Sigh, this is just so sad and so common

Earlier this month, Anthony Tyrone “Burt” Woodson‘s uncle was charged with his murder. The five-year-old has been missing since 1981, and it’s likely that he will never be found.

Some good articles about the case:

I knew almost nothing about Anthony’s case before, and it turns out that the official story had been a lie. Anthony’s uncle Terry said they went to a 7-11 in the middle of the night and Anthony disappeared from the car at some point. Well, Terry DID go to the 7-11, but only after his nephew was already dead.

The police were suspicious of the 7-11 abduction story but couldn’t disprove it, until 2017 when his uncle cracked and admitted Anthony was dead. He’s changed his story a bit since then, but the gist has always been the same: Anthony’s aunt and uncle beat the crap out of him with an electric cord, he died, and they dumped the body and concocted the 7-11 story.

Two childhood friends of Anthony reported that he was beaten badly and often enough that they’d come to recognize the sound of the electric cord and the screaming and crying and would know when a beating was taking place. Even by “Texas in the early 1980s” standards, this level of “discipline” seems excessive to me. But apparently nobody bothered to call CPS.

Justice has come too late for Della Woodson, Anthony’s aunt. She’s dead. And from the sounds of it, Terry might not live to see his trial. His sister, Merlene, says he’s in very poor health with severe diabetes and kidney problems, and that he’s on dialysis.

And it looks like there’s probably nothing left to bury, according to one of the articles:

Authorities have searched for any remains of the boy but have so far found none.

Experts, including anthropologists from the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, have told police the remains would have been dragged off and scattered by animals and likely may never be recovered.

Too little, too late.

Pride Month: Brian Hooks

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Brian Neil Hooks, who was addressed by his middle name, a 21-year-old gay man who disappeared from Florence, South Carolina on September 24, 1988.

Domestic violence may be behind Hooks’s disappearance; he told people he was afraid of his live-in boyfriend. When Hooks disappeared, the boyfriend said he had “run off.” Foul play is suspected.

Pride Month: Barry Block and David Rhodes

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is actually two people, Barry Alan Block and David George Rhodes, who disappeared together.

The two men, both 24, lived together in the Drake Towers apartments in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and both were gay, but I’m not clear on whether they were lovers or merely roommates. I’m guessing the former but I don’t know for sure. They also co-owned a boat.

Curiously, Mark Douglas Jackson, who disappeared in 2004, also lived in Drake Towers. The police are pretty sure Jackson was the victim of a serial killer, but I think it’s unlikely that Block and Rhodes’s disappearances are related to Jackson’s, because Block and Rhodes disappeared in 1988, a full sixteen years earlier.

I don’t have much on the Block/Rhodes cases by themselves. Rhodes’s cell phone (in 1988!) disappeared with him; I wonder if the cops bothered to track it.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Diane Suzuki

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Diane Yayoe Suzuki, a 19-year-old of Japanese descent who disappeared from Aiea, Hawaii on July 6, 1985. She was a student at the University of Hawaii and a part-time dance instructor, and apparently disappeared from work. Some blood was found in the dance studio bathroom.

The suspect in her disappearance is Dewey Hamasaki, a photographer at the dance studio who knew Diane. There was never enough evidence to charge him, and the case remains unsolved after over 30 years.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Susan Cerritelli

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Susan Maria Ann Cerritelli, a 26-year-old woman who disappeared from Long Pond, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1983.

She’s listed as Asian and her nickname is Chinese Sue, but I don’t know if she’s actually of Chinese descent. I think the photo of her is a high school yearbook picture, so it’s probably like ten years out of date.

Authorities believe Susan was murdered by her husband, Andrew, a violent criminal and generally a bad dude. According to one story, he dumped her remains in Centralia, Pennsylvania, an uninhabited hellscape that’s been on fire since the 1960s with no end in sight. If you can avoid getting poisoned by the coal gas fumes, it’s a very good place to put a body; the police say it’s too unsafe to search.

Andrew Cerritelli died in 2007 and took whatever secrets he had to his grave. While poor Susan remains among the missing.

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.”

MP of the week: Elizabeth Kovalik

This week’s featured missing person is Elizabeth Kovalik, a 28-year-old woman who disappeared from Milford, Connecticut in 1987. The night of her disappearance, she went out to a bar, where she was seen with two men. An acquaintance claims he dropped her off at home afterwards. She has never been heard from again and wasn’t reported missing for a week.

For what it’s worth, Elizabeth was “acting oddly” prior to her disappearance. Me, I wonder how closely the cops questioned the man she left the bar with.

She was featured in a Connecticut Magazine article in 2012.