Got quite a big update dump yesterday

A Charley Project Irregular let me know about how the San Francisco Examiner had been added to the Newspapers.com archives, so I went and ran all my old San Francisco cases through to see if they had articles in that paper. Then when that was done, I decided to do with the same with Santa Cruz cases, because I knew the Santa Cruz Sentinel was in the archives. And presto, 29 cases updated.

Some thoughts/info on individual ones:

  • I wonder if Erwin Ernest Bunge‘s car was ever recovered. I also wonder if his disappearance had anything to do with him being a high profile trainer. Henry Martinez was only seventeen years old in 1988 and it seems unlikely that he could have been involved. I wasn’t able to find out much about him; he retired from boxing in 1994 and drifted into obscurity.
  • Not really a thought, but a piece of trivia: Harry Weldon Kees is not the only person presumed to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge on July 18, 1955. The police found TWO cars abandoned there that day, leading to speculation as to which person went first. At the time, they were keeping a record of how many people died. I don’t think they’re keeping track anymore though. (Oh, and here’s a 2011 rant of mine about Golden Gate Bridge suicide victims.)
  • I looked up Walter Christopher Kuchanny‘s wife, and she has remarried and seems to be doing well. She returned to England after his disappearance. I do believe he was a suicide victim and didn’t just leave. Her description of his behavior, being all anxious and depressed and then suddenly happy and relaxed, is pretty typical of people who take their lives.
  • Is anyone else wondering if Michael Omas Masaoay‘s disappearance was just an accident? I wonder if it went something like this: he sets off for the day, realizes school is actually closed, and then decides to chill out at his favorite fishing spot, and then gets dragged out to sea by surf, just like Noel Annette Marcotte and countless others have been. That would explain why Michael’s bag was found where it was. Will anyone who’s familiar with the geography of that location care to voice an opinion in the comments?
  • The SF Examiner article I found about John Dolan Phillips‘s disappearance was mainly about the sale of his car and how it was very sketchy. His family was never notified the car had been found in the parking garage. The mint-condition rare classic car was sold to an employee of the garage for just $200, a tiny fraction of both its actual worth AND the amount of accrued parking fees owed. Apparently when objects worth over $500 are put for sale in these circumstances, the public is supposed to be notified and given a chance to buy them, but the car was sold for an a lower amount, so the garage didn’t have to notify anyone. And then the new owner refused to even let the car get inspected for clues. Whether any of this has something to do with Phillips’s disappearance is anyone’s guess.
  • Given the circumstances of Carlos Benjamin Urruela‘s disappearance, it’s likely he died by suicide. The article I read said his addiction was very bad — he’d gone from snorting to freebasing to shooting cocaine — and was ruining his life and his appearance.

Some pretty messed up cases added today

I added eight cases today and two of them are pretty messed up, for lack of a better description.

The Roberta “Bobby” Snider disappearance / murder (which I had never heard of until today) is baffling. The husband’s behavior is so strange and I wonder if he’s got a touch of dementia. He’s in his seventies after all. If it’s not dementia I wonder what it was that made him kill his wife in cold blood in her sleep like that, especially as she was supposed to be dying of cancer anyway. Perhaps he was her primary caregiver during her illness and was tired of doing it.

I can refer interested readers to this very detailed article about the case if you want to know more about it.

The cops don’t even plan to look for her body, as they think it’s in a landfill. I wonder just how sure they are about that, though, given that the landfill thing is only one of many stories Phillip told.

The Setina and Ren Weddles case is just incredibly sad. There are shades here of the Fowler kids — Ivon and Inisha are even twins as well. I don’t hold out much hope that either of the Weddles twins is still alive, though I guess it’s remotely possible that Setina is.

All the children clearly should have been removed from their parents sooner than they were. I don’t understand why the nurse’s recommendation after they were born was not acted on.

I definitely don’t advocate removing kids from the home just because of poverty/homelessness, but Aaron and Princess were both drug addicts and Princess has serious mental health issues (she’s been locked up in Napa State Hospital since last summer as they try to make her competent to stand trial), and the family was living in absolute squalor in a van.

I wonder if the twins had some health problems, perhaps because of Princess’s drug use during the pregnancy, and if one or both of them didn’t just die from health issues and/or neglect during the many months the family was living in that van.

And we may never know.

MP of the week: Mohan Vellanki

The first missing person of the week in 2019 is Mohan Chandra Vellanki, a 23-year-old who disappeared from Kent, Ohio on May 18, 1985. Unfortunately I can’t find doodly squat on his case; it’s a “few details are available” one.

Happy New Year to everyone! For me, in spite of my brother’s death in February, 2018 was a pretty good year.

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

Pride Month: Hartanto Santoso

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Hartanto Teguh Santoso, a bisexual man who disappeared from Kirkland, Washington on February 19, 2001, at the age of 31.

Santoso was an immigrant from Indonesia who worked as a nursing assistant to help support a large family back in his native country. What’s happened to him isn’t a mystery: he was abducted from his apartment and murdered by his former friend, Kim Heichel Mason. Mason is serving life without parole for the murder.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Song Joseph

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I’m profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP every day for the month of May. Today’s case (which was supposed to run last night but didn’t; I forgot to schedule it and it was stuck in drafts) is Song Im Joseph, a 20-year-old Korean-American woman who disappeared from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on June 8, 1975.

Song had been born and raised in South Korea and moved to the U.S. in late 1974 after she married an American serviceman, Alton Joseph. By the time of her disappearance, mere months into their marriage, the couple was having unspecified problems, and Song told people she was being followed around by a Korean-speaking man.

It really doesn’t look good for her and I feel deeply sorry for her. I mean, she was a young woman who moved to another country, another culture, to have a happy life, a better life than she might have expected in South Korea, and then everything so rapidly went sideways.

This concludes my Asian Pacific American Heritage Month posts. See you next year.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: James Goh

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I’m profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP every day for the month of May. Today’s case is James Junhee Goh, a Korean-American 23-year-old who disappeared from Rancho Palos Verdes, California on February 24, 2008.

It’s no mystery what happened: he was swept out to sea near this lighthouse and presumed drowned after saving a friend from the same fate.

Goh’s body was never found and probably never will be at this date, but he died a hero.