Flashback Friday: Natasha Shanes

This week’s FF case is Natasha Marie Shanes, a six-year-old girl who was apparently abducted from her mother’s Jackson, Michigan home on May 8, 1985.

Although they never identified the abductor or found any bloodstains or the like, I’m pretty confident Natasha died around the time she was taken, because of her medical problems. She had a seizure disorder and needed medication for that. She was also slightly intellectually disabled and she had scoliosis, though to what degree I don’t know.

In the very unlikely event that Natasha is alive, she’d be 38 today.

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MP of the week: Bruce Falconer

This week’s featured missing person is Bruce Falconer, a 21-year-old Marine who disappeared from Bismarck, North Dakota on February 20, 1981, after a night out with his friend Tim Jewell. Jewell disappeared also, but his body was found in 1992. I suppose by then there probably wasn’t much left, but the authorities ruled the cause of death as exposure and they think Bruce probably died of exposure too.

Their car got stuck in the mud along the Missouri River and I guess the two men left to get help, but got lost. Winter weather in North Dakota is no joke, and probably both of them had been drinking.

I do think it’s slightly odd that Jewell’s body was recovered and Falconer’s wasn’t. You’d think they’d be close together.

Yeah, so this is the first time I’ve been to my computer in a few days. I’ve got a horrible cold and have mostly been lying in bed and reading a bit and sleeping a lot.

Select It Sunday: Hazel Alice Klug

This week’s Select It Sunday (sorry it took so long) was chosen by Rosalie R.: Hazel Alice Klug, who is her cousin. Hazel (who went by her middle name) was 23 when she disappeared from her Richmond, Virginia apartment sometime during the night of May 20-21, 1986. She spoke to her boyfriend on the phone at 11:30 p.m. and all was normal then, but she didn’t show up for work the next day and when the police were called to her apartment, all her stuff — including the dog — was left behind but Hazel was gone.

Significantly, one of the few things that disappeared with her was a large suitcase.

I can’t find any articles about this case, either recent or in the news archives, which is unfortunate. Hazel has been missing for 31 years. Sadly this wasn’t the first tragedy to befall her family; Find a Grave mentions an older sister who was killed by a drunk driver in 1981. Both of Hazel’s parents are now deceased as well.

Select-It… um… Monday: Amanda Fravel

Missy C. asked me to profile her sister, Amanda Lee Fravel, for Select It Sunday. I was going to do it on Sunday (naturally) but I just plumb forgot. I’m so sorry, Missy. I hope you forgive me. Anyway, I decided to do it today, because I’ve got another Select It Sunday lined up, and if I waited till next Sunday to profile Amanda, that would mean pushing my other case back yet another week. I suppose it’s the exposure, not the day, that matters.

Anyway. Amanda Fravel moved to Las Vegas after graduating high school and got a job at Taco Bell. She disappeared from there at the age of 20; she was last seen on June 13, 1986, when she left her apartment to visit her boyfriend and also pick up her paycheck. She never arrived at either place, and she left her pets without food at her apartment.

She was a regular hitchhiker and my guess is something terrible happened to her.

Flashback Friday: Gloria Korzon

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Gloria Suzanne Korzon, who disappeared from Warrington, Pennsylvania on March 9, 1981. The case is a very sad but pretty typical example of domestic violence.

Due to her husband William’s attempt to cover up her absence, she wasn’t reported missing until July of that year. When Gloria’s family reported her disappearance to the police and they asked William about it, he lied and said she was visiting an aunt out of state.

Furthermore, the couple’s marriage had been pretty terrible. The police had been called to their home eight times, and Gloria left behind a list of times when William allegedly assaulted her; the list was three pages long.

William is, obviously, the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance, but no charges have ever been filed in her case.

Let’s Talk About It: Tiffany Papesh

This week’s “Let’s Talk About It” is Tiffany Jennifer Papesh, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from Maple Heights, Ohio, in the Cleveland metro area, on June 13, 1980. She’d be 46 today if she is still alive, which is unlikely.

Tiffany’s case is one of the few murder-without-a-body cases where I believe the suspect, Brandon Flagner, may very well be innocent. He was convicted of murder but I really can’t see why. The only thing I can think of is his defense must have been very inadequate.

Flagner confessed to Tiffany’s kidnapping and murder something like 30 times, and he is definitely a serial child molester who had a history of threatening his victims — all young girls — with violence if they didn’t do what he said. Those confessions and his criminal history were, as far as I can tell, pretty much the entire case against him.

However…

Flagner also had an excellent alibi for the time of Tiffany’s abduction: he claims he was at work up until half an hour before Tiffany disappeared. Tiffany’s Charley Project casefile says Flagner’s workplace was 40 miles from where she disappeared; this source says 58 miles. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other: at either distance he wouldn’t have had the time to race over to Maple Heights and abduct the little girl.

Now, it’s true that by the time the police got around to asking, no one specifically remembered seeing Flagner at work that day. But his time card WAS stamped, and furthermore, he worked in a factory production line that needed a certain number of people — him included — to function properly. Since the factory was functioning just fine that day, that seems like a pretty strong indication that Flagner was exactly where he said he was.

The police investigating Tiffany’s disappearance, as well as Tiffany’s own family, think the way that I do, that Flagner is innocent (of this crime anyway) and someone else abducted her. The case is still open. You can see a lot of articles and stuff about Tiffany’s disappearance and Flagner’s conviction here. He made headlines again about ten years ago when he claimed the Ohio Department of Corrections violated his religious rights by forcibly cutting off his beard (he had converted to Orthodox Judaism while in prison).

Flagner comes up for parole in 2019. Given his background as a serial child molester and his insistence that he’s innocent of Tiffany’s murder, I highly doubt he’ll get released then.

I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the man himself. I think he’s a danger to the community and belongs behind bars, but not for this reason. And as long as he sits in prison convicted of abducting and killing Tiffany Papesh, that means whoever DID abduct Tiffany is still out there.

So what happened here? Does anyone think Flagner is guilty? How did he get convicted in the first place, and how can this problem be fixed? If Flagner didn’t do this, who did? Let’s talk about it.

Flashback Friday: Wayne Hickman

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Wayne W. Hickman, who disappeared from Missoula, Montana on October 1, 1985. He was 27 years old. Hickman was going to hitchhike to the town of Superior, which Google Maps says is about an hour from Missoula, to have a look at a pickup truck that was for sale. I don’t know if he ever arrived there.

I have to wonder about possible foul play here, especially if Hickman was carrying a large amount of cash to buy the truck with. Perhaps he got picked up by the wrong person. But I don’t have much on the case.