Pride Month: Naum Mendez

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Naum Rafael Mendez, a 33-year-old man who disappeared from Boca Raton, Florida on February 1, 2008.

Naum was, I think, bisexual — the casefile notes he had a wife and kids in Mexico but had a job dancing at a nightclub in drag and had a relationship with at least one man, Juan Carlos Atenco Camacho.

Atenco Camacho pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Naum’s case in 2012. His body was never found.

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A pre-emptive post

Yes, I am aware that Simorali Nieves has dark skin and textured black hair. No, I did not make a mistake when I wrote her race down as Caucasian. Yes, I double-checked. Every source I could find says she’s Caucasian.

So if a mistake was made, it wasn’t mine; I have to work with what I’m given. I am hoping this post will stop some people from emailing me “correcting” her casefile.

Pride Month: Leonard Taku

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Leonard Taku, a 44-year-old gay man who disappeared from Tampa, Florida on Christmas Day, 2006.

Taku was from New Zealand and is Maori descent; the Maori people are the indigenous people of New Zealand. He was teaching at a British school at the time of his disappearance, but had come to America for the holidays. He was reported missing when he didn’t return to work at the start of the new year, and in February, his car was found abandoned in the Ocala National Forest in Florida.

I haven’t found any news about Taku in a long time. I don’t know what happened to him but I don’t think it was any good; he sounds like he was a responsible and high-functioning individual who had no reason to just walk away.

Pride Month: Barry Block and David Rhodes

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is actually two people, Barry Alan Block and David George Rhodes, who disappeared together.

The two men, both 24, lived together in the Drake Towers apartments in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and both were gay, but I’m not clear on whether they were lovers or merely roommates. I’m guessing the former but I don’t know for sure. They also co-owned a boat.

Curiously, Mark Douglas Jackson, who disappeared in 2004, also lived in Drake Towers. The police are pretty sure Jackson was the victim of a serial killer, but I think it’s unlikely that Block and Rhodes’s disappearances are related to Jackson’s, because Block and Rhodes disappeared in 1988, a full sixteen years earlier.

I don’t have much on the Block/Rhodes cases by themselves. Rhodes’s cell phone (in 1988!) disappeared with him; I wonder if the cops bothered to track it.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Daniel Dutton

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 Daniel Murry Dutton, a biracial 28-year-old of Asian and Caucasian descent, who disappeared from Long Beach, Mississippi under unclear circumstances back in 2000.

Dutton lived with his parents and worked as a cab driver. He left a note at home saying he’d be gone for a few days, then apparently drove his cab to Lake City, Florida, which is over 400 miles away, around six hours on I-10. That’s where the cab was found, in the parking lot of a hotel where Dutton hadn’t checked in. Investigators think he actually stayed at a hotel in Gainesville, another hour down I-10.

Why he left, what he intended to do, and why his cab was found in Lake City and not Gainesville all appear to be mysteries.

Was he just taking off for a short vacation, and did something happen to him in Gainesville? Or was he planning on leaving for good? He was having serious financial issues. Did he have an episode of dissociative fugue, where a person develops amnesia and just wanders off? That doesn’t explain the note he left, though.

One detail that worries me is the fact that Dutton’s glasses were inside his abandoned cab. Speaking as a glasses-wearing person, the furthest I will go without them is down the street to the mailbox. I can’t even see well enough to use the computer without my glasses and I certainly can’t drive. And Dutton’s eyesight is noted as being very poor. Unless he had another pair of glasses — which is entirely possible, I have several pairs myself — I can’t see him voluntarily leaving without them.

Thinking aloud with May 14 updates

Yeah, I was up all night working on these. Go me.

  • Suzen Cooper: The cops have GOT to know who this unidentified third party is. After all, Rachael took a plea deal and one of the conditions of the plea was to be honest with the authorities about what happened (though she claims she doesn’t know where Suzen’s body is). So where is this Mystery Man and why hasn’t he been charged?
  • Tamara Lynn Elbertson: Does anyone know what sort of medical conditions can cause that droopy eye? Maybe a stroke? My mom’s first husband (before she met my dad) has something similar and I was told he was dropped on his head when he was a baby, but I’m not sure that was meant entirely seriously.
  • Kito Royal Felton: Not mentioned in the casefile, but Kito may be one of those people where the line between “missing” and “on the run” is pretty thin. Right around the time he disappeared, a woman and her teenage son, Susan and Laurier Myrick, were shot to death in north Tampa and the articles said Kito was sought for questioning. I don’t think the murder has been solved.
    However, he’s listed as missing both on NamUs and FDLE, he doesn’t have any active warrants that I’m aware of, and he was simply wanted for questioning in the murders, not named as a suspect, so…I dunno.
  • Jared Baptista Germano: I studied his Facebook page pretty carefully. I don’t know what happened to him, but I hope he is missing because he wants to be. Jared had a troubled past and an extensive arrest record in Florida and North Carolina.
    His Facebook is public and is pretty open about his background; it says he studied criminal justice in the educational institution called “prison”. Per Jared’s posts, he had a meth problem, which would explain the arrests. But his Facebook says he had gone through rehab, got clean, was working and was generally trying to make a decent go of it.
    Wherever he is, he’s managed to avoid getting arrested again, which is a significant departure from his prior lifestyle. That could mean he’s leading a law-abiding life somewhere or it could mean he’s dead.
    Incidentally, Jared has a brother who looks JUST LIKE him. The brother also has an arrest record and I thought one of his mug shots was of Jared till I realized one person had neck tattoos and the other didn’t. Then I saw a photo on Jared’s Facebook of him and his brother side my by side and was like, “Ah, okay, here’s your double.”
  • Teresa Gossage and Alfred Hoffman Marshal: I’m very proud of getting these two up because their case is notorious in local history and they’re not listed on ANY database. They’re not even on the Missouri Highway Patrol’s list of missing persons, perhaps because they vanished on federal land. I found their names by accident while looking for something else.
    Fort Leonard Wood, by the way, is some 61,000 thousand acres spread over the Missouri Ozarks. My bet is TC and Al are still somewhere on the base. And I’m pretty sure Mr. Thornton is responsible. It would be a very strange coincidence if he wasn’t.
  • Sarah Necaise: She appears to have an active Facebook page — at least, there’s a page under that name, with a young woman who lives in Mississippi and resembles the missing girl. Hmm. An active page doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been found.

The start of an interesting “Unsolved” series

Starting yesterday, First Coast News has begun an “Unsolved” series about the disappearances and murders of five girls in a three-month period in 1974 in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

Two of the girls, twelve-year-olds Virginia Suzanne Helm (missing on September 27) and twelve-year-old Rebecca Ann Greene (missing October 12) were found murdered. Nine-year-old Jean Marie Schoen (missing July 21) and the sisters eleven-year-old Annette Anderson and six-year-old Mylette Anderson (missing August 1) were never located.

Of course, one inevitably wonders about a serial killer, and Paul John Knowles confessed to the murders of the Anderson girls. The other cases remain a mystery, however.