Select It Sunday: Erica Baker

Chosen by Tara H., this case is Erica Nicole Baker, a nine-year-old who disappeared from Kettering, Ohio on February 7, 1999. Kettering is a suburb of Dayton, and about an hour and a half south of the hamlet where I grew up.

Erica went out to walk her aunt’s dog and never returned. The dog was found running around unaccompanied with its leash still attached, and eventually got picked up by Animal Control, but there was no sign of Erica.

She has been missing for 18 years, but we pretty much know what happened: Christian Gabriel was convicted of evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse after he confessed to running over Erica with a van, panicking and then disposing of her body. There are two other suspects who were thought to have been in the van at the time, but one of them died and the grand jury declined to indict the other one. Gabriel, who has since been released from prison, has retracted his confession and nobody knows where Erica’s body is.

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Select It Sunday: Hazel Alice Klug

This week’s Select It Sunday (sorry it took so long) was chosen by Rosalie R.: Hazel Alice Klug, who is her cousin. Hazel (who went by her middle name) was 23 when she disappeared from her Richmond, Virginia apartment sometime during the night of May 20-21, 1986. She spoke to her boyfriend on the phone at 11:30 p.m. and all was normal then, but she didn’t show up for work the next day and when the police were called to her apartment, all her stuff — including the dog — was left behind but Hazel was gone.

Significantly, one of the few things that disappeared with her was a large suitcase.

I can’t find any articles about this case, either recent or in the news archives, which is unfortunate. Hazel has been missing for 31 years. Sadly this wasn’t the first tragedy to befall her family; Find a Grave mentions an older sister who was killed by a drunk driver in 1981. Both of Hazel’s parents are now deceased as well.

Select-It… um… Monday: Amanda Fravel

Missy C. asked me to profile her sister, Amanda Lee Fravel, for Select It Sunday. I was going to do it on Sunday (naturally) but I just plumb forgot. I’m so sorry, Missy. I hope you forgive me. Anyway, I decided to do it today, because I’ve got another Select It Sunday lined up, and if I waited till next Sunday to profile Amanda, that would mean pushing my other case back yet another week. I suppose it’s the exposure, not the day, that matters.

Anyway. Amanda Fravel moved to Las Vegas after graduating high school and got a job at Taco Bell. She disappeared from there at the age of 20; she was last seen on June 13, 1986, when she left her apartment to visit her boyfriend and also pick up her paycheck. She never arrived at either place, and she left her pets without food at her apartment.

She was a regular hitchhiker and my guess is something terrible happened to her.

Select It Sunday: Ke’Shaun Vanderhorst

Kristen Y. selected Ke’Shaun Bryant Vanderhorst as this week’s Select It Sunday case. Like Peter Kema‘s and Relisha Rudd‘s, this is a case that really gets to me. Also like with those two, it’s as if the system opened up whole knew cracks just for Ke’Shaun to fall through. What’s more, the 22nd anniversary of this adorable little boy’s disappearance is tomorrow, Monday. He vanished from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 25, 1995, at the age of two years and three months.

I wrote about the case on my blog seven years ago, inserting my own commentary into Ke’Shaun’s Charley Project casefile. Since then there’s been an additional development: last October, Tina was charged with murder — not in Ke’Shaun’s disappearance, but in the case of a 64-year-old man whom she allegedly stabbed 77 times before setting his body on fire. She was homeless at the time, and was charged with┬ámurder, robbery, arson and “causing a catastrophe.”

I can’t find anything else about the case and don’t know if it has yet been resolved. It often takes a long time to resolve murder cases, as long as several years, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Tina is still awaiting trial. It’s been less than a year since she was charged, after all.

I wonder if this murder charge has prompted authorities to take another look at Ke’Shaun’s case. I can only hope so. Tina needs to pay for what she did to her son, and 2 1/2 to 7 years for child endangerment isn’t nearly enough.

If he is still alive — and he almost certainly is not — Ke’Shaun would be 24 years old today.

Select It Sunday: Cayce Lynn McDaniel

Bridget B. asked me to profile Cayce Lynn McDaniel‘s case for Select It Sunday; the 21st anniversary of her disappearance was last month. She was fourteen when she disappeared from Milan, Tennessee on August 16, 1996. She attended a church party and then someone dropped her off at home, which was unoccupied at the time. Cayce’s mom arrived home in the early hours of the next morning and found her daughter gone. She had had time to change clothes, grab some milk and cookies and turn on the TV before she disappeared.

I did a search and found this 2017 article about the case, but it doesn’t say anything new. A 2010 article says the police believe Cayce is dead.

Select It Sunday: Brittanee Drexel

Preston Winfrey, my new web guru, was given the honor of selecting my Sunday case this week, and he chose Brittanee Marie Drexel. Her case has been relatively high profile and bears similarities to Natalee Holloway’s: a beautiful high school student with everything going for her goes off to a resort town and is never seen again. She was seventeen and a junior when she disappeared from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on April 25, 2009. She was from New York and had gone to Myrtle Beach (without parental permission) for spring break.

In 2016, investigators announced they thought they knew what happened to her. The theory is that she was abducted, held against her will and gang-raped for several days. Her abductors planned to sell her into prostitution, but because her disappearance received such widespread publicity, they decided to kill her instead.

This theory is short on evidence, though, and although suspects have been named in the alleged kidnapping, rape and murder, no one has been charged and Brittanee has never been found.

Select It Sunday: Carla Vicentini

Vivi D., a woman from Brazil, asked me to profile fellow Brazilian Carla Vicentini. I was going to make her my MP of the week but decided to do a Select It Sunday case for her instead.

Carla was 22 and living in Newark, New Jersey on a cultural exchange program when she disappeared on February 9, 2006. Vivi D., when asking for me to give the case some publicity, said, “There was not a lot of publicity in her case since she was a student in Brazil, she was there only a month when it happened.” Carla’s Charley Project casefile notes that her case “has been well-covered in the media in Brazil and in Portuguese-language newspapers in New Jersey, but the mainstream American press has given it little attention.”

I haven’t updated Carla’s case since 2009, but I ought to. I found this 2010 article and this 2015 article, both from the Star-Ledger newspaper, with additional details about her case.

She was a very attractive young woman, didn’t speak much English, and was perhaps a bit naive — she grew up in a small farming community in Brazil, and Newark is a pretty rough city. She was last seen leaving a bar with a strange man; my guess is he was either a trafficker or, more likely, a garden-variety predator who wouldn’t take no for an answer, and that he knows what happened to her. The problem is that he has yet to be identified.