Still struggling to piece together the Hart case

I am really having a hard time coming up with a decent summary of the Hart case. There’s a whole lot to unpack, even more so since the inquest, which is on YouTube in two parts, each lasting six hours.

There’s the crash itself: the car’s computer showing how it happened, how Jen had deliberately driven off the cliff, the location and identification of all the bodies (except Devonte of course), the fact that everyone except Jen had taken horrific amounts of Benadryl, Sarah’s internet searches showing she was in on it, etc.

And then there’s the background, the two adoptions, the various accounts of abuse and deprivation, the long term starvation of the children, the fact that the Hart women were able to adopt the second sibling group of kids WHILE CHILD ABUSE CHARGES AGAINST THEM WERE PENDING for beating the crap out of one of the kids they’d already adopted, the moves, the festivals, the homeschooling, Devonte’s viral photo in 2016, etc.

It’s such an incredible mess.

This will take awhile.

That wretched Hart case

The Charley Project does not discriminate: if you’re have not physically turned up alive or dead, you’re missing for the purposes of this database, even if everyone knows perfectly well what happened to you.

Which brings me to the godawful case of the Hart family, of whom one of them, Devonte, has never been located. His sister’s foot washed ashore months ago, but not a tiny bit of Devonte has turned up, not so much as a single vertebra. I had been desperately hoping they’d find some of Devonte before the year was up so I would not have to start digging into this. I might as well be digging a grave.

And with a case as high profile as this, I feel obligated to put him up. Even though we all know, basically, what happened to Devonte and where he is — swallowed up in the Pacific.

And with a case as high profile as this, I feel obligated to do a detailed write-up. It’s just that there’s so much to look over (high profile ya know) and it’s all so absolutely and unrelentingly horrifying. I’ve been reading about the case for the past twelve hours and I feel the way I did when I visited Treblinka.

Even the photos of the kids. So many photos. And they’re so SKINNY. Knobby chins and cheekbones, their faces like skulls, stick arms and legs. And so SMALL. They were starved of food and love for so long, and under so much stress.

The inquest into the family’s deaths will be held next week. It will take two days, will be live-streamed, and is said to be releasing some shocking information, as if what is already known was not shocking enough already.

Those poor, poor children.

Black History Month: Lakerian Thomas-Peters

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 Lakerian Demell Thomas-Peters, a 22-year-old man who disappeared from Pensacola, Florida on May 30, 2016.

Lakerian worked for a distribution company while he hoped to gain a footing in the rap music industry, but he lost his job and was depressed afterwards. I don’t know if he was depressed enough to walk away forever, or to take his own life, though. He had asked to borrow his mom’s car the day she disappeared (I think his own car was out of gas or something) and she said no, so he left on foot.

I think if he is dead and still in the local area, he hasn’t been found yet. He’s got very distinctive tattoos that would help identify his body if he was located. I hope he’s still alive. If he is, he’d be 25 today.

Murder-without-a-body cases galore!

So, someone found a photo of Eli Robert Sharclane on Facebook so I was able to add his case to the Charley Project. I’ve blogged about his case before; it’s kind of unusual. A guy threw him off a bridge fifty feet down to the freezing water and he was never seen again, but the suspect was only convicted of ATTEMPTED murder, because it was 1977 and no-body homicide convictions were not really a thing yet.

More information has been released about the 1991 disappearance of Sabrina Leigh Long. All we knew before was that a female suspect was arrested and charged with kidnapping, someone who’d attended Sabrina’s high school but wasn’t in her year, and the police said multiple people were involved.

Well, this article has a LOT more stuff about the case. Basically, Sabrina said she was supposed to visit a neighbor on the day of her disappearance, but the neighbor said she wasn’t expected and he had no idea why she said she was going to see him. The neighbor, Keith Loyd, had an alibi and wasn’t a suspect in her case, but in 2017 he died by suicide and left a note implicating himself and Melinda McSwain (the woman now charged in Sabrina’s kidnapping) in Sabrina’s disappearance.

Loyd’s alibi for Sabrina’s disappearance had been that he was out with his girlfriend. I wonder if that girlfriend was McSwain. If both of them had kidnapped and killed Sabrina, it would be easy for them to alibi each other.

DonaMae Bourgeois Bayerl‘s husband John has been arrested at his retirement home in Florida and charged with murder. I’m so happy; he’s been a suspect for a very long time. I’ve met DonaMae’s family before; they attend the Wisconsin missing persons events.

Also, yesterday they held closing arguments in the trial of Liam McAtasney for the murder of 19-year-old Sarah L. Stern. She disappeared from Neptune, New Jersey in 2016. The second suspect, Preston Taylor, allegedly helped dispose of her body. He pleaded guilty and testified against McAtasney. The verdict is expected next week.

And Thomas Skeek is on trial for the murder of his wife, Linda Skeek, who disappeared in 2016. Per this article, case had been “shrouded in secrecy” and it wasn’t until the trial actually began that it became public knowledge that Linda’s body was never found. I haven’t heard of this case before. I’ll have to add her. [UPDATE: I did.]

Black History Month: Sheryia Grant

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 Sheryia Ronsha Grant, a twenty-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from Kilgore, Texas on August 19, 2016.

The police seem to think they know what happened: three suspects, one of them a juvenile, have been charged with evidence tampering in Grant’s case. The evidence they allegedly tampered with was a corpse. You can draw the lines from there.

According to her family, one of the suspects is Grant’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her unborn baby, whom Grant planned to name I’yanna Ree. No trials have happened as of yet, however, and Grant’s disappearance remains unsolved.

Black History Month: Tyran Reed

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 Tyran Jamal Reed, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Fort Worth,Texas on October 28, 2012. He was last seen getting into a Chevy Suburban with an unidentified man.

As in KaRhonda Stringfellow’s case, this is one where I have almost no info on Tyran’s disappearance, but a little info on his life before then. It’s a pretty good bet that Tyran is the father of these twin boys, both also named Tyran Reed, who were either stillborn or died in the first hours of life in 2010. The obituary mournfully notes the survivors as “Mother, Victoria Jordan and Tyran Jamal Reed Sr.; other relatives; and the friends we never made.”

That obituary, and several prior arrests, are the only traces I can find of Tyran Reed. I wonder if he might be unidentified in some other part of Texas or the U.S. He has several distinctive tattoos.

MP of the week: Deklon Ford

This week’s featured missing person (sorry about last week, it wasn’t a good week) is Deklon Ford, who disappeared on May 6, 2015. He was only six months old at the time, and would be four years old now.

He and his mom, 28-year-old Brittany Anne Ford, disappeared together, and although the place of disappearance is given as Columbus, Ohio, they were “last known to be” in Hardin, Montana. Brittany’s car (which had Georgia plates, incidentally) was found abandoned on Highway 87 between Billings, Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming, but I’m a bit hazy as to which state it was in.

I’m not sure under what circumstances they’re missing, but they have a Facebook page set up for them, and Deklon’s dad set up a GoFundMe for search funds.