MP of the week: Jacqueline Cooper

This week’s featured missing person is Jacqueline Cooper, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Modesto, California on November 12, 1976. If still alive, she’d be 71. But she’s not still alive.

Jacqueline’s case is one of those where we basically have the gist of what happened to her, we just don’t know where she is. She and at least three other women, Mary Louise Watkins, Hester Lee Chandler and Patty Gay Toliver, are presumed victims of serial killer James Carlin Toliver. (Patty was James’s wife. She and Hester aren’t on Charley for want of photos.)

Toliver died of a heart attack in 1980, just after shooting his last victim to death and lugging $98,000 in looted money back to his car. (Out of curiosity I looked up how much $98k in $100 bills weighed, wondering if Toliver had keeled over from the effort of carrying it. Nope: just 2.161 pounds.) He was never convicted of any of his crimes and his many secrets, including the location of his other victims’ bodies, to his grave.

As to other matters: I am well, and staying at home with Michael. Today was the first day I had left the house in over a week (other than to get the mail and walk the dog); I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refills. My family is well and so are my friends.

Sitting there all day staring at my phone doing nothing but reading COVID-19 news (which is all bad) is not doing wonders for my mood. Although crime news is quite minimal at the moment, I am going to try and do some extensive Charley updating tomorrow.

Stay safe people, wash your hands, and unless you are on an essential errand or work in an essential job, practice social distancing and STAY HOME.

MP of the week: Kara Vaughn

This week’s featured missing person is Kara Enid Vaughn, a 40-year-old woman missing from Natchitoches, Louisiana since November 3, 1993. Her car, a white 1978 Honda, is missing also.

She had previously threatened to drive into the river, but searches of the river turned up nothing. The circumstances of her disappearance are unclear. If still alive, Kara would be 66 today.

Well, this is messed up

So I saw this case posted on NamUs and Googled her to start the process of putting her on Charley too. And I found this article. I don’t think the poor woman, Julie Mott, qualifies for the Charley Project, but her case is certainly puzzling and disturbing.

Julie died of natural causes on August 8, 2015. She was only twenty-five. On August 15, her loved ones held a memorial service for her. Sometime after the service, before the body could be interred, it disappeared. It has never been found.

I think I speak for everyone when I say: WHO DOES THAT?!!!

They have a person of interest, per the article:

A year later, surveillance video was given to San Antonio Police by Mission Park Funeral Home of Mott’s former boyfriend, Bill Willburn, twice attempting to enter the funeral despite previously being served a criminal trespass warrant.

Wilburn was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal trespassing.

He has consistently denied stealing Mott’s remains and was never charged with the crime.

Well, the thought of Willburn being involved is …icky, to say the least. I don’t know whether he did it or not, of course. And I don’t know which is worse, the idea that Julie’s body was stolen by a man who loved her (it’s happened before) or that it was stolen by a stranger for god knows what nefarious purpose.

Julie’s family sued the funeral home and was awarded $8 million. They’ve advertised a reward for the return of her remains, but they have never been found and I doubt they ever will be.

Wondering if they’re still missing

I was going through an archived 1972 issue of the Philadelphia Daily News that has an article about missing persons cold cases in the city. Almost all of them are people I have never heard of and I inevitably wonder if they are still missing.

Beverly Sharpman is still missing, as is Dorothy Forstein (though she’s not on Charley). Lydia Zayas had been missing for five years by the time the article ran. Minnie Seeds had been missing for seventeen years, William Molan for six years, and Domenick Caruso for ten years, and I have no idea whether any of them have been found.

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MP of the week: Stephanie Griffin

This week’s featured missing person is Stephanie Regina Griffin, a 24-year-old woman who disappeared from Tampa, Florida on September 28, 1989. She might have been seen at a local bus stop at Christmas that year, but that was never confirmed and there’s been no sign of her since.

I don’t have very much on this case and unfortunately the only two available photos of her are somewhat out of date; they’re from the early eighties, when Stephanie was in high school.

If still alive, she would be 55 today.

MP of the week: Arisoneide Gosselin

This week’s featured missing person (I forgot to put it up yesterday, sorry) is Arisoneide Oliveira Gosselin, who disappeared from Turlock, California on May 28, 1992. She was 31. She was from Brazil and moved to the US at age 23, after she married an American.

Whether her disappearance is related to her troubled marriage I don’t know, but it seems highly likely that she met with foul play. She appears to have been a responsible person and a devoted mother, and she left all her belongings behind as well as her kid, and her husband was using drugs and in no position to take care of the child.

Anyone have any idea how to pronounce her name?

A bad photo is better than none at all (and other thoughts on recent updates)

Just added Amanda Elise Southern to Charley. The 28-year-old woman disappeared from a nightclub in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana 26 years ago. Unfortunately the only photo I could find of her is absolutely terrible, but what can you do?

Reading the articles about how her ex tried to SELL THEIR KIDS (albeit to their grandparents) after her disappearance, I was struck by how much confidentiality and privacy norms have changed in the past few decades.

I can understand publicizing the kids’ information because for awhile they were missing. (When Amanda’s parents refused to pay for custody of the children, the dad took off with them and was on the lam for over a month.) But then when in the articles talking about how they were found, there was all sorts of information about the children and what they had been through, including the fact that they were believed to have been sexually abused. That kind of thing would not be published in the newspaper today.

I hope the kids are all right. I think Amanda’s parents got custody of them after they were found with their father. It seems super unlikely that she would have just walked away, what with one of the kids having disabilities, her parents living out of state and the children’s father overseas.

Some other random thinking-out-loud stuff:

  • I am not sure that Courtney Corrinna Holden is really white. She is pretty dark-skinned and looks more likely to be Hispanic or maybe Native American. Certainly I’ve seen mistakes in this area before. She is adopted, but one article mentions that she was in touch with her biological brother, so it seems like this is something the police should know for sure. Shrug.
    In any case, her story is incredibly sad. Especially the details about her family nickname “Cinderella” and her son calling his grandmother “mom” and his uncle “dad.” The articles I read said her son even did this before Courtney went missing. I cannot imagine how sad and scared and trapped Courtney must have felt, and I doubt she’s alive today.
  • The guy Melissa Ann Jordon was last seen with is SERIOUSLY bad news. Judges see a lot of crazy stuff and I was stuck by that judge saying Mr. Nesbitt was one of the most violent and dangerous criminals she’d ever encountered in her career. The “felon in possession of a firearm” thing was something he pled down to, by the way; the original incident involved him breaking into his ex-wife’s house and holding her at gunpoint.
    Given how long his sentence is, I wonder if the authorities have ever tried to sit down with him since he was imprisoned, pointed out he doesn’t have much to lose, and asked him to tell what happened to Melissa. I’m sure he knows.
    (Melissa’s NamUs photo, btw, is a high school yearbook photo and almost ten years out of date. That’s why I didn’t use it, as I found a more current pic in Newspapers.)
  • I dunno what I would do without Facebook as a source for recent cases. Okay, I do know what I’d do, I’d put up the cases, but there would be a lot less info. The case of Melissa Rose Ann Garrett is a great example; her daughter posted a bunch of photos of her and more info about her disappearance. Sad story. The daughter seems to suspect Melissa’s boyfriend may have been involved. Anne Marie Hubbert is another case where most of the pictures and some of the other info came from Facebook; Anne’s page and her daughter’s.
  • Shakeeta Young disappeared just a few months after her nineteen-year-old son died. I found a few “RIP” posts on Facebook from some of the young man’s friends but no mention of a cause of death. I wonder if Shakeeta’s disappearance is in some way related. It’s very sad for their family, just bad luck all around there.