Thinking out loud today

  • Uh, where are Tarasha Benjamin‘s ears on the 2013 AP I found?
  • So it seems pretty obvious that “Larry Wilson” killed William Joseph Davis at that house that day, but I wonder what the motive would be? I’ve seen female real estates disappear under these circumstances, and usually the motive is a sexual attack, but this is less likely here. Robbery maybe?
  • Per articles at the time, several other adults disappeared from Hillsborough County in the same time period as Brian Lee Jones did. There was no indication the cases were related, though, and all the others, except Jones and one other, seem to have turned up. As for Jones… I can’t figure out what was going on there. How far away was that “secluded wooded area” from the ABC Lounge? Were the “possible bloodstains” on the pillow ever tested? Obviously DNA testing would have been impossible in 1981, but they could have at least determined whether it the stains were human blood or not.
  • I found frustratingly contradictory information about Tai Yung Lau‘s disappearance. One news account said he had no car and couldn’t drive, and other that his car disappeared at the same time he did. The new page for Hillsborough County missing persons, however, says Lau sold his car and said something about returning to China. But the thing is, if the story about him escaping from a forced labor camp during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eventually getting working papers in the U.S. is true, there’s no way in hell he would have returned to China; they’d have killed him.
  • I originally read about Jack Donald Lewis‘s disappearance in this book; the author interviewed Carole Lewis (now Carole Baskin) and she mentioned that her husband just walked out of the house one day and never came back. As for Jack’s disappearance, I know there has been talk online that Carole killed him, but I am not going to venture a guess as to what caused his disappearance. The articles I found called Wildlife on Easy Street a “sanctuary,” but it didn’t have a very good reputation back in the nineties. I don’t know if things have improved now or what. On a side note, earlier this month Joe Exotic, who runs a horrible traveling petting zoo, was charged with trying to hire someone to kill Carole.
  • Despite Carlos Melgar-Perez‘s case being local to me, I never heard squat about it until I saw him on the Fort Wayne Police Department and began looking up info on his own. Apparently the police only interviewed his friend one time. The circumstances of his disappearance seem strange, to say the least. There aren’t any nearby bodies of water sufficiently large/deep/fast enough to have concealed his body for this long.
  • I found Eva Marie Ridall‘s dad’s obituary and noted that he was divorced from his kids’ mother and lived in Ohio when he died. I have to wonder if maybe she was going to Ohio to see her father, but I’ve got no proof that he lived in Ohio in 1977. I found some stuff about her disappearance online from her sister, and all indications seem to be that she did run away, but it’s been over 40 years; what happened?
  • About that extortion attempt in Cynthia Lynn Sumpter‘s case: was the man charged with molesting her in jail when she disappeared? If he wasn’t, have the police verified his alibi 100%?

And finally, I found the following article about something Peter Joseph Bonick did a full five years prior to his disappearance. I’m guessing the reason he was living in a children’s home when he went missing is because he continued on the delinquent path.

bonick

Pride Month: Brian Hooks

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Brian Neil Hooks, who was addressed by his middle name, a 21-year-old gay man who disappeared from Florence, South Carolina on September 24, 1988.

Domestic violence may be behind Hooks’s disappearance; he told people he was afraid of his live-in boyfriend. When Hooks disappeared, the boyfriend said he had “run off.” Foul play is suspected.

Pride Month: Barry Block and David Rhodes

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is actually two people, Barry Alan Block and David George Rhodes, who disappeared together.

The two men, both 24, lived together in the Drake Towers apartments in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and both were gay, but I’m not clear on whether they were lovers or merely roommates. I’m guessing the former but I don’t know for sure. They also co-owned a boat.

Curiously, Mark Douglas Jackson, who disappeared in 2004, also lived in Drake Towers. The police are pretty sure Jackson was the victim of a serial killer, but I think it’s unlikely that Block and Rhodes’s disappearances are related to Jackson’s, because Block and Rhodes disappeared in 1988, a full sixteen years earlier.

I don’t have much on the Block/Rhodes cases by themselves. Rhodes’s cell phone (in 1988!) disappeared with him; I wonder if the cops bothered to track it.

Yay, NCMEC added an old runaway case!

NamUs has the case of Tebble Anita Garrett, with a reasonable amount of detail — tattoo description, several aliases, was pregnant — but there was (and is, as of this writing) no photo on the casefile. In January I was able to get a photo of her from Newspapers.com and so I added her to Charley, but the photo was a few years out of date — Tebble, it seems, had been a chronic runaway, and the photo I had was from an article about one of her disappearances two or three years prior to 1988.

But yay, the NCMEC has just put up a poster for her! With another photo, presumably more recent!

(And the poster, I note, has a different listed date and place of Tebble’s disappearance than NamUs does. Sometimes NamUs gives the date a person was reported missing as the date of disappearance — they’re hardly the only source that does that either. Given Tebble’s status as a chronic runaway, it’s possible her family didn’t report her missing for six weeks because they expected her to return on her own. Or it’s possible they didn’t report her missing at first, then couldn’t quite remember when she was last seen. Or it’s possible she disappeared from Easley, South Carolina on September 7, then was sighted in Pickens, South Carolina on October 18. The cities are only seven to ten miles apart, after all.)

Anyway. I’m so happy they added her. Tebble’s been missing for almost thirty years now and I really LOVE IT when the NCMEC adds new-old cases. It makes my day, actually. Especially new-old cases I haven’t heard of before. Recently they did Henrietta Geck Cruz Avila, and I was able to get some additional info from the Newspapers.com archive (I LOVE THAT ARCHIVE, thanks for paying for the subscription, you-know-who-you-are) about her case. It reminds me a bit of Beverly Sharpman‘s.

Anyway. Thanks, NCMEC.

MP of the week: Ginger Sutherland

This week’s featured missing person is Ginger Anne Sutherland, who disappeared on June 16, 1988, less than a week after her twentieth birthday. She was in Fresno,Texas and may have been en route to Panama City, Florida — a distance of over 650 miles. Beyond that, hers is a “few details” case and foul play is possible.

I can’t find anything more about this case online than what I’ve already got up. Shame. Surely Ginger has got to have a family out there somewhere, maybe even kids — she’s got two girls’ names tattooed on her arm.

Missing persons news

I’ll cover the recovery of the Yates girls in their own entry, but here’s some other missing persons news:

  • This accountant’s hobby? Identifying missing people through his drawings
    My friend and Irregular Carl Koppelman has been featured in the Orange County Register. He does wonderful sketches of UIDs and was instrumental in identifying Cali Doe as Tammy Alexander. Congratulations, Carl!
  • Trial date in 20-year-old cold case pushed back to October
    A year and a quarter ago ago, more or less, Kirsten Renee Hatfield‘s two-doors-down neighbor was charged with her murder. The headline of this article is pretty self-explanatory, and the news story explains why: the suspect has new lawyers now who need time to review the evidence.
    Kirsten’s case, for whatever reason, fascinated me back when I was a child and first started getting interested in missing persons. I had a website when I was twelve or so, with some poems and stories I wrote, and one of them was a poem called “Missing, Presumed Dead” and it was based on Kirsten’s disappearance, as I explained on the site. Kirsten’s mom found it and emailed me, saying she was touched that a little girl in Ohio was thinking of her and her lost daughter, but she didn’t believe Kirsten was dead.
  • Judge orders suspect in cold case homicide to trial in district court
    Apparently the motive for Cari Lea Farver‘s homicide was a love triangle; both she and the suspect, Shanna Goylar, were seeing the same man. According to prosecutors, after Goylar killed Cari, she burned the body and then went on Cari’s social media accounts and tried to make it look like she was still alive.
  • Missing Oklahoma woman found more than 20 years after disappearance
    This case isn’t one of mine. It’s a really awesome story, though, how hard Shelly Jennings’s daughters looked for her, and how she was found largely through their efforts. Twenty-three years after she walked away from her family in Oklahoma, she turns up at a bus station in Modesto, California. I hope they can reconcile, although given Shelly’s mental illness, this may not be possible.
  • For families of missing persons, not knowing is excruciating
    This is about the disappearance of Cody Henry Turner, who went missing from Washington in 2015.
  • Missing Minnesotans: Susan Swedell
    Obviously, an article about Susan Anne Swedell (for whom I recently posted an updated AP).

Hrmm…

I’ve been up all night doing this and that and have been combing over the under-eighteens on NamUs that have no photos, looking to see if I can find some photos. I found one for Tebble Anita Garrett, but it’s several years out of date; I found an archived article on Newspapers.com from when she ran away in 1985. She got found two and a half weeks later.

More interestingly, I found a 2001 obituary for a Mildred Armstrong of Greenville, South Carolina — Tebble disappeared from Pickens — that mentions one of her survivors as “a daughter, Tebble Garrett, who disappeared in 1991.”

NamUs says Tebble disappeared in 1988. I wonder if perhaps her family heard from her or saw her at some point in 1991? Or did they merely report her missing in 1991, when in fact she dropped out of sight years earlier?

She definitely disappeared more than once, and the NamUs profile indicates Tebble had some serious difficulties by 1988: she was seventeen, pregnant, had needle marks on her arms and four street names. By that point I wouldn’t be at all surprised in her family quite wasn’t sure when they’d seen her last, poor girl.