MP of the week: Michelle Wells

This week’s featured missing person is Michelle Wells, a 13-year-old girl who disappeared from Detroit, Michigan in 1982.

And… that’s it. That’s all I have for this case. I don’t even have an exact date of disappearance, which is very sad, especially given as Michelle was a child.

I also only have one poor quality photo of her, and not much in the way of a physical description: of Native American and white descent, with red hair — though it doesn’t look red in the picture. No height and weight, no eye color.

If she’s still alive, Michelle would be about 53 years old today. It’s cases like this that deserve attention most of all, and that’s why I picked her for my missing person of the week.

I’ll be out of Facebook Jail in a week. Here’s some more news.

From California:

  • They’re still looking for Khrystyna Carreno, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Bakersfield in November 2020. (The article spells her name “Khrystina” but the NCMEC and CDOJ spell it “Khrystyna” so I’m going to go with that.) I don’t have her on Charley but figure I should add her. Twelve is very young, obviously, and she’s been missing for a year and a half now. I hope she’s alive and hasn’t been trafficked. Here’s Khrystyna’s NCMEC poster.

From Florida:

From Georgia:

  • They have finally identified the little boy whose corpse was found outside Atlanta over 20 years ago. His name was William DaShawn Hamilton and he was six years old when he was murdered. William was never reported missing. His mother, Teresa Ann Bailey Black, has been charged with felony murder, cruelty to children, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another.

From Michigan:

  • They’re still looking for Kathy Sue Wilcox, a 15-year-old girl last seen in Otsego in 1972. She got into an argument with her parents over an older boy she was dating, stomped out angrily and was never seen again. Kathy would be 65 today. Kathy’s sister does not believe she ran away, and made reference to a “significant antisocial person who was in [Kathy’s] life,” whom she thinks could have been involved.

From Minnesota:

  • Remains found in Rosemount in 2014 have been identified as James Everett, a New York man who was not listed as missing. They do not know the cause or manner of death, but they believe Everett died sometime in the autumn months of 2013. I wonder if he died of exposure; Minnesota can get very cold, and I doubt a “decommissioned railroad utility shed” would have heat or insulation.

From New Hampshire:

  • They’re still looking for 15-year-old Shirley Ann “Tippy” McBride, last seen in Concord in 1984. Although there haven’t been any new developments, the article talks about the case in great detail.
  • They’re still looking for Maura Murray, and are searching an unspecified “area in the towns of Landaff and Easton.” This search isn’t based on any new info, though, they’re just shooting in the dark.

From New York:

  • They’re trying to find Judith Threlkeld, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared from Chautauqua County in 1976. She was last seen walking home from the library. I added the case to Charley yesterday.

From North Dakota:

  • Check out this awesome in-depth three-part series on the 1996 disappearances of Sandra Mary Jacobson and her son, John Henry Jacobson: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 (this last part is paywalled, but I was invested enough to fork over two bucks for a subscription). Very mysterious case. I feel terrible for Sandra’s older son, Spencer: he lost his mom and half-brother, literally, and later on his father was murdered, and neither of these cases have been solved. A few years after the murder of Spencer’s father, Spencer’s wife died tragically young at 24, from strep throat of all things, leaving him a young widower with three kids. Poor Spencer has had enough bad luck to last a lifetime.

From Ohio:

  • They’re still looking for Charles King Blanche, a 39-year-old man who disappeared from his Youngstown group home in 1991. Blanche’s cousin says he was a very talented musician who was recruited to tour in Europe in a marching band, but his life kind of cratered after he developed an unspecified severe mental illness. An all-too-common story on the Charley Project.

From Texas:

  • It’s being reported that sometimes when Texan foster kids run away, the agencies just wash their hands of them and end their guardianship over them. This sounds terrible, but given how often foster agencies fail their wards, and given as it’s Texas where they can’t even keep the lights on, I’m not entirely surprised.
  • Using genetic genealogy, they have identified a Jane Doe whose partial remains were found south of Midland in 2013. The victim was Sylvia Nicole Smith, who disappeared in 2000 at the age of sixteen. The case is being investigated as homicide.

From Virginia

  • Cory Bigsby, the father of four-year-old Codi Bigsby, has been indicted on thirty counts, the majority of them child neglect charges. Codi has been missing since January. None of the indictments are related to his disappearance; they’re connected to Cory’s allegedly terrible parenting from prior to Codi’s disappearance. Codi has not been missing long enough to go up on Charley, so here’s his NCMEC poster, and here’s another poster for him.

From Washington state:

  • There are forty known Native American people listed as missing from the Yakima area. And here’s a list of all the Native Americans listed as missing from the entire state.

From Washington DC:

  • They’re still looking for Relisha Tenau Rudd, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from a Dickensian homeless shelter in 2014. I’ve blogged about Relisha several times, as recently as earlier this week when they put up a new AP for her. If still alive, Relisha would now be 16. Here’s another detailed article about her case, with links to the earlier series of articles the Washington Post did about it.

And in general:

  • Although they don’t drop kids from the guardianship rolls when they disappear, in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Illinois, most missing foster kids who resurface are not screened to see if they were trafficked during the time they were gone. The article says Texas actually has a better record in this regard, with over 80% of missing-and-then-located foster kids being screened. But the number should ideally be 100%.
  • My husband has persuaded me to finally turn the Charley Project into an official registered nonprofit organization. Right now we’re saving up the money to pay a lawyer to file the paperwork to do this though it’s going to be awhile at this rate; money is super tight right now. If the Charley Project is a registered nonprofit, all donations will become tax-deductible and also the organization could become the recipient of grants. I’d use the grants to travel to more missing persons events, and pay the subscription fees for more databases to use in researching cases, and maybe hire an editor or something.

MP of the week: Barry Douglas

This week’s featured missing person case is Barry Keith Douglas, a 31-year-old man who disappeared from Galeton, Pennsylvania on July 3, 1988. He was last seen walking near his home, in the direction of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. He stopped to talk to some people he knew on the way, and they were the last ones to see him.

He left behind almost everything, including his car. He apparently only took his wallet a .30-06 rifle. And he left his front door propped open with the radio on.

Douglas is described as white, 6’0 and 200 pounds, with red hair and blue eyes. He suffers from schizophrenia and one theory is that he disappeared due to developing amnesia from his illness.

If still alive, Barry Douglas would be 65 today.

Inconsistent and minimal reportage strikes again

So I saw this article about Dale Pearl Smith‘s disappearance and it does not really provide any more info than I had before, other than the mention of Westmoreland Road. I have updated Dale’s case with that bit.

The thing is, though… it says she was last seen on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1987. But I looked it up and Mother’s Day was on May 10 that year.

There is no explanation for the discrepancy. Was it a typo? Or maybe there was a scheduling issue and Dale and her daughter decided to meet for Mother’s Day the day after instead of the day of? I have no idea.

I’ve got her disappearance down as May 10 but there’s a good chance it’s May 11. I have no clue.

If anyone who knows something about the case, such as one of Dale’s relatives, finds this blog I’d love to have this matter cleared up so I will know I have the correct date.

MP of the week: Daisy Tallman

This week’s featured missing persons case is Daisy Mae Tallman, aka Daisy Heath (she was in the process of changing it legally when she disappeared). The 29-year-old woman, a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakama Nation, disappeared from Toppenish, Washington on August 30, 1987.

Her family wasn’t concerned at first because she would sometimes leave for short periods and she was capable of surviving in the wilderness on her own. But two months later they reported her missing.

At some point, some of Daisy’s belongings were found in a remote area of the Yakama Reservation, an area that’s off-limits to non-tribal members without permission.

The police believe Daisy was murdered, but no suspects have been named in her case.

MP of the week: Clara Grunst

Sorry this is late, yesterday I kind of forgot what day it was.

This week’s featured missing person is Clara Marie Grunst, a 21-year-old woman who was last heard from on October 9, 1984. She was planning to hitchhike from Joplin, Missouri to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Joplin is given as the place of her disappearance.

She was sighted in Joplin, getting into a truck driven by a Milwaukee driver, on October 8. On October 9 she made a call and said she was in Pittsburg, Kansas. No one ever saw or heard from her again.

Clara is described as white, 5’3 to 5’6 tall and 118 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She wore glasses, her ears were pierced, and she had a red birthmark on her navel and a tattoo of the name “Jeff” on her left forearm. She also had scoliosis, a deformity of the spine, though I’m not sure if this would have been noticeable in life. She was last seen wearing a white shirt with a floral waistbant, reddish-brown pants, blue sneakers, a Timex watch with a blue band, and a silver ring.

Back in 2011 her family said they’d be holding a memorial service for her. Per Whereabouts Still Unknown, Clara’s mom died a few years ago. Her siblings are still alive and hope she’ll be found someday.

Olisa Williams’s dad charged with murder

I’ve been pretty sure Olisa Williams‘s dad killed her for a decade and a half now. Like, since before the Charley Project was ever even a thing. I never expected the case to actually get solved, though.

Well, 39 years after the fact, Isiah Williams has finally been charged with one count of open murder. “Open murder” doesn’t mean he committed the crime in public or anything. It just means they aren’t picking a specific degree of murder, like first- or second-degree murder.

The Michigan Attorney General did a press conference about the case and another, unrelated case, an hour ago, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot that’s publicly available about the case against Isiah. It does say Olisa’s body has not been recovered. I’m not sure there’d be anything left of the poor baby by this point. (The comments at the bottom of the press conference link aren’t about Olisa’s case but about the other one being discussed. Plus some bonus homophobia thrown in.)

I hope the case processes through the system quickly. Isiah is not getting any younger.

Theodore Kampf identified

So it’s been in the news in several places: Theodore Frederick Kampf, a 46-year-old man who was last seen in Oaklyn, New Jersey in July 1981, has been identified.

I was just talking to David Mittelman, the Othram Inc. guy, and he says it was in part cause of Charley that Kampf was identified. He was identified through DNA, but I guess Kampf wouldn’t have even been on the list of possibles except his Charley Project page notes he was road-tripping to Canada and was supposed to cross the border on July 13.

His body was found in the Yukon, you see. Specifically, “in a wooded area near the North Fork Dam and Dempster Highway in Dawson City.” Which is about as far away as it is possible for him to be and still be on the same continent. I looked it up and Dawson City, Yukon Territory is a 63-hour drive from Oaklyn, New Jersey — and that’s only if you take a direct route (which Kampf didn’t, since he was last known to be in Washington State). The direct route is 6,382 kilometers, or almost 4,000 miles.

After forty years I think it’s unlikely his murder will ever be solved. The killer could even be dead by now. But at least he’s coming home.

MP of the week: Adriana Bejarano

This week’s featured missing person is, like the case I was discussing earlier, another obscure missing child case that for whatever reason never seems to have made it into the NCMEC database: Adriana M. Bejarano, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared from her Ephrata, Pennsylvania home on November 28, 1988. From all appearances she left her house voluntarily, but my guess is she didn’t intend to be gone as long as she has been.

She’s described as Hispanic and Colombian-American. 5’3 and 125 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She had braces at the time of her disappearance and may have been last seen wearing a black trench coat and jeans.

I have to wonder if perhaps she had a secret boyfriend, maybe a much older man, and this is the person she went out to meet.

If still alive, Adriana would be in her late forties.