Flashback Friday: Essie Hiett

This week’s FF case is Essie Margarette “Marge” Hiett, who disappeared from Oroville, California on February 13, 1978. A bartender and waitress, she finished up her shift in the wee hours of the morning and started driving home, but never made it. Her car was found wrecked in a ditch, with her belongings scattered, and no sign of her.

Essie’s case actually got some attention two years ago when Marvin Owens was charged with the murder of his still-missing wife Deborah Diane Owens. Because Deborah also disappeared in 1978, from the same area as Essie, and they had mutual friends, the cops looked into the idea that Marvin had killed Essie too. They decided no. He eventually pleaded out in Deborah’s case and got four years.

As for Essie, the police have another person of interest in her disappearance now — someone whom Marvin Owens knew also. I wonder if they believe someone forced her off the road and abducted her, or if their theory is that first she crashed and then afterwards someone took advantage of the situation.

AP/picture dump

Got some new age-progressions and new pictures for you, also middle names:

Arrest in Tara Grinstead case

In a major breakthrough, a suspect has been charged with murder in the 2005 disappearance of Tara Faye Grinstead, who vanished from Ocilla, Georgia. Her case has been very high profile over the years. The alleged killer, Ryan Alexander Duke, had been a student at the school where Tara taught, but graduated three years before she vanished. And he wasn’t a suspect, wasn’t even “on the radar” as far as the investigation was concerned, until quite recently.

Until I update her case (probably later today), content yourself with the following articles:

Missing persons news

I’ll cover the recovery of the Yates girls in their own entry, but here’s some other missing persons news:

  • This accountant’s hobby? Identifying missing people through his drawings
    My friend and Irregular Carl Koppelman has been featured in the Orange County Register. He does wonderful sketches of UIDs and was instrumental in identifying Cali Doe as Tammy Alexander. Congratulations, Carl!
  • Trial date in 20-year-old cold case pushed back to October
    A year and a quarter ago ago, more or less, Kirsten Renee Hatfield‘s two-doors-down neighbor was charged with her murder. The headline of this article is pretty self-explanatory, and the news story explains why: the suspect has new lawyers now who need time to review the evidence.
    Kirsten’s case, for whatever reason, fascinated me back when I was a child and first started getting interested in missing persons. I had a website when I was twelve or so, with some poems and stories I wrote, and one of them was a poem called “Missing, Presumed Dead” and it was based on Kirsten’s disappearance, as I explained on the site. Kirsten’s mom found it and emailed me, saying she was touched that a little girl in Ohio was thinking of her and her lost daughter, but she didn’t believe Kirsten was dead.
  • Judge orders suspect in cold case homicide to trial in district court
    Apparently the motive for Cari Lea Farver‘s homicide was a love triangle; both she and the suspect, Shanna Goylar, were seeing the same man. According to prosecutors, after Goylar killed Cari, she burned the body and then went on Cari’s social media accounts and tried to make it look like she was still alive.
  • Missing Oklahoma woman found more than 20 years after disappearance
    This case isn’t one of mine. It’s a really awesome story, though, how hard Shelly Jennings’s daughters looked for her, and how she was found largely through their efforts. Twenty-three years after she walked away from her family in Oklahoma, she turns up at a bus station in Modesto, California. I hope they can reconcile, although given Shelly’s mental illness, this may not be possible.
  • For families of missing persons, not knowing is excruciating
    This is about the disappearance of Cody Henry Turner, who went missing from Washington in 2015.
  • Missing Minnesotans: Susan Swedell
    Obviously, an article about Susan Anne Swedell (for whom I recently posted an updated AP).

Make-a-List Monday: Older children where a parent is suspected

This list is for kids over the age of ten where one or both of the child’s parents (or step-parents, or guardians) is a suspect or possible suspect in their disappearance, or the circumstances indicate they could be involved. I’m not talking about family abduction cases, I mean cases where they think the parent killed the child. I’m including murder-without-a-body cases.

Child abuse and neglect occurs at all ages, of course, but it’s my understanding that child abuse deaths in older kids are relatively rare. I don’t know much about this sort of thing but my guess would be it’s because older kids are both less fragile and more capable of defending themselves than infants and toddlers.

I’m grouping these kids in alphabetical order by age, and the suspect is in parentheses. In a lot of these cases, other family members — siblings or a parent — are also missing.

  1. Sheketah Michele Brown, 10 (father)
  2. Shakeima Ann Cabbagestalk, 10 (stepfather)
  3. Kristopher Charles Loesch, 10 (mother and mother’s girlfriend)
  4. Reagan Cordell Uden, 10 (stepfather)
  5. Karen Zhou, 10 (stepfather)
  6. Haleigh Breann Culwell, 11 (stepfather)
  7. Richard Lee Haynes Jr., 11 (father and stepmother)
  8. Adam Joseph Herrman, 11 or 12 (adoptive parents)
  9. Barry James Kephart II, 11 (father)
  10. Billy Sena, 11 (mother’s live-in boyfriend)
  11. Richard Loren Uden, 11 (stepfather)
  12. Terry Lee Westerfield, 11 (stepfather)
  13. Debra Jean Cole, 12 (mother’s live-in boyfriend)
  14. Crystal Gayle Dittmeyer, 12 (stepfather)
  15. Ivy Matory, 12 (stepfather)
  16. Jaliek L. Rainwalker, 12 (adoptive father)
  17. Doreen Jane Vincent, 12 (father)
  18. Melinda Karen Creech, 13 (mother)
  19. Kelly Jean Harris, 13 (stepfather)
  20. Rachel Marie Mellon, 13 (stepfather)
  21. Rachanda Lea Pickle, 13 (stepfather)
  22. Ricky Lane Thomas Jr., 13 (stepfather)
  23. Aundria Michelle Bowman, 14 (adoptive father)
  24. Toni Lynn McNatt-Chiappetta, 14 (father)
  25. Christina Marchell Richart, 14 (foster mother; her biological uncle’s wife)
  26. Monique Christine Daniels, 15 (stepfather)
  27. Tammy Sue Rothganger, 15 (stepfather)
  28. Jason Sims Jr., 15 (parents)
  29. Bethany Anne Sinclair, 15 (mother’s live-in boyfriend)
  30. Joyce Irene Cogburn, 15 (male temporary guardian)
  31. William Dale Gunn, 15 (stepfather)
  32. Josephine Yvette Cogburn, 16 (male temporary guardian)
  33. Margarette Ann Cuauhtli, 16 (adoptive father)
  34. Mindi Chambers, 17 (father)
  35. Alissa Marie Turney, 17 (stepfather; legally adopted her)

Honorable mention: Richard Gorham, 11. His mother’s live-in boyfriend is a suspect in his disappearance. However, Richard was living with his grandfather, Roland Himebrook, when he went missing. Himebrook disappeared too.