Happy belated Independence Day (and griping, and missing persons news)

I hope everyone had a good Fourth of July weekend. Mine was kind of terrible. We had a tiny party, four guests (Michael’s parents and two of his coworkers), and I wound up spending a lot of time hiding in the bedroom because I was so stressed by it all. And I was feeling like a failure in general, and wondering how I was going to pull off an entire wedding in October if I was freaking out from anxiety over four guests in my own house.

Of course, who knows if there will even BE a proper wedding in October the way COVID-19 is blazing through this country. I might wind up having to have a Zoom wedding ceremony because of the stupid government not listening to experts and not doing its job to contain the pandemic, and stupid people refusing to wear masks in public because mah rights and mah freedum. We could have been on par with Europe right now as far as flattening the curve goes, but nooooo, people have to be idiots.

(Of course I realize that my wedding is a very small thing in the grand scheme of things, and there are a lot of people out there who are suffering more than me as a result of COVID-19. That doesn’t make me any less angry.)

So some news from the missing persons world:

  1. Later this year, once Americans are allowed to travel to the EU again (assuming that ever happens), a private investigator, a former FBI agent and Annie McCarrick‘s uncle are going to Ireland to make another stab at solving Annie’s 1993 disappearance. (She is on the Charley Project because she was an American, though she disappeared on Irish soil.) They have a new theory about what happened, and have a suspect in mind. I don’t think it’s the same suspect the gardai (Irish police) have had their eye on. Neither person has been publicly identified.
    The gardai think a former IRA member may have killed Annie. He sounds like a nasty character and allegedly raped a twelve-year-old girl, and possibly other victims, and the IRA sent him out of the country so he wouldn’t get prosecuted. He went to the US; I’m not sure where he is now.
    I have wondered before why on earth the IRA would have assisted this man. To begin with, the twelve-year-old he allegedly raped was the daughter of another IRA member. And, though I don’t know much about the IRA, I know they had broad support among the ordinary people of Ireland, and it seems like that wouldn’t be the case if they routinely did things like try to help their child-rapist members escape prosecution. If any of you guys can provide some enlightenment on this, I’d appreciate it if you posted in the comments.
  2. They’ve created a park in Albuquerque, New Mexico in memory of the twelve victims of the still-unsolved West Mesa murders. I’ll say their names again: Jamie Caterina Barela, age 15; her 25-year-old cousin Evelyn JesusMaria Salazar; Monica Diana Candelaria, 21; Victoria Ann Chavez, 24; Virginia Cloven, 22; Syllannia, Terene Edwards, 15; Cinnamon Elks, 31; Doreen Marquez, 27; Julie Nieto, 23; Veronica Romero, 28; Michelle Valdez, 22; and Michelle’s unborn baby. All of the women, except Veronica, were on the Charley Project.
    There are quite a few young women still missing from Albuquerque, and some of them fit the same profile as the women whose bodies were found on the Mesa. I’ve got Nina Brenda Herron, Vanessa Reed, Christine Julian, Leah Rachelle Peebles, Anna Love Vigil and Shawntell Monique Waites, and possibly others.
  3. According to a private investigator, the authorities have a suspect in the 2001 disappearances of of ten-year-old Tionda Z. Bradley and her three-year-old sister, Diamond Yvette Bradley. (The girls disappeared 19 years ago today.) The article says there’s a solid circumstantial case against the suspect (who hasn’t been publicly identified) but prosecutors want some physical evidence, preferably a body, to bolster their case before they file charges against the person.

Oh, and although this isn’t strictly missing persons related, I highly recommend y’all check out this article about the woman who invented the rape kit. Hers was a fascinating and tragic story.

MP of the week: Heather Zimmerman

This week’s featured missing person is Heather Dawn Mullins Zimmerman, a 19-year-old who disappeared on May 26, 1997. She was married, but living with her parents while her husband was stationed with the Marines in Japan. She apparently disappeared after leaving her parents’ Gifford, Illinois home to attend a party in nearby Rantoul. She may have been dropped off near her parents’ home at 3:00 a.m., but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Another woman, 20-year-old Jamie Harper, disappeared from Rantoul in 2007. Both Jamie and Heather are missing under suspicious circumstances, and the police stated they had the same person of interest in both cases.

MP of the week: Anna Cornelia Morris

This week’s feature missing person is Anna Cornelia Morris, a 64-year-old woman who disappeared from Columbia, South Carolina on May 29, 2011. She was last seen walking away from the home she shared with her daughter.

Morris had Alzheimer’s Disease and it’s possible her disappearance is related to that, but it’s unclear how far her condition had progressed. There’s “a bit forgetful” Alzheimer’s and then there’s “completely nonverbal and unable to recall their identity” Alzheimer’s. She was sometimes afraid of being left alone but it doesn’t say why she felt unsafe. She would sometimes go over to her sister’s home several miles away for company. This leads me to believe she was still functioning fairly well, if she could remember the route and so on.

If Anna is still alive, it’s possible she’s homeless and may not remember who she is. She would be in her seventies today, if still alive. I haven’t been able to find any news about her case in recent years, and I doubt she lived long after she was last seen.

Well, that was not what I expected

In the Bakersfield, California area in the spring of 2018, there were two men who were murdered: Micah Holsonbake, who disappeared in late March and whose arm was found in the river in December, and James Kulstad, who was shot in his mother’s car in early April. A Bakersfield woman, Baylee Despot, disappeared in late April that year.

They all knew each other and ran in the same circles, and there was talk that the cases must be connected somehow. The media, and the mothers of the missing/murdered individuals, called them “the Bakersfield Three.”

Well, there’s been a break in the case: it turns out the Bakersfield Three is actually the Bakersfield Two, as the police have decided Kulstad’s murder isn’t related to the other cases, and it turns out Despot and her boyfriend killed Holsonbake. She and the boyfriend, Matthew Queen, have been charged with murder, torture and conspiracy, and another man, Matthew Vandecasteele, has been charged with kidnapping and conspiracy in that case.

The police are still not sure what happened to Despot, though, whether she’s on the run or whether she herself met with foul play. With that in mind I’ve decided to keep her up on the Charley Project, murder charges or no. Despot’s mom seems to think Queen killed her, which seems likely to me.

What an awful mess. I feel so bad for the mothers of all involved.

Articles:

MP of the week: Monica Jackson

This week’s featured missing person is Monica Denise Jackson, a Savannah, Georgia woman who disappeared on February 23, 2014, at the age of 45. For unclear reasons, she wasn’t reported missing until 2015.

Monica may use the first name Sharon, or the nicknames Moni and Strawberry. She has a gap between her two front teeth and a scar on her face, and both ears are pierced, her left one four times. She does have an arrest record minor offenses and was, at least as of 2013, involved in the sex trade.

I don’t know much about the details of her disappearance. I can only hope she is still alive.

There are a lot of people to remember this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time to remember the dead, officially the war dead but in practice for everyone. Certainly there are a lot of dead to remember this year: almost 100,000 have been lost to COVID-19 in the U.S. alone, and they can’t even have proper funerals due to the public health recommendations.

I don’t even know what to say about it. This is a war, albeit not against a traditional enemy. This virus has no pity for anyone.

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of Teresa Lynn Lawyer Wisner, a 24-year-old woman from Anderson, Indiana, the mother of a toddler-age son. She was a responsible person who had just started a new job and had no history of instability, and foul play is suspected in her case.

Teresa had planned to seek a divorce from her husband, James, who didn’t want it. He is the prime suspect in her disappearance, but he has never been charged in her case and I don’t know if that is ever going to change.

Added my fourteen-thousandth case today

Today the number of Charley Project cases (both active and in the resolved section) went up over 14,000. The “lucky” case number 14,000 is Taquila Sherell Hayes, a nurse who disappeared sometime after clocking out of work at a Memphis, Tennessee hospital a year ago today. She was 41 years old.

Taquila’s disappearance wasn’t reported missing until August because her husband Carl did various things to make it look like she was still alive and well. She was a responsible person, though, and kept in regular touch with her loved ones. Pretty soon people began to sense that there was something wrong. Finally her family, who had grown increasingly suspicious, notified the cops, and Carl’s story quickly fell apart.

He’s been charged with his wife’s murder, but her body has never been located and it’s not clear what happened. I’m guessing forensic evidence will come up at the trial; Carl replaced the carpeting in three rooms in the house and in Taquila’s car, and also repainted the house.

MP of the week: Elaine Ford

This week’s featured missing person is Elaine Ford, a 29-year-old woman who was last seen in Cleveland, Ohio on May 21, 1990. I don’t have any details about her disappearance, unfortunately. She wore a Jheri curl wig at the time of her disappearance, as well as a black or brown skirt. She has a scar on her left hand and a knot on her neck.

If still alive, Elaine would be 58 today.

I hope everyone is okay. Someone at Michael’s workplace tested positive for the coronavirus. He remains in good health but I think it’s a not a matter of if he gets sick but when. Not necessarily because of that person at his work (they worked different shifts and in different areas of the facility), but just because this virus is extremely contagious and is likely to get basically everywhere before they can come up with a vaccine. It’s pretty scary.

All my family and my loved ones remain in good health, thank goodness. I did have an online friend who got infected, and she was hospitalized for a time but she is at home recovering.

Hanging in there, and I hope everyone else is too

I hope everyone is doing all right. Michael and I are doing fine; however, one person at his place of work has tested positive for COVID-19, and another is believed to have it, which is scary. Michael thinks it’s unlikely he was exposed to either individual because they work different shifts, and in different parts of the facility, than he does.

One of the things I’ve been doing is contributing to a subreddit set up in memorial of COVID-19 victims, basically posting links to obituaries and such. It’s scary how many stories I’ve come across of young healthy people getting very sick or even dying of this. One of my online friends has it, a young woman, and she’s in the hospital. A five-year-old girl with no preexisting conditions died of COVID-19 last week.

I mean, I know what the statistics are. I know that the overwhelming majority of people who get it survive. But it’s hard to focus on those numbers when you’re looking at a photo of a dead kindergartner.

On another note, a few missing persons have been found:

  • Eric Randolph Pracht, a 25-year-old Lakewood, Colorado paramedic who disappeared in July 2016, His skeletal remains were found on Green Mountain, but a cause of death hasn’t been determined.
  • Martin Hugh Sackler, whose family last heard from him in October 2004 when he was 41. He has been arrested in Mobile, Alabama, where he was apparently living under a false identity.
  • Michael Alexander Rickard, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania in March 2018. His remains were found along some railroad tracks in Bethel Park. There isn’t much information out there as to when or how he died, but the police are saying foul play is not suspected.
  • Cheryl L. Coker, a 46-year-old woman who disappeared from Riverside, Ohio in October 2018. Her skeletal remains were found by a mushroom hunter in Caeserscreek Township, Ohio; the coroner said it looked like they were just dumped there, not even buried. I know her husband has been a suspect in her case for some time, but they’re still trying to figure out the cause of death and whatnot.

MP of the week: Kimberly Jones

This week’s featured missing person is Kimberly Sue Jones, a 25-year-old woman who went missing from Parkersburg, West Virginia on February 2, 2009.

She spent that day with her ex-boyfriend, their daughter and her ex’s wife, and he says he dropped her off in front of her apartment building. It’s not clear whether she ever made it inside; he didn’t wait long enough to see.

Jones had a trusting nature despite her “high risk lifestyle” (what made it high risk is unspecified), and she was taking meds for bipolar disorder. There’s no indication she left of her own accord, and in fact there are indications that she did not: she left all her stuff behind, her calendar had upcoming appointments, and she never tried to cash her dad’s death benefit pension check although the check did vanish with her.

I doubt she is still alive. But if she is she’d be 36 today. As far as distinguishing characteristics, she’s got a tattoo of a red rose (I’ve got a photo of that) and another of her nickname, Kimmie Sue. Her teeth also look fairly distinctive.