This week’s featured missing person is Shy’Kemmia Shy’Rezz Pate, a beautiful eight-year-old girl who’s been missing from Unadilla, Georgia for nearly twenty years now: September 4, 1998. There hasn’t been a lot of news about this disappearance, but on the face of it it’s a non-family abduction — by who, they don’t seem to know.
The family has a Facebook page set up for the little girl, nicknamed ShyShy.
A relative asked me to profile the disappearance of Darwin Kenneth Vest, who disappeared 18 years ago as of June 2. He sounds like a really interesting guy, an internationally known entomologist and expert in hobo spiders and poisonous snakes. He testified about them in court and even worked with the FBI and the CIA sometimes.
Whether Vest’s work had anything to do with his 1999 disappearance seems to be up in the air, though personally I doubt it. The man, who was unmarried and childless but had a loving extended family, vanished off the face of the earth while walking home late one evening after his weekly trivia game with friends.
Vest had been drinking that night and it’s possible he simply stumbled into the Snake River — he vanished from Idaho Falls, Idaho. But his family doesn’t think so cause that’s not on his usual route home, and they think foul play was involved.
If he is ever found as a John Doe, his distinctive belt buckle and watch — both with spider decorations — might help identify him.
I thought I’d do a run-down in the latest news in murder-without-a-body cases:
Per everybody, Antolin Garcia-Torres has been found guilty of the murder of Sierra Mae Lamar, a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Morgan Hill, California five years ago. Her abduction and killing is of the most terrifying kind: she was just snatched off the street in a random act of violence.
In Iowa, Tait Purk has been foundguilty of murdering his girlfriend, Cora Ann Okonski, who disappeared from the town of Tama on April 16, 2000. Unlike in Sierra Lamar’s murder, there wasn’t anything in the way of physical evidence here. However, Purk supposedly confessed to at least two other people that he had killed Cora and buried her body.
No charges have been filed as of yet, but Dale LaFleur‘s grand-nephew, Philip, has confessed to murdering him and the police are looking for the body. Philip is currently in jail for the 2015 murder of another man. He’s only 23 now, and Dale disappeared in 2011, so chances are Philip was a minor when he (allegedly) killed his great-uncle. (Not that it’ll matter.) He says he put Dale’s body inside his (Dale’s) car and dumped it in the Atchafalaya River. Police have said they’ve found an “object” in the river that might be the car. Fingers crossed.
And as for Peter Kema, alas, I don’t know anything more than I did three weeks ago: namely that Peter Sr. has led police to the alleged disposal spot. I seem to recall some article that claimed the remains were cremated and dumped at sea. If that is so, they’re almost certainly unrecoverable. But I don’t know if that information is correct. There’s a big difference between outright cremating a body and merely setting it on fire. I think if the cops had found something, they would have said so by now, but who knows?
Per Charley Project Irregular Jennifer C., Raymond Lee Matlock, who disappeared during an elk hunting trip in Washington in November in 1998, was identified last December. His remains were actually found less than a month after he disappeared; it appears he drowned in the Bone River, which feeds into the Pacific, and his body drifted some 125 miles up the Washington coast to Vancouver Island.
Such a long journey is unusual for drifting bodies, and that’s a big part of the reason Matlock remained unidentified for 18 years. But I think this case is also a good example of why detailed clothing descriptions are important wherever possible. The body was found wearing a distinctive t-shirt with a drawing of a truck, surfboards and the words “Jimmy Z” — something the police at the time might help identify him, except that if anyone knew what Matlock was wearing when he disappeared, they never bothered to say.
The management of the Washington cemetery where he was buried combined forces with a local crematory to exhume his remains, cremate them and ship them to his mom in Texas at no cost to her. That was nice of them.