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.

MP of the week: Aubrina Mack

This week’s featured missing person is Aubrina Nicole Mack, a 21-year-old African-American woman who disappeared from Montgomery, Alabama on August 15, 2006. She went out for a walk to a nearby street and never came back. She would be 35 today if still alive.

I was never able to find much about the circumstances of her case, but she had kids she left behind, and her family doesn’t think she would have done that on purpose. I tried to find out more about her disappearance on social media but didn’t turn up much, other than this 2011 Facebook page from Aubrina’s sister. It looks like her nickname was Nikki.

I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe, and staying home if possible. I don’t personally know anyone who has died but have read about so many, and a friend’s cousin passed away last week from suspected COVID-19.

Michael and I are dutifully obeying the stay-at-home order and I’ve ordered some masks for when we have to be around other people. They say Kleenex and paper towels make good filters.

Michael has found out he has to resume teaching next week. The state governor closed all the schools for the rest of the academic year, but the place Michael teaches at is classified as a residential treatment center, not a school. It’s for kids with severe emotional/behavioral problems, and due to safety issues (mainly that the children are prime targets for sex traffickers) the students are not allowed internet access. So online schooling isn’t an option, but they still have a right to an education, and they’re not doing very well right now with their routine disrupted. And so the teachers must return and resume lessons.

I am very apprehensive about this development and can only hope the place handles this as safely as is possible.

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

MP of the week: Deandre Brown

This week’s featured missing person is Deandre Nativoni Brown, a 22-year-old who disappeared from Jasper, Alabama on July 29, 2005.

It doesn’t look good for him: witnesses heard shots fired, the police found Brown’s bloodstained clothing, and the vehicle he was driving was found abandoned and burned.

Black History Month: Emmetta Dumas

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 Emmetta Jean Dumas, a 32-year-old woman who disappeared from Fairfield, Alabama on August 1, 1980.

That day she had plans to meet with her estranged husband so they could go shoe shopping for their daughter. Emmetta’s husband said they did go out, bought the shoes, grabbed a hamburger and went back to Emmetta’s apartment, and she was alive and well when he last saw her. She had plans to have dinner with her ex-husband, who said she never showed up.

As my casefile explains,

When Emmetta’s sister drove to her home the next day, Emmetta’s car was in the driveway and her infant daughter was naked and crying, alone, on the floor inside. Nearby was an empty bottle and a dirty diaper.

Emmetta’s keys and a bedspread were missing from the home, and Emmetta’s sister smelled a chemical odor which she thought might be ether. The carpet had fresh stains, but police said the stains weren’t blood. The house was locked; the front door had to be locked with a key both inside and out.

That sounds…ominous. It sounds very much like the young mother was murdered that day, possibly in a domestic violence incident, but it’s been almost forty years and I don’t know if there will ever enough evidence to bring charges or if the person who did it is even still alive. I feel sorry for the little girl who had to grow up with no mother.

Unfortunately Emmetta is not, as of this writing, in NamUs or any other database that I know of, save my own.

Black History Month: Yolanda Jean Maull

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 Yolanda Jean Maull, who disappeared from Birmingham, Alabama on May 26, 1982, at the age of thirty.

Yolanda was in the process of a divorce at the time of her disappearance. She spoke to her attorney at 9:00 that morning. She was supposed to attend a court hearing about the divorce later that day, but never showed up. Her car was found abandoned.

Given the timing, one inevitably wonders whether her husband was somehow involved. But no charges have been filed against anyone, and it’s been a very long time since anyone heard from Yolanda.

Let’s talk about it: Felicia “Lisa” Weaver

This week’s “let’s talk about it” case is a recent one, Felicia Ann “Lisa” Weaver, who disappeared just a little over two years ago. At the relatively young age of 52 she was in the end stages of COPD, a progressive and incurable breathing condition; she was no longer able to care for herself and her family was considering hospice care. She was living with her ex-husband and three kids at the time of her disappearance, and they were taking care of her.

On the day of Lisa’s disappearance, the house caught fire and burned to the ground, killing the family’s three dogs, but there was no sign of Lisa in the ashes. Last I knew the cause of the fire remained unknown, though I’m sure Lisa’s bottled oxygen was a contributing factor. The police and fire officials don’t think she was at home at the time, but her family said she simply wasn’t physically capable of leaving on her own.

The family’s Facebook page about the case states:

We had every reason to believe that…Lisa Weaver was inside the home at the time of the fire. We still have no reason to believe she left on her own free will. After numerous searches by dozens of firefighters, the State Fire Marshall, as well as cadaver dogs and helicopter it was determined that Lisa was not in the home.

This is quite a peculiar case and I’m not sure a crime occurred, but certainly her family deserves to learn her fate, get her back and bury her decently.