Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Phoulivay Thetsombandith

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 Phoulivay Thetsombandith, a 20-year-old man who disappeared from San Diego, California on August 18, 1991, two years after he’d moved to this country from his native Laos.

Thetsombandith was seen being forced into a vehicle at gunpoint by a group of about four or five men. He was never seen again.

Although a group was said to be responsible for his abduction, in the end only one man, Percyval Leslie Dryden, was convicted of Thetsombandith’s murder. Supposedly he mistook Thetsombandith for some guy who had broken into his car. Dryden never said what he did with the young man’s body.

It’s such a sad case. This guy moves to the US from a third-world country, hoping to have a better life, only to be gunned down by thug(s) for no good reason. And they don’t even have his body.

Murder-without-a-body cases galore!

So, someone found a photo of Eli Robert Sharclane on Facebook so I was able to add his case to the Charley Project. I’ve blogged about his case before; it’s kind of unusual. A guy threw him off a bridge fifty feet down to the freezing water and he was never seen again, but the suspect was only convicted of ATTEMPTED murder, because it was 1977 and no-body homicide convictions were not really a thing yet.

More information has been released about the 1991 disappearance of Sabrina Leigh Long. All we knew before was that a female suspect was arrested and charged with kidnapping, someone who’d attended Sabrina’s high school but wasn’t in her year, and the police said multiple people were involved.

Well, this article has a LOT more stuff about the case. Basically, Sabrina said she was supposed to visit a neighbor on the day of her disappearance, but the neighbor said she wasn’t expected and he had no idea why she said she was going to see him. The neighbor, Keith Loyd, had an alibi and wasn’t a suspect in her case, but in 2017 he died by suicide and left a note implicating himself and Melinda McSwain (the woman now charged in Sabrina’s kidnapping) in Sabrina’s disappearance.

Loyd’s alibi for Sabrina’s disappearance had been that he was out with his girlfriend. I wonder if that girlfriend was McSwain. If both of them had kidnapped and killed Sabrina, it would be easy for them to alibi each other.

DonaMae Bourgeois Bayerl‘s husband John has been arrested at his retirement home in Florida and charged with murder. I’m so happy; he’s been a suspect for a very long time. I’ve met DonaMae’s family before; they attend the Wisconsin missing persons events.

Also, yesterday they held closing arguments in the trial of Liam McAtasney for the murder of 19-year-old Sarah L. Stern. She disappeared from Neptune, New Jersey in 2016. The second suspect, Preston Taylor, allegedly helped dispose of her body. He pleaded guilty and testified against McAtasney. The verdict is expected next week.

And Thomas Skeek is on trial for the murder of his wife, Linda Skeek, who disappeared in 2016. Per this article, case had been “shrouded in secrecy” and it wasn’t until the trial actually began that it became public knowledge that Linda’s body was never found. I haven’t heard of this case before. I’ll have to add her. [UPDATE: I did.]

Native American Heritage Month: George Pooler

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is George Wayne Pooler, a 37-year-old Colville man who disappeared from Omak, Washington on November 18, 1988.

Foul play is suspected in George’s disappearance; among other indications, his vehicle was later found abandoned and burned.

George’s older brother Edwin Oliver Pooler disappeared from Keller, Washington in 1991. Edwin’s is a murder without a body case; a man later pleaded guilty to manslaughter in his death and was sentenced to six years in prison. Edwin’s murder is not thought to be related to George’s disappearance.

Native American Heritage Month: Dawn Nakedhead

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Dawn Michelle Nakedhead, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Fort Gibson, Oklahoma on October 18, 1991. (I had her middle name misspelled as “Mechelle.” It’s corrected now.) I do not know her tribe.

Dawn has a very large family and lived with her aunt, Joyce Green, at the time of her disappearance. It’s pretty common for Native American children to live with extended family members. She was last seen using the phone at a convenience store. She was going to stay the night with a friend in nearby Muskogee, but I guess she never arrived at her friend’s house.

Mystery U did a piece on Dawn in September; it includes an age-progression they made. The circumstances of her disappearance are unclear. Sadly, her mother, Lorene, died in 2017 without ever learning what happened to her, and at least one of her brothers is also deceased.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Rakesh Gopi

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 Rakesh Pal Gopi, an eighteen-year-old of Indian descent who disappeared from Pittsburg, California on December 4, 1991.

Rakesh was last seen in the 300 block of Cabrillo Place. Google Maps shows that is currently a cul-de-sac in a quiet residential neighborhood. Perhaps this young man was last seen at home.

Unfortunately I don’t know anything else about him, or his disappearance. Was he in college? High school? Was he born in the U.S. or was he an immigrant? What do the police think happened to him? I haven’t a clue.

If still alive, Rakesh would be 44 years old today.

Black History Month: William Weatherall

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is William “Buster” Weatherall, who disappeared from Los Angeles on June 6, 1991. He was 85 years old.

The circumstances are suspicious: Buster was expecting a call from a friend, but when his friend called his house, no one picked up. He left his dogs abandoned and unfed, and his front gate open. He lived alone at the time of his disappearance, and I couldn’t find anything saying he had dementia or anything like that.

Buster would be well over 100 years old if he was still alive, but I think he’s still 85.