Thinking aloud about some of yesterday’s cases

I will add cases of MPs who are also wanted for some crime or other on a case-by-case basis. Loutonia Alexander has a warrant for his arrest for failure to appear in court on a minor weed charge, and it seems unlikely he’s been hiding since 2006 just because of that.

Sometimes I am a bit leery. Pricella Williams is, for example, listed on the FDLE database as a missing person, so I added her. But I’m pretty sure she’s not so much “missing” as “on the run.” If you Google her name — and make sure to search for Pricella, not Priscilla — the results are, shall we say, interesting. And the cops were seeking to have her designated a habitual offender, meaning she was facing some serious prison time.

Nevertheless, she is listed as a missing person with FDLE, and so I put her up on Charley. It’s entirely on the cards that she hung out with some bad people and something bad happened to her.

I found this PDF of Indiana missing persons and wound up adding dates of birth to loads of cases yesterday. I didn’t note this on the updates page cause that was too insignificant an update in my opinion. I did discover, based off those DOBs, that several of the listed ages on these people’s NamUs page are wrong.

I Googled names from the PDF, trying to get photos of these people so I could add them to Charley. I added several from Fort Wayne, where I live. Ryan Baughman‘s case struck me as pretty sad. On his Facebook page you can see he has two young kids. In his final post, six weeks before his disappearance, he wrote:

baughman

I can certainly understand why Ryan’s family believes he may have ODed or may have met with foul play. The reference to Hells Angels is worrying, though I’m not sure if he literally meant he was involved with them.

I wish I could find a Facebook page for Derrell Sims. I looked but didn’t see one. I really would like some more photos of them because they were apparently taken before he got the face tattoo. Personal Facebook pages of people are great sources of photos, and also tattoos — they often post photos of them, like “Hey, new ink, check it out.”

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Thinking aloud about this case

So a case I added yesterday, Niija Council, is a “few details” case, but I had plenty of photos, including pics of her tattoos, from Niija’s Facebook page. (She also put a photo of herself on a page called Team Bisexual. Maybe I could profile Niija for Pride Month in June.)

The thing is, Niija has posts on her Facebook from AFTER her official date of disappearance, September 1.

I don’t know whether September 1 was the date she was last physically seen by anyone, or if they just mean she was last seen sometime in September, or what. On September 11 she made four posts:

niijafacebook

Later in the month she changed her profile picture multiple times, the last time on September 23. The comments on her September 16 profile picture change indicate people were pretty worried about her:

niijafacebook2

So I dunno what was going on there. It’s a struggle to piece what exactly happened from what I’ve got to work with. I hope Niija is alive and well somewhere.

Incidentally, I wish I could read the words tattooed on her neck and chest. I posted pictures of them on her casefile but I can’t tell what they say. Here’s larger photos below (the neck picture is from before she added the stars and squiggles) if you want to help me out:

niijanecktattoo

niijachesttattoo

A bunch of no-body homicide updates

So I re-posted all the Corpus Delicti lists last night and today (it’s been forever I know) and I took the chance to go through Not Concluded/Unknown Outcomes again to find out some of those outcomes.

The result is fifteen updated cases.

  • Cynthia Linda Alonzo: Eric Mora pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, got eleven years.
  • Abigail Estrada: Ruben Torres pleaded guilty to murder, got eighteen years but could be out in ten.
  • Cari Lea Farver: Shanna Golyer was found guilty, got life without parole plus 18 to 20 years for an unrelated arson.
  • Jarrod Devlin Green: Brandon Wheeler’s charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
  • Alice Kristina Wehr Hummel: Bruce Hummel was tried and convicted of the murder a second time, but an appeals court overturned his second conviction and he cannot be retried.
  • Charles Edward “Mississippi” Johnson: David Lint pleaded no contest to criminal homicide, got seven to fifteen years.
  • Zachary Matthew Malinowski: No conclusion yet, but suspect Javon Gibbs (allegedly) murdered someone else while out on bail in Malinowski’s murder.
  • Bernadine M. Montgomery: Tracie Naffziger pleaded no contest to being an accessory second-degree murder after the fact. She will testify against David Mariotti, whose trial is supposed to be early next month.
  • Sara Jo Mowrey: After alleged misconduct by the prosecution, Michael Baker pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder and being an accessory after the fact to murder, and got three years instead of the life sentence he’d have gotten if convicted of the original charges.
  • Catherine E. Nelson and Charles Martin Russell: Brian Ferry’s trial was early this year. The jury couldn’t reach a verdict and there was a mistrial.
  • Heath Riley Reams: Amanda Sanders-Bolstad pleaded guilty to manslaughter and got 25 years, with 20 suspended, but the prosecution is trying to get her suspended sentence revoked because she moved without telling the police.
  • Bret R. Snow: More details have been released about the crime and two additional suspects have been charged. Alvaro Guajardo is charged with murder, and Cheryl Sutton with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder, and leading organized crime.
  • Aaron Lamar Turner: One suspect, Bryan Byrd pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and got 20 to 40 years. (Also found an article about how Bryan was an academic star in high school and seen as a really great kid who had risen above his poverty and single-parent childhood, then he ruined his life in one weekend.) The second suspect, LaQuanta Chapman, was convicted and sentenced to death, but the sentence was overturned four years later and he got life instead. A third suspect has been identified, but has never faced charges. I think it’s because Chapman isn’t saying boo and they only have Byrd’s testimony to put the man at the scene. Also, not-very-fun fact: Chapman shot one of his dogs dead and dismembered the body in his attempt to cover up Aaron’s murder.
  • Rebecca Ann Ware: Timothy Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and got nineteen years, with credit for three years’ time served.

MP of the week: Destry Rhinehart

This week’s featured missing person is Destry Richard “Pig” Rhinehart, a sixteen-year-old boy who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on August 1, 2004. He’s classified as a runaway and the police basically refused to investigate at all for two years, because he was a “troubled teen.”

Destry’s family, which includes seven siblings, misses him and put up a Facebook page for him, but the page hasn’t been active in six years.

Thoughts on updates of 3/18

Done 26 updates for today — so far. It’s only ten a.m. I’ve been working since around midnight and enjoying every minute of it.

I found a decent amount of information on baby Matthew Crocker‘s 1983 abduction. If there had been an Amber Alert back then, perhaps he would have been found.

The abductor claimed she had two children who died shortly after birth, which could go a long way towards explaining why she took Matthew. I’m not sure if the car was ever located. Anyway, the night there was a party at the house, and the adults all got drunk — except, perhaps, this “Kathy Johnson” person — and after everyone passed out she made off with the baby.

Chances are he’s alive and doesn’t know he’s missing. That concave chest is a good identifier. I wonder if there’s a guy out there, 35 out there, who isn’t sure who he is, who’s got a bit of a dent in his chest.

Keith Fleming‘s disappearance strikes me as so sad. That silky hair and those dark earnest eyes. Just a good-looking boy growing up into a young man. Having fun surfing, riding his bike, his first hit of weed, his first girlfriend — he gave her her first kiss the very night he disappeared.

I wonder if McRae really was involved, though. I mean, that would make the most sense, yes. But he knew Charles Collingwood and Kipling Hess; police were never able to prove he knew Keith, except perhaps by sight. And McRae’s wife said he told her he’d killed Charles and Kipling, but she didn’t say anything about Keith.

So, monster though McRae may have been, I’m not 100% sure he was the monster responsible for Keith’s disappearance. Though whatever happened to Keith must have been bad.

So was is whatever it was that happened to Andrew Dudley. NO ONE is going to literally run away while their Thanksgiving dinner is literally cooking in the kitchen.

Lloyd Gilsdorf‘s mom believed he was set up to be murdered. I think if that was the case it had to have been someone he knew. This was a pretty elaborate scheme if the aim was just to lure him to New Orleans so someone could kill him. Robbery couldn’t have been a motive; he was divorced, unemployed and broke.

I tried to be all professional-like when describing the circumstances of Rebecca Powell‘s death, but…wow. It filled me with some pretty unpleasant mental images, and that’s just reading the sanitized newspaper version. No wonder the trial testimony made a juror throw up.

I can’t say I think highly of any of the three men in that story. They all sounded like absolute scum, including the roommate who didn’t find out what happened till the next day but kept his mouth shut and pitched in to destroy evidence.

It doesn’t really seem fair that Fleming could have gotten a death sentence when his friend (who, by his own admission, witnessed the crime, didn’t report it, and helped clean up the scene and hide the body) got off scot-free, but of course without that friend’s testimony there would have been no case.

And that contractor in the Dock Thompson case sounds totally shady. I was surprised when I looked him up in the Florida DOC database and didn’t find him anywhere — I would have figured he’d have ended up in prison for SOMETHING after 1989, but he didn’t, at least not in Florida.

Thoughts on today’s updates

It’s 11:47 p.m. as I type this, so perhaps by the time it’s finished, “today” will be “yesterday.”

For all the updated cases today, except Jahi Turner and Donna Mezo, you can thank Mion, who kindly gathered together a bunch of old newspaper articles about cases I had and emailed them to me.

Regarding my Donna Mezo update, I hope it clarifies the situation with her boyfriend’s death. Earlier I had said there was a suicide note and his death was ruled a suicide in spite of the fact that the gun used was found in “a nearby lake.” Well, I have since learned that “nearby” was more like “a few feet away.” I think what probably happened is that Jeffrie either threw or dropped his weapon into the water during or after firing it.

I found quite a lot on Newspapers.com for Marcell Byers‘s case. His NamUs profile includes a clipping about how the people charged with kidnapping him disappeared and their lawyer had been threatened and maybe it was foul play.

Well, the two suspects did disappear, leaving a van shot full of holes, but I guess it was all just an attempt to evade prosecution because they were alive, back in custody and well enough to cop a plea less than a year later.

It’s disturbing that Marcell was never found. All this over a gold chain. The Zuppos pleaded no contest to kidnapping, meaning they didn’t even admit they were guilty. They’d be out of prison by now and I’m not sure what they’re up to these days. I think Gerald Sr. may be dead; someone with the same name and birth year died in North Carolina in 2003.

Tejin‘s case is just sad. (Also, NamUs has him listed as a girl? I admit you can’t really tell from the pictures. If I hadn’t found some articles on his disappearance I’d have been none the wiser.) I found his Facebook page and one picture was of him holding a little turtle, whom Tejin called “my son.” This was just a few months before his presumed death.

Julie Davis‘s case is sad too. Judging from the Facebook page created for her, she was lost for awhile before she disappeared. They only have the one not very good quality and out-of-date photo of her, and from the Facebook page her family apparently wasn’t really clear on when they’d last heard from her. They mentioned getting a letter from her “around 1985 or 1986.” (I’m not sure where NamUs’s date of disappearance comes from.)

She was just sixteen years old and already out on her own, almost four hours from her hometown.  I know things were a bit different back in the eighties, but that’s still pretty unusual. I wonder if she was in foster care. Obviously her family cares about her or they wouldn’t be trying to find her. I hope she’s alive out there and doesn’t even know anyone is looking, and isn’t a Jane Doe somewhere, or worse, dead and never found.

For this case, normally I’d have listed her as just regular “Missing” but then I saw the detail about the track marks and thought “drugs” and upgraded her case to “Endangered Missing.” Question: do track marks ALWAYS mean drugs? There are some medical conditions that require a person to get frequent injections; do those people get similar scars?

Ashley Lynn Thomas has such striking eyes, so big and dark against her pale skin and hair. I hope she’s okay. I hope she and the baby are both healthy and being looked after.

Stuart Owen Collins got a big update today. (Thanks again, Mion!) It does sound like something bad happened to him, and one inevitably wonders about the woman he was with, and even more so about her husband.

With Paul Egan (another big update there) the whole rendering theory is just awful to contemplate. The police seemed to suspect Paul’s friend. They said his friend was not a suspect, but they also made a point of saying they couldn’t confirm the friend’s story.

It could have happened something like this: Paul and his friend got into some kind of argument at the plant after hours — his friend was a foreman, Paul a technician — and things got out of hand something went horribly wrong, and his friend is panicking and thinks “well, there’s this rendering machine, if I just chuck him in and keep my mouth shut, no one will ever know.” I doubt such places had security cameras in 1975. The rendering machine was designed to grind up horses; a human corpse would be easy.

Of course that’s all supposition. I did look up the friend in the Florida DOC database and on Facebook and couldn’t find anyone by that name. I did find a Newspapers.com mention of a person by that name (and a photo of that person) from 1970, five years before Paul disappeared. Nothing since then. I wonder if I’ve got the spelling of his surname right.

As far as the note Elsie Elsinga left behind — and her daughter’s poo-pooing the significance of that note — I don’t know. Her daughter said something like “How could someone of that age have done anything to mess up their life?” But perhaps Elsie’s “possible mild depression” was more significant than her daughter thought.

For Helen Robinson, I wonder if she decided to take a plane to visit one of those CB radio friends she had, and maybe something happened that prevented her from coming back. It was two solid years before her van turned up; by then, the weeds might have grown over the flight records. Robinson is definitely dead now; I don’t think she would have lived long in any case, because of her emphysema.

I added 27 updates and I’m very pleased with my work output today. I hope y’all have noticed how much more productive I’ve been ever since the site got redesigned. It takes less time to add/update stuff, since I don’t have to write all the code by hand, or hand-add case names to the lists.

Well, spit and slime

Yeah, so a mistrial has been declared in the Jahi Turner case. The jury could not reach a verdict — they deadlocked at ten (for acquittal) to two (for conviction of second-degree murder).

This irks me to no end. I cannot understand how this happened. Of course, I wasn’t there, I didn’t see the trial, so there’s no way for me to know. Circumstantial cases are always difficult, as are murder-without-a-body cases, and this was both.

A mistrial is never a good thing for anyone involved in a murder case. For the state, it means having to spend money and manpower and resources to do the whole thing over again. For the defendant, it’s more time — often years — stuck in limbo, and often in jail, as the case awaits its conclusion. For the family of the victim, it’s more time without closure, without justice, in another kind of limbo.

If he was still alive, Jahi would now be eighteen years old. A young man, in his final term of high school, about to graduate and go out into the world. But I’m quite sure his life ended at two.

I hope they try the case again and do a better job of it this time.