National Hispanic Heritage Month: Gebar Byrd Jr.

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 Gebar Byrd Jr., a biracial Hispanic and African-American toddler who was last seen in University City, Missouri on March 22, 2010, a few weeks before his second birthday.

Gebar’s father, Gebar Byrd Sr., confessed to the murder of both little Gebar and his mother, Yasmin Rodriguez. He said he intentionally shoved her into the Mississippi River while she was holding the boy in her arms. Yasmin’s body was found in the river on April 9; Gebar Jr.’s never turned up. Gebar Sr. was convicted of second-degree murder in the mother’s death and involuntary manslaughter in the child’s, and sentenced to life in prison.

In spite of the confession and the convictions, there’s some hope among some of Gebar Jr.’s family members that he’s still alive, because his birth certificate and other papers disappeared. Me, I’m pretty skeptical of that theory.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: David Ortiz

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 Jacquez Ortiz Jr., an 18-year-old who disappeared from Silver City, New Mexico on October 31, 2010. He went out to go trick-or-treating and never returned.

Ortiz is missing under unclear circumstances, but his family is convinced he met with foul play. They said he had plans for the future and they don’t believe he would have left on his own. The most recent press I can find on him is this 2016 anniversary article.

Thinking out loud today

  • Uh, where are Tarasha Benjamin‘s ears on the 2013 AP I found?
  • So it seems pretty obvious that “Larry Wilson” killed William Joseph Davis at that house that day, but I wonder what the motive would be? I’ve seen female real estates disappear under these circumstances, and usually the motive is a sexual attack, but this is less likely here. Robbery maybe?
  • Per articles at the time, several other adults disappeared from Hillsborough County in the same time period as Brian Lee Jones did. There was no indication the cases were related, though, and all the others, except Jones and one other, seem to have turned up. As for Jones… I can’t figure out what was going on there. How far away was that “secluded wooded area” from the ABC Lounge? Were the “possible bloodstains” on the pillow ever tested? Obviously DNA testing would have been impossible in 1981, but they could have at least determined whether it the stains were human blood or not.
  • I found frustratingly contradictory information about Tai Yung Lau‘s disappearance. One news account said he had no car and couldn’t drive, and other that his car disappeared at the same time he did. The new page for Hillsborough County missing persons, however, says Lau sold his car and said something about returning to China. But the thing is, if the story about him escaping from a forced labor camp during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eventually getting working papers in the U.S. is true, there’s no way in hell he would have returned to China; they’d have killed him.
  • I originally read about Jack Donald Lewis‘s disappearance in this book; the author interviewed Carole Lewis (now Carole Baskin) and she mentioned that her husband just walked out of the house one day and never came back. As for Jack’s disappearance, I know there has been talk online that Carole killed him, but I am not going to venture a guess as to what caused his disappearance. The articles I found called Wildlife on Easy Street a “sanctuary,” but it didn’t have a very good reputation back in the nineties. I don’t know if things have improved now or what. On a side note, earlier this month Joe Exotic, who runs a horrible traveling petting zoo, was charged with trying to hire someone to kill Carole.
  • Despite Carlos Melgar-Perez‘s case being local to me, I never heard squat about it until I saw him on the Fort Wayne Police Department and began looking up info on his own. Apparently the police only interviewed his friend one time. The circumstances of his disappearance seem strange, to say the least. There aren’t any nearby bodies of water sufficiently large/deep/fast enough to have concealed his body for this long.
  • I found Eva Marie Ridall‘s dad’s obituary and noted that he was divorced from his kids’ mother and lived in Ohio when he died. I have to wonder if maybe she was going to Ohio to see her father, but I’ve got no proof that he lived in Ohio in 1977. I found some stuff about her disappearance online from her sister, and all indications seem to be that she did run away, but it’s been over 40 years; what happened?
  • About that extortion attempt in Cynthia Lynn Sumpter‘s case: was the man charged with molesting her in jail when she disappeared? If he wasn’t, have the police verified his alibi 100%?

And finally, I found the following article about something Peter Joseph Bonick did a full five years prior to his disappearance. I’m guessing the reason he was living in a children’s home when he went missing is because he continued on the delinquent path.

bonick

Pride Month: Andrew Compton

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Andrew Blaine Compton, an 18-year-old gay man who disappeared from Louisville, Kentucky on October 28, 2010. He was a student at Sullivan University.

As with several other cases featured this month, Andrew’s is a murder-without-a-body case. He met one Gregory O’Bryan on a dating website and they met in person for the first time on the day Andrew disappeared.

The truth about what happened will only ever be known to O’Bryan, since Andrew’s body was never found and is presumed to be in a landfill. He said Andrew “died during sex” and, rather than call for help, O’Bryan kept his corpse around for a few days doing awful things to it before he disposed of it.

He’s currently serving twenty-five years and will be eligible for parole after half that time. It doesn’t seem to be enough.

Pride Month: Jael Hilderbrand

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 Jael Hilderbrand, whose legal name was William Wayne Hilderbrand. Although she was born male, she presented as a female. She disappeared from Bangor, Maine in November 4, 2010, at age 22.

Sadly, Jael, like many transgender individuals, apparently died by suicide, jumping into the Penobscot River just before midnight the day she disappeared. She was a good swimmer, but the river would have been deadly cold at that time of year, and she may have been drunk as well. Her body was never found, but there’s very little hope that she’s still alive.

Jael was Native American, of the Passamaquoddy Tribe. She had studied cosmetology.

Pride Month: Lisa Stone

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 Lisa Lynn Stone, a 51-year-old lesbian woman who disappeared from Dallas, Texas on June 4, 2010.

Lisa’s case was the subject of a 48 Hours episode, which I haven’t seen. Her friends suspect her partner of fifteen years, Sherry Henry, was involved in her case. One of Lisa’s friends caught Sherry throwing away “Stone’s most cherished belongings, including family photos, birth certificates, jewelry and family heirlooms” less than a month after Lisa was last seen, and less than two weeks after she was reported missing.

While that is certainly callous and suspicious behavior on Sherry’s part, there isn’t a whole lot of real evidence against her.

But if there had been evidence of a crime, whoever committed that crime had plenty of time to clean it up: Lisa wasn’t reported missing for 18 days, the police closed the missing persons investigation after five days without finding her, and it took some time for Lisa’s friends to persuade the cops to reopen the investigation.

It was certainly sloppy, lazy police work and I have to wonder if the cops were prejudiced against Lisa because she was a lesbian and because of the fact that she was a hoarder — animal welfare officials had to seize 26 cats from Sherry and Lisa’s home.

We may never find out what really happened.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Aarshiya and Jiaa Patil

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 the sisters Aarshiya Manish Patil and Jiaa Manish Patil, who disappeared together from Thornton, Colorado on Christmas Eve, 2010. They were three and one respectively.

The children, who are of Indian descent, are classified as family abduction victims. Their mother, Ritu Hemchandra Desai, took apparently them to India. They may be living in the city of Pune, a major city in the state of Maharashtra on the eastern coast of India.