Native American Heritage Month: Darian Nevayaktewa

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 Darian Rae Nevayaktewa, a 19-year-old man of Hopi Pueblo heritage who disappeared from Kykotsmovi, Arizona on June 19, 2008.

Wikipedia says Kykotsmovi Village, also called K-Town, is the seat of government for the Hopi tribe on their reservation, which covers 1.5 million acres across three mesas and two counties.

Unfortunately I don’t have any more information on this case.

MP of the week: William Chapman

This week’s featured missing person is William Ray Chapman, who disappeared from Wichita, Kansas on December 8, 2008. He was 24 years old.

William would definitely stand out in the crowd: openly gay, he sometimes wore makeup and wigs and went by the name “Vanity Vuitton.” (I’m thinking he went out in drag, though that’s not entirely clear.) He enjoyed going to LGBT clubs, video blogging, and making music. Some of the photos of him show him with his hair dyed bright red.

There is little information on Chapman’s disappearance, though one inevitably wonders about a hate crime; Kansas isn’t the most gay-friendly place in the world. He would be about 35 today, if he’s still alive.

Yes, I know Larry Murillo has been located

Just about everyone has been texting, messaging and emailing me about the sad recovery of Larry Ely Murillo. His body turned up behind the coolers in the supermarket he used to work in. The business has been closed for years and a contractor was engaged in removing the coolers and shelving units when they found Murillo’s partially mummified remains in the eighteen-inch gap between the cooler and the wall.

Murillo was apparently having a psychotic break at the time of his disappearance. The day before, he had been prescribed an antidepressant, but his mental condition just deteriorated and he was paranoid and hearing voices. He ran out into the snow, coatless and barefoot, and vanished. Until now.

Per MANY the news articles about the finding, apparently workers at the supermarket would sometimes hide on top of the coolers when they wanted to take a break without the boss knowing. My guess is that Murillo, in his paranoia, went dashing for the familiar hiding space, only to slip into the space behind the units. The noise from the compressors would have drowned out his cries for help. And so he died a slow, horrible death.

The case reminds me of the tragic death of Joshua Maddux, whose corpse was found inside a chimney in a remote cabin in Colorado in 2015, seven years after he vanished. There was (and is still) talk of murder, but the most plausible theory is that he was trying to break into the cabin via the chimney and got stuck.

I am, not, of course, a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist, but I don’t think the antidepressant was responsible for the mental breakdown leading up to Murillo’s death. He had been showing mental illness symptoms before taking the drug, and that’s why it was prescribed for him. And he had only been prescribed the drug the day before his disappearance.

Deaths like Larry Murillo’s remind me of just how lucky I am. As most of you readers know, I’ve got bipolar disorder. I’ve had psychotic breaks before. And one time, a common prescription painkiller I’d innocently taken interacted with one of my psychiatric meds and threw a party in my brain, resulting in very bad psychotic symptoms. This was not technically psychosis but delirium; however at the time everyone thought it was psychosis.

Anyway, that time I was hallucinating, delusional, and kept trying to leave the house at night in early March wearing only a shirt and underpants. The hospital refused to admit me, and the police wouldn’t help either, so Michael called his parents and they came over and stayed up with me all night to make sure I didn’t leave the house or do anything to harm myself.

If it weren’t for Michael and his parents, I might have died that night. I was lucky. Sadly, Larry Murillo wasn’t.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Aaron Tapasoa

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 Aaron Tapasoa, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on October 17, 2008.

Most agencies classify Aaron as Caucasian, but I made a judgement call and I believe he’s much more likely to be of Pacific Islander descent, for the following reasons:

  1. His appearance
  2. The fact that he “may have traveled to Samoa”
  3. Most importantly, the surname Tapasoa is almost entirely unique to Aaron himself, but the surname Tapusoa (a slight respelling) comes from the Pacific Islands.

If I’m wrong I’ll eat my words.

Getting back to Aaron, it says he associated with the homeless population and spent a lot of time on the beach. He’s classified as a runaway. Wherever he is, I hope he’s alive and well.

Native American Heritage Month: Wilson Happy

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 Wilson Happy, a 68-year-old Navajo man who disappeared from Farmington, New Mexico on June 4, 2008. Unfortunately the only photo I have of him is from the 1960s and is, I think, a high school graduation photo; he’s wearing a mortarboard in it.

From the circumstances of his disappearance, it looks like he may have been robbed and murdered. He withdrew $2k from the bank and was last seen sitting in a parked car (he didn’t own a car btw) looking really nervous and as if he expected someone to be coming.

MP of the week: Tamika Howard

This week’s featured missing person is Tamika Howard, a 37-year-old who disappeared from Newark, New Jersey on May 25, 2008. She had a high-risk lifestyle, with a drug problem, an arrest record and a history of prostitution. Perhaps because of this, her mom didn’t report her missing for three months.

It’s possible Tamika simply moved on, as there were reported sightings of her plying her trade at Penn Station in New York City after her disappearance. But I wonder if she’s still alive; it seems unlikely that someone with her history could have avoided law enforcement attention for over a decade.

The strange death of Cerilla Doyle

I discovered that skeletal remains found in Mason City, Iowa in May of this year have been identified as Cerilla Ann Doyle, an ex-cop from Bentonville, Arkansas who disappeared from there in the autumn of 2008.

Investigators note there is “no indication of foul play.” Mason City is over 500 miles due north from Bentonville.

I’ve gotta wonder what happened and I don’t have much. Cerilla’s husband had died several months before her disappearance, after a long illness, and there were reports that Cerilla was suicidal, but her family denied this. Why did she leave Bentonville and leave all her things behind? What brought her to Mason City? Did she know anyone there? Did she deliberately go there to die?

Unless her family decides to disclose further information, I suppose we’ll never know. RIP Cerilla.