Pride Month: Edmond Tillman

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 Edmond Tillman, a fourteen-year-old boy who went missing from Manhattan on August 10, 2005. He is gay and had recently come out to his mother. He was supposedly dating someone older, and his case is classified as a runaway.

At this point, a full thirteen years later, I have to wonder if Edmond really did run away, or if did but he came to harm afterwards — perhaps trafficking. I also wonder if his coming-out to his mom was really as smooth as she says. A lot of LGBTQ teens run away because feel were rejected by their families.

I hope he turns up alive and well and happy, wherever he is.

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Pride Month: Robin Reed

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.

Pride Month: Tirrel Santiago

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 Tirrel Santiago, a sixteen-year-old who disappeared from Brooklyn, New York on August 20, 2005.

It’s noted that Tirrel “may dress in women’s clothes.” I have very little information on his disappearance, so I don’t know if he’s transgender or gay or just gender-nonconforming. The photos show someone who could be either male or female.

He was last seen at 306 Rodney Street, which is in the Williamsburg neighborhood. Google Street View shows a church at that address, specifically St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. It seems unlikely that Tirrel was attending religious services — August 20, 2005 was a Saturday — but perhaps there was some other event at the church that day.

I wish I knew more. Tirrel must have parents, siblings, friends, people who care about him, and it’s been almost thirteen years.

Pride Month: Dashad “Sage” Smith

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 Dashad Laquinn Smith, who not long before her disappearance had started using a new name, Sage. Sage was last seen in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 20, 2012, just weeks before her twentieth birthday.

It took me awhile to figure out Sage’s identity. The original articles about her said she sometimes dressed as a woman but specifically said she wasn’t trans. However, this feature article explains that Sage, who had previously identified as a gay man, had started identifying as a transgender woman. So here we are.

Sage’s life wasn’t easy.  It isn’t easy for most trans people, particularly trans women of color. She spent time in foster care in childhood after her mom was deemed unfit. Her apartment was paid for by the state because of the foster care thing, but she was working minimum wage jobs and barely getting by. She was studying cosmetology and dreamed of better things.

Not that much is known about Sage’s disappearance, because the person of interest in her case, Erik McFadden, the last person known to have seen her, went on a runner and hasn’t popped back up yet in five and a half years. Hmm…

It doesn’t look good. McFadden isn’t the only person of interest — some of Sage’s other acquaintances seem sketchy — but you have to wonder what is compelling him to stay out of sight for this long. And meanwhile, Sage has a loving family who misses her very much.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Rakesh Gopi

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 Rakesh Pal Gopi, an eighteen-year-old of Indian descent who disappeared from Pittsburg, California on December 4, 1991.

Rakesh was last seen in the 300 block of Cabrillo Place. Google Maps shows that is currently a cul-de-sac in a quiet residential neighborhood. Perhaps this young man was last seen at home.

Unfortunately I don’t know anything else about him, or his disappearance. Was he in college? High school? Was he born in the U.S. or was he an immigrant? What do the police think happened to him? I haven’t a clue.

If still alive, Rakesh would be 44 years old today.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Daylenn Pua

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 Daylenn Pua, an 18-year-old boy of Native Hawaiian descent who disappeared from Oahu, Hawaii on February 26, 2015. I found his Facebook page, and his final post was on that very day:

daylenn

“The hike” was Daylenn’s planned trip up the Haiku Stairs, aka the Stairway to Heaven. This is a trail in Oahu’s Koʻolau Mountain Range whose stunning views attract hikers on a near-daily basis, despite the fact that it’s so incredibly dangerous that it’s been closed to the public for over twenty years. Neither the threat of death nor the threat of a trespassing charge and a fine of up to $1,000 has deterred people from making the trek.

Daylenn was last heard from at 11:00 a.m. the day of his disappearance, when he took selfies on the Haiku Stairs and texted them to his loved ones. He never finished his hike and is presumed to be one of the trail’s victims.

This hasn’t stopped other theories from popping up on Reddit and elsewhere, though.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Sou Saechao

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 Sou Sio “Andy” Saechao, an eighteen-year-old who disappeared from Portland, Oregon on November 19, 2009.

Sadly, it looks like Andy’s disappearance is a suicide. He told people he was suicidal and left a note at home, and his car turned up on a bridge. Not sure which bridge, but Portland is on the Willamette River.

If he is still alive, Andy Saechao would be 27 years old today.