Murder-without-a-body cases galore!

So, someone found a photo of Eli Robert Sharclane on Facebook so I was able to add his case to the Charley Project. I’ve blogged about his case before; it’s kind of unusual. A guy threw him off a bridge fifty feet down to the freezing water and he was never seen again, but the suspect was only convicted of ATTEMPTED murder, because it was 1977 and no-body homicide convictions were not really a thing yet.

More information has been released about the 1991 disappearance of Sabrina Leigh Long. All we knew before was that a female suspect was arrested and charged with kidnapping, someone who’d attended Sabrina’s high school but wasn’t in her year, and the police said multiple people were involved.

Well, this article has a LOT more stuff about the case. Basically, Sabrina said she was supposed to visit a neighbor on the day of her disappearance, but the neighbor said she wasn’t expected and he had no idea why she said she was going to see him. The neighbor, Keith Loyd, had an alibi and wasn’t a suspect in her case, but in 2017 he died by suicide and left a note implicating himself and Melinda McSwain (the woman now charged in Sabrina’s kidnapping) in Sabrina’s disappearance.

Loyd’s alibi for Sabrina’s disappearance had been that he was out with his girlfriend. I wonder if that girlfriend was McSwain. If both of them had kidnapped and killed Sabrina, it would be easy for them to alibi each other.

DonaMae Bourgeois Bayerl‘s husband John has been arrested at his retirement home in Florida and charged with murder. I’m so happy; he’s been a suspect for a very long time. I’ve met DonaMae’s family before; they attend the Wisconsin missing persons events.

Also, yesterday they held closing arguments in the trial of Liam McAtasney for the murder of 19-year-old Sarah L. Stern. She disappeared from Neptune, New Jersey in 2016. The second suspect, Preston Taylor, allegedly helped dispose of her body. He pleaded guilty and testified against McAtasney. The verdict is expected next week.

And Thomas Skeek is on trial for the murder of his wife, Linda Skeek, who disappeared in 2016. Per this article, case had been “shrouded in secrecy” and it wasn’t until the trial actually began that it became public knowledge that Linda’s body was never found. I haven’t heard of this case before. I’ll have to add her. [UPDATE: I did.]

Black History Month: Dwaun Cox

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Dwaun Thomas Cox, a 23-year-old man who went missing from Columbus, Ohio on November 21, 1979.

His car turned up abandoned in Logan, Ohio, which is about fifty miles southeast of Columbus. I don’t know where in Logan it was found or when it was found, but usually when an MP’s vehicle is found abandoned that’s not a good sign.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Pinkie Davis-Herron

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 Pinkie Mae Davis-Herron, who is of Hispanic and African-American descent. She was 23 when she disappeared from Del Valle, Texas on or about September 3, 1979; the exact date of her disappearance isn’t entirely certain.

It sounds like Pinkie had a hard life. She was only fourteen when she married, which even by 1970 standards was very young. I wonder if she got married because she was pregnant. Five years and two children later, she and her husband had divorced. I’m not sure who was caring for the children. By the time of her disappearance, she was working at a motel and bar, the Tex Golden Nugget.

She is missing under unclear circumstances and it’s been almost 40 years. If still alive, she’d be 62 today.

Much ado about nothing?

So I wrote earlier about how they were digging up a suspected mass grave in Michigan, and thought as many as five missing girls might be there. I’ll list them again:

  1. Cynthia Coon, 13, missing from Washtenaw County since January 19, 1970
  2. Nadine Jean O’Dell, 16, missing from Inkster since August 16, 1974
  3. Kimberly Alice King, 12, missing from Warren since September 16, 1979
  4. Kim Marie Larrow, 13, missing from Canton since June 8, 1981
  5. Kellie Marie Brownlee, 17, missing from Novi since May 20, 1982

Well, after a solid week out there with shovels and relatives pitching in (!), the dig is finished and they found…nothing. No human remains.

Obviously this is a profound disappointment for everybody and I have to wonder if there’s anyone out there at all. The police haven’t given up, at least not officially; they stated they quit in part because of weather and in part because they were “evaluating today what our next step is.”

So they’re digging up a suspected mass grave in Michigan

For the past several days cops have been excavating a farm in Michigan outside of Detroit, where they think several longtime missing girls are buried. The property used to be owned by Arthur Nelson Ream, who is currently serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of Cynthia Jocelyn Zarzycki.

Cindy was 13 when she disappeared in 1986. Her boyfriend, Scott Ream, was Arthur Ream’s son. Arthur told Cindy he was going to have a surprise party for Scott’s birthday, and invited her to come. She brought a mixtape to give to Scott. But there was no party; it was all an excuse for Arthur to get her into his car.

In 2008, Arthur lead investigators to Cindy’s body, buried in a shallow grave along the Clinton River in Macomb Township, Michigan. Well, apparently after his imprisonment he started talking about some other murders he allegedly committed.

The other possible victims (all from Michigan) include:

  1. Cynthia Coon, 13, missing from Washtenaw County since January 19, 1970
  2. Nadine Jean O’Dell, 16, missing from Inkster since August 16, 1974
  3. Kimberly Alice King, 12, missing from Warren since September 16, 1979
  4. Kim Marie Larrow, 13, missing from Canton since June 8, 1981
  5. Kellie Marie Brownlee, 17, missing from Novi since May 20, 1982

And here’s some articles about it:

I have this to say

You know, I rarely openly criticize the police, because I am not a police officer and I do not know what they know, but I have to say the cops in David Morrison‘s case were a bunch of idiots.

I mean, you see a body floating in water just a few feet deep, practically within arm’s length of shore, and it’s windy and the lake is choppy and it’s LAKE MICHIGAN, it’s not a little pond or anything, and you don’t bother to fetch it? Just chill out on the shoreline and watch the lake take the body away?

Genius. And someone probably got away with murder because of it. Hard to prosecute without a body, particularly in 1979.

That is all.

Flashback Friday: Charles Francis

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Charles Christopher “Christy” Francis, a seven-year-old boy who disappeared from Santa Ana, California on April 9, 1979.  He’d gone to work with his dad that day. (I’m not sure why, cause it looks like it was a school day.) Dad delivered water tanks. Charles disappeared while waiting for his dad to pick him up.

There hasn’t been a lot of press about this, either back then or now, alas. The police had some suspicion that it might have been a custody matter, but they seem to have ruled that theory out.