MP of the week: Darleta Hurt

This week’s featured missing person is Darleta Kay Hurt, a 48-year-old woman who disappeared from St. Albans, West Virginia on December 10, 1986, 33 years ago. She left her son’s home that day and drove her own apartment building, and has never been heard from again. Her glasses and shoes were found outside the building on the lawn.

It looks like a case of what a friend calls “suspected spousal snuffage”: Darleta was separated from her husband, Robert, and he is a suspect in her disappearance. He had threatened her, and she disappeared five days before a court hearing about their pending divorce.

Unfortunately, Robert suicided in 1987, taking whatever secrets he had to his grave.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Ivan Barela

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Ivan Barela, a fifteen-year-old boy who disappeared from Ocean Beach in San Francisco on the afternoon of November 2, 1986.

He went to take the dog for a walk along the beach and never returned. I’m not sure the dog was ever located. There was a surfing tournament being held at the beach that day but I’m not sure if Ivan went to watch.

In spite of the site of his disappearance (and Ivan isn’t the only person on the Charley Project who went missing from Ocean Beach), drowning is considered an unlikely explanation. He had a history of running away, but police think foul play was probably what caused Ivan’s disappearance.

I wish I knew why about the case — why they think foul play might have been involved.

MP of the week: Alice Mae Sullivan

This week’s featured missing person is Alice Mae Sullivan (I’ve also seen it as Alicia), a twenty-year-old African-American woman who disappeared from Nashville, Tennessee on August 28, 1986. She was a sophomore business major at Tennessee State University and lived with her boyfriend and three-year-old son. She was last seen at a friend’s dorm room on the TSU campus.

Alice’s boyfriend is a person of interest in her case; I don’t know if it’s just by virtue of him being her boyfriend, or if there were some other indications. Another person of interest is the maintenance man at their apartment complex, who had a friendly relationship with Alice and was later convicted of rape and murder.

In the unlikely event she’s still alive, Alice would be 53 years old today.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Rhonda Yocom

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 Rhonda Lynn Yocom, a 19-year-old woman of Filipino descent who disappeared from Oroville, California in February 1985.

Rhonda left Oroville on February 7 with a man, Odis Garrett, who said he was going to drive her to Oregon so she wouldn’t have to make a court appearance. It’s possible he took her to Vallejo, California instead. She called her boyfriend on February 11, but no one has seen or heard from her since then.

Both Rhonda’s boyfriend and Garrett she was last seen with were Hells Angels, and Garrett’s doing multiple life sentences right now for crimes unrelated to her disappearance.

Curiously, although Rhonda’s boyfriend isn’t a suspect in her disappearance, another woman he dated, 29-year-old Paget Renee Barr, disappeared from Oroville a year later and was never found, and he was the last person seen with her.

MP of the week: Catrina Jackson

This week’s featured missing person is thirteen-year-old Catrina Renee Jackson, who disappeared while walking to school in Sylvania, Georgia on May 30, 1986.

An article I found from just a few days after she went missing suggested she was a runaway, but the NCMEC has her case classified as a non-family abduction. In any case, I don’t have much on it. Catrina, who may be addressed by her middle name, would be 46 years old now, and, in two weeks, will have been gone for 33 years.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Anthony Lee

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 Anthony P. Lee, a 24-year-old who disappeared from Fremont, California on June 10, 1986.

Authorities think Anthony probably jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, as his car and wallet were found there, and he was known to have been suicidal. If he did jump, he is just one of many people on the Charley Project who are presumed victims of that beautiful and terrible place.

If he is still alive, on the other hand, he’d be 57 years old today.

Black History Month: Cherie Barnes

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 Cherie Nicole Barnes, a two-year-old girl who disappeared from Missouri in 1986/1987ish.

Cherie’s NCMEC poster notes that she “is biracial and is considered to be black and white.” This would match her appearance. I thought the “considered to be” thing meant her paternity was unknown, but a source I found said Cherie’s biological father is known and lives in Los Angeles.

I put Cherie’s height and weight on Charley as “unknown” because, regardless of what the NCMEC says, she was definitely not four feet tall and eighty pounds at the age of two and a half.

So Cherie’s story is a bit complicated. Her stepfather, Larry Vasser, and mom, Elizabeth Ann Turek Vasser, had custody of her, and in 1986 they moved from Nashville, Tennessee to St. Louis, Missouri. Larry was, I guess, a pimp, and Elizabeth was working for him.

Elizabeth disappeared on December 1, 1986, and wasn’t reported missing at the time. Cherie was reportedly seen with her stepfather in Kansas City, Missouri (a three-and-a-half-hour drive west of St. Louis) on January 7, 1987. But I don’t know how solid that sighting is, because the NCMEC has Cherie’s listed date and place of disappearance the same as her mom’s: December 1, 1986, from St. Louis. In any case, no one has seen Cherie since.

Elizabeth’s nude body was found two months later, washed up on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Louis. It wasn’t identified for seven years, because the police didn’t know she was missing. They made the connection after Elizabeth’s family reported her and Cherie as missing persons.

Larry, who is in prison on unrelated convictions until at least 2028, said Cherie was being cared for by his relatives and is living under an alias in the Kansas City area. Who knows if that’s true, though. If it is, a publicity campaign in Kansas City might lead to her location.

Elizabeth’s murder, and her daughter’s disappearance, are still unsolved. If Cherie is alive today, as Larry Vasser claims, she’d be 34.