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.
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.
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 Anthony Kitsap Sam, who disappeared from Auburn, Washington on April 17, 1996, at the age of 29.
I’m not 100% sure of Sam’s tribal info, but if this man is his father, that would make him Tulalip (pronounced tuh-lay-lip). Unfortunately I can’t find anything about his disappearance.
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 Betty Ann Claw, a 49-year-old woman who disappeared from Farmington, New Mexico in 1996. November 28, Thanksgiving Day, was the last day anyone in her family saw her. I don’t know her tribal information.
For some reason, Betty Claw is not listed on the New Mexico state missing persons database. Her case got some media attention early this year when local outlets published articles appealing for information, but there isn’t a whole lot out there.
If still alive, Betty Claw would be in her seventies now.
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 Karen Rosalba Grajeda, a 7-year-old girl who disappeared from Tucson, Arizona on January 11, 1996.
She was roller-skating with her sister and some other children in the courtyard of her apartment complex when she left to drop her roller skates back off home. It’s not clear whether she ever arrived at her house, but by the time Karen’s mom called the girls in for dinner, Karen was nowhere to be found.
She is believed to have been kidnapped by a non-relative, and some suspects have been named, but no charges were ever filed against anyone. There’s speculation, as noted in her casefile, that Karen’s abduction is connected to the unsolved rape and murder of six-year-old Esther Lizette Galaz. Certainly the cases are very similar, but until Lizette’s murder is solved or Karen is found, any speculation has to remain only that.
I wonder how thoroughly the other residents in the complex (which had over 400 apartments) were checked. In March 1996, Albert Aguilar Ramirez, a resident of the complex who had a criminal for sexual abuse, murdered his elderly neighbor. The cops said they had “no reason to believe” Ramirez was involved in Karen’s disappearance, though. A fellow resident with a history of child molestation would be an obvious suspect in Karen’s case, and my guess is the police had investigated him and ruled him out earlier, right after Karen’s abduction and before he killed the neighbor.
I highly doubt Karen is still alive. There are so many places to hide a body in the desert.
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 two men who disappeared together: Gilberto Gonzales, 23, and his relative, coworker and roommate Jose D. Jesus Chavez, 19. They were last seen in Tucson, Arizona on January 20, 1996.
I don’t have that much on these disappearances; they seem to have vanished into thin air, leaving all their things behind.
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 Dean Toshio Tanaka, a 35-year-old man of Japanese descent who disappeared from Woodland Hills, California on September 13, 1996. Woodland Hills is in Los Angeles.
Tanaka had schizophrenia, but he must have been high-functioning because he had a good job, as a motorcycle mechanic.
Apparently his family believes he is dead, because he has a gravesite at Green Hills Memorial Park, a cemetery in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.