Black History Month: Zaden McKnight

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 Zaden Alexander McKnight, a four-year-old boy who disappeared from Dayton, Ohio on March 25, 2014. Zaden went missing with his mother, Nichelle. Nichelle’s body was found near the Stillwater River two and a half weeks later. She’d been murdered.

Zaden is presumed murdered too, and the police are pretty sure what happened and who did it. Antwan Anderson, Nichelle’s ex-boyfriend, and Tonisha Harris, another woman Anderson had dated, are the prime suspects in the cases.

Neither of them have been charged in connection with the actual homicides, but Harris was imprisoned for using Nichelle’s bank card and later for evidence tampering, abuse of a corpse and failure to report a crime.

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Black History Month: Brandon Graves

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 Brandon Rodrigues Graves, who disappeared after a night on the town in Sumter, South Carolina on January 30, 2010.

Brandon, 24, seems to have had it together: he had gotten a college degree, he’d never been in trouble with the law, and he didn’t use drugs or associate with drug dealers.

The night of his disappearance, however, he got so drunk that he got thrown out of a nightclub and subsequently left unintelligible voice mails on two people’s phones, probably wanting a ride. Whether he found one, no one seems to know, but those two messages were the last time anyone heard from him.

As recently as last January, on the seven-year anniversary of Brandon’s disappearance, his family appealed for information and had a balloon release for him. They’ve founded a college scholarship in his memory as well.

MP of the week: Kianna Galvin

This week’s featured missing person is Kianna Galvin. (I had to ask Preston how to change the MP of the week.) Kianna is a 16-year-old girl who disappeared from South Elgin, Illinois on May 6, 2016. She has some distinctive tattoos; I have a photo of one.

The police don’t think she ran away, though some sites list her as a runaway. Given her age, one inevitably wonders about human trafficking.

Erica Parsons autopsy results released

The authorities have released the results of Erica Parsons’s autopsy. There are several articles available about this, but this link actually includes the autopsy report itself.

In a nutshell: because they were working with skeletal remains and several bones were missing, they were unable to determine the precise cause of death, but this was obviously a homicide and indications are that Erica suffered horribly before dying.

To go into more detail: Erica had one tooth that had been knocked out, and another was cracked. She had fractures to her nasal bones, nine rib fractures, one arm fracture and a finger fracture. The fractures were mostly in various stages of healing, but there were four unhealed fractures to her spine and one unhealed rib fracture. This is suggestive of “multiple blunt force injuries over a prolonged period.”

There was also “low bone mineral density” and “growth deficit” suggestive of malnutrition.

The autopsy report notes that, “In the week prior to her 2011 disappearance, siblings described her as looking gray with sunken eyes, smelling bad with open, oozing cuts, very weak and complaining of not being able to breathe.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if Erica, like Peter Kema, died after her poor battered body got an infection she wasn’t able to fight. And of course her so-called family didn’t bother to ever take her to the doctor.

This kid was tortured. And we all know who did it, but no one has been charged in her death.

MP of the week: Manuel Estrada

This week’s featured missing person is Manuel Enrique Estrada, a 79-year-old recent immigrant to the U.S. (from what county, I don’t know) who disappeared from Chino, California on September 18, 2012. He apparently just left the house one day, perhaps for one of the long walks he liked to take, and never returned. He didn’t suffer from dementia or anything like that, but I don’t have much on this case.

What about this headline?

Eight years ago I wrote a blog entry about potentially problematic headlines for articles about missing persons and crime victims. That is, headlines that point out info about the MP or suspect that might be seen as shaming them. I was reminded of this entry cause I just found another such headline:

Police seek missing cross-dresser from Jennings

I’m inclined to let this headline go. The fact that Eddie Johnson was a cross-dresser was news to me until I saw the article. And he was, apparently, wearing a woman’s kind of wig when he disappeared, though I can’t tell from the clothing description whether they were women’s clothes or not. The inevitable possibility is that he was the victim of a hate crime and that’s why he’s missing.

That’s all.

Select It Sunday: Timmothy Pitzen

I forget who suggested this, but I promised to do a Select It Sunday for Timmothy James Pitzen, who disappeared from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin on May 12, 2011 at the age of six. He is missing under unusual circumstances.

Timmothy’s mom, Amy Fry-Pitzen, signed him out of kindergarten and took off with him without telling his dad. They went to the zoo, then to two resorts before checking into a hotel in Rockford, Illinois. The next morning the hotel staff found Amy dead; she’d taken her own life. There was no sign of Timmothy. Amy left notes saying he was being cared for, but she didn’t say where he was or who was taking care of him.

Investigators believe Amy may have been planning her son’s disappearance for months. As to where he is, or if he’s still alive, nobody seems to know.