This week’s featured missing person is Kevin Lamont McClam, who disappeared from Goose Creek, South Carolina on March 30, 1997, just days before his fifteenth birthday.
The circumstances of his disappearance are a bit strange to say the least. His clothes were found scattered along the road near a construction site, and a witness reported seeing him walking nearby, wearing only sneakers and boxers, “alone and not under duress.”
As in the Wojciech Fudali case, I just don’t understand this. If I saw a man or a teenage boy walking down the street almost naked, I think I’d call the police or at least ask him if he was okay. But I haven’t found any evidence that the witness actually interacted with Kevin.
There are two suspects in Kevin’s disappearance, both of whom would have been in their teens at the time. The police are pretty sure Kevin was murdered, but no one has ever been charged in his case.
Chosen by Tara H., this case is Erica Nicole Baker, a nine-year-old who disappeared from Kettering, Ohio on February 7, 1999. Kettering is a suburb of Dayton, and about an hour and a half south of the hamlet where I grew up.
Erica went out to walk her aunt’s dog and never returned. The dog was found running around unaccompanied with its leash still attached, and eventually got picked up by Animal Control, but there was no sign of Erica.
She has been missing for 18 years, but we pretty much know what happened: Christian Gabriel was convicted of evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse after he confessed to running over Erica with a van, panicking and then disposing of her body. There are two other suspects who were thought to have been in the van at the time, but one of them died and the grand jury declined to indict the other one. Gabriel, who has since been released from prison, has retracted his confession and nobody knows where Erica’s body is.
Sometimes it seems like I don’t get a resolved case for a month and then suddenly get hit with a dozen at once. This next update will have five. So far. I’m linking to their casefiles but they won’t be up for much longer.
- Runaway Sualee Jeseenia Gonzalez Castro has been found alive, per NCMEC. She had been missing for two years and almost two months and is now 19 years old.
- Runaway Alondra Hernandez-Trujillo has also been found alive, per NCMEC. She had been missing for almost three years. She is now 18.
- Convicted murderer Thomas Riffenburg has confessed to the killings of his girlfriend, Jennifer Anne Walsh, and their son, Alexander Mitchell Riffenburg, who had been missing from Palmdale, California since January 9, 2009. Jennifer was 23 and Alexander was only a year old. This article provides a lot of background info about their cases, more than I have on Charley. Thomas provided hand-drawn maps to where he’d buried their bodies, and the cops found remains and are awaiting DNA confirmation of their identities. I think I’ll resolve their cases now; it’s highly unlikely they’re anyone but Jennifer and Alexander.
- A skull found in the woods 2001 has been identified as Ella Mae Williams, an 80-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s Disease who wandered from her Gainesville, Florida home on March 25, 1990. (The article incorrectly gives her age as 78.)
This week’s featured missing person is Benjamin McLaurin-Johnson, a baby who disappeared from San Francisco, California on January 13, 1995. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about the case. He’s listed on NamUs but not on the NCMEC, although the NCMEC clearly made that AP photo of him, since it’s got their logo on it. I have no actual photographs of the boy or any information about the circumstances of his disappearance, other than that he was last seen with his babysitter. Is the sitter a suspect? A fellow victim? I have no idea.
This week’s featured missing person is Dorien Deon Thomas, a nine-year-old boy who disappeared from Amarillo, a city in the Texas panhandle, on October 26, 1998. He was (probably) going for a bike ride around the neighborhood when he vanished, and, unusually, the bike disappeared with him and was never found.
Dorien will have been missing for twenty years next year. He’d be 28 now, if he is still alive. I suppose there is no hard evidence that he isn’t; Jaycee Dugard turned up alive after quite a long time. The most recent news article I found on his case was from last fall.
Kristen Y. selected Ke’Shaun Bryant Vanderhorst as this week’s Select It Sunday case. Like Peter Kema‘s and Relisha Rudd‘s, this is a case that really gets to me. Also like with those two, it’s as if the system opened up whole knew cracks just for Ke’Shaun to fall through. What’s more, the 22nd anniversary of this adorable little boy’s disappearance is tomorrow, Monday. He vanished from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 25, 1995, at the age of two years and three months.
I wrote about the case on my blog seven years ago, inserting my own commentary into Ke’Shaun’s Charley Project casefile. Since then there’s been an additional development: last October, Tina was charged with murder — not in Ke’Shaun’s disappearance, but in the case of a 64-year-old man whom she allegedly stabbed 77 times before setting his body on fire. She was homeless at the time, and was charged with murder, robbery, arson and “causing a catastrophe.”
I can’t find anything else about the case and don’t know if it has yet been resolved. It often takes a long time to resolve murder cases, as long as several years, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Tina is still awaiting trial. It’s been less than a year since she was charged, after all.
I wonder if this murder charge has prompted authorities to take another look at Ke’Shaun’s case. I can only hope so. Tina needs to pay for what she did to her son, and 2 1/2 to 7 years for child endangerment isn’t nearly enough.
If he is still alive — and he almost certainly is not — Ke’Shaun would be 24 years old today.
Bridget B. asked me to profile Cayce Lynn McDaniel‘s case for Select It Sunday; the 21st anniversary of her disappearance was last month. She was fourteen when she disappeared from Milan, Tennessee on August 16, 1996. She attended a church party and then someone dropped her off at home, which was unoccupied at the time. Cayce’s mom arrived home in the early hours of the next morning and found her daughter gone. She had had time to change clothes, grab some milk and cookies and turn on the TV before she disappeared.
I did a search and found this 2017 article about the case, but it doesn’t say anything new. A 2010 article says the police believe Cayce is dead.