Well, it happened

A year and a half ago I wrote on this blog about a Supreme Court decision that I was pretty sure was going to wind up affecting some of the Charley Project missing persons cases. And, lo and behold, it has.

I just started writing up Faith Lindsey‘s a murder-without-a-body case. Charges were filed against her boyfriend, then dismissed because of this Supreme Court decision that meant the state of Oklahoma did not have jurisdiction, then charges were refiled in federal court and the murder case is pending there.

Now, I might have a slight interest in reading about legal rulings of this kind, but I am not sure the average Charley Project reader has the same interest. It seems to me that a paragraph about the McGirt ruling and its significance would probably just clog up Faith’s casefile.

My husband suggested I say “dismissed on jurisdictional grounds and then refiled in federal court”, and then add the McGirt info in a footnote or something. Hmm.

So many watery graves

Due in part to the activites of Adventures with a Purpose (and they are awesome, check them out and give them money or something), it seems like there have been quite a few missing persons are turning up inside their cars inside lakes and rivers lately. I have many cases to resolve.

Most recently we’ve got, in no particular order:

  1. Miriam Ruth Hemphill, 84, missing from Oak Ridge, Tennessee since July 22, 2005. Her vehicle was found in Melton Hill Lake with human remains inside.
  2. Samantha Jean Hopper, 19, and her unborn baby, and her 1-year-old daughter, Courtney Esther Danielle Holt., missing from Russellville, Arkansas since September 11, 1998. Their car was found in eight feet of water in Pope County, Arkansas, although the news articles I’ve found haven’t said which specific body of water.
  3. Judith Ann Chartier, 17, missing from Chelmsford, Massachusetts since June 5, 1982. This was a surprise, as everyone had suspected foul play in her case. But it turned out she’d (probably accidentally) driven her car into the Concord River in Billerica, Massachusetts. The remains inside have already been identified as hers.
  4. Van Thay “Stephanie” Nguyen, 26, and her two children, 4-year-old Kristina Thay Nguyen and 3-year-old John Thai Nguyen, missing from Cincinnati, Ohio since April 18, 2002. Their vehicle was found in the Ohio River in October, something which isn’t terribly shocking since Stephanie had threatened to drive into the river and they were last seen near a boat ramp.
  5. Brian E. Goff, 64, and his 55-year-old girlfriend Joni E. Davis, missing from St. Clairsville, Ohio since June 10, 2018. Their car was found in the Ohio River with two bodies inside, still seat-belted in.

In these cases where multiple people were involved, I am not sure what to do at this point. Like, we can safely assume that the human remains inside Miriam Hemphill’s car are Miriam’s. But when people disappear like this and years or decades later it turns out they drove into water, sometimes not every person can be recovered. Like, it’s entirely possible that the remains found in the Nguyen’s car belong to just one or two of them, and the river took the other person.

Of course in such a case the individuals not found in or near the vehicle would be presumed dead as well, but the Charley Project usually keeps the case up until remains are found, regardless of what the circumstances indicate.

I’ll start sorting it out tomorrow I guess.

MP of the week: Adriana Bejarano

This week’s featured missing person is, like the case I was discussing earlier, another obscure missing child case that for whatever reason never seems to have made it into the NCMEC database: Adriana M. Bejarano, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared from her Ephrata, Pennsylvania home on November 28, 1988. From all appearances she left her house voluntarily, but my guess is she didn’t intend to be gone as long as she has been.

She’s described as Hispanic and Colombian-American. 5’3 and 125 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She had braces at the time of her disappearance and may have been last seen wearing a black trench coat and jeans.

I have to wonder if perhaps she had a secret boyfriend, maybe a much older man, and this is the person she went out to meet.

If still alive, Adriana would be in her late forties.

Still thinking about the Barbara Kelley/Red Baird case

It’s not often that I come across an old case of a missing child from the US that I’ve literally never heard of in my life, but when it happened the other day with 17-year-old Barbara Joe Kelley, missing since 1950, and I immediately added it to Charley.

Before the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office put up a listing of unsolved cold case homicides and missing persons (in chronological order with Barbara at the very bottom), she wasn’t listed anywhere. I’m hoping now that she’s on Charley, other databases will follow suit and add her. I found a better quality copy of the second photo I originally posted and replaced the image today.

I don’t think it’s possible to arrest anyone at this point; whoever did this is almost certainly dead. But it might still be possible to find Barbara and lay her to rest. And in any case, Barbara, Henry “Red” Baird, and this tragic mystery should be remembered and honored.

Gayle Patrick Irish seems like a good suspect to me. The fact that he is said to have been in a mental hospital at the time of his confession is not necessarily an indication he was mentally ill; back in those days a lot of state mental hospitals had dedicated units for “sexually disordered offenders” whose “disorder” was merely that they couldn’t seem to stop raping people or molesting kids.

At the time he was arrested for the sex crime for which he was incarcerated at the time of his confession to killing Barbara, Red, and the Marysville man, he had a hunting rifle in his possession. The police confiscated it, but they don’t seem to have paid any particular mind to it at the time. And why should they have? Irish wasn’t, at the time, suspected of having committed any crimes with a gun; all of his known offenses had been committed with his penis.

By the time Irish made his statements about the murders, the rifle had been lost and it was apparently never found. What a great shame that it was, cause it would have been nice to see if they could have made a ballistics comparison with the Kelley/Baird and Marysville crime scenes.

Unfortunately Irish disappears from the headlines after they were unable to locate Barbara’s body. I don’t know what happened to him or if he ever recanted his statements. If he was alive today he’d be over a hundred by now.

Thoughts?

AP dump today, first in awhile

Today I updated what felt like about a million missing persons’ age-progression photos. As is the custom, those aren’t crowding up the Charley Project’s updates page; instead I’ll list them below

  1. LaMoine Jordan Allen
  2. April Dawn Andrews
  3. Bob Louis Richard Boyes
  4. Laronda Marie Bronson
  5. Gina Dawn Brooks
  6. Kellie Marie Brownlee
  7. Olivia Addison Edwards-Tuttle
  8. Randi Layton Evers
  9. Robert Joseph Fritz
  10. Jose Francisco Fuentes Pereira
  11. Izar Isaac Godinez Sanchez
  12. Royce Henson
  13. Ethan James Hernandez
  14. Melissa Suzanne Highsmith
  15. Mark Joseph Himebaugh
  16. Alice Fay Jefferson
  17. William Ebenezer Jones III
  18. Karen Beth Kamsch
  19. Dennis Lloyd Martin
  20. Laureen Ann Rahn
  21. Benjamin Melvin Roseland
  22. Aaron Cody Stepp
  23. Marisa Velasco
  24. Mary Anne Wesolowski
  25. Shawn White

Info released in Kristin Smart case

Paul Flores was charged with the murder of Kristin Smart back in April. Last week a judge unsealed court documents about the case and the information contained therein is pretty horrifying.

It looks like Paul may have been a serial rapist since as far back as the late 90s. (Kristin disappeared in 1996.) TWENTY-NINE women have accused him of “sexual misconduct” and general creepy behavior. Four of those women have said he drugged and raped them. One of them said she told Paul he was hurting her, but he wouldn’t stop and forced a ball gag into her mouth. When the police searched his home they found rape-themed pornography and homemade videos of Paul having sex with different women who appeared to be drifting in and out of consciousness.

Paul’s father, Ruben Flores, is believed to have buried Kristin’s remains under his deck, then later moved them. Police found a patch of disturbed soil there with traces of blood, though they couldn’t get DNA. A man who rented a room from Ruben said Ruben had spoken about the case and referred to Kristin as a “dirty slut.” I guess we know where Paul gets his attitude from.

Yeah, the circumstances are all starting to add up.

And I keep thinking that if the police hadn’t dropped the ball in 1996, perhaps all those women would not have been victimized by Paul Flores in his later years.

46th anniversary of Wendy Eaton’s disappearance

As this article notes, 15-year-old Wendy Eaton disappeared from Media, Pennsylvania on May 17, 1975, 46 years ago today. She was walking away from her home, towards the downtown area, when she vanished. Dogs tracked her scent to an intersection, then lost the trail, suggesting a car picked her up.

There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of evidence as to what happened to her (though the article does provide a clothing description I hadn’t had previously). If she’s still alive, Wendy would be 61 today, turning 62 on the 26th. Sadly I think she’s still fifteen.

MP of the week: Josie Meadows

This week’s featured missing person is Josie Taylor Meadows, an eighteen-year-old girl who was last seen in Huntsville, Ohio on March 2, 2017. There are very few details available in her disappearance, or about Josie herself. I know she might need medication “for unspecified reasons” and she was once arrested for underage drinking. And that’s about it.

I hope Josie is still alive. She is 23 years old now if she is. It’s been four years now and I wonder why there has been no news about it.

Per police, Kristin Smart’s body was buried in Paul Flores’s dad’s yard but got moved

More info has come out since the recent arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores for Kristin Smart‘s 1996 disappearance and presumed murder. Paul has been charged with murder and his dad, Ruben, as an accessory: authorities believe he helped hide Kristin’s body.

Now the police are saying that the Floreses buried Kristin’s remains in Ruben’s yard, but “recently” moved them to another location. And furthermore, that Paul is a serial rapist and “dozens” of women have come forward about his “sexual assaults and predatory behavior.”

None of this is terribly surprising to me. I don’t think it would surprise anyone who’s followed this case over the years.

If Paul had just confessed to Kristin’s murder at the time, owned up and apologized and taken some kind of plea bargain, he might very well be out of prison by now.

Honestly I despise him for torturing the Smart family over the past 25 years, as much as I do for Kristin’s killing. I don’t think there is any worse pain you can cause a family, than make their child disappear without a trace and never be found. At least my parents know where my two dead brothers are. At least they had a chance to bury them properly, and can visit their graves, and know they’re not scared or sad or suffering.

They finally made an arrest in the Kristin Smart case

Well, it’s about time: Paul Flores has been charged with murder in the 1996 disappearance of Kristen Denise Smart. They were both students at Cal Poly when she went missing and she was last seen in his company on campus. He’s been a suspect pretty much ever since. Paul’s father, Ruben, has been charged with being an accessory to the murder.

It’s been a quarter-century. I had thought this would never happen, unless they found Kristen’s body. As far as I know, they haven’t. I don’t know whether they just decided there was some time, or if some other evidence came up, or what.

I would think the Smart family would have mixed feelings about this day — justice will be done, but their daughter isn’t coming back and it’s official now.