MP of the week: Richard Bendele

This week’s featured missing person is Richard Willis “Rick” Bendele, a 29-year-old man who was last seen hunting pheasants in Blaine County, Idaho, in the Laidlaw Park area, on November 17, 1996. He called his mom at six o’clock to say his pickup had stalled on a remote road and he thought someone had tampered with it, and this is the last time anyone saw or heard from him.

His mom and girlfriend tried to find him, but weren’t able to and reported him missing in the early morning hours the next day. The next day a search party found the truck, abandoned and apparently vandalized. No sign of Bendele.

I’m not sure what happened to him, but the fact that his coat was found in the truck and searchers later found one (and only one) of his shoes is not a good sign. I think he probably died the same day he disappeared or maybe a day or so later, but it’s not clear whether foul play was involved. The police are open to that possibility.

MP of the week: Merlene Hayes

This week’s featured missing person is Merlene C. Hayes, a 55-year-old woman who was last seen in Tallahassee, Florida on April 26, 1994. She went out for a walk that evening, her second of the day, over her daughter’s objections. She never came back, although there were some possible sightings of her in the local area over the coming days and weeks.

Merlene had dropped out of sight once before and turned up alive and well after three days (not sure of the circumstances there), so this time her daughter didn’t report her missing for six. I have to wonder, given those alleged sightings, if reporting Merlene missing sooner would have made a difference.

She’s described as black, 5’7 and 170, with gray hair, brown eyes, and a mole on her nose. She was wearing a wig on the night of her disappearance, as well as a purple flowered shirt, pants and sneakers. She takes medication for depression and could become disoriented if she doesn’t take it regularly. It’s unlikely that she had her medicine with her that night, if she really was only going for a walk.

I have to wonder if perhaps something prevented her from returning home, temporarily but long enough to get her off her meds and disoriented. Or perhaps she had stopped taking her meds prior to her disappearance, and became disoriented during her walk. In any case, according to my theory, she would have wandered around the city for a time not knowing who she was or where she was. That would explain the alleged sightings.

I wish I knew more about what happened with her earlier three-day disappearance — like, did she stop taking her meds, get disoriented and wander off, or did she go off on a spontaneous vacation, or what?

If still alive, she’d be 83 today.

Info released in Kristin Smart case

Paul Flores was charged with the murder of Kristin Smart back in April. Last week a judge unsealed court documents about the case and the information contained therein is pretty horrifying.

It looks like Paul may have been a serial rapist since as far back as the late 90s. (Kristin disappeared in 1996.) TWENTY-NINE women have accused him of “sexual misconduct” and general creepy behavior. Four of those women have said he drugged and raped them. One of them said she told Paul he was hurting her, but he wouldn’t stop and forced a ball gag into her mouth. When the police searched his home they found rape-themed pornography and homemade videos of Paul having sex with different women who appeared to be drifting in and out of consciousness.

Paul’s father, Ruben Flores, is believed to have buried Kristin’s remains under his deck, then later moved them. Police found a patch of disturbed soil there with traces of blood, though they couldn’t get DNA. A man who rented a room from Ruben said Ruben had spoken about the case and referred to Kristin as a “dirty slut.” I guess we know where Paul gets his attitude from.

Yeah, the circumstances are all starting to add up.

And I keep thinking that if the police hadn’t dropped the ball in 1996, perhaps all those women would not have been victimized by Paul Flores in his later years.

MP of the week: Angela Luttrell

This week’s featured missing person is Angela Colleen Luttrell, missing from Loxahatchee, Florida since August 15, 1993. She is white, 5’2 and 110 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes, is missing a finger joint or joints on her left hand, and has a scar on her left ring finger. She was 32 at the time and would be 60 today.

There is very little information about Angela’s disappearance, but it’s noted that she had a problem with drugs and alcohol and used a long list of alias names. I can’t find a single article on the case, either recently or from back when the disappearance happened nearly 30 years ago.

MP of the week: Christopher Temple

This week’s featured missing person is Christopher Alan Temple, a 17-year-old high school senior who disappeared while camping with four friends in a campground in the woods in Bath Township, Michigan on April 22, 1990. His friends said he just walked away from the campsite in the night and never returned.

The Charley Project says the only sign ever located was one of his shoes, found about 300 yards from the campsite over a year after his disappearance. However, the Case Remains site says Christopher’s other shoe was found nearby a few weeks after the first, along with “handfuls of long, strawberry blond hair, enough to fill two 8 x 10 envelopes.” It wasn’t Christopher’s hair, which was brown.

The police initially thought it might be a runaway case, or just ran into some misadventure in the swampy woods surrounding the campsite. But it’s come out that Christopher sold weed and sometimes shorted customers, so there’s a theory that an unhappy customer went after him.

There hasn’t been much about this in the news since it happened, and it’s been over 30 years now. Christopher’s father is deceased; I’m not sure about other family members. I’m sure they’d like to know what happened to him, or at least where he is.

Per police, Kristin Smart’s body was buried in Paul Flores’s dad’s yard but got moved

More info has come out since the recent arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores for Kristin Smart‘s 1996 disappearance and presumed murder. Paul has been charged with murder and his dad, Ruben, as an accessory: authorities believe he helped hide Kristin’s body.

Now the police are saying that the Floreses buried Kristin’s remains in Ruben’s yard, but “recently” moved them to another location. And furthermore, that Paul is a serial rapist and “dozens” of women have come forward about his “sexual assaults and predatory behavior.”

None of this is terribly surprising to me. I don’t think it would surprise anyone who’s followed this case over the years.

If Paul had just confessed to Kristin’s murder at the time, owned up and apologized and taken some kind of plea bargain, he might very well be out of prison by now.

Honestly I despise him for torturing the Smart family over the past 25 years, as much as I do for Kristin’s killing. I don’t think there is any worse pain you can cause a family, than make their child disappear without a trace and never be found. At least my parents know where my two dead brothers are. At least they had a chance to bury them properly, and can visit their graves, and know they’re not scared or sad or suffering.

They finally made an arrest in the Kristin Smart case

Well, it’s about time: Paul Flores has been charged with murder in the 1996 disappearance of Kristen Denise Smart. They were both students at Cal Poly when she went missing and she was last seen in his company on campus. He’s been a suspect pretty much ever since. Paul’s father, Ruben, has been charged with being an accessory to the murder.

It’s been a quarter-century. I had thought this would never happen, unless they found Kristen’s body. As far as I know, they haven’t. I don’t know whether they just decided there was some time, or if some other evidence came up, or what.

I would think the Smart family would have mixed feelings about this day — justice will be done, but their daughter isn’t coming back and it’s official now.

Former cult leader Anna Young, believed responsible for three Charley Project disappearances, dies

So Anna Young died a few days ago at the age of 79, having served just 33 days of a life sentence for second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Anna pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Emon Harper, aka Moses Young, a toddler who was beaten and starved to death in 1988 or 1989. His body was never found. The manslaughter conviction was for the death of Katonya Jackson, a two-year-old who died after being beaten, tortured and denied her epilepsy medication. (For some reason her death had initially been ruled as natural.)

Anna is also connected to two unsolved disappearances: that of two-year-old Marcos Antonio Cruz, whom she allegedly had abandoned at a church in Puerto Rico in 1992, and that of her six-year-old stepdaughter Catherine Barbara Davidson, who was last seen in 1973. Per one of Catherine’s siblings, she didn’t actually vanish while on a family outing to a state park in Michigan but had in fact been bound, gagged and placed in a closet where she died.

Pretty awful stuff.

I wonder if Marcos is still alive out there, or if he was ever abandoned in the first place and didn’t meet with the same awful death as Emon and Catherine and Katonya did.

We may never know.

MP of the week: David Bellah

This week’s featured missing person is David Wayne Bellah, a 38-year-old man who was last seen by his family when he came to visit them in Roseville, California for Easter in March 1991. I don’t have an exact date of his disappearance, and in such cases my policy is to select the earliest possible oneā€”that is, March 1. However, I should note that Easter was March 31 that year.

Bellah didn’t see or contact his family often but would come to visit them for things like holidays. After Easter 1991, they never heard from him again. The most recent photo I have for him is from 1980.

Little information is available in Bellah’s disappearance, but he’s had a hair transplant, which might stand out if he’s a John Doe somewhere.

No, Jane McDonald-Crone was almost certainly not found alive on the streets of Mexico the other day

I was seeing and hearing about a lot of chatter on social media yesterday about a homeless American woman who was found on the streets of Monterrey, Mexico, and called herself Jane McDonald, and was supposedly Jane McDonald-Crone, who disappeared in 1993. Almost immediately something seemed “off” about the story, though, and when I searched for information OFF social media, I couldn’t find anything.

Jane McDonald-Crone was a 34 year old divorced mother of two who went for a night out back in 1993, never returned and was never seen again. If still alive she’d be 62 today.

I think what happened is people jumping to conclusions. It sounds like, because this woman was calling herself Jane McDonald and bore some resemblance to the missing Jane McDonald-Crone, people thought it might be her and notified law enforcement. And then the story snowballed and the possible identification being reported to law enforcement suddenly became being confirmed by law enforcement.

I think the actual confirmation of identity would take some time, because the fingerprints, etc, if the authorities even have Jane McDonald-Crone’s prints, would be in possession of American authorities and would have to be officially requested by the Mexicans and then sent down there and compared against the homeless lady’s prints. I’m not sure if that’s even been done yet; it sounds like the homeless woman dropped out of sight again before the authorities could speak to her and I don’t know if she’s resurfaced. What I do know is that, per Missing Persons of America, Jane McDonald-Crone’s own children had not heard anything about their mother’s supposed recovery in Mexico.

So, as of the moment, Jane McDonald-Crone is unfortunately still missing.