Murder-without-a-body cases galore!

So, someone found a photo of Eli Robert Sharclane on Facebook so I was able to add his case to the Charley Project. I’ve blogged about his case before; it’s kind of unusual. A guy threw him off a bridge fifty feet down to the freezing water and he was never seen again, but the suspect was only convicted of ATTEMPTED murder, because it was 1977 and no-body homicide convictions were not really a thing yet.

More information has been released about the 1991 disappearance of Sabrina Leigh Long. All we knew before was that a female suspect was arrested and charged with kidnapping, someone who’d attended Sabrina’s high school but wasn’t in her year, and the police said multiple people were involved.

Well, this article has a LOT more stuff about the case. Basically, Sabrina said she was supposed to visit a neighbor on the day of her disappearance, but the neighbor said she wasn’t expected and he had no idea why she said she was going to see him. The neighbor, Keith Loyd, had an alibi and wasn’t a suspect in her case, but in 2017 he died by suicide and left a note implicating himself and Melinda McSwain (the woman now charged in Sabrina’s kidnapping) in Sabrina’s disappearance.

Loyd’s alibi for Sabrina’s disappearance had been that he was out with his girlfriend. I wonder if that girlfriend was McSwain. If both of them had kidnapped and killed Sabrina, it would be easy for them to alibi each other.

DonaMae Bourgeois Bayerl‘s husband John has been arrested at his retirement home in Florida and charged with murder. I’m so happy; he’s been a suspect for a very long time. I’ve met DonaMae’s family before; they attend the Wisconsin missing persons events.

Also, yesterday they held closing arguments in the trial of Liam McAtasney for the murder of 19-year-old Sarah L. Stern. She disappeared from Neptune, New Jersey in 2016. The second suspect, Preston Taylor, allegedly helped dispose of her body. He pleaded guilty and testified against McAtasney. The verdict is expected next week.

And Thomas Skeek is on trial for the murder of his wife, Linda Skeek, who disappeared in 2016. Per this article, case had been “shrouded in secrecy” and it wasn’t until the trial actually began that it became public knowledge that Linda’s body was never found. I haven’t heard of this case before. I’ll have to add her. [UPDATE: I did.]

An unusual MWAB case

Here’s another murder-without-a-body case which I am, alas, unable to add to Charley due to lack of a photo of the victim.

I was randomly surfing MP sections of police department sites and noted Eli Sharclane listed with the Juneau, Alaska PD. Missing since 1977, a few weeks before his 20th birthday. Clothing description but no picture. I’d seen him on the Juneau PD’s website before, but this time I decided to Google him.

Well, it turns out he got thrown off a bridge on the night of his disappearance. This legal document tells all. The thrower, Peter Castillo, was charged with second-degree murder. He was acquitted of that, but convicted of ATTEMPTED murder.

This makes no sense to me: Sharclane apparently could not swim, he was drunk, and he got thrown 49 feet down to the river late at night. I looked up the temperatures in Juneau in 1977 and wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s cold there at night in late September. Sharclane, if he did not drown and he was not killed outright by the impact, would undoubtedly have frozen to death.

I did a look on Newspapers.com and found a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article from 1959 that mentions Eli; it’s headlined “Two Infants Die in Flu Epidemic” and says eight babies, among them 15-month-old Eli Sharclane and his 1-month-old sister Donna, remained hospitalized. No articles about Castillo’s trial, though. I found Eli’s father’s obituary on Google; he died in 2003.

Eli’s listed on NamUs, btw, but the image provided is clearly not a picture of the victim.

I don’t know 100% what happened to Peter Castillo, but common sense would suggest he’s out of prison by now, and a records check turned up a 57-year-old by that name living in Juneau today.

My only hope is that someday Eli’s relatives will put up a Find a Grave notice for him with a photo. Just today I put up some pics on an MP I found on Find a Grave.