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: Sean Seebarran

This week’s featured missing person is Sean Yougeshwer Seebarran, who disappeared from West Palm Beach, Florida on New Years’ Eve, 2017. He lived in New York but was visiting family in Florida when he disappeared after arguing with one of the aforementioned family members. He didn’t know anyone else in the area besides his relatives, and he didn’t have a car with him.

It’s not clear what happened to him, but he had bought a seat on a plane back to New York for January 8 and never made his flight.

Sean was 33 when he was last seen, and he had an unspecified injury to his left arm and shoulder. He was born in Guyana and is of Asian descent (a lot of Guyanese people are descended from Indian immigrants), with black hair, brown eyes, and scars on his abdomen and chest. He is 5’8 tall and weighed 140 pounds. If still alive, Sean would be 38 today.

From his Facebook page, he seems like a normal and happy young man, though well I know that social media posts can be deceiving.

His last public post is dated Christmas Day, a week before his disappearance: he posted some selfies he’d taken with one of the kid actors from Stranger Things. Earlier that month he posted pics and a video clip from the Christmas Parade in Queens, New York City. (By the way, the “Queens College” he mentions is not Queens College, New York, but rather a school in Guyana that happened to have the same name.)

I hope he’s still alive and that he’ll be located soon.

As for me — I’m working on the very last letter of the website overhaul. As I mentioned in my last entry, after completion I plan to take a day or so off to chill out and have a drink or five. Then resume updates.

So many watery graves

Due in part to the activites of Adventures with a Purpose (and they are awesome, check them out and give them money or something), it seems like there have been quite a few missing persons are turning up inside their cars inside lakes and rivers lately. I have many cases to resolve.

Most recently we’ve got, in no particular order:

  1. Miriam Ruth Hemphill, 84, missing from Oak Ridge, Tennessee since July 22, 2005. Her vehicle was found in Melton Hill Lake with human remains inside.
  2. Samantha Jean Hopper, 19, and her unborn baby, and her 1-year-old daughter, Courtney Esther Danielle Holt., missing from Russellville, Arkansas since September 11, 1998. Their car was found in eight feet of water in Pope County, Arkansas, although the news articles I’ve found haven’t said which specific body of water.
  3. Judith Ann Chartier, 17, missing from Chelmsford, Massachusetts since June 5, 1982. This was a surprise, as everyone had suspected foul play in her case. But it turned out she’d (probably accidentally) driven her car into the Concord River in Billerica, Massachusetts. The remains inside have already been identified as hers.
  4. Van Thay “Stephanie” Nguyen, 26, and her two children, 4-year-old Kristina Thay Nguyen and 3-year-old John Thai Nguyen, missing from Cincinnati, Ohio since April 18, 2002. Their vehicle was found in the Ohio River in October, something which isn’t terribly shocking since Stephanie had threatened to drive into the river and they were last seen near a boat ramp.
  5. Brian E. Goff, 64, and his 55-year-old girlfriend Joni E. Davis, missing from St. Clairsville, Ohio since June 10, 2018. Their car was found in the Ohio River with two bodies inside, still seat-belted in.

In these cases where multiple people were involved, I am not sure what to do at this point. Like, we can safely assume that the human remains inside Miriam Hemphill’s car are Miriam’s. But when people disappear like this and years or decades later it turns out they drove into water, sometimes not every person can be recovered. Like, it’s entirely possible that the remains found in the Nguyen’s car belong to just one or two of them, and the river took the other person.

Of course in such a case the individuals not found in or near the vehicle would be presumed dead as well, but the Charley Project usually keeps the case up until remains are found, regardless of what the circumstances indicate.

I’ll start sorting it out tomorrow I guess.

MP of the week: Kevin Persad

This week’s featured missing person is Kevin Anthony Persad, a 29-year-old man who disappeared while swimming off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida on September 15, 2010. This case isn’t a big mystery. He’s presumed drowned, but they’ve never found his remains. I hope they are located someday.

Kevin is described as Asian (originally from Trinidad and Tobago, which has a high percentage of Indo-Caribbean people in its population) with black hair and brown eyes, 5’10 tall and 145 pounds. He was working in a customer service job but dreamed of being a fashion designer. Unfortunately his dreams probably ended in the Atlantic that day eleven years ago.

Emily Lu found deceased

Earlier I had written about my college friend whose mom, Emily Lu, was missing. Well, after 50 days, Emily was found murdered in the woods less than two miles from her home. She rented out rooms in her house, and one of her tenants, Brian George Sayrs Jr., led police to the body. The cops are calling it a “brutal, vicious murder”, one which apparently occurred in her home.

No motive has been given, but my friend says her mom was having “issues” with Sayrs. Perhaps he owed her rent or something and they got into an argument. But no matter what happened there is no excuse for slaughtering an old lady.

I feel so bad for my friend and the rest of Emily’s family and friends. But I’m glad she was finally found and I won’t have to list her on the Charley Project.

MP of the week: Rosemary Day

This week’s featured missing person is Rosemary Rivas Day, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Jacksonville, Florida on May 21, 2011 — ten years ago this week. She was last seen at her apartment in her car, which was found abandoned two months later.

It’s not clear what happened here. According to her dad, Rosemary was in an abusive relationship and was afraid. However, she also suffered from depression and is classified as disabled (whether from the depression or from something else, I’m not sure). When her car was located the police found “unspecified information” inside which could indicate her whereabouts; however, nothing turned up and it’s been two years.

Rosemary is of mixed white and Asian (Filipino) descent with very long, thick brown hair, glasses and small scars on her arms. She was 27 when she was last seen and, if still alive, would be 37 today. Her birthday is just the day after mine.

Article Dump IV

From Alabama: Fancie Eller disappeared from Marshall County just before Thanksgiving 2018, and her family is still looking for her. The police say they’ve run out of leads. The fact that she had no cell phone, debit card or permanent address means she doesn’t have much of a paper trail to pick up on. I had not previously heard of this case.

From Indiana: in Fort Wayne, my city of residence, the police are trying to find two different missing people who vanished this year. (The cases are unrelated.) Roger Henry, 60, disappeared on January 14, and Suprina L. Wayne, 48, went missing sometime in early November. Suprina actually went missing from Bluffton, Indiana, but may be in Fort Wayne.

Also from Indiana: they’re still looking for Shannon Orton, a 37-year-old mother of two who disappeared from Hobart in July. She wasn’t actually reported missing until September 30, as she’d previously been out of touch with family for as long as a month at a time.

From Michigan: D’Wan Christian Sims disappeared from Livonia on December 7, in 1994. His mother, D’Wanna, has not been named as a suspect in his case (and neither has anyone else) but she said he disappeared from the mall and not only did no witnesses see him there, but he didn’t show up on any of the surveillance cameras either. Anyway, D’Wanna died in North Carolina recently. Per this article, cause of death was a heart attack.

From New Mexico: this article about how there’s a serious lack of resources and coordination when it comes to looking for Native American women who’ve gone missing.

From North Carolina: They’re still looking for Daniel Allan Price, aka Danny, who disappeared on January 23, 2019, after leaving a “very long, but disturbing” voice message for his mom. His two roommates, Natasha Myers and Christopher Burgess, went missing at the same time but returned home without Price a few days later, saying they’d taken a short trip out of state and didn’t know where Price was.

From Ohio: The police announced they were trying to identify this guy in the 2009 disappearance of a seventeen-year-old girl from Alliance, last seen on June 2, 2009. They didn’t call him a suspect, they just said they thought he had information. A day after they initially published their appeal and his photo, the man was identified. Though the article doesn’t identify the girl, the details it does give make it easy to determine that she is Glenna Jean White, who is listed as a runaway and needs medication. It hasn’t been said whether the alleged witness provided anything helpful in the case.

From Pennsylvania: Eric Wayne Pyles, age 12, disappeared twenty years ago yesterday from Union Township. He had some emotional/behavioral issues and a history of running away, but the police no longer believe his December 2000 disappearance was voluntary.

From South Carolina: Brittanee Drexel‘s disappearance is going to be on CNN’s Headline News channel show “Real Life Nightmares” at 10:00 p.m. this evening. The 17-year-old was last seen on April 15, 2009, when she took a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach without her parents’ knowledge and vanished, possibly abducted by human traffickers.

Also from South Carolina: the remains of Aeron Buchanan Young, a 58-year-old woman, were found in a wooded area on South Gregg Street in Columbia. Young had gone missing in February 2019. Her death is under investigation.

From Texas: in my previous article dump I’d listed an article about the disappearance of Scott Andreas “Andy” Sims, an eleven-year-old who went missing from Wichita Falls on December 9, 1961. Well, there’s another article, which has more info on the case including a photo of Andy that I’d never seen before.

From Washington State: the true crime podcast Hide and Seek, which I had never heard of, will be covering the 2016 disappearance of Logan Drew Schiendelman from Tumwater for their second season. The first season covered the 2009 disappearance of Nancy Kareen Moyer from Tenino. The podcasters hope to release the first episode of Season Two sometime this month.

From Australia: They’re re-opening the long-since-cold investigation into the disappearance and presumed murder of Sharron Phillips. She was last seen on May 8, 1986 in Brisbane. There’s new evidence and an inquest will begin in March.

Also from Australia: this article about the disappearance of Kim Hoa Tran, who disappeared from South Australia on August 23, 1985. She had gone to Lyell McEwin Hospital in north Adelaide to be treated for a migraine. She called her father and asked him to come and get her, as she’d been discharged, but when he arrived she wasn’t there. Her younger sister, now 40, is offering a $20,000 reward for information. Kim was a Vietnamese immigrant with no papers, and the private detective her sister hired says he doesn’t even know her exact age or if “Kim Hoa Tran” was her legal name. The Daily Mail says she was somewhere between 16 and 18.

From Canada: The police have arrested Joseph Thauberger for the murder of his brother Patrick Thauberger, 53, who went missing from Regina, Saskatchewan in September 1997. His body has never been found.

From South Africa: There is a podcast on the unsolved disappearance of nine-year-old Matthew Ohlsson from Mitchells Plain. He was last seen on March 24, 1997.

Because this isn’t suspicious or anything…

I invite all Charley Project blog readers to also read this article about the 2019 disappearance of Angela Green from Prairie Village, Kansas. It’s a pretty interesting story to say the least. And it stinks. Badly. I’m sure the police are every bit as suspicious as I am but it seems like there’s not a lot of evidence; it’s as much about what ISN’T there as what is.

I feel deeply sorry for Angela’s daughter; she’s in a bad position right now and through no fault of her own. I really hope she gets answers soon.

One murder trial ends while another begins

Brendt Christensen has been convicted of the murder of 26-year-old doctoral student Yingying Zhang, whose body has never been found.

Of course Yingying’s Charley Project casefile has the basics. I also recommend this Washington Post article, which links to a partial transcript of the trial. And there’s plenty of other news articles about this available.

There remains the punishment phase: LWOP, or the death penalty? (The state of Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011, but because Brendt was tried in federal court he can be executed.) The defense’s primary objective, as they said from the outset of the trial, is to save Brendt from the death penalty. I have a hard time imagining how they’re going to accomplish this.

Given the recorded confession and the blood found at Brendt’s apartment, the defense in this case is waging an uphill battle with a 50mph wind in their faces. But even so, their argument strikes me as pathetically weak: Brendt totally isn’t a vile human being and would-be (or, perhaps, actual) serial killer, not at all! He only kidnapped, raped, murdered and decapitated a complete stranger because he was depressed and flunking out of college and felt like a failure!

To which I say: SO WHAT? Lots of people are depressed. I’ve been depressed since I was in middle school. Lots of people flunk out of college. Most people feel like a failure at some point in their life. That isn’t an excuse to go out and murder some poor woman you don’t even know.

In other news, yesterday John Bayerl’s murder trial began in Wisconsin (which happens to be Brendt Christensen’s home state). John’s wife, DonaMae, disappeared in 1979 and was never seen again. Suspicion hovered over him for decades before he was finally arrested early this year.

I’m a bit surprised they’re going to trial so quickly; in most murder cases (as in Yingying’s) years pass between arrest and trial. But John is 79 and not getting any younger; I suppose he’s hoping they’ll acquit him and he can return to his retirement home in Florida and die on a beach instead of in jail.

John is another absolute turd and I firmly believe he killed his wife. I just hope the prosecution can prove it.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Mahfuza Rahman

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Mahfuza Rahman, a 30-year-old woman of Bangladeshi origin who was living in the Bronx when she disappeared on December 8, 2015. She was a nurse, a devout Muslim, and the mother of a nine-year-old girl.

The circumstances of her case make it pretty clear what happened: she was almost certainly murdered by her husband, Mohammad Chowdhury. The cops are trying to build a murder case against Chowdhury, who decamped for Bangladesh immediately after Mahfuza’s disappearance. He’s still there as far as I know; I wonder if they’ve got an extradition agreement with the US?