Native American Heritage Month: Nathan Yazzie

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Nathan Francis Yazzie, who disappeared from Farmington, NM in March 2014. I don’t have tribal info for him.

Yeah, so on Namus and on the New Mexico DPS site, the date of his disappearance is given as March 12. However, Nathan, or someone posing as him, created a Facebook page on March 13 and made several posts that day and the following, including:

nyazzie

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The Facebook activity stopped March 14, at least publicly. A police blotter I found notes the date of his disappearance as March 31, which might explain where the “March 13” mistake came from; someone transposed the numbers and the error trickled down to all the other sources.

He remains listed as a missing person but I can’t find out much about him or his disappearance.

 

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Miriam Guillen

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 Miriam Daniela Guillen, who disappeared from Arleta, California on September 3, 2014, at the age of sixteen. She’s classified as a runaway.

Miriam’s hair was dyed blonde and cut in a mohawk at the time of her disappearance, and she has facial piercings, gauged ears and numerous tattoos. Her age-progression on her NCMEC poster shows what two of the tattoos are meant to look like: the spiderweb on her shoulder, and “HORROR” in large black letters on her upper chest. A pretty distinctive appearance.

Miriam is probably still alive, though she doesn’t seem to have surfaced on the radar in the past five years. She would be 21 today.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Agustin Zeferino

(I had pre-written cases for September 30 and October 1, using the app on my phone. I didn’t realize until very late on October 1 that neither of them went up, and in fact they seem to have vanished. I need to stop using that app to try to write entries; it never seems to work well. I am trying to reconstruct the entries from memory.)

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 Agustin Zeferino, who disappeared from Santa Barbara County, California on August 11, 2014. He was a farm worker, probably a migrant.

Zeferino’s case is kind of unusual and scary because he was undergoing treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis at the time of his disappearance, and he was supposed to take medication for up to two years.

Although he was asymptomatic and not contagious at the time of his disappearance, since he disappeared he’s obviously stopped the treatments and he would have become contagious again and started developing symptoms again. As Zeferino’s disease is a threat to public health, a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Without treatment, about there’s about a 50-50 chance that tuberculosis will kill you, unless you’re HIV positive that is, in which case it’s extremely lethal. The illness kills slowly; untreated, about one-third of patients die within two years and another third within five years. The person is ambulatory for most of that time — I think Edgar Allen Poe’s wife went dancing the same night her TB finally killed her — and spreading it everywhere they go.

I really really hope Zeferino is okay and just moved on, and that he has resumed his treatments wherever he is now, perhaps in another country. Because if he didn’t resume his treatment, he’s probably dead now, and he’s probably made other people sick.

Latest MP stuff in the news

So I wrote a blog entry on the WordPress app on my phone last night about latest missing persons news. But then the entry refused to upload, no matter how many times I tried to get it to. It wasn’t online at all, only on my phone, so I couldn’t even use my computer to upload it. Grr. Lot of time wasted. Now I will try my best to recreate it.

Some cold case missing persons have been resolved:

  • Edward “Ashton” Stubbs disappeared from Dickinson, North Dakota on June 17, 2013, a few days before his sixteenth birthday. He was from Texas and had gone up to North Dakota to stay with a cousin and work a summer job. He disappeared from his job site. Ashton’s skull was found on private property in Dickinson in December. It has just been identified. His death is under investigation.
  • Sheila Sherrell Franks, age 37, disappeared from Eureka, California on February 2, 2014. A woman of similar appearance, Danielle Bertolini, had disappeared a few days earlier, and people thought their cases might be connected. In 2015, Danielle’s skull was found in the Eel River. Now Sheila’s remains have been identified; her femur, or part of it, turned up in June, near the mouth of the Eel River. Unlike Danielle’s death, Sheila’s death has not (yet) been labeled a homicide, but it is considered “suspicious.”
  • Jo Anne Dolly Burmer has been identified, forty-six years after the 25-year-old disappeared in 1973. A fragment of her skull was found in 1993, but it wasn’t until 2017 that it was entered into the DNA database, and it wasn’t until now that there was a match. As nothing else has been found or is likely to be, probably we will never know what caused her death, but I wonder about exposure. This article is very detailed and talks about Jo Anne’s background and her son, who was put in foster care after her disappearance and later adopted by another family.

Some other news:

  • The police have a new lead on the possible identity of “Beth Doe”, a young pregnant woman who was raped and brutally murdered in 1976. Her body was dismembered, stuffed in three suitcases and thrown off a bridge into the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania. They think it’s possible that Beth Doe may be Madelyn “Maggie” Cruz, a sixteen-year-old foster child who ran away. They’re trying to find relatives of this Maggie Cruz to get DNA from them to test. I think it’s a long shot.
  • Georgia “Nadine” Kirk‘s son Ted has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for stealing his mom’s Social Security benefits after her disappearance and presumed death. Nadine was 98 years old and in poor health in 2010, the last time anyone saw her. She was reported missing in 2015, and Ted was unable to explain her absence. It seems likely that she simply died of age-related natural causes and Ted, who hadn’t worked since 1980, disposed of her body and kept cashing her checks. Fifteen months in prison, and $30k restitution, seems light, given the circumstances, and the fact that $80k in total was taken from taxpayers. Nadine’s body has never been found.
  • Bernard Brown, the ex-boyfriend of Moreira “Mo” Monsalve, has been charged with her murder. Moreira disappeared from Hawaii in 2014. Her body hasn’t been found and they haven’t said much about the case against Brown, but it seems likely it’ll be circumstantial and possibly include cell phone ping evidence. Murder-without-a-body cases aren’t that common in Hawaii (or anywhere) but other examples include Bongak “Jackie” Koja in 1997, Masumi Watanabe in 2007, and of course Peter Kema in 2017.
  • Nancy Beaumont has died at age 92, 53 years after her children Jane, Arnna and Grant disappeared at the respective ages of nine, seven and four. The Beaumont children have never been found and their disappearance is one of the most famous unsolved mysteries in Australia’s history. Their father, Grant “Jim” Beaumont, is alive, but is also in his nineties and I think it’s unlikely he will find answers on this side of the mortal plane.
  • The police have released a new sketch of one of Christine Eastin‘s abductors, based off of a recent witness description. I think that’s a reeaaaallly long shot. It’s a rough drawing, this witness’s memory is by now almost fifty years old, and at the time they apparently didn’t realize the significance of what they saw and so they probably took little notice of it. Christine disappeared in 1971 at the age of 19.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Noemi Gonzalez

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 Noemi Gonzalez, a 54-year-old woman who disappeared from North Miami, Florida on February 12, 2014. She wears glasses, has curly hair, and has a prominent mole/birthmark on her cheek.

Noemi was last seen by her son, whom she lived with, in the early morning hours. When he woke up later that morning she was gone. Her bed was unmade, the front door was unlocked and she hadn’t made any coffee as she usually did.

I wonder if she had a seizure and wandered off afterwards. She had epilepsy and I know people can get pretty confused after they have a seizure.

If still alive she’d be 59.

So, about competency for trial

After I shared an article on Charley’s Facebook page about how after years of psychiatric treatment and a second opinion, Catherine Hoggle is STILL mentally incompetent to stand trial in the murders of her children Sarah and Jacob, someone was asking questions about what it meant to be competent or incompetent to stand trial, so I thought I’d talk about that cause probably more than one person doesn’t know.

Basically, in order to face a criminal trial in the U.S. you have to be mentally capable of defending yourself. The barrier to this is not very high; you can have low intelligence and be severely mentally ill and still be competent to stand trial.

You have to know the basics of what a trial is, and the roles of everyone involved: the state says you broke X Law, the prosecutor is against you, the defense attorney is for you, the judge makes sure the trial is fair and legal, the witnesses tell what they know and the jury decides if you are in fact guilty of breaking X Law. A child could be made to understand these things.

You also have to be capable of working with your defense, and this part is what causes problems for people like Catherine Hoggle, who is incompetent to stand trial because of her mental illness.

Now, Catherine has schizophrenia and every psychiatrist who has tested her competency over the last few years, including the one the government recently hired for a second opinion on the matter, agrees she is not competent to stand trial but with treatment could become competent in the future. (She has recently been prescribed Clozapine, the last-resort Holy Grail of antipsychotic drugs which can work wonders for treatment-resistant schizophrenia.)

Speaking hypothetically here, if you are very intelligent and understand the mechanics of a trial and the roles of everyone involved, but you have a severe schizophrenic delusion that your defense attorney is actually an alien from the Planet Zog who only wants your brain for the Zog beings’ Museum of Humanoid Anatomy and will suck out your brain through your esophagus if you so much as part your lips in the attorney’s presence, obviously this is going to present severe problems in building your defense. If you genuinely believe your defense attorney is not actually on your side and only wants to steal your brain for alien naturalists to gawk at in a museum, you’re not going to be able to work with your attorney to come up with a defense in your upcoming murder trial. And the Constitution says the government can’t put you on trial if you are incapable of defending yourself.

So in order to make you competent, the government puts you in a secure psychiatric facility and has psychiatrists and therapists and other mental health clinicians treat you in hopes that you will eventually become well enough to cast aside the whole “Planet Zog wants my brain” delusion at least in part. The goal is just to get you to be able to talk to your defense and assist them in whatever strategy they’re going to use to defend you, and to know what’s going on with the trial and potential consequences.

So that’s my TED Talk on mental fitness for trial. Hope you found it illuminating.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Theresa Masurat

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 Theresa Masurat, who disappeared from Pasadena, California on August 22, 2014, at the age of 72. Per her brother, Theresa’s father was born in India and her mother in Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately I don’t have anything on Theresa’s disappearance. I think most or all of her family lives in Australia. She does have an IMDB entry, however, that mentions roles in two TV shows from the late 1960s.