Lauria Bible’s mom is in bad shape but still hoping they’ll find her daughter’s body

It was published today that Lorene Bible has liver failure. She’s at stage four, which Dr. Google says is end-stage; less than half of people with stage four liver failure survive a year after diagnosis. She’s on the transplant list, but if she doesn’t get a new liver she’s going to die, and probably soon.

To briefly summarize, Lorene’s daughter Lauria Bible disappeared in 1999 with her friend Ashley Freeman, after Ashley’s parents were murdered and their house was torched while Lauria was spending the night over there. We know what happened to the girls and it’s horrific, but they’ve never actually been found. I’ve written about the case numerous times before.

It’s likely Lorene will die without her daughter’s body being located, though she and her husband Jay are trying their best to ensure that doesn’t happen. I cannot imagine the mental torture those two have endured over the past twenty years. You let your kid spend the night with her best friend and it turns out to be the worst decision you ever made in your life.

As for me, I am feeling a bit better. I was able to do a small update today and I might add more as the evening progresses, depending on the time situation. Michael’s home from work now and I have to go and cook dinner in a bit. I’m trying to learn to cook all sorts of healthy, diabetic-friendly recipes for him now and to that end have ordered a bunch of cookbooks. Tonight it’s kasha, cooked in reduced-sodium chicken stock.

Ronnie Busick sentenced in Freeman/Bible case

So, last night I did a big update to the casefiles of Ashley Renae Freeman and Lauria Jaylene Bible, slipping them in under the bar just before midnight. I explain about what happened to them, and the witness statements from the court docs and so on.

I’d been putting this off for a long time but I just couldn’t anymore, now that Ronnie Busick, the only surviving suspect in the case, has been sentenced. I had been putting off the update because the details are just so horrible.

I may have said it before but I will say it again. I will never say that Danny and Kathy Freeman deserved to be murdered, because they didn’t. But I can’t help but think they bear some responsibility for what happened to the girls, even though by that point they were dead already.

When you get involved with using/selling illegal drugs and the kind of people who are deeply involved in that world, you are taking great personal risk. Danny and Kathy presumably knew this. They gambled anyway, and lost. Which is sad. However, Ashley and Lauria were just bystanders, children, innocent. They were NOT involved in the drug world, did NOT accept that personal risk, and wound up paying a far heavier price than the Freeman parents did.

I’m not sure which makes me angrier, that or the fact that Phil Welch and David Pennington died before they could face justice. (Though it’s said that Welch died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is a horrible way to go, and if you ask me it couldn’t have happened to a better man.)

Or, maybe what makes me angriest is the fact that if the police hadn’t initially bungled the case so badly, it could have been solved in 2000, well before Welch and Pennington died. Who knows, perhaps the girls could have even been rescued. But instead two innocent young women died after being held captive and brutalized, and two vile men got away with murder. Four murders.

And Ronnie Busick will only serve ten years for his role in what happened, so he practically got away with it as well. But he is 68, and doesn’t appear to be healthy, and given what I know of his history (drug use throughout most of his life, and he got shot in the head and was left with brain damage) and what I know about prison health care, I wonder if he be alive ten years from now.

Alissa Turney’s stepdad has been arrested

Michael Turney is honestly one of the creepiest missing persons suspects I’ve ever written about. He was extremely possessive of his stepdaughter Alissa: he regularly searched her belongings, monitored her phone conversations, sat outside her job while she worked, set up surveillance cameras in the family home “for security reasons”, and forced Alissa to sign weird “contracts.”

Now, if Alissa was a problem child who was involved with drugs and the wrong crowd, I could see a parent taking these kind of measures. But Alissa wasn’t a problem child. She was a good kid mostly, did well in school and had no history of running away.

Alissa allegedly told several people that Michael–who was, incidentally, her only parent since her mom died of cancer when she was little–had sexually abused her. This information never made it to the ears of Child Protective Services, but in 2000 Michael himself called CPS to pre-emptively declare his innocence, just in case Alissa should ever claim he was abusing her.

A year later, in the spring of 2001, Alissa disappeared at the age of seventeen. Michael said she ran away, but if she did it seems really weird that she left behind all her belongings including $1,800 in the bank, and never contacted her siblings, friends or boyfriend ever again.

In 2008, the police executed a search warrant on Michael’s home looking for evidence in Alissa’s case. I don’t know if they found any, but they did find 26 homemade bombs and a van filled with gasoline cans. It turned out Michael had been planning to blow up a local International Brotherhood of Electrical Works union hall and take his own life in the process.

He was sentenced to ten years, served seven, and was out by 2017. This afternoon he was arrested and charged with Alissa’s murder.

I don’t know anything about what in the way of evidence they have against him, as this is breaking news, only minutes old. But I’m thrilled to death.

I cannot emphasize how much of a game-changer this is

So, I found out today that Dr. Arpad Vass, a forensic archaeologist I’d heard of, has invented a nifty little widget that detects buried human DNA.

I have no idea how much it works, but it’s already proven its effectiveness: they found Gina Renee Hall‘s DNA in EIGHT PLACES along a river valley FORTY YEARS after her disappearance, as well as a piece of Gina’s bone (making her Charley Project case resolvable, which I have done), as well as DNA from someone else entirely: Angela Mae Rader, a girl who disappeared with her friend Tammy Lynn Akers in 1977. The girls (who were fourteen at the time) have been missing even longer than Gina.

Rather than thinking this means the guy who killed Gina (whose identity is known; he’s Stephen Epperly and he’s serving life in prison for her murder) must have also killed Angela, I think it’s more likely that both girls’ bodies coincidentally ended up somewhere in the same river valley and probably the same body of water. (DNA from Tammy was not found, but it seems likely that she’s somewhere in the same river valley.)

I haven’t resolved Angela’s case, since they only found DNA, not an actual body or even a piece of bone like with Gina. But I’m hopeful that her and Tammy’s cases can still be resolved, even after 43 years.

Dr. Vass’s invention could wind up leading to answers in a LOT of missing persons cases. This is really exciting.

NCMEC search becomes slightly less terrible, and more news

I first complained about the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s search engine back in 2013, and things got even worse with later versions of it. However, when I checked today, they’d made yet another version, which is slightly better than the last. Like, you can now search based on how old the child was when they disappeared. That’s kind of nice, I guess.

You still don’t have the ability to search by category, which they axed in 2013. As far as I can tell it’s because the NCMEC decided to phase out categories. They did this because when people saw “Family Abduction” or “Runaway” they just automatically tuned it out. I can understand the logic of the NCMEC’s thinking there.

I added Duke Flores‘s case today. It’s pretty awful. Probably not as bad as Noah McIntosh‘s (I blogged about his case in March), but it’s still pretty bad.

The whole story about Duke’s murder being prompted by his attempt he was trying to kill his infant cousin looks a little sketchy at first glance. However, both women gave the police the same account of the alleged attempted murder, and I wonder if Duke, who had autism, was just unable to deal with the baby’s crying. Most people with autism (including me) are very sensitive to noises.

They tried to cover up his disappearance by saying they’d taken Duke to a psychiatric hospital. If he was indeed trying to kill his cousin, this would have been a perfectly appropriate action to take. Certainly much more appropriate than strangling him.

We’ll never know if he really tried to smother the baby or not; the only two people alive to tell the story aren’t exactly credible witnesses. But no matter what he did there’s no excuse for murdering a six-year-old child with a disability.

The thing about his mom and aunt taking the other kids along while they disposed of his body is horrifying. Though the alternative would have been leaving them alone at home, and they were both really little. Hopefully too little to remember this later.

I hope these women get what’s coming to them. They are probably not very popular in jail; most of the women prisoners are mothers too.

Added my fourteen-thousandth case today

Today the number of Charley Project cases (both active and in the resolved section) went up over 14,000. The “lucky” case number 14,000 is Taquila Sherell Hayes, a nurse who disappeared sometime after clocking out of work at a Memphis, Tennessee hospital a year ago today. She was 41 years old.

Taquila’s disappearance wasn’t reported missing until August because her husband Carl did various things to make it look like she was still alive and well. She was a responsible person, though, and kept in regular touch with her loved ones. Pretty soon people began to sense that there was something wrong. Finally her family, who had grown increasingly suspicious, notified the cops, and Carl’s story quickly fell apart.

He’s been charged with his wife’s murder, but her body has never been located and it’s not clear what happened. I’m guessing forensic evidence will come up at the trial; Carl replaced the carpeting in three rooms in the house and in Taquila’s car, and also repainted the house.

Another horrific child abuse murder

I don’t usually feel many emotions about the cases I put up — I’m kind of closed off from that — but child abuse cases really get to me sometimes. I added the case of Noah Thomas McIntosh today and the details are just horrific. The things that poor child went through in the months and years before his death. The apathy of social services. The stuff his dad bought after his disappearance, presumably to dispose of his body.

I don’t like kids myself, but I really don’t get people mistreating them. If Noah’s dad was so tired of him and his toileting accidents (which were not in any way Noah’s fault), why keep him at all? Noah’s grandfather loved him, and tried to save him. I bet he would have taken him, if Bryce had given up custody.

It doesn’t help that the kid looks so darn adorable in all the pictures, like a little doll. That smile, those teeth growing in.

And his sister… I didn’t include it in the casefile, she was occasionally forced to help her father torture her brother, by holding him down in the bathtub for example. And she may have been in the apartment when her brother was murdered, even if she didn’t actually see it happen. I really hope that girl is being looked after by someone who cares about her. And that she’s getting therapy.

As far as I know, the police are still hoping to find Noah’s body. Though looking at all the stuff his dad got, there may not be much of a body left to find.

I really hope Bryce just decides to plead guilty and be done with it. If he cares at all about his daughter (who will probably have to testify), he won’t put her through a trial. But then again, he DID torture and murder an eight-year-old, his own flesh and blood, which strongly suggests he doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

This is kind of horrifying to me

I read many of articles from different publications about the drowning deaths of brothers Ayden Leroy Cecil and Anthony Joseph Tullius, and I really can’t understand why their parents were charged with anything.

When I saw the headlines that said things like “Toddlers drowned while parents slept”, I thought perhaps maybe the parents were passed out under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or didn’t begin to look for the kids for hours, or something like that. I mean, there HAD to be more to the story, right?

I can only go by what’s been reported and I can’t find any more to the story.

On that tragic night they set up camp at a designated campsite near the river, and everyone went to bed. Dad zipped the tent and tightened the top zipper. Mom took one Xanax before bed, as her prescription said she should. Dad was exhausted after a long week of work. They went to sleep. And sometime during the night the boys unzipped the bottom zipper of the tent (which Dad had forgotten to tighten) and wandered into the river.

This is all terrible and I’m sure any parent in that situation would be full of what-ifs and should-haves and blaming themselves for a very long time, if not the rest of their days on earth, but I don’t see how this rises to the level of a crime.

At their first trial the children’s mother, Kasey, would insinuate her husband, their stepfather Richard, may have killed them on purpose. This is because, although Kasey thought she’d removed Ayden’s shoes before bed and he couldn’t put them on by himself, when his body was found he was wearing the shoes. I think it’s more likely that Kasey simply forgot to remove the shoes (she’d put them on over his sleeper so he could run around and play during the evening). If Richard were planning on tossing the boys in the river it doesn’t make any sense for him to have put their shoes on.

I myself nearly drowned as a five-year-old and a police officer had to pound life back into my chest after they pulled me out of Lake Michigan. This is because my mom, who was on lifeguard duty, decided to help the other adults pull a boat ashore and was distracted for a few minutes. Obviously she should not have done that, but the idea that a parent would be charged with a crime in such a situation is appalling to me.

As this story was reported I can’t understand why the Kleins were even charged, never mind convicted, in their children’s drowning deaths. Was something left out or was this the overzealous prosecution is appears to have been?

An unprecedented communication

So I heard from a lawyer today; they sent me an email regarding one of my cases. I am going to refer to the missing woman and her husband by the pseudonyms “Allison” and “Chad” because I don’t particularly want to hear from anyone else connected to the case, and don’t want this blog entry to turn up on a keyword search. However, this case should be pretty easy for viewers to find on Charley.

So Allison disappeared towards the end of a messy divorce from Chad. Her body has never been found. Chad was charged with her murder, and wound up being tried FOUR TIMES, which may be a Charley Project record. The result was this:

  • Trial #1: Conviction, overturned
  • Trial #2: Conviction, overturned
  • ┬áTrial #3: Hung jury
  • Trial #4: Acquittal

It was just a big mess. Chad is probably guilty, but “probably” does not equal “beyond a reasonable doubt.” And a person ought to get a fair trial the FIRST time, not the fourth.

So now he’s suing for wrongful prosecution or something-or-other. I wonder if it’ll go anywhere. He was a wealthy businessman, but his wealth has probably been drained considerably by four trials’ worth of legal expenses, and it would have been difficult for him to run his businesses from behind bars.

So back to the lawyer. They are representing the defense in Chad’s lawsuit, and wanted to know if Chad had ever donated to the Charley Project, and why was Allison listed on the site in the first place, and how long had she been up there. I replied that Allison is just one out of 13,000+ cases and there’s nothing special about her being on there, and that to my knowledge I have never either heard from Chad or received a donation from him, or from anyone else connected to the case for that matter.

At last! Dawan Ferguson charged with murder

Christian Ferguson, a severely disabled nine-year-old who could not speak, swallow, or toilet, disappeared in 2003. His father, Dawan, claimed he was abducted from the car when Dawan stopped to use the phone, but for years all the evidence has indicated that Dawan deliberately allowed Christian to die of his illness, a rare disorder called citrullinemia.

I had long wondered why Dawan had not been charged in the case, since even the cops were openly saying basically “yeah, he medically neglected him to death, on purpose.” Well, it’s finally happened. Dawan has been charged with murder. No word on if there’s any new evidence, or if the district attorney’s office just decided to go with what they had.

I am really hoping that Christian didn’t have much awareness, and that he didn’t feel much suffering when his father allowed him to die slowly for months before he disappeared.