I wasn’t sure whether I should bring up this case, because I blogged seven years ago about Leigh Occhi‘s disappearance and even ventured a possible theory as to what happened. But I’m sure plenty of readers haven’t read every entry I’ve ever written, so here goes.
On the day 13-year-old Leigh disappeared, Hurricane Andrew had struck Mississippi and was causing some violent storms in the area. This was before the school year would have started, but Leigh did plan to attend an Open House at her school with her grandmother and was home waiting to be picked up. Her mother tried to call her a few times but no one ever picked up.
When Leigh’s mother came back home, there was a violent crime scene: blood everywhere and indications of a struggle.
All of this sounds like it could have been a fairly ordinary abduction; Evelyn Hartley‘s 1953 disappearance was much the same way. Yet, in this case there’s a very peculiar detail: a month after Leigh’s disappearance, her glasses were mailed to her home. Just the glasses. No note. The envelope was addressed to Leigh’s stepfather, but he and her mother were separated when Leigh disappeared. The mailed eyeglasses were the last trace of Leigh, who would be 37 today.
I have NEVER heard of any case where someone abducted a person from their home and then mailed one of their belongings back to the house with no other message.
So what happened here? Let’s talk about it.
This week’s featured missing person is Richard Victor Clark II, one of the few cases I have never updated in the nearly twelve-year history of the Charley Project. Clark was 21 years old when he disappeared from the central Texas city of Temple on August 7, 1992. If he’s still alive he’d be 45.
I doubt he’s still alive, though. I don’t have much on his disappearance but it really doesn’t look good.
Two people — named Andi and Andy, oddly enough — have asked me to do Brian Neil Hooks for Select It Sunday. The 21-year-old has been missing from Florence, South Carolina since September 24, 1988 — nearly 28 years ago. He may go by his middle name.
Andi thinks Brian may be a John Doe whose skeletal remains were found in in St. Louis, Missouri in 1992. The decedent, who is estimated to have died sometime between 1989 and 1992, had been stabbed to death. About that suggestion, I have no comment. Matching MPs with UIDs has never been my thing.
Someone, a relative I think, set up a Facebook page for Brian. The most recent post as of this writing, dated June 24, would resonate with anyone who has a missing loved one:
I would do anything to talk and hug you one last time! You cross my mind more than I see your face, I pray for you more than you may hear my voice, I miss you more than you think and I love you more than you know sometimes you just have to be strong ..to keep yourself from breaking You will never know how much you miss hearing a voice until that voice is silenced forever…the worst thing in this world is not knowing where you are we miss you an love you so much the pain of you not being here is unreal at times it’s been to long for us not to know what happen to you […] The worst goodbyes are the ones that are never said, And never explained…
Brian was either gay or bisexual, and had a boyfriend at the time of his disappearance. The boyfriend claims he simply “ran off” without saying where he was going, and never came back. That’s a story I’ve heard many times before. Another source I found claims Brian’s boyfriend gave three different stories to explain Brian’s disappearance, and also says the man had been convicted of murder.
That certainly doesn’t look good. Almost 30 years of complete silence looks even worse.
I don’t think I’m going to add it to her casefile, but I found out about another tragedy in Trinia Williams‘s family: her mother’s husband was murdered in 1969, shot by a neighbor during an argument. The murder is rather infamous in Columbus history because, although it doesn’t appear to have been racially motivated, it did spark a race riot which featured firebombings, another person being killed, hundreds of people getting arrested, and 1,200 National Guardsmen being called in to restore order.
I assumed at first that Roy Beasley was Trinia’s father, but the math says not: he died five years before Trinia was born.
Whilst trying to find more info on Trinia’s case I found this, but it wouldn’t let me play the video. More’s the pity; I have little enough as it is and would have liked some more.
Some MP news highlights while I was gone:
- Mark Duane Woodard has been found. Or rather, he was found in 1977, 23 months after his disappearance, but not identified till now. The aforementioned news link uses his Charley Project pic, and asked me permission first. (Thanks!) This link has another photo of him, a much better quality one, as well as more details about his disappearance. He was murdered, shot to death. His sister is the only surviving member of the immediate family.
- In the state of Thuringia in central Germany they have found a missing girl, Peggy No-Last-Name-Released [edit: per a UK article supplied by a commenter, it’s Knobloch], who disappeared mysteriously fifteen years ago, at the age of nine. A mushroom picker found her bones in the forest nine miles from Peggy’s hometown of Lichtenberg. According to this article and one other I found about the case, this had been a murder-without-a-body (MWAB) case: In 2004, a mentally disabled man was convicted of Peggy’s murder. He was later acquitted in a retrial due to lack of evidence after a key witness retracted his statement.
- Corry Ehlers, a guy who disappeared while hiking in Utah in 2012, has also been found deceased. His skeletal remains, found “in a steep, rocky spot near Alta Ski Resort” last summer, were identified in late June. They think Corry fell off a cliff.
- Three days ago it was fifteen years since sisters Diamond and Tionda Bradley vanished mysteriously from Chicago. The Chicago Tribune has done an anniversary article about it, with quotes from Diamond and Tionda’s two other sisters, Rita and Victoria: The girls disappeared just a day before Victoria Bradley’s ninth birthday. Until recent years, Bradley, who turns 24 on Thursday, said she was unable to celebrate her birthday because of her depression over the anniversary of their disappearance. I have not updated the girls’ casefiles in over a decade, and last time was just to add some more pics. I will give a look and see if I can find any developments that have taken place in the intervening years.
- Two more recent anniversaries: eleven years since Stacy Ann Aragon and her boyfriend Steven Bishop disappeared from Arizona (see article; Stacy has been reported missing but it appears Steven has not been), and ten years since Roxanne Paltauf disappeared (article) from Texas.
- The NCMEC reports that two of my oldest family abduction cases have been resolved, with the children located alive. One was Jacquelina Ann Gomez, who was abducted from Illinois by her father in 1992 at the age of 3. She would be 27 now, 28 in September.
- The other case involves two brothers who disappeared with their mother and stepfather from Blairsville, Georgia in 1996, when the boys were 2 and 3. A day or so before I left for Minneapolis I got contacted by a very excited reporter who ran a story on Rick Tyler, a man who’s running for Congress under the odious slogan “Make America White Again.” She said after she ran the story she was deluged with emails from people who believed Rick Tyler was probably the same Rick Tyler who was listed as the missing Blairsville kids’ stepfather. She also said the police were now claiming that the boys’ mom DID have custody of them when they disappeared, after all. Well, then the day I left Minneapolis I got an NCMEC notice saying the boys were recovered. I’m not going to say their names on here or put them on the resolved page because I’m not sure about the custody issue, but it should be easy enough to determine who they are from the info I just provided.
- The state of Arkansas has a brand shiny new MP database with 510 people on it, many whose names I don’t recognize. I am very happy about this. I believe every state should have their own publicly searchable online database, as large and comprehensive as possible. Many of the people listed in this new database have no pics though. I hope this situation improves.
- Morgan Keyanna Martin, a pregnant teenager who disappeared in 2012, is now considered a MWAB case. Jacobee Flowers, the father of the unborn child, has been charged with her murder. Homicide is the most common non-natural cause of death for pregnant women in the US and from what I have read, all around the world, the murder of pregnant women — usually by their baby’s father — is a universal problem.
- HuffPo has published a photo essay about the 1998 disappearance of SUNY-Albany student Suzanne Lyall. It’s a mysterious case; no obvious suspects, no answers. 19 years old, promising future, and then gone.
- Kidnap survivor Jaycee Dugard has been in the news again, going on TV and talking about how her life’s going and how she’s raising the two daughters she had with her kidnapper Philip Garrido. The link I just gave provides lots of news articles to read, more than I can summarize here. But here’s one quote from this article to show what a resilient woman and amazing mother Jaycee was and still is: As she and her daughters grew older, Dugard said she planted a flower in front of the shed and set up a little school to teach them as much as she could with only her fifth-grade education. “They’re so resilient, and they’re beautiful and loving, and I’m really lucky,” she said. Dugard has protected her daughters’ privacy and said some of their friends don’t even know of their past. She said the three of them are able to talk about what happened with each other.
I had gotten more than one request to put up Anna Manning, who disappeared in 1992, since there’s been some recent press about her disappearance. So, okay, why not? I’ve begun writing up her case and right away spotted a problem:
Anna’s NamUs entry lists her height as 60 inches, or five feet even, and her weight as 108 pounds. However, this article about her case from the Advocate Messenger says she was 5’10 and 108 pounds.
I wonder if perhaps the newspaper meant to write 5’01 instead. In any case, unless I hear otherwise I’m going with the lower height. 108 pounds is about average height for a five-foot (or five-foot-one) woman. For someone five-foot-ten, at 108 pounds is quite underweight.
It would be just my luck, though, if my guess turns out to be wrong and I wind up listing this poor woman as nine inches shorter than she actually was. These sort of discrepancies are part of the reason we’ve got so many unidentified bodies in potter’s fields all over the country.
(Also, apropos of nothing: while I was at the doctor’s the other day, a third-year medical student was shadowing him and sat in on our appointment. Dr. Bruno said I should tell him about the Charley Project, so I did and it turned out he’d already heard of it! Not terribly surprising, since it was covered in local TV and print media a few years ago, but still a nice experience for me.
The young man looked up the Charley Project online and said, “You have your own subreddit. I want a subreddit.”)
This week’s Select It Sunday case, chosen by Hennylee, is Joe Angel Luiz, who’s been missing from Las Vegas, Nevada since March 30, 1992. If still alive, he would be 61 years old now.
It looks like Mr. Luiz might have left on his own, at least initially, but 23, almost 24 years is a LONG time to be gone. I wish I knew more details about this case.