MP of the week: Javier Rivera

This week’s featured missing person is Javier Florenzio Rivera, a 22-year-old man who disappeared from Los Angeles, California on October 12, 1988.

He was last seen at his workplace, wearing a light gray t-shirt, black stonewashed jeans and white sneakers. He’s Hispanic, with brown eyes and brown curly, frizzy hair. I’d say his hair is probably his most distinguishing characteristic, though he also has a half-inch scar on his left arm just below the elbow.

His is one of the “few details are available” cases. If still alive, Javier would be 55 today.

Former cult leader Anna Young, believed responsible for three Charley Project disappearances, dies

So Anna Young died a few days ago at the age of 79, having served just 33 days of a life sentence for second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Anna pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Emon Harper, aka Moses Young, a toddler who was beaten and starved to death in 1988 or 1989. His body was never found. The manslaughter conviction was for the death of Katonya Jackson, a two-year-old who died after being beaten, tortured and denied her epilepsy medication. (For some reason her death had initially been ruled as natural.)

Anna is also connected to two unsolved disappearances: that of two-year-old Marcos Antonio Cruz, whom she allegedly had abandoned at a church in Puerto Rico in 1992, and that of her six-year-old stepdaughter Catherine Barbara Davidson, who was last seen in 1973. Per one of Catherine’s siblings, she didn’t actually vanish while on a family outing to a state park in Michigan but had in fact been bound, gagged and placed in a closet where she died.

Pretty awful stuff.

I wonder if Marcos is still alive out there, or if he was ever abandoned in the first place and didn’t meet with the same awful death as Emon and Catherine and Katonya did.

We may never know.

Tragic news in one child’s case, and justice for another two

Yesterday a child’s body was found in a camper near Garryowen on the Crow Reservation in Montana; it has been identified as Mildred Alexis “Millie” Old Crow, who disappeared sometime in 2019 or 2020. She was living with her guardians, her aunt Roseen Lincoln Old Crow and Roseen’s wife Veronica Dust, and was last seen with them in April 2019. No one’s exactly sure when she disappeared and nothing much has been released yet about her death. It seems likely she was murdered; little girls don’t just die for no reason.

Meanwhile in Florida, former cult leader Anna Young was sentenced to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder in the beating/starvation death of Emon David Harper, a toddler who disappeared sometime in 1988 and whose body was never found, and manslaughter in the death by neglect of Katonya Jackson, a two-year-old girl with epilepsy who died because Young withheld her medication. Both children and their families were members of Young’s cult.

This article talks about the plea deal and sentence Young accepted, but fails to mention that Young is tied to two other missing children: the 1973 (pre-cult) disappearance of Catherine Barbara Davidson, Young’s six-year-old stepdaughter, and the 1984 disappearance of two-year-old Marcos Antonio Cruz, another child whose family was involved in the cult. Marcos may have been abandoned in Puerto Rico by a cult member at Young’s orders. Catherine, however, was almost certainly murdered; one of Young’s other children reportedly saw her body in a closet before her disappearance was reported. It seems unlikely that Young will confess to her involvement in her stepdaughter’s case or help authorities recover the body; she’s got nothing to gain by it.

Tiktok girl, searching through ponds and other stories

Honestly… it’s been ten days and it’s still very hard for me to take my mind off of the situation or to get much of anything done. I really wish I would not live through any more major historical events; I think I’ve endured more than my share already. But I’m trying, guys. I really am.

Oh, and an update on my Facebook woes: my release date from Facebook Jail has been moved from early February to late January. 6:26 a.m. on January 23 to be precise. I have no idea why and I’m not sure Facebook will honor this release date, since they didn’t last time.

Arizona: They’re still looking for Elizabeth Emma Breck, a 46-year-old teacher who disappeared from the Sierra Tucson behavioral health center in Saddlebrooke in January 2019. She had just arrived a few days earlier for a thirty-day treatment program for PTSD. Nothing significant to report regarding her disappearance, just that the anniversary was this week.

Arkansas: There has been much talk over the last couple of days that a dark-haired girl with bruised eyes in a viral Tiktok video was Cassie Kay Compton, who disappeared from Stuttgart in 2014, at age 15. The FBI says they’ve identified and spoken to the Tiktok girl and it’s not Cassie. They haven’t released her name, but she has been identified elsewhere as Haley Grace Phillips, a Los Angeles woman.

California: They’re looking to see if David Emery Misch, the man recently charged in the 1988 murder of nine-year-old Michaela Joy Garecht, who was kidnapped from a Hayward supermarket and never found, was also responsible for the disappearance of thirteen-year-old Ilene Beth Misheloff from Dublin in 1989.

Connecticut: They’re released an age-progressed image of Vanessa Morales, a two-year-old girl who was last seen in from Ansonia on November 29, 2019. The cops found Vanessa’s mother murdered at home on December 2, with no sign of Vanessa. I’ll add her to Charley soon.

Florida: They’re still looking for Mary Opitz, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Fort Myers back in 1981. They’re also still trying to solve the murder of Mary Hare, whose abduction and killing may have had the same perpetrator as in Opitz’s case.

Illinois: They’re still looking for Steven Robert Asplund, a 32-year-old tool and die worker who disappeared from Moline on January 9, 1994. The 27th anniversary of his disappearance was a week ago but there’s nothing new to report.

Iowa: They’ve finally canceled the Amber Alert for Breasia Terrell, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared from Davenport in July. She is still missing.

Michigan: Brad Cournaya, the longtime suspect in 34-year-old Krista Robin Lueth‘s 2008 disappearance from Lansing, has been charged with her murder. Her body has never been found.

Mississippi: They’re still trying to identify a little boy whose skull was found in a drainage canal in Sharkey County in 2014. No other remains were located. He was estimated to be between 5 and 7 at the time of his death, which may have occurred up to several years before he found. Preliminary DNA results indicate the boy was black, and probably has relatives from Sharkey County and the surrounding area.

Kansas: Some divers from an Oregon-based organization searched two ponds in Leavenworth County for Randy Wayne Leach and his mom’s car, which have both been missing since 1988. They didn’t find them.

Maryland: They’re still looking for Andre Thompson, a sixteen-year-old who disappeared from Baltimore on June 23. He may be in the Glen Burnie area.

Michigan: They have located fifteen-year-old Gloria Alvarado, who was missing from Taylor for 75 days. She is alive and well, and had run away with a seventeen-year-old boy because her parents would not allow her to date. She has returned home.

New York: They’re still looking for Joseph David Helt, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Ellenville on January 17, 1987, thirty-four years ago tomorrow.

Nevada: They’re still looking for Cassandra Ayon, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Loyal back in October. In particular, the police are asking for public help for info on a red or maroon SUV that may have been on one of the residential side streets near Unity Trailer Court, which is where Cassandra was last seen.

North Carolina: They’re still looking for Ebonee Shanetta Spears, a 30-year-old woman who disappeared five years and one day ago. Nothing new has been reported though.

Also North Carolina: In Winston-Salem, they’re still looking for two missing adults: Lucinda Farris, who disappeared from in June, and Eliseo Ernesto Gomez-Martinez, who disappeared in November. There’s no indication the two cases are related.

Oregon: They’re still trying to identify a child whose body was found near a rest area in Lincoln County on December 10. The little girl had dark brown or black hair and was between six and a half and ten years of age at the time of her death, which occurred at least a month before she was found. Cops have ruled out several possibilities for the girl, including five-year-old Dulce Maria Alvarez, who was abducted from a New Jersey playground in September 2019.

Virginia: The police have reclassified the 2010 disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke from a missing person to a kidnap/homicide. They have not said whether they have any current suspects in the case, but Randy Allen Taylor, who was found guilty of murder-without-a-body in the 2013 disappearance of seventeen-year-old Alexis Tiara Murphy, has been mentioned before.

Wisconsin: They’re still looking for Daajane Morgan, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Milwaukee on March 6.

Canada: They’re still looking for Alyssa Turnbull, a young woman who disappeared from Nipigon, Ontario in late March 2020.

Also Canada: Six patients went missing from the now-defunct North Bay Psychiatric Hospital in Toronto, Ontario between 1966 and 2010. They have never been found.

England: They’re still looking for Andrew Gosden, a fourteen-year-old schoolboy who disappeared from London in 2007. Andrew Gosden and another English missing person, Charles Horvath Allen, have both been featured recently on the podcast The Missing.

Trinidad: They’re still looking for Kelly Ann Seerattan, a 25-year-old kindergarten music teacher who disappeared from Princes Town in 2011. The article has some quotes from Kelly’s mom.

Charges filed in Michaela Garecht case

A suspect named David Misch has been charged with murder in the 1988 kidnapping of nine-year-old Michaela Joy Garecht. I’ve never heard of Misch before, but he’s apparently a serial killer: he has been imprisoned for one murder since 1989, and in 2018 he was charged with the 1986 double murder of Michelle Xavier and Jennifer Duey. He’s still awaiting trial in that case.

Misch is now 59, which means that in 1988 he was only about 17 years old. The fact that he was already committing such serious crimes before he was even out of his teens is pretty horrifying. 27 years old. I can’t math.

He left a partial palm print on Michaela’s scooter, which is what led to the charges. Apparently there’s DNA evidence too.

Obviously her Charley Project page will need updating.

Links:

  1. Man charged with murdering Michaela Garecht 3 decades after Hayward girl’s disappearance
  2. Michaela Garecht’s mother reads heartbreaking letter after man charged in daughter’s 1988 murder
  3. Suspect arrested in 1988 Michaela Garecht kidnapping case, Hayward police announce
  4. Suspect in kidnapping, murder of Michaela Garecht due in court today
  5. 1st court appearance for man accused of 1988 murder of Michaela Garecht
  6. DNA leads to arrest of possible serial killer in Michaela Garecht cold case

MP of the week: Charles Lawson

This week’s featured missing person (which I didn’t change yesterday because I’ve been lazy and depressed) is Charles Jonathan Lawson, a 32-year-old man who disappeared from Tampa, Florida on February 12, 1988. He may spell his middle name “Johnathan” or just use the middle name John.

Unfortunately I don’t have any other details on this case, other than that he was last seen at his residence.

I hope everyone is in good health. Fortunately the number of positive coronavirus cases in my area and in the areas where my parents live have been pretty low, but I don’t expect it to stay that way, especially as Indiana has one of the lowest rates of public mask-wearing in the entire country.

Oh, and check out this article about Sean Wayne Evans‘s May 1984 disappearance, because it has some quotes from me. I was interviewed for it, like, months ago and didn’t even remember the interview until the article popped up in the news.

Missing persons news that happened while my computer was broken

Yeah, so this has been in the news:

  • They’re going to try to identify two bodies, victims of a terrible fire at a Connecticut circus in 1944. 168 people were killed and of those, five are still unidentified. Per the article: “State Chief Medical Examiner James Gill wants to compare the unknown victims’ DNA to that of Sandra Sumrow, the granddaughter of 47-year-old Grace Fifield, a Newport, Vermont woman who was at the circus the day of the fire but was never seen again.”
  • Hazel Rose Hess‘s daughter has gone on the news asking for information that could solve her mother’s 25-year-old disappearance. There isn’t much in the way of anything new in the article, however. I just found a few new pictures.
  • There’s been some news about the 1985 disappearances of Janet Shuglie and her ten-year-old daughter Marisa. It turns out someone found her class ring. They found it over 20 years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that they realized the ring belonged to a missing person and turned it over to the police.
    The police seem to think the find is significant, and they have not disclosed where the ring was found. There were several articles about this: here, here, here and here. There is a picture of the ring (is it just me or is the stone missing?) but alas, no photos of Marisa. I don’t have a photo of her either, so only Janet has a casefile on Charley.
  • They’ve found the bodies of Danielle Marie Steiner and her five-year-old son, Aubrey Hall, who disappeared from Lansing, Michigan a year ago. The bodies were discovered by a clean-up crew in a vacant house in the 800 block of Loa Street. The article notes that “At various times, Steiner and Aubrey had lived in the 700 and 800 block of Loa Street.”
    No other details have been released, except that the deaths are being treated as homicides. I’m sure their families are devastated.
  • This month is the 13th anniversary of the disappearance of Melanie Metheny from Belle, West Virginia. She went missing on July 19, 2006. There’s this article about it.
  • Doreen Jane Vincent‘s 1988 disappearance has been covered in the second season of the podcast “Faded Out.” I grabbed a bunch of photos off this article, and the podcast sounds absolutely fascinating, but I don’t know if I’ll have time to listen to it. There’s 21 episodes in the season so far, ranging in length from 27 minutes to an hour and 17 minutes, during which time I’d have to be paying very close attention, stopping the play to take notes, etc. All for one case. I wish I had the time for this kind of thing; it would benefit the Charley Project greatly. But I just don’t.
  • A suspect, Bryan Lee O’Daniels, has been charged with murder in the 1995 disappearance of Timothy Jason Smart. Apparently there were many witnesses who knew the truth, but none of them spoke up out of fear of O’Daniels. The case broke after the police got an anonymous tip last year that led to a motherlode of information.

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.

Native American Heritage Month: George Pooler

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is George Wayne Pooler, a 37-year-old Colville man who disappeared from Omak, Washington on November 18, 1988.

Foul play is suspected in George’s disappearance; among other indications, his vehicle was later found abandoned and burned.

George’s older brother Edwin Oliver Pooler disappeared from Keller, Washington in 1991. Edwin’s is a murder without a body case; a man later pleaded guilty to manslaughter in his death and was sentenced to six years in prison. Edwin’s murder is not thought to be related to George’s disappearance.

Native American Heritage Month: Shantelle Hudson

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Shantelle Hudson, a 16-year-old girl who disappeared from Dayton, Nevada on November 14, 1988. I do not know Shantelle’s tribal info.

Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the police did any real investigation in 1988, as Shantelle was a teenager and going through a rebellious stage, seeing friends her mom didn’t like, etc. The cops probably wrote her off as a runaway. Per her Charley Project casefile:

Authorities reopened her case after receiving an inquiry from one of her relatives in 1999. There has not been any activity on her Social Security number and investigators were unable to locate Shantelle through an extensive driver’s license search.

Shantelle would be 46 now if still alive, but all this radio silence indicates she may be deceased.