English woman missing in Cyprus turns up decades later in Arizona, and other stories

Samuel Little, considered to be one of the U.S. most prolific serial killers, has died in prison at age 80. They’re still trying to locate/identify his victims.

In Arizona/England/Cyprus: they’ve found Lee-Tracey Miley, who was reported missing by her son in 2019 but had actually been out of touch with her family since 1991. She went on a vacation to Egypt that year, then traveled to Cyprus (an island nation in the Mediterranean) and never returned. Ms. Miley was located safe in Arizona. She claims she was injured in a car wreck in Cyprus and developed amnesia, and had no recollection of her previous life in Bournemouth, England.

In California: the recent arrest in Michaela Garecht‘s case has given hope for answers to the family of Amanda Nicole Eileen “Nikki” Campbell, a four-year-old girl who disappeared from Fairfield on December 27, 1991. The video clip in this link includes a color photo of Nikki which I had not seen elsewhere, and have added to her casefile.

In Florida: Steve Calkins, a former sheriff’s deputy, has been found not civilly liable for anything in the 2004 disappearance and presumed death of Terrance Deon Williams from Naples. It’s a very peculiar case. Williams’s family had filed a wrongful death suit against Calkins, who is the last person known to have seen Williams and was also the last person known to have seen another missing man, Felipe Santos, who had gone missing under nearly identical circumstances the previous year. The case had been forced into binding arbitration due to an error by the plaintiffs’ attorney, and the arbitrator ruled they had no case against Calkins.

In Iowa: it’s been nearly six months since ten-year-old Breasia Terrell disappeared from Davenport, and here’s a timeline of her case.

In Massachusetts: they’re still looking for Lisa Therisa Hazard, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from New Bedford in March 2019. She had a drug problem and told her son’s father she was going to check into a rehab center in Fall River, but it’s unclear whether she even ever left New Bedford.

In Missouri: this article honors Marianne Asher-Chapman, who founded Missouri Missing, a nonprofit organization that helps families of people missing in Missouri and publicizes their cases. Asher-Chapman’s daughter, Michelle Angela “Angie” Yarnell, disappeared from Ivy Bend in 2003.

Also in Missouri: they’ve found the remains of Brandon L. Wood, a 23-year-old who disappeared from Mountain Grove in 2015. Curiously, the bones turned up in an area that had been previously searched.

In Ohio: this article talks about cold missing persons cases in Ohio, particularly in Butler County. It mentions Cynthia Louise Carmack, a 15-year-old missing from Hamilton since 1987, and Ronald Henry Tammen Jr., a 19-year-old Ohio University student missing from Oxford since 1953, among others.

In Oregon: this article is about the narrowly averted NamUs defunding and how it would have affected cold cases in that country.

In Texas: Fox San Antonio has released a recording of an interview police did with Elizabeth Johnson, mother of Gabriel Scott Johnson, who disappeared on December 27, 2009 at just seven months old. Elizabeth says she gave Gabriel to another couple to raise, but police have been unable to identify these people and think the child is probably dead. She was convicted of custodial interference and unlawful imprisonment, but acquitted of kidnapping, and was released from prison in 2014.

In Wisconsin: they’ve found the remains of Benjamin D. Bodwin, a 54-year-old man who disappeared from Athelstane in 2018. His death has been ruled a suicide.

In England: the police have released video footage of Steven Clark, a 23-year-old man who disappeared from Marske-by-the-Sea, Cleveland in 1992 and is presumed murdered. His parents were recently arrested and questioned, then released. They deny any involvement in their son’s presumed death and called the idea “absolutely ludicrous.”

In Russia: they’re still looking for Ayana Vinokurova and Alina Ivanova, two three-year-old girls who disappeared from Alina’s grandfather’s yard in a remote village called Sinsk in the far eastern part of the country back in 2013.

Shannon Matthews’s mother apparently set for early release

Over two years ago I wrote about the tragic case of Shannon Matthews, an adorable nine-year-old girl from England who disappeared in February 2008. After an extensive, hugely publicized search which cost 3.2 million pounds, she was found almost a month after her abduction, alive if not well. She’d been drugged with sleeping pills, tied up and hidden under a bed in her mother’s boyfriend’s uncle’s house. It’s a lot like the Shannon Dedrick case, actually. They even have the same first name!

It turned out that Shannon’s mother, Karen Matthews, and Karen’s boyfriend’s uncle, Michael Donovan, had staged the kidnapping with the plan to “find” Shannon and collect the anticipated huge reward for her recovery! It doesn’t look like Karen’s live-in boyfriend, Craig Meehan, was in on the plot, but the investigation revealed he had child porn on his computer. What a lovely family! Rose Martin, a journalist, wrote a book about the case called Shannon: Betrayed from Birth, which I haven’t read yet but intend to.

Michael Donovan and Karen Matthews were both convicted of kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. They both got sentenced to eight years in prison. Not nearly enough, but the UK mostly gives out lighter sentences than the US. I think in the US they might have gotten life, or at least a couple of decades.

Anyway, according to The Daily Express, The Scottish Daily Record, The Mirror and The Daily Mail, Karen is getting early release, having served less than half her sentence. She’s supposed to get out of prison in April, or maybe even before then.

The newspapers (all of the tabloids, so I’m not sure how much they can be trusted) claim she has a pen pal boyfriend from Cyprus and she wants to move there, where people will be less likely to recognize her and throw rocks at her. Of course, she’ll be on parole or whatever and won’t be allowed to move abroad right away, but it could happen eventually. If Cyprus (or any other country) accepts her. I don’t know if any country would be willing to accept an immigrant with Karen’s notoriety and criminal history. A lot of places won’t even let you in as a tourist if you have a serious criminal record.

Shannon is now twelve years old. I hope she is living with kind caregivers who love her. I hope she’s being provided with the long-term psychological/psychiatric help she must need as a result of this horrific experience. (I hope also that maybe, due to the sleeping pills, she doesn’t remember much of it.) Not just being kidnapped and kept under a bed for almost a month, but the betrayal, the ultimate betrayal — the fact that this was instigated by her mother.

I really don’t see why any attempt should be made to reconcile mother and daughter, although child protective services usually tries. Karen has seven children in all; four of them were living with her at the time of her arrest. No word on what happened to any of them, or if she’s lost her parental rights or what. She does not deserve to be called “mother” (I have read somewhere where women like her were referred to as “egg hatcheries”) and she does not deserve to be free in Cyprus or England or anywhere else — she ought to be behind bars for a lot longer than this.

Oh, and she ought to be sterilized.

Soldiers from mass grave in Turkey identified

Back in 2006, officials from the United Nations Committee on Missing Persons located a mass grave of nineteen people in northern Turkey. According to this article, five of the bodies have been identified as Greek Cypriot soldiers. 35 years ago Turkey invaded Cyprus (which, for the uninitiated, is an island nation in the Mediterranean sea, which is bilaterally divided into the “Greek side” and the “Turkish side”) and about 1600 people disappeared without a trace, not just soldiers either: there were over a hundred kids under seventeen and over three hundred old people sixty and over. (These numbers come from the Missing Cypriots website.) Very few of them have ever been found. The last sign of those particular five disappeared people was when they were photographed upon surrendering to the Turks and becoming prisoners of war. The oldest man was thirty years old, the youngest only nineteen. I’m not 100% sure but it looks like the other fourteen people in the grave are still unidentified.

That Turkey has committed war crimes (the Armenian genocide of the nineteen-teens also comes to mind) is not shocking to me. Many countries have done so — not that that doesn’t make a terrible thing, but what I’m saying is that Turkey is hardly alone in having committed atrocities. But they should at least admit it. Turkey has maintained a stony silence as to the 1974 invasion and what happened to the missing Cypriots. And they won’t even acknowledge the existence of the Armenian genocide. I am not holding present-day Turks responsible for what their fathers and grandfathers did, but the government should do the right thing and fess up and try to make amends, rather like Germany has. Revealing the ultimate fate of all the missing Cypriots, uncovering more mass graves if necessary, would be a good start.

Having a relative who is missing for political reasons or war-related reasons has got to be at least as stressful as having a missing relative of the kind listed on the Charley Project. You don’t know where they are, if they’re hurt, if they have enough to eat, where they lay their heads at night, even if they’re alive at all. The people of Cyprus deserve this closure.