A bunch of “they’re still looking for…” and other stories

Lee and Anthony Redgrave are working with the the DNA Doe Project to identify transgender and nonbinary murder victims. They’ve started the Trans Doe Task Force, which helps police and medical examiners with cold cases involving transgender people.

Alaska: An unusually high number of people have gone missing from Fairbanks in the past ten months. Fairbanks averages five missing persons a year, but since May 2020, eleven people have disappeared and have not been found. (I wonder if the political, economic and emotional turmoil caused by the pandemic has anything to do with it.) Five of the missing eleven are Native. The community is concerned and held a vigil about it.

Colorado: Wendy Stephens, a Denver teenager who disappeared in 1983, has been identified as a victim of Gary Leon Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. He pleaded guilty to 49 murders but is believed to have killed more than 71. Not all of his presumed victims have been found, and three that have been are still unidentified.

Indiana: This article details the uncertainty about the veracity of a suspect’s confession in the Denise Diane Pflum case. Denise was 18 when she disappeared from Connersville in 1986. Her body has never been found. In 2020, her ex-boyfriend, Shawn McClung, confessed to her killing after being offered immunity for her death and also the dismissal of two charges he was in jail for. At the time he was dying. Before he passed away a few months later, McClung retracted his confession, saying he’d only made the statement because he didn’t want to die in jail.

Louisiana: They’re still looking for Cory Marie Rubio, a 24-year-old mother of two who disappeared from Shreveport in 1999. The most logical person to look at is her ex-husband; they were in the middle of a custody battle, and he had a history of violent behavior.

New Hampshire: Authorities have determined that the remaining unidentified body in the Bear Brook murders case has maternal relatives in the Pearl River, Mississippi area. DNA testing indicates the child and her mother were descendants of Thomas “Deadhorse” Mitchell, who was born in 1836, or William Livings, who was born in 1826. The dead child also may have suffered from anemia.

New Mexico: They’re still looking for Robert Marcos Romero, an eight-year-old boy who disappeared from Santa Fe in 2000. The most plausible theory is that his brother Ronnie killed him accidentally while under the influence of drugs, but nothing has been proven and Ronnie died over a decade ago.

New York: They believe the car found in the Muscoot Reservoir, which I wrote about earlier, is that of Brenda Kerber, a 40-year-old woman who disappeared from White Plains in 1989. I’d never heard of this case before.

Also New York: They’re still trying to identify a Jane Doe found in Chautauqua County. She now has her own Facebook page.

Oklahoma: They’re still looking for Darian Michelle Hudson, age 23, who went missing from Stillwater in 2017. She was going through a lot of personal problems and may have had a mental breakdown. Her family thinks foul play was involved in her disappearance, but the police say they aren’t sure.

Also Oklahoma: A proposed missing persons bill, House Bill 1790, is being called the Aubrey Alert, after missing transgender Native woman Aubrey Dameron. Aubrey was 25 when she disappeared from Grove in 2019. The Aubrey Alert bill, if passed, would require “critically missing” adult cases to be investigated immediately. The text of the bill can be read here.

Oregon: They’re still looking for Jodie Marie Anderson, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from Crescent City in 2017. She may be in the Linn County area.

South Carolina: They’re still looking for Shelton John Sanders, a 25-year-old man who disappeared from Columbia in 2001. He now has a Facebook page.

Tennessee: They’re still looking for married couple Kristie Wilson, 39, and Henry Wilson, 45, who disappeared from Monterey in 2018. Their car was found at the bottom of a ravine months after they went missing; it had been there so long there were plants growing in it. No sign of either of them. There have been multiple tips that the Wilsons were murdered, but no solid leads.

Texas: They’re still looking for Fredrick Joseph “Little Joe” Boehm, age 23, who disappeared from Marshall on this day twenty years ago. He was temporarily staying with a friend when late one night he got a mysterious phone call, changed from his pajamas into street clothes and left, saying he’d be back later. He never returned.

Also Texas: They’re still looking for Andrea Leigh Cotten, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Corsicana in 2004. She left her cousin’s house in the night and never returned. She disappeared the day before she was supposed to visit her child, who was in foster care, and her family doesn’t think she would have missed that on purpose. Since she went missing there’s been no activity on her Social Security number, which is ominous.

Canada: The four-month-old disappearance of 30-year-old Megan Michelle Gallagher from Saskatoon is now being investigated as a homicide.

England: The brother of Suzy Lamplugh, a 35-year-old woman who disappeared from London in 1986, has issued an appeal for answers in her case.

MP of the week: Stephanie Drnovsek

This week’s featured missing person — the first of 2021 — is Stephanie Ann Drnovsek, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Lakewood, Colorado on September 5, 1984. She left home driving her boyfriend’s car and was never seen again, and two weeks later the car was found stripped and abandoned in Denver. Her boyfriend didn’t report her missing until September 22, two days after the car turned up.

Unfortunately the only photos I have of Stephanie Drnovsek are high school yearbook photos from about 1975, nine years before she went missing. She has a butterfly tattoo on her abdomen and another, unknown tattoo on her hip, and a hysterectomy scar.

Foul play is suspected in her case.

MP of the week: Edward Bryant

This week’s featured missing persons case is Edward Dylan Bryant, an boy who was about eight when he was last seen sometime in 2001. He and his biological brother, Austin Eugene Bryant, had been adopted out of foster care by Edward Eugene Bryant and Linda Kay Bryant in 2000. The couple adopted nine children in all, including Austin and Edward’s younger brother. They lived in Monument, Colorado.

Austin disappeared sometime between 2003 and 2005, but his disappearance was not discovered until 2011. Only after then did the authorities realize Edward was missing also. Neither of them has ever been found.

It’s an extremely sad story and it’s likely both children met with foul play at the hands of their “parents.” The Bryant parents have never been charged in either child’s disappearance, but they were each sentenced to decades in prison for theft, since they accepted public assistance payments for Edward and Austin after the boys had disappeared.

I haven’t seen any updates on the case since 2012, when Linda was sentenced to 42 years in prison. (Her husband got 30 years.) I hope the police haven’t given up on finding out what happened to those poor boys.

Article Dump III

The Washington Post has done a three-part feature, called Indifferent Justice, on the serial killer Samuel Little. He is confirmed to have had over fifty victims, including former Charley Project missing person Mary Gertrude Brosley, and claims he’s killed as many as ninety-three. Part One: The Perfect Victim. Part Two: Through the Cracks. Part Three: Still Unsolved.

Discover Magazine has done this article that isn’t about missing persons may be of interest to y’all: What Explains the Decline of Serial Killers? Me, I have noticed a rise in mass murders in the past few decades and wonder if perhaps some of the people who might have been serial killers have decided to become mass murderers instead. Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2014, comes to mind as the sort of person who could have turned into a serial killer if he hadn’t taken the mass murder route instead.

Dateline is now honoring seven years of doing their Missing in America thing. 156 of the people featured on Missing in America are still missing.

From California: Woman Missing Out of Arcata since January; Mother and Law Enforcement Seek Information. The woman is named Jennifer Lynn Dulin and was last seen January 10.

Also from California: Missing Pico Rivera Woman Carolina Martinez Found After 5 Months. She was found alive (I think), but no other info is available.

From Colorado: Glenwood Springs teen Daniela Trejo-Noyola reported missing since September. She is 16 and was last seen on September 8. She will be 17 soon.

From Florida: Brevard County deputies search for missing woman last seen more than 1 year ago. Tara Coppola was last seen in West Melbourne on September 12, 2019.

From Iowa: Person of interest in missing-girl case set for trial on unrelated charges. The missing girl in question is Breasia Terrell missing from Davenport since July 10. She was ten at the time and would be eleven now, if still alive.

From Missouri: Missouri woman desperate to find mother Echo Lloyd who has been missing since Mother’s Day. Echo has been missing since May.

From North Carolina: Fayetteville police looking for woman missing since September. Heather Nichole Holmes was last seen on September 28.

From Ohio: Youngstown police seek info on man they just found out has been missing since 1969. The man is named Frank Cerimele and he was 21 years old when he went missing.

From Pennsylvania: Family & Friends Of Missing 22-Year-Old Tonee Turner Hold Silent Walk. She disappeared from the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh on December 30, 2019.

From South Carolina: Human remains found in Murrells Inlet park in 2018 identified as missing man. The man, David Scott Woolslayer, is listed on the Charley Project; I’ll resolve his case.

From Tennessee: Retired homicide investigator taking on two missing persons cases out of Dunlap. Tiffany Diane Holbert, missing since June 13, 2018, and Matthew Tyler Henry, missing since April 15, 2018. Though they both disappeared from the same town just a few months apart, the cases aren’t believed to be related.

From Texas: 33-year-old veteran missing from Houston home since October, mother says. The man, Marshall Powell, was last seen on October 23.

Also from Texas: Crime Of The Week: Cold case missing person last seen in 1961. Eleven-year-old Scott Andreas “Andy” Sims was last seen in Wichita Falls on December 9, 1961 — that’s 59 years ago tomorrow.

From Wisconsin: MPD: Plea for help in search for woman missing since Oct. 2016. Jamie Lee Hoaglan was last seen in Milwaukee on October 20, 2016.

From Australia: Missing kids campaign: “We’re frozen in time”. About the 1968 disappearances of sixteen-year-old Maureen Braddy and seventeen-year-old Allan Whyte, who disappeared after going out together to a dance at the YMCA in Bendigo, Victoria.

Also from Australia: Human remains found in bushland believed be missing NSW woman. Allecha Boyd has been missing from Coolamon, New South Wales since August 10, 2017; they found remains in the woods near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and think they’re hers.

From Canada: Remains found in 2009 identified as missing Penticton man. James “Jim” Neufeld disappeared from Penticton, British Columbia in January 2009. His remains were pulled from the Salish Sea about half a mile north of Orcas Island off the Washington coast a few months later, but not identified till now.

From Ireland: Ireland’s missing people: 823 cases remain ‘open’ with the Garda.

From Mexico: The Search for the Disappeared Points to Mexico’s Darkest Secrets. Apparently as a result of the drug war, Mexico now has more missing persons than Guatemala, El Salvador and Argentina do.

From the UK: Fears of rise in Christmas missing people rates due to lockdown.

Also from the UK: Mum of missing Saltdean teen Owen Harding prepares for Christmas. Owen was sixteen when he went for a walk on March 26, three days into the UK’s national coronavirus lockdown, and never returned. This was in Saltdean, a coastal village in the city of Brighton and Hove, England.

Hanging in there, and I hope everyone else is too

I hope everyone is doing all right. Michael and I are doing fine; however, one person at his place of work has tested positive for COVID-19, and another is believed to have it, which is scary. Michael thinks it’s unlikely he was exposed to either individual because they work different shifts, and in different parts of the facility, than he does.

One of the things I’ve been doing is contributing to a subreddit set up in memorial of COVID-19 victims, basically posting links to obituaries and such. It’s scary how many stories I’ve come across of young healthy people getting very sick or even dying of this. One of my online friends has it, a young woman, and she’s in the hospital. A five-year-old girl with no preexisting conditions died of COVID-19 last week.

I mean, I know what the statistics are. I know that the overwhelming majority of people who get it survive. But it’s hard to focus on those numbers when you’re looking at a photo of a dead kindergartner.

On another note, a few missing persons have been found:

  • Eric Randolph Pracht, a 25-year-old Lakewood, Colorado paramedic who disappeared in July 2016, His skeletal remains were found on Green Mountain, but a cause of death hasn’t been determined.
  • Martin Hugh Sackler, whose family last heard from him in October 2004 when he was 41. He has been arrested in Mobile, Alabama, where he was apparently living under a false identity.
  • Michael Alexander Rickard, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania in March 2018. His remains were found along some railroad tracks in Bethel Park. There isn’t much information out there as to when or how he died, but the police are saying foul play is not suspected.
  • Cheryl L. Coker, a 46-year-old woman who disappeared from Riverside, Ohio in October 2018. Her skeletal remains were found by a mushroom hunter in Caeserscreek Township, Ohio; the coroner said it looked like they were just dumped there, not even buried. I know her husband has been a suspect in her case for some time, but they’re still trying to figure out the cause of death and whatnot.

MP of the week: Jessica Ortiz

This week’s featured missing person — the last of the decade — in Jessica Eileen Ortiz, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from Pueblo, Colorado on April 12, 2007. If still alive she’d be 42 today.

It’s not likely Jessica is still alive, though. She had advanced cervical cancer, something she was unaware of when she disappeared. And the man she was last seen with, her longtime boyfriend, Wade Albrow, has a long history of violence. This was probably yet another case of fatal intimate partner violence, something that appears in the Charley Project’s pages a lot.

Jonelle Matthews’s remains have been found

Earlier this week, skeletal remains turned up at an oil and gas site in rural Weld County, Colorado. Today it was announced that they were identified as twelve-year-old Jonelle Renee Matthews, who disappeared from Greeley, Colorado on December 20, 1984.

The Greeley Tribune was anonymously sent photos of the remains, which they said they would not be showing to anyone, but which they did describe in their article. Per the description, “tattered red- and blue-colored clothing” was found with the body, and Jonelle was wearing a blue jacket and a red blouse when she was abducted, so it sounds like she’s been dead since very shortly after her disappearance. Perhaps that very same night.

Yes, I know Larry Murillo has been located

Just about everyone has been texting, messaging and emailing me about the sad recovery of Larry Ely Murillo. His body turned up behind the coolers in the supermarket he used to work in. The business has been closed for years and a contractor was engaged in removing the coolers and shelving units when they found Murillo’s partially mummified remains in the eighteen-inch gap between the cooler and the wall.

Murillo was apparently having a psychotic break at the time of his disappearance. The day before, he had been prescribed an antidepressant, but his mental condition just deteriorated and he was paranoid and hearing voices. He ran out into the snow, coatless and barefoot, and vanished. Until now.

Per MANY the news articles about the finding, apparently workers at the supermarket would sometimes hide on top of the coolers when they wanted to take a break without the boss knowing. My guess is that Murillo, in his paranoia, went dashing for the familiar hiding space, only to slip into the space behind the units. The noise from the compressors would have drowned out his cries for help. And so he died a slow, horrible death.

The case reminds me of the tragic death of Joshua Maddux, whose corpse was found inside a chimney in a remote cabin in Colorado in 2015, seven years after he vanished. There was (and is still) talk of murder, but the most plausible theory is that he was trying to break into the cabin via the chimney and got stuck.

I am, not, of course, a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist, but I don’t think the antidepressant was responsible for the mental breakdown leading up to Murillo’s death. He had been showing mental illness symptoms before taking the drug, and that’s why it was prescribed for him. And he had only been prescribed the drug the day before his disappearance.

Deaths like Larry Murillo’s remind me of just how lucky I am. As most of you readers know, I’ve got bipolar disorder. I’ve had psychotic breaks before. And one time, a common prescription painkiller I’d innocently taken interacted with one of my psychiatric meds and threw a party in my brain, resulting in very bad psychotic symptoms. This was not technically psychosis but delirium; however at the time everyone thought it was psychosis.

Anyway, that time I was hallucinating, delusional, and kept trying to leave the house at night in early March wearing only a shirt and underpants. The hospital refused to admit me, and the police wouldn’t help either, so Michael called his parents and they came over and stayed up with me all night to make sure I didn’t leave the house or do anything to harm myself.

If it weren’t for Michael and his parents, I might have died that night. I was lucky. Sadly, Larry Murillo wasn’t.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Aarshiya and Jiaa Patil

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is the sisters Aarshiya Manish Patil and Jiaa Manish Patil, who disappeared together from Thornton, Colorado on Christmas Eve, 2010. They were three and one respectively.

The children, who are of Indian descent, are classified as family abduction victims. Their mother, Ritu Hemchandra Desai, took apparently them to India. They may be living in the city of Pune, a major city in the state of Maharashtra on the eastern coast of India.

Recommended Reading III

So I found this two-and-a-half-year-old blog about the 1978 disappearance of Christopher William Vigil, a nine-year-old whom I assumed had simply gotten lost while hiking with his family in the Poudre Canyon in Colorado.

Having looked at this blog, however, Chris’s case is starting to look more and more like an abduction. I have dutifully updated his casefile with info from the blog, but invite readers to have a look at the source, which has more details.