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.

MP of the week: Edward Bryant

This week’s featured missing persons case is Edward Dylan Bryant, an boy who was about eight when he was last seen sometime in 2001. He and his biological brother, Austin Eugene Bryant, had been adopted out of foster care by Edward Eugene Bryant and Linda Kay Bryant in 2000. The couple adopted nine children in all, including Austin and Edward’s younger brother. They lived in Monument, Colorado.

Austin disappeared sometime between 2003 and 2005, but his disappearance was not discovered until 2011. Only after then did the authorities realize Edward was missing also. Neither of them has ever been found.

It’s an extremely sad story and it’s likely both children met with foul play at the hands of their “parents.” The Bryant parents have never been charged in either child’s disappearance, but they were each sentenced to decades in prison for theft, since they accepted public assistance payments for Edward and Austin after the boys had disappeared.

I haven’t seen any updates on the case since 2012, when Linda was sentenced to 42 years in prison. (Her husband got 30 years.) I hope the police haven’t given up on finding out what happened to those poor boys.

Alissa Turney’s stepdad has been arrested

Michael Turney is honestly one of the creepiest missing persons suspects I’ve ever written about. He was extremely possessive of his stepdaughter Alissa: he regularly searched her belongings, monitored her phone conversations, sat outside her job while she worked, set up surveillance cameras in the family home “for security reasons”, and forced Alissa to sign weird “contracts.”

Now, if Alissa was a problem child who was involved with drugs and the wrong crowd, I could see a parent taking these kind of measures. But Alissa wasn’t a problem child. She was a good kid mostly, did well in school and had no history of running away.

Alissa allegedly told several people that Michael–who was, incidentally, her only parent since her mom died of cancer when she was little–had sexually abused her. This information never made it to the ears of Child Protective Services, but in 2000 Michael himself called CPS to pre-emptively declare his innocence, just in case Alissa should ever claim he was abusing her.

A year later, in the spring of 2001, Alissa disappeared at the age of seventeen. Michael said she ran away, but if she did it seems really weird that she left behind all her belongings including $1,800 in the bank, and never contacted her siblings, friends or boyfriend ever again.

In 2008, the police executed a search warrant on Michael’s home looking for evidence in Alissa’s case. I don’t know if they found any, but they did find 26 homemade bombs and a van filled with gasoline cans. It turned out Michael had been planning to blow up a local International Brotherhood of Electrical Works union hall and take his own life in the process.

He was sentenced to ten years, served seven, and was out by 2017. This afternoon he was arrested and charged with Alissa’s murder.

I don’t know anything about what in the way of evidence they have against him, as this is breaking news, only minutes old. But I’m thrilled to death.

MP of the week: Jerome Robinson

This week’s featured missing person is Jerome David Robinson, a 21-year-old black man who disappeared from Tunis, Texas three days after Christmas in 2001. He’d won a lot of money gambling at a bar, the Team Club, and had some of his winnings already, and that night he went there to collect the rest.

It looks like he never emerged from the bar alive, but his body has never been found and no charges have been filed against anyone in his case.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: David Arrieta

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 David Sosa Arrieta, who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on October 7, 2001, at the age of thirty. His car was found abandoned a few days later.

Although foul play is suspected in Arrieta’s disappearance, I can’t find any articles about his case. I did find a few possible mentions of him from prior to his disappearance. In the Arizona Republic I did find mentions of a baby born in 1999 to David and Antoinette Arrieta, of Apache Junction; this David might be the same man who disappeared two years later.

David Arrieta has four distinctive tattoos, of which I have photos. It looks like the pics were taken before any of the tattoos were completed, so they might look different now.

If still alive, today he’d be 48 years old.

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.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Ira Josytewa

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 Ira Jack Josytewa, a biracial Native American and Hispanic 21-year-old who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on August 28, 2001.

Frankly, I don’t think whatever happened to Ira was anything good. His car turned up abandoned with all the doors open and his stuff inside. He never picked up his last paycheck. His family, which includes two children, haven’t heard from him in seventeen years.

If he’s still alive, he’d be 39 today.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Mariah Carter

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 Mariah Chavez Carter, a biracial Hispanic and Caucasian girl who disappeared from Biscoe, North Carolina on October 8, 2001. She was almost two months old.

Mariah was the victim of a family abduction; her non-custodial mother, Porfria Salmeron Chavez, took her, possibly to Mexico. There’s a warrant out for Chavez’s arrest, although for some reason it wasn’t issued until six years later.

Mariah would be seventeen today. She may not even realize she is a missing child.

Pride Month: Hartanto Santoso

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Hartanto Teguh Santoso, a bisexual man who disappeared from Kirkland, Washington on February 19, 2001, at the age of 31.

Santoso was an immigrant from Indonesia who worked as a nursing assistant to help support a large family back in his native country. What’s happened to him isn’t a mystery: he was abducted from his apartment and murdered by his former friend, Kim Heichel Mason. Mason is serving life without parole for the murder.