This week’s featured missing person is Christina Carol Burnett-Pitts. She was in her mid-twenties when she disappeared from the Poplar Bluff, Missouri area sometime between Christmastime in 1998 (which is when her family last saw her) and 2000.
She had a transient lifestyle and no fixed address, was involved with drugs including meth, and was reportedly a victim of domestic violence by her husband, who is now deceased. So the circumstances of her disappearance, while unclear, don’t look good.
She has two children who were living with her parents when she disappeared. If still alive, she’d be 46 today. I’m sure her children would like to learn what happened to her.
Thanks for all the lovely comments about my wedding pictures, they made me very happy!
Stay safe, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving.
The presumed abductions of Faye and John Whatley in 1976 is pretty bizarre and I thought I’d blog about it cause I’ve never had a case before where the only thing that seemed to be missing from the house besides the people was a part of the house itself. The cops seem to have given up on solving the case, which is going on 45 years old.
Some questions that occurred to me as I was researching the case, and for which I found no answers in the news articles at the time.
- Did the Whatleys lock their doors? They seem to have lived out in the country, so perhaps they didn’t bother.
- Did the couple own any guns, or know how to use them? If so, was one of those guns a .22?
- Where was the barn in which the door was located? If it had been searched multiple times before, it was probably pretty close to their home. Was it on the Whatleys’ property? Is it possible the door could have been missed in previous searches?
- When the door was found, was there any blood or fingerprints or other physical evidence on it? Had it been wiped off? While 1976 forensics were quite primitive compared to today, they should have been able to detect blood and type it.
- Are they 100% sure it was the Whatleys’ door that turned up in that barn? I don’t know much about doors but they all pretty much look alike, and unless it was a custom-made one or something, wouldn’t it be hard to tell the Whatley’s door from a similar-looking mahogany door?
- This was a second marriage for John and I think for Faye also. Were there any issues within the two sides of the family? Any personal grudges, any ne’er-do-well children or grandchildren or in-laws or anything like that?
- Who was expected to inherit the couple’s estate once they passed? Did they have life insurance? Have they ever been declared dead, and if so, when?
- Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing them, but Lucas seems to have confessed to virtually every crime that was put in front him and most of his confessions turned out to be false. Is there any actual evidence to back up his statement? Is he still considered a possible suspect?
The whole thing makes no sense. How does it happen that people (and there had to be more than one person involved in this) somehow get into the house without leaving signs of a break-in, subdue or kill the Whatleys without leaving any evidence of a struggle (save the single gunshot fired from inside the house; what happened there?), remove a door from its hinges and take that too, take the Whatleys and the door away without bothering to steal anything else, and then go and put the door up in a barn loft and do god-knows-what with the Whatleys, then never make a ransom demand or anything, and keep their mouths shut about it during the ensuing years? What does anyone gain by that?
I’m not discounting Lucas entirely. He was a legit serial killer and seemed to like going around the country with his buddy Ottis Toole murdering people for no reason whatsoever. But as I said, he confessed to a lot of things he didn’t do, and this operation seems to be a bit too organized for him.
Yeah, I haven’t updated in a bit and I’m sorry. The last week has been super busy, mainly with wedding stuff. Michael and I are getting married Saturday.
I picked up my dress at the alterations place yesterday and it fits me perfectly. In my completely unbiased opinion I’m going to be the most beautiful bride in the world. There’s not going to be any honeymoon because of Covid. Michael will go back to work on Monday and so will I.
So, in lieu of Charley Project updates, here’s a sample of the more interesting recent missing and unidentified persons news:
- A woman whose body was found off Interstate 5 in Sacramento, California in 1981 has been identified as 26-year-old Lily Prendergast, who was last seen when she left her family’s Texas home in late 1980.
- John Michael Carroll disappeared from Victor, Idaho in 2005. His skeletal remains were found “in the general area” where he lived in 2013, and were identified this month.
- Hollis Willingham has been arrested in the murder of Jim Craig Martin, who disappeared from Normangee, Texas on August 6, 2007. It doesn’t look like Martin’s body has been found, however.
- Thomas Drew disappeared from Salisbury, Connecticut in 2007. He used to be on Charley but then his daughter asked me to remove the case. She didn’t like what I’d written, I guess. Anyway, he is still missing, and his daughter has recently published a memoir, Searching for My Missing Father: An American Noir. It sounds very interesting and I added it to my wishlist.
- Blackfeet Community College, in corroboration with Montana’s Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force, has launched a website to help streamline missing persons reports of Native American people: “The website [linked here] allows families and friends to complete a Contact Information Form about the missing person online. In the past, missing persons’ loved ones have expressed reluctance to report missing individuals directly to law enforcement. The BCC reporting system will serve as the go-between for those reporting and all levels of law enforcement. Once the form is submitted on the website, an automatic notice will be sent to local tribal law enforcement.”
- A woman’s torso found washed ashore in the seaside community of Benicia, California in 1979 has been identified as Dolores Wulff, who disappeared from Woodland, California that year. Dolores’s husband Carl Wulff Sr. had actually been charged with her murder in 1985, but the charge was dismissed later that year and he died in 2005.
- A skull found on Mount Hood in Oregon in 1986 has been identified as that of Wanda Ann Herr, who had left a Gresham, Oregon group home a decade earlier at the age of nineteen. No missing persons report was filed at the time and the most recent photo available showed her at age twelve. The police are asking anyone who knew Wanda or has any info on her 1976 disappearance to contact them.
- The police have identified a new suspect in the 1973 disappearance of Barbara Jean Aleksivich from Bath, New York. The suspect, Richard W. Davis, is now dead, but he was recently identified through DNA as the killer of Siobhan McGuinness, a Missoula, Montana six-year-old who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1974. Barbara, who was 24, was way out of Richard Davis’s preferred age range for victims, but he did live in Bath at the time Barbara disappeared. A previous suspect in her case, who still lived in the Bath area last I knew, has been cleared.
- The body of Ethan Bert Kazmerzak, who disappeared from Hampton, Iowa in 2013, has probably been found. At least they found his car submerged in a local pond, with human remains inside. The remains have been sent to the state medical examiner to be identified, but it’s highly unlikely it’s anyone but Ethan.
This week’s featured missing person (it’s a day late, sorry) is Dalia Bayardo Castro, a 43-year-old Hispanic woman who was last seen in Bellmead, Texas on April 1, 2007. Bellmead is a small town in central Texas, a suburb of Waco.
Very little information is available on Dalia’s case, just that she might be in Austin (a major city about two hours to the southwest) and that she might require medical attention for unknown reasons.
If still alive, Dalia would be 56 today. She may use the surname Gavini.
I regularly check the ididitforjodie website for links to articles about missing persons and other cold cases. I wanted to mention it here cause it’s awesome. Today I found a link to this article about the 2006 disappearance of Taalibah Fatin Bint Islam and the 2016 disappearance of Typhenie Kae Johnson. Both women had been dating the same man, he was the last person known to have seen them, and he told the same story as to what happened to each of them. The suspect, Christopher Revill, was convicted of kidnapping in Typhenie’s case but has never been charged in Taalibah’s.
It’s a really sad story, and so typical of domestic violence cases. The article is very detailed and well worth a read.
This week’s featured missing person is Dena Viola McHan, a 19-year-old college student who disappeared from Stockton, California on December 6, 1981. She was on her way home when she stopped to get gas.
While she was there an attendant noticed some men “harassing” her, but Dena said she didn’t need any help. She has never been seen again and her car was never found either.
Foul play is suspected in her case, and obviously the first suspects that come to mind are the two men who were bothering her. I wonder if these men have ever been identified and if they were known to Dena. I wonder if maybe they followed her and ran her off the road, or perhaps abducted her at the station itself, though this is less likely.
I also wonder whether Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog were ever investigated in this case. They are known or suspected in several murders and disappearances in that same area in the 1980s and 1990s. It seems reasonable to at least ask Shermantine about this; he’s still alive, though Herzog suicided in 2012.
Last night and today I did a bunch of updated age-progressions and some added pictures. If the only update I make on a page is more photos of the missing person or an updated (as opposed to new) age-progression, I don’t list it on the site updates page. But I put up a list here. So here goes. Unless otherwise noted, these just have an updated age-progression; if they have new pictures instead, I say so.
- Teresa Armanda Alfonso
- Yareli Marlem Barajas
- Tonita Michelle Brooks (two pictures added)
- Lee Sterling Cutler
- Evelyn Louise Davis
- Eva Gerline DeBruhl
- Jason Wayne Dennis
- Melissa Lynn Eck
- Ryan Jacob Esparza
- Christian Glen Hall
- Justin Phillip Harris
- Joseph David Helt
- Charles Arlin Leon Henderson
- Timothy Johnson III
- Christina Lynn Lewis
- Benjamin Lund (four pictures added)
- Suzanne Gloria Lyall
- Angela Christine Mack (one picture added)
- Gabriela Medina
- Caleb Joseph Powell (four pictures added)
- Sandy Pathresa Rea (three pictures added)
- Marcia Estelle Remick
- Alejandra Rivera-Romero
- Monserrat Rivera-Romero
- Wesley Rivera-Romero
- Adele Marie Wells
This week’s featured missing person is Aneshia Chevon Harris, a nineteen-year-old black woman who went missing from Detroit, Michigan on April 3, 1993. She skipped school that day–whether high school or college I do not know–and decided to go to her stepbrother’s girlfriend’s place. I think she did arrive there, but that was the last time anyone saw her.
Unfortunately, that’s all I have on Aneshia’s disappearance. If still alive she’d be in her mid-forties.
This week’s featured missing person is Angel Rose Avery, a 35-year-old woman who disappeared from Kennett, Missouri on September 1, 2018. Hers is a “few details are available” case; I know nothing else about the case. I was able to snag a few additional photos of her from social media.
If still alive, Angel would be 37 today.
I invite all Charley Project blog readers to also read this article about the 2019 disappearance of Angela Green from Prairie Village, Kansas. It’s a pretty interesting story to say the least. And it stinks. Badly. I’m sure the police are every bit as suspicious as I am but it seems like there’s not a lot of evidence; it’s as much about what ISN’T there as what is.
I feel deeply sorry for Angela’s daughter; she’s in a bad position right now and through no fault of her own. I really hope she gets answers soon.