MP of the week: Alice Jefferson

This week’s featured missing person is Alice Fay Jefferson. Considering that we don’t know when she disappeared, not even the precise year, there’s a fair amount of info available: she was living on an Army base in Kentucky with her husband, a soldier, and her two children. She vanished mysteriously while the kids were at school; no one came to pick them up that day and eventually they walked home alone. Alice’s husband behaved oddly after her disappearance and with a few days he’d dumped the kids at their grandparents’ house.

Alice wasn’t reported missing until 2013. There are articles saying she disappeared “in the summer of 1975” and this article names July as the month. However, Alice is also featured on the NCMEC website, and they’re not supposed to have cases of missing adults 21 and over, and if Alice disappeared in the summer of 1975 she would have been 21. So I put down that it’s possible she disappeared in 1974.

As to the month… the kids say they were in school, which seems unlikely in July.

Select It Sunday: Sharon Baldeagle

This week’s Select It Sunday is Sharon Baldeagle (often named as Sharon Bald Eagle), chosen by Fluttergirl. She was twelve when she disappeared on September 18, 1984, and her case has for some reason fascinated me since I started getting interested in MPs, back when I was the same age that Sharon was when she was taken. I actually blogged about her once before, exactly three years and one week ago.

Sharon and a fifteen-year-old friend ran away from Eagle Butte, South Dakota, which is on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, the fourth-largest reservation in the U.S. Sharon was Native American, presumably Cheyenne River Sioux, and probably her friend was too. They were hitchhiking in Casper, Wyoming, almost a six-hour drive from home, when they got picked up by Royal Russell Long, a truck driver who took them to his house in Evansville. There he attacked them, raping the older girl and beating Sharon. Sharon’s friend escaped and went for help, but by the time the authorities arrived at the scene, Long and his other captive were gone.

Long wasn’t arrested until the following year; by then he’d gone to New Mexico. He claimed Sharon was alive and well the last time he saw her, but let’s face it, what are the chances of that? He was convicted of two counts of kidnapping — that of Sharon and her friend — and died in prison 25 years ago.

Long was probably serial killer; he’s also a suspect in the cases of Carlene Brown, Christy Gross, Deborah Rae Meyer, Jayleen Dawn Baker, Charlotte June Kinsey, and Cinda Leann Pallett, who ranged in age from ten to nineteen. Carlene and Christy disappeared together from a rodeo in Rawlins, Wyoming in July 1974, and Deborah and Jayleen disappeared, nineteen days apart, from the same area in August of that year. Cinda and Charlotte from a fair in Oklahoma in 1981 — Long was actually charged with their murders, but the case was dropped for lack of evidence. Only Christy and Jayleen’s bodies were ever found.

I think it’s pretty obvious what must have happened to Sharon; I only wish her family had answers. Her father was alive as 2013 and still hoping to find her — he looked all over the country for her. I’m not sure if he’s still living as he had cancer in 2013, but I can’t find an obituary for him.

I wonder if anyone’s ever written a book about Royal Russell Long. Serial killers are a popular topic in literature, after all. If someone has, I’d love to read it.

Flashback Friday: Cynthia Gooding and Teresa Alfonso

This week’s Flashback Friday case — like my MP of the week for this week — actually multiple cases: Cynthia Robin “Cindy” Gooding, age sixteen, and her twelve-year-old friend, Teresa Armanda “Terry” Alfonso. The pair disappeared from Marathon, a small town in the Florida Keys, on August 20, 1974 — exactly 41 years, 11 months and 8 days ago.

Teresa and Cindy were dropped off at a movie theater and planned to hitchhike to a party. I’m not sure whether their parents knew about the party or whether they were allowed to go. The girls may have said they were going to see a movie when they really planned to go to the party.

I’m not sure of much of anything in this case; there is very little information available. In 2007 an article about Florida Keys missing persons and UIDs talked about Teresa a little bit and had a quote from her mom, but the article didn’t have any info I could use and, worse, didn’t even mention Cindy at all. That seems like lazy and irresponsible journalism to me; even if they  couldn’t find any of Cindy’s relatives to interview, they should have at least said Teresa disappeared with another girl.

(I did, however, find a 2010 article from the Key West Citizen. I had to buy it on Newslibrary. It talks only about Teresa, but does mention she disappeared with her friend Cynthia Gooding, and has some background info for Teresa and Cindy that I’ve added to her casefile.)

I wondered about the serial killers Gerard John Schaefer and Gerald Stano, both of which preyed on young girls and women in Florida in the 1970s, but Schaefer was imprisoned by 1974 and Stano’s stomping ground seems to have been central Florida, not nearly as far as south as the Keys. (I’m basing this on the back that Susan Basile and Gail Lorraine Joiner, both suspected Stano victims, disappeared from central Florida towns more than a five-hour drive north of Marathon.) This Instagram post (which doesn’t mention Teresa) suggests Cindy was a victim of the serial killer Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins, but I have no idea where that source is getting the information from. As far as I know Gaskins only claimed victims in the Carolinas, but I don’t know much about him.

Those men certainly weren’t the only psychopaths running around the southern U.S. in the seventies, though. If I were to guess, I’d say probably the girls were hitchhiking and got picked up by the wrong person.

Flashback Friday: Francis Wells

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Francis Loretta Heath Wells, who disappeared somewhere between Crossett, Arkansas and El Paso, Texas. She boarded a bus in Crossett bound for El Paso on August 13, 1974; her luggage arrived there but she didn’t.

Google Maps says it’s a 955-mile trip between the two cities. I don’t have anything else on Francis’s disappearance and to make matters worse, the only photo I’ve got is both of poor quality and 20 years out of date.

If she’s still alive, Francis would be 86 years old today.

Got back in the saddle

Updated this evening. The Gary Hose case is such a sad one and it’s so fracking obvious what happened there. I hope they find him and get some justice. Kudos to his brother for getting the investigation started again.

I do wonder whether that date of disappearance is accurate. I got it from NamUs, but I don’t know what they’re basing it on and some media outlets are being a bit vague, saying he was last seen sometime in either 1974 or 1975. Chances are that Gary’s parents didn’t report him missing whenever it happened.

I might find myself being more productive than usual in the next week or two. Yesterday, I don’t know what happened, I bricked my Kindle Fire. I took it out of my purse and the screen was cracked and it didn’t work anymore. I must have banged it against something but I don’t remember. Spent about 45 minutes on the phone with Amazon customer support, and we did the best we could, but it was hopeless. Fortunately it’s under warranty still. Once I send back the broken Fire, I’ll get a replacement. I was going to send it back today but unfortunately didn’t get to the post office in time.

Anyway, no more Kindle books for the moment. I’m having a bit of a rough time now generally and working on the Charley Project was the only thing all day that lifted me out of my black mood.

YouTube Saturday: four videos

I have:

Phillip Koss:

Robyn Pettinato:

Charles Ulrich:

Shanaz Zakia:

I’m kind of guessing about Shanaz Zakia’s middle name: the fact that it can be misspelled “sahti” plus the rarity of the “th” sound in most languages makes me think it’s pronounced sah-tee and not sath-ee.

Flashback Friday: Phillip Alfred Montoya

This week’s Flashback Friday (I missed last week because of my tummy troubles) is Phillip Alfred Montoya. He was fourteen and a half when he vanished without a trace on March 29, 1974, leaving his bike behind and carrying only $2 in cash.

Early this year, someone who may have been Phillip’s brother commented on an article I read. I replied to the comment, asking the person to get in touch with me and hopefully shed more light on Phillip’s disappearance. The writer never responded, though.

Be that as it may, we know more about Phillip’s disappearance than we do about many cases of teenagers who went missing that long ago. He told friends he was going to run away, and borrowed the $2 to take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train to the end of the line. But he left his bike behind, and it was a four-mile walk to the nearest BART station. Perhaps he planned to hitchhike, or had a ride already lined up.

If Phillip did leave of his own accord back in 1974, though, it seems unlikely that he would have dropped off the face of the earth like he seems to have done. He wasn’t having any problems in his life that were serious enough for that. A lot of teenagers, boys and girls, run away on a lark or because of some insignificant problem that’s troubling them, then recognize their mistake and come back.

A lot of things could have happened in this case, but with the information I have available, my guess would be that Phillip ran away and then something happened to him a short time afterwards, and that’s why he hasn’t reached out to his family even once over nearly four decades.