Native American Heritage Month: Gregory Bryan

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 Gregory Ralph Bryan Jr., a 23-year-old member of the Paiute Tribe who disappeared from Del Norte County, California on August 1, 2009.

Bryan wanted to be a professional musician, and there are reports that he got involved in drugs in order to finance his music career, but I don’t know if that’s ever been confirmed. Whatever the case, he is described as a reliable person and it would be unlike him to just drop out of sight.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Ana Guevara Valdez

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 Ana Daisy Guevara Valdez, missing from Los Angeles, California. Very little is known about the case, even the exact date she was last seen. Only the year is known: 1974. She was about twenty.

I think Ana might have been an immigrant. She was working in Los Angeles and kept in regular touch with her family, until suddenly she didn’t anymore. I’m not sure how much time passed before they reported her missing.

Ana would be about 64 if she is still alive. But no one has heard from her in over four decades.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Gabriela 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 Gabriela Leticia Gonzalez, a fourteen-year-old girl who disappeared from San Diego, California on April 5, 2002. That day she skipped school for the third day in a row and took off to visit her boyfriend, Juan Vera.

Although she was written off as a runaway at first, so many years have passed that the cops are wondering if something bad happened to Gabriela. She’d be 31 now and has been missing longer than she had been alive.

Vera, who was abusive and has gang affiliations, is a possible suspect. Police looked for Gabriela’s body in the Otay River, but turned up nothing. Last I heard, Vera was in prison, but that was quite awhile ago. I’m not sure what he’s up to nowadays.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Henrietta Cruz Avila

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 Henrietta Geck Cruz Avila, a seventeen-year-old missing from Santa Ana, California. This is a very old case, from 1960. 58 years ago.

Henrietta married a few months before her disappearance; it wasn’t at all unusual at that time for teenagers to marry. She had only known her husband, Merle Avila, for a month or so, and he was 24.

The circumstances of her disappearance are unclear, but I think it’s quite likely that Henrietta met with foul play around the time of her disappearance or shortly thereafter, and that her killer or someone acting on the killer’s behalf made attempts to make her family believe she was alive and well.

I cannot imagine why a girl who had run away would come back and leave some of her clothes — and underclothes at that — sitting in her parents’ driveway. But I can well imagine that a killer, trying to confuse the investigation, would do so. In fact, I know of a documented case where something similar happened: a woman whose daughter was supposedly abducted got mailed one of the little girl’s mittens. Nothing else was in the envelope. It turned out the mother had killed her daughter and mailed the mitten to herself.

Sadly, after so many years I doubt Henrietta’s disappearance can be solved. I wonder if the police have talked to Merle Avila at all over the years, or know where he is now or if he’s still alive.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Jose Mendez 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 Jose Mendez Gonzalez, one of FIVE men named Jose Gonzalez currently listed on the Charley Project. This Jose was 34 when he disappeared on January 28, 2009, from Porterville, a small city in central California.

Unfortunately I don’t really know anything about the disappearance of Jose Mendez Gonzalez; it’s one of my “few details are available” cases, added in 2009 and not updated since then. The fact that his name is such a common one would make finding anything else out all that much harder.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Augustine Moreno

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 Augustine Moreno, a 35-year-old man who disappeared after crossing from Mexico into the U.S. on May 20, 2000. I’m not sure why he went to the U.S.; whether it was just a day trip or if he intended to stay there or what.

Moreno has schizophrenia, and sometime after he went missing his brother got a call from someone saying Moreno was in Stockton, California (that’s around five hundred miles north of border). There’s been no indication of his whereabouts since.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Usbaldo Hernandez

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 Usbaldo Arvizu Hernandez, who disappeared from El Dorado County, California all the way back on July 1, 1969, at the age of 44.

Usbaldo, aka Waldo, wandered quite a bit: a military man and then a migrant farm worker, he often rode trains (not the passenger kind) between Arizona and California. I don’t know if he was just a free spirit or if he had to take what he could get; my boyfriend’s grandfather, who was the same age and was also Hispanic, had done the same sort of thing back in the day.

I don’t know anything about the actual circumstances of Usbaldo’s disappearance, and as he’d be 94 today, chances are that whatever did happen to him, he’s no longer alive.