This week’s featured missing person is Barry James “Bucky” Kephart II, an eleven-year-old boy who disappeared from Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 22, 1981. This is an exceptionally sad case, an all-but-confirmed child abuse homicide at the hands of his father, Barry Kephart Sr.
Unfortunately, charges can’t be filed in this case because at the time of Bucky’s disappearance, New Mexico had a fifteen-year statute of limitations on that type of crime. The statute of limitations no longer exists, but for Bucky it expired in 1996.
I was going over some old cases and NCMEC cases and stuff (and phoned in a tip to their hotline; I found a missing kid’s equally missing mother on Facebook) and noticed that on Amber Crum‘s casefile I’d written,
In 1986, investigators checked the fingerprints of a girl who was abandoned in California that same year. The girl matched Amber’s general physical description and was about the right age. Their fingerprints did not match, however.
I wonder, now, if that abandoned little girl was Denise Beaudin‘s child, Dawn/Lisa? Dawn was about the same age as Amber would have been, and she was abandoned in California in 1986.
I suppose I’ll probably never know. But it seems moderately likely.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is Gary Wayne Dover, who disappeared from the city of Denton, Texas on August 29, 1981. Denton is up in the northern part of the state near the Oklahoma border.
I don’t have much on Gary Dover’s case. His car was found abandoned after his disappearance, which isn’t a great sign. I haven’t heard about any evidence of violence in the car, like blood or anything, but foul play is suspected in Dover’s disappearance.
A fairly unusual distinguishing characteristic: Dover has a bullet wound scar in his lower left leg, and the bullet was still inside him. He also suffers from an unspecified “eye disorder” but generally refused to wear his prescription glasses.
If he were alive today he could be 66.
Selected by Michael W.: Roger Ellison, a seventeen-year-old senior who vanished from Cedaredge, Colorado on February 10, 1981. (I should have done this last Sunday. My apologies.)
Although many kids disappear en route to or from school, it seems very few of them actually disappear on the school campus itself. Roger did: he definitely made it to school that day, and was sighted putting stuff in his locker in the morning, but never attended class.
His case is classified as a non-family abduction and police believe he was killed shortly after he went missing. And there is someone the cops have in mind, a person of interest.
(I know I’ve been a lazy-butt and not updated for like a week. I hit my head last Friday and my head was killing me for days afterwards in spite of the application of ice packs etc. On Saturday I went to ER because I thought I might have a concussion. They did tests, and said no, and prescribed some completely ineffective painkillers. I actually went back a few days later because my head was still hurting horribly and they did the same tests and said I was fine. Well, the headache finally stopped. Maybe it was the weather — we’ve had horrible storms and humidity all week, and things finally cleared up today.)
- As various commenters and emailers have noted: Francine Frost (missing from Oklahoma, 1981) and Joseph Spears (missing from Mississippi, 1973) have both been identified.
- Joseph was 17 when he escaped from a juvenile detention center. Less than a month later, he’d made it to Texas and was crossing a freeway when he was hit by a vehicle and killed. He was finally identified this month. Per this article:
Mary Raskin, mother of missing teen Joseph “Joey” Norman Spears, ended up looking at pictures of her son’s body to positively identify him, Harrison County Sheriff’s Investigator Kristi Johnson said Monday.
Officials with the Galveston medical examiner’s office were unable to get a proper DNA sample from Spears’ body to confirm the identity, Johnson said. Instead, they called on Harrison County cold case investigators to provide all the facts they had on the case for comparison to the evidence Texas officials had on hand.
Mary Raskin, Spears’ mother, identified her son.
“I have mixed emotions,” Johnson said after learning the news. “I am relieved the case is solved but I know it’s not the outcome Mrs. Raskin was hoping for. I’m sad for her but I’m glad she is getting the answers she was searching for for 43 years. The family has shared their appreciation for us working on this.”
- As for Francine, her body was found in Muskogee County, Oklahoma two years after her disappearance. She was 43 years old. Per this article: a year ago Francine’s family heard about the Muskogee remains and got a court order to exhume and test for DNA:
Vernon Martin, the superintendent of Green Hill Cemetery, helped make it happen.
He said there are about 1,400 unidentified bodies buried there – many of them dating back before statehood.
He took us back to the plot where Frost’s remains stayed for more than 30 years before they were finally identified.
“This is actually greater than the pay that you receive in this job, the people that we come across on a daily basis and able to help them through their loss, whether it’s last week, or, in this case, 1981,” Martin said.
Unlike with Joey Spears, this case is obviously still not over yet. Joey died in an accident; Francine appears to have been abducted and murdered. Her family has half the answer now — that is, they have her back and they can bury her — but I’m sure they’d also like to know who killed her.
(An Oklahoma TV show actually wanted to interview me about Francine and in particular about identifying long-buried John and Jane Does, but I had spent the day in bed nursing that headache. I didn’t even check my email until 10:00 p.m. and thus missed the interview opportunity. Oh well.)
- The case of long-missing Quebecois child Yohanna Cyr is back in the news, because a woman in the United States has come forward and thinks she’s Yohanna. Usually I don’t pay too close attention to claims like this, because it’s hardly ever the missing person. But this one has me wondering, because, as this article says, both Yohanna and the American woman have a Y-shaped birthmark on their index finger. I blogged about Yohanna twice, once in 2014 and once in 2011. In the 2011 entry, Yohanna’s mom posted a comment in French.
- You guys may have heard about the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania twins who disappeared at some indeterminate time years ago — some articles say 10 years, some say 13-14 years. Mom claimed she sold them, but retracted her story after she was informed this was a crime. The first time authorities realized the kids were missing was when CPS sent the cops to the house to remove all the kids, and the cops duly removed the four they found, and CPS was like, “Um, she actually has six.”
NamUs has profiles for the kids: Inisha Fowler and Ivon Fowler. The only picture that I’ve been able to find is a photo of them as babies, side by side, and I have no idea which twin is which. (See this article for that photo, and a pic of Mom, and of the twins’ not-missing brother as well.) I suppose I’ll post the case on Charley anyway. A baby photo is still a photo, and this is certainly an outrageous story that the world needs to know. Even if, by some miracle, Ivon and Inisha are still alive, the fact that no one noticed they were gone for so long is truly terrible. Heads should roll here — a lot of people dropped the ball.
- The kidnapper of Zephany Nurse, a South African girl who was abducted as an infant and not found for seventeen years, has been sentenced to ten years in prison. (You might recall that Ann Pettway, Carlina White‘s abductor, got twelve.) Zephany grew up just a mile away from her real family’s home and attended the same school as her biological sister. The identity of the woman who kidnapped her has been withheld from the media to protect Zephany’s privacy.
Outrageously, the kidnapper has refused to admit she did anything wrong. And sadly for the Nurse family, Zephany has chosen to remain with her kidnapper’s husband. I don’t blame her. I mean, for 17 years she thought this guy was her dad, and it’s a terrible situation she’s in. I just think it sucks for her real parents and I hope that Zephany does eventually choose to form a relationship with them.
I was working just now on adding/updating APs for cases. I know the NCMEC had released a new AP for Kathryn Quackenbush, which had previously had none at all, even though she’s been missing for 35 years. I had bookmarked the poster and I went back to it… and the AP is gone.
Muttergrumble. Why on earth would they go to all the trouble to make one and then remove it? Maybe it’s a mistake. I don’t know who to email about it but I might call the hotline.
I looked elsewhere online — on Kathryn’s NamUs profile, and in a Google Image search — but that AP is well and truly gone. I wish I had grabbed it right away.
Sometimes the NCMEC adds info to posters, only to remove the info about five minutes later. They added an extra photo of Stephen Beard to his poster and I snatched it up straightaway because I had a feeling it would be gone soon, and it was, within a day or two.
At least I just noticed something that IS still on Kathryn’s poster that I don’t currently have: her nickname is Kitty. I’ll put that up anyhow.
I wish I knew more about her case. Newspapers.com has several hits for both “Kathryn Quackenbush” and “Kitty Quackenbush” but they’re all for someone who clearly isn’t my missing teenager.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is James William Hires, age 18, who disappeared from Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey on October 17, 1981. It looks like he may have left on his own: he was carrying $1,100 in cash (almost $2,900 in 2015 money, according to the Inflation Calculator), his car was found parked at the Philadelphia Airport, and he was supposedly sighted in San Francisco in 1983. No sign of James since then, though.
I can’t find much on this disappearance. The Whereabouts Still Unknown blog has an entry about James, although it doesn’t really say anything I didn’t know already. If James is still alive, today would be his 53rd birthday.