MP of the week (a day late sorry): Beatrice Lopez Cubelos

This week’s featured MP is Beatrice Marie Lopez Cubelos, who disappeared from Albuquerque, New Mexico in the early morning hours of September 24, 1989. She decided not to wait on a ride home from a friend, and to hitchhike instead. She never made it.

Offhand, I wonder if Beatrice might have been one of the victims of David Parker Ray. She disappeared in his territory.

MP of the week: Gary Williams

This week’s featured MP is Gary Curtiss Williams, who was 26 years old when he disappeared from Ennis, Texas, a small town south of Dallas, on May 13, 1989.

His case is one of those very few that has never been updated in the Charley Project’s twelve years on the web. I don’t know anything about his disappearance really, other than that foul play is suspected. The Doe Network says, “His family and friends informed investigators that Williams’ lifestyle may have played a role in his disappearance.” Does that mean to imply criminal activity?

I can’t find any mention of Gary in news archives. The media often did not and does not choose to cover missing black men. Having a name like “Gary Williams” doesn’t help my research either.

Johnny Gosch missing 34 years

At the request of Brittany K., I am writing about John David Gosch on the 34th anniversary of his disappearance.

The facts are these: Johnny was a twelve-year-old paperboy in West Des Moines, Iowa and on the morning of his disappearance, he slipped out of the house before 6:00 a.m. to do this route alone — something he wasn’t allowed to do; he was supposed to bring his dad with him. A witness reported seeing Johnny talking to guy in a car.

After that, no one really knows. Johnny kind of walked into a void. He was missed at seven o’clock when customers began to complain that they hadn’t gotten their papers. Johnny’s wagon and newspapers turned up on the sidewalk just two blocks from his house.

The internet is rife with theories and speculation as to what happened — the more so because Johnny’s mother, Noreen Gosch, claims her son secretly visited her in 1997 and told her he had been abducted by a pedophile ring.

Eugene Wade Martin, a 13-year-old paperboy from Des Moines, also disappeared while on his route, less than two years after Johnny did, and there are a lot of theories that the two cases are connected somehow. And I should note that Marc James-Warren Allen disappeared from Des Moines, less than two years after Eugene Martin, but I don’t know much about his case. He wasn’t a paperboy.

With the latest news about Jacob Wetterling’s remains being found, some people have suggested Danny Heinrich (the prime suspect in Jacob’s case) should be looked at in the Des Moines disappearances as well. I have no idea whether the police have looked into this or not. But I do want to point out that Des Moines is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from St. Joseph, Minnesota, the town where Jacob was taken.

(If you guys are wondering why I haven’t resolved his case yet, it’s because according to my user stats, everyone is looking at right now. I’ll give it another day or so before I pull him.)

Jacob Wetterling’s body found

Well, it’s hit the news like lightning today: it’s not officially confirmed yet with DNA, but yeah, Jacob Erwin Wetterling is coming home at last. The prime suspect in his case has lead the cops to human remains in an unspecified location.

I never had much hope that Jacob was alive, especially after all the crap about Daniel Heinrich came out, but this announcement still makes me feel pretty sick. Thinking about what that poor little boy went through before his death. And his family, what they’ve been through in the nearly 30 years since.

You just know that Jacob’s brother and the other boy that was with them must have blamed themselves for years, and maybe still do. Even though there was nothing they could have done, even though this was a grown man with a gun and they were terrified children. People always blame themselves in situation like this. It’s easier to say “This has to be my fault somehow” than face up to the cold hard truth that the world is a cold, ruthless, capricious place and everything you know and love can be taken from you forever in a random instant.

Jacob’s mom, Patty, texted the media this simple statement: “All I can confirm is that Jacob has been found and our hearts are broken. I am not responding to any media yet as have no words.”

Per the same article as Patty’s statement, Daniel Heinrich’s brother has said he feels so sorry for the Wetterlings and is glad they found their son at last. The family members of such people are usually-forgotten-about secondary victims in cases like this. Plenty of perfectly decent people have relatives who are monsters — believe me, I know — and I always try to remember the families of those monsters in my thoughts.

And I remember Jacob. The little boy who loved sports and video games and making models from kits. R.I.P.

Seeing them living, again

I’m working right now on purging runaway cases — and there are a TON of them that have to go — and saw Alishia Dachone Miller‘s case. She disappeared from Detroit in 1989, aged just thirteen, and she is, or was, classified as a runaway. Given how almost 30 years have passed, I don’t know whether the cops still find the runaway theory credible. Alishia is not on the NCMEC anymore, but I am pretty sure she’s still missing. (Not 100% sure though; let me know if she has in fact been found so I can remove her from Charley.)

Anyway, I Googled Alishia’s name and found the following article from the Detroit Free Press, dated June 6, 1988 — six months before Alishia disappeared:

alishiaarticle

The age is slightly off — Alishia would have been twelve at that time of the accident, not thirteen — but I’m pretty sure this is her. Another article about this event gave details about the injuries the survivors sustained. Alishia got off relatively lightly, just bruised. Another child who was hit broke his hand; another had to be hospitalized overnight and was listed as being in “fair” condition with leg, arm and head injuries. And, of course, a thirteen-year-old boy died.

None of this is of any use as far as shedding any light on Alishia’s disappearance, but I find it interesting nevertheless.

What the heck?

I was in the process of drawing up a Make-a-List Monday when I went and checked the NamUs entry for Timothy Scott Parry, and on the “physical” section of his NamUs page, it says he had “Cro-Magnon eyebrows.”

Who on earth put that in? Maybe it’s just me, but I find that pretty offensive, especially given that Timothy was physically and mentally disabled. I would be offended if I was a family member or friend of Timothy’s. His eyebrows don’t even look that strange to me in the pictures, just a bit thicker than usual.

I doubt whoever put that into NamUs was trying to upset anyone. This other picture, included in the NamUs profile, is a scanned copy of a paper flier for Timothy, and it says “Cro-Magnon eyebrows.” My guess is that whoever entered the info into NamUs just copied it without thinking. But I think it should be rephrased.

It reminds me of another MP case profiled on another website, not NamUs, where it said the female MP had a “tramp stamp.” That’s derogatory term for a tattoo on a woman’s lower back. The term, in addition to being offensive, could also be confusing for people, perhaps non-English speakers, who don’t know what a “tramp stamp” means. They should have just said she had a tattoo on her lower back. With Timothy, they could say he has a protruding brow ridge or something that doesn’t sound like they’re making fun of him.

(If you’re wondering, btw, why I sometimes talk on this blog about issues I think NamUs should fix, it’s not to make them look bad. I think NamUs is a great resource, as evidenced by how often I use it for Charley Project research. Rather, it’s because some of the people who volunteer for it don’t like me and have made this abundantly clear, and I’m afraid they wouldn’t listen to me if I emailed them privately about the issue.)

False leads

As I’ve stated so many times before, I view the Charley Project as a place to share the story of a person’s disappearance: before, during, and after. That includes talking about the false leads that inevitably crop up during an investigation.

The Beverly Potts casefile, for example, details a number of leads that went nowhere, including a woman who wrote a letter that said she’d caught her husband disposing of Beverly’s body and left it in her house. It turned out, as I recall, that her husband was horribly abusive and she thought he would kill her, so she left the letter as a kind of attempt to frame him for child-murder from beyond the grave, assuming he actually did kill her.

As many of you know, there have been exciting new developments in the Jacob Wetterling case, and I dutifully updated his casefile. The details of disappearance includes an aside that Jacob’s father is an adherent of the Baha’i religion, a faith which not many Americans are familiar with, and there were rumors among the locals that Jacob’s dad’s religion had something to do with his son’s abduction.

A person posted a message on the Charley Project’s Facebook account saying they’d never read about Baha’i in relation to Jacob anywhere, and suggesting it be removed.

Well, the thing was, I hadn’t read about it either. The information about Jacob’s father’s religion and the subsequent rumor mill had been added to the casefile by Jennifer Marra back when she was running the MPCCN. So I checked with Newslibrary, a major source of old news articles, and found a St. Paul Pioneer Press article that referenced it. So at least I could confirm the accuracy of the information. (Not that I ever doubted it in the first place; Jenni cared as much about accuracy as I do.)

My question to you guys, though, is: where do we draw the line? At what point does a false lead or ruled-out potential suspect or local rumor become irrelevant, and perhaps even detrimental to the story?

Honestly, although I haven’t removed the info, I’m not sure I would have put the Baha’i thing into Jacob’s casefile if I myself had written it from scratch. There’s been news lately about Roger Day, an interview with his sister who mentions a “pedophile” who lived nearby and whose home was searched. They found bones that turned out to be not human. Yesterday I updated his case with more info, but didn’t include the bit about the neighborhood pedophile since there seemed to be no evidence, beyond his sister’s speculation, that Roger had any particular interaction with the man.

Where do we draw the line?