Pride Month: Leonard Taku

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.

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Daylenn Pua

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:

daylenn

“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.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Zoey Thomas

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.

The latest MWAB news

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?

Peter Kema’s dad leads police to alleged disposal spot

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.

Peter Kema denouement

Sorry everyone, the internet was kaput for much of this week. I could access it on my cell phone using data, but the house connection didn’t work. Michael and I have been having issues with our provider since November.

It goes like this: we had to cut down on our expenses so decided to switch our cable and internet package to just internet. The service provider said okay, and yet EVERY SINGLE MONTH SINCE THEN, they’ve billed us for cable, phone and internet, and the result is either our account gets overdrawn and we have to pay fees to the bank, or our service provider stops providing service — ALL service, not just the services we no longer want — because we can’t pay the bill. Then Michael will call them and remind them that we’re only supposed to be getting internet now, and they will apologize, reduce our bill accordingly and promise it won’t happen again. Then it happens again.

Anyway. Now we’ve got our internet back and Michael plans to switch providers because he’s understandably fed up.

So. It looks like the Peter Kema case may be finally reaching its conclusion. Peter’s mother reached a deal with the prosecution last year, pleading guilty to manslaughter and agreeing to testify against her husband. Earlier this week, Peter’s father also pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to twenty years and must serve a minimum of six, and he has agreed to lead police to the body. If he doesn’t follow through with that part, his sentence could be increased to 25 years.

At least they are going to jail, and this way Peter’s siblings will be spared the ordeal of having to testify. And I highly doubt Peter Sr., anyway, is going to get out after just six years. I expect he’ll have to serve the whole term, because the case is so notorious in Hawaii, and for the same reason I doubt he’ll be terribly popular in prison. Jaylin, unfortunately, is getting almost no time, even though she’s just as responsible for her son’s death as Peter Sr.

Peter’s parents did nothing but torture, neglect and abuse him his entire brief life. If there was any justice they ought to be getting a manslaughter conviction AND enough child abuse convictions stacked on top of one another to amount to life sentences for both of them.

I mean, read Peter’s Charley Project page to get an idea. Or take what it says in one of the articles I found about the case:

In Peter’s case the abuse started being documented when he was just three months old. After being brought into the hospital, x-rays showed old and new fractures in his shoulder, elbow, ribs and knees. He and his older siblings were removed from the home and they lived with their grandparents for the next three years.

Once he was back with his mother and father, his siblings reported Peter was again physically abused: suffering broken bones and black eyes, as well as enduring mental abuse like being forced to eat dog feces. But those reports came too late to save the six year old boy.

Why weren’t either of his parents charged with child abuse when he was an infant? Why were his parents allowed to regain custody of him? Jaylin’s parents loved Peter and they loved his siblings; it wasn’t like there was no one else willing to take care of the kids. According to the articles, since Peter’s death there have been “reforms” in Hawaii’s child protection system, in order to prevent more such tragedies. I certainly hope so.

We’ll see if Peter’s body can be found. It’s been 20 years so it may be unrecoverable. Here’s some articles:

Make-a-List Monday: Cross necklaces

A list of people who were wearing a cross necklace when they disappeared. This is quite a common jewelry item, for men as well as women, as you can see — perhaps the most common jewelry there is in the Christian world. Fun fact: although all crucifixes are cross necklaces, not all cross necklaces are crucifixes. A crucifix has to have Jesus on the cross pendant. I know because I just looked it up.

  1. Peter Achermann
  2. Rosio Monica Beltran
  3. Nancy Leah Brannon*
  4. Alex James Buonassisi
  5. Michelle Lee Burchell
  6. Kimberly Shawn Cheatham
  7. Cody Robert Christle
  8. Matthew Jonathan Curtis*
  9. Peggy Ilene Humber
  10. Jesse Gabriel Florez
  11. Dean Leslie French
  12. Omar Jabree Gibson
  13. Scott Kevin Jared
  14. Janice Yvonne Johnson
  15. El Shawndrae Devon Jones
  16. Kathleen Kelly
  17. Robert Keck
  18. Yul Demetrius Kennedy
  19. Patricia Ann Krieger
  20. Ruth Ann Leamon
  21. Nieko Anthony Lisi
  22. Tommie Lee Lowery
  23. Larry Don Madden
  24. Tammy Mahoney
  25. Lubov Marchenko
  26. Carmen Magdalena Mares
  27. Wilbert Martin
  28. Ashley Nicole Martin Mauldin
  29. Gloria White Moore McDonald
  30. Shane Lawrence McKinney*
  31. Lori Ann Murchison-Dunbar
  32. Kenny Manuel Naidas Jr.
  33. Nguyet Minh Nguyen
  34. Georgia Darlene Nolan
  35. Michelle Loree Parker
  36. Bernadine Paul
  37. Kara Denora Rigdon
  38. William Larry Roland
  39. Michelle Lee Rust
  40. Jason Joseph Ryan*
  41. Jairo Javier Sanchez
  42. Lisa Ann Schmidt
  43. Miguel Sonny Scott
  44. Yvonne Renee Scott
  45. Bethany Anne Sinclair
  46. Sharon Rose Sons
  47. Walter Shannon Stevenson
  48. William Paul Smolinski Jr.
  49. Lisa Alaria Szasz-Lazzaro
  50. Angel Antonio Torres
  51. Vikki L.Vukelich
  52. Donald Beams Wallace
  53. Jacob Wallace
  54. Grongie Ward
  55. Rasheeyda Robinson Wilson
  56. Dawn Marie Young
  57. Violet Nancy Zarb

*maybe