National Hispanic Heritage Month: Amalia Perez

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Amalia Perez, a 78-year-old woman who disappeared from Los Angeles, California on January 2, 1991.

No info on circumstances are available, but she’s noted to be a dependent adult. A lot of people that age are.

She is most definitely deceased by now due to time constraints (she’d be 107 today) but I’m sure her relatives would still like to learn what happened to her.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Jeronimo Rico

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Jeronimo Mendoza Rico, who disappeared from Rochester, New York on August 21, 1994. He was at his house when he got into a conversation (an argument?) with his girlfriend, left upset, and never returned. For unclear reasons he wasn’t reported missing till March the following year.

Rico was 26 years old at the time of his disappearance. He would be 51 years old now, if still alive.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Gustavo Machado

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Gustavo Machado, a 44-year-old biracial black/Hispanic man.

Machado suffers from severe mental illness and was a patient at the now-defunct Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital┬áin Morris Plains, New Jersey when he initially disappeared in 1992. He was 33 years old. He resurfaced in Paterson, New Jersey on November 13, 2003, where I guess he was arrested; the photo taken of him at that time looks like a mug shot. He hasn’t been seen since.

Machado has a lot of tattoos, including several of writing in Spanish. If he’s still alive he’d be 60 years old and, probably, still living underground.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Diane Aviles Colon

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Diane Marie Aviles Colon, a fourteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico on September 9, 1999.

Her case is classified as a runaway and it’s noted she may have traveled to Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan. But that was twenty years ago and who knows where she is now, or even if she’s still on the island. Puerto Rico was trashed by Hurricane Maria and hasn’t recovered, and a lot of Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland US as a result of the hurricane.

For a runaway, Diane has been missing a very long time.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Jesus Balbi and Xiomara Rodriguez

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is actually two cases: Jesus Balbi and his girlfriend, Xiomara Rodriguez, who disappeared together from Syracuse, New York on November 5, 1991. They were 25 and 29 years old, respectively.

The couple was from New York City and was visiting Syracuse, a four-and-a-half-hour drive upstate, on the day of their disappearances, driving a blue 1984 Oldsmobile. They were never seen again and their car was found abandoned in Upper Onondaga Park, a community park in Syracuse.

Unfortunately that’s really all I have on them. I haven’t been able to find any articles on the couple’s case, and Balbi’s photo is of such poor quality it might be of anybody.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Marisela Pino

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Marisela Pino, who also may use the surname Pino-Vasquez or Vasquez-Pino. Marisela was eleven years old when she disappeared from Waterbury, Connecticut on March 20, 1993. She was last seen in the vicinity of a Nash’s Pizza & Groceries. The business, it seems, no longer exists, at least not under that name.

I found Cherry Street on Google Earth satellite view, but I don’t really know how to use Google Earth and I can’t figure out to access street view. Today, anyway, it appears to be in a working-class residential neighborhood. It may have appeared much different in 1993.

It bothers me that there is almost no information available on this case. Until recent years it wasn’t even listed with the NCMEC. I mean, this is a little girl, and it looks like this could well have been an abduction. By contrast, the unsolved disappearance of ten-year-old Bianca Lebron, a Hispanic child who went missing from Bridgeport, Connecticut eight years later, received a lot of media attention.

Does Marisela have a family? Do they still live in Connecticut? Perhaps there was a language barrier and that was a problem when her case came to getting the press attention it deserved?

Marisela has a possible scar on her left ankle, and a possible burn scar (described as “duck-shaped”) on her chest or abdomen. She was last seen wearing a black and gray jacket, a green and white shirt, jeans or a green denim skirt, white socks and blue shoes. If she is still alive today, she’d be 38 this month.

That’s all I know.

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.