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 Aaron Tapasoa, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on October 17, 2008.
Most agencies classify Aaron as Caucasian, but I made a judgement call and I believe he’s much more likely to be of Pacific Islander descent, for the following reasons:
- His appearance
- The fact that he “may have traveled to Samoa”
- Most importantly, the surname Tapasoa is almost entirely unique to Aaron himself, but the surname Tapusoa (a slight respelling) comes from the Pacific Islands.
If I’m wrong I’ll eat my words.
Getting back to Aaron, it says he associated with the homeless population and spent a lot of time on the beach. He’s classified as a runaway. Wherever he is, I hope he’s alive and well.
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 Cristian Arlyn Sedeno, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared from Honolulu, Hawaii on October 13, 2003. Cristian is of Caucasian, Filipino and Pacific Islander ancestry.
She is classified as a runaway but I’m kind of skeptical. For three reasons:
- It’s been over FIFTEEN YEARS. Sixteen, come October.
- Hawaii is a set of islands. I’m pretty sure you need to fly between the islands, and you definitely need to fly to get to the mainland, and for that you need identification. It seems like if Cristian had traveled anywhere they’d have traced her because she needs ID to travel, and if she’d stayed in the Honolulu area they’d have traced her because it’s not that big a place.
- Cristian’s mom was in an abusive relationship and preparing to leave that person. Did the abuser realize this, and do something to Cristian for revenge or to make her mom stay?
Regardless, Cristian is still missing, and still classified as a runaway with the NCMEC. If still alive she’d be 30 years old today.
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 Maureen Leianuhea Kelly, a 19-year-old Pacific Islander woman who disappeared from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington on June 9, 2013.
Maureen told her friends she was going on a “spiritual quest” and to that end she removed all her clothes and walked off into the woods wearing only a fanny pack carrying some very basic wilderness supplies. She never returned. Her friends waited ten or twelve hours to report her missing.
My guess is she’s still in the forest, perhaps very near to the spot where she went missing. Temperatures that night dipped into the low forties; without any clothes on, she could easily have died of exposure.
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 Watson K. Mahaulu, a 36-year-old Asian or Pacific Islander (not sure which, probably both) man who disappeared from Oahu, Hawaii on November 30, 1997.
He was an unemployed laborer who lived off and on with his parents and his girlfriend. Although he was a bit of a drifter, the police don’t think he left on his own, because he was close to his family and because he had no money. He’s considered missing under suspicious circumstances, but that’s all anyone will venture to guess.
It’s been over twenty years since Watson disappeared. He’d be in his mid-fifties today.
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 Leonard Taku, a 44-year-old gay man who disappeared from Tampa, Florida on Christmas Day, 2006.
Taku was from New Zealand and is Maori descent; the Maori people are the indigenous people of New Zealand. He was teaching at a British school at the time of his disappearance, but had come to America for the holidays. He was reported missing when he didn’t return to work at the start of the new year, and in February, his car was found abandoned in the Ocala National Forest in Florida.
I haven’t found any news about Taku in a long time. I don’t know what happened to him but I don’t think it was any good; he sounds like he was a responsible and high-functioning individual who had no reason to just walk away.
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 Daylenn Pua, an 18-year-old boy of Native Hawaiian descent who disappeared from Oahu, Hawaii on February 26, 2015. I found his Facebook page, and his final post was on that very day:
“The hike” was Daylenn’s planned trip up the Haiku Stairs, aka the Stairway to Heaven. This is a trail in Oahu’s Koʻolau Mountain Range whose stunning views attract hikers on a near-daily basis, despite the fact that it’s so incredibly dangerous that it’s been closed to the public for over twenty years. Neither the threat of death nor the threat of a trespassing charge and a fine of up to $1,000 has deterred people from making the trek.
Daylenn was last heard from at 11:00 a.m. the day of his disappearance, when he took selfies on the Haiku Stairs and texted them to his loved ones. He never finished his hike and is presumed to be one of the trail’s victims.
This hasn’t stopped other theories from popping up on Reddit and elsewhere, though.
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 Zoey Kainoa Thomas, who is actually biracial, of white and Pacific Islander (Polynesian) descent. I don’t have a lot of MPs who are Pacific Islander so I decided to count her in.
Zoey was 32 years old when she disappeared from Spring, Texas (in the Houston metro area) on August 22, 2016. She bleaches her dark hair white-blonde and has several tattoos. I got photos off her Facebook page.
A month after Zoey was last seen, her car was found abandoned behind a closed restaurant in Spring. That seems like a pretty good place to stash a vehicle where it wouldn’t be recovered for awhile.
Zoey does have a warrant out for her arrest because she missed a court date, and this gossip page has some pretty awful things to say about her. However, per Websleuths, the case is being investigated as a homicide.
She has three kids. If still alive, which seems unlikely, she would be 34 today.
I thought I’d do a run-down in the latest news in murder-without-a-body cases:
- Per everybody, Antolin Garcia-Torres has been found guilty of the murder of Sierra Mae Lamar, a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Morgan Hill, California five years ago. Her abduction and killing is of the most terrifying kind: she was just snatched off the street in a random act of violence.
- In Iowa, Tait Purk has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Cora Ann Okonski, who disappeared from the town of Tama on April 16, 2000. Unlike in Sierra Lamar’s murder, there wasn’t anything in the way of physical evidence here. However, Purk supposedly confessed to at least two other people that he had killed Cora and buried her body.
- No charges have been filed as of yet, but Dale LaFleur‘s grand-nephew, Philip, has confessed to murdering him and the police are looking for the body. Philip is currently in jail for the 2015 murder of another man. He’s only 23 now, and Dale disappeared in 2011, so chances are Philip was a minor when he (allegedly) killed his great-uncle. (Not that it’ll matter.) He says he put Dale’s body inside his (Dale’s) car and dumped it in the Atchafalaya River. Police have said they’ve found an “object” in the river that might be the car. Fingers crossed.
- And as for Peter Kema, alas, I don’t know anything more than I did three weeks ago: namely that Peter Sr. has led police to the alleged disposal spot. I seem to recall some article that claimed the remains were cremated and dumped at sea. If that is so, they’re almost certainly unrecoverable. But I don’t know if that information is correct. There’s a big difference between outright cremating a body and merely setting it on fire. I think if the cops had found something, they would have said so by now, but who knows?
This just in: Peter Kema‘s father, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this month, has lead police to where he says he put his son’s body. This location is, of course, as yet undisclosed, but it’s somewhere in the district of Puna.
Here’s to hoping there’s actually something recoverable there, and this 20-year saga can finally be over.