Let’s talk about it: Thomas Mixon

This week’s mysterious-case-up-for-discussion is Thomas James Mixon, a 26-year-old who disappeared from Buffalo, New York on May 4, 1998.

Mixon’s roommate, Vladimir Sokolov, was later charged with Mixon’s murder. The case against him, on the face of it, looks good: Solokov wouldn’t tell Mixon’s mom what had happened to him, he put Mixon’s stuff on the street and even started wearing his clothes, he fled back to his native Bulgaria upon learning he was a suspect in Mixon’s disappearance, he allegedly bragged about the murder and his ex-girlfriend claimed to have seen Mixon’s body in the apartment.

However, Sokolov was eventually acquitted, and this is one of the few MWAB cases where I think there’s a distinct possibility the defendant was innocent. Other evidence indicated Mixon had some very good reasons to walk out of his life, including scary people who were mad at him, and had made extensive preparations to do just that.

An aside: it says Mixon wore a Georgetown University class ring, but it seems unlikely that he was an alumnus. If he was, he had certainly fallen far in the few years since graduation.

So do you think Mixon was murdered by his roommate? Do you think he’s even dead? Let’s talk about it.

Select It Sunday: LaMoine Allen and Kreneice Jones

Way back in the day in July 2014, commenter “Purple Prowler Book Reviews” suggested I run LaMoine Jordan Allen or Kreneice Marie Jones for Select It Sunday. These two toddlers disappeared together on May 10, 1992 from outside Woodville, a little southwestern Mississippi town near the Louisiana border.

Both LaMoine and Kreneice’s respective families actually lived over the border in Edgard, but that day they made the approximately two-hour trip to Woodville to attend a Mother’s Day church service. The kids — LaMoine was two and Kreneice, three — vanished together while playing outside a store after the event was over. It appears they were abducted.

Frustratingly, I can find VERY little about this even after combing through paid news archives. And there are contradictions in what I do have — as of this writing the Charley Project says the kids’ families were friends, but many reports have it that LaMoine and Kreneice were, in fact, cousins. Of course, those things are by no means mutually exclusive, and probably not a factor in their actual disappearances, but it would be nice to know whether there was in fact a blood relationship or not.

This is a case that might have been solved much earlier had the Amber Alert existed in 1992. I just wish I knew more about it. I will keep digging.

Heard from the cops about Kenneth Welch

I got an email from a detective with the Flagstaff, AZ police department asking me where I got my photo of Kenneth Lawrence Welch, since the Flagstaff police had none available. Welch’s case has never been updated and may have been created by Jennifer Marra back in the MPCCN days.

I was able to tell him where I got the photo — the CDOJ — and now I’m going to have to correct Mr. Welch’s casefile, because Flagstaff says the date of disappearance was April 3, 1980, not April 5, 1990. Whoops.

I’m feeling a lot better. When I took Dad back to his apartment yesterday, we had dinner (my first meal since Monday!) and he gave me a sack of apples to take home with me.

I’m almost sure these are the same person…but…

A NamUs profile that just went up is for Reginald Lovell Garrett. I already had a Reginald Garrett on Charley, courtesy of the CDOJ, so I pulled him up to update his case with the info from the NamUs profile.


Reginald Lovell Garrett on NamUs has the listed date of disappearance as January 1, 1995, and in the “details of disappearance” it says his family doesn’t actually know the date but they believe it was sometime between 1994 and 1996. He is said to have disappeared from Pascagoula, Mississippi, after getting into a car with a white man. The Pascagoula Police Department is investigating.

Reginald Garrett on the Charley Project has a date of disappearance as February 2, 1995, and the place is given as Tulare, California. I have no other details about his disappearance. The Tulare Police Department is investigating.

I’m pretty sure these are the same man. I mean, the names are the same; they’re both black; the listed ages, heights and weights correspond with each other; the date range in Reginald Lovell Garrett’s case fits the date given for Reginald Garrett; Reginald Garrett’s photo closely resembles the three photos of Reginald Lovell Garrett.

I’m just not really sure how to deal with this, though. I mean, where’d he actually disappear from? Is it possible that he disappeared from Mississippi, went to California and then disappeared again from there? This isn’t the only time that’s happened.

Thoughts, anyone?

Let’s talk about it: Leigh Marine Occhi

I wasn’t sure whether I should bring up this case, because I blogged seven years ago about Leigh Occhi‘s disappearance and even ventured a possible theory as to what happened. But I’m sure plenty of readers haven’t read every entry I’ve ever written, so here goes.

On the day 13-year-old Leigh disappeared, Hurricane Andrew had struck Mississippi and was causing some violent storms in the area. This was before the school year would have started, but Leigh did plan to attend an Open House at her school with her grandmother and was home waiting to be picked up. Her mother tried to call her a few times but no one ever picked up.

When Leigh’s mother came back home, there was a violent crime scene: blood everywhere and indications of a struggle.

All of this sounds like it could have been a fairly ordinary abduction; Evelyn Hartley‘s 1953 disappearance was much the same way. Yet, in this case there’s a very peculiar detail: a month after Leigh’s disappearance, her glasses were mailed to her home. Just the glasses. No note. The envelope was addressed to Leigh’s stepfather, but he and her mother were separated when Leigh disappeared. The mailed eyeglasses were the last trace of Leigh, who would be 37 today.

I have NEVER heard of any case where someone abducted a person from their home and then mailed one of their belongings back to the house with no other message.

So what happened here? Let’s talk about it.

Select It Sunday: Robin Kerry

Chosen by Anka, this week’s Select It Sunday case is Robin Ann Kerry, who disappeared with her sister Julie from St. Louis, Missouri on April 5, 1991. Unlike with many of my cases, it’s perfectly obvious what happened to Robin: she and her sister were gang-raped and thrown off the Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River. Julie’s body turned up several weeks later but Robin was never found.

I wrote about this case in 2009. It was a horrific crime, made all the more so by the fact that the four perpetrators were complete strangers who just had a random encounter with Robin and Julie and their cousin Tom Cummins that night, and the fact that Tom Cummins was wrongfully arrested and charged with his cousins’ murders before the situation got sorted and the cops caught the real killers.

I will quote part of my earlier entry:

There are still some people online who think Cummins killed his cousins and framed the four suspects, but the evidence against the defendants is pretty strong. One of them had Cummins’s wallet either on his person or in his house (I forget which) when he was arrested. All four suspects confessed at one point or another, although three of them later retracted their statements. One defendant pleaded guilty and testified against the others. Cummins’s sister Jeanine wrote a wonderful book about the case called A Rip in Heaven. Many news accounts say Cummins confessed to the crime. According to his sister’s book, after the police told him their theory about him being the killer he said something like, “If that’s what you said, then that’s what I did.” That’s hardly a confession.

I Googled the case again for today’s entry and discovered that Reginald Clemons, who spent over twenty years on death row for the Kerry sisters’ murders, had his conviction overturned and is awaiting a second trial. I don’t think he has much of a chance, though, even though it appears his confession has been ruled coerced and cast out of evidence. This article says they’ve got “a match consistent with Clemons’ DNA to a degree of one in 16,690 individuals in the African-American population,” something they didn’t have in 1991. I’ll have to update Robin’s casefile, I guess.

One of the four defendants, Daniel Winfrey, was released from prison in 2007. He was the only one who didn’t take part in the rapes, and he only fifteen years at the time of the crime, too young for the death penalty, and he took a plea deal: thirty years in exchange for testifying against the others.

Let’s Talk About It: John Iverson

This week’s “let’s talk about it” is John Gordon Iverson, who may or may not have been kidnapped from his Lake Havasu City, Arizona home on January 4, 1991.

Iverson’s live-in girlfriend (who was also his ex-wife) claims he was abducted at gunpoint by a man they knew. The kidnapping suspect turned up four months later, sans Iverson, claiming there had been no kidnapping and Iverson and his girlfriend had tried to set him up. With no other witnesses or additional evidence, charges against the suspect were dropped.

Iverson himself was a bit of an eccentric, to put it mildly, and there’s some suspicion that the “kidnapping” was staged so he could walk out of his life and his responsibilities. Among other things, he was on probation for theft, he was in trouble for nonpayment of taxes, he was reportedly having problems with his girlfriend and was thinking of leaving her, and he may have had a drinking problem also. I should note that Iverson was a genius with electronics but according to his associates, he had violent prejudices and liked to tell tall tales about his imaginary accomplishments. If Iverson is still alive, he’d be 68 today.

EDIT: My friend Sean Munger is a published author and, years ago, I asked him how he would answer the many questions in the Iverson case if it were fiction. He sent a very entertaining response and has given me permission to share it. You should read the casefile I wrote first or Sean’s story isn’t going to make much sense. I do want to emphasize that this story is just the fruit of Sean’s imagination and not his theory as to what actually happened:

Kathy Munro [the girlfriend] and Jack Weber [the kidnap suspect] were secretly having an affair. Weber kept pressuring her to leave Iverson, but she felt he was too good a meal ticket to give up and she wanted a piece of his money. They decided to murder him together, but each would blame the other; the inconsistency between their stories would keep the police guessing and also lull people into thinking they were adversaries instead of allies.

The story about the super-gun is obviously false. Instead of a gun, let’s say it’s some sort of electronic program — maybe one that can hack encrypted files or something like that, something that would be profitable if sold to the right buyer but would get its creators in serious legal trouble. Iverson is hoping to sell the program to someone who has connections with Chinese intelligence.

Unbeknownst to Munro or Weber, Iverson discovers that they are plotting to murder him. He pretends to go along with Munro to meet the Chinese buyer in the desert, and they drive there in Weber’s van. Iverson knows that the plan is that Weber will kill him and bury his body somewhere in the desert. Before this can happen, Iverson takes the program and runs away. He lays low in a place (a cave or something) where he stashed some food and supplies earlier.

Weber panics, fearing that the Chinese buyer will kill him if he shows up at the drop empty-handed. Hurriedly he drives back to Lake Havasu City. He and Munro cook up the kidnapping story, and Weber comes up with the clunky story about the super-gun.

In the meantime Iverson leaves his desert hideout and goes to Mexico. He eventually makes contact with the Chinese buyer to rearrange the deal for the program. At the drop, the Chinese buyer double-crosses Iverson, takes the program, shoots him and leaves his body in a dumpster in a slum in Mexico City. The Chinese buyer gets away, figuring that if the body is ever found and identified, the police will blame it on either Munro or Weber.