Thoughts on updates of 3/18

Done 26 updates for today — so far. It’s only ten a.m. I’ve been working since around midnight and enjoying every minute of it.

I found a decent amount of information on baby Matthew Crocker‘s 1983 abduction. If there had been an Amber Alert back then, perhaps he would have been found.

The abductor claimed she had two children who died shortly after birth, which could go a long way towards explaining why she took Matthew. I’m not sure if the car was ever located. Anyway, the night there was a party at the house, and the adults all got drunk — except, perhaps, this “Kathy Johnson” person — and after everyone passed out she made off with the baby.

Chances are he’s alive and doesn’t know he’s missing. That concave chest is a good identifier. I wonder if there’s a guy out there, 35 out there, who isn’t sure who he is, who’s got a bit of a dent in his chest.

Keith Fleming‘s disappearance strikes me as so sad. That silky hair and those dark earnest eyes. Just a good-looking boy growing up into a young man. Having fun surfing, riding his bike, his first hit of weed, his first girlfriend — he gave her her first kiss the very night he disappeared.

I wonder if McRae really was involved, though. I mean, that would make the most sense, yes. But he knew Charles Collingwood and Kipling Hess; police were never able to prove he knew Keith, except perhaps by sight. And McRae’s wife said he told her he’d killed Charles and Kipling, but she didn’t say anything about Keith.

So, monster though McRae may have been, I’m not 100% sure he was the monster responsible for Keith’s disappearance. Though whatever happened to Keith must have been bad.

So was is whatever it was that happened to Andrew Dudley. NO ONE is going to literally run away while their Thanksgiving dinner is literally cooking in the kitchen.

Lloyd Gilsdorf‘s mom believed he was set up to be murdered. I think if that was the case it had to have been someone he knew. This was a pretty elaborate scheme if the aim was just to lure him to New Orleans so someone could kill him. Robbery couldn’t have been a motive; he was divorced, unemployed and broke.

I tried to be all professional-like when describing the circumstances of Rebecca Powell‘s death, but…wow. It filled me with some pretty unpleasant mental images, and that’s just reading the sanitized newspaper version. No wonder the trial testimony made a juror throw up.

I can’t say I think highly of any of the three men in that story. They all sounded like absolute scum, including the roommate who didn’t find out what happened till the next day but kept his mouth shut and pitched in to destroy evidence.

It doesn’t really seem fair that Fleming could have gotten a death sentence when his friend (who, by his own admission, witnessed the crime, didn’t report it, and helped clean up the scene and hide the body) got off scot-free, but of course without that friend’s testimony there would have been no case.

And that contractor in the Dock Thompson case sounds totally shady. I was surprised when I looked him up in the Florida DOC database and didn’t find him anywhere — I would have figured he’d have ended up in prison for SOMETHING after 1989, but he didn’t, at least not in Florida.

Black History Month: Dwayne Martin

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 Dwayne Edwin Martin, a Marine Corps veteran and diner employee who disappeared from North Little Rock, Arkansas on December 11, 1987. He was 23 years old.

There isn’t a lot of evidence available in this case, but foul play is suspected. Martin had just cashed a paycheck and may have had the money on him when he disappeared, but it wasn’t much, just $148. The inflation calculator says that would be about $317 today.

It’s uncharacteristic of Martin to leave without warning and he may have been involved with drugs. This case is being investigated as a possible homicide.

MP of the week: Patrice Smith

This week’s featured missing person is Patrice Lynae Smith, a 28-year-old missing from Little Rock, Arkansas since March 24, 2012. She was last seen in the company of Michael Curtis Robinson, her abusive boyfriend. She had an order of protection against him and he sounds like a general dirt bag.

Suspiciously, Michael Robinson disappeared at the same time Patrice Smith did, and later turned up without her. He was in prison last I knew though he might be out by now.

MP of the week (a day late, sorry): Lavorn Frye

This week’s featured missing person is Lavorn Frye, a twenty-year-old man who disappeared from Blytheville, Arkansas on September 30, 1991. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything more to report on his case.

I have another Executed Today entry that ran today: Sheyna Gram and the Jews of Preiļi. Preiļi being a small Latvian town whose Jewish population was almost entirely wiped out on this day in 1941. Sheyna Gram was a sixteen-year-old girl who kept a diary from the day of the German invasion of the Soviet Union until her death.

Unfortunately I’m really not doing very well at the moment. The last week or so has kicked my butt and I’m barely functioning. I’m sorry.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Some MP news highlights while I was gone:

  • Mark Duane Woodard has been found. Or rather, he was found in 1977, 23 months after his disappearance, but not identified till now. The aforementioned news link uses his Charley Project pic, and asked me permission first. (Thanks!) This link has another photo of him, a much better quality one, as well as more details about his disappearance. He was murdered, shot to death. His sister is the only surviving member of the immediate family.
  • In the state of Thuringia in central Germany they have found a missing girl, Peggy No-Last-Name-Released [edit: per a UK article supplied by a commenter, it’s Knobloch], who disappeared mysteriously fifteen years ago, at the age of nine. A mushroom picker found her bones in the forest nine miles from Peggy’s hometown of Lichtenberg. According to this article and one other I found about the case, this had been a murder-without-a-body (MWAB) case: In 2004, a mentally disabled man was convicted of Peggy’s murder. He was later acquitted in a retrial due to lack of evidence after a key witness retracted his statement.
  • Corry Ehlers, a guy who disappeared while hiking in Utah in 2012, has also been found deceased. His skeletal remains, found “in a steep, rocky spot near Alta Ski Resort” last summer, were identified in late June. They think Corry fell off a cliff.
  • Three days ago it was fifteen years since sisters Diamond and Tionda Bradley vanished mysteriously from Chicago. The Chicago Tribune has done an anniversary article about it, with quotes from Diamond and Tionda’s two other sisters, Rita and Victoria: The girls disappeared just a day before Victoria Bradley’s ninth birthday. Until recent years, Bradley, who turns 24 on Thursday, said she was unable to celebrate her birthday because of her depression over the anniversary of their disappearance. I have not updated the girls’ casefiles in over a decade, and last time was just to add some more pics. I will give a look and see if I can find any developments that have taken place in the intervening years.
  • Two more recent anniversaries: eleven years since Stacy Ann Aragon and her boyfriend Steven Bishop disappeared from Arizona (see article; Stacy has been reported missing but it appears Steven has not been), and ten years since Roxanne Paltauf disappeared (article) from Texas.
  • The NCMEC reports that two of my oldest family abduction cases have been resolved, with the children located alive. One was Jacquelina Ann Gomez, who was abducted from Illinois by her father in 1992 at the age of 3. She would be 27 now, 28 in September.
  • The other case involves two brothers who disappeared with their mother and stepfather from Blairsville, Georgia in 1996, when the boys were 2 and 3. A day or so before I left for Minneapolis I got contacted by a very excited reporter who ran a story on Rick Tyler, a man who’s running for Congress under the odious slogan “Make America White Again.” She said after she ran the story she was deluged with emails from people who believed Rick Tyler was probably the same Rick Tyler who was listed as the missing Blairsville kids’ stepfather. She also said the police were now claiming that the boys’ mom DID have custody of them when they disappeared, after all. Well, then the day I left Minneapolis I got an NCMEC notice saying the boys were recovered. I’m not going to say their names on here or put them on the resolved page because I’m not sure about the custody issue, but it should be easy enough to determine who they are from the info I just provided.
  • The state of Arkansas has a brand shiny new MP database with 510 people on it, many whose names I don’t recognize. I am very happy about this. I believe every state should have their own publicly searchable online database, as large and comprehensive as possible. Many of the people listed in this new database have no pics though. I hope this situation improves.
  • Morgan Keyanna Martin, a pregnant teenager who disappeared in 2012, is now considered a MWAB case. Jacobee Flowers, the father of the unborn child, has been charged with her murder. Homicide is the most common non-natural cause of death for pregnant women in the US and from what I have read, all around the world, the murder of pregnant women — usually by their baby’s father — is a universal problem.
  • HuffPo has published a photo essay about the 1998 disappearance of SUNY-Albany student Suzanne Lyall. It’s a mysterious case; no obvious suspects, no answers. 19 years old, promising future, and then gone.
  • Kidnap survivor Jaycee Dugard has been in the news again, going on TV and talking about how her life’s going and how she’s raising the two daughters she had with her kidnapper Philip Garrido. The link I just gave provides lots of news articles to read, more than I can summarize here. But here’s one quote from this article to show what a resilient woman and amazing mother Jaycee was and still is: As she and her daughters grew older, Dugard said she planted a flower in front of the shed and set up a little school to teach them as much as she could with only her fifth-grade education. “They’re so resilient, and they’re beautiful and loving, and I’m really lucky,” she said. Dugard has protected her daughters’ privacy and said some of their friends don’t even know of their past. She said the three of them are able to talk about what happened with each other.

Flashback Friday: Francis Wells

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Francis Loretta Heath Wells, who disappeared somewhere between Crossett, Arkansas and El Paso, Texas. She boarded a bus in Crossett bound for El Paso on August 13, 1974; her luggage arrived there but she didn’t.

Google Maps says it’s a 955-mile trip between the two cities. I don’t have anything else on Francis’s disappearance and to make matters worse, the only photo I’ve got is both of poor quality and 20 years out of date.

If she’s still alive, Francis would be 86 years old today.

Found some stuff, finally, on Thomas Michael Rettew

Thomas Michael “Mikey” Rettew disappeared from Salem, Arkansas on September 1, 2002. I had almost nothing on his disappearance before today: only that he might be with “an adult female relative” in her car. It was very frustrating, as he’s been missing a long time and he was only four years old. He’d be seventeen now.

Well, I Googled his name again and found this Topix thread. Per the posts, Thomas disappeared with his mother, Angela Christine Mack, possibly from Missouri rather than Arkansas, and neither of them have been heard from in years.

Unfortunately, I can’t put this information on his casefile. I’ve got a policy against using uncorroborated information from Topix.

I’d love to get some corroboration from some other source. Mikey deserves more than “Few details are available in his case.”

MP of the week: Minnie Taylor

This week’s featured missing person is Minnie Evette Taylor, 33, missing from El Dorado, Arkansas since May 26, 2002. I have very little on her case: only that she might go by her middle name, and her case may be related to the similar disappearance of Jacenthia Robinson.

For Minnie Evette Taylor, I can’t find any recent news on her, but I did do some digging on NewsLibrary and turned up a few old articles. She wasn’t reported missing for a month; a “concerned friend” filed the report. She and the aforementioned Jacenthia had “personal vices which would have put them at risk.” I’ll have to update their cases.

I’ve been trying to stay away from updates and the computer in general right now on account of my shoulder, choosing to read instead or use my tablet. But I keep managing to irritate it anyway. Like, the weather lately has been horrible and this morning, after we put out the recycling for pickup and Michael went to work, the wind and rain blew the bin over and spilled half its contents and I had to go outside, pick it up and put everything back inside it. Then I realized the same thing had happened to a neighbor’s bin and no one was home there, and I couldn’t very well leave it lying there with garbage scattered all over their sidewalk and front yard, so I had to pick up that one too.

Ibuprofen etc. nonwithstanding, my shoulder hurt for the rest of the day. It was just starting to feel better come evening but then I had to wash the dishes and it got irritated again as a result. It hurts now for that matter. Or not exactly pain but another sensation, a constant sense of awareness of the shape of my shoulder and the way the bones and ligaments and muscles everything fit together. I keep picturing it in my mind. My doctor won’t give me proper pain medication because if my shoulder doesn’t hurt, I’ll keep using it like I normally do, and make whatever is wrong with it worse.

The bigger problem is that I just can’t use my shoulder and arm the way I always have. Not only does it hurt, I simply can’t physically use it. Like, Michael’s and my key ring pegboard is on the wall right at level with the top of my head. You can’t reach it from the front because there’s a table in front of it. You have to reach it from the side. I can lift my arm straight up (for awhile), or straight to the side, but not both up and sideways at the same time, not very high anyway. I keep automatically reaching for my keys with my right hand and then remembering: wait, I can’t do that, use the left hand. It’s annoying.

I’m seeing the orthopedist Wednesday.

MP of the week added, a day late

This week’s featured missing person is Domanick Still, missing from Wynne, Arkansas since 2009. He was 27 years old at the time. I don’t have much on him.

Michael had made some changes to my computer, and after that I couldn’t get my graphics program to load. It crashed every time I tried. I couldn’t update as I wasn’t able to do the necessary cropping and editing of pictures. Well, I finally fixed it. I just reinstalled the program and it works fine now. Go figure. So anyway, I should be able to update now.

Two Peas in a Pod: Overlapping Disappearances in Pea Ridge Arkansas


aprildawnandrews Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, quaintly-named Pea Ridge Arkansas boasts a population of approximately five thousand souls
residing on streets named for Civil War dead—the Confederate loss at The Battle of Pea Ridge
is considered by military historians to be the linchpin of the Union’s conquest of Northern Arkansas and Missouri.
Aside from the region’s storied history in the War of Northern Aggression there’s not much
to attract outsiders to the environs; the most exciting local event is the annual Pea Ridge Mule Jump,
a bizarre combination rodeo/steeplechase which features the notoriously balky creatures barrel racing
and lumbering over obstacles. As the event’s exclamation-laden website states:

“Realize, too, that mules do not like to jump!
That fact alone creates an atmosphere
ripe with laughter as the handlers work to
coax their mules over the burlap barriers,
some as high as 6½ feet!”

It seems to defy logic that this sparsely-populated…

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