MP of the week: Kamyle Burgos Ortiz

This week’s featured missing person is Kamyle Stephanie Burgos Ortiz, a 12-year-old girl who disappeared from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico on July 8, 2006. She is of black and Hispanic descent.

Although Kamyle is classified as a runaway by some agencies, authorities think she was actually the victim of a suspected serial killer, Amilcar Matias Torres. He and Kamyle knew each other and spoke on the phone less than an hour before her disappearance. He’s never been charged with murder, but is in federal prison serving twenty years for soliciting sex online from underage girls. He’s also a suspect in the disappearances of two other Puerto Rican girls, Yeritza Aponte-Soto and Cristina Ester Ruiz-Rodriguez.

If still alive–which seems unlikely–Kamyle would be 27 years old today.

People’s judgmental attitude in internet comments sometimes drives me mad

I often interact with the people who comment on stuff I post on the Charley Project’s Facebook page; I consider it my duty, as the admin of that page, to do so, and also I usually enjoy discussing things with them. We are, after all, talking about items of mutual interest. But sometimes people just… argh.

I put up an article recently written about the Bianca Noel Piper case (the article was of the “we’re still looking for” variety, nothing new), and immediately a bunch of commenters started saying awful things about her mother for making her go on that walk back to their house so she could chill out and deal with her anger. One of them even accused the mother of “abandoning” Bianca.

Well, here are the facts:

  1. The walk was about a mile. That’s not very far. It may seem like a long way since everyone is accustomed to driving these days, but a person Bianca’s size and age can walk a mile in ten or fifteen minutes.
  2. It was a rural area, not a big city.
  3. Bianca’s mother cooperated fully with the investigation and is not a suspect in her case.
  4. Bianca’s mother, by making her go for a walk, was following the advice of Bianca’s therapist, and they had tried the walking treatment before and it had been helpful. Loads of people go for a walk alone to cool down when they’re angry, and it’s a commonly recommended method of anger management.

I’m sure Bianca’s mother has regretted what she did every day of her life in the past sixteen years. But I do not think she did anything wrong here. She was following medical advice and the advice given sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I think Bianca was just very unlucky. And certainly casting judgment on her mom at this late date is not going to help at all.

Bianca was tall for her age, and heavy. I think that in the evening light, from a distance, she would have looked more like a woman than a child. My guess is some predator driving by saw her walking alone and grabbed her. Wrong place, wrong time.

I also grew up in a rural area and in the late nineties, as a young girl Bianca’s age, or younger, would often wander around by myself on foot or bicycle, sometimes traveling up to fifteen miles from home. It did me no harm and in fact I benefited from it. I got exercise and fresh air and learned how to amuse myself. It bothers me a lot that so much judgment is heaped on parents these days that it seems like they are expected to swaddle their youngsters in cottonwool until they graduate high school — and then people wonder why young college-age adults have no idea how to take care of themselves.

MP of the week: Hassani Campbell

My host has unblocked me and whitelisted my IP so I’m able to access the Charley Project again. My host is a good company, run by a friend with my dad’s, and I have to say the customer service I’ve had over the years is excellent.

So I’ve updated the missing person of the week and this time it’s Hassani Jamil Campbell, a five-year-old boy who disappeared from Oakland, California on August 10, 2009. At the time of his disappearance he was living with his aunt, Jennifer Campbell, and her husband, Louis Ross, and his younger sister. Campbell and Ross were Hassani’s legal foster parents; he’d been removed from his biological mother late the previous year. They were reportedly planning to adopt him.

It’s worth noting that Hassani has mild cerebral palsy. He could walk at the time of his disappearance, but couldn’t run or jump, and had to wear braces on his feet.

Ross was taking care of Hassani when Hassani disappeared, and the police were publicly skeptical of his version of events that day. Eighteen days later, both Campbell and Ross were arrested on suspicion of Hassani’s murder, but they were both released without charge within a couple of days, as there was insufficient evidence. Later that year the couple broke up and moved away.

Last I heard, Hassani’s foster parents were still the prime suspects in his case, but the case seems to have gone cold.

If still alive, he’d be 17 years old today.

MP of the week: Selina Barfield

This week’s featured missing person is Selina Ruth Barfield, a 32-year-old woman who disappeared from North Charleston, South Carolina on July 29, 2003. She was living with her boyfriend at the time, and had significant problems in her life: the boyfriend was abusive, and Selina was involved with drugs. Her sister was trying to get her into a rehab program, but she disappeared before that could happen.

Her family thinks foul play was involved in her case, and I think that’s probably true. I wonder how hard the police have looked at the boyfriend.

A bunch of “they’re still looking for…” and other stories

Lee and Anthony Redgrave are working with the the DNA Doe Project to identify transgender and nonbinary murder victims. They’ve started the Trans Doe Task Force, which helps police and medical examiners with cold cases involving transgender people.

Alaska: An unusually high number of people have gone missing from Fairbanks in the past ten months. Fairbanks averages five missing persons a year, but since May 2020, eleven people have disappeared and have not been found. (I wonder if the political, economic and emotional turmoil caused by the pandemic has anything to do with it.) Five of the missing eleven are Native. The community is concerned and held a vigil about it.

Colorado: Wendy Stephens, a Denver teenager who disappeared in 1983, has been identified as a victim of Gary Leon Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. He pleaded guilty to 49 murders but is believed to have killed more than 71. Not all of his presumed victims have been found, and three that have been are still unidentified.

Indiana: This article details the uncertainty about the veracity of a suspect’s confession in the Denise Diane Pflum case. Denise was 18 when she disappeared from Connersville in 1986. Her body has never been found. In 2020, her ex-boyfriend, Shawn McClung, confessed to her killing after being offered immunity for her death and also the dismissal of two charges he was in jail for. At the time he was dying. Before he passed away a few months later, McClung retracted his confession, saying he’d only made the statement because he didn’t want to die in jail.

Louisiana: They’re still looking for Cory Marie Rubio, a 24-year-old mother of two who disappeared from Shreveport in 1999. The most logical person to look at is her ex-husband; they were in the middle of a custody battle, and he had a history of violent behavior.

New Hampshire: Authorities have determined that the remaining unidentified body in the Bear Brook murders case has maternal relatives in the Pearl River, Mississippi area. DNA testing indicates the child and her mother were descendants of Thomas “Deadhorse” Mitchell, who was born in 1836, or William Livings, who was born in 1826. The dead child also may have suffered from anemia.

New Mexico: They’re still looking for Robert Marcos Romero, an eight-year-old boy who disappeared from Santa Fe in 2000. The most plausible theory is that his brother Ronnie killed him accidentally while under the influence of drugs, but nothing has been proven and Ronnie died over a decade ago.

New York: They believe the car found in the Muscoot Reservoir, which I wrote about earlier, is that of Brenda Kerber, a 40-year-old woman who disappeared from White Plains in 1989. I’d never heard of this case before.

Also New York: They’re still trying to identify a Jane Doe found in Chautauqua County. She now has her own Facebook page.

Oklahoma: They’re still looking for Darian Michelle Hudson, age 23, who went missing from Stillwater in 2017. She was going through a lot of personal problems and may have had a mental breakdown. Her family thinks foul play was involved in her disappearance, but the police say they aren’t sure.

Also Oklahoma: A proposed missing persons bill, House Bill 1790, is being called the Aubrey Alert, after missing transgender Native woman Aubrey Dameron. Aubrey was 25 when she disappeared from Grove in 2019. The Aubrey Alert bill, if passed, would require “critically missing” adult cases to be investigated immediately. The text of the bill can be read here.

Oregon: They’re still looking for Jodie Marie Anderson, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from Crescent City in 2017. She may be in the Linn County area.

South Carolina: They’re still looking for Shelton John Sanders, a 25-year-old man who disappeared from Columbia in 2001. He now has a Facebook page.

Tennessee: They’re still looking for married couple Kristie Wilson, 39, and Henry Wilson, 45, who disappeared from Monterey in 2018. Their car was found at the bottom of a ravine months after they went missing; it had been there so long there were plants growing in it. No sign of either of them. There have been multiple tips that the Wilsons were murdered, but no solid leads.

Texas: They’re still looking for Fredrick Joseph “Little Joe” Boehm, age 23, who disappeared from Marshall on this day twenty years ago. He was temporarily staying with a friend when late one night he got a mysterious phone call, changed from his pajamas into street clothes and left, saying he’d be back later. He never returned.

Also Texas: They’re still looking for Andrea Leigh Cotten, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Corsicana in 2004. She left her cousin’s house in the night and never returned. She disappeared the day before she was supposed to visit her child, who was in foster care, and her family doesn’t think she would have missed that on purpose. Since she went missing there’s been no activity on her Social Security number, which is ominous.

Canada: The four-month-old disappearance of 30-year-old Megan Michelle Gallagher from Saskatoon is now being investigated as a homicide.

England: The brother of Suzy Lamplugh, a 35-year-old woman who disappeared from London in 1986, has issued an appeal for answers in her case.

Alexis Patterson’s stepfather dead

Seven-year-old Alexis S. Patterson disappeared from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 3, 2002. Her stepfather, LaRon Bourgeois, was the last person known to have seen her. Because of that and because he had a criminal history, the police looked pretty hard at him in her case. Nothing came of it, though, and I’m not sure if he’s still a suspect.

Well, LaRon has died and so has his wife, Michelle Bourgeois, whom he married sometime after he split with Alexis’s mother in 2005. Their bodies were found together and it looks like overdose. Some suspected drugs and drug paraphernalia were found at the scene, and Michelle had a history of heroin use.

It’s very unfortunate and sad, and I feel sorry for their loved ones.

Tiktok girl, searching through ponds and other stories

Honestly… it’s been ten days and it’s still very hard for me to take my mind off of the situation or to get much of anything done. I really wish I would not live through any more major historical events; I think I’ve endured more than my share already. But I’m trying, guys. I really am.

Oh, and an update on my Facebook woes: my release date from Facebook Jail has been moved from early February to late January. 6:26 a.m. on January 23 to be precise. I have no idea why and I’m not sure Facebook will honor this release date, since they didn’t last time.

Arizona: They’re still looking for Elizabeth Emma Breck, a 46-year-old teacher who disappeared from the Sierra Tucson behavioral health center in Saddlebrooke in January 2019. She had just arrived a few days earlier for a thirty-day treatment program for PTSD. Nothing significant to report regarding her disappearance, just that the anniversary was this week.

Arkansas: There has been much talk over the last couple of days that a dark-haired girl with bruised eyes in a viral Tiktok video was Cassie Kay Compton, who disappeared from Stuttgart in 2014, at age 15. The FBI says they’ve identified and spoken to the Tiktok girl and it’s not Cassie. They haven’t released her name, but she has been identified elsewhere as Haley Grace Phillips, a Los Angeles woman.

California: They’re looking to see if David Emery Misch, the man recently charged in the 1988 murder of nine-year-old Michaela Joy Garecht, who was kidnapped from a Hayward supermarket and never found, was also responsible for the disappearance of thirteen-year-old Ilene Beth Misheloff from Dublin in 1989.

Connecticut: They’re released an age-progressed image of Vanessa Morales, a two-year-old girl who was last seen in from Ansonia on November 29, 2019. The cops found Vanessa’s mother murdered at home on December 2, with no sign of Vanessa. I’ll add her to Charley soon.

Florida: They’re still looking for Mary Opitz, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Fort Myers back in 1981. They’re also still trying to solve the murder of Mary Hare, whose abduction and killing may have had the same perpetrator as in Opitz’s case.

Illinois: They’re still looking for Steven Robert Asplund, a 32-year-old tool and die worker who disappeared from Moline on January 9, 1994. The 27th anniversary of his disappearance was a week ago but there’s nothing new to report.

Iowa: They’ve finally canceled the Amber Alert for Breasia Terrell, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared from Davenport in July. She is still missing.

Michigan: Brad Cournaya, the longtime suspect in 34-year-old Krista Robin Lueth‘s 2008 disappearance from Lansing, has been charged with her murder. Her body has never been found.

Mississippi: They’re still trying to identify a little boy whose skull was found in a drainage canal in Sharkey County in 2014. No other remains were located. He was estimated to be between 5 and 7 at the time of his death, which may have occurred up to several years before he found. Preliminary DNA results indicate the boy was black, and probably has relatives from Sharkey County and the surrounding area.

Kansas: Some divers from an Oregon-based organization searched two ponds in Leavenworth County for Randy Wayne Leach and his mom’s car, which have both been missing since 1988. They didn’t find them.

Maryland: They’re still looking for Andre Thompson, a sixteen-year-old who disappeared from Baltimore on June 23. He may be in the Glen Burnie area.

Michigan: They have located fifteen-year-old Gloria Alvarado, who was missing from Taylor for 75 days. She is alive and well, and had run away with a seventeen-year-old boy because her parents would not allow her to date. She has returned home.

New York: They’re still looking for Joseph David Helt, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Ellenville on January 17, 1987, thirty-four years ago tomorrow.

Nevada: They’re still looking for Cassandra Ayon, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Loyal back in October. In particular, the police are asking for public help for info on a red or maroon SUV that may have been on one of the residential side streets near Unity Trailer Court, which is where Cassandra was last seen.

North Carolina: They’re still looking for Ebonee Shanetta Spears, a 30-year-old woman who disappeared five years and one day ago. Nothing new has been reported though.

Also North Carolina: In Winston-Salem, they’re still looking for two missing adults: Lucinda Farris, who disappeared from in June, and Eliseo Ernesto Gomez-Martinez, who disappeared in November. There’s no indication the two cases are related.

Oregon: They’re still trying to identify a child whose body was found near a rest area in Lincoln County on December 10. The little girl had dark brown or black hair and was between six and a half and ten years of age at the time of her death, which occurred at least a month before she was found. Cops have ruled out several possibilities for the girl, including five-year-old Dulce Maria Alvarez, who was abducted from a New Jersey playground in September 2019.

Virginia: The police have reclassified the 2010 disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke from a missing person to a kidnap/homicide. They have not said whether they have any current suspects in the case, but Randy Allen Taylor, who was found guilty of murder-without-a-body in the 2013 disappearance of seventeen-year-old Alexis Tiara Murphy, has been mentioned before.

Wisconsin: They’re still looking for Daajane Morgan, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Milwaukee on March 6.

Canada: They’re still looking for Alyssa Turnbull, a young woman who disappeared from Nipigon, Ontario in late March 2020.

Also Canada: Six patients went missing from the now-defunct North Bay Psychiatric Hospital in Toronto, Ontario between 1966 and 2010. They have never been found.

England: They’re still looking for Andrew Gosden, a fourteen-year-old schoolboy who disappeared from London in 2007. Andrew Gosden and another English missing person, Charles Horvath Allen, have both been featured recently on the podcast The Missing.

Trinidad: They’re still looking for Kelly Ann Seerattan, a 25-year-old kindergarten music teacher who disappeared from Princes Town in 2011. The article has some quotes from Kelly’s mom.

English woman missing in Cyprus turns up decades later in Arizona, and other stories

Samuel Little, considered to be one of the U.S. most prolific serial killers, has died in prison at age 80. They’re still trying to locate/identify his victims.

In Arizona/England/Cyprus: they’ve found Lee-Tracey Miley, who was reported missing by her son in 2019 but had actually been out of touch with her family since 1991. She went on a vacation to Egypt that year, then traveled to Cyprus (an island nation in the Mediterranean) and never returned. Ms. Miley was located safe in Arizona. She claims she was injured in a car wreck in Cyprus and developed amnesia, and had no recollection of her previous life in Bournemouth, England.

In California: the recent arrest in Michaela Garecht‘s case has given hope for answers to the family of Amanda Nicole Eileen “Nikki” Campbell, a four-year-old girl who disappeared from Fairfield on December 27, 1991. The video clip in this link includes a color photo of Nikki which I had not seen elsewhere, and have added to her casefile.

In Florida: Steve Calkins, a former sheriff’s deputy, has been found not civilly liable for anything in the 2004 disappearance and presumed death of Terrance Deon Williams from Naples. It’s a very peculiar case. Williams’s family had filed a wrongful death suit against Calkins, who is the last person known to have seen Williams and was also the last person known to have seen another missing man, Felipe Santos, who had gone missing under nearly identical circumstances the previous year. The case had been forced into binding arbitration due to an error by the plaintiffs’ attorney, and the arbitrator ruled they had no case against Calkins.

In Iowa: it’s been nearly six months since ten-year-old Breasia Terrell disappeared from Davenport, and here’s a timeline of her case.

In Massachusetts: they’re still looking for Lisa Therisa Hazard, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from New Bedford in March 2019. She had a drug problem and told her son’s father she was going to check into a rehab center in Fall River, but it’s unclear whether she even ever left New Bedford.

In Missouri: this article honors Marianne Asher-Chapman, who founded Missouri Missing, a nonprofit organization that helps families of people missing in Missouri and publicizes their cases. Asher-Chapman’s daughter, Michelle Angela “Angie” Yarnell, disappeared from Ivy Bend in 2003.

Also in Missouri: they’ve found the remains of Brandon L. Wood, a 23-year-old who disappeared from Mountain Grove in 2015. Curiously, the bones turned up in an area that had been previously searched.

In Ohio: this article talks about cold missing persons cases in Ohio, particularly in Butler County. It mentions Cynthia Louise Carmack, a 15-year-old missing from Hamilton since 1987, and Ronald Henry Tammen Jr., a 19-year-old Ohio University student missing from Oxford since 1953, among others.

In Oregon: this article is about the narrowly averted NamUs defunding and how it would have affected cold cases in that country.

In Texas: Fox San Antonio has released a recording of an interview police did with Elizabeth Johnson, mother of Gabriel Scott Johnson, who disappeared on December 27, 2009 at just seven months old. Elizabeth says she gave Gabriel to another couple to raise, but police have been unable to identify these people and think the child is probably dead. She was convicted of custodial interference and unlawful imprisonment, but acquitted of kidnapping, and was released from prison in 2014.

In Wisconsin: they’ve found the remains of Benjamin D. Bodwin, a 54-year-old man who disappeared from Athelstane in 2018. His death has been ruled a suicide.

In England: the police have released video footage of Steven Clark, a 23-year-old man who disappeared from Marske-by-the-Sea, Cleveland in 1992 and is presumed murdered. His parents were recently arrested and questioned, then released. They deny any involvement in their son’s presumed death and called the idea “absolutely ludicrous.”

In Russia: they’re still looking for Ayana Vinokurova and Alina Ivanova, two three-year-old girls who disappeared from Alina’s grandfather’s yard in a remote village called Sinsk in the far eastern part of the country back in 2013.

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 police wouldn’t accept a report for a missing mentally disabled woman for over a year, and other stories

From Alabama: ‘I want my momma’: Family of Montgomery woman missing since 2018 wants answers. Donna Michelle Calloway disappeared in 2018, per the article, though her “few details” Charley Project casefile has it as 2019 — probably because the police wouldn’t take the report till then. I’ll have to update her case.

From Florida: Jupiter police say missing woman’s remains found after husband takes second-degree murder plea. Gretchen Anthony disappeared in March. Her estranged husband, David, was charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder in her case. He’s pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and kidnapping, and told police where to find her body, which was left three miles from Gretchen’s home.

From Kentucky: COLD CASE: Family of William Scott Crain searches for answers 26 years after disappearance. I don’t have William on Charley yet but he was added to NamUs in August. He was 22 when he disappeared from Bowling Green on November 21, 1994.

From New York: Family pleads for safe return of New York woman who’s been missing since October. Lynette Hernandez, a 27-year-old Nassau County resident, said she was moving to Brooklyn to be with a boyfriend. After not hearing from her, her family contacted the boyfriend, who said he hadn’t seen her in almost a week. Two different police departments each claims the other has jurisdiction over the case.

From Washington DC: Unique Harris disappearance: Man charged with murder a decade after woman goes missing and Arrest made in cold case murder 10 years after DC mother vanished. Unique RaQuel-Leona Harris, a 24-year-old mother of two, was last seen in 2010. Her body has never been found. The suspect is someone I’ve never heard of before, but he was an acquaintance of Unique’s and had been on the police radar for years, not the least cause he left his DNA at the crime scene.

From New Zealand: Cold Case murder mystery: What happened to Marion Granville? A mother of three young children, she disappeared in 1980, at the age of 29. Her partner at the time is asking for anyone with information to come forward. He believes she’s dead and just wants to be able to properly bury her.

From Singapore: Choa Chu Kang girl disappears in 2002, allegedly calls 1 year later: ‘Someone won’t let me come back’. Tina Lim Xin Ying was 14 when she disappeared while en route to visit her sick grandfather. She hasn’t been seen since, and the police are still not sure whether the phone call was from her.