Hanging in there, and I hope everyone else is too

I hope everyone is doing all right. Michael and I are doing fine; however, one person at his place of work has tested positive for COVID-19, and another is believed to have it, which is scary. Michael thinks it’s unlikely he was exposed to either individual because they work different shifts, and in different parts of the facility, than he does.

One of the things I’ve been doing is contributing to a subreddit set up in memorial of COVID-19 victims, basically posting links to obituaries and such. It’s scary how many stories I’ve come across of young healthy people getting very sick or even dying of this. One of my online friends has it, a young woman, and she’s in the hospital. A five-year-old girl with no preexisting conditions died of COVID-19 last week.

I mean, I know what the statistics are. I know that the overwhelming majority of people who get it survive. But it’s hard to focus on those numbers when you’re looking at a photo of a dead kindergartner.

On another note, a few missing persons have been found:

  • Eric Randolph Pracht, a 25-year-old Lakewood, Colorado paramedic who disappeared in July 2016, His skeletal remains were found on Green Mountain, but a cause of death hasn’t been determined.
  • Martin Hugh Sackler, whose family last heard from him in October 2004 when he was 41. He has been arrested in Mobile, Alabama, where he was apparently living under a false identity.
  • Michael Alexander Rickard, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania in March 2018. His remains were found along some railroad tracks in Bethel Park. There isn’t much information out there as to when or how he died, but the police are saying foul play is not suspected.
  • Cheryl L. Coker, a 46-year-old woman who disappeared from Riverside, Ohio in October 2018. Her skeletal remains were found by a mushroom hunter in Caeserscreek Township, Ohio; the coroner said it looked like they were just dumped there, not even buried. I know her husband has been a suspect in her case for some time, but they’re still trying to figure out the cause of death and whatnot.

This is kind of horrifying to me

I read many of articles from different publications about the drowning deaths of brothers Ayden Leroy Cecil and Anthony Joseph Tullius, and I really can’t understand why their parents were charged with anything.

When I saw the headlines that said things like “Toddlers drowned while parents slept”, I thought perhaps maybe the parents were passed out under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or didn’t begin to look for the kids for hours, or something like that. I mean, there HAD to be more to the story, right?

I can only go by what’s been reported and I can’t find any more to the story.

On that tragic night they set up camp at a designated campsite near the river, and everyone went to bed. Dad zipped the tent and tightened the top zipper. Mom took one Xanax before bed, as her prescription said she should. Dad was exhausted after a long week of work. They went to sleep. And sometime during the night the boys unzipped the bottom zipper of the tent (which Dad had forgotten to tighten) and wandered into the river.

This is all terrible and I’m sure any parent in that situation would be full of what-ifs and should-haves and blaming themselves for a very long time, if not the rest of their days on earth, but I don’t see how this rises to the level of a crime.

At their first trial the children’s mother, Kasey, would insinuate her husband, their stepfather Richard, may have killed them on purpose. This is because, although Kasey thought she’d removed Ayden’s shoes before bed and he couldn’t put them on by himself, when his body was found he was wearing the shoes. I think it’s more likely that Kasey simply forgot to remove the shoes (she’d put them on over his sleeper so he could run around and play during the evening). If Richard were planning on tossing the boys in the river it doesn’t make any sense for him to have put their shoes on.

I myself nearly drowned as a five-year-old and a police officer had to pound life back into my chest after they pulled me out of Lake Michigan. This is because my mom, who was on lifeguard duty, decided to help the other adults pull a boat ashore and was distracted for a few minutes. Obviously she should not have done that, but the idea that a parent would be charged with a crime in such a situation is appalling to me.

As this story was reported I can’t understand why the Kleins were even charged, never mind convicted, in their children’s drowning deaths. Was something left out or was this the overzealous prosecution is appears to have been?

MP of the week: Monico Hernandez

Tonight I’m going to Michael’s parents’ house and will be spending Christmas over there. So I decided to do the missing person of the week a day early, since I won’t have access to my PC tomorrow.

This week it’s Monico Urquidi Hernandez, a 45-year-old man who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on December 8, 2011. He left home, saying he might go to Mexico, and was never heard from again. I don’t have anything else on this case.

Merry Christmas!

MP of the week: Donald Hicks

This week’s featured missing person is Donald Lamond Hicks, a 33-year-old black man who disappeared from Hazelwood, Missouri on April 2, 2011.

He was last seen leaving a bar. Never made it home apparently, and wasn’t carrying his phone. His car turned up abandoned on a local interstate exit. I don’t know what condition it was in, if it was in running order or what.

He’s got some tattoos and two gold teeth. Nothing else remarkable about his appearance. If still alive he’d be 42 later this month.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Aaron Bustamante

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 Bustamante, a Filipino-American man who disappeared from Honolulu, Hawaii on May 24, 2011, at the age of 35.

Aaron was adopted out of foster care at the age of three. He developed schizophrenia and spent some time in an adult group home, before deciding to live on the streets. He would meet with his father daily and his dad would give him food, but one day Aaron stopped showing up for the meetings and hasn’t been seen since.

He needs medication and if he’s still alive, he’s probably not doing well. He would be about 43 today.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Maria Miller

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 Maria Nina Miller, a 34-year-old woman who disappeared from the convenience store where she worked in Towanda, Pennsylvania on February 4, 2011.

Unfortunately, that’s all I’ve got on Maria. I don’t even have a good photograph of her. And I have nothing on the circumstances of her disappearance.

MP of the week: Timur Mardeyev

This week’s featured missing person is Timur Mardeyev, a 27-year-old man who disappeared from Tulsa, Oklahoma on November 29, 2011.

Mardeyev was born and raised in Kazakhstan, which is in central Asia, but it looks like he’s ethnically Russian; Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union. Mardeyev was a recent immigrant; he moved to the U.S. the same year he disappeared and lived with relatives. He had a fiancee in Russia and they planned to settle in Tulsa after the marriage.

It looks like something terrible happened to him. From his GPS we know he didn’t drive his usual route. The GPS has the car visiting two casinos, and when it found abandoned in a parking lot:

Mardeyev’s keys were in the ignition and his GPS system and expensive sunglasses were inside the car, along with a bottle of Coke and an open bottle of whiskey. His Bible and some paperwork he was filling out for his visa were missing.

There was gravel in the front and back seats of the car, which is uncharacteristic of Mardeyev; he kept his vehicle very clean. The car’s money change compartment had been cleaned out and the radio was tuned to a rap station; Mardeyev listened only to CDs or a Russian-language station. In addition, the driver’s seat was pulled too far forward for a person of Mardeyev’s height.

Furthermore, although he was carrying a lot of cash, perhaps as much as $5,000, his family said he was frugal and not the kind of person who would have gone to a casino. The casino had no surveillance cameras (seems odd to me that they didn’t) so no one knows whether Mardeyev actually went there and left his car there.

Pride Month: Doris Carter

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 Doris Wade Carter, who disappeared from Plant City, Florida on December 16, 2011. She went missing with her lesbian partner, Kelly Moriarty, although the two women were reported missing separately.

Two days after Christmas, Moriarty’s leg washed ashore in St. Petersburg, Florida. It wasn’t identified until March, the rest of her wasn’t found, and obviously the authorities couldn’t determine a cause or manner of death based on just a single leg. Interestingly, however, they think the leg had only been in the water for a couple of days, and by then Kelly and Doris had been missing for a week and a half.

Her death, and Doris’s disappearance, remain a mystery — murder, accident, suicide? Some combination thereof? Unfortunately for the two women’s families, we may never get answers.

Thinking aloud with May 14 updates

Yeah, I was up all night working on these. Go me.

  • Suzen Cooper: The cops have GOT to know who this unidentified third party is. After all, Rachael took a plea deal and one of the conditions of the plea was to be honest with the authorities about what happened (though she claims she doesn’t know where Suzen’s body is). So where is this Mystery Man and why hasn’t he been charged?
  • Tamara Lynn Elbertson: Does anyone know what sort of medical conditions can cause that droopy eye? Maybe a stroke? My mom’s first husband (before she met my dad) has something similar and I was told he was dropped on his head when he was a baby, but I’m not sure that was meant entirely seriously.
  • Kito Royal Felton: Not mentioned in the casefile, but Kito may be one of those people where the line between “missing” and “on the run” is pretty thin. Right around the time he disappeared, a woman and her teenage son, Susan and Laurier Myrick, were shot to death in north Tampa and the articles said Kito was sought for questioning. I don’t think the murder has been solved.
    However, he’s listed as missing both on NamUs and FDLE, he doesn’t have any active warrants that I’m aware of, and he was simply wanted for questioning in the murders, not named as a suspect, so…I dunno.
  • Jared Baptista Germano: I studied his Facebook page pretty carefully. I don’t know what happened to him, but I hope he is missing because he wants to be. Jared had a troubled past and an extensive arrest record in Florida and North Carolina.
    His Facebook is public and is pretty open about his background; it says he studied criminal justice in the educational institution called “prison”. Per Jared’s posts, he had a meth problem, which would explain the arrests. But his Facebook says he had gone through rehab, got clean, was working and was generally trying to make a decent go of it.
    Wherever he is, he’s managed to avoid getting arrested again, which is a significant departure from his prior lifestyle. That could mean he’s leading a law-abiding life somewhere or it could mean he’s dead.
    Incidentally, Jared has a brother who looks JUST LIKE him. The brother also has an arrest record and I thought one of his mug shots was of Jared till I realized one person had neck tattoos and the other didn’t. Then I saw a photo on Jared’s Facebook of him and his brother side my by side and was like, “Ah, okay, here’s your double.”
  • Teresa Gossage and Alfred Hoffman Marshal: I’m very proud of getting these two up because their case is notorious in local history and they’re not listed on ANY database. They’re not even on the Missouri Highway Patrol’s list of missing persons, perhaps because they vanished on federal land. I found their names by accident while looking for something else.
    Fort Leonard Wood, by the way, is some 61,000 thousand acres spread over the Missouri Ozarks. My bet is TC and Al are still somewhere on the base. And I’m pretty sure Mr. Thornton is responsible. It would be a very strange coincidence if he wasn’t.
  • Sarah Necaise: She appears to have an active Facebook page — at least, there’s a page under that name, with a young woman who lives in Mississippi and resembles the missing girl. Hmm. An active page doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been found.

Ooh, this is a problem

So I just added the case of Charles Edward Tear, missing from Fargo, North Dakota, to Charley. And there’s an issue. Namely this:

Tear’s NamUs profile gives the date of disappearance as June 29, 2011. But this article has it as June 29, 2001.

One or the other of them is clearly wrong, but I’m damned if I know which. The difference is simply the slip of a finger, a typo. Oh, and ten full years.

I’m going with what NamUs says for now, but I wish I was more certain that was accurate. NamUs isn’t always correct. (Case in point: Tejin Thomas is still listed as a girl on there.)