Twelve-year-old missing for four months is classified as a runaway, and other stories

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Mine was pretty good. Very quiet of course, cause of covid.

In California: the body of Barbara Thomas, a 69-year-old woman who disappeared hiking in the Mojave Desert in 2019, has been found in the desert near Essex.

In Louisiana: they’re still looking for David Claude Yeager, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Shreveport in 1971, and there’s little indication as to what happened to him. His cousin has created a Facebook page for him.

In Missouri: they’re still looking for Cheryl Anne Scherer, a 19-year-old girl who disappeared from Scott City in 1979. The article doesn’t have a lot in terms of information, just focuses on her family’s pain and grief.

In New York: they’re still looking for Jaylen Griffin, a 12-year-old boy who disappeared under unclear circumstances from Buffalo in August. The police have this preteen listed as a runaway.

In Ohio: they’re still looking for Mary Jane Vangilder, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared from Willard in 1945. They’re going to check some Jane Does and see if any of them are her.

In Pennsylvania: Justo Smoker, who had previously been charged with Linda Stoltzfoos’s kidnapping, has been charged with her murder as well. Linda, an 18-year-old Amish girl, disappeared while walking home from church in Lancaster County back in June. She has never been found. Smoker was arrested on the kidnapping charges in July.

In Texas: they’re still looking for Patty Inez Brightwell Vaughan, a 32-year-old woman who disappeared from La Vernia on Christmas Day, 1996. She went missing after an argument with her estranged husband, who is the prime suspect in her case, but he has never been charged.

In Virginia: they’re still looking for two people missing from the Richmond area: Stephanie Collette Wallace, a 45-year-old woman who went missing from Richmond in 2005, and Robert Lee Hourihan, a 33-year-old man who disappeared from Palmyra in 2011. They also are hoping to identify a white or Hispanic man whose skeletal remains were found near a vacant apartment in Highland Springs in 2014.

In Australia: they’re still looking for Russell Hill and Carol Clay, who disappeared while on a camping trip in the Wonnangatta Valley in eastern Victoria back in May. They are believed to have been murdered.

In Canada: they’re still looking for Melanie Ethier, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house in her small Ontario town in 1996. Melanie’s birthday is on Christmas Day.

Article Dump IV

From Alabama: Fancie Eller disappeared from Marshall County just before Thanksgiving 2018, and her family is still looking for her. The police say they’ve run out of leads. The fact that she had no cell phone, debit card or permanent address means she doesn’t have much of a paper trail to pick up on. I had not previously heard of this case.

From Indiana: in Fort Wayne, my city of residence, the police are trying to find two different missing people who vanished this year. (The cases are unrelated.) Roger Henry, 60, disappeared on January 14, and Suprina L. Wayne, 48, went missing sometime in early November. Suprina actually went missing from Bluffton, Indiana, but may be in Fort Wayne.

Also from Indiana: they’re still looking for Shannon Orton, a 37-year-old mother of two who disappeared from Hobart in July. She wasn’t actually reported missing until September 30, as she’d previously been out of touch with family for as long as a month at a time.

From Michigan: D’Wan Christian Sims disappeared from Livonia on December 7, in 1994. His mother, D’Wanna, has not been named as a suspect in his case (and neither has anyone else) but she said he disappeared from the mall and not only did no witnesses see him there, but he didn’t show up on any of the surveillance cameras either. Anyway, D’Wanna died in North Carolina recently. Per this article, cause of death was a heart attack.

From New Mexico: this article about how there’s a serious lack of resources and coordination when it comes to looking for Native American women who’ve gone missing.

From North Carolina: They’re still looking for Daniel Allan Price, aka Danny, who disappeared on January 23, 2019, after leaving a “very long, but disturbing” voice message for his mom. His two roommates, Natasha Myers and Christopher Burgess, went missing at the same time but returned home without Price a few days later, saying they’d taken a short trip out of state and didn’t know where Price was.

From Ohio: The police announced they were trying to identify this guy in the 2009 disappearance of a seventeen-year-old girl from Alliance, last seen on June 2, 2009. They didn’t call him a suspect, they just said they thought he had information. A day after they initially published their appeal and his photo, the man was identified. Though the article doesn’t identify the girl, the details it does give make it easy to determine that she is Glenna Jean White, who is listed as a runaway and needs medication. It hasn’t been said whether the alleged witness provided anything helpful in the case.

From Pennsylvania: Eric Wayne Pyles, age 12, disappeared twenty years ago yesterday from Union Township. He had some emotional/behavioral issues and a history of running away, but the police no longer believe his December 2000 disappearance was voluntary.

From South Carolina: Brittanee Drexel‘s disappearance is going to be on CNN’s Headline News channel show “Real Life Nightmares” at 10:00 p.m. this evening. The 17-year-old was last seen on April 15, 2009, when she took a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach without her parents’ knowledge and vanished, possibly abducted by human traffickers.

Also from South Carolina: the remains of Aeron Buchanan Young, a 58-year-old woman, were found in a wooded area on South Gregg Street in Columbia. Young had gone missing in February 2019. Her death is under investigation.

From Texas: in my previous article dump I’d listed an article about the disappearance of Scott Andreas “Andy” Sims, an eleven-year-old who went missing from Wichita Falls on December 9, 1961. Well, there’s another article, which has more info on the case including a photo of Andy that I’d never seen before.

From Washington State: the true crime podcast Hide and Seek, which I had never heard of, will be covering the 2016 disappearance of Logan Drew Schiendelman from Tumwater for their second season. The first season covered the 2009 disappearance of Nancy Kareen Moyer from Tenino. The podcasters hope to release the first episode of Season Two sometime this month.

From Australia: They’re re-opening the long-since-cold investigation into the disappearance and presumed murder of Sharron Phillips. She was last seen on May 8, 1986 in Brisbane. There’s new evidence and an inquest will begin in March.

Also from Australia: this article about the disappearance of Kim Hoa Tran, who disappeared from South Australia on August 23, 1985. She had gone to Lyell McEwin Hospital in north Adelaide to be treated for a migraine. She called her father and asked him to come and get her, as she’d been discharged, but when he arrived she wasn’t there. Her younger sister, now 40, is offering a $20,000 reward for information. Kim was a Vietnamese immigrant with no papers, and the private detective her sister hired says he doesn’t even know her exact age or if “Kim Hoa Tran” was her legal name. The Daily Mail says she was somewhere between 16 and 18.

From Canada: The police have arrested Joseph Thauberger for the murder of his brother Patrick Thauberger, 53, who went missing from Regina, Saskatchewan in September 1997. His body has never been found.

From South Africa: There is a podcast on the unsolved disappearance of nine-year-old Matthew Ohlsson from Mitchells Plain. He was last seen on March 24, 1997.

Article Dump III

The Washington Post has done a three-part feature, called Indifferent Justice, on the serial killer Samuel Little. He is confirmed to have had over fifty victims, including former Charley Project missing person Mary Gertrude Brosley, and claims he’s killed as many as ninety-three. Part One: The Perfect Victim. Part Two: Through the Cracks. Part Three: Still Unsolved.

Discover Magazine has done this article that isn’t about missing persons may be of interest to y’all: What Explains the Decline of Serial Killers? Me, I have noticed a rise in mass murders in the past few decades and wonder if perhaps some of the people who might have been serial killers have decided to become mass murderers instead. Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2014, comes to mind as the sort of person who could have turned into a serial killer if he hadn’t taken the mass murder route instead.

Dateline is now honoring seven years of doing their Missing in America thing. 156 of the people featured on Missing in America are still missing.

From California: Woman Missing Out of Arcata since January; Mother and Law Enforcement Seek Information. The woman is named Jennifer Lynn Dulin and was last seen January 10.

Also from California: Missing Pico Rivera Woman Carolina Martinez Found After 5 Months. She was found alive (I think), but no other info is available.

From Colorado: Glenwood Springs teen Daniela Trejo-Noyola reported missing since September. She is 16 and was last seen on September 8. She will be 17 soon.

From Florida: Brevard County deputies search for missing woman last seen more than 1 year ago. Tara Coppola was last seen in West Melbourne on September 12, 2019.

From Iowa: Person of interest in missing-girl case set for trial on unrelated charges. The missing girl in question is Breasia Terrell missing from Davenport since July 10. She was ten at the time and would be eleven now, if still alive.

From Missouri: Missouri woman desperate to find mother Echo Lloyd who has been missing since Mother’s Day. Echo has been missing since May.

From North Carolina: Fayetteville police looking for woman missing since September. Heather Nichole Holmes was last seen on September 28.

From Ohio: Youngstown police seek info on man they just found out has been missing since 1969. The man is named Frank Cerimele and he was 21 years old when he went missing.

From Pennsylvania: Family & Friends Of Missing 22-Year-Old Tonee Turner Hold Silent Walk. She disappeared from the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh on December 30, 2019.

From South Carolina: Human remains found in Murrells Inlet park in 2018 identified as missing man. The man, David Scott Woolslayer, is listed on the Charley Project; I’ll resolve his case.

From Tennessee: Retired homicide investigator taking on two missing persons cases out of Dunlap. Tiffany Diane Holbert, missing since June 13, 2018, and Matthew Tyler Henry, missing since April 15, 2018. Though they both disappeared from the same town just a few months apart, the cases aren’t believed to be related.

From Texas: 33-year-old veteran missing from Houston home since October, mother says. The man, Marshall Powell, was last seen on October 23.

Also from Texas: Crime Of The Week: Cold case missing person last seen in 1961. Eleven-year-old Scott Andreas “Andy” Sims was last seen in Wichita Falls on December 9, 1961 — that’s 59 years ago tomorrow.

From Wisconsin: MPD: Plea for help in search for woman missing since Oct. 2016. Jamie Lee Hoaglan was last seen in Milwaukee on October 20, 2016.

From Australia: Missing kids campaign: “We’re frozen in time”. About the 1968 disappearances of sixteen-year-old Maureen Braddy and seventeen-year-old Allan Whyte, who disappeared after going out together to a dance at the YMCA in Bendigo, Victoria.

Also from Australia: Human remains found in bushland believed be missing NSW woman. Allecha Boyd has been missing from Coolamon, New South Wales since August 10, 2017; they found remains in the woods near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and think they’re hers.

From Canada: Remains found in 2009 identified as missing Penticton man. James “Jim” Neufeld disappeared from Penticton, British Columbia in January 2009. His remains were pulled from the Salish Sea about half a mile north of Orcas Island off the Washington coast a few months later, but not identified till now.

From Ireland: Ireland’s missing people: 823 cases remain ‘open’ with the Garda.

From Mexico: The Search for the Disappeared Points to Mexico’s Darkest Secrets. Apparently as a result of the drug war, Mexico now has more missing persons than Guatemala, El Salvador and Argentina do.

From the UK: Fears of rise in Christmas missing people rates due to lockdown.

Also from the UK: Mum of missing Saltdean teen Owen Harding prepares for Christmas. Owen was sixteen when he went for a walk on March 26, three days into the UK’s national coronavirus lockdown, and never returned. This was in Saltdean, a coastal village in the city of Brighton and Hove, England.

Another article dump, stuff I would normally have posted on Facebook

Madeleine McCann investigators to keep searching for missing girl until ‘all possibilities have been exhausted’

Authorities end search in river for missing Columbia woman (Mengqi Ji Elledge, who disappeared from Missouri in October 2019)

Three suspects charged with murder after remains found of missing woman (Melanie Steele, who disappeared from Savannah, Georgia in September 2019)

FBI asks for information on missing Iowa girl’s birthday (Breasia Terrell, who disappeared from Davenport, Iowa in July this year)

Missing man last seen at Orlando bus station months ago, police say, (Stanford Knight, who disappeared in August)

HLN Special Examines Case of Timmothy Pitzen, Missing Boy Whose Mom Wrote Taunting Suicide Note (Timmothy’s case on Charley is here, he went missing from Wisconsin in 2011)

Final Sentencing Set For Ohio Man Who Claimed To Be Long-Missing Child From Illinois (he pretended to be Timmothy Pitzen, see above)

Cops seek help finding woman missing for nearly 2 years (Robin Best-Bey, who disappeared from Buena Borough, New Jersey in February 2019)

Police search for Houston woman who went missing nearly 4 months ago (Micaela Helene Roberson, last seen August 15)

Friend says woman found dead at Fort Myers apartments disappeared 2 years ago (Cassandra Clermont)

Missing kids campaign: “I used to talk to her picture on the mantelpiece” (Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon, missing from Adelaide, Australia since 1973

B.C. couple in final bid to bring children of their missing daughter back to Canada (kids are not named, but their mother is Kimberlee Kasatkin, missing since since 2016; this is a murder-without-a-body case in Peru)

Daughters still desperate for answers 20 years after mother disappeared from Florida home under suspicious circumstances (Geanna Jones, missing from Jacksonville since 2000)

Officials identify Baby Jane Doe found dead in 1982; suspect is deceased (the baby was also called Delta Dawn, her body was found in Mississippi; her real name is Alisha Ann Heinrich, she’s from Missouri, and her mother, Gwendolyn Mae Clemons, has not been seen since Alisha’s body was found)

WC toddler identified in MS cold case (same case as above)

Delta Dawn and her mother identified as Missouri woman, child missing since 1982 (same case as above)

Reminder: DPS Seeking Information in Refugio County Cold Case Homicide (unidentified woman whose remains were found in Texas in 1992)

Outstanding Indigenous Woman: Meet Cheryl Horn, advocate for families of MMIW victims

Brother of man missing for 73 years still ‘bewildered’ (James “Jimmy” O’Neill, who disappeared from County Waterford, Ireland in 1947)

National Missing Persons Day: ‘You don’t ever give up hope’ (more about missing people from Ireland)

Searching for the disappeared: the challenges facing Mexico’s search commissioner

Spalding authorities excavating wells in missing persons case (Spalding County, Georgia, but they haven’t said which case)

Son Determined To Find What Happened To Mother Who’s Been Missing For 34 Years (Rogene “Jeannie” Annette Helm, missing from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma since October 1986)

Family, missing persons group offers $5,000 reward in missing Florence man case (Tracy Herion, missing from Florence, South Carolina since January 2020)

Article out of Australia about the reasons people walk away

Thought I’d give a shout-out to this article, where they talk about some of the reasons people choose to walk out of their lives. The information was obtained through interviews with Australian people who had done this and then returned. The article notes that

Nearly all missing persons (97%) return within two weeks, which causes these cases to be seen, by both the public and , as simple search operations. Viewing missing persons in this way ignores the underlying issues that trigger disappearances, making prevention strategies more difficult to put in place.

Most of the people who were interviewed said they left during “periods of distress or poor mental health, as well as in response to trauma in their families.” Half of them returned of their own accord and half were found by the police. Support services ought to be provided when they get back, but rarely are.

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.

Follow-up on my previous post

Remember my previous blog post about the missing lady whom I believed was Aboriginal Australian? Well, I’ve heard from her brother again. I asked him directly if she was Aboriginal and he says not: she is of Sri Lankan and Indian descent.

But he also said:

I rang up your place at [a Burbank, California phone number] on 30th may 17 and spoke to a lovely lady called Jeanette. She took down my details and said she would get in touch with social security and try to find out about [his sister] but I haven’t heard back from her. Would you be able to just remind jeanette about this please and see if she can follow it up ??. Appreciate your Help as days are approaching fast ( I will be in L.A in 10 days time) and it would be nice if I can meet her.

Um…what? Jeanette who?

I think I’ll have to call this number himself and see if I can find out who on earth he spoke to. I’ll have to wait awhile, though, because right now it’s 3:00 a.m. California time.

Not sure what to do with this information

While I was in Poland I got an email from the brother of a missing woman. He explained that he lived in Australia, and he knew his sister had gone missing in California a number of years ago, and he was visiting California in June, and did I have any information about her disappearance?

I did not. But the information in his email provided an answer to something I’d wondered about in relation to her case.

The woman had an unusual appearance to me. She had very dark skin and sort of looked like she was black, but I didn’t think she actually was. She certainly didn’t look white. The California Department of Justice had her classified as “other Asian” but that didn’t mean much to me. I wondered if she might be a Pacific Islander, but CDOJ actually has a “Pacific Islander” classification and they hadn’t put her in it.

When the man said he was Australian, it suddenly hit me: this woman is almost certainly aboriginal — the very first on the Charley Project if I’m not mistaken. I checked out photos of aboriginal Australians and she looks very much like them.

So now what do I call her? Should I perhaps list her as “Pacific Islander” and explain she’s of aboriginal descent?

This particular detail could turn out to be very important if her body is found — there can’t be that many aboriginal Australian UIDs in North America.

Australian woman found over 50 years after she disappeared

In late 1962, a Melbourne, Australia woman named Janina Wojcik told her husband she was going away on an extended vacation. She was in her forties at the time. A few months later, she still hadn’t sent word or returned home, so her family reported her missing. The investigation went nowhere, the case went cold and Janina’s husband eventually died without ever finding out what happened to her.

Well, the police just confirmed that they’ve located Janina and she died in Canberra, Australia (something like six and a half hours’ drive from Melbourne) of natural causes in 2010, at the age of 87.

Janina was used to moving around: she became a displaced person in Europe in World War II, then emigrated to Australia. It appears she left with another man, whom she married in 1977, and they lived together until his death in 1994. There is no mention of any children from her first marriage, and by the time of her second I would think she’d have been too old.

As longtime readers of this blog well know, I think walking out on your family without even leaving a goodbye note saying it’s not foul play is an awful thing to do. But I am trying to cut Janina some slack here: she was a victim of war, apparently traumatized; one of the articles quoted a niece saying she “suffered from paranoia.” I’m glad, anyway, that from all appearances she went to a better life and wasn’t murdered.

This reminds me of similar cases where adults left of their own accord and turned up many decades later, and they’re either alive and well or they lived out their lives and died at a ripe old age years before: the Rains-Kracman/Uphoff case, the Gavin case, the Johnson case, etc.

A few articles:

Woman who vanished from her Melbourne home 54 years is found dead aged 87 in Canberra

Police say missing Altona woman died in Canberra six years ago

Mysterious Altona woman disappeared and created a new life for herself interstate

Quotes in Australian media

Back when the girls in Cleveland were located, I got contacted by a whole bunch of different media people wanting to interview me. One of those was from Australia. I spoke to the reporter on the phone but never heard back from him as to what had been published, so I figured he hadn’t used my material. (That happens sometimes: not everyone who gets interviewed by a news source gets published. It’s like how if you’re researching a paper or a book you’re writing, you’re not going to use every source you come across.)

Well, I stumbled across quotes my Australian interview while looking for something else. It appears they used it after all, and just forgot to tell me about it. Here it is: The World Today: Finding missing women alive a rare occurrence.

I’m pleased that my quotes are included in the same article as Elizabeth Smart’s. I admire her very much.

This makes four continents I’ve been in the news at: North America of course, and Europe (I got interviewed by a TV station in Paris after the Cleveland girls story broke), and South America (in May 2012 I got interviewed by a TV station in Colombia) and now Australia. There remains Asia and Africa. And, I suppose, Antarctica, but what are the chances of that ever happening?