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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.