MP of the week: Samiya Haqiqi

This week’s featured missing person is Samiya Haqiqi, a 24-year-old Afghan immigrant and law student at Quinnipiac University who disappeared from Queens, New York on November 12, 1999. She is described as Asian, with black hair and brown or hazel eyes, 5’5 to 5’6 tall and 128 pounds. She went by the nickname Sammy. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, black platform boots, a baseball cap and a gold and diamond ring.

Authorities believe Samiya was killed by her boyfriend, Fahid “John” Popal, after she rejected his marriage proposal. In 2006, Fahid was sentenced to 26 years in prison for murder. His brother Farhad “Frank” Popal pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution.

Samiya’s body has never been found.

MP of the week: Bob Austin

This week’s featured missing person is Bob Perry Austin Jr., a 19-year-old man who disappeared from Jefferson, Louisiana on March 10, 1995. He was, for some reason, “fleeing” Ochsner Hospital, headed in the direction of the levee. He was never seen or heard from again.

Bob is black, 5’10 and 155 pounds, and was last seen wearing green flowered shorts and white socks. No shirt or shoes apparently. I wonder if he was a psychiatric patient who escaped.

Unfortunately that’s all the info I have for this young man. If still alive, he’d be 47 today.

MP of the week: Barbara Johnson-Willard

This week’s featured missing person is Barbara Ann Johnson-Willard, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from Jay, Oklahoma on June 17, 1996. She is white, 5’5 and 105 pounds, with pierced ears and scars on her nose, forearm and abdomen. Her nickname is Bobbie.

This is a murder-without-a-body case; authorities believe Barbara was killed by a coworker, John Lee Weeks. He was charged with her murder in 2011, but the charges were later dropped. Weeks is currently serving time in Kansas for sex crimes and isn’t due to be released until 2037. So he’s not going anywhere and perhaps could be brought up on charges again in Barbara’s case.

Whether or not he was involved in this case, somebody definitely hurt Barbara. As the casefile explains:

Shreds of clothing were inside the car’s trunk and gasoline tank. Blood and skin tissue samples discovered inside the trunk were matched to Johnson-Willard’s DNA; the body fluids found corresponded to a deceased person. Transmission fluid had been poured over the vehicle, but the car was not ignited.

I hope everyone is doing well. Unfortunately I’m still not feeling very well; I’m very tired and find myself struggling to stay awake at my desk when I try to work.

MP of the week: Edward Martin

This week’s featured missing person case is that of Edward Larnell Martin, who disappeared from Tulsa, Oklahoma sometime in July 1999 at the age of 50. The exact date of disappearance isn’t known, so I’ve got it down as July 1. Edward is black, 5’10 and 145 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. His nickname is Chicken.

Oddly enough, Edward is related by marriage to Terrence Haney, who disappeared from Tulsa in 2001. I don’t know if the disappearances are related or if the men even knew each other. There isn’t a whole lot of information available in either case.

I hope you all are well. I voted today and the election worker who checked my ID said turnout had been good, even better than in 2020.

MP of the week: Sabrina Aisenberg

This week’s featured missing person is Sabrina Paige Aisenberg, who was abducted from her crib in Valrico, Florida on November 24, 1997, aged just four months old.

Her parents were subsequently charged with some stuff in the case, but the charges were dropped after it turned out there was basically no actual evidence against them. And there the matter rests.

I know there’s been a lot of suppositions and stuff bandied about on the internet about this case. I once spoke to a man who had been posting a certain photo of a young woman on social media, claiming she was an adult Sabrina. The police had already looked into the matter and told the man she was not Sabrina, but he kept posting the picture and making this untrue claim. I figured if someone was doing that with my photo, I’d want to know about it, so I contacted the woman and told her what was going on. She was horrified.

I doubt Sabrina’s parents were actually involved in the case at all. It seems more likely that the baby was kidnapped by someone who wanted to raise her, or by someone who wanted to sell her for adoption purposes.

Sabrina, if still alive — and there’s really no reason to think she isn’t — would be 25 years old today. She has some Y-shaped marks on her shoulder which might be used to identify her as an adult.

MP of the week: Verna Richardson

This week’s featured missing person is Verna Marie Richardson, a 48-year-old grandmother who was last seen in Fort Myers, Florida on July 7, 1990. She had begun dating a guy named Alexander Smith, but broke up with him the summer she went missing and was trying to reconcile with her husband.

Smith took her from her home on the day of her disappearance, apparently against her will. Verna was last heard from when she placed a pay phone call to say Smith had kidnapped her, tied her up and beaten her. For some reason she chose to call a friend to tell them this, instead of 911. She was never heard from again and Smith later crashed her car and was arrested for drunk driving. Richardson was gone by then, but Smith still had her purse.

I think there’s a pretty strong presumption of foul play here. I wonder where Smith is now, or if he’s even still alive.

Verna had multiple health problems, including insulin-dependent diabetes, and she needed dialysis. Even if Smith didn’t kill her, she could not have survived long without needing medical assistance.

In the unlikely event she’s still alive, she’d be 80 today. She is black, pierced ears, and she’s missing her two front teeth. She’s 5’8 and at the time of her disappearance she weighed somewhere between 180 and 225 pounds.

Kristin Smart verdicts are in

The verdicts in the Kristin Denise Smart murder-without-a-body case are back, and have been announced. Although father and suspected accomplice Ruben Flores has been acquitted, son Paul Flores was convicted of Kristin’s murder and faces 25 years in prison.

I bet he wishes he’d taken that plea deal they offered him, where he’d show them where he put Kristin’s remains and would only get six years. He’d be out by now, with that unpleasantness all behind him, young enough to start over.

Now he’s middle-aged–45 years old–and the 25-year prison sentence he’s facing might amount to the rest of his life.

It’s a sentence Paul thoroughly deserves, after he spent that same amount of time torturing the Smart family and accumulating drunk driving arrests and (allegedly) drugging and raping other women.

RIP Kristin.

MP of the week: Aron Silverman

This week’s featured missing person is Aron Holmes Silverman, a 17-year-old boy who disappeared from Norfolk, Virginia on June 5, 1993. He went to a party that night, left with a dancer he’d met, and was never seen again.

His case is still classified as a runaway, due to his age and due to the fact that he was having some problems in his life: drug usage, parents separated etc. But it would be very unusual for a teenager to run away and not contact his family for almost THIRTY YEARS now. Unless things were VERY bad at home.

I hope Aron is still alive. If he is he’d be 46 today. In 1993 he was 5’10 and 130 pounds, but he might have grown taller since then. He has blond hair, blue eyes and numerous brown moles.

I hope everyone is ok. I’m sorry for my lack of activity, I’ve been very sick. My stomach again.

MP of the week: Bun Wa Chew

This week’s featured missing person is Bun Wa Chew, a 39-year-old man who was last seen in San Francisco, California on February 12, 1994. He is Asian, of Chinese descent, with black hair and brown eyes. He had a very slight build at the time of his disappearance: 5’7 and only 112 pounds.

Unfortunately… that’s all I have in this case. Bun Wa Chew’s case is one of the few that have NEVER been updated in the entire history of the Charley Project (which will turn 17 years old in October). The classic “few details are available” type of case. I’ve got a date, a city, and nothing else.

If still alive, he’d be 68 today.

I’ll be out of Facebook Jail in a week. Here’s some more news.

From California:

  • They’re still looking for Khrystyna Carreno, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Bakersfield in November 2020. (The article spells her name “Khrystina” but the NCMEC and CDOJ spell it “Khrystyna” so I’m going to go with that.) I don’t have her on Charley but figure I should add her. Twelve is very young, obviously, and she’s been missing for a year and a half now. I hope she’s alive and hasn’t been trafficked. Here’s Khrystyna’s NCMEC poster.

From Florida:

From Georgia:

  • They have finally identified the little boy whose corpse was found outside Atlanta over 20 years ago. His name was William DaShawn Hamilton and he was six years old when he was murdered. William was never reported missing. His mother, Teresa Ann Bailey Black, has been charged with felony murder, cruelty to children, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another.

From Michigan:

  • They’re still looking for Kathy Sue Wilcox, a 15-year-old girl last seen in Otsego in 1972. She got into an argument with her parents over an older boy she was dating, stomped out angrily and was never seen again. Kathy would be 65 today. Kathy’s sister does not believe she ran away, and made reference to a “significant antisocial person who was in [Kathy’s] life,” whom she thinks could have been involved.

From Minnesota:

  • Remains found in Rosemount in 2014 have been identified as James Everett, a New York man who was not listed as missing. They do not know the cause or manner of death, but they believe Everett died sometime in the autumn months of 2013. I wonder if he died of exposure; Minnesota can get very cold, and I doubt a “decommissioned railroad utility shed” would have heat or insulation.

From New Hampshire:

  • They’re still looking for 15-year-old Shirley Ann “Tippy” McBride, last seen in Concord in 1984. Although there haven’t been any new developments, the article talks about the case in great detail.
  • They’re still looking for Maura Murray, and are searching an unspecified “area in the towns of Landaff and Easton.” This search isn’t based on any new info, though, they’re just shooting in the dark.

From New York:

  • They’re trying to find Judith Threlkeld, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared from Chautauqua County in 1976. She was last seen walking home from the library. I added the case to Charley yesterday.

From North Dakota:

  • Check out this awesome in-depth three-part series on the 1996 disappearances of Sandra Mary Jacobson and her son, John Henry Jacobson: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 (this last part is paywalled, but I was invested enough to fork over two bucks for a subscription). Very mysterious case. I feel terrible for Sandra’s older son, Spencer: he lost his mom and half-brother, literally, and later on his father was murdered, and neither of these cases have been solved. A few years after the murder of Spencer’s father, Spencer’s wife died tragically young at 24, from strep throat of all things, leaving him a young widower with three kids. Poor Spencer has had enough bad luck to last a lifetime.

From Ohio:

  • They’re still looking for Charles King Blanche, a 39-year-old man who disappeared from his Youngstown group home in 1991. Blanche’s cousin says he was a very talented musician who was recruited to tour in Europe in a marching band, but his life kind of cratered after he developed an unspecified severe mental illness. An all-too-common story on the Charley Project.

From Texas:

  • It’s being reported that sometimes when Texan foster kids run away, the agencies just wash their hands of them and end their guardianship over them. This sounds terrible, but given how often foster agencies fail their wards, and given as it’s Texas where they can’t even keep the lights on, I’m not entirely surprised.
  • Using genetic genealogy, they have identified a Jane Doe whose partial remains were found south of Midland in 2013. The victim was Sylvia Nicole Smith, who disappeared in 2000 at the age of sixteen. The case is being investigated as homicide.

From Virginia

  • Cory Bigsby, the father of four-year-old Codi Bigsby, has been indicted on thirty counts, the majority of them child neglect charges. Codi has been missing since January. None of the indictments are related to his disappearance; they’re connected to Cory’s allegedly terrible parenting from prior to Codi’s disappearance. Codi has not been missing long enough to go up on Charley, so here’s his NCMEC poster, and here’s another poster for him.

From Washington state:

  • There are forty known Native American people listed as missing from the Yakima area. And here’s a list of all the Native Americans listed as missing from the entire state.

From Washington DC:

  • They’re still looking for Relisha Tenau Rudd, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from a Dickensian homeless shelter in 2014. I’ve blogged about Relisha several times, as recently as earlier this week when they put up a new AP for her. If still alive, Relisha would now be 16. Here’s another detailed article about her case, with links to the earlier series of articles the Washington Post did about it.

And in general:

  • Although they don’t drop kids from the guardianship rolls when they disappear, in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Illinois, most missing foster kids who resurface are not screened to see if they were trafficked during the time they were gone. The article says Texas actually has a better record in this regard, with over 80% of missing-and-then-located foster kids being screened. But the number should ideally be 100%.
  • My husband has persuaded me to finally turn the Charley Project into an official registered nonprofit organization. Right now we’re saving up the money to pay a lawyer to file the paperwork to do this though it’s going to be awhile at this rate; money is super tight right now. If the Charley Project is a registered nonprofit, all donations will become tax-deductible and also the organization could become the recipient of grants. I’d use the grants to travel to more missing persons events, and pay the subscription fees for more databases to use in researching cases, and maybe hire an editor or something.