Black History Month: Kawan Pryor

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 Kawan K. Pryor, a 15-year-old boy who disappeared from Norfolk, Virginia on September 9, 1997.

He is listed as a runaway, but unfortunately I don’t have much on him. He’s been missing for 21 years now, considerably longer than he was alive before his disappearance, and would now be 37 years old.

Black History Month: Wayne Goff

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 Wayne Kareem Goff, a 17-year-old boy who disappeared from Mattapan, Massachusetts on May 20, 1997.

I don’t have much on Wayne. NamUs has a fingerprint card for him, as he was arrested just three days before he went missing; I don’t know why he was arrested or if this had anything to do with his disappearance. He does have a tattoo saying something like “Hill Boyz” which made me wonder if that was the name of a gang, but I don’t know squat about gangs and Google turned up nothing.

Wayne was listed as a runaway with the NCMEC for quite a long time after he went missing, but now he’s listed as endangered missing. I don’t know why they changed the classification; it can’t be just the length of time, because other people missing as long as Wayne are still listed as runaways. In practice it makes no difference.

If he’s still alive, Wayne would now be 39. He was born in Belize.

MP of the week: Fern Klein

This week’s featured missing person is Fern Stephanie Klein, a 32-year-old woman who disappeared from Hollywood, Florida over 20 years ago, on December 9, 1997. I don’t know anything about the circumstances of her disappearance or about Fern herself, other than that she was an alcoholic. She has several tattoos.

Thinking out loud today

  • Uh, where are Tarasha Benjamin‘s ears on the 2013 AP I found?
  • So it seems pretty obvious that “Larry Wilson” killed William Joseph Davis at that house that day, but I wonder what the motive would be? I’ve seen female real estates disappear under these circumstances, and usually the motive is a sexual attack, but this is less likely here. Robbery maybe?
  • Per articles at the time, several other adults disappeared from Hillsborough County in the same time period as Brian Lee Jones did. There was no indication the cases were related, though, and all the others, except Jones and one other, seem to have turned up. As for Jones… I can’t figure out what was going on there. How far away was that “secluded wooded area” from the ABC Lounge? Were the “possible bloodstains” on the pillow ever tested? Obviously DNA testing would have been impossible in 1981, but they could have at least determined whether it the stains were human blood or not.
  • I found frustratingly contradictory information about Tai Yung Lau‘s disappearance. One news account said he had no car and couldn’t drive, and other that his car disappeared at the same time he did. The new page for Hillsborough County missing persons, however, says Lau sold his car and said something about returning to China. But the thing is, if the story about him escaping from a forced labor camp during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eventually getting working papers in the U.S. is true, there’s no way in hell he would have returned to China; they’d have killed him.
  • I originally read about Jack Donald Lewis‘s disappearance in this book; the author interviewed Carole Lewis (now Carole Baskin) and she mentioned that her husband just walked out of the house one day and never came back. As for Jack’s disappearance, I know there has been talk online that Carole killed him, but I am not going to venture a guess as to what caused his disappearance. The articles I found called Wildlife on Easy Street a “sanctuary,” but it didn’t have a very good reputation back in the nineties. I don’t know if things have improved now or what. On a side note, earlier this month Joe Exotic, who runs a horrible traveling petting zoo, was charged with trying to hire someone to kill Carole.
  • Despite Carlos Melgar-Perez‘s case being local to me, I never heard squat about it until I saw him on the Fort Wayne Police Department and began looking up info on his own. Apparently the police only interviewed his friend one time. The circumstances of his disappearance seem strange, to say the least. There aren’t any nearby bodies of water sufficiently large/deep/fast enough to have concealed his body for this long.
  • I found Eva Marie Ridall‘s dad’s obituary and noted that he was divorced from his kids’ mother and lived in Ohio when he died. I have to wonder if maybe she was going to Ohio to see her father, but I’ve got no proof that he lived in Ohio in 1977. I found some stuff about her disappearance online from her sister, and all indications seem to be that she did run away, but it’s been over 40 years; what happened?
  • About that extortion attempt in Cynthia Lynn Sumpter‘s case: was the man charged with molesting her in jail when she disappeared? If he wasn’t, have the police verified his alibi 100%?

And finally, I found the following article about something Peter Joseph Bonick did a full five years prior to his disappearance. I’m guessing the reason he was living in a children’s home when he went missing is because he continued on the delinquent path.

bonick

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Javier Pimentel

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 Javier Pimentel, a 23-year-old man who disappeared from San Jose, California on October 20, 1997.

He was abducted near his home, and later that day his family got a ransom call. The caller never contacted them again, however, and Pimentel seems like a very unlikely candidate for a ransom kidnapping. He was an undocumented immigrant who had arrived in the U.S. only three months earlier, lived with relatives, and worked as a house cleaner.

My guess is that whoever took Pimentel, did it for entirely different reasons, perhaps due to something that happened back in his native Mexico. The ransom caller was probably an opportunist or a prankster.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Jackie Koja

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 Bongak “Jackie” Koja, who disappeared from Oahu, Hawaii on June 9, 1997, her 59th birthday. She was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. in 1962, thirty-five years before her disappearance.

It’s no mystery what happened to Jackie: she was the victim of a horrific crime, the stuff of nightmares.

She went on her usual early morning walk at 3:00 a.m., probably looking forward to spending her birthday with her husband and their four dogs. She never returned from the walk, and people heard screams in the area around four.

Later, a janitor at the local high school found blood all over the sidewalk. He thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t a joke. Jackie had been brutally beaten to death in a completely random attack by a career criminal who was under the influence of cocaine and crystal meth.

Who knows whether anyone would have ever figured out what happened if the murderer, Frank Janto, hadn’t gone to the police himself a few days later. He confessed to everything and there was evidence to support his statement — the blood for one thing — but Jackie’s body was gone. He’d thrown it in a dumpster after he killed her, and it had already been hauled away.

Janto was sentenced to 75 years in prison for Jackie’s murder, and he was later convicted of the 1987 murder of another woman who was killed under similar circumstances as Jackie.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Bernadette Behmlander

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 Bernadette Ruby Behmlander, a 50-year-old woman who disappeared from Battle Creek, Michigan on October 1, 1997.

Bernadette is of Chinese descent, but she was born in Trinidad. (There are about 4,000 people of Chinese descent in Trinidad and Tobago.) Her nickname is Susie.

Her case, unfortunately, is one of the “few details” ones, and I can’t find squat about it. The only thing that turned up is this notice, posted in the March 17, 2006 edition of the Battle Creek Enquirer:

behmlander

Why they awaited eight and a half years to appoint a conservator is not clear to me.