Select It Sunday: Leon Moncer

This week’s Select It Sunday case was chosen by Julie W.: it’s her father, Leon Arthur Moncer, who disappeared from Bellaire, Ohio at the age of 21. It was February 18, 1982 — 35 years ago yesterday.

Leon’s case has a number of odd aspects to it — some indications of foul play, but also indications that he may have just left on his own. He has been declared legally dead, but his family still hopes for answers.

(And can I have some more Select It Sunday suggestions? I’m running dry.)

Select It Sunday: Brenda Lambert

This case was chosen by ChristynShawn K.: her sister, Brenda Gail Lambert, has been missing from Bluefield, a small town in southern West Virginia, since July 26, 1992, and ChristynShawn had asked me to highlight Brenda’s Facebook page. I can do one better.

Brenda left all her belongings behind at home, including her car and the clothes she was wearing when she was last seen. She had filed a domestic violence complaint against someone, not sure who, before she disappeared. She was 23 years old and would be 47 today.

Five months later, in January 1993, Brenda’s boyfriend, 24-year-old Mark Anthony Cook, also disappeared without a trace, and he hasn’t turned up either. Either the cases are related or it’s a heck of a coincidence. Foul play is suspected in both disappearances.

Select It Sunday: Thomas James

Selected by Justin, this week’s SS case is Thomas James, a Universal Studios employee who disappeared from Los Angeles on June 18, 1998. I don’t have much about his disappearance but it doesn’t look like he left on his own. He left everything behind at his apartment, and his car turned up abandoned in Burbank, California.

If James is still alive he’d be 60 this year.

Select It Sunday: Shannon Verhage

This week’s Select It Sunday case was chosen by Tracy S.: Shannon Dale Verhage, who disappeared from Cedar Springs, Michigan on June 3, 1997, just twelve days from her first birthday.

It’s “virtually undisputed” what happened to Shannon: Marvin Gabrion killed her, along with her mother, nineteen-year-old Rachel Timmerman, and dumped them both in a lake in a national forest. Gabrion had raped Rachel shortly after Shannon’s birth, and Rachel and Shannon disappeared just a few days before Rachel was to testify against him. He later allegedly said he “killed the baby because there was nowhere else to put it.”

Michigan doesn’t have the death penalty, but because Rachel was killed on federal land, her murder was prosecuted under federal law and Gabrion was sentenced to death. He’s never been charged in Shannon’s disappearance, or the murder of a man whose body was found in the same lake, or the disappearances of two others he’s suspected of killing.

Select It Sunday: Sharon Baldeagle

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.

Select It Sunday: David Gionet

David Robert Gionet‘s brother’s fiancee asked me to profile him for Select It Sunday. David was 18 when he disappeared on March 9, 1983, near the campus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. His family has since found out that, contrary to popular belief (and contrary to what his Charley Project page says as of this writing), he wasn’t actually ON the campus. Here’s a flier I was given with the most updated information and a much better version of David’s photo.

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Needless to say, I’m going to update his case. But while we’re on the subject, can I have some more Sunday suggestions?

Select It Sunday: Matthew Pendergrast

Chosen by commenter Alpha75, Matthew David Pendergrast disappeared from Memphis, Tennessee on December 1, 2000. He was 23 years old and within weeks of graduating from Rhodes College when he dropped off the map.

From writings Matthew left behind when he disappeared, it looks like he might have had a nervous breakdown of some kind. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder both usually develop in a person’s late teens or early twenties. However, the cops don’t seem to be buying into the mental illness theory and are focusing on possible foul play instead.

Disturbingly, Matthew’s journal said something about going into the water, and they found his vehicle and the clothes he’d been wearing near a swamp. Whatever happened to him, he was probably naked or nearly so.

I did find this long feature article about Matthew’s disappearance in Memphis Magazine.