Wanted to refer everyone to this article

Charley Project Facebook user Michelle S. found this article about the 1987 disappearance of Ronald Oquilluk (who was not on Charley) and how he was identified over thirty years after he went missing. It’s a very good article and there’s a bit at the bottom about the recent identification of missing hunter Patrick Chambers.

Oquilluk’s case reminds me of the 2016 disappearance of Walter Hawk, another Native Alaskan man with special needs who wandered into the wilderness and never came back. What’s particularly frustrating in Hawk’s case is that searchers actually saw him in the days after he went missing, just hoofing it across the tundra, but apparently they weren’t able to get his attention. So close, yet so far.

I’ll say it again: Alaska eats people.

Oquilluk’s remains were found a full 450 miles from where he was last seen, and I wonder whether Hawk wandered as far as that. He disappeared during the summertime, and if he knew how to live off the land he might have been able to survive for an extended time period.

Got quite a big update dump yesterday

A Charley Project Irregular let me know about how the San Francisco Examiner had been added to the Newspapers.com archives, so I went and ran all my old San Francisco cases through to see if they had articles in that paper. Then when that was done, I decided to do with the same with Santa Cruz cases, because I knew the Santa Cruz Sentinel was in the archives. And presto, 29 cases updated.

Some thoughts/info on individual ones:

  • I wonder if Erwin Ernest Bunge‘s car was ever recovered. I also wonder if his disappearance had anything to do with him being a high profile trainer. Henry Martinez was only seventeen years old in 1988 and it seems unlikely that he could have been involved. I wasn’t able to find out much about him; he retired from boxing in 1994 and drifted into obscurity.
  • Not really a thought, but a piece of trivia: Harry Weldon Kees is not the only person presumed to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge on July 18, 1955. The police found TWO cars abandoned there that day, leading to speculation as to which person went first. At the time, they were keeping a record of how many people died. I don’t think they’re keeping track anymore though. (Oh, and here’s a 2011 rant of mine about Golden Gate Bridge suicide victims.)
  • I looked up Walter Christopher Kuchanny‘s wife, and she has remarried and seems to be doing well. She returned to England after his disappearance. I do believe he was a suicide victim and didn’t just leave. Her description of his behavior, being all anxious and depressed and then suddenly happy and relaxed, is pretty typical of people who take their lives.
  • Is anyone else wondering if Michael Omas Masaoay‘s disappearance was just an accident? I wonder if it went something like this: he sets off for the day, realizes school is actually closed, and then decides to chill out at his favorite fishing spot, and then gets dragged out to sea by surf, just like Noel Annette Marcotte and countless others have been. That would explain why Michael’s bag was found where it was. Will anyone who’s familiar with the geography of that location care to voice an opinion in the comments?
  • The SF Examiner article I found about John Dolan Phillips‘s disappearance was mainly about the sale of his car and how it was very sketchy. His family was never notified the car had been found in the parking garage. The mint-condition rare classic car was sold to an employee of the garage for just $200, a tiny fraction of both its actual worth AND the amount of accrued parking fees owed. Apparently when objects worth over $500 are put for sale in these circumstances, the public is supposed to be notified and given a chance to buy them, but the car was sold for an a lower amount, so the garage didn’t have to notify anyone. And then the new owner refused to even let the car get inspected for clues. Whether any of this has something to do with Phillips’s disappearance is anyone’s guess.
  • Given the circumstances of Carlos Benjamin Urruela‘s disappearance, it’s likely he died by suicide. The article I read said his addiction was very bad — he’d gone from snorting to freebasing to shooting cocaine — and was ruining his life and his appearance.

Black History Month: Kimberly and Sarah Boyd and Linda McCord

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 actually three disappearances: 32-year-old Sarah W. Boyd, her friend, 31-year-old Linda McCord, and Sarah’s daughter, two-year-old Kimberly Janis Boyd, who disappeared somewhere between Dorchester County and Orangeburg County, South Carolina on April 3, 1987.

They had gone to a gospel concert and were last seen driving back home. They never arrived and their car was found abandoned in Dorchester County on April 5.

I haven’t been able to find a whole lot on this case. It seems like it should have gotten SOME media attention; I mean, three people gone missing at once, and Kimberly was just adorable, a little doll. It’s entirely possible there was significant attention and I just haven’t found the news yet; this was thirty years ago, after all.

It sounds like the three of them may have been harmed by someone they stopped to help. If evidence was properly preserved and could be analyzed with modern forensic techniques, the case could be very solvable.

MP of the week: Elizabeth Kovalik

This week’s featured missing person is Elizabeth Kovalik, a 28-year-old woman who disappeared from Milford, Connecticut in 1987. The night of her disappearance, she went out to a bar, where she was seen with two men. An acquaintance claims he dropped her off at home afterwards. She has never been heard from again and wasn’t reported missing for a week.

For what it’s worth, Elizabeth was “acting oddly” prior to her disappearance. Me, I wonder how closely the cops questioned the man she left the bar with.

She was featured in a Connecticut Magazine article in 2012.

Black History Month: Dwayne Martin

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 Dwayne Edwin Martin, a Marine Corps veteran and diner employee who disappeared from North Little Rock, Arkansas on December 11, 1987. He was 23 years old.

There isn’t a lot of evidence available in this case, but foul play is suspected. Martin had just cashed a paycheck and may have had the money on him when he disappeared, but it wasn’t much, just $148. The inflation calculator says that would be about $317 today.

It’s uncharacteristic of Martin to leave without warning and he may have been involved with drugs. This case is being investigated as a possible homicide.

Sigh… my old friend Contradictory Sources reappears

Tonight in my updates, for Emmanuel Cornelius Quarles, the various sources I found were giving his age as anywhere from 24 to 28 and claiming he was last seen in either a red car or a white truck. I think the vehicle discrepancy may be related to the unconfirmed sighting after he left Pendleton but I’m not sure. I’d love to get his actual date of birth from somewhere. NamUs said he was 26 to 27 years old, and I picked 27, because of the age of his older son, who was eight years old when he disappeared. Though it is by no means unheard of or even terribly uncommon for 24-year-old to have an eight-year-old child. Who knows? Not me.

Meanwhile, for Cynthia Ramirez Rico, her NamUs page says she disappeared on June 30, 1987, but the Abilene Crime Stoppers page listed the year as 1983. That issue was settled when I looked at the “investigating agency” section on NamUs and it said her case got entered into the computer on February 23, 1987 — that is, before her alleged date of disappearance. 1983 it was, then. But her age was a bigger mystery, because Crime Stoppers said she was 20 but NamUs said she was 25 to 26. Even given the date discrepancy that didn’t make sense. However, both NamUs and Crime Stoppers give her current age as 53, which would make her year of birth 1963 or 1964. To this end I decided to list her age as 20, because that would make sense with the 1983 year of disappearance.

Cynthia Rico disappeared from a group home for mentally disabled adults. It’s likely that she lived there, meaning it’s likely she was mentally disabled, but because I don’t know that for sure, I didn’t say she was. I just explained about the group home and left readers to draw their own conclusions.

MP of the week: Andrew Brown

This week’s featured missing person is Andrew Lee Brown. I have almost zilch on his case, which is really sad when you consider that he was only 18 months old when he disappeared. It was on July 24, 1987 in Colquitt, Georgia, a small town and county seat of Miller County, in the southwestern part of the state.

I have never been able to find anything about Andrew in news archives. Of course a name like “Andrew Brown” doesn’t exactly help matters. For what it’s worth, the NCMEC classifies his case as a non-family abduction.

If Andrew is still alive, he would be 31 today.

Let’s talk about it: Ashok Narain

NamUs gives the year 1987 for when Ashok Kumar Narain disappeared from Eugene, Oregon. Other sources say it was in April 1988. Regardless, Ashok’s disappearance is a very mysterious case — was he a murderer, a victim, or both?

The story begins in 1983 when Ashok, a native of Fiji, married Raj, a fellow Fijian from his village. It was an arranged ceremony. The couple moved to Oregon and subsequently had a little girl, Kamnee Koushal Narain.

The Narains regularly wrote letters to their families back in Fiji. Nobody back home detected anything amiss from the letters; it looked like a normal marriage and Raj seemed happy enough. The letters eventually stopped, but the couple’s Fijian relatives weren’t worried.

In the meantime, in September 1987, the dismembered remains of a pregnant woman were found in two different rivers in Washington and Oregon. A few days later, a toddler’s body was found in yet a third river in the vicinity. Although the police suspected the woman and child were related, they couldn’t prove it, and there were no missing persons that matched either of them.

Ashok’s brother reported the Narains missing in 2006. He’d heard about the dead woman and baby in Washington, and Raj’s family couldn’t find any trace of her online. In 2007, DNA testing confirmed the bodies were Raj and Kamnee. Mother and daughter were taken back Fiji for burial. Raj was 24 years old at the time of her death; Kamnee was only fourteen months.

I haven’t seen anything about a cause of death. It’s possible the police don’t know due to the condition of the remains. It’s equally possible that police do know and are withholding this information from the public.

So… where’s Ashok, the last surviving member in the family? Nobody knows.

When a woman, particularly a pregnant woman, is murdered, the police always start their investigation by looking at the husband or boyfriend. Yet, there’s no warrant for Ashok’s arrest and he isn’t even being called suspect; he’s only wanted for questioning as a witness. He certainly seems to have dropped off the map entirely since his wife and daughter’s killings — although I must admit, he had a really good head start.

Yet the dates here are pretty significant, because if the 1988 date is correct, that means Ashok was last seen over six months AFTER Kamnee and Raj’s killings. And that’s kind of hard to explain away.

I have no idea whether or not Ashok committed the murders. I do, however, think whoever did it was someone close to the victims. I believe this because the killer(s) went to a great deal of trouble disposing of the bodies and concealing their identities. I mean: dismemberment, hiding Raj’s head where it would never be found, and dumping the pieces in three different rivers in two different states. I think if the person was a stranger or only a slight acquaintance, they wouldn’t bother with all that.

R.I.P. Raj, and the baby you were carrying. R.I.P. Kamnee. I hope they find out who committed such a terrible crime.

And… let’s talk about it.

MP of the week: Christopher Zaharias

This week’s featured MP is Christopher Louis Zaharias. He and his sister, Lisa Mae, were abducted by their non-custodial mother, Susan Elizabeth Zaharias, from from Santa Ana, California. Christopher was three years old at the time, and Lisa was one year and eight months old. I actually did a Select It Sunday entry for them almost three years ago but thought I’d cover them again. (Mostly because it wasn’t until after I put Christopher on the frontpage and had almost finished this entry that I remembered the SIS entry, and I don’t feel like writing another.)

This is one of the oldest family abduction cases featured on Charley: Christopher and Lisa have been missing for nearly thirty years. That’s concerning by itself. Even more concerning is what the children’s left-behind father, Louis, says: Susan was using cocaine and crystal meth at the time she took the children.

Louis has been very active online in his search for his children. He has Facebook pages for them here and here. Several possible locations have been suggested: Oklahoma (where Susan’s parents live), Michigan, Pennsylvania, Canada or elsewhere in California. Susan has a warrant out for her arrest for custodial interference, and according to this article, there is a thirteen-million-dollar civil judgement against both her and anyone else who assisted with the abduction or is helping to hide the family.

Given their respective ages at the time they went missing, I doubt the Zaharias children remember their father or realize they’re missing. And if their case follows the usual pattern of family abductions, they’ve probably been told their father was abusive or that he’s dead or that he abandoned them.

I can only think of one family abduction case where, before he was caught, the abductor, a father in that case, grew a conscience and admitted to his child that he had stolen her from her mother when she was little and that her mother loved her and was looking for her. He advised her to go to the United States (they were living in Mexico) and look for her mother, which she did, and so she was found. That was over ten years after the abduction, when the abducted child was almost grown up. This doesn’t, of course, take back what the missing girl’s father did, all the years he basically stole from her life, but at least he took responsibility for his actions and tried to fix things.

It’s been a very long time but I’m sure this case is solvable. Robert Maple Baskin and Katherine Christine Baskin were found after 20 years, Eva Marie Fielder was found after 26 years, and Kipper Lacey after an incredible 42 years. But will the kids be open to any kind of relationship with their father if and when their whereabouts are discovered? Zachary Stratton Smith and Chelsea Paige Smith were located 13 years after their mother abducted them, but last I knew, they refused to have any contact with their father.

Select It Sunday: Timothy Davison

Chosen by Orla, way back in November 2013, this week’s case is Timothy Jacob Davison, who missed being a Flashback Friday case by a hair. FF cases are on or before October 5, 1985 — my birthdate — and Timothy disappeared ten days later. He was four years old and living with an aunt in the town of Decatur in central Illinois. Timothy’s aunt went with him to a shopping center that day. He was asleep, so she left him alone in the car while she shopped. She says she was only gone for half an hour, but when she came out he was gone, presumably abducted.

If Timothy is still alive, he may not remember much, if anything, of his previous life. He was a slow learner and reportedly didn’t know his own last name in 1985. His aunt/guardian apparently came under suspicion, or at least I assume she did because the cops dug up her yard, but they found nothing and I don’t know if she is still a suspect.

I did my usual Google search for more info on this case and found this Google News article from October 16, 1985. It has a few shreds of additional information which I’ll add to his casefile, though I’m not even sure they’re worthy of a notice on the updates page.

An aside: Timothy is from one of those remarkably unlucky “lottery families” I talk about sometimes where more than one member of the family is missing. Another aunt, his mother’s sister Cindy Smith, disappeared in 1987 from Florida. No indication that the cases are related; Cindy’s boyfriend is the prime suspect in her case.