A samaritan utility

The other day I updated a case that had a detail I’d never seen before: the woman, Mary Joetta Roderick, was reported missing by her phone company.

It’s not all that uncommon for adults to not get reported missing for months, particularly if their children are taking the opportunity to cash their checks, which Mary’s son was. But usually in such cases, the police are alerted by friends, neighbors or extended family members. I’ve never heard of a utility company doing it.

She was last seen in December 1994. A few months later her phone company contacted the cops to say she’d always paid her bill promptly, but she had not paid it in months and the balance had grown to $3,500 (was her son calling 900-number sex lines?). I suppose the company probably tried to contact her themselves and couldn’t. Anyway, they thought something might have happened to her.

So the cops went to her house on a welfare check and found her son, and it started to unravel. Partially, anyway. They’ve never found her or charged anyone in her disappearance.

The cops haven’t given up, though. They conducted a search for her just this month.

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.

MP of the week: Melissa Espinoza

This week’s featured missing person (I’m sorry it’s late) is Melissa Ann Espinoza, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Rancho Cordova, California on December 2, 1993.

She was last seen hanging out at her old apartment complex; her family had moved after a fire. The complex was in a bad neighborhood and Melissa is considered missing under suspicious circumstances and a probable abduction victim, but no suspects have been made and one seems to know anything.

Later today, I’m off to the zoo. Perhaps I’ll run into CrimeBlogger1983 again.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Girly Hossencofft

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Girly Chew Hossencofft, a 36-year-old woman born and raised in Malaysia who moved to the U.S. in the early nineties, after meeting and marrying an American, Daizien Hossencofft.

She disappeared from Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 9, 1999. By this time, she and Daizien were in the process of a divorce, as Girly had tired of his infidelity and domestic abuse.

Daizien pleaded guilty to Girly’s murder in 2002 and was sentenced to life plus 61 years in prison. He testified at the trial of his mistress, Linda Henning, who was also accused of the murder. It was a memorable trial to say the least, as Daizien said under oath that he was “a reptilian shape-shifter and capable of being in several places at one time.” He claimed Henning was innocent, but she was convicted anyway and got 73 years.

Girly’s body has never been found. Daizien implied that it was cannibalized.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Larry Haynes

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Larry Charles Haynes, a 22-year-old man who disappeared from Oxnard, California on December 16, 1994.

It’s basically know what happened to Haynes: he accidentally drove his car off a cliff near Mugu Rock at Point Mugu. They found the car, but not Haynes. His remains were presumably washed out to sea.

He would have been 47 years old in October.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Phoulivay Thetsombandith

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Phoulivay Thetsombandith, a 20-year-old man who disappeared from San Diego, California on August 18, 1991, two years after he’d moved to this country from his native Laos.

Thetsombandith was seen being forced into a vehicle at gunpoint by a group of about four or five men. He was never seen again.

Although a group was said to be responsible for his abduction, in the end only one man, Percyval Leslie Dryden, was convicted of Thetsombandith’s murder. Supposedly he mistook Thetsombandith for some guy who had broken into his car. Dryden never said what he did with the young man’s body.

It’s such a sad case. This guy moves to the US from a third-world country, hoping to have a better life, only to be gunned down by thug(s) for no good reason. And they don’t even have his body.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Yasuko Guillory

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Yasuko Koizumi Guillory, who disappeared from Metairie, Louisiana on February 16, 1999. She was 44.

Guillory, was born in Japan, adopted at age five, and has also lived in Canada, apparently has a history of dropping out of sight and of using different dates of birth. It sounds like she could still be alive and could be literally anywhere. She would be 64 years old today and may not even know she’s listed as a missing person.