Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Aaron Tapasoa

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 Aaron Tapasoa, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on October 17, 2008.

Most agencies classify Aaron as Caucasian, but I made a judgement call and I believe he’s much more likely to be of Pacific Islander descent, for the following reasons:

  1. His appearance
  2. The fact that he “may have traveled to Samoa”
  3. Most importantly, the surname Tapasoa is almost entirely unique to Aaron himself, but the surname Tapusoa (a slight respelling) comes from the Pacific Islands.

If I’m wrong I’ll eat my words.

Getting back to Aaron, it says he associated with the homeless population and spent a lot of time on the beach. He’s classified as a runaway. Wherever he is, I hope he’s alive and well.

MP of the week: Catrina Jackson

This week’s featured missing person is thirteen-year-old Catrina Renee Jackson, who disappeared while walking to school in Sylvania, Georgia on May 30, 1986.

An article I found from just a few days after she went missing suggested she was a runaway, but the NCMEC has her case classified as a non-family abduction. In any case, I don’t have much on it. Catrina, who may be addressed by her middle name, would be 46 years old now, and, in two weeks, will have been gone for 33 years.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Vijaykumar Patel

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 Vijaykumar Parbhubhai Patel, an eighteen-year-old who disappeared from Aurora, Missouri on March 1, 1985. He used the nickname Vijay, or the Anglicized name Victor.

Patel’s family owned and operated the Sands Motel in Aurora, and he worked at the restaurant next door. He was last seen on his way to work his twelve-to-seven shift. He never arrived, and his car has never been located either.

Not much is known about his case, which only made it onto the internet relatively recently. If anyone in his family or circle of friends wants to reach out, they can email me or post in the comments below.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Cristian Sedeno

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 Cristian Arlyn Sedeno, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared from Honolulu, Hawaii on October 13, 2003. Cristian is of Caucasian, Filipino and Pacific Islander ancestry.

She is classified as a runaway but I’m kind of skeptical. For three reasons:

  1. It’s been over FIFTEEN YEARS. Sixteen, come October.
  2. Hawaii is a set of islands. I’m pretty sure you need to fly between the islands, and you definitely need to fly to get to the mainland, and for that you need identification. It seems like if Cristian had traveled anywhere they’d have traced her because she needs ID to travel, and if she’d stayed in the Honolulu area they’d have traced her because it’s not that big a place.
  3. Cristian’s mom was in an abusive relationship and preparing to leave that person. Did the abuser realize this, and do something to Cristian for revenge or to make her mom stay?

Regardless, Cristian is still missing, and still classified as a runaway with the NCMEC. If still alive she’d be 30 years old today.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Maureen Kelly

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 Maureen Leianuhea Kelly, a 19-year-old Pacific Islander woman who disappeared from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington on June 9, 2013.

Maureen told her friends she was going on a “spiritual quest” and to that end she removed all her clothes and walked off into the woods wearing only a fanny pack carrying some very basic wilderness supplies. She never returned. Her friends waited ten or twelve hours to report her missing.

My guess is she’s still in the forest, perhaps very near to the spot where she went missing. Temperatures that night dipped into the low forties; without any clothes on, she could easily have died of exposure.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Rachel Mellon

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 Rachel Marie Mellon, also known as Rachel Mellon Skemp, a thirteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Bolingbrook, Illinois on January 31, 1996. She is listed as Asian, but I think she may have some Caucasian ancestry as well.

Rachel had stayed home sick from school on the day of her disappearance. Her stepfather, Vince Mellon, said she was lying on the couch when he went to take the dog for a walk, and when he came back, she was gone.

Vince himself has been a suspect in Rachel’s case for years, though. Rachel had written in her diary that he kissed her and touched her inappropriately, and he had scratches on him after her disappearance. There just isn’t enough evidence at present to charge anyone, however.

MP of the week: Beverly Ward

This week’s featured missing person is Beverly Ann Ward, a 13-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom in Junction City, Kansas in the middle of the night on Independence Day, 1978. She was gone by the early morning hours, and is presumed to have been abducted by an intruder who climbed in through the window.