National Hispanic Heritage Month: Yessenia Suarez, and Thalia and Elijah Otto

[Yeah, so this was supposed to go up yesterday but somehow it didn’t. I am putting it up now. My apologies.]

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is three cases: Yessenia Ivette Suarez, age 38, and her children, nine-year-old Thala Ivette Otto and eight-year-old Michael Elijah Otto, who was addressed by his middle name. They were last seen alive in Deltona, Floria on October 22, 2013.

We know what happened in this case, but this woman and children’s bodies have never been found. Luis Toledo, Yessenia’s husband and the children’s stepfather, murdered them in a horrific act of violence, then coerced a neighbor into helping him clean up the crime scene. After his arrest he tried to blame that same neighbor for the murders, but that didn’t go anywhere. For some reason, he was spared the death penalty when he was convicted.

It’s such a tragic story and such a waste. You might read it and think “if only Yessenia had pressed charges against him for the fight they had earlier that day” or “if only Yessenia had spent the night at her mom’s like she’d initially planned” and so on. But the real “if only” should be “if only Luis Toledo hadn’t done these awful things.”

In hearing stories about domestic violence people often ask why women stay. The real question ought to be why the men are so violent to them. Some people talk about anger management issues or whatever, but these men often have no problem controlling their anger in the workplace, with their friends, etc. It is a deliberate choice that they take it out on their wives and girlfriends.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Noemi Gonzalez

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Noemi Gonzalez, a 54-year-old woman who disappeared from North Miami, Florida on February 12, 2014. She wears glasses, has curly hair, and has a prominent mole/birthmark on her cheek.

Noemi was last seen by her son, whom she lived with, in the early morning hours. When he woke up later that morning she was gone. Her bed was unmade, the front door was unlocked and she hadn’t made any coffee as she usually did.

I wonder if she had a seizure and wandered off afterwards. She had epilepsy and I know people can get pretty confused after they have a seizure.

If still alive she’d be 59.

MP of the week: Catalino Gomez

This week’s missing person is Catalino Gomez, a 54-year-old Hispanic man who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on June 3, 1994.

He was visiting relatives in Florida and someone accused him of molesting a ten-year-old girl. Afterwards, Gomez ran away without any of his belongings and was never seen or heard from again.

There’s a theory that he returned to Puerto Rico, where he’s from, and chose not to resurface because of the sex abuse allegation, but I’m not sure. As far as I know, there’s no warrants out for his arrest. Plus, how is he going to get to Puerto Rico? You would need to get on a ship or (probably) a plane, and would need money to buy a ticket and also probably identification, and he didn’t have those. I wonder if the possibility of suicide was investigated.

If he is indeed still alive and had gone into hiding in Puerto Rico, I highly doubt he’s going to reappear after 25 years. Given his age now (79) it’s possible he’s deceased.

MP of the week: Charles Dart

This week’s featured missing person is Charles Christopher Dart, a fifty-year-old disabled veteran who disappeared from Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 25, 2012. The car he was driving turned up inoperable and abandoned in Florida. Dart apparently rented another vehicle afterwards, and never returned it.

There’s been no indication of his or the rented car’s whereabouts since then, and Dart hasn’t used his VA benefits either.

A samaritan utility

The other day I updated a case that had a detail I’d never seen before: the woman, Mary Joetta Roderick, was reported missing by her phone company.

It’s not all that uncommon for adults to not get reported missing for months, particularly if their children are taking the opportunity to cash their checks, which Mary’s son was. But usually in such cases, the police are alerted by friends, neighbors or extended family members. I’ve never heard of a utility company doing it.

She was last seen in December 1994. A few months later her phone company contacted the cops to say she’d always paid her bill promptly, but she had not paid it in months and the balance had grown to $3,500 (was her son calling 900-number sex lines?). I suppose the company probably tried to contact her themselves and couldn’t. Anyway, they thought something might have happened to her.

So the cops went to her house on a welfare check and found her son, and it started to unravel. Partially, anyway. They’ve never found her or charged anyone in her disappearance.

The cops haven’t given up, though. They conducted a search for her just this month.

MP of the week: Clinton Seymore

This week’s featured missing person is Clinton Carlos Seymore, a 44-year-old man who disappeared from Fort Walton Beach, Florida on January 15, 2007. Unfortunately that’s basically all I have on him; his is one of the “few details are available” cases. He has some tattoos: a Virgo symbol (the maiden) on one arm, and on the other arm a woman and a hundred-dollar bill.

If still alive, Clinton Seymore would be 56 today.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Aaron Tapasoa

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 Aaron Tapasoa, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on October 17, 2008.

Most agencies classify Aaron as Caucasian, but I made a judgement call and I believe he’s much more likely to be of Pacific Islander descent, for the following reasons:

  1. His appearance
  2. The fact that he “may have traveled to Samoa”
  3. Most importantly, the surname Tapasoa is almost entirely unique to Aaron himself, but the surname Tapusoa (a slight respelling) comes from the Pacific Islands.

If I’m wrong I’ll eat my words.

Getting back to Aaron, it says he associated with the homeless population and spent a lot of time on the beach. He’s classified as a runaway. Wherever he is, I hope he’s alive and well.