In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Usbaldo Arvizu Hernandez, who disappeared from El Dorado County, California all the way back on July 1, 1969, at the age of 44.
Usbaldo, aka Waldo, wandered quite a bit: a military man and then a migrant farm worker, he often rode trains (not the passenger kind) between Arizona and California. I don’t know if he was just a free spirit or if he had to take what he could get; my boyfriend’s grandfather, who was the same age and was also Hispanic, had done the same sort of thing back in the day.
I don’t know anything about the actual circumstances of Usbaldo’s disappearance, and as he’d be 94 today, chances are that whatever did happen to him, he’s no longer alive.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Patricia Joan Chesher, aka Patty, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared while selling raffle tickets door-to-door in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 17, 1969.
There’s a lot to unpack here. The NCMEC classifies her as a runaway, but given her age and the passage of time, foul play seems more likely. There are a few persons of interest: a neighbor who bought one of the raffle tickets, her older sister’s boyfriend who had mental problems, a creepy uncle.
In any case, after 47 years I doubt this case can be solved.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Robert Richard “Dick” Lepsy, who disappeared from the small town of Grayling in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on October 29, 1969. He worked at a supermarket, left on his lunch break and never came back. He had four kids.
An interesting thing about Lepsy’s case, left off his Charley Project page: there’s a theory that he was actually D.B. Cooper, who in 1971 hijacked a plane flying between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, ransomed the passengers for $200k (the equivalent over over a million dollars in modern money), parachuted his way to freedom and vanished without a trace. Author Ross Richardson has put forth this theory in his book Still Missing: Rethinking the D.B. Cooper Case and other Mysterious Unsolved Disappearances, which costs $14.99 in dead tree edition, or $4.99 on Kindle, or $0.00 if you have Kindle Unlimited. I suppose I ought to read it.
It’s hard for me to compare pictures, but I suppose if Lepsy lost a lot of weight he would resemble the D.B. Cooper sketch. I don’t feel like I ought to cover the whole skyjacker theory on his casefile until I’ve familiarized myself with it, which I haven’t, yet.
On the other hand, the articles about this have turned up several more pics of Lepsy which I do plan to add forthwith.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Karen O’Donoghue, a young woman who disappeared under unclear circumstances from Massachusetts in 1969. Karen, 25, was engaged to be married. Her NamUs page says, “We believe she left her fiance and no one knows where she went.”
I really don’t have enough to go on here to speculate as to what happened. Did she walk away and make a new life for herself? Was it foul play, at the hands of the fiance possibly?
In any case, if Karen is still alive, she would be about 72 years old today. It’s not too late for her to call home.
The Charley Project’s Facebook page reached 6,000 “likes” a few days ago. I add articles about missing person cases every day, including ones about cases not featured on Charley for one reason or another, and all entries I put on this blog are automatically linked on there. The Twitter account is at 967 followers at present. It posts links to two Charley cases every day.
It’s a bit of a challenge to summarize the cases in 140 characters or less and make the summaries interesting. For example, “Patty Spencer and Pam Hobley #disappeared together in 1969, which is kind of weird since they weren’t friends.” And, “Why did Ronald Westover lie to his family & falsely claim he had a recurrence of #LungCancer before he #disappeared?”
Unfortunately, TweetDeck, the program I use to keep Charley’s Twitter account updated, is not going to work for Windows after April 15. I use TweetDeck to schedule tweets in advance of posting, sometimes months in advance. It’s still going to be available to use online using my browser, but it will be less convenient that way. Oh, well.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is John Lloyd Heflin, a father of two who disappeared from Oktibbeha County, Mississippi on New Years’ Day in 1969. He was involved in illegal activity of some kind when he vanished, and I suppose it’s possible he just skipped town (which he was in a habit of doing anyway), but 46 years is a long time to be gone.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Mary Elizabeth Lozano, a child who vanished mysteriously from her family’s Venice, California apartment on February 13, 1969. She was four years old. I don’t have much on her, other than that the police believe she was abducted by a non-family member.