This week’s featured missing person is Anita Mary Luchessa, an 18-year-old college student who disappeared from Berkeley, California on May 7, 1972.
What happened to her is not a mystery: she was a victim of the serial killer Ed Kemper. Anita and a friend, Mary Anne Pesce, were hitchhiking when he picked them up. He later said he strangled and stabbed both of them to death, dismembered their bodies and dumped them near Loma Prieta Mountain. Mary Anne’s skull was found on the mountain in August 1972, but Anita has never been located.
Sometimes people ask me why I have cases on the Charley Project of people who are obviously deceased. Two reasons:
- To help identify them, if their remains are found.
- In memory of them.
If Anita Luchessa had not been murdered fifty years ago, she would be 68 today.
This week’s featured missing person is Barry Miles Pruett, who disappeared from Redding, California on January 5, 2008, at the age of 28. I’ve got two available photos of him: in one he is clean-cut, military even were it not for the goatee, and in the other he’s quite unkempt and looks like a homeless person.
There’s no reason to suppose Barry’s dead: although he hasn’t had contact with his family since his disappearance, he is known to have been alive (if not well) in El Paso, Texas in 2009 and 2010. El Paso is where he’d told his family he was heading, and it’s 1,346 miles from Redding.
Pruett suffers from the double whammy of both bipolar disorder (characteristic by drastic mood swings) and schizophrenia (characterized by psychosis) and may not even know who he is anymore. My guess is he’s living in a homeless community somewhere, perhaps even still in El Paso.