A friend of Diana L. Leone‘s sister asked me to run her case for Select It Sunday. Diana was 35 years old when she disappeared from Las Vegas in February 2000. Her longtime boyfriend, David Morgan, said she’d run off with another man, leaving all her stuff behind. She wasn’t reported missing until October.
Morgan had a history of brutal domestic violence against Diana — he’d once been charged with attempted murder in connection with his abuse of her — and police believe he’s a serial killer. His second wife, Marie Morgan, and her lover, Gabriel Vincent, disappeared under suspicious circumstances in 1979 and were never found. A business associate of Morgan’s, David Cowan, disappeared in 1982 and was also never found. (Cowan and Morgan aren’t on Charley cause I have no photos or physical information for them.)
Morgan was actually charged with Vincent’s murder in 2007, but five years later, before he was tried, the charges were dropped for lack of evidence because one of the key witnesses had died. Police are pretty sure Morgan killed Diana as well, but he has never been charged. I’m not sure he’s even still alive.
This week’s Select It Sunday case was chosen by Julie W.: it’s her father, Leon Arthur Moncer, who disappeared from Bellaire, Ohio at the age of 21. It was February 18, 1982 — 35 years ago yesterday.
Leon’s case has a number of odd aspects to it — some indications of foul play, but also indications that he may have just left on his own. He has been declared legally dead, but his family still hopes for answers.
(And can I have some more Select It Sunday suggestions? I’m running dry.)
On March 15, 1982, Carmen Maria Burhans Garcia, her husband Diego Garcia, and Carmen’s nine-year-old daughter Barbara Burhans departed their Los Angeles residence into the unknown.
The family lived in the same house as Carmen’s mother; Carmen’s mother lived in the upstairs apartment, and the others lived downstairs. That morning — which was a Monday, presumably a school day for Barbara — Carmen’s mother came downstairs to see them while they were eating breakfast and noticed her daughter was crying but didn’t ask why. She never saw any of them again. They left that afternoon, leaving everything behind, including their dog.
One month and ten days later, the family’s car turned up in a snowbank 500 feet down a gorge in the San Gabriel Mountains, near Big Pines, California. Google Maps says that by today’s routes, Big Pines is 80-ish miles from the Garcias’ home, about an hour and a half by car. There’s two interesting things worth noting here:
- In spite of the fact that the car had gone 500 feet into the gorge and the roof had been bashed in, there was no blood present, strongly suggesting no one was inside the car when it was pushed, accidentally or intentionally, into the gorge.
- The road it must have fallen off from had been closed since March 16, the day after the trio vanished.
There are a few colorful details here, including a rumor that Carmen, a newly minted Mormon, had gotten involved in a MUCH different religion prior to her disappearance, one involving chicken sacrifice. (Santeria maybe? For what it’s worth, Santeria has Caribbean origins, and Diego was born in Cuba.) Another rumor was that Diego had gotten into criminal activity and the whole family had up and left for Miami.
The whole thing makes me think of the Mary Celeste. It appears that SOMETHING seriously spooked the family that morning, enough to have Carmen crying, enough to keep Barbara from going to school, enough to have them pile into their car and leave everything behind. But what was it? And what happened next?
Let’s talk about it.
Shannon Patrick Ketron was seven months old when he disappeared from Cordell, Oklahoma on June 17, 1982. I already wrote about him for Flashback Friday nearly two years ago. According to the only witness, Shannon’s mom, the baby was the victim of a bizarre abduction.
Ann Ketron said she was driving with the baby when she had to get something (out of the trunk maybe?) and pulled over to the side of the road. A man stopped and asked her if everything was all right. Then he said she looked like his ex-wife, knocked her unconscious, and took Shannon. Shannon was never seen again and the abductor was never identified.
That’s really weird. To begin with, I’ve never heard of a baby being kidnapped by a strange man. Furthermore, there seems to have been almost no press coverage about this case and very little information is available, and what little there is, is contradictory. I’ve seen claims that Shannon was almost two years old when he was taken, when in fact he was seven months, and I’ve seen the abduction date incorrectly given as July 17, 1982.
Shannon’s dad, Dustin Ketron, was in prison when he disappeared so presumably he’s not a suspect. Ann took a polygraph, but the results haven’t been released.
If Shannon is still alive, he’d have turned 35 last month. Do you think he is? Let’s talk about it.
At the request of Brittany K., I am writing about John David Gosch on the 34th anniversary of his disappearance.
The facts are these: Johnny was a twelve-year-old paperboy in West Des Moines, Iowa and on the morning of his disappearance, he slipped out of the house before 6:00 a.m. to do this route alone — something he wasn’t allowed to do; he was supposed to bring his dad with him. A witness reported seeing Johnny talking to guy in a car.
After that, no one really knows. Johnny kind of walked into a void. He was missed at seven o’clock when customers began to complain that they hadn’t gotten their papers. Johnny’s wagon and newspapers turned up on the sidewalk just two blocks from his house.
The internet is rife with theories and speculation as to what happened — the more so because Johnny’s mother, Noreen Gosch, claims her son secretly visited her in 1997 and told her he had been abducted by a pedophile ring.
Eugene Wade Martin, a 13-year-old paperboy from Des Moines, also disappeared while on his route, less than two years after Johnny did, and there are a lot of theories that the two cases are connected somehow. And I should note that Marc James-Warren Allen disappeared from Des Moines, less than two years after Eugene Martin, but I don’t know much about his case. He wasn’t a paperboy.
With the latest news about Jacob Wetterling’s remains being found, some people have suggested Danny Heinrich (the prime suspect in Jacob’s case) should be looked at in the Des Moines disappearances as well. I have no idea whether the police have looked into this or not. But I do want to point out that Des Moines is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from St. Joseph, Minnesota, the town where Jacob was taken.
(If you guys are wondering why I haven’t resolved his case yet, it’s because according to my user stats, everyone is looking at right now. I’ll give it another day or so before I pull him.)
I decided to cover Tyler Jennings Inman for Flashback Friday because the other day a page called Finding Tyler “liked” the Charley Project on Facebook. Three-year-old Tyler apparently wandered out of his family’s Aberdeen, Washington home one night in December 1982, during a bad thunderstorm.
According to articles on the Finding Tyler page, the police seemed to focus on the theory that he fell in the river and drowned. If he did, though, his body was never found, and Tyler is today listed as a non-family abduction with the NCMEC.
If Tyler is still alive, he’d be 37 today.
Robin Warder (who does that Trail Went Cold podcast I wrote about not too long ago) did an MP-related Cracked article that got published yesterday: The 5 Most Insane Twist Endings Of Real Missing Person Cases. Included was the case of Bobby Dunbar, who was “found” in 1912 but is actually still missing (long story). I thought I’d let y’all know about this article. Like most Cracked articles it’s interesting, informative and funny.
Incidentally, the most recent podcast for The Trail Went Cold is for two Catholic priests, father Reynoldo Rivera and Father John Kerrigan. The former was the victim of a horrific murder; the latter disappeared and was never found but was almost certainly also murdered. Both cases remain unsolved. There’s some speculation that the cases are related, although the murder happened in New Mexico and the disappearance in Montana. Father Kerrigan had spent some time in New Mexico, and in both cases, it seemed like whoever did this had a serious grudge against the church.
I actually updated Father Kerrigan’s casefile last month, with some significant new information. (I found out he was accused of sexual abuse.) I wonder if it’s a coincidence, then, that Warder did this podcast now. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet so I don’t know.
Podcasts are fun and entertaining, and I highly recommend them to true crime buffs, but unless I have some time to kill, I usually don’t listen to them myself. If I’m already familiar with the case, a podcast usually just provides a few shreds of extra info for the most part, or sometimes nothing at all. It would take much less time to read an article about the case and those often have more info in them. I wish more podcast included the written text as well as the recording.