For some reason a lot of people want to know about Russell Randall Thompson all of a sudden. They keep contacting me through various mediums to ask about him because they can’t find him listed anywhere else. I’ve heard about him, like, three or four times in the past week.
This week’s FF case is Essie Margarette “Marge” Hiett, who disappeared from Oroville, California on February 13, 1978. A bartender and waitress, she finished up her shift in the wee hours of the morning and started driving home, but never made it. Her car was found wrecked in a ditch, with her belongings scattered, and no sign of her.
Essie’s case actually got some attention two years ago when Marvin Owens was charged with the murder of his still-missing wife Deborah Diane Owens. Because Deborah also disappeared in 1978, from the same area as Essie, and they had mutual friends, the cops looked into the idea that Marvin had killed Essie too. They decided no. He eventually pleaded out in Deborah’s case and got four years.
As for Essie, the police have another person of interest in her disappearance now — someone whom Marvin Owens knew also. I wonder if they believe someone forced her off the road and abducted her, or if their theory is that first she crashed and then afterwards someone took advantage of the situation.
I just added today’s flotilla of case updates, including one Craig Mason. I couldn’t find any articles or anything for his 2016 disappearance, but I found one for his 2015 disappearance.
Yeah, he went missing for (I think) the first time a little over a year before he went missing in 2016. Something about how he was going to a job interview and doesn’t come back, they find his motorcycle “abandoned,” and then a week later he gets found in the San Bernardino National Forest and says he got lost hiking.
I wish I knew more about both disappearances. I’ve had plenty of people, adults among them, who voluntarily went missing on multiple occasions, but this is a new one. Was this hiking trip planned, for example? And I have NOTHING on the second disappearance other than the date and place. I doubt I’ll ever know.
Kayannette Eleaya Gabrielle is one of my “few details are available” cases on Charley. That link won’t be working for much longer, though, because I just learned that Kayannette, who disappeared in 2006, has been found alive and was reunited with her children.
She was apparently suffering from severe memory loss and couldn’t recall her identity — mental illness maybe? — and ended up living on the streets of Santa Barbara, 100 or so miles north of where she was last seen. This article explains how she was found:
Around four years ago, Gabrielle ended up in Santa Barbara and often slept outside the main library. She was known in the community as Mary Roberts.
During a stay at the Rescue Mission, Gabrielle befriended Jill Wallerstedt, the director of homeless guest services.
Wallerstedt said Gabrielle suffered from severe memory loss, possibly from a head injury and couldn’t remember her name or Social Security number. Gabrielle often talked about three children, but never mentioned that they belonged to her.
Gabrielle was cited for sleeping in public and trespassing, but those tickets brought her to the attention of the Restorative Court Program, which also seeks to rehabilitate area homeless and get them off of the streets.
Mureen Brown is a restorative police court liason for the police department and works closely with Hove.
Gabrielle’s complex case was flagged again and the woman was routed through the restorative court system, and connected with a shelter and other services. Brown continued to work tirelessly to help Gabrielle recall her past and solve her identity.
“We work with a lot of vulnerable people out on the streets. Many of them have sad stories and sad situations. We know they all come from a mom, a dad, a brother,” Brown said. “They have somebody they were once tethered to.”
On March 4, 2016, Brown secured a bed for Gabrielle at the homeless shelter PATH Santa Barbara where she stayed and received services for a year.
Two weeks ago, Gabrielle told a staff member that she remembered her name and some personal information. Brown and Hove pulled up Gabrielle’s old drivers license on the computer and searched the missing person database.
“Sure enough, she showed up immediately,” Brown said. “In the six years I’ve been doing this, this is the highlight of my entire time working with the police department. “This is a story about an entire community keeping this woman safe, taking care of her, not giving up hope and at the end of it we have a miracle. It doesn’t happen that often.
This is awesome. And it goes to show that just because a person has been missing a long time, doesn’t mean they’re dead. As my friend Annie likes to say, if you look for a body you might miss a person.
Between 1996 and 1997 four people, all of them in roughly the same age group, disappeared from the Los Angeles area: Robert Vincent Black, 64, on March 12, 1996; Patricia Laxer, 63, on August 11, 1997; Goldie A. Swanger, 75, on August 29, 1997; Richard Dean Davison, 70, on October 29, 1997. Mysteriously, not only were all four of these individuals patients of the same doctor (I never found out anything about him), but they all supposedly disappeared while going either to or from appointments with him.
The first answer that strikes me is “serial killer connected with the medical practice,” but what little I knew about the cases didn’t seem to indicate foul play; in fact the police not only suggested they were alive, but that each “may be a patient in a hospital or nursing home.”
In 2004, I found out Goldie Swanger’s case had been resolved, but I did not learn her fate at the time, whether she’d been found dead, or what. I blogged about this in 2011, and in 2014 a commenter, claiming to be Swanger’s biological son, left a comment on that blog entry. I quote from it below. He, his daughter Andria and another of Goldie’s granddaughters traveled to Los Angeles in 2000 or 2001 and
did a little investigation, got medical records from a doctor that Goldie was seeing before she became missing. That doctor told me that she saw him about once a month and then just never showed up and that he wondered what became of her! We found out where she was last at, alive, during her being “missing”. I believe it was a nursing home or something to that effect. I believe the government department that we today call the SRS had something to hide as they threw roadblocks in our search of Goldie.
I’m not sure what he means by SRS. Google turned up “special retirement supplement” which doesn’t make a lot of sense, and “supported residential services” which does, but supported residential services isn’t an American government department, only a service provided by the state government in Victoria, AUSTRALIA. My guess is he meant something similar to supported residential services that the U.S. or California government provide, but got the acronym wrong. Anyway, on with what Goldie Swanger’s son said:
It seems strange that as soon as my wife and I determined that her last name was Swanger and informed the SRS we knew her last name, the “SRS” had one hissy fit, and we determined that Goldie was still alive! But when we got to California she had passed away! Now that is strange! We found out where she lived previous to this facility and saw the place (apartment) and met and talked with a person who knew Goldie (an apartment neighbor). The administrator of the facility she was last at clammed up when we started to question the circumstance as to why Goldie was at this facility. Andria talked with a person who worked in that facility and knew Goldie as a patient(?). Andria has the info on this place. Goldie’s biological family believe that what we discovered may possibly be something to do with medicare fraud. The other missing persons in that area may just have been admitted to that same facility. We don’t know. We couldn’t find out.
The plot thickens indeed. This is most peculiar. I’d love to learn more about this case — some questions that come to mind are who was this doctor, what was his speciality, is he still practicing, what the MPs were seeing him for, and what were their general states of physical/mental health at the time they went missing? The facility administrator may have “clammed up” because there was something sketchy going on, but it could have been for confidentiality reasons (HIPAA).
I suppose it’s possible the other three could be still alive, particularly if they’re in a reasonably good care facility. (Key words being “possible” and “reasonably good”.) By now Black would be 85, Davis would be 89, and Laxer would be 83. But I wonder if anyone is even looking for them by now. If I was looking to imprison some people in a care facility against their will for the purposes of committing medical assistance fraud, I’d be targeting people with no living relatives, or at least no close relatives, and few ties to their community — people who would be easily missed.
So what happened to these people? Let’s talk about it.
I was going over some old cases and NCMEC cases and stuff (and phoned in a tip to their hotline; I found a missing kid’s equally missing mother on Facebook) and noticed that on Amber Crum‘s casefile I’d written,
In 1986, investigators checked the fingerprints of a girl who was abandoned in California that same year. The girl matched Amber’s general physical description and was about the right age. Their fingerprints did not match, however.
I wonder, now, if that abandoned little girl was Denise Beaudin‘s child, Dawn/Lisa? Dawn was about the same age as Amber would have been, and she was abandoned in California in 1986.
I suppose I’ll probably never know. But it seems moderately likely.
Selected by Justin, this week’s SS case is Thomas James, a Universal Studios employee who disappeared from Los Angeles on June 18, 1998. I don’t have much about his disappearance but it doesn’t look like he left on his own. He left everything behind at his apartment, and his car turned up abandoned in Burbank, California.
If James is still alive he’d be 60 this year.