This week’s featured missing person is Amber Elizabeth Cates, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Maury County, Tennessee on April 11, 2004. She’d had a bit of a chaotic life and had spent time in foster care, and was living with her older half-sister at the time of her disappearance.
She disappeared after going out with a male friend, who said he left her with another friend, who said he dropped her off and never saw her again.
Initially she was thought to be a runaway due to her age and background, but she’s been missing now for as long as she was alive beforehand, with nothing on her driving record, Social Security number, anything. It doesn’t look good.
I hope everyone is doing all right. Michael and I are doing fine; however, one person at his place of work has tested positive for COVID-19, and another is believed to have it, which is scary. Michael thinks it’s unlikely he was exposed to either individual because they work different shifts, and in different parts of the facility, than he does.
One of the things I’ve been doing is contributing to a subreddit set up in memorial of COVID-19 victims, basically posting links to obituaries and such. It’s scary how many stories I’ve come across of young healthy people getting very sick or even dying of this. One of my online friends has it, a young woman, and she’s in the hospital. A five-year-old girl with no preexisting conditions died of COVID-19 last week.
I mean, I know what the statistics are. I know that the overwhelming majority of people who get it survive. But it’s hard to focus on those numbers when you’re looking at a photo of a dead kindergartner.
On another note, a few missing persons have been found:
- Eric Randolph Pracht, a 25-year-old Lakewood, Colorado paramedic who disappeared in July 2016, His skeletal remains were found on Green Mountain, but a cause of death hasn’t been determined.
- Martin Hugh Sackler, whose family last heard from him in October 2004 when he was 41. He has been arrested in Mobile, Alabama, where he was apparently living under a false identity.
- Michael Alexander Rickard, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania in March 2018. His remains were found along some railroad tracks in Bethel Park. There isn’t much information out there as to when or how he died, but the police are saying foul play is not suspected.
- Cheryl L. Coker, a 46-year-old woman who disappeared from Riverside, Ohio in October 2018. Her skeletal remains were found by a mushroom hunter in Caeserscreek Township, Ohio; the coroner said it looked like they were just dumped there, not even buried. I know her husband has been a suspect in her case for some time, but they’re still trying to figure out the cause of death and whatnot.
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 Valeriano Flores-Mata, who was last seen on July 24, 2004, when he was 32 years old.
His disappearance appears to be either an accident or foul play. He was last seen either on or near the fishing vessel Deep Pacific as it was preparing to leave port at St. Paul, Alaska. It wasn’t until several hours later that anyone realized he was missing, by which time the ship was out to sea.
These circumstances would indicate an accident, but it says he’s missing under “suspicious circumstances” which leads me to believe there’s more to the story than this.
If still alive, which seems unlikely Flores-Mata would now be 47 years old.
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.
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 Shrie Marie Rowland, a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Saratoga Springs, Utah on July 2, 2004. She is classified as a runaway.
I found some obituaries for members of Shrie’s family and deduced that she is of Native American (Sioux) and Puerto Rican descent. I wonder if she really did run away; it’s very uncommon for a runaway to be missing for as long as that.
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 Brenda Eli Ovalle, a sixteen-year-old runaway from Naples, Florida. She’s been missing since February 3, 2004.
It is very unusual for a teen runaway to be missing for fourteen years, but the last indication was that Brenda was safe and sound, living with family in Mexico. I hope that’s correct, and I hope if it is, she will contact the police in Florida to get herself taken off the books.
In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Since yesterday’s case didn’t run yesterday like it was supposed to, I’m putting up two today. Yesterday’s case is Ivory Francis Green, a 17-year-old girl who disappeared from Utica, New York on March 6, 2004.
I don’t know what Ivory’s sexual orientation is but she liked to wear boys’ clothes and could be mistaken for one.
For years she was classified as a runaway, and some agencies classify her as that still, but now foul play is suspected. Ivory hung out with some sketchy people including drug dealers. The police haven’t said much, but they think they know what happened to her.
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 Brian Allen Hatfield, age 21, who disappeared from Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 9, 2004. He wasn’t gay as far as I know, but he was a known cross-dresser, and was wearing women’s clothing when he disappeared. (Fun fact: most men who cross-dress aren’t gay or trans.)
No place in America is really safe for a man in women’s clothes, particularly the South, and foul play is suspected in Hatfield’s disappearance. I don’t know if a hate crime was a factor, though; it may have been a simple robbery. The cops caught someone else driving his car, and Hatfield’s checks and debit card were used after his disappearance, presumably by others.
So I re-posted all the Corpus Delicti lists last night and today (it’s been forever I know) and I took the chance to go through Not Concluded/Unknown Outcomes again to find out some of those outcomes.
The result is fifteen updated cases.
- Cynthia Linda Alonzo: Eric Mora pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, got eleven years.
- Abigail Estrada: Ruben Torres pleaded guilty to murder, got eighteen years but could be out in ten.
- Cari Lea Farver: Shanna Golyer was found guilty, got life without parole plus 18 to 20 years for an unrelated arson.
- Jarrod Devlin Green: Brandon Wheeler’s charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
- Alice Kristina Wehr Hummel: Bruce Hummel was tried and convicted of the murder a second time, but an appeals court overturned his second conviction and he cannot be retried.
- Charles Edward “Mississippi” Johnson: David Lint pleaded no contest to criminal homicide, got seven to fifteen years.
- Zachary Matthew Malinowski: No conclusion yet, but suspect Javon Gibbs (allegedly) murdered someone else while out on bail in Malinowski’s murder.
- Bernadine M. Montgomery: Tracie Naffziger pleaded no contest to being an accessory second-degree murder after the fact. She will testify against David Mariotti, whose trial is supposed to be early next month.
- Sara Jo Mowrey: After alleged misconduct by the prosecution, Michael Baker pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder and being an accessory after the fact to murder, and got three years instead of the life sentence he’d have gotten if convicted of the original charges.
- Catherine E. Nelson and Charles Martin Russell: Brian Ferry’s trial was early this year. The jury couldn’t reach a verdict and there was a mistrial.
- Heath Riley Reams: Amanda Sanders-Bolstad pleaded guilty to manslaughter and got 25 years, with 20 suspended, but the prosecution is trying to get her suspended sentence revoked because she moved without telling the police.
- Bret R. Snow: More details have been released about the crime and two additional suspects have been charged. Alvaro Guajardo is charged with murder, and Cheryl Sutton with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder, and leading organized crime.
- Aaron Lamar Turner: One suspect, Bryan Byrd pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and got 20 to 40 years. (Also found an article about how Bryan was an academic star in high school and seen as a really great kid who had risen above his poverty and single-parent childhood, then he ruined his life in one weekend.) The second suspect, LaQuanta Chapman, was convicted and sentenced to death, but the sentence was overturned four years later and he got life instead. A third suspect has been identified, but has never faced charges. I think it’s because Chapman isn’t saying boo and they only have Byrd’s testimony to put the man at the scene. Also, not-very-fun fact: Chapman shot one of his dogs dead and dismembered the body in his attempt to cover up Aaron’s murder.
- Rebecca Ann Ware: Timothy Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and got nineteen years, with credit for three years’ time served.
This week’s featured missing person is Destry Richard “Pig” Rhinehart, a sixteen-year-old boy who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on August 1, 2004. He’s classified as a runaway and the police basically refused to investigate at all for two years, because he was a “troubled teen.”
Destry’s family, which includes seven siblings, misses him and put up a Facebook page for him, but the page hasn’t been active in six years.