This week’s Flashback Friday case is Belinda VanLith, a 17-year-old girl who disappeared from the Little Eagle Lake area of Wright County, Minnesota on June 15, 1974. (I wrote an Executed Today entry set in Wright County.) She disappeared from a neighbor’s residence where she was house-sitting.
I looked up the name of the suspect, Timothy Joseph Crosby, in Newspapers.com and found several articles that mentioned him. He was very young when Belinda disappeared, only seventeen or eighteen, but according to court documents he’d already started abducting and sexually assaulting young women. This article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press talks about Belinda’s disappearance. As of 2013, anyway, Crosby was off the streets as a civilly committed “violent sexual recidivist.”
This week’s FF case is Natasha Marie Shanes, a six-year-old girl who was apparently abducted from her mother’s Jackson, Michigan home on May 8, 1985.
Although they never identified the abductor or found any bloodstains or the like, I’m pretty confident Natasha died around the time she was taken, because of her medical problems. She had a seizure disorder and needed medication for that. She was also slightly intellectually disabled and she had scoliosis, though to what degree I don’t know.
In the very unlikely event that Natasha is alive, she’d be 38 today.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Charles Christopher “Christy” Francis, a seven-year-old boy who disappeared from Santa Ana, California on April 9, 1979. He’d gone to work with his dad that day. (I’m not sure why, cause it looks like it was a school day.) Dad delivered water tanks. Charles disappeared while waiting for his dad to pick him up.
There hasn’t been a lot of press about this, either back then or now, alas. The police had some suspicion that it might have been a custody matter, but they seem to have ruled that theory out.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Donald Cary Ewalt, missing from El Centro, California on October 4, 1979 — 38 years ago this past Sunday. He was last seen in the company of three males and foul play is suspected in his disappearance. Ewalt was 22 at the time and would be 60 today.
For some reason the Texas Department of Public Safety is assisting. Shrug.
I checked for him in the Newspapers.com archives and found an article from 1972 in the Opelousas Daily World, a Louisiana paper, about a 15-year-old by that name. My Donald would have been that age in 1972. The Louisiana Donald had run away from home and gotten a job at Grand Canyon National Park, but after several weeks the park authorities got suspicious and called the cops, who called his parents, who sent him the bus fare to come back home.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Gloria Suzanne Korzon, who disappeared from Warrington, Pennsylvania on March 9, 1981. The case is a very sad but pretty typical example of domestic violence.
Due to her husband William’s attempt to cover up her absence, she wasn’t reported missing until July of that year. When Gloria’s family reported her disappearance to the police and they asked William about it, he lied and said she was visiting an aunt out of state.
Furthermore, the couple’s marriage had been pretty terrible. The police had been called to their home eight times, and Gloria left behind a list of times when William allegedly assaulted her; the list was three pages long.
William is, obviously, the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance, but no charges have ever been filed in her case.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Steven Dick Kirchhoff, who disappeared from Waterloo, Iowa on January 24, 1978. He was 22 years old. Foul play is strongly suspected in his case: Kirchhoff was a known drug dealer, he was allegedly carrying $8k in cash on the day of his disappearance, and a neighbor heard bumping noises and someone crying out “Oh God, don’t do this to me!”
He may have been killed by Richard Forsyth, who himself disappeared from Waterloo in October 1979. It’s possible that Forsyth met with foul play also, or he may have hopped the border into Canada.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Willie Ann Rucker, who went by her middle name. She was 27 and recently divorced when she disappeared from Waterloo, Iowa on April 8, 1979. Her family believes her boyfriend may have been involved; they were having problems.
I don’t have much on this case. Rucker’s son David Barrett, who was just a baby when she disappeared, became a professional football player, so there’s that.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is David Robert Sampson, a 21-year-old student at the University of Washington who disappeared from Seattle on March 1, 1977. I don’t know his major, but he was interested in “botany, hiking and environmental issues,” so perhaps it was something like biology.
Indications are Sampson left of his own accord; he took several possessions, including survival gear, a Bible and other religious materials, but no ID or cash. He may have joined some kind of cult; his case reminds me a bit of Robert Spurlock‘s. (I ought to do a Make-a-List Monday of cases where the MP is thought to have joined a cult.) It’s worth noting that Sampson disappeared at the tail end of the hippie era, and it sounds like he might have found that lifestyle agreeable.
But if he did join a cult, where has he been since 1977? Canada maybe? But if he left the country, how’d he cross the border without any identification?
I was able to get Sampson’s date of birth today from the Washington State Missing Person Search database. The anonymous author of the excellent Whereabouts Still Unknown blog has an entry for him as well. I couldn’t find anything about his disappearance in the newspaper archives, though, which isn’t surprising giving it was 1977 and he was a college student and a man at that. That profile of missing person is rarely covered in the news even today.
If he is still alive, and he may very well be, David Sampson would be 62 today. There’s a good chance his parents would be dead by now, but perhaps he has siblings or cousins who are still hoping for resolution in his case.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Wayne W. Hickman, who disappeared from Missoula, Montana on October 1, 1985. He was 27 years old. Hickman was going to hitchhike to the town of Superior, which Google Maps says is about an hour from Missoula, to have a look at a pickup truck that was for sale. I don’t know if he ever arrived there.
I have to wonder about possible foul play here, especially if Hickman was carrying a large amount of cash to buy the truck with. Perhaps he got picked up by the wrong person. But I don’t have much on the case.
Flashback Friday’s case (first time in awhile, I know) is Lilli Marlene Dunn, a 29-year-old Southgate, Michigan woman who was abducted from her own garage in the early morning hours of July 31, 1980. Two witnesses saw a man dragging Lilli, kicking and screaming, into his car, but they thought it was just a domestic quarrel and didn’t intervene.
It’s possible Lilli was a victim of the serial killer Coral Eugene Watts, but he was never charged in her case and he died in 2007.