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 Anthony P. Lee, a 24-year-old who disappeared from Fremont, California on June 10, 1986.
Authorities think Anthony probably jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, as his car and wallet were found there, and he was known to have been suicidal. If he did jump, he is just one of many people on the Charley Project who are presumed victims of that beautiful and terrible place.
If he is still alive, on the other hand, he’d be 57 years old today.
FINALLY got the wretched Hart case finished today, after weeks of researching and struggling to put the story together. The case summary is 3,200+ words, exceeding the Peter Kema casefile by over 1,000 words.
It was a challenge, trying to tell the story in such a way as to minimize confusion when there was so much going on, and so many lies told. While Jen and Sarah are abusing their three adopted kids in Minnesota, at the same time down in Texas three more kids who will be adopted by Jen and Sarah but whom they don’t know yet are being taken away from their biological mother. Etc.
And it’s such an awful story, just sheer horror and misery start to finish. The sadness behind those forced smiles. The tiny, scrawny kids, their limbs like sticks, hungry all the time because their mothers didn’t feed them.
And so many people, in so many parts of the country, screwed up. This is mostly on Jen and Sarah, but it wasn’t all them. They should never been permitted to adopt children, never mind a large number of kids from foster care. They should never been permitted to adopt the first set of kids after how they’d treated their foster daughter. They should never have been permitted to adopt the second set of kids when they had child abuse proven against them, and admitted by them. Once adopted, there was enough proof of abuse and neglect that the children should have been removed from their homes half a dozen times at least, over the years.
Devonte and his siblings did not have to die the way they did.
I have done my best for them.
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.
The Charley Project does not discriminate: if you’re have not physically turned up alive or dead, you’re missing for the purposes of this database, even if everyone knows perfectly well what happened to you.
Which brings me to the godawful case of the Hart family, of whom one of them, Devonte, has never been located. His sister’s foot washed ashore months ago, but not a tiny bit of Devonte has turned up, not so much as a single vertebra. I had been desperately hoping they’d find some of Devonte before the year was up so I would not have to start digging into this. I might as well be digging a grave.
And with a case as high profile as this, I feel obligated to put him up. Even though we all know, basically, what happened to Devonte and where he is — swallowed up in the Pacific.
And with a case as high profile as this, I feel obligated to do a detailed write-up. It’s just that there’s so much to look over (high profile ya know) and it’s all so absolutely and unrelentingly horrifying. I’ve been reading about the case for the past twelve hours and I feel the way I did when I visited Treblinka.
Even the photos of the kids. So many photos. And they’re so SKINNY. Knobby chins and cheekbones, their faces like skulls, stick arms and legs. And so SMALL. They were starved of food and love for so long, and under so much stress.
The inquest into the family’s deaths will be held next week. It will take two days, will be live-streamed, and is said to be releasing some shocking information, as if what is already known was not shocking enough already.
Those poor, poor children.
A Charley Project Irregular let me know about how the San Francisco Examiner had been added to the Newspapers.com archives, so I went and ran all my old San Francisco cases through to see if they had articles in that paper. Then when that was done, I decided to do with the same with Santa Cruz cases, because I knew the Santa Cruz Sentinel was in the archives. And presto, 29 cases updated.
Some thoughts/info on individual ones:
- I wonder if Erwin Ernest Bunge‘s car was ever recovered. I also wonder if his disappearance had anything to do with him being a high profile trainer. Henry Martinez was only seventeen years old in 1988 and it seems unlikely that he could have been involved. I wasn’t able to find out much about him; he retired from boxing in 1994 and drifted into obscurity.
- Not really a thought, but a piece of trivia: Harry Weldon Kees is not the only person presumed to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge on July 18, 1955. The police found TWO cars abandoned there that day, leading to speculation as to which person went first. At the time, they were keeping a record of how many people died. I don’t think they’re keeping track anymore though. (Oh, and here’s a 2011 rant of mine about Golden Gate Bridge suicide victims.)
- I looked up Walter Christopher Kuchanny‘s wife, and she has remarried and seems to be doing well. She returned to England after his disappearance. I do believe he was a suicide victim and didn’t just leave. Her description of his behavior, being all anxious and depressed and then suddenly happy and relaxed, is pretty typical of people who take their lives.
- Is anyone else wondering if Michael Omas Masaoay‘s disappearance was just an accident? I wonder if it went something like this: he sets off for the day, realizes school is actually closed, and then decides to chill out at his favorite fishing spot, and then gets dragged out to sea by surf, just like Noel Annette Marcotte and countless others have been. That would explain why Michael’s bag was found where it was. Will anyone who’s familiar with the geography of that location care to voice an opinion in the comments?
- The SF Examiner article I found about John Dolan Phillips‘s disappearance was mainly about the sale of his car and how it was very sketchy. His family was never notified the car had been found in the parking garage. The mint-condition rare classic car was sold to an employee of the garage for just $200, a tiny fraction of both its actual worth AND the amount of accrued parking fees owed. Apparently when objects worth over $500 are put for sale in these circumstances, the public is supposed to be notified and given a chance to buy them, but the car was sold for an a lower amount, so the garage didn’t have to notify anyone. And then the new owner refused to even let the car get inspected for clues. Whether any of this has something to do with Phillips’s disappearance is anyone’s guess.
- Given the circumstances of Carlos Benjamin Urruela‘s disappearance, it’s likely he died by suicide. The article I read said his addiction was very bad — he’d gone from snorting to freebasing to shooting cocaine — and was ruining his life and his appearance.
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 Robin Reed, a 15-year-old gay boy who disappeared from Petaluma, California on January 24, 1995.
It’s no mystery what happened to Robin; he was seen jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He was struggling to cope with his sexuality and had been bullied at school. The students at his high school created a Gay/Straight Alliance in his honor after his death.
His body has never been recovered.
Per this article, the authorities have finally identified Rudy Redd Victor, a 20-year-old Native American man from New Mexico, 43 years after his disappearance. (The article gives his date of disappearance as June 15, 1974; the Charley Project has it as July 21. Shrug. Perhaps July 21 is the date he was reported missing.) Anyway:
A decade after he fled the car during a fight with his girlfriend, who Victor was traveling with on their way back to his family’s home in Colorado, a skull was turned into the Lewis and Clark County coroner.
The skull was actually first found two years prior in the same canyon by a brand inspector, who kept the skull as a souvenir of sorts after locating it while wrangling cattle on the steep hillside in 1982.
Investigators visited the hillside and found more remains, including the lower jaw. They also found a cross with a turquoise center and remnants of a red T-shirt next to a pine tree.
Air Force investigators traveled to Wolf Creek to see the hillside where Victor’s remains were found. They, alongside the county coroner, a detective in the original case and others, climbed the steep terrain to the tree where it is believed Victor died. During the initial investigation into the case, officials found a wire noose hanging from the tree. Suicide is suspected…
The official death certificate lists the cause of death as undetermined.
All I can say is…never say never.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Dermot Faulkner Kelly, who disappeared from Oglesby, Illinois on January 30, 1972, at the age of sixteen. The circumstances of his case make it unclear whether he died in a drowning accident/suicide or, perhaps, left of his own accord to make a new life elsewhere. If he did run away he didn’t take anything with him, and there hasn’t been any sign of him since 1972.
This list is of kids who were under 18 when they disappeared, who had serious medical conditions. I’m talking about the sort of thing that would have them frequently hospitalized and/or put in special education classes at school.
- Patrick Kennedy Alford Jr., 7 (ADHD and possibly emotional problems)
- Steven Eugene Anderson, 17 (moderately mentally disabled)
- Marble Ace Arvidson, 17 (behavioral problems, classified as a special needs child)
- Kevin Jay Ayotte, 3 (developmentally disabled, hearing-impaired and with limited speech skills)
- Nicholas Patrick Barclay, 13 (ADD)
- Allison Taylor Bayliss, 15 (Asperger’s Syndrome aka high-functioning autism)
- Emad Ali Ben-Mrad, 3 (hearing-impaired)
- Samuel Savage Becker Boehlke, 8 (Asperger’s Syndrome)
- Edward Dylan Bryant, 9 (ADHD)
- Fidelmar Liborio Cadenas, 10 months (unknown, but said to be “medically fragile”)
- Monica Cassandra Carrasco, 16 (anorexia and depression)
- Kevin Andrew McCarthy Collins, 10 (dyslexia)
- Cassie Kay Compton, 15 (possible bipolar disorder or depression)
- Jeremy Ray Coots, 4 (severely hearing-impaired)
- Carla Rebecca Corley, 14 (epilepsy)
- Chris Andrew Cunningham, 6 (seizures)
- Christopher Gage Daniel, 7 (unspecified, just says he’s classified as a special needs child)
- Mark Anthony Degner, 12 (developmentally delayed with bipolar disorder)
- Landon Lee Deriggi, 13 (severely hyperactive, visually impaired and learning-disabled)
- Adji Desir, 6 (severely mentally disabled and almost completely nonverbal)
- Christian Taylor Ferguson, 9 (severely physically and mentally disabled due to a prior stroke, needs life-sustaining medication)
- Andrea R. Gonzalez, 5 (severe emotional and behavorial problems)
- David Eduardo Gosnell, 3 (developmentally delayed)
- Ember Skye Graham, 6 months (epilepsy)
- Kenneth Warren Hager, 11 (mentally disabled and mute, severe epilepsy)
- Jyrine Kyese Harris, 2 (ostogensis imperfecta, aka brittle bones)
- Justin Phillip Harris, 13 (mentally disabled and cannot function without psychiatric medication)
- Bryan Andrew Hayes, 13 (developmentally delayed with bipolar disorder)
- James P. Higham III, 16 (mentally disabled with developmental and emotional issues)
- Mark Joseph Himebaugh, 11 (emotionally disturbed with behavioral problems and possible OCD)
- James Richard Howell, 9 (hyperactive)
- Elisabeth Ann Huster, 9 (hyperactive)
- John Christopher Inman, 17 (seizures)
- Danny Randall Jackson, 12 (ADHD)
- Tiahease Tiawanna Jackson, 10 (diabetes, high blood pressure, a kidney disorder and learning disabilities)
- Hevin Dakota James Lee Jenkins, 2 (autistic and nonverbal)
- Shanta Marie Johnson, 3 (exposed to cocaine in utero; classified as a special needs child)
- Lenoria Eleise Anne Jones, 3 (exposed to cocaine in utero, had ADHD)
- Barry James Kephart II, 11 (dyslexia)
- Adam Benjamin Lake, 17 (Crohn’s Disease)
- Patricia Ann LeBlanc, 15 (“unspecified condition that may endanger her welfare”)
- Marjorie Christina Luna, 8 (hearing-impaired)
- Louis Anthony MacKerley, 7 (hyperactive and learning-disabled)
- Dennis Lloyd Martin, 6 (learning-disabled and slightly developmentally delayed)
- Tiana Neshelle Martin, 10 (Graves Disease, a potentially fatal autoimmune disorder)
- Ashley Renee Martinez, 15 (bipolar disorder)
- Clayton Lynn McCarter, 15 (mentally disabled)
- Betty McCullough, 10 (deaf and mute, and said to be terminally ill though I’m not sure why)
- Alexandra Marie McIntire, 7 months (premature, developmentally delayed, lung problems)
- Brandy Lynn Myers, 13 (brain damage)
- Tristen Alan Myers, 4 (severe behavioral problems, possibly had ADD, was possibly mentally disabled)
- Amy Sue Pagnac, 13 (seizures and possibly bipolar disorder)
- William Fred Patient, 16 (ADHD, bipolar disorder and substance abuse issues)
- Larry Wayne Perry, 9 (moderately mentally disabled)
- Robert Thomas Pillsen-Rahier, 15 (behavioral and emotional problems)
- Bianca Noel Piper, 13 (ADHD and severe bipolar disorder)
- Angelo Gene Puglisi, 10 (epilepsy)
- Blake Wade Pursley, 14 (seizures, partial paralysis, and learning and behavioral problems)
- Eric Wayne Pyles, 12 (severe emotional and behavioral problems)
- Jaliek L. Rainwalker, 13 (severe emotional and behavioral problems including reactive attachment disorder, exposed to cocaine and alcohol in utero, can be violent)
- Natasha Marie Shanes, 6 (epilepsy, developmentally delayed)
- Jason Sims Jr., 15 (said to be autistic and nonverbal)
- Austin William Sparks, 15 (severe emotional problems)
- Roland Jack Spencer III, 3 (mentally disabled, hearing-impaired, can’t really walk, seizures)
- Aleacia Di’onne Stancil, 9 months (premature, born addicted to drugs)
- Brandi Jondell Summers, 5 (cystic fibrosis)
- Amber Jean Swartz-Garcia, 7 (hearing-impaired)
- Ricky Lane Thomas Jr., 13 (severe behavior problems, could be violent)
- Wilfredo Torres (learning disability)
- Daffany Sherika Tullos, 7 (epilepsy)
- Alissa Marie Turney, 17 (ADHD)
- David Clayton Warner, 12 (epilepsy)
- Brittany Renee Williams, 7 (AIDS)
- David Edward Williams, 13 (mentally disabled and has seizures)
- Fredrick James Workman, 15 (ADHD and ODD — that is, oppositional defiant disorder)
- Daniel Ted Yuen, 16 (depression and other emotional problems)
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Ronald LeRoy Zellmer, who disappeared from Sioux City, Iowa on April 6, 1985 at the age of 31, and his car was found abandoned on a bridge just over in the border in Nebraska during the wee hours. Zellmer had depression and the police don’t seem to be sure whether he committed suicide or whether something else, such as abduction, happened to him.