The weather is terrible and everything going on in the world right now is terrible and the dashboard of my website (that’s my end) is experiencing technical difficulties that are extremely annoying to me, so I thought I’d share one good thing that’s happened recently.
Thanks in part due to the Charley Project and viewers like you, and in part due to a bunch of other people in law enforcement and such, and mainly cause of DNA Solves, this lady has been identified. Four years after they found her remains and six years after she was last seen alive at the age of eighteen, Juanita Diane Roxy Coleman is going home.
Now, I’m too tired and too annoyed with WordPress and the world to think straight right now. But I am happy that Juanita has her name back. And maybe, now they can figure out who killed her.
This week’s featured missing person is Racheal Dawn Hayson, a 14-year-old girl who disappeared from Richmond, Missouri on June 20, 1997. She’s described as white, 5’2 and 128 pounds (though she may have grown taller since then), with triple-pierced ears, a gap between her two front teeth, and small scars on her legs.
She had an argument with her mom on the day of her disappearance and left home angrily, and never returned. Her case was classified as a runaway for many years, and Racheal’s mom seems to have been hopeful, since when the mom died in 2008 her daughter was listed in the obituary as a survivor.
But it’s very unusual for there to be NO TRACE of a runaway in all this time — nearly a quarter-century now — and inevitably one wonders if something bad happened to Racheal. It’s hard to tell, due to a lack of available information in the case.
If still alive, and I hope she is, she’d be 39 today.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Paul Flores was charged with the murder of Kristin Smartback 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.