MP of the week: Catalino Gomez

This week’s missing person is Catalino Gomez, a 54-year-old Hispanic man who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on June 3, 1994.

He was visiting relatives in Florida and someone accused him of molesting a ten-year-old girl. Afterwards, Gomez ran away without any of his belongings and was never seen or heard from again.

There’s a theory that he returned to Puerto Rico, where he’s from, and chose not to resurface because of the sex abuse allegation, but I’m not sure. As far as I know, there’s no warrants out for his arrest. Plus, how is he going to get to Puerto Rico? You would need to get on a ship or (probably) a plane, and would need money to buy a ticket and also probably identification, and he didn’t have those. I wonder if the possibility of suicide was investigated.

If he is indeed still alive and had gone into hiding in Puerto Rico, I highly doubt he’s going to reappear after 25 years. Given his age now (79) it’s possible he’s deceased.

MP of the week: Brian Perlish

This week’s featured missing person is Brian Perlish, a 30-year-old man who disappeared from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 23, 1997. He was last seen leaving his residence. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other details about his disappearance.

I did find traces of pre-disappearance Brian in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1984, when he was sixteen and attending Pennsbury High School, he was quoted in an article about students learning math by studying the size of pizzas ordered from various chains. They calculated the size of the round pizzas, in square inches, using the Pi R Squared formula, then divided this by the price to determine how much the pizzas cost per square inch.

Two years later, Brian was quoted in another article about a university employees’ strike at Temple University. It said he was a music major. He would probably have been a freshman at the time, based on his age.

Brian’s father died in 2015, and Brian is listed, without comment, as one of his children in the death notice. From the notice I learned he has three siblings, all of whom are married, and four nephews and a niece.

Alas, I have learned nothing about what happened with Brian going missing.

MP of the week: Maria Martinez

This week’s featured missing person is 17-year-old Maria De Los Angeles Martinez, who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on October 13, 1990. Her disappearance is similar to the 1974 disappearance of Margaret Fox: Maria advertised her babysitting services on the radio, a guy hired her for a job, and she went with him and was never seen again.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to learn much more about Maria’s disappearance. I’ve heard that her family was undocumented, which may explain why there was little news about her case. Of course, looking in the news for a particular person named “Maria Martinez”, particularly in Arizona, is like the proverbial needle in a haystack.

She would be 46 if she was still alive today. But I think she’s still 17.

A samaritan utility

The other day I updated a case that had a detail I’d never seen before: the woman, Mary Joetta Roderick, was reported missing by her phone company.

It’s not all that uncommon for adults to not get reported missing for months, particularly if their children are taking the opportunity to cash their checks, which Mary’s son was. But usually in such cases, the police are alerted by friends, neighbors or extended family members. I’ve never heard of a utility company doing it.

She was last seen in December 1994. A few months later her phone company contacted the cops to say she’d always paid her bill promptly, but she had not paid it in months and the balance had grown to $3,500 (was her son calling 900-number sex lines?). I suppose the company probably tried to contact her themselves and couldn’t. Anyway, they thought something might have happened to her.

So the cops went to her house on a welfare check and found her son, and it started to unravel. Partially, anyway. They’ve never found her or charged anyone in her disappearance.

The cops haven’t given up, though. They conducted a search for her just this month.

Missing persons news that happened while my computer was broken

Yeah, so this has been in the news:

  • They’re going to try to identify two bodies, victims of a terrible fire at a Connecticut circus in 1944. 168 people were killed and of those, five are still unidentified. Per the article: “State Chief Medical Examiner James Gill wants to compare the unknown victims’ DNA to that of Sandra Sumrow, the granddaughter of 47-year-old Grace Fifield, a Newport, Vermont woman who was at the circus the day of the fire but was never seen again.”
  • Hazel Rose Hess‘s daughter has gone on the news asking for information that could solve her mother’s 25-year-old disappearance. There isn’t much in the way of anything new in the article, however. I just found a few new pictures.
  • There’s been some news about the 1985 disappearances of Janet Shuglie and her ten-year-old daughter Marisa. It turns out someone found her class ring. They found it over 20 years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that they realized the ring belonged to a missing person and turned it over to the police.
    The police seem to think the find is significant, and they have not disclosed where the ring was found. There were several articles about this: here, here, here and here. There is a picture of the ring (is it just me or is the stone missing?) but alas, no photos of Marisa. I don’t have a photo of her either, so only Janet has a casefile on Charley.
  • They’ve found the bodies of Danielle Marie Steiner and her five-year-old son, Aubrey Hall, who disappeared from Lansing, Michigan a year ago. The bodies were discovered by a clean-up crew in a vacant house in the 800 block of Loa Street. The article notes that “At various times, Steiner and Aubrey had lived in the 700 and 800 block of Loa Street.”
    No other details have been released, except that the deaths are being treated as homicides. I’m sure their families are devastated.
  • This month is the 13th anniversary of the disappearance of Melanie Metheny from Belle, West Virginia. She went missing on July 19, 2006. There’s this article about it.
  • Doreen Jane Vincent‘s 1988 disappearance has been covered in the second season of the podcast “Faded Out.” I grabbed a bunch of photos off this article, and the podcast sounds absolutely fascinating, but I don’t know if I’ll have time to listen to it. There’s 21 episodes in the season so far, ranging in length from 27 minutes to an hour and 17 minutes, during which time I’d have to be paying very close attention, stopping the play to take notes, etc. All for one case. I wish I had the time for this kind of thing; it would benefit the Charley Project greatly. But I just don’t.
  • A suspect, Bryan Lee O’Daniels, has been charged with murder in the 1995 disappearance of Timothy Jason Smart. Apparently there were many witnesses who knew the truth, but none of them spoke up out of fear of O’Daniels. The case broke after the police got an anonymous tip last year that led to a motherlode of information.

MP of the week: Melissa Espinoza

This week’s featured missing person (I’m sorry it’s late) is Melissa Ann Espinoza, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Rancho Cordova, California on December 2, 1993.

She was last seen hanging out at her old apartment complex; her family had moved after a fire. The complex was in a bad neighborhood and Melissa is considered missing under suspicious circumstances and a probable abduction victim, but no suspects have been made and one seems to know anything.

Later today, I’m off to the zoo. Perhaps I’ll run into CrimeBlogger1983 again.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Girly Hossencofft

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 Girly Chew Hossencofft, a 36-year-old woman born and raised in Malaysia who moved to the U.S. in the early nineties, after meeting and marrying an American, Daizien Hossencofft.

She disappeared from Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 9, 1999. By this time, she and Daizien were in the process of a divorce, as Girly had tired of his infidelity and domestic abuse.

Daizien pleaded guilty to Girly’s murder in 2002 and was sentenced to life plus 61 years in prison. He testified at the trial of his mistress, Linda Henning, who was also accused of the murder. It was a memorable trial to say the least, as Daizien said under oath that he was “a reptilian shape-shifter and capable of being in several places at one time.” He claimed Henning was innocent, but she was convicted anyway and got 73 years.

Girly’s body has never been found. Daizien implied that it was cannibalized.