MP of the week: Dena McHan

This week’s featured missing person is Dena Viola McHan, a 19-year-old college student who disappeared from Stockton, California on December 6, 1981. She was on her way home when she stopped to get gas.

While she was there an attendant noticed some men “harassing” her, but Dena said she didn’t need any help. She has never been seen again and her car was never found either.

Foul play is suspected in her case, and obviously the first suspects that come to mind are the two men who were bothering her. I wonder if these men have ever been identified and if they were known to Dena. I wonder if maybe they followed her and ran her off the road, or perhaps abducted her at the station itself, though this is less likely.

I also wonder whether Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog were ever investigated in this case. They are known or suspected in several murders and disappearances in that same area in the 1980s and 1990s. It seems reasonable to at least ask Shermantine about this; he’s still alive, though Herzog suicided in 2012.

MP of the week: Jeremy Ashley

I hope everyone had a good Labor Day weekend. Mine wasn’t the best; I’m anxious about the political situation and the pandemic situation and my coming wedding. At this point, planning this ceremony is basically trying to make the best of a bad situation: we can’t have the party we want because we don’t want to kill anybody, and it’s a matter of trying to salvage what we can. Which is awful, but there’s nothing to be done.

This week’s featured missing person is Jeremy Dewayne Ashley, a 29-year-old man who disappeared from the seaside town of Trinidad in Humboldt County, California on November 11, 2017. He was hiking with a friend when he slipped and fell into the ocean, and got pulled out to sea.

Ashley’s case isn’t exactly a mystery, but his body has never been found, and if it washes up somewhere it would be nice if it could be identified.

MP of the week: Stratis Elmore

This week’s featured missing person is Stratis Elias Elmore, a nineteen-year-old young man of Greek and Hispanic descent who disappeared from Roseville, California on October 19, 2017.

It’s unclear whether his disappearance was a suicide, or a faked suicide. He was facing criminal charges at the time of his disappearance and he had a record, and the police think he might just have done a runner, but his mom thinks he might be dead. In any case, three years is a long time for a teenager to drop completely under the radar.

MP of the week: Terrence Diaz

This week’s featured missing person is Terrence Arthur Diaz, who disappeared from Palo Alto, California on either October 14 or November 14, 1999. (I’ve seen two different dates.) He was 45 at the time and would be 66 today.

There’s reason to believe he may be living on the streets, possibly making some money busking. It is strange, however, that after all this time he still hasn’t turned up. I mean, almost 21 years now.

NCMEC search becomes slightly less terrible, and more news

I first complained about the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s search engine back in 2013, and things got even worse with later versions of it. However, when I checked today, they’d made yet another version, which is slightly better than the last. Like, you can now search based on how old the child was when they disappeared. That’s kind of nice, I guess.

You still don’t have the ability to search by category, which they axed in 2013. As far as I can tell it’s because the NCMEC decided to phase out categories. They did this because when people saw “Family Abduction” or “Runaway” they just automatically tuned it out. I can understand the logic of the NCMEC’s thinking there.

I added Duke Flores‘s case today. It’s pretty awful. Probably not as bad as Noah McIntosh‘s (I blogged about his case in March), but it’s still pretty bad.

The whole story about Duke’s murder being prompted by his attempt he was trying to kill his infant cousin looks a little sketchy at first glance. However, both women gave the police the same account of the alleged attempted murder, and I wonder if Duke, who had autism, was just unable to deal with the baby’s crying. Most people with autism (including me) are very sensitive to noises.

They tried to cover up his disappearance by saying they’d taken Duke to a psychiatric hospital. If he was indeed trying to kill his cousin, this would have been a perfectly appropriate action to take. Certainly much more appropriate than strangling him.

We’ll never know if he really tried to smother the baby or not; the only two people alive to tell the story aren’t exactly credible witnesses. But no matter what he did there’s no excuse for murdering a six-year-old child with a disability.

The thing about his mom and aunt taking the other kids along while they disposed of his body is horrifying. Though the alternative would have been leaving them alone at home, and they were both really little. Hopefully too little to remember this later.

I hope these women get what’s coming to them. They are probably not very popular in jail; most of the women prisoners are mothers too.

MP of the week: Francisco Sanchez

In case you’ve been living under a rock these last several days, I’ll have you know that protests and riots, sparked by one too many horrific incidents of police brutality, have lately broken out all over the country. So I thought I’d make this week’s featured missing person Francisco Javier Sanchez, a man who disappeared during the Los Angeles riots of 1992. (The Los Angeles Riots were also sparked by police brutality, in this case the beating of Rodney King, and the acquittal of the four police officers involved.)

Sanchez, a 38-year-old immigrant from Guatemala, was last seen in Los Angeles on April 30, 1992, the second day of the riots. He had only recently arrived in the country and lived with relatives on Adams Boulevard. He vanished without a trace that afternoon, leaving his last paycheck uncollected, and was never seen again.

As to whether his disappearance is related to the riots, no one knows. But something happened to him and I don’t think it was anything good.

If still alive he’d be 66 today.

Well, that was not what I expected

In the Bakersfield, California area in the spring of 2018, there were two men who were murdered: Micah Holsonbake, who disappeared in late March and whose arm was found in the river in December, and James Kulstad, who was shot in his mother’s car in early April. A Bakersfield woman, Baylee Despot, disappeared in late April that year.

They all knew each other and ran in the same circles, and there was talk that the cases must be connected somehow. The media, and the mothers of the missing/murdered individuals, called them “the Bakersfield Three.”

Well, there’s been a break in the case: it turns out the Bakersfield Three is actually the Bakersfield Two, as the police have decided Kulstad’s murder isn’t related to the other cases, and it turns out Despot and her boyfriend killed Holsonbake. She and the boyfriend, Matthew Queen, have been charged with murder, torture and conspiracy, and another man, Matthew Vandecasteele, has been charged with kidnapping and conspiracy in that case.

The police are still not sure what happened to Despot, though, whether she’s on the run or whether she herself met with foul play. With that in mind I’ve decided to keep her up on the Charley Project, murder charges or no. Despot’s mom seems to think Queen killed her, which seems likely to me.

What an awful mess. I feel so bad for the mothers of all involved.

Articles:

MP of the week: Jacqueline Cooper

This week’s featured missing person is Jacqueline Cooper, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Modesto, California on November 12, 1976. If still alive, she’d be 71. But she’s not still alive.

Jacqueline’s case is one of those where we basically have the gist of what happened to her, we just don’t know where she is. She and at least three other women, Mary Louise Watkins, Hester Lee Chandler and Patty Gay Toliver, are presumed victims of serial killer James Carlin Toliver. (Patty was James’s wife. She and Hester aren’t on Charley for want of photos.)

Toliver died of a heart attack in 1980, just after shooting his last victim to death and lugging $98,000 in looted money back to his car. (Out of curiosity I looked up how much $98k in $100 bills weighed, wondering if Toliver had keeled over from the effort of carrying it. Nope: just 2.161 pounds.) He was never convicted of any of his crimes and his many secrets, including the location of his other victims’ bodies, to his grave.

As to other matters: I am well, and staying at home with Michael. Today was the first day I had left the house in over a week (other than to get the mail and walk the dog); I went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refills. My family is well and so are my friends.

Sitting there all day staring at my phone doing nothing but reading COVID-19 news (which is all bad) is not doing wonders for my mood. Although crime news is quite minimal at the moment, I am going to try and do some extensive Charley updating tomorrow.

Stay safe people, wash your hands, and unless you are on an essential errand or work in an essential job, practice social distancing and STAY HOME.

Another horrific child abuse murder

I don’t usually feel many emotions about the cases I put up — I’m kind of closed off from that — but child abuse cases really get to me sometimes. I added the case of Noah Thomas McIntosh today and the details are just horrific. The things that poor child went through in the months and years before his death. The apathy of social services. The stuff his dad bought after his disappearance, presumably to dispose of his body.

I don’t like kids myself, but I really don’t get people mistreating them. If Noah’s dad was so tired of him and his toileting accidents (which were not in any way Noah’s fault), why keep him at all? Noah’s grandfather loved him, and tried to save him. I bet he would have taken him, if Bryce had given up custody.

It doesn’t help that the kid looks so darn adorable in all the pictures, like a little doll. That smile, those teeth growing in.

And his sister… I didn’t include it in the casefile, she was occasionally forced to help her father torture her brother, by holding him down in the bathtub for example. And she may have been in the apartment when her brother was murdered, even if she didn’t actually see it happen. I really hope that girl is being looked after by someone who cares about her. And that she’s getting therapy.

As far as I know, the police are still hoping to find Noah’s body. Though looking at all the stuff his dad got, there may not be much of a body left to find.

I really hope Bryce just decides to plead guilty and be done with it. If he cares at all about his daughter (who will probably have to testify), he won’t put her through a trial. But then again, he DID torture and murder an eight-year-old, his own flesh and blood, which strongly suggests he doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

MP of the week: Arisoneide Gosselin

This week’s featured missing person (I forgot to put it up yesterday, sorry) is Arisoneide Oliveira Gosselin, who disappeared from Turlock, California on May 28, 1992. She was 31. She was from Brazil and moved to the US at age 23, after she married an American.

Whether her disappearance is related to her troubled marriage I don’t know, but it seems highly likely that she met with foul play. She appears to have been a responsible person and a devoted mother, and she left all her belongings behind as well as her kid, and her husband was using drugs and in no position to take care of the child.

Anyone have any idea how to pronounce her name?