sue Wilcox, a 15-year-old girl last seen in Otsego in 1972. She got into an argument with her parents over an older boy she was dating, stomped out angrily and was never seen again. Kathy would be 65 today. Kathy’s sister does not believe she ran away, and made reference to a “significant antisocial person who was in [Kathy’s] life,” whom she thinks could have been involved.

From Minnesota:

  • Remains found in Rosemount in 2014 have been identified as James Everett, a New York man who was not listed as missing. They do not know the cause or manner of death, but they believe Everett died sometime in the autumn months of 2013. I wonder if he died of exposure; Minnesota can get very cold, and I doubt a “decommissioned railroad utility shed” would have heat or insulation.

From New Hampshire:

  • They’re still looking for 15-year-old Shirley Ann “Tippy” McBride, last seen in Concord in 1984. Although there haven’t been any new developments, the article talks about the case in great detail.
  • They’re still looking for Maura Murray, and are searching an unspecified “area in the towns of Landaff and Easton.” This search isn’t based on any new info, though, they’re just shooting in the dark.

From New York:

  • They’re trying to find Judith Threlkeld, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared from Chautauqua County in 1976. She was last seen walking home from the library. I added the case to Charley yesterday.

From North Dakota:

  • Check out this awesome in-depth three-part series on the 1996 disappearances of Sandra Mary Jacobson and her son, John Henry Jacobson: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 (this last part is paywalled, but I was invested enough to fork over two bucks for a subscription). Very mysterious case. I feel terrible for Sandra’s older son, Spencer: he lost his mom and half-brother, literally, and later on his father was murdered, and neither of these cases have been solved. A few years after the murder of Spencer’s father, Spencer’s wife died tragically young at 24, from strep throat of all things, leaving him a young widower with three kids. Poor Spencer has had enough bad luck to last a lifetime.

From Ohio:

  • They’re still looking for Charles King Blanche, a 39-year-old man who disappeared from his Youngstown group home in 1991. Blanche’s cousin says he was a very talented musician who was recruited to tour in Europe in a marching band, but his life kind of cratered after he developed an unspecified severe mental illness. An all-too-common story on the Charley Project.

From Texas:

  • It’s being reported that sometimes when Texan foster kids run away, the agencies just wash their hands of them and end their guardianship over them. This sounds terrible, but given how often foster agencies fail their wards, and given as it’s Texas where they can’t even keep the lights on, I’m not entirely surprised.
  • Using genetic genealogy, they have identified a Jane Doe whose partial remains were found south of Midland in 2013. The victim was Sylvia Nicole Smith, who disappeared in 2000 at the age of sixteen. The case is being investigated as homicide.

From Virginia

  • Cory Bigsby, the father of four-year-old Codi Bigsby, has been indicted on thirty counts, the majority of them child neglect charges. Codi has been missing since January. None of the indictments are related to his disappearance; they’re connected to Cory’s allegedly terrible parenting from prior to Codi’s disappearance. Codi has not been missing long enough to go up on Charley, so here’s his NCMEC poster, and here’s another poster for him.

From Washington state:

  • There are forty known Native American people listed as missing from the Yakima area. And here’s a list of all the Native Americans listed as missing from the entire state.

From Washington DC:

  • They’re still looking for Relisha Tenau Rudd, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from a Dickensian homeless shelter in 2014. I’ve blogged about Relisha several times, as recently as earlier this week when they put up a new AP for her. If still alive, Relisha would now be 16. Here’s another detailed article about her case, with links to the earlier series of articles the Washington Post did about it.

And in general:

  • Although they don’t drop kids from the guardianship rolls when they disappear, in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Illinois, most missing foster kids who resurface are not screened to see if they were trafficked during the time they were gone. The article says Texas actually has a better record in this regard, with over 80% of missing-and-then-located foster kids being screened. But the number should ideally be 100%.
  • My husband has persuaded me to finally turn the Charley Project into an official registered nonprofit organization. Right now we’re saving up the money to pay a lawyer to file the paperwork to do this though it’s going to be awhile at this rate; money is super tight right now. If the Charley Project is a registered nonprofit, all donations will become tax-deductible and also the organization could become the recipient of grants. I’d use the grants to travel to more missing persons events, and pay the subscription fees for more databases to use in researching cases, and maybe hire an editor or something.

New age-progression for Relisha Rudd just dropped

So I just put up a new age-progression for Relisha Tenau Rudd, last seen in Washington D.C. in 2014 at the age of eight. The AP shows her as she might appear at her current age of 16.

I don’t normally make whole new blog entries just for one AP, but I have a particularly soft spot for Relisha as it seems every adult and every institution she came across in her short life, failed her miserably.

Since I’m in Facebook Jail again, here’s the news

Facebook didn’t like a meme I posted — despite the fact that it’s elsewhere on Facebook — and gave me 30 days in jail. But then they changed their minds and decided the meme is okay after all, but forgot to remove my 30-day sentence. Shrug. It is what it is. Facebook is broken.

In California:

  • The biological parents of Classic and Cincere Pettus, later known as Orson and Orrin West, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of California, alleging the state wrongfully removed the Pettus boys from a safe home and placed them with the people who have since been charged with their murders.

In Massachusetts:

In Michigan:

In Minnesota:

  • There’s a new podcast about the disappearance of Joshua Cheney Guimond, a St. John’s University student who disappeared from the university’s Collegeville, Minnesota campus in 2002.

In New Hampshire:

  • They’re still looking for Harmony Montgomery, and her father Adam’s lawyers have asked for police body cam footage of his arrest. Adam is charged with abusing Harmony prior to her disappearance, and with failure to report her missing. A little over a week ago the police searched Harmony’s old apartment and removed items, including a refrigerator. My guess would be they’re checking anything large enough to conceal a five-year-old child’s body.

In New York:

  • On this coming Saturday, the New York City Medical Examiner is holding an event to publicize missing persons in NYC. At the event, the ME’s office will accept “will accept any voluntarily shared information, like photos and DNA samples to help identify missing people.”

In South Carolina:

  • They interviewed the lead investigator in Shelton John Sanders‘s disappearance and presumed murder, asking him why they were unable to get convictions in that case. The investigator still thinks the suspect in guilty.
  • They have identified remains found at a recycling plant as Duncan Gordon, a missing man. He was last seen sitting on top of a shredding machine, and “a substance that looked like ground up flesh” was later found in that machine. Sounds awful; I hope it was quick. I’m predicting Gordon’s family files a lawsuit and OSHA hands out fines for this.

In Virginia:

In Washington state:

  • Othram has identified two more unidentified bodies: they are Blaine Has Tricks, who disappeared in 1977, and Alice Lou Williams, who disappeared in 1981. I know with Alice they got some help from the Charley Project; I know because the guy who owns Othram told me so.

In Canada:

  • They’re still looking for Vernon George Martin, who disappeared in 2009 after a fire at the airport hangar he co-owned. He could be missing or he could be on the run, as he’s wanted for sex offenses.

In New Zealand:

In the UK:

  • The father of Claudia Lawrence, who disappeared in 2009, died in February, and in his will he left £10,000 to a charity for missing persons.
  • They found Michael Anthony Lynch, a man who had been missing for 20 years. It appears he drove his car into Lough Erne, near Corradillar Quay, in Northern Ireland.

MP of the week: Tavish Sutton

This week’s featured missing person is Tavish Sutton, missing from Atlanta, Georgia since March 9, 1993. He was abducted from a hospital at the age of one month (less one day), while admitted for minor surgery. There are two possible suspects in the case, neither of whom have been identified.

There’s an excellent chance he’s alive and well out there and doesn’t know who he is or that he’s missing. But there are no actual photographs of him, and I have no idea how accurate the age-progression done in 2010 is.

One thing that might be used to identify Tavish (who would now be 29 years old) is a quarter-inch surgical scar on his buttock.

(Sorry this is a day late. Been sick.)

MP of the week: Rita Papakee

This week’s featured missing person is Rita Janelle Papakee, who was last seen leaving a hotel in Tama, Iowa on January 16, 2015. Because she had a substance abuse problem and sometimes dropped out of sight, she wasn’t reported missing until February 18, over a month later.

Rita is Native American and an enrolled member of the Meskwaki Indian Nation. She’s described as brown-haired, brown-eyed, about 5’4 and anywhere between 145 and 200 pounds.

In spite of her drug and alcohol abuse issues, it would be uncharacteristic of her to be completely out of touch with her family, and they’re afraid she’d being held against her will.

MP of the week: Solomon Rose

This week’s featured missing person is Solomon Gomile Rose III, a three-and-a-half-year-old boy who disappeared from a Baltimore, Maryland shopping center on April 1, 1972. His mother took him and a seven-year-old cousin with her to the shopping center, and Solomon disappeared when his mom left the kids unattended while she was cashing a check. He was never seen again.

Solomon’s nickname is Poon. He was last seen wearing a dark brown fake fur coat, a navy blue turtleneck, blue and white checkered pants and tan shoes. If still alive, he’d be 53 today.

I wonder what his cousin has to say about it all. She probably remembers the incident. I wonder if she remembers anything that could be useful in finding him.