Reader discretion advised

So here’s a copy of the court filing in the Ashley Freeman/Lauria Bible case. It is horrific. I haven’t even read it yet myself and I know it’s going to be horrific.

I did glance at the first few pages and it looks like the sole living suspect, Ronnie Busick, was the lookout and two men who are beyond earthly justice actually killed Danny and Kathy Freeman. And of course, if Busick and his lawyer have any brains at all they’re going to dump as much blame as possible on the dead guys and paint him as an innocent bystander or something.

I had bad dreams last night about the girls being held captive by those men. Some real Silence of the Lambs type stuff.

Not gonna update today. I’ve been out all day and now I’ve got some things to do. I’ve got to deal with an email sent in with about a zillion corrections on one of my cases. And possibly take Michael to the hospital when he gets home, depending on how awful he feels. He’s been sick for awhile.

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Holy crap!

They’ve arrested a suspect in Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible‘s cases. The man, Ronnie Dean Busick, was charged with four counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of arson.

The police gave a press conference and said Busick and two other people, David Pennington and Warren “Phil” Welch, killed Ashley’s parents, set the fire and took the girls. They then held Ashley and Lauria captive for some time — the cops don’t know exactly how long, but days at least — and took Polaroid photos of them, which they showed to other people, and bragged about what they were doing.

Pennington and Welch are dead now. The cops have recovered the Polaroid photos and hope to locate the girls’ bodies. I hope they do, and quickly. It’s been eighteen years.

MP of the week: Andrea Durham

This week’s featured missing person is Andrea D’Anne Durham, a 13-year-old girl who disappeared from Fort Walton Beach, Florida on February 1, 1990.

She was considered a runaway at the time, and perhaps that’s actually what happened, but she’s been missing for 28 years now — more than twice as long as she had been alive before. And if she did run away she did so without taking her purse, makeup or extra clothes.

I’ve got Andrea’s mom’s phone number listed as well as law enforcement for a contact.

Would love to know more about this

On August 20, 1999, Junelle MarquardDayna Menger, and Dayna’s son Dakota disappeared from Nekoosa, Wisconsin, apparently into thin air. And I cannot find squat about it.

NamUs doesn’t have Dakota listed for some reason, and Junelle’s case on there doesn’t have a photo. I was able to snag a high school photo of her from a pre-disappearance newspaper article from Newspapers.com. She played sports a lot in high school; I’m sure many coaches of girls’ teams would love to have a six-footer on board.

I was also able to find obituaries for relatives of both women. Junelle and Dayna were listed as having survived their relatives who died post-disappearance. Based on the obituaries I concluded they were not related to each other. I’m assuming they were just friends then.

I found a mention of a brother, Bryant, for Dayna, and thought I’d try to find him on Facebook or something, maybe he had photos or information about his sister on his profile. I discovered Bryant died in 2013, at the age of 39. It was mentioned that his infant son predeceased him. There’s more than enough sadness to go around in that family.

I wish I knew anything about a vehicle, whether a car disappeared with them and whether it was found. If a car did disappear with them and it wasn’t found, I’d be thinking they’re all in a lake or river somewhere.

Or perhaps — hopefully — they simply left town.

I wish I knew more.

A bunch of no-body homicide updates

So I re-posted all the Corpus Delicti lists last night and today (it’s been forever I know) and I took the chance to go through Not Concluded/Unknown Outcomes again to find out some of those outcomes.

The result is fifteen updated cases.

  • Cynthia Linda Alonzo: Eric Mora pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, got eleven years.
  • Abigail Estrada: Ruben Torres pleaded guilty to murder, got eighteen years but could be out in ten.
  • Cari Lea Farver: Shanna Golyer was found guilty, got life without parole plus 18 to 20 years for an unrelated arson.
  • Jarrod Devlin Green: Brandon Wheeler’s charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
  • Alice Kristina Wehr Hummel: Bruce Hummel was tried and convicted of the murder a second time, but an appeals court overturned his second conviction and he cannot be retried.
  • Charles Edward “Mississippi” Johnson: David Lint pleaded no contest to criminal homicide, got seven to fifteen years.
  • Zachary Matthew Malinowski: No conclusion yet, but suspect Javon Gibbs (allegedly) murdered someone else while out on bail in Malinowski’s murder.
  • Bernadine M. Montgomery: Tracie Naffziger pleaded no contest to being an accessory second-degree murder after the fact. She will testify against David Mariotti, whose trial is supposed to be early next month.
  • Sara Jo Mowrey: After alleged misconduct by the prosecution, Michael Baker pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder and being an accessory after the fact to murder, and got three years instead of the life sentence he’d have gotten if convicted of the original charges.
  • Catherine E. Nelson and Charles Martin Russell: Brian Ferry’s trial was early this year. The jury couldn’t reach a verdict and there was a mistrial.
  • Heath Riley Reams: Amanda Sanders-Bolstad pleaded guilty to manslaughter and got 25 years, with 20 suspended, but the prosecution is trying to get her suspended sentence revoked because she moved without telling the police.
  • Bret R. Snow: More details have been released about the crime and two additional suspects have been charged. Alvaro Guajardo is charged with murder, and Cheryl Sutton with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder, and leading organized crime.
  • Aaron Lamar Turner: One suspect, Bryan Byrd pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and got 20 to 40 years. (Also found an article about how Bryan was an academic star in high school and seen as a really great kid who had risen above his poverty and single-parent childhood, then he ruined his life in one weekend.) The second suspect, LaQuanta Chapman, was convicted and sentenced to death, but the sentence was overturned four years later and he got life instead. A third suspect has been identified, but has never faced charges. I think it’s because Chapman isn’t saying boo and they only have Byrd’s testimony to put the man at the scene. Also, not-very-fun fact: Chapman shot one of his dogs dead and dismembered the body in his attempt to cover up Aaron’s murder.
  • Rebecca Ann Ware: Timothy Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and got nineteen years, with credit for three years’ time served.

Thoughts on today’s updates

It’s 11:47 p.m. as I type this, so perhaps by the time it’s finished, “today” will be “yesterday.”

For all the updated cases today, except Jahi Turner and Donna Mezo, you can thank Mion, who kindly gathered together a bunch of old newspaper articles about cases I had and emailed them to me.

Regarding my Donna Mezo update, I hope it clarifies the situation with her boyfriend’s death. Earlier I had said there was a suicide note and his death was ruled a suicide in spite of the fact that the gun used was found in “a nearby lake.” Well, I have since learned that “nearby” was more like “a few feet away.” I think what probably happened is that Jeffrie either threw or dropped his weapon into the water during or after firing it.

I found quite a lot on Newspapers.com for Marcell Byers‘s case. His NamUs profile includes a clipping about how the people charged with kidnapping him disappeared and their lawyer had been threatened and maybe it was foul play.

Well, the two suspects did disappear, leaving a van shot full of holes, but I guess it was all just an attempt to evade prosecution because they were alive, back in custody and well enough to cop a plea less than a year later.

It’s disturbing that Marcell was never found. All this over a gold chain. The Zuppos pleaded no contest to kidnapping, meaning they didn’t even admit they were guilty. They’d be out of prison by now and I’m not sure what they’re up to these days. I think Gerald Sr. may be dead; someone with the same name and birth year died in North Carolina in 2003.

Tejin‘s case is just sad. (Also, NamUs has him listed as a girl? I admit you can’t really tell from the pictures. If I hadn’t found some articles on his disappearance I’d have been none the wiser.) I found his Facebook page and one picture was of him holding a little turtle, whom Tejin called “my son.” This was just a few months before his presumed death.

Julie Davis‘s case is sad too. Judging from the Facebook page created for her, she was lost for awhile before she disappeared. They only have the one not very good quality and out-of-date photo of her, and from the Facebook page her family apparently wasn’t really clear on when they’d last heard from her. They mentioned getting a letter from her “around 1985 or 1986.” (I’m not sure where NamUs’s date of disappearance comes from.)

She was just sixteen years old and already out on her own, almost four hours from her hometown.  I know things were a bit different back in the eighties, but that’s still pretty unusual. I wonder if she was in foster care. Obviously her family cares about her or they wouldn’t be trying to find her. I hope she’s alive out there and doesn’t even know anyone is looking, and isn’t a Jane Doe somewhere, or worse, dead and never found.

For this case, normally I’d have listed her as just regular “Missing” but then I saw the detail about the track marks and thought “drugs” and upgraded her case to “Endangered Missing.” Question: do track marks ALWAYS mean drugs? There are some medical conditions that require a person to get frequent injections; do those people get similar scars?

Ashley Lynn Thomas has such striking eyes, so big and dark against her pale skin and hair. I hope she’s okay. I hope she and the baby are both healthy and being looked after.

Stuart Owen Collins got a big update today. (Thanks again, Mion!) It does sound like something bad happened to him, and one inevitably wonders about the woman he was with, and even more so about her husband.

With Paul Egan (another big update there) the whole rendering theory is just awful to contemplate. The police seemed to suspect Paul’s friend. They said his friend was not a suspect, but they also made a point of saying they couldn’t confirm the friend’s story.

It could have happened something like this: Paul and his friend got into some kind of argument at the plant after hours — his friend was a foreman, Paul a technician — and things got out of hand something went horribly wrong, and his friend is panicking and thinks “well, there’s this rendering machine, if I just chuck him in and keep my mouth shut, no one will ever know.” I doubt such places had security cameras in 1975. The rendering machine was designed to grind up horses; a human corpse would be easy.

Of course that’s all supposition. I did look up the friend in the Florida DOC database and on Facebook and couldn’t find anyone by that name. I did find a Newspapers.com mention of a person by that name (and a photo of that person) from 1970, five years before Paul disappeared. Nothing since then. I wonder if I’ve got the spelling of his surname right.

As far as the note Elsie Elsinga left behind — and her daughter’s poo-pooing the significance of that note — I don’t know. Her daughter said something like “How could someone of that age have done anything to mess up their life?” But perhaps Elsie’s “possible mild depression” was more significant than her daughter thought.

For Helen Robinson, I wonder if she decided to take a plane to visit one of those CB radio friends she had, and maybe something happened that prevented her from coming back. It was two solid years before her van turned up; by then, the weeds might have grown over the flight records. Robinson is definitely dead now; I don’t think she would have lived long in any case, because of her emphysema.

I added 27 updates and I’m very pleased with my work output today. I hope y’all have noticed how much more productive I’ve been ever since the site got redesigned. It takes less time to add/update stuff, since I don’t have to write all the code by hand, or hand-add case names to the lists.

MP of the week: Anna Manning

This week’s featured MP (I missed last week, sorry) is Anna Lee Manning, who disappeared from Danville, Kentucky on November 19, 1992. She was 23 years old and left behind a young daughter. She wasn’t reported missing until early 1994.

The obvious possible suspect in Anna’s disappearance would be abusive husband, but he was not involved — he was in jail when she disappeared, and that’s about as good an alibi as you can get, short of being dead. Foul play is suspected in her case.

The admirable Unsolved Appalachia blog, which I’ve been mining as of late, ought to profile this case.