This week’s featured missing person is Heather Dawn Mullins Zimmerman, a 19-year-old who disappeared on May 26, 1997. She was married, but living with her parents while her husband was stationed with the Marines in Japan. She apparently disappeared after leaving her parents’ Gifford, Illinois home to attend a party in nearby Rantoul. She may have been dropped off near her parents’ home at 3:00 a.m., but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Another woman, 20-year-old Jamie Harper, disappeared from Rantoul in 2007. Both Jamie and Heather are missing under suspicious circumstances, and the police stated they had the same person of interest in both cases.
This week’s featured missing person is Virgil Wade Tackett, a 17-year-old boy from Ohio who was spending the summer up in Alaska when he disappeared while out on his skiff near Chichagof Island in the Alaskan Panhandle area on June 11, 1986.
His family seems to think he’s still alive and possibly suffering from amnesia; they have pointed to unconfirmed sightings in Alaska and Canada. I think it’s unlikely. But if still alive, Virgil would be 51 years old today.
I hope everyone is well and staying safe and healthy. Michael started work again today.
So they’re pretty sure they’ve found Aundria Bowman, a fourteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Michigan in 1989. Aundria was listed as a runaway for years, but her biological mother was adamant that her adoptive father, Dennis Bowman, had killed her. Aundria disappeared shortly after accusing Dennis of sexual abuse.
Dennis is a seriously sketchy character. In 1980, he attempted to kidnap a nineteen-year-old girl at gunpoint. She got away from him and he served six years in prison. In late 2019, he was charged with the 1980 murder of a 25-year-old Virginia woman, Kathleen Doyle. In January, still in jail awaiting trial for Doyle’s murder, he finally confessed to killing Aundria.
The police didn’t take long to find a body when they searched Dennis’s former property in Monterey Township, Michigan. I’m not sure if Dennis led them to it, or if the police just decided that the concrete slab was a good place to start digging. It could take weeks to identify the skeletal remains, and I’m not resolving Aundria’s case quite yet.
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 Miriam Daniela Guillen, who disappeared from Arleta, California on September 3, 2014, at the age of sixteen. She’s classified as a runaway.
Miriam’s hair was dyed blonde and cut in a mohawk at the time of her disappearance, and she has facial piercings, gauged ears and numerous tattoos. Her age-progression on her NCMEC poster shows what two of the tattoos are meant to look like: the spiderweb on her shoulder, and “HORROR” in large black letters on her upper chest. A pretty distinctive appearance.
Miriam is probably still alive, though she doesn’t seem to have surfaced on the radar in the past five years. She would be 21 today.
(I had pre-written cases for September 30 and October 1, using the app on my phone. I didn’t realize until very late on October 1 that neither of them went up, and in fact they seem to have vanished. I need to stop using that app to try to write entries; it never seems to work well. I am trying to reconstruct the entries from memory.)
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 Meredith Ann Medina, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Midwest City, Oklahoma on February 14, 1989. She may go by the nickname Mere or her middle name, Ann.
She’s classified as a runaway, and I don’t know anything else about her disappearance. However, it’s worth noting that Meredith’s stepmother, Nancy Jean Medina, also disappeared without a trace in the 1980s, four and a half years before Meredith did.
It could be just a coincidence that there are two women missing from the same family. Certainly I’ve seen numerous cases of multiple people in a family disappearing in completely unrelated instances. It is odd, though.
If still alive, Meredith is now 46 years old, 47 late this month.
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 Tymayrra Patricia Marie Ayala, who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on August 28, 2017, at the age of fifteen.
She is classified as a runaway. Her Facebook page was active until at least February 2018, several months after her disappearance, though I can only see the profile photos. It looks like she has an arrest record, as several of the available pics of her appear to be mug shots.
Tymayrra is 18 now. I hope she gets in touch with her family, or at least the authorities, soon.
Yesterday I wrote about how the police were looking into the possibility that “Beth Doe”, a young pregnant woman who was murdered, dismembered and dumped in a Pennsylvania river in 1976, might be runaway foster child Maggie Cruz.
Well, that possibility has been ruled out, as Madeline “Maggie” Cruz has been found alive and well and has spoken to the police.
I’m glad she’s all right, but that leaves the cops back to square one where Beth Doe is concerned. I wonder if she was killed by her husband — murder of pregnant women by the father of the baby is heartbreakingly common — and that’s why she was never reported missing.
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 Diane Marie Aviles Colon, a fourteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico on September 9, 1999.
Her case is classified as a runaway and it’s noted she may have traveled to Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan. But that was twenty years ago and who knows where she is now, or even if she’s still on the island. Puerto Rico was trashed by Hurricane Maria and hasn’t recovered, and a lot of Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland US as a result of the hurricane.
For a runaway, Diane has been missing a very long time.
So I wrote a blog entry on the WordPress app on my phone last night about latest missing persons news. But then the entry refused to upload, no matter how many times I tried to get it to. It wasn’t online at all, only on my phone, so I couldn’t even use my computer to upload it. Grr. Lot of time wasted. Now I will try my best to recreate it.
Some cold case missing persons have been resolved:
- Edward “Ashton” Stubbs disappeared from Dickinson, North Dakota on June 17, 2013, a few days before his sixteenth birthday. He was from Texas and had gone up to North Dakota to stay with a cousin and work a summer job. He disappeared from his job site. Ashton’s skull was found on private property in Dickinson in December. It has just been identified. His death is under investigation.
- Sheila Sherrell Franks, age 37, disappeared from Eureka, California on February 2, 2014. A woman of similar appearance, Danielle Bertolini, had disappeared a few days earlier, and people thought their cases might be connected. In 2015, Danielle’s skull was found in the Eel River. Now Sheila’s remains have been identified; her femur, or part of it, turned up in June, near the mouth of the Eel River. Unlike Danielle’s death, Sheila’s death has not (yet) been labeled a homicide, but it is considered “suspicious.”
- Jo Anne Dolly Burmer has been identified, forty-six years after the 25-year-old disappeared in 1973. A fragment of her skull was found in 1993, but it wasn’t until 2017 that it was entered into the DNA database, and it wasn’t until now that there was a match. As nothing else has been found or is likely to be, probably we will never know what caused her death, but I wonder about exposure. This article is very detailed and talks about Jo Anne’s background and her son, who was put in foster care after her disappearance and later adopted by another family.
Some other news:
- The police have a new lead on the possible identity of “Beth Doe”, a young pregnant woman who was raped and brutally murdered in 1976. Her body was dismembered, stuffed in three suitcases and thrown off a bridge into the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania. They think it’s possible that Beth Doe may be Madelyn “Maggie” Cruz, a sixteen-year-old foster child who ran away. They’re trying to find relatives of this Maggie Cruz to get DNA from them to test. I think it’s a long shot.
- Georgia “Nadine” Kirk‘s son Ted has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for stealing his mom’s Social Security benefits after her disappearance and presumed death. Nadine was 98 years old and in poor health in 2010, the last time anyone saw her. She was reported missing in 2015, and Ted was unable to explain her absence. It seems likely that she simply died of age-related natural causes and Ted, who hadn’t worked since 1980, disposed of her body and kept cashing her checks. Fifteen months in prison, and $30k restitution, seems light, given the circumstances, and the fact that $80k in total was taken from taxpayers. Nadine’s body has never been found.
- Bernard Brown, the ex-boyfriend of Moreira “Mo” Monsalve, has been charged with her murder. Moreira disappeared from Hawaii in 2014. Her body hasn’t been found and they haven’t said much about the case against Brown, but it seems likely it’ll be circumstantial and possibly include cell phone ping evidence. Murder-without-a-body cases aren’t that common in Hawaii (or anywhere) but other examples include Bongak “Jackie” Koja in 1997, Masumi Watanabe in 2007, and of course Peter Kema in 2017.
- Nancy Beaumont has died at age 92, 53 years after her children Jane, Arnna and Grant disappeared at the respective ages of nine, seven and four. The Beaumont children have never been found and their disappearance is one of the most famous unsolved mysteries in Australia’s history. Their father, Grant “Jim” Beaumont, is alive, but is also in his nineties and I think it’s unlikely he will find answers on this side of the mortal plane.
- The police have released a new sketch of one of Christine Eastin‘s abductors, based off of a recent witness description. I think that’s a reeaaaallly long shot. It’s a rough drawing, this witness’s memory is by now almost fifty years old, and at the time they apparently didn’t realize the significance of what they saw and so they probably took little notice of it. Christine disappeared in 1971 at the age of 19.
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 Ivan Barela, a fifteen-year-old boy who disappeared from Ocean Beach in San Francisco on the afternoon of November 2, 1986.
He went to take the dog for a walk along the beach and never returned. I’m not sure the dog was ever located. There was a surfing tournament being held at the beach that day but I’m not sure if Ivan went to watch.
In spite of the site of his disappearance (and Ivan isn’t the only person on the Charley Project who went missing from Ocean Beach), drowning is considered an unlikely explanation. He had a history of running away, but police think foul play was probably what caused Ivan’s disappearance.
I wish I knew why about the case — why they think foul play might have been involved.