We had a nice conversation about some kids who disappeared in the 1980s in Tennessee:
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.
Two months and ten days after my one-month Facebook Jail sentence began, Facebook has finally deigned to let me out. Yay. Now let’s see how long I can stay out before the modbots once again take offense at some perfectly acceptable meme I posted years ago.
Arizona: A Portland, Maine man who disappeared from the Grand Canyon on December 20 has been, amazingly enough, found alive and in good health.
Connecticut: Found this article featuring various missing persons from that state.
Georgia: In Atlanta they’re going to set up a memorial for the missing and murdered children lumped under the Atlanta Child Killer case. The city council has allocated funds and approved a design. Just a few days ago I watched the series on the Atlanta child murders on HBO Max. It was very disturbing. I don’t know if Wayne Williams killed anybody, but he DEFINITELY did not get a fair trial.
Michigan: They’re still looking for Dean Marie “Deanie” Peters, a 14-year-old girl who disappeared from Grand Rapids in 1981. The article focuses on the theory that a local teen boy drove at Deanie to scare her and make her think he was trying to hit her, but he accidentally DID hit her and killed her. This person allegedly told different versions of this story to a couple of dozen people before his death, but it has never been confirmed.
Pennsylvania: They’re still looking for John Francis Lango and the local paper has done a two-part series on his disappearance: here’s part one and part two. Although his family and most of his friends recall John as a happy-go-lucky, popular sort of guy, one acquaintance said he’d grown shy, introverted and “sullen” prior to his 1988 disappearance from Pottsville, a month before his eighteenth birthday. None of his loved ones think he ran away.
Texas: They found the car of Carey Mae Parker in Lake Tawakoni. Carey was 23 when she disappeared from Quinlan in 1991. So far they’ve only been able to recover one half of the vehicle, and so far no human remains have been found.
Utah: Here is an article about the disappearances and murders of various Native American people in Utah.
Australia: They’re still looking for Colleen Walker-Craig, a 16-year-old girl who disappeared from Bowraville, New South Wales in 1990. Her clothes were found in the river, weighted by rocks, but no sign of her.
Also Australia: A jawbone that washed up on a beach in New South Wales in 2011 has been identified as Bill Moran, a 24-year-old man who was lost at sea when his boat sank off Evans Head in 1979. Bill’s wife Philippa also died in the accident, but I think her body was found earlier.
Canada: There’s been a podcast episode about the 1997 disappearance of 27-year-old Danny Gaulton, who was last seen in Grande Prairie, Alberta. He told his roommates he was going to work, but in fact he called in sick that night. Neither he nor his car was ever found.
England: They’re still looking for Anne Simpson, a 60-year-old woman who disappeared from Skegness in 2004. She was last seen drinking with two biker types and her partner.
Japan: I found this interesting article about how North Korea kidnapped some people, including a thirteen-year-old girl, from Japan and took them back to North Korea so they could help train future spies.
Honestly… it’s been ten days and it’s still very hard for me to take my mind off of the situation or to get much of anything done. I really wish I would not live through any more major historical events; I think I’ve endured more than my share already. But I’m trying, guys. I really am.
Oh, and an update on my Facebook woes: my release date from Facebook Jail has been moved from early February to late January. 6:26 a.m. on January 23 to be precise. I have no idea why and I’m not sure Facebook will honor this release date, since they didn’t last time.
Arizona: They’re still looking for Elizabeth Emma Breck, a 46-year-old teacher who disappeared from the Sierra Tucson behavioral health center in Saddlebrooke in January 2019. She had just arrived a few days earlier for a thirty-day treatment program for PTSD. Nothing significant to report regarding her disappearance, just that the anniversary was this week.
Arkansas: There has been much talk over the last couple of days that a dark-haired girl with bruised eyes in a viral Tiktok video was Cassie Kay Compton, who disappeared from Stuttgart in 2014, at age 15. The FBI says they’ve identified and spoken to the Tiktok girl and it’s not Cassie. They haven’t released her name, but she has been identified elsewhere as Haley Grace Phillips, a Los Angeles woman.
California: They’re looking to see if David Emery Misch, the man recently charged in the 1988 murder of nine-year-old Michaela Joy Garecht, who was kidnapped from a Hayward supermarket and never found, was also responsible for the disappearance of thirteen-year-old Ilene Beth Misheloff from Dublin in 1989.
Connecticut: They’re released an age-progressed image of Vanessa Morales, a two-year-old girl who was last seen in from Ansonia on November 29, 2019. The cops found Vanessa’s mother murdered at home on December 2, with no sign of Vanessa. I’ll add her to Charley soon.
Florida: They’re still looking for Mary Opitz, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Fort Myers back in 1981. They’re also still trying to solve the murder of Mary Hare, whose abduction and killing may have had the same perpetrator as in Opitz’s case.
Illinois: They’re still looking for Steven Robert Asplund, a 32-year-old tool and die worker who disappeared from Moline on January 9, 1994. The 27th anniversary of his disappearance was a week ago but there’s nothing new to report.
Iowa: They’ve finally canceled the Amber Alert for Breasia Terrell, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared from Davenport in July. She is still missing.
Mississippi: They’re still trying to identify a little boy whose skull was found in a drainage canal in Sharkey County in 2014. No other remains were located. He was estimated to be between 5 and 7 at the time of his death, which may have occurred up to several years before he found. Preliminary DNA results indicate the boy was black, and probably has relatives from Sharkey County and the surrounding area.
Maryland: They’re still looking for Andre Thompson, a sixteen-year-old who disappeared from Baltimore on June 23. He may be in the Glen Burnie area.
Michigan: They have located fifteen-year-old Gloria Alvarado, who was missing from Taylor for 75 days. She is alive and well, and had run away with a seventeen-year-old boy because her parents would not allow her to date. She has returned home.
Nevada: They’re still looking for Cassandra Ayon, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Loyal back in October. In particular, the police are asking for public help for info on a red or maroon SUV that may have been on one of the residential side streets near Unity Trailer Court, which is where Cassandra was last seen.
Also North Carolina: In Winston-Salem, they’re still looking for two missing adults: Lucinda Farris, who disappeared from in June, and Eliseo Ernesto Gomez-Martinez, who disappeared in November. There’s no indication the two cases are related.
Oregon: They’re still trying to identify a child whose body was found near a rest area in Lincoln County on December 10. The little girl had dark brown or black hair and was between six and a half and ten years of age at the time of her death, which occurred at least a month before she was found. Cops have ruled out several possibilities for the girl, including five-year-old Dulce Maria Alvarez, who was abducted from a New Jersey playground in September 2019.
Virginia: The police have reclassified the 2010 disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke from a missing person to a kidnap/homicide. They have not said whether they have any current suspects in the case, but Randy Allen Taylor, who was found guilty of murder-without-a-body in the 2013 disappearance of seventeen-year-old Alexis Tiara Murphy, has been mentioned before.
Wisconsin: They’re still looking for Daajane Morgan, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Milwaukee on March 6.
Canada: They’re still looking for Alyssa Turnbull, a young woman who disappeared from Nipigon, Ontario in late March 2020.
Also Canada: Six patients went missing from the now-defunct North Bay Psychiatric Hospital in Toronto, Ontario between 1966 and 2010. They have never been found.
England: They’re still looking for Andrew Gosden, a fourteen-year-old schoolboy who disappeared from London in 2007. Andrew Gosden and another English missing person, Charles Horvath Allen, have both been featured recently on the podcast The Missing.
Trinidad: They’re still looking for Kelly Ann Seerattan, a 25-year-old kindergarten music teacher who disappeared from Princes Town in 2011. The article has some quotes from Kelly’s mom.
Yeah, for the uninitiated, Facebook is mainly where I share missing persons related news. But as I addressed in my previous entry, that’s not an option right now. So I’m sharing them here:
From Joliet, Illinois: 17 Missing In Will County: One Joliet Case Dates To 1957. Includes a photo of Sarah Elizabeth Avon which I hadn’t previously seen; I have added it.
From Rice County, Kansas: Five years after she disappeared, the search for Megan continues. The Megan here is Megan Renee Foglesong.
From Tarboro, North Carolina: Cold case investigators offer $15K reward in case of missing Edgecombe County man. The missing man, Stephen Frederick MacGray, has been missing for nearly a year — not quite long enough to be eligible for listing on the Charley Project.
From San Luis Obispo, California: This coach last saw his mother in Woodland in 1979; his DNA helped find her body. About the Dolores Wulff case; she disappeared in 1979 and was identified recently.
From Mobile, Alabama: Cold Case Mystery: Mobile mother missing for 20 years. That’s Lisa Ann Pierce, who went missing in 2000.
From Battle Creek, Michigan: Amber Griffin remains missing after months of failed searches around Battle Creek. She’s been missing since June.
From San Luis Obispo, California: Can new info help solve the case of missing college student Kristin Smart? Also: Was the beeping in a backyard coming from Kristin Smart’s watch? Kristin disappeared in 1996; it’s one of those cases where it’s pretty obvious what must have happened but the cops are having a hard time proving it.
From Sonora, Mexico: Sonora mayor’s gift to mothers of missing persons: shovels and buckets.
Yeah, I haven’t updated in a bit and I’m sorry. The last week has been super busy, mainly with wedding stuff. Michael and I are getting married Saturday.
I picked up my dress at the alterations place yesterday and it fits me perfectly. In my completely unbiased opinion I’m going to be the most beautiful bride in the world. There’s not going to be any honeymoon because of Covid. Michael will go back to work on Monday and so will I.
So, in lieu of Charley Project updates, here’s a sample of the more interesting recent missing and unidentified persons news:
- A woman whose body was found off Interstate 5 in Sacramento, California in 1981 has been identified as 26-year-old Lily Prendergast, who was last seen when she left her family’s Texas home in late 1980.
- John Michael Carroll disappeared from Victor, Idaho in 2005. His skeletal remains were found “in the general area” where he lived in 2013, and were identified this month.
- Hollis Willingham has been arrested in the murder of Jim Craig Martin, who disappeared from Normangee, Texas on August 6, 2007. It doesn’t look like Martin’s body has been found, however.
- Thomas Drew disappeared from Salisbury, Connecticut in 2007. He used to be on Charley but then his daughter asked me to remove the case. She didn’t like what I’d written, I guess. Anyway, he is still missing, and his daughter has recently published a memoir, Searching for My Missing Father: An American Noir. It sounds very interesting and I added it to my wishlist.
- Blackfeet Community College, in corroboration with Montana’s Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force, has launched a website to help streamline missing persons reports of Native American people: “The website [linked here] allows families and friends to complete a Contact Information Form about the missing person online. In the past, missing persons’ loved ones have expressed reluctance to report missing individuals directly to law enforcement. The BCC reporting system will serve as the go-between for those reporting and all levels of law enforcement. Once the form is submitted on the website, an automatic notice will be sent to local tribal law enforcement.”
- A woman’s torso found washed ashore in the seaside community of Benicia, California in 1979 has been identified as Dolores Wulff, who disappeared from Woodland, California that year. Dolores’s husband Carl Wulff Sr. had actually been charged with her murder in 1985, but the charge was dismissed later that year and he died in 2005.
- A skull found on Mount Hood in Oregon in 1986 has been identified as that of Wanda Ann Herr, who had left a Gresham, Oregon group home a decade earlier at the age of nineteen. No missing persons report was filed at the time and the most recent photo available showed her at age twelve. The police are asking anyone who knew Wanda or has any info on her 1976 disappearance to contact them.
- The police have identified a new suspect in the 1973 disappearance of Barbara Jean Aleksivich from Bath, New York. The suspect, Richard W. Davis, is now dead, but he was recently identified through DNA as the killer of Siobhan McGuinness, a Missoula, Montana six-year-old who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1974. Barbara, who was 24, was way out of Richard Davis’s preferred age range for victims, but he did live in Bath at the time Barbara disappeared. A previous suspect in her case, who still lived in the Bath area last I knew, has been cleared.
- The body of Ethan Bert Kazmerzak, who disappeared from Hampton, Iowa in 2013, has probably been found. At least they found his car submerged in a local pond, with human remains inside. The remains have been sent to the state medical examiner to be identified, but it’s highly unlikely it’s anyone but Ethan.
This week’s featured missing person is Dena Viola McHan, a 19-year-old college student who disappeared from Stockton, California on December 6, 1981. She was on her way home when she stopped to get gas.
While she was there an attendant noticed some men “harassing” her, but Dena said she didn’t need any help. She has never been seen again and her car was never found either.
Foul play is suspected in her case, and obviously the first suspects that come to mind are the two men who were bothering her. I wonder if these men have ever been identified and if they were known to Dena. I wonder if maybe they followed her and ran her off the road, or perhaps abducted her at the station itself, though this is less likely.
I also wonder whether Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog were ever investigated in this case. They are known or suspected in several murders and disappearances in that same area in the 1980s and 1990s. It seems reasonable to at least ask Shermantine about this; he’s still alive, though Herzog suicided in 2012.
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 Tai Yung Lau, a Chinese immigrant who disappeared from Tampa, Florida on June 20, 1981. He was 53 years old. I found a fair amount of detail on Lau’s case, but some of it was contradictory.
It looks like he might have been swept up in China’s Cultural Revolution, when a lot of people were executed or sent to forced labor camps on trumped-up charges. At any rate, per my sources, Lau fled a labor camp in 1967, got a job on a ship, then jumped ship and applied for asylum in the U.S. two years later. He was working hard and hoped to bring his wife and child over.
There are reports that he didn’t own a car, and reports that he sold his car the day he went missing and said something about returning to China. I don’t believe the latter reports; if Lau had gone back to China they would have probably shot him.
I doubt that, almost forty years later, anyone is going to figure out what happened to Lau, but I don’t think it was anything good. I wonder if his family is still in China or if they were able to come here.
This week’s featured missing person is Debra Jean Cole, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Lebanon, Indiana on August 29, 1981.
They’re pretty sure Debra was killed by her mother’s live-in boyfriend, who definitely killed Debra’s sister Frances in 1983. Unfortunately, the boyfriend was never prosecuted in either case. He died in 1989, and Debra’s body has never been found.
- Uh, where are Tarasha Benjamin‘s ears on the 2013 AP I found?
- So it seems pretty obvious that “Larry Wilson” killed William Joseph Davis at that house that day, but I wonder what the motive would be? I’ve seen female real estates disappear under these circumstances, and usually the motive is a sexual attack, but this is less likely here. Robbery maybe?
- Per articles at the time, several other adults disappeared from Hillsborough County in the same time period as Brian Lee Jones did. There was no indication the cases were related, though, and all the others, except Jones and one other, seem to have turned up. As for Jones… I can’t figure out what was going on there. How far away was that “secluded wooded area” from the ABC Lounge? Were the “possible bloodstains” on the pillow ever tested? Obviously DNA testing would have been impossible in 1981, but they could have at least determined whether it the stains were human blood or not.
- I found frustratingly contradictory information about Tai Yung Lau‘s disappearance. One news account said he had no car and couldn’t drive, and other that his car disappeared at the same time he did. The new page for Hillsborough County missing persons, however, says Lau sold his car and said something about returning to China. But the thing is, if the story about him escaping from a forced labor camp during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eventually getting working papers in the U.S. is true, there’s no way in hell he would have returned to China; they’d have killed him.
- I originally read about Jack Donald Lewis‘s disappearance in this book; the author interviewed Carole Lewis (now Carole Baskin) and she mentioned that her husband just walked out of the house one day and never came back. As for Jack’s disappearance, I know there has been talk online that Carole killed him, but I am not going to venture a guess as to what caused his disappearance. The articles I found called Wildlife on Easy Street a “sanctuary,” but it didn’t have a very good reputation back in the nineties. I don’t know if things have improved now or what. On a side note, earlier this month Joe Exotic, who runs a horrible traveling petting zoo, was charged with trying to hire someone to kill Carole.
- Despite Carlos Melgar-Perez‘s case being local to me, I never heard squat about it until I saw him on the Fort Wayne Police Department and began looking up info on his own. Apparently the police only interviewed his friend one time. The circumstances of his disappearance seem strange, to say the least. There aren’t any nearby bodies of water sufficiently large/deep/fast enough to have concealed his body for this long.
- I found Eva Marie Ridall‘s dad’s obituary and noted that he was divorced from his kids’ mother and lived in Ohio when he died. I have to wonder if maybe she was going to Ohio to see her father, but I’ve got no proof that he lived in Ohio in 1977. I found some stuff about her disappearance online from her sister, and all indications seem to be that she did run away, but it’s been over 40 years; what happened?
- About that extortion attempt in Cynthia Lynn Sumpter‘s case: was the man charged with molesting her in jail when she disappeared? If he wasn’t, have the police verified his alibi 100%?
And finally, I found the following article about something Peter Joseph Bonick did a full five years prior to his disappearance. I’m guessing the reason he was living in a children’s home when he went missing is because he continued on the delinquent path.