I’ve got some cases with new photos for you (actually posted on November 30) and some updated APs as well (posted today).
- Paul Edward Buckley
- Dwayne Allen Chick
- Troy Whyle Moncrief
- Theodore Mark Stover
- Joseph Patrick Varvel
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Martha Ann Dicks, a 19-year-old who disappeared from Sumter, South Carolina on March 29, 1972. I’ve only got one photo of her and it’s of very poor quality. Martha’s sister said she was a lesbian, but she dated men sometimes; perhaps she was bisexual. I wonder if she was transgender; she liked to wear men’s clothing and used the name “Clyde.” She may have been pregnant at the time of her disappearance.
Serial killer Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins knew Martha and confessed to her murder sometime before his execution in 1991. Several of his ten confirmed victims were people known to him, which is unusual; serial killers usually murder strangers. The murder is also unusual in that it was an interracial crime; most murders, including serial murders, are intra-racial — that is, both killer and victim are of the same race. Pee Wee Gaskins was white and Martha Dicks was black.
In any case, Martha “Clyde” Dicks was never found. If she were alive today she would be 63. Her baby, if she actually was pregnant, would be about 44.
This week’s MALM is of MPs who were last seen at the bus stop or bus station. It seems to me that people, especially women and children, are kind of vulnerable at bus stops. They’re often standing close to the curb, within grabbing distance of passing motorists. People who are waiting for the bus are often tired, distracted, perhaps hungry, perhaps with their hands full of shopping or whatever, and just generally not at their best. Maybe the weather is terrible; maybe it’s raining or snowing or blisteringly cold, or maybe it’s humid and 95 degrees in the shade. And anyone who’s waiting for a bus obviously wants to go somewhere, and if someone pulls up and offers them a car ride to their destination — especially if it’s someone they know — the person might just say yes.
I did exclude people who were last seen walking towards or away from a bus stop. There are quite a few of those. But if a person was at the bus stop about to leave, or was about to board or even had already boarded, I put them on the list (provided, in the latter instance, that the bus hadn’t left yet).
- Ashok Ankam
- Paget Renee Barr
- Carol Ann Batterman
- Susan Robin Bender
- James Elwood Brady
- Allen Briscoe Jr.
- Larhonda Marie Bronson
- Jose Moreno Caballero
- Fernando Paul Cardenas
- Kevin Andrew McCarthy Collins
- Ingrid Siomara Contreras
- Thwana Mithsell Darrough
- Kimberly Sue Doss
- Jeremiah Edward Foco*
- Mary Frances Gregory
- Gwendolyn M. Hooser
- Sandra Lee Hopler
- Rita Mae Hughes
- Barbara Ann Hutchinson
- Rochelle Maria Ihm
- Willie Mae Jackson
- Matthew Ellis Keith
- Joseph A. Krainak Jr.
- Alexandria Joy Lowitzer
- Faloma Luhk
- Maleina Quitugua Luhk
- Suzanne Gloria Lyall
- Heather Ann MacCrossen
- Kimberly Ann Mallard
- Pedro Castro Martinez
- Marta Alicia Michel
- Jackson Alexander Miller
- Alan Lee Morse
- Judith Erin O’Donnell
- Ariza Maria Olivares
- Carmen Maria Owens
- Byron Eric Page
- Francisco Robles Perez
- Annette Deanne Sagers
- Philistin Saintcyr
- Lloyd Melvin Thomas
- Kimberly Faye Thrower
- Delight Marie Watson
- John Albert Weichelt
- Billy Wellman
- Francis Loretta Heath Wells
- Nancy Debra Willis
This week’s Select It Sunday is Sharon Baldeagle (often named as Sharon Bald Eagle), chosen by Fluttergirl. She was twelve when she disappeared on September 18, 1984, and her case has for some reason fascinated me since I started getting interested in MPs, back when I was the same age that Sharon was when she was taken. I actually blogged about her once before, exactly three years and one week ago.
Sharon and a fifteen-year-old friend ran away from Eagle Butte, South Dakota, which is on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, the fourth-largest reservation in the U.S. Sharon was Native American, presumably Cheyenne River Sioux, and probably her friend was too. They were hitchhiking in Casper, Wyoming, almost a six-hour drive from home, when they got picked up by Royal Russell Long, a truck driver who took them to his house in Evansville. There he attacked them, raping the older girl and beating Sharon. Sharon’s friend escaped and went for help, but by the time the authorities arrived at the scene, Long and his other captive were gone.
Long wasn’t arrested until the following year; by then he’d gone to New Mexico. He claimed Sharon was alive and well the last time he saw her, but let’s face it, what are the chances of that? He was convicted of two counts of kidnapping — that of Sharon and her friend — and died in prison 25 years ago.
Long was probably serial killer; he’s also a suspect in the cases of Carlene Brown, Christy Gross, Deborah Rae Meyer, Jayleen Dawn Baker, Charlotte June Kinsey, and Cinda Leann Pallett, who ranged in age from ten to nineteen. Carlene and Christy disappeared together from a rodeo in Rawlins, Wyoming in July 1974, and Deborah and Jayleen disappeared, nineteen days apart, from the same area in August of that year. Cinda and Charlotte from a fair in Oklahoma in 1981 — Long was actually charged with their murders, but the case was dropped for lack of evidence. Only Christy and Jayleen’s bodies were ever found.
I think it’s pretty obvious what must have happened to Sharon; I only wish her family had answers. Her father was alive as 2013 and still hoping to find her — he looked all over the country for her. I’m not sure if he’s still living as he had cancer in 2013, but I can’t find an obituary for him.
I wonder if anyone’s ever written a book about Royal Russell Long. Serial killers are a popular topic in literature, after all. If someone has, I’d love to read it.
I posted one runaway case with today’s updates, a girl from Philadelphia. I won’t say her name because, God willing, her case will get removed eventually and I don’t want this blog entry coming back to haunt her later when she applies for things like rental accommodation and college and a job.
She’s been missing since mid-October 2015 — almost thirteen months. Usually I wait two years to post kids classified as runaways, but I sometimes make exceptions if the runaway is under 14. (Don’t ask me why 14 is my arbitrary cutoff. It just is.) In this case, the girl was thirteen and a half years old.
She’s listed as 5’2 but she’s probably grown an inch or two in the past year. She’s Hispanic, but I would have mistaken her for black. She certainly seems to enjoy fixing her hair in African-American styles; one photo I found showed her with braided extensions down to her waist. But I looked up her surname, and although it doesn’t sound at all Spanish, a Puerto Rican university bears that name.
I found her Facebook account, which is not uncommon in runaway cases. Loads of them are on Facebook, and many keep active accounts even while they’re missing. I also found the girl’s Twitter account — now THAT I’m pretty sure I’ve never found before, not for a missing person. To check and see I searched charleyproject.org for the keyword “twitter” and came up with only a link to Charley’s own Twitter feed and links to the Twitter accounts of two relatives of MPs.
Of course I could only see what this girl chose to make public, but she hadn’t updated the public part of those accounts since well over a year before her disappearance — May 2014 for Facebook, July 2014 for Twitter. (And she has 496 Twitter followers, over 5 times more than my personal Twitter has.) I snagged several pictures of her from both accounts, and wound up with twelve photos altogether, far more than average. I could have added more, actually, but generally I stop at twelve.
Now, I have no idea what her home life was like before she disappeared. All I know is the street where she lived in Philadelphia, and the elementary school she attended. (Oh, and that she has at least two brothers, probably three, maybe more. That info came from her Twitter.) I checked the school website and it’s a K-8. If you go by her age, she was probably in seventh grade, perhaps eighth, when she went missing. That’s all I know about her personal circumstances before she disappeared.
But nevertheless, the information I uncovered while putting together this child’s casefile just made me feel sad. According to the NCMEC and NamUs, she already had at least one tattoo, and perhaps more, by the time she went missing. Some of her pictures betrayed her age, but others did not; she was clearly trying to look much older than she was. One tweet, posted when she was eleven years old, said, in part, that she was “mad as SHIT” because she liked a boy who didn’t like her back. (I don’t want to quote the whole tweet on here.) Her Facebook page had a photo montage with the caption reading “Trust No Bitch.” When she posted that image, she was two weeks past her twelfth birthday.
Let me emphasize that I am not condemning this girl for her makeup and her social media posts. I think some of them are unwise, but she’s a kid, and kids make mistakes. Certainly I’ve made serious mistakes before about what I post on social media, and will probably keep doing so, and I’m an adult. I just think it’s sad because, from what limited information I have, it looks like she was growing up way too fast.
And now she’s been missing for over a year. There’s a good chance she’s got caught up in the child prostitution trade, drugs, that sort of thing. Child traffickers see kids like that as fresh meat. A child can get snatched up and devoured by those vipers within a few days of leaving home. If this girl has gotten involved with that sort of thing, as a substantial percentage of runaways do, she could be anywhere in the country, or even elsewhere in the world.
She might be too ashamed by what has happened to her to call home. She want to call home but be prevented through threats of violence or worse.
Or she might be dead, lying a slab in a morgue somewhere, or in a potter’s field. Or perhaps still undiscovered, in a shallow grave or a landfill. Think of Syllania Edwards, for example, who ran away from Oklahoma and turned up dead — on that notorious mesa in New Mexico, the youngest known victim of more than half a dozen women murdered by a serial killer who remains unidentified.
Wherever she is, this girl from Philadelphia, I hope she’s safe, and I hope she turns up alive and able to put her life back together.
Missing persons cases, particularly adult MPs, are not often treated all that seriously by the police. It used to be a lot worse, though. For example, it used to be that teens were automatically classified as runaways and the cops didn’t even bother to search for them. See this example (courtesy of Peter Henderson) regarding the 1972 disappearance of Carlene Sessions Tengelsen from Macon, Georgia:
The Macon Police would not take a formal missing person’s report for 24 hours and when they did they said Carlene was not missing, she was just a teen runaway who would be home soon. But Carlene never came home.
Finally at the Tengelsens’ request the car was dusted for fingerprints but none were found.
The family quickly realized they would have to head up the search for their daughter themselves. For weeks teens from Carlene’s high school would fan out looking for her, at the end of the day they would come home in tears.
Carlene’s case was treated like most missing teen’s in the seventies, “toe-tag-cold from the get-go,” her sister Joanette said.
Two years later the Macon police wrote her mother a note asking if she had come home yet, they wanted to close her file. They said it was sill an “active investigation.” Her family laughed. If that was the case why did they not know she was still missing, they wondered.
[The above quote in italics is courtesy of Peter Henderson and used with permission.]
I’ve got several cases on the Charley Project where the MP’s investigation file just up and disappeared — thrown away, “borrowed” and never returned, accidentally or intentionally destroyed, or simply misplaced. And as the years pass and the original police officers move on or retire, the police department just might forget about the MP entirely. Somebody, usually a concerned relative, has to file a second report, and then the investigation has to start all over again and this time perhaps it’s been decades.
This doesn’t happen as often as it used to, because of computers and the internet and digitizing everything, but I’m sure it still happens on rare occasions.
Anyway, this list is of cases where all the records, or a significant part of the records, got lost.