This week’s featured missing person is Walter Sidney Grant, a 61-year-old Native American man who disappeared from Lincoln, Nebraska on October 17, 1992.
He was homeless at the time of his disappearance, and for that reason (and his age–he’d be in his late eighties now) I doubt he’s still alive. He had distinctive tattoos, and I hope if his body is located, he can be identified.
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Watson K. Mahaulu, a 36-year-old Asian or Pacific Islander (not sure which, probably both) man who disappeared from Oahu, Hawaii on November 30, 1997.
He was an unemployed laborer who lived off and on with his parents and his girlfriend. Although he was a bit of a drifter, the police don’t think he left on his own, because he was close to his family and because he had no money. He’s considered missing under suspicious circumstances, but that’s all anyone will venture to guess.
It’s been over twenty years since Watson disappeared. He’d be in his mid-fifties today.
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Rachel Marie Mellon, also known as Rachel Mellon Skemp, a thirteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Bolingbrook, Illinois on January 31, 1996. She is listed as Asian, but I think she may have some Caucasian ancestry as well.
Rachel had stayed home sick from school on the day of her disappearance. Her stepfather, Vince Mellon, said she was lying on the couch when he went to take the dog for a walk, and when he came back, she was gone.
Vince himself has been a suspect in Rachel’s case for years, though. Rachel had written in her diary that he kissed her and touched her inappropriately, and he had scratches on him after her disappearance. There just isn’t enough evidence at present to charge anyone, however.
This week’s featured missing person is Charles Christopher Massey, a 29-year-old man who disappeared from Madisonville, Kentucky in the spring of 1997. He was last seen on March 30, when he went to give Easter baskets to his children, but last spoken to, presumably on the phone, on April 2. Then he was gone.
He’s got a pretty distinctive tattoo on his upper right arm; I wish I had a picture of it. If still alive, he’d be 51 years old today.
A Charley Project Irregular let me know about how the San Francisco Examiner had been added to the Newspapers.com archives, so I went and ran all my old San Francisco cases through to see if they had articles in that paper. Then when that was done, I decided to do with the same with Santa Cruz cases, because I knew the Santa Cruz Sentinel was in the archives. And presto, 29 cases updated.
Some thoughts/info on individual ones:
- I wonder if Erwin Ernest Bunge‘s car was ever recovered. I also wonder if his disappearance had anything to do with him being a high profile trainer. Henry Martinez was only seventeen years old in 1988 and it seems unlikely that he could have been involved. I wasn’t able to find out much about him; he retired from boxing in 1994 and drifted into obscurity.
- Not really a thought, but a piece of trivia: Harry Weldon Kees is not the only person presumed to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge on July 18, 1955. The police found TWO cars abandoned there that day, leading to speculation as to which person went first. At the time, they were keeping a record of how many people died. I don’t think they’re keeping track anymore though. (Oh, and here’s a 2011 rant of mine about Golden Gate Bridge suicide victims.)
- I looked up Walter Christopher Kuchanny‘s wife, and she has remarried and seems to be doing well. She returned to England after his disappearance. I do believe he was a suicide victim and didn’t just leave. Her description of his behavior, being all anxious and depressed and then suddenly happy and relaxed, is pretty typical of people who take their lives.
- Is anyone else wondering if Michael Omas Masaoay‘s disappearance was just an accident? I wonder if it went something like this: he sets off for the day, realizes school is actually closed, and then decides to chill out at his favorite fishing spot, and then gets dragged out to sea by surf, just like Noel Annette Marcotte and countless others have been. That would explain why Michael’s bag was found where it was. Will anyone who’s familiar with the geography of that location care to voice an opinion in the comments?
- The SF Examiner article I found about John Dolan Phillips‘s disappearance was mainly about the sale of his car and how it was very sketchy. His family was never notified the car had been found in the parking garage. The mint-condition rare classic car was sold to an employee of the garage for just $200, a tiny fraction of both its actual worth AND the amount of accrued parking fees owed. Apparently when objects worth over $500 are put for sale in these circumstances, the public is supposed to be notified and given a chance to buy them, but the car was sold for an a lower amount, so the garage didn’t have to notify anyone. And then the new owner refused to even let the car get inspected for clues. Whether any of this has something to do with Phillips’s disappearance is anyone’s guess.
- Given the circumstances of Carlos Benjamin Urruela‘s disappearance, it’s likely he died by suicide. The article I read said his addiction was very bad — he’d gone from snorting to freebasing to shooting cocaine — and was ruining his life and his appearance.
This week’s featured missing person is Toby Ray Coleman, who disappeared from New Caney, Texas on May 19, 1997, a month after his eighteenth birthday. He was last seen after he came home from a party, bleeding from a fight he’d gotten into. After his parents cleaned and bandaged his injury, he left home again and never came back.
Foul play is suspected in Coleman’s disappearance. Unfortunately, the police refused to accept a missing persons report for over three months, by which time I’m sure the case was already cold.
This article has some more on the disappearance and identification of Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, which I blogged about the other day. Included in the article is a color photo of Boothe-Wilson. It looks like she was light-skinned and had straight hair, which might explain why the body, when it was found, was thought to be a white woman.
They got the DNA sample from “a stamp from a letter purportedly sent by Boothe-Wilson.” That’s clever. Sometimes investigators have to get creative. I read about another article today that was accomplished by fingerprints, and they got the prints, not from an arrest or military record, but from a pawnshop. When you pawn something you have to give a fingerprint.
(The stamp thing wouldn’t work for me. I loathe the taste of them and I buy stamps with sticky backs, or I use a wet sponge to dampen them.)
So it looks like Randi really did send that goodbye letter. It says the cause and manner of death is unknown, as of course is how she made her way to North Carolina. Such a strange case.