I’ll be out of Facebook Jail in a week. Here’s some more news.

From California:

  • They’re still looking for Khrystyna Carreno, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Bakersfield in November 2020. (The article spells her name “Khrystina” but the NCMEC and CDOJ spell it “Khrystyna” so I’m going to go with that.) I don’t have her on Charley but figure I should add her. Twelve is very young, obviously, and she’s been missing for a year and a half now. I hope she’s alive and hasn’t been trafficked. Here’s Khrystyna’s NCMEC poster.

From Florida:

From Georgia:

  • They have finally identified the little boy whose corpse was found outside Atlanta over 20 years ago. His name was William DaShawn Hamilton and he was six years old when he was murdered. William was never reported missing. His mother, Teresa Ann Bailey Black, has been charged with felony murder, cruelty to children, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another.

From Michigan:

  • They’re still looking for Kathy Sue Wilcox, a 15-year-old girl last seen in Otsego in 1972. She got into an argument with her parents over an older boy she was dating, stomped out angrily and was never seen again. Kathy would be 65 today. Kathy’s sister does not believe she ran away, and made reference to a “significant antisocial person who was in [Kathy’s] life,” whom she thinks could have been involved.

From Minnesota:

  • Remains found in Rosemount in 2014 have been identified as James Everett, a New York man who was not listed as missing. They do not know the cause or manner of death, but they believe Everett died sometime in the autumn months of 2013. I wonder if he died of exposure; Minnesota can get very cold, and I doubt a “decommissioned railroad utility shed” would have heat or insulation.

From New Hampshire:

  • They’re still looking for 15-year-old Shirley Ann “Tippy” McBride, last seen in Concord in 1984. Although there haven’t been any new developments, the article talks about the case in great detail.
  • They’re still looking for Maura Murray, and are searching an unspecified “area in the towns of Landaff and Easton.” This search isn’t based on any new info, though, they’re just shooting in the dark.

From New York:

  • They’re trying to find Judith Threlkeld, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared from Chautauqua County in 1976. She was last seen walking home from the library. I added the case to Charley yesterday.

From North Dakota:

  • Check out this awesome in-depth three-part series on the 1996 disappearances of Sandra Mary Jacobson and her son, John Henry Jacobson: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 (this last part is paywalled, but I was invested enough to fork over two bucks for a subscription). Very mysterious case. I feel terrible for Sandra’s older son, Spencer: he lost his mom and half-brother, literally, and later on his father was murdered, and neither of these cases have been solved. A few years after the murder of Spencer’s father, Spencer’s wife died tragically young at 24, from strep throat of all things, leaving him a young widower with three kids. Poor Spencer has had enough bad luck to last a lifetime.

From Ohio:

  • They’re still looking for Charles King Blanche, a 39-year-old man who disappeared from his Youngstown group home in 1991. Blanche’s cousin says he was a very talented musician who was recruited to tour in Europe in a marching band, but his life kind of cratered after he developed an unspecified severe mental illness. An all-too-common story on the Charley Project.

From Texas:

  • It’s being reported that sometimes when Texan foster kids run away, the agencies just wash their hands of them and end their guardianship over them. This sounds terrible, but given how often foster agencies fail their wards, and given as it’s Texas where they can’t even keep the lights on, I’m not entirely surprised.
  • Using genetic genealogy, they have identified a Jane Doe whose partial remains were found south of Midland in 2013. The victim was Sylvia Nicole Smith, who disappeared in 2000 at the age of sixteen. The case is being investigated as homicide.

From Virginia

  • Cory Bigsby, the father of four-year-old Codi Bigsby, has been indicted on thirty counts, the majority of them child neglect charges. Codi has been missing since January. None of the indictments are related to his disappearance; they’re connected to Cory’s allegedly terrible parenting from prior to Codi’s disappearance. Codi has not been missing long enough to go up on Charley, so here’s his NCMEC poster, and here’s another poster for him.

From Washington state:

  • There are forty known Native American people listed as missing from the Yakima area. And here’s a list of all the Native Americans listed as missing from the entire state.

From Washington DC:

  • They’re still looking for Relisha Tenau Rudd, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from a Dickensian homeless shelter in 2014. I’ve blogged about Relisha several times, as recently as earlier this week when they put up a new AP for her. If still alive, Relisha would now be 16. Here’s another detailed article about her case, with links to the earlier series of articles the Washington Post did about it.

And in general:

  • Although they don’t drop kids from the guardianship rolls when they disappear, in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Illinois, most missing foster kids who resurface are not screened to see if they were trafficked during the time they were gone. The article says Texas actually has a better record in this regard, with over 80% of missing-and-then-located foster kids being screened. But the number should ideally be 100%.
  • My husband has persuaded me to finally turn the Charley Project into an official registered nonprofit organization. Right now we’re saving up the money to pay a lawyer to file the paperwork to do this though it’s going to be awhile at this rate; money is super tight right now. If the Charley Project is a registered nonprofit, all donations will become tax-deductible and also the organization could become the recipient of grants. I’d use the grants to travel to more missing persons events, and pay the subscription fees for more databases to use in researching cases, and maybe hire an editor or something.

MP of the week: Celina Mays

This week’s featured missing person is Celina Janette Mays, who was last seen in Willingboro, New Jersey on December 16, 1996. She was twelve and a half years old, and nine months pregnant; the baby was due on the 29th. She’s biracial, with black hair, brown eyes and eyebrows that tend to grow together. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’0 and 120 pounds, but she might have grown since then.

It appears that she sneaked out of the house in the night, with the intention of returning; she’d left behind all her things, including her purse and prenatal vitamins. There’s speculation that she’d gone out to meet with the father of her baby, but the problem is no one except Celina knew who the father was. She didn’t even tell her obstetrician.

Celina’s father, CJ, was threatening to have paternity tests done to determine the identity of the father, and whomever it was could obviously have faced serious criminal charges.

When a child as young as Celina becomes pregnant, one tends to suspect incest (or at least I do). Per this article, the father of Celina’s baby could not have been CJ, as he’d had a vasectomy. But there were rumors implicating one of Celina’s cousins.

I don’t think she lived long after leaving her house that night. It seems like, if she had run away, she would have resurfaced at age 18, if only to collect the inheritance due her from her mother’s life insurance. (Celina’s mom had died a few years earlier.)

But if Celina is still alive, she would be 37 today, and her baby would be about to turn 25.

MP of the week: Richard Bendele

This week’s featured missing person is Richard Willis “Rick” Bendele, a 29-year-old man who was last seen hunting pheasants in Blaine County, Idaho, in the Laidlaw Park area, on November 17, 1996. He called his mom at six o’clock to say his pickup had stalled on a remote road and he thought someone had tampered with it, and this is the last time anyone saw or heard from him.

His mom and girlfriend tried to find him, but weren’t able to and reported him missing in the early morning hours the next day. The next day a search party found the truck, abandoned and apparently vandalized. No sign of Bendele.

I’m not sure what happened to him, but the fact that his coat was found in the truck and searchers later found one (and only one) of his shoes is not a good sign. I think he probably died the same day he disappeared or maybe a day or so later, but it’s not clear whether foul play was involved. The police are open to that possibility.

Info released in Kristin Smart case

Paul Flores was charged with the murder of Kristin Smart back in April. Last week a judge unsealed court documents about the case and the information contained therein is pretty horrifying.

It looks like Paul may have been a serial rapist since as far back as the late 90s. (Kristin disappeared in 1996.) TWENTY-NINE women have accused him of “sexual misconduct” and general creepy behavior. Four of those women have said he drugged and raped them. One of them said she told Paul he was hurting her, but he wouldn’t stop and forced a ball gag into her mouth. When the police searched his home they found rape-themed pornography and homemade videos of Paul having sex with different women who appeared to be drifting in and out of consciousness.

Paul’s father, Ruben Flores, is believed to have buried Kristin’s remains under his deck, then later moved them. Police found a patch of disturbed soil there with traces of blood, though they couldn’t get DNA. A man who rented a room from Ruben said Ruben had spoken about the case and referred to Kristin as a “dirty slut.” I guess we know where Paul gets his attitude from.

Yeah, the circumstances are all starting to add up.

And I keep thinking that if the police hadn’t dropped the ball in 1996, perhaps all those women would not have been victimized by Paul Flores in his later years.

They finally made an arrest in the Kristin Smart case

Well, it’s about time: Paul Flores has been charged with murder in the 1996 disappearance of Kristen Denise Smart. They were both students at Cal Poly when she went missing and she was last seen in his company on campus. He’s been a suspect pretty much ever since. Paul’s father, Ruben, has been charged with being an accessory to the murder.

It’s been a quarter-century. I had thought this would never happen, unless they found Kristen’s body. As far as I know, they haven’t. I don’t know whether they just decided there was some time, or if some other evidence came up, or what.

I would think the Smart family would have mixed feelings about this day — justice will be done, but their daughter isn’t coming back and it’s official now.

Twelve-year-old missing for four months is classified as a runaway, and other stories

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Mine was pretty good. Very quiet of course, cause of covid.

In California: the body of Barbara Thomas, a 69-year-old woman who disappeared hiking in the Mojave Desert in 2019, has been found in the desert near Essex.

In Louisiana: they’re still looking for David Claude Yeager, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Shreveport in 1971, and there’s little indication as to what happened to him. His cousin has created a Facebook page for him.

In Missouri: they’re still looking for Cheryl Anne Scherer, a 19-year-old girl who disappeared from Scott City in 1979. The article doesn’t have a lot in terms of information, just focuses on her family’s pain and grief.

In New York: they’re still looking for Jaylen Griffin, a 12-year-old boy who disappeared under unclear circumstances from Buffalo in August. The police have this preteen listed as a runaway.

In Ohio: they’re still looking for Mary Jane Vangilder, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared from Willard in 1945. They’re going to check some Jane Does and see if any of them are her.

In Pennsylvania: Justo Smoker, who had previously been charged with Linda Stoltzfoos’s kidnapping, has been charged with her murder as well. Linda, an 18-year-old Amish girl, disappeared while walking home from church in Lancaster County back in June. She has never been found. Smoker was arrested on the kidnapping charges in July.

In Texas: they’re still looking for Patty Inez Brightwell Vaughan, a 32-year-old woman who disappeared from La Vernia on Christmas Day, 1996. She went missing after an argument with her estranged husband, who is the prime suspect in her case, but he has never been charged.

In Virginia: they’re still looking for two people missing from the Richmond area: Stephanie Collette Wallace, a 45-year-old woman who went missing from Richmond in 2005, and Robert Lee Hourihan, a 33-year-old man who disappeared from Palmyra in 2011. They also are hoping to identify a white or Hispanic man whose skeletal remains were found near a vacant apartment in Highland Springs in 2014.

In Australia: they’re still looking for Russell Hill and Carol Clay, who disappeared while on a camping trip in the Wonnangatta Valley in eastern Victoria back in May. They are believed to have been murdered.

In Canada: they’re still looking for Melanie Ethier, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house in her small Ontario town in 1996. Melanie’s birthday is on Christmas Day.

The missing persons articles I would’ve shared on Facebook if I could have

Yeah, for the uninitiated, Facebook is mainly where I share missing persons related news. But as I addressed in my previous entry, that’s not an option right now. So I’m sharing them here:

From Joliet, Illinois: 17 Missing In Will County: One Joliet Case Dates To 1957. Includes a photo of Sarah Elizabeth Avon which I hadn’t previously seen; I have added it.

From Rice County, Kansas: Five years after she disappeared, the search for Megan continues. The Megan here is Megan Renee Foglesong.

From Tarboro, North Carolina: Cold case investigators offer $15K reward in case of missing Edgecombe County man. The missing man, Stephen Frederick MacGray, has been missing for nearly a year — not quite long enough to be eligible for listing on the Charley Project.

From San Luis Obispo, California: This coach last saw his mother in Woodland in 1979; his DNA helped find her body. About the Dolores Wulff case; she disappeared in 1979 and was identified recently.

From Texas: Congressmen introduce bipartisan missing persons bill.

From Valdosta, Georgia: Valdosta police still seek missing mother, son. This is the disappearance of three-year-old Brandon Lee Wade and his mom, Paula, eighteen years ago.

From Mobile, Alabama: Cold Case Mystery: Mobile mother missing for 20 years. That’s Lisa Ann Pierce, who went missing in 2000.

From Battle Creek, Michigan: Amber Griffin remains missing after months of failed searches around Battle Creek. She’s been missing since June.

From Montana: Officials discuss missing persons cases in Montana national parks.

From San Luis Obispo, California: Can new info help solve the case of missing college student Kristin Smart? Also: Was the beeping in a backyard coming from Kristin Smart’s watch? Kristin disappeared in 1996; it’s one of those cases where it’s pretty obvious what must have happened but the cops are having a hard time proving it.

From the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana: BIA, FBI Seeking Missing Child Mildred Old Crow. I added her the other day.

From Sonora, Mexico: Sonora mayor’s gift to mothers of missing persons: shovels and buckets.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Ann Lombard

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 Ann Lombard, aka Ana Lombard or Auriana Taylor, who disappeared from Placitas, New Mexico on April 29, 1996. She was 31.

It sounds likely that Ann was murdered by her live-in boyfriend, James Taylor, who claims she just left him. I’ll let the casefile tell more:

He and Lombard had a troubled relationship. In 1990, Lombard accused Taylor of holding her down and burning her on a stove. In 1992, one of Lombard’s children claimed he saw Taylor rape his mother and spray chemicals in her face.

Taylor was seen digging a large hole in his front yard the day after Lombard vanished. He asked a neighbor for digging equipment to repair a leaky septic tank. Police searched the yard when they learned about this, but the search turned up no evidence.

In 2002, Taylor allegedly choked his wife and threatened to “kill her like he did Ann.” In 2010, he was arrested at his Des Moines, Iowa home after a five-hour police standoff; he’d called 911 to say he was armed, poured gasoline all over his house and threatened to set it on fire. He has never been charged in Lombard’s case due to a lack of evidence.

Sounds like a real great guy, Taylor. I hope he gets what’s coming to him.

Ann Lombard left behind seven children. If still alive today, she’d be 56.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Rachel Mellon

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 Rachel Marie Mellon, also known as Rachel Mellon Skemp, a thirteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Bolingbrook, Illinois on January 31, 1996. She is listed as Asian, but I think she may have some Caucasian ancestry as well.

Rachel had stayed home sick from school on the day of her disappearance. Her stepfather, Vince Mellon, said she was lying on the couch when he went to take the dog for a walk, and when he came back, she was gone.

Vince himself has been a suspect in Rachel’s case for years, though. Rachel had written in her diary that he kissed her and touched her inappropriately, and he had scratches on him after her disappearance. There just isn’t enough evidence at present to charge anyone, however.

Articles about other kids in the wake of Jayme’s recovery

As often happens when a high-profile missing child is found, especially when they’re found safe, news agencies are dusting off their local missing kid cases and being all like, “Hey, you know how Jayme Closs was found? Here’s some kids missing in YOUR area and their parents hope they’ll get found too.” So far we’ve got:

I highly doubt Adji or Diana is alive. Adji is a special needs child and if he was abducted, I don’t think the abductor could have kept him long without attracting some attention. As for Diana, a suspect has been charged with her murder.