Got quite a big update dump yesterday

A Charley Project Irregular let me know about how the San Francisco Examiner had been added to the archives, so I went and ran all my old San Francisco cases through to see if they had articles in that paper. Then when that was done, I decided to do with the same with Santa Cruz cases, because I knew the Santa Cruz Sentinel was in the archives. And presto, 29 cases updated.

Some thoughts/info on individual ones:

  • I wonder if Erwin Ernest Bunge‘s car was ever recovered. I also wonder if his disappearance had anything to do with him being a high profile trainer. Henry Martinez was only seventeen years old in 1988 and it seems unlikely that he could have been involved. I wasn’t able to find out much about him; he retired from boxing in 1994 and drifted into obscurity.
  • Not really a thought, but a piece of trivia: Harry Weldon Kees is not the only person presumed to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge on July 18, 1955. The police found TWO cars abandoned there that day, leading to speculation as to which person went first. At the time, they were keeping a record of how many people died. I don’t think they’re keeping track anymore though. (Oh, and here’s a 2011 rant of mine about Golden Gate Bridge suicide victims.)
  • I looked up Walter Christopher Kuchanny‘s wife, and she has remarried and seems to be doing well. She returned to England after his disappearance. I do believe he was a suicide victim and didn’t just leave. Her description of his behavior, being all anxious and depressed and then suddenly happy and relaxed, is pretty typical of people who take their lives.
  • Is anyone else wondering if Michael Omas Masaoay‘s disappearance was just an accident? I wonder if it went something like this: he sets off for the day, realizes school is actually closed, and then decides to chill out at his favorite fishing spot, and then gets dragged out to sea by surf, just like Noel Annette Marcotte and countless others have been. That would explain why Michael’s bag was found where it was. Will anyone who’s familiar with the geography of that location care to voice an opinion in the comments?
  • The SF Examiner article I found about John Dolan Phillips‘s disappearance was mainly about the sale of his car and how it was very sketchy. His family was never notified the car had been found in the parking garage. The mint-condition rare classic car was sold to an employee of the garage for just $200, a tiny fraction of both its actual worth AND the amount of accrued parking fees owed. Apparently when objects worth over $500 are put for sale in these circumstances, the public is supposed to be notified and given a chance to buy them, but the car was sold for an a lower amount, so the garage didn’t have to notify anyone. And then the new owner refused to even let the car get inspected for clues. Whether any of this has something to do with Phillips’s disappearance is anyone’s guess.
  • Given the circumstances of Carlos Benjamin Urruela‘s disappearance, it’s likely he died by suicide. The article I read said his addiction was very bad — he’d gone from snorting to freebasing to shooting cocaine — and was ruining his life and his appearance.

Joan Risch disappeared 55 years ago today

I got an email from a reporter today about Joan Risch, asking if he could use one of my photos with attribution. It was only then that I realized this was the anniversary of her disappearance. I sort of forgot about it quickly, but I was just on Wikipedia and she’s on the front page today, in the “did you know” section:


(I realize these last few days I’ve posted a lot of images on my blog entries. I think this is just an anomaly and not the start of a trend though.)

It’s a most mysterious case, one that will probably never be solved.

Flashback Friday: Freddie Holmes

This week’s Flashback Friday is Frederick Andrew “Freddie” Holmes, who vanished from Grahamsville, New York on May 25, 1955, a little over a month before his second birthday.

This toddler was evidently abducted, though by whom is anyone’s guess. Unfortunately most of his family — parents and five of his seven brothers and sisters — have died in the nearly sixty years since he was last seen. We can only hope that Freddie was taken by someone who wanted to raise a child, and that he’s alive and well today. But in any case it’s unlikely that he’ll ever be located.

I only have one, not all that great quality picture of him, but from the photo he reminds me of forever-lost Charley Ross, who also had long(ish) blond curls.

DNA tests rule out lead in Steven Damman case

Unsurprisingly, DNA testing has ruled out the possibility that John Barnes of Michigan is Steven Damman, a boy who disappeared from a Long Island supermarket at the age of two. I had figured that would be the case — it was just too good to be true, and Mr. Barnes’s family has legal documentation of his birth. I don’t think he was trying to scam anyone. He sounds like a kind of lost, confused fellow and I think he really believed he was Steven Damman. And now he’s lost his real family as well as the one he thought he might be part of — his dad and sister are really angry and upset about the whole thing, apparently.

If any good came out of this, it’s that this ancient, ice-cold case got some media attention, with better photos of Steven posted, and of course I’ll put them on Charley.

There are like a bajillion articles about this. Here’s just three more:

The Associated Press
The Detroit Free Press
The Daily Mirror