Still struggling to piece together the Hart case

I am really having a hard time coming up with a decent summary of the Hart case. There’s a whole lot to unpack, even more so since the inquest, which is on YouTube in two parts, each lasting six hours.

There’s the crash itself: the car’s computer showing how it happened, how Jen had deliberately driven off the cliff, the location and identification of all the bodies (except Devonte of course), the fact that everyone except Jen had taken horrific amounts of Benadryl, Sarah’s internet searches showing she was in on it, etc.

And then there’s the background, the two adoptions, the various accounts of abuse and deprivation, the long term starvation of the children, the fact that the Hart women were able to adopt the second sibling group of kids WHILE CHILD ABUSE CHARGES AGAINST THEM WERE PENDING for beating the crap out of one of the kids they’d already adopted, the moves, the festivals, the homeschooling, Devonte’s viral photo in 2016, etc.

It’s such an incredible mess.

This will take awhile.

Murder-without-a-body cases galore!

So, someone found a photo of Eli Robert Sharclane on Facebook so I was able to add his case to the Charley Project. I’ve blogged about his case before; it’s kind of unusual. A guy threw him off a bridge fifty feet down to the freezing water and he was never seen again, but the suspect was only convicted of ATTEMPTED murder, because it was 1977 and no-body homicide convictions were not really a thing yet.

More information has been released about the 1991 disappearance of Sabrina Leigh Long. All we knew before was that a female suspect was arrested and charged with kidnapping, someone who’d attended Sabrina’s high school but wasn’t in her year, and the police said multiple people were involved.

Well, this article has a LOT more stuff about the case. Basically, Sabrina said she was supposed to visit a neighbor on the day of her disappearance, but the neighbor said she wasn’t expected and he had no idea why she said she was going to see him. The neighbor, Keith Loyd, had an alibi and wasn’t a suspect in her case, but in 2017 he died by suicide and left a note implicating himself and Melinda McSwain (the woman now charged in Sabrina’s kidnapping) in Sabrina’s disappearance.

Loyd’s alibi for Sabrina’s disappearance had been that he was out with his girlfriend. I wonder if that girlfriend was McSwain. If both of them had kidnapped and killed Sabrina, it would be easy for them to alibi each other.

DonaMae Bourgeois Bayerl‘s husband John has been arrested at his retirement home in Florida and charged with murder. I’m so happy; he’s been a suspect for a very long time. I’ve met DonaMae’s family before; they attend the Wisconsin missing persons events.

Also, yesterday they held closing arguments in the trial of Liam McAtasney for the murder of 19-year-old Sarah L. Stern. She disappeared from Neptune, New Jersey in 2016. The second suspect, Preston Taylor, allegedly helped dispose of her body. He pleaded guilty and testified against McAtasney. The verdict is expected next week.

And Thomas Skeek is on trial for the murder of his wife, Linda Skeek, who disappeared in 2016. Per this article, case had been “shrouded in secrecy” and it wasn’t until the trial actually began that it became public knowledge that Linda’s body was never found. I haven’t heard of this case before. I’ll have to add her. [UPDATE: I did.]

Series from the Oklahoman on the Logan Tucker case

I wanted to call the reader’s attention to this excellent (and very sad) special series called Looking for Logan Tucker, about the disappearance and presumed murder of six-year-old Logan Lynn Tucker eighteen years ago at the hands of his sorry excuse for a mother, Katherine Rutan.

Most homicides of children by their parents are unintentional, a situation where the parent is frustrated and unable to cope with child care, loses control and kills the child in a rage. Although there are no witnesses to Logan’s murder and Katherine isn’t talking, his death doesn’t appear to have been one of those kinds of homicides. She thought Logan was a burden to her life, and decided to get rid of him, so she killed him. Period.

She sounds like a stone cold psychopath. There was evidence of disorder in her life long before Logan’s death — she was married four times by her mid-twenties, for example — and she had repeatedly told people that she considered her two sons a burden to her and wanted to get rid of them.

In the final days of Logan’s life, Katherine made increasingly frantic attempts to offload Logan, and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services did plan to take him within the next several days, but Katherine didn’t want to wait that long, I guess.

She is in prison and will probably die there, but continues to maintain her innocence.

Anyway, it’s a great piece of journalism, that series, and I wanted to recommend it to y’all.

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.

Native American Heritage Month: George Pooler

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is George Wayne Pooler, a 37-year-old Colville man who disappeared from Omak, Washington on November 18, 1988.

Foul play is suspected in George’s disappearance; among other indications, his vehicle was later found abandoned and burned.

George’s older brother Edwin Oliver Pooler disappeared from Keller, Washington in 1991. Edwin’s is a murder without a body case; a man later pleaded guilty to manslaughter in his death and was sentenced to six years in prison. Edwin’s murder is not thought to be related to George’s disappearance.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Gebar Byrd Jr.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Gebar Byrd Jr., a biracial Hispanic and African-American toddler who was last seen in University City, Missouri on March 22, 2010, a few weeks before his second birthday.

Gebar’s father, Gebar Byrd Sr., confessed to the murder of both little Gebar and his mother, Yasmin Rodriguez. He said he intentionally shoved her into the Mississippi River while she was holding the boy in her arms. Yasmin’s body was found in the river on April 9; Gebar Jr.’s never turned up. Gebar Sr. was convicted of second-degree murder in the mother’s death and involuntary manslaughter in the child’s, and sentenced to life in prison.

In spite of the confession and the convictions, there’s some hope among some of Gebar Jr.’s family members that he’s still alive, because his birth certificate and other papers disappeared. Me, I’m pretty skeptical of that theory.

I think I might have set a record for “smallest part of a person recovered”

I found out the other day that they discovered an itty bitty piece of Richard William Moss‘s body: a single vertebra (one of the sections of your spine) not far from where his car turned up a little over a year ago.

I think this is the smallest partial remains recovered where I resolved a case. I have a case up where they found a woman’s finger, but you can easily live without that.

Frankly I’m surprised they found even that much of Moss. He accidentally ran his car off a cliff in coastal California known as the Devil’s Slide in May 2017, but the accident wasn’t witnessed and no one realized what had happened until July. The rest of him has presumably been claimed by the ocean.

Moss isn’t the only person on Charley who met his end at the Devil’s Slide. In 1945, a 14-year-old girl named Thora Chamberlain was murdered and thrown off there. They never found her body, only her socks, wedged in the cliff face. Her murderer was identified, confessed and was executed.