Black History Month: Laronda Bronson

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Laronda Marie Bronson, an eighteen-year-old who disappeared from Portland, Oregon on November 19, 1982.

I know very little about this case, but Laronda was a prostitute, she disappeared while the Green River Killer was active, and the King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington is investigating her case, which suggests she may have been one of Gary Leon Ridgway‘s victims. If she was, he hasn’t admitted to it.

I hope that Laronda is still alive out there somewhere and perhaps she just decided to move elsewhere and put her past behind her. I would love to hear from anyone who knew her. She may use the alias name Michelle Marie Hall, or the date of birth July 29, 1964. (She was actually born on September 9.) If still alive, Laronda would be 53 today.

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Black History Month: Herman Caldwell

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Herman J. Caldwell Jr. (And yes, the clothing description is correct.) Caldwell was 32 years old when he disappeared from Columbia, South Carolina on March 3, 1982.

The cops believe he was murdered and Leroy Nolan is a suspect in his case. Nolan and some other people had robbed and beaten Caldwell in 1978, and Nolan served some time in prison as a result. After his release in 1982 he started threatening Caldwell.

Then Caldwell disappeared, and on the same day Nolan and two other guys kidnapped and killed a woman and her two-year-old son. They weren’t charged until 2004, though, and Nolan died in 2010 without ever being charged in Caldwell’s case.

Black History Month: Yolanda Jean Maull

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Yolanda Jean Maull, who disappeared from Birmingham, Alabama on May 26, 1982, at the age of thirty.

Yolanda was in the process of a divorce at the time of her disappearance. She spoke to her attorney at 9:00 that morning. She was supposed to attend a court hearing about the divorce later that day, but never showed up. Her car was found abandoned.

Given the timing, one inevitably wonders whether her husband was somehow involved. But no charges have been filed against anyone, and it’s been a very long time since anyone heard from Yolanda.

Happy happy joy joy

I found an almost halfway decent photo of Deborah Kim Green on Newspapers.com! The other ones I had were both terrible; they barely looked like a person at all, never mind anyone you could recognize. In fact, they were so awful that I have removed them both and replaced them with the single reasonably okay photo I just found. For reference, see the change below:

deborahgreendeborahgreen2

Much better, huh?

Select It Sunday: Diana Leone

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.

Select It Sunday: Leon Moncer

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.)

Let’s talk about it: the Garcia/Burhans family

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.