Black History Month: Stephen Beard

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 Stephen Christopher Beard, a fourteen-year-old boy who disappeared from Baltimore, Maryland on June 2, 2001.

He had a guardian at the time of his disappearance, and I wonder how well he was being guarded, since it says he liked to go to local nightclubs.

I wonder if he is still alive. It sounds like he knew how to take care of himself, so I’m hoping. It’s been close to twenty years now.

Black History Month: Terrence Haney

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 Terrence Lee Haney, age 36, who disappeared from Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 2, 2001.

I don’t have very many details, just that he apparently disappeared somewhere in the two-block distance between his sister’s home and his own. Foul play is suspected.

Terrence Haney is related by marriage to another missing black man, Edward Larnell Martin, who disappeared from Tulsa in 1999. No apparent connection, though. Just a lot of bad luck there.

Black History Month: KaRhonda Stringfellow

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 KaRhonda Walker Stringfellow, a 21-year-old woman who disappeared from Dubach, Louisiana on October 11, 2004.

I have almost nothing on her disappearance, only that she was last seen at Dubach Apartments. I did find a few details about her life prior to her disappearance in the newspaper archives, though. She graduated from Dubach High School top of her class. A year later she had a baby, Kamron, but he died.

I guess she must have married Kamron’s father afterwards, because the baby’s obituary lists his mother KaRhonda Walker and his dad as Dion Stringfellow, but by the time she disappeared two years later she’d become KaRhonda Stringfellow. KaRhonda has Dion’s name tattooed on her shoulder.

I wish I knew more about her disappearance. She’s listed on the Ruston/Lincoln Crimestoppers site.

Black History Month: Ta’Niyah Leonard

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 Ta’Niyah Monique Leonard, an eleven-month old baby who disappeared from Bartow, Florida on October 19, 2002.

Sadly it’s not likely that Ta’Niyah is alive today. The police have two main suspects: her parents, Michael Lewis and Miranda Jones. The couple often had violent arguments, sometimes involving weapons. The cops think one or both of Ta’Niyah’s parents was responsible for her death.

This is a problem in terms of the prosecution, as I note in her casefile, since the parents are blaming each other:

Investigators believe either Lewis or Jones is responsible for Ta’Niyah’s disappearance and probable death, but they cannot proceed with charges against either of them due to a lack of evidence and due to the two suspects’ conflicting stories. Prosecutors offered both of them immunity from any charges if they would return Ta’Niyah alive, but neither Lewis nor Jones accepted the offer.

This love-hate relationship between Lewis and Jones continued after Ta’Niyah’s disappearance. Even as they both blamed each other, they conceived another child, a girl, who was immediately taken away after birth and adopted. Last I heard, in 2006, Jones had had a son (not by Lewis; the father might have been this guy) and she was about to lose her parental rights towards this baby as well.

I don’t know what Ta’Niyah’s parents have been up to since 2006; with surnames like “Lewis” and “Jones” it’s hard to trace their movements. If Ta’Niyah is alive, she’d be 17 now.

Black History Month: Lakeisha Archie

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 Lakeisha Nichole Archie, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared from Sidney, Ohio on August 5, 2002.

A relative dropped her off at a residence in the vicinity of Park and Buckeye and she was never seen again. And that, unfortunately, is all I know about it. The only press I can find is a blip in the Dayton Daily News in May 2004, almost two years later, but it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.

My brother spent quite a lot of time in Sidney during this time period and he and Lakeisha are the same age, but I’ve got no reason to believe they knew each other. This is one of the “few details are available” cases.

Black History Month: Jestin Grier

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 Jestin Lamar Grier, a 21-year-old who disappeared from Canton, Ohio on March 16, 2005.

Jestin was last seen in a high-risk situation: he was on his way to sell cocaine to a customer. A friend dropped him off at the customer’s apartment building, but he was never actually seen inside the building and his customer said he never showed up for the deal.

In spite of this, and in spite of the fact that Jestin hasn’t collected any of his disability benefits or been arrested since his disappearance, the police were saying they thought he walked out of his life.

If he did so, he did so very thoroughly. I find it hard to believe that Jestin, who had psychological issues and an anger management problem and several prior arrests, is alive and well and has just been able to completely avoid contact with law enforcement for the past fourteen years.

But if he is still alive, he would be 35 today.

Series from the Oklahoman on the Logan Tucker case

I wanted to call the reader’s attention to this excellent (and very sad) special series called Looking for Logan Tucker, about the disappearance and presumed murder of six-year-old Logan Lynn Tucker eighteen years ago at the hands of his sorry excuse for a mother, Katherine Rutan.

Most homicides of children by their parents are unintentional, a situation where the parent is frustrated and unable to cope with child care, loses control and kills the child in a rage. Although there are no witnesses to Logan’s murder and Katherine isn’t talking, his death doesn’t appear to have been one of those kinds of homicides. She thought Logan was a burden to her life, and decided to get rid of him, so she killed him. Period.

She sounds like a stone cold psychopath. There was evidence of disorder in her life long before Logan’s death — she was married four times by her mid-twenties, for example — and she had repeatedly told people that she considered her two sons a burden to her and wanted to get rid of them.

In the final days of Logan’s life, Katherine made increasingly frantic attempts to offload Logan, and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services did plan to take him within the next several days, but Katherine didn’t want to wait that long, I guess.

She is in prison and will probably die there, but continues to maintain her innocence.

Anyway, it’s a great piece of journalism, that series, and I wanted to recommend it to y’all.