MP of the week: Diana Hammonds

This week’s featured missing person is Diana Affana Hammonds, a 38-year-old woman who disappeared from Atlanta, Georgia on September 4, 2010.

Diana had some issues in her life, namely a crack cocaine habit. She had two sons as well; I don’t know how old they were or whether she had custody of them. The last time anyone heard from her, she called a friend and asked for some money to pay a bill and said she had to go to the hospital. She promised to call him back, but she never did, and vanished without a trace.

Sadly, I doubt she’s still alive.

MP of the week: Tamika Howard

This week’s featured missing person is Tamika Howard, a 37-year-old who disappeared from Newark, New Jersey on May 25, 2008. She had a high-risk lifestyle, with a drug problem, an arrest record and a history of prostitution. Perhaps because of this, her mom didn’t report her missing for three months.

It’s possible Tamika simply moved on, as there were reported sightings of her plying her trade at Penn Station in New York City after her disappearance. But I wonder if she’s still alive; it seems unlikely that someone with her history could have avoided law enforcement attention for over a decade.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Gebar Byrd Jr.

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 Gebar Byrd Jr., a biracial Hispanic and African-American toddler who was last seen in University City, Missouri on March 22, 2010, a few weeks before his second birthday.

Gebar’s father, Gebar Byrd Sr., confessed to the murder of both little Gebar and his mother, Yasmin Rodriguez. He said he intentionally shoved her into the Mississippi River while she was holding the boy in her arms. Yasmin’s body was found in the river on April 9; Gebar Jr.’s never turned up. Gebar Sr. was convicted of second-degree murder in the mother’s death and involuntary manslaughter in the child’s, and sentenced to life in prison.

In spite of the confession and the convictions, there’s some hope among some of Gebar Jr.’s family members that he’s still alive, because his birth certificate and other papers disappeared. Me, I’m pretty skeptical of that theory.

I’ve never done this before

So the other day I added the case of Jaret Jerome Senegal, a 30-year-old man who disappeared from Crowley, Louisiana on November 7, 2000.

He’s not listed anywhere else except the Louisiana Repository for Unidentified & Missing People. That database did not have a photo of him. This recent article on Louisiana missing persons mentions Senegal, but it didn’t have a photo either.

I did all my usual digging and the only remotely usable photo I could find was one of Jaret at the age of about six years old, part of a group photo published in a 1976 newspaper. There was one other photo, also published in a newspaper, of Jaret with his boxing club as a teenager, but it was of such poor quality that all you could see was a Jaret-shaped black silhouette. Clearly, not usable.

I felt pretty unhappy about having to use the 1976 photo, but then again the only available photos of Ivon and Inisha Fowler are of them as infants, so there you go.

I’m hoping that now that Jaret is on Charley, that might kick-start something and someone can find a more recent photo of him.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Marco Cadenas

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 Marco Antonio Cadenas, a nine-year-old biracial black/Hispanic boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on May 11, 1994.

I should note that Marco’s family background was troubled, to say the least. I’m not sure what role, if any, his biological father played in his life, but the man was killed in a police shootout in Ohio in July 1994, two months after Marco disappeared. There was some domestic violence between Marco’s mother and his stepfather, and some drug issues with the mom.

Marco, who called his stepfather “Daddy,” left on the day of his disappearance because he was upset that his mother had hit his stepfather with a bottle. His mother went into drug rehab later that year. I don’t know where his mom and stepfather are today, or if they’re still alive, or what other family Marco has.

So where is Marco? If this was an older child, the circumstances would indicate he left on his own: he was mad at his mother, they had an argument, and she threatened to punish him. He walked out the door and never came back.

But he was nine. Could a nine-year-old, even a streetwise one, have really managed to run away and never come back? And would he have done so without so much as a pair of shoes?

If he’s still alive, and I hope he is, Marco Cadenas would be 33 years old today.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Pinkie Davis-Herron

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 Pinkie Mae Davis-Herron, who is of Hispanic and African-American descent. She was 23 when she disappeared from Del Valle, Texas on or about September 3, 1979; the exact date of her disappearance isn’t entirely certain.

It sounds like Pinkie had a hard life. She was only fourteen when she married, which even by 1970 standards was very young. I wonder if she got married because she was pregnant. Five years and two children later, she and her husband had divorced. I’m not sure who was caring for the children. By the time of her disappearance, she was working at a motel and bar, the Tex Golden Nugget.

She is missing under unclear circumstances and it’s been almost 40 years. If still alive, she’d be 62 today.

Thinking out loud today

  • Uh, where are Tarasha Benjamin‘s ears on the 2013 AP I found?
  • So it seems pretty obvious that “Larry Wilson” killed William Joseph Davis at that house that day, but I wonder what the motive would be? I’ve seen female real estates disappear under these circumstances, and usually the motive is a sexual attack, but this is less likely here. Robbery maybe?
  • Per articles at the time, several other adults disappeared from Hillsborough County in the same time period as Brian Lee Jones did. There was no indication the cases were related, though, and all the others, except Jones and one other, seem to have turned up. As for Jones… I can’t figure out what was going on there. How far away was that “secluded wooded area” from the ABC Lounge? Were the “possible bloodstains” on the pillow ever tested? Obviously DNA testing would have been impossible in 1981, but they could have at least determined whether it the stains were human blood or not.
  • I found frustratingly contradictory information about Tai Yung Lau‘s disappearance. One news account said he had no car and couldn’t drive, and other that his car disappeared at the same time he did. The new page for Hillsborough County missing persons, however, says Lau sold his car and said something about returning to China. But the thing is, if the story about him escaping from a forced labor camp during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eventually getting working papers in the U.S. is true, there’s no way in hell he would have returned to China; they’d have killed him.
  • I originally read about Jack Donald Lewis‘s disappearance in this book; the author interviewed Carole Lewis (now Carole Baskin) and she mentioned that her husband just walked out of the house one day and never came back. As for Jack’s disappearance, I know there has been talk online that Carole killed him, but I am not going to venture a guess as to what caused his disappearance. The articles I found called Wildlife on Easy Street a “sanctuary,” but it didn’t have a very good reputation back in the nineties. I don’t know if things have improved now or what. On a side note, earlier this month Joe Exotic, who runs a horrible traveling petting zoo, was charged with trying to hire someone to kill Carole.
  • Despite Carlos Melgar-Perez‘s case being local to me, I never heard squat about it until I saw him on the Fort Wayne Police Department and began looking up info on his own. Apparently the police only interviewed his friend one time. The circumstances of his disappearance seem strange, to say the least. There aren’t any nearby bodies of water sufficiently large/deep/fast enough to have concealed his body for this long.
  • I found Eva Marie Ridall‘s dad’s obituary and noted that he was divorced from his kids’ mother and lived in Ohio when he died. I have to wonder if maybe she was going to Ohio to see her father, but I’ve got no proof that he lived in Ohio in 1977. I found some stuff about her disappearance online from her sister, and all indications seem to be that she did run away, but it’s been over 40 years; what happened?
  • About that extortion attempt in Cynthia Lynn Sumpter‘s case: was the man charged with molesting her in jail when she disappeared? If he wasn’t, have the police verified his alibi 100%?

And finally, I found the following article about something Peter Joseph Bonick did a full five years prior to his disappearance. I’m guessing the reason he was living in a children’s home when he went missing is because he continued on the delinquent path.

bonick