Preston Winfrey, my new web guru, was given the honor of selecting my Sunday case this week, and he chose Brittanee Marie Drexel. Her case has been relatively high profile and bears similarities to Natalee Holloway’s: a beautiful high school student with everything going for her goes off to a resort town and is never seen again. She was seventeen and a junior when she disappeared from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on April 25, 2009. She was from New York and had gone to Myrtle Beach (without parental permission) for spring break.
In 2016, investigators announced they thought they knew what happened to her. The theory is that she was abducted, held against her will and gang-raped for several days. Her abductors planned to sell her into prostitution, but because her disappearance received such widespread publicity, they decided to kill her instead.
This theory is short on evidence, though, and although suspects have been named in the alleged kidnapping, rape and murder, no one has been charged and Brittanee has never been found.
It has been brought to my attention that Walter Shannon Stevenson, whose case I resolved yesterday, has not been found after all. This article, from which I got the original information, has issued a retraction. A suspect, Jeffrey May, has been charged with his murder, but Walter’s case is currently a no-body homicide.
I hope the body turns up soon. In the meantime, I’ll remove the resolved notice and put up Walter’s casefile again with the next update (probably today).
And speaking of murder-without-a-body cases, it looks like the only indicted suspect in Katherine and Sheila Lyon‘s 1975 disappearances is about to plead guilty. Some articles:
This isn’t the end of the story — there’s another suspect who is also believed to have been involved — but it might be the beginning of the end.
As of this writing, the Corpus Delicti section of Charley — my three lists of murder-without-a-body cases currently on the website — has approximately 615 names. (I saw “approximately” because a few names are on more than one list due to multiple defendants and multiple outcomes. I wish I could find the outcomes for more of those cases on List Three, which surely must have been resolved by now.)
For more details about murder-without-a-body cases, I highly recommend you check out Tad DiBiase’s website (particularly this PDF) and book.
Vivi D., a woman from Brazil, asked me to profile fellow Brazilian Carla Vicentini. I was going to make her my MP of the week but decided to do a Select It Sunday case for her instead.
Carla was 22 and living in Newark, New Jersey on a cultural exchange program when she disappeared on February 9, 2006. Vivi D., when asking for me to give the case some publicity, said, “There was not a lot of publicity in her case since she was a student in Brazil, she was there only a month when it happened.” Carla’s Charley Project casefile notes that her case “has been well-covered in the media in Brazil and in Portuguese-language newspapers in New Jersey, but the mainstream American press has given it little attention.”
I haven’t updated Carla’s case since 2009, but I ought to. I found this 2010 article and this 2015 article, both from the Star-Ledger newspaper, with additional details about her case.
She was a very attractive young woman, didn’t speak much English, and was perhaps a bit naive — she grew up in a small farming community in Brazil, and Newark is a pretty rough city. She was last seen leaving a bar with a strange man; my guess is he was either a trafficker or, more likely, a garden-variety predator who wouldn’t take no for an answer, and that he knows what happened to her. The problem is that he has yet to be identified.
This week’s featured missing person is Barry Miles Pruett, who disappeared from Redding, California on January 5, 2008, at the age of 28. I’ve got two available photos of him: in one he is clean-cut, military even were it not for the goatee, and in the other he’s quite unkempt and looks like a homeless person.
There’s no reason to suppose Barry’s dead: although he hasn’t had contact with his family since his disappearance, he is known to have been alive (if not well) in El Paso, Texas in 2009 and 2010. El Paso is where he’d told his family he was heading, and it’s 1,346 miles from Redding.
Pruett suffers from the double whammy of both bipolar disorder (characteristic by drastic mood swings) and schizophrenia (characterized by psychosis) and may not even know who he is anymore. My guess is he’s living in a homeless community somewhere, perhaps even still in El Paso.
I’ve got five cases to resolve next update. (Not sure if that update will be today. I know it’s been almost a week but I’ve got a lot of stuff to do today. If not today, then tomorrow.)
The body of John Henry Dubose, a 38-year-old missing from South Carolina since 2000, was found inside his submerged vehicle in Lake Russell. They’re still investigating but my guess is it was an accident.
The body of Michael Damian Rust, who was reported missing from Saguache, Colorado in 2009 (I updated his case earlier this month), was found in January. The remains weren’t identified until now. Authorities haven’t released any info about how the body was found or what the cause of death was, but the circumstances of his disappearance strongly indicate he was murdered.
Susan Glaser, who disappeared from Wisconsin in 1995, has been identified. Her body was found in Portage County, Wisconsin in May 1998. Glaser’s boyfriend, who made “suspicious statements” about her case, committed suicide several months after she went missing.
Meanwhile the NCMEC reports that Marifer and Stephanie Garcia, sisters who were abducted by their non-custodial mother from Michigan in 2005, have been found safe. Stephanie was two years old at the time of her abduction and Marifer was one day past her first birthday. They would now be 13 and 12 respectively.
I did one of my periodic fishing expeditions by Googling “crimestoppers missing persons” and found this one for Brock Adam Holmes. Last seen wearing a “techno material” shirt, they say.
Are we talking viscose? Tencel? Cupro? Or just polyester or nylon? Or something with, like, electronic sensors in it? Inquiring minds wanna know.
Also…why was he carrying a pool stick?