Got quite a big update dump yesterday

A Charley Project Irregular let me know about how the San Francisco Examiner had been added to the Newspapers.com archives, so I went and ran all my old San Francisco cases through to see if they had articles in that paper. Then when that was done, I decided to do with the same with Santa Cruz cases, because I knew the Santa Cruz Sentinel was in the archives. And presto, 29 cases updated.

Some thoughts/info on individual ones:

  • I wonder if Erwin Ernest Bunge‘s car was ever recovered. I also wonder if his disappearance had anything to do with him being a high profile trainer. Henry Martinez was only seventeen years old in 1988 and it seems unlikely that he could have been involved. I wasn’t able to find out much about him; he retired from boxing in 1994 and drifted into obscurity.
  • Not really a thought, but a piece of trivia: Harry Weldon Kees is not the only person presumed to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge on July 18, 1955. The police found TWO cars abandoned there that day, leading to speculation as to which person went first. At the time, they were keeping a record of how many people died. I don’t think they’re keeping track anymore though. (Oh, and here’s a 2011 rant of mine about Golden Gate Bridge suicide victims.)
  • I looked up Walter Christopher Kuchanny‘s wife, and she has remarried and seems to be doing well. She returned to England after his disappearance. I do believe he was a suicide victim and didn’t just leave. Her description of his behavior, being all anxious and depressed and then suddenly happy and relaxed, is pretty typical of people who take their lives.
  • Is anyone else wondering if Michael Omas Masaoay‘s disappearance was just an accident? I wonder if it went something like this: he sets off for the day, realizes school is actually closed, and then decides to chill out at his favorite fishing spot, and then gets dragged out to sea by surf, just like Noel Annette Marcotte and countless others have been. That would explain why Michael’s bag was found where it was. Will anyone who’s familiar with the geography of that location care to voice an opinion in the comments?
  • The SF Examiner article I found about John Dolan Phillips‘s disappearance was mainly about the sale of his car and how it was very sketchy. His family was never notified the car had been found in the parking garage. The mint-condition rare classic car was sold to an employee of the garage for just $200, a tiny fraction of both its actual worth AND the amount of accrued parking fees owed. Apparently when objects worth over $500 are put for sale in these circumstances, the public is supposed to be notified and given a chance to buy them, but the car was sold for an a lower amount, so the garage didn’t have to notify anyone. And then the new owner refused to even let the car get inspected for clues. Whether any of this has something to do with Phillips’s disappearance is anyone’s guess.
  • Given the circumstances of Carlos Benjamin Urruela‘s disappearance, it’s likely he died by suicide. The article I read said his addiction was very bad — he’d gone from snorting to freebasing to shooting cocaine — and was ruining his life and his appearance.

Awesome two-part series on Gary Mathias and his four missing friends

Two years ago I blogged about the 1978 disappearance of Gary Dale Mathis and the mysterious deaths of his four friends, who went missing with him from Oroville in Yuba County, California. The comments on that entry are, I think, well worth a read.

I’m happy to announce that the Sacramento Bee has done a really good two-parter on the case.

Part one is titled: Out in the Cold: Four mentally disabled men died in woods. But what happened to the fifth? Part two is Were 4 mentally disabled men set up to die in the California woods?

The articles provide a lot more background information than I had had previously, regarding the disabilities all the men dealt with, and Mathias’s criminal history.

Most people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are not dangerous to anyone but themselves, but Mathias was a violent man with a history of attacks on both men and women. This probably had more to do with his drug abuse problem than his mental illness. It’s not clear to me whether Mathis was ever violent when he WASN’T under the influence of some illicit drug or other. But both mental illness and violence ran in his family.

The articles posit the theory, put forth by the families of the dead men and by others, that Mathias was in some way responsible for the situation that lead to their deaths. Certainly that’s possible.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone is ever going to find out what happened, and I don’t see any reason to believe Mathias is still alive. But it is an intriguing mystery.

Black History Month: Consuella Cash

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Consuella LeShaun Cash, a seven-year-old girl who disappeared from Los Angeles, California on January 3, 1975.

She’s “missing under suspicious circumstances and may have been the victim of a homicide” but unfortunately I know nothing else about this case, whether it was an abduction, if there was family involvement, nothing. I’ve tried searching in news archives for her name under various spellings but turned up doodly squat.

Consuella must have had a family, someone who loved her, someone who helped put those ribbons in her hair. Someone who missed her. Are any of them still alive today and looking for her?

Black History Month: Virdell Green

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Virdell Green Jr., a 46-year-old man who disappeared from San Jose, California on April 30, 2010.

That day Virdell left a voicemail for his ex-girlfriend at 5:13 p.m. They had a child together and were still in touch for that reason. The voicemail is the last time anyone heard from him, and I don’t know what the message was about.

His car turned up parked at the ex-girlfriend’s home just a few hours later, with his keys and all his stuff inside, but no one actually saw him. It’s worth noting that Green’s ex is NOT considered a suspect in his case.

I haven’t seen any news about Virdell Green’s disappearance since 2010. He seems like a straight-up guy; he was a drummer for local bands and also had a personal job with a company that makes stereo headsets. I wish there was more information available about his disappearance.

Some pretty messed up cases added today

I added eight cases today and two of them are pretty messed up, for lack of a better description.

The Roberta “Bobby” Snider disappearance / murder (which I had never heard of until today) is baffling. The husband’s behavior is so strange and I wonder if he’s got a touch of dementia. He’s in his seventies after all. If it’s not dementia I wonder what it was that made him kill his wife in cold blood in her sleep like that, especially as she was supposed to be dying of cancer anyway. Perhaps he was her primary caregiver during her illness and was tired of doing it.

I can refer interested readers to this very detailed article about the case if you want to know more about it.

The cops don’t even plan to look for her body, as they think it’s in a landfill. I wonder just how sure they are about that, though, given that the landfill thing is only one of many stories Phillip told.

The Setina and Ren Weddles case is just incredibly sad. There are shades here of the Fowler kids — Ivon and Inisha are even twins as well. I don’t hold out much hope that either of the Weddles twins is still alive, though I guess it’s remotely possible that Setina is.

All the children clearly should have been removed from their parents sooner than they were. I don’t understand why the nurse’s recommendation after they were born was not acted on.

I definitely don’t advocate removing kids from the home just because of poverty/homelessness, but Aaron and Princess were both drug addicts and Princess has serious mental health issues (she’s been locked up in Napa State Hospital since last summer as they try to make her competent to stand trial), and the family was living in absolute squalor in a van.

I wonder if the twins had some health problems, perhaps because of Princess’s drug use during the pregnancy, and if one or both of them didn’t just die from health issues and/or neglect during the many months the family was living in that van.

And we may never know.

MP of the week: Nickolas Pogoneys

I’m sorry this week’s featured missing person was featured late; I was being lazy and irresponsible. Anyway, this week it’s Nickolas Pogoneys, a 58-year-old man who disappeared from Apple Valley, California on December 1, 1993. They found his car with all his stuff inside, including his dentures, but the keys were missing.