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: 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.

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: 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: Derrick Tenorio

This week’s featured missing person (I am sorry it’s late, and sorry that I missed last week entirely with updates cause I was failing at life or something) is Derrick James Tenorio, a 21-year-old Native American (Navajo) man who disappeared from Steamboat, Arizona on August 5, 2011.

He is described as 5’7 and between 170 and 190 pounds, with dark brown hair and the word “KAOS” spelled across his left-hand knuckles. I’m assuming his eyes are dark too though the description didn’t say. He was last seen wearing pretty standard young man apparel: a red long-sleeved shirt, black pants, and tan steel-toed work boots.

Derrick was at Steamboat Standing Rock at close to midnight. (No, not the Steamboat Rock that’s in Washington State. I got those two mixed up at first.) He was walking to visit his girlfriend but never arrived. He left behind two toddler-age kids and his girlfriend was pregnant with a third.

It’s hard to tell from the limited info what might have happened, but looking at the images of the Steamboat Standing Rock area, it doesn’t look all that safe to walk in after dark. I wonder if there was an accident of some kind, perhaps a fall.

The #MMIW (missing and murdered indigenous women) hashtag has resulted in some decent traction as far as press/searches/laws passed regarding missing and murdered Native women, but Native men also disappear at higher rates than average and they too need attention. Because of Derrick’s disappearance, three kids are growing up without their father.

MP of the week: Daisy Tallman

This week’s featured missing persons case is Daisy Mae Tallman, aka Daisy Heath (she was in the process of changing it legally when she disappeared). The 29-year-old woman, a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakama Nation, disappeared from Toppenish, Washington on August 30, 1987.

Her family wasn’t concerned at first because she would sometimes leave for short periods and she was capable of surviving in the wilderness on her own. But two months later they reported her missing.

At some point, some of Daisy’s belongings were found in a remote area of the Yakama Reservation, an area that’s off-limits to non-tribal members without permission.

The police believe Daisy was murdered, but no suspects have been named in her case.

Well, it happened

A year and a half ago I wrote on this blog about a Supreme Court decision that I was pretty sure was going to wind up affecting some of the Charley Project missing persons cases. And, lo and behold, it has.

I just started writing up Faith Lindsey‘s a murder-without-a-body case. Charges were filed against her boyfriend, then dismissed because of this Supreme Court decision that meant the state of Oklahoma did not have jurisdiction, then charges were refiled in federal court and the murder case is pending there.

Now, I might have a slight interest in reading about legal rulings of this kind, but I am not sure the average Charley Project reader has the same interest. It seems to me that a paragraph about the McGirt ruling and its significance would probably just clog up Faith’s casefile.

My husband suggested I say “dismissed on jurisdictional grounds and then refiled in federal court”, and then add the McGirt info in a footnote or something. Hmm.

MP of the week: Ira Yallup

This week’s featured missing person is Ira Kennedy Yallup Sr., who disappeared from the Lone Pine fishing site on the Columbia River near The Dalles, Oregon on May 20, 2010. He was 47 years old at the time and would be 57 or 58 today, if still alive.

Because Yallup was last seen at a “fishing site” I initially assumed he probably drowned and listed him in the Lost/Injured Missing person category. However, when I decided to make him MP of the week I thought I’d look up more info on the site and discovered more than just fishing happens there: people actually live there, some year-round, some just during the fishing season, which lasts from spring to fall.

Although one resident described Lone Pine as a “close-knit community” in this article, the residents of the site live in some pretty bad conditions as this 2021 article makes clear:

At Lone Pine, blankets and boards cover broken windows on trailers and campers, some of which don’t even have doors. There is only one bathroom and two outdoor water spigots. One picnic shelter has been walled off and is being lived in, but two other picnic shelters have burned down. There is no fire hydrant at this encampment, and only one rutted lane, in and out.

It’s an extremely sad story involving the Columbia River dam and a bunch of broken promises to the Native Americans whose original villages and fishing sites were drowned when the dam was built.

Ira Yallup’s case is one of those “few details are available” ones and I don’t know if he was a year-round inhabitant of Lone Pine, was just there for the fishing season, or was visiting or what. Perhaps he drowned, or perhaps something else happened to him. I really can’t say.

Tragic news in one child’s case, and justice for another two

Yesterday a child’s body was found in a camper near Garryowen on the Crow Reservation in Montana; it has been identified as Mildred Alexis “Millie” Old Crow, who disappeared sometime in 2019 or 2020. She was living with her guardians, her aunt Roseen Lincoln Old Crow and Roseen’s wife Veronica Dust, and was last seen with them in April 2019. No one’s exactly sure when she disappeared and nothing much has been released yet about her death. It seems likely she was murdered; little girls don’t just die for no reason.

Meanwhile in Florida, former cult leader Anna Young was sentenced to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder in the beating/starvation death of Emon David Harper, a toddler who disappeared sometime in 1988 and whose body was never found, and manslaughter in the death by neglect of Katonya Jackson, a two-year-old girl with epilepsy who died because Young withheld her medication. Both children and their families were members of Young’s cult.

This article talks about the plea deal and sentence Young accepted, but fails to mention that Young is tied to two other missing children: the 1973 (pre-cult) disappearance of Catherine Barbara Davidson, Young’s six-year-old stepdaughter, and the 1984 disappearance of two-year-old Marcos Antonio Cruz, another child whose family was involved in the cult. Marcos may have been abandoned in Puerto Rico by a cult member at Young’s orders. Catherine, however, was almost certainly murdered; one of Young’s other children reportedly saw her body in a closet before her disappearance was reported. It seems unlikely that Young will confess to her involvement in her stepdaughter’s case or help authorities recover the body; she’s got nothing to gain by it.