MP of the week: Darius Miniotas

This week’s featured missing person is Darius Miniotas, a 29-year-old who disappeared from Carteret, New Jersey on November 19, 1994.

Now, I have nothing on Miniotas’s disappearance, but a look at Newspaper.com’s archives turned up a 1989 Asbury Park Press article mentioning a Darius Miniotas of the right age. This Darius was on the crew of a Lithuanian yacht that showed up in Atlantic Highlands. I’m pretty sure it’s the same person; Carteret is a coastal town. I wonder if Darius had moved to the US by the time of his disappearance, or whether he was just here on shore leave.

I’m almost sure these are the same person…but…

A NamUs profile that just went up is for Reginald Lovell Garrett. I already had a Reginald Garrett on Charley, courtesy of the CDOJ, so I pulled him up to update his case with the info from the NamUs profile.

However…

Reginald Lovell Garrett on NamUs has the listed date of disappearance as January 1, 1995, and in the “details of disappearance” it says his family doesn’t actually know the date but they believe it was sometime between 1994 and 1996. He is said to have disappeared from Pascagoula, Mississippi, after getting into a car with a white man. The Pascagoula Police Department is investigating.

Reginald Garrett on the Charley Project has a date of disappearance as February 2, 1995, and the place is given as Tulare, California. I have no other details about his disappearance. The Tulare Police Department is investigating.

I’m pretty sure these are the same man. I mean, the names are the same; they’re both black; the listed ages, heights and weights correspond with each other; the date range in Reginald Lovell Garrett’s case fits the date given for Reginald Garrett; Reginald Garrett’s photo closely resembles the three photos of Reginald Lovell Garrett.

I’m just not really sure how to deal with this, though. I mean, where’d he actually disappear from? Is it possible that he disappeared from Mississippi, went to California and then disappeared again from there? This isn’t the only time that’s happened.

Thoughts, anyone?

A few tiny updates, and a bit of thinking aloud

Sheldon Boyd has a new picture, as does Nicole Evelyn Silvers, and Shaliegh Sharrie Phillips has an updated AP, and Jesse Yancey‘s date of disappearance has been corrected; it had said May 31 but NamUs says it was actually May 28. I’ve also corrected his race; I had said he was white but NamUs says he’s Native American.

Now…is it just me or does Nicole Silvers’s disappearance look kind of suspicious? She was sixteen and the police claimed she was an emancipated minor. To quote this legal site:

A minor who is “emancipated” assumes most adult responsibilities before reaching the age of majority (usually 18). Emancipated minors are no longer considered to be under the care and control of parents — instead, they take responsibility for their own care… If a young person under the age of majority is emancipated, the parent or guardian no longer has any say over the minor’s life. An emancipated minor can keep earnings from a job, decide where to live, make his or her own medical decisions, and more.

In other words, if she was emancipated, Nicole did not need to run away.

There’s a bit of a rub, though — I saw a post on Websleuths from someone who said “According to her parents, Nicole was NOT emancipated.”

I don’t know what means — if she wasn’t emancipated why would the police claim she was? Was she in the process of getting emancipated? Or was it just a completely incorrect statement from the cops/media? I don’t know and I wish someone who does could get in touch with me. I haven’t said anything in Nicole’s profile about the disputed info because “info shared by police to the media” trumps “second-hand statement posted on Websleuths” in my mind.

Today in previous years

I can’t sleep tonight so I wound up checking my blog entries for June 29 on previous years. I began the blog in late 2008. There’s nothing from this day in 2009, 2010 or 2011, but on June 29, 2012 I (tongue in cheek) threatened to commit suicide after I counted my backlog and realized it was 987 cases. (The total is a lot higher now.)

On this date in 2013 I directed readers to Sean Munger’s coverage of Scott Hilbert‘s disappearance, and also noted that I was in the process of purging casefiles.

A year ago today was a Make-a-List Monday and a short commentary on a presumed-dead MP who basically died of stupidity. In the latter entry, questions were raised in the comments section about whether one of the photos I posted for Zulma Pabon was really her. (It turned out it wasn’t. Not my fault; the Virginia State Police posted the wrong pic. I think they might have pulled the picture from a driver’s license database and it was a different person with the same name.) I also griped about a case where the Alabama MP database made it look like James Aaron Toole disappeared 19 YEARS after he actually went missing.

Carry on.

Bertha Sieg found deceased

I got a notice from the NCMEC saying Bertha Sieg has been found dead. She’s been removed from NamUs as well, or at least, I can’t access her profile there. Bertha was a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared from a city in northern Texas 22 years ago. One of those “few details are available” cases.

I checked and I can’t find anything about this online. I am hoping to get some information before I put a notice up in the resolved page.

R.I.P. Bertha.

Select It Sunday: Karen Wells

Selected by Kat, this Sunday MP is Karen Denise Wells, a 23-year-old mother of one young son who disappeared from Carlisle, Pennsylvania 22 years ago, in the spring of 1994. She had apparently traveled to Pennsylvania from her home in Oklahoma to visit a female friend, and was staying in a hotel and told a hotel clerk she was going to have a quick meal at a nearby McDonald’s, then go to bed. She was supposed to meet her friend after midnight that night, so I’m not sure why she said she was going to bed. Maybe she was just planning to take a nap.

Anyway, when the friend she’d come to see couldn’t get her to answer her room door, the woman summoned a hotel staff member to unlock the door and they found the room deserted. On the morning after Karen’s disappearance, they found her car parked on a rural state road 35 miles away, mud-splattered, with the doors wide open. It had run out of gas and the battery was dead. According to the odometer, the car had driven six to seven hundred miles that couldn’t be accounted for.

The whole thing, especially the condition in which the car was found, looks extremely suspicious to me, and both police and Karen’s family think she was murdered. The fact that the car was parked right smack in the middle of the westbound lane isn’t too surprising, since it had run out of gas. The driver might not have had time to pull over before the engine went dead. But why would anyone — either Karen or an abductor — leave the doors open like that? You’d think they’d at least bother to close them. That sort of thing attracts attention.

If I was a passerby and found a car abandoned in the middle of the road with the doors open like that and no one around, I wouldn’t necessarily assume a crime had occurred, but I would think this was strange and I’d probably call 911. (Three years ago I wrote a long entry about the difference between “suspicious” and “odd” and how “odd” things often should merit the attention of the authorities, even if there’s nothing overtly threatening about the situation.)

The most recent news articles I could find on Karen’s disappearance were from 2009. (She is also listed on the FBI’s website but it doesn’t say much.) There’s a suggestion that drugs were involved in this case, since they found some marijuana in Karen’s car — but loads of people smoke pot.

Karen has since been declared legally dead. On the off chance she’s still alive she would be 45 now.

Select It Sunday: D’Wan Sims

Chosen by Lisa, this week’s Select It Sunday case is D’Wan Christian Sims, a four-year-old who vanished from Livonia, Michigan 21 years ago next month.

D’Wan’s mom, Dwanna Harris (aka Jackson) said he vanished suddenly while they were shopping at the mall, but there’s no evidence he was ever actually there. In fact, given as how he never showed up on the mall’s security cameras and witnesses saw Harris there alone, there’s evidence that he WASN’T at the mall at all. So, then, where was he, and why did his mother lie?

Dwanna was convicted of misdemeanor assault in 1996; she threatened her husband with a knife. They had an infant daughter. Last indication of her whereabouts that I could find was from 2009, when she was interviewed by a Michigan newspaper over the phone. She lived in Durham, North Carolina at the time. There are several people named Dwanna Jackson and Dwanna Harris listed on Facebook, but I don’t know if any of them are her. She has maintained contact with the Livonia police over the years and hasn’t been officially named as a suspect in her son’s disappearance.