Sometimes it seems like I don’t get a resolved case for a month and then suddenly get hit with a dozen at once. This next update will have five. So far. I’m linking to their casefiles but they won’t be up for much longer.
- Runaway Sualee Jeseenia Gonzalez Castro has been found alive, per NCMEC. She had been missing for two years and almost two months and is now 19 years old.
- Runaway Alondra Hernandez-Trujillo has also been found alive, per NCMEC. She had been missing for almost three years. She is now 18.
- Convicted murderer Thomas Riffenburg has confessed to the killings of his girlfriend, Jennifer Anne Walsh, and their son, Alexander Mitchell Riffenburg, who had been missing from Palmdale, California since January 9, 2009. Jennifer was 23 and Alexander was only a year old. This article provides a lot of background info about their cases, more than I have on Charley. Thomas provided hand-drawn maps to where he’d buried their bodies, and the cops found remains and are awaiting DNA confirmation of their identities. I think I’ll resolve their cases now; it’s highly unlikely they’re anyone but Jennifer and Alexander.
- A skull found in the woods 2001 has been identified as Ella Mae Williams, an 80-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s Disease who wandered from her Gainesville, Florida home on March 25, 1990. (The article incorrectly gives her age as 78.)
I’ve lately found Facebook incredibly useful for missing persons related things lately. These days I’ll always check to see if the MP either had their own Facebook page, or has one set up for them to publicize their disappearance. Mostly it’s useful for finding photographs, but I often find other information too.
Tonight I was taking advantage of a burst of energy to write up cases for the next update. I had a bit of a conundrum with the first one I wrote up: NamUs said his middle name was “Donte” and the FDLE database said it was “Dante.” He’d been missing since 2002 so clearly he hadn’t been on Facebook, but I looked to see if his family had set up a page for him. Turns out they had. There’s not much on it, but I found out that NamUs and FDLE are both wrote and his middle name is “Dant’e.”
So there’s that, anyway. A middle name isn’t a whole lot, but I’d certainly not want to post incorrect info, and before I found the Facebook page it was basically a toss-up between “Dante” and “Donte.”
This week’s featured missing person is Whitney Nicole Sanders, a 21-year-old woman who was last seen in Jacksonville, Florida during the early morning hours on September 20, 2013. I don’t have a lot on this case, but Whitney was the victim of an earlier crime that could be related to her disappearance: she was robbed and beaten a month before she was last seen, and the police had still not arrested anyone. Her mom theorizes that whoever robbed her might have been involved in her case.
Yeah, I was going to do a Make-a-List Monday yesterday of people who disappeared on the fourth of July, but life intervened: I got more and more manic over the weekend and as a result I was awake for two and a half days in spite of lying quietly in bed most of the time. I developed an ear infection and due to the holiday weekend, no outpatient clinics were open, so I had to go to the hospital for treatment. I was bouncing off the walls by this point and they outright asked if I was on drugs. (I was not. Except the ones I’m supposed to be taking.) Then on Monday I finally crashed and slept. all. day.
Anyway. Today’s missing person of the week is Uma Davi Sewpersaud, a thirteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on January 28, 2002. Uma is either from Guyana or at least of Guyanese parentage. Guyana is in South America but culturally, it’s Caribbean, and almost half the population is of Indian (that is, Asian) descent, including Uma.
Anyway, the cops think Uma ran away. I hope she really did and hasn’t met with foul play. I mean, it’s been 15 years now. But if she went to Guyana, as the police believe she might have, maybe that’s why she’s fallen off the map.
Oh, and I would like to note (for people who want to identify bodies) that she was tiny, even for her age, when she disappeared. Less than four and a half feet tall and just 70 pounds. (At the same age I was 5’1 or 5’2 and around 90 or 100 pounds.) Maybe if she died shortly after her disappearance and her body was found, they might have thought it was of a younger girl.
Yeah, I went a bit nuts this night.
- Regarding Angelica Gandara:
It would appear from the neighbor’s account that someone was stalking Angelica prior to her abduction. I’m not sure what to make of the account by the witness in San Antonio, though.
It’s certainly plausible but I don’t know if it was ever verified — I could find only one article about it. Nowadays it would be pretty easy to verify since I’m assuming all convenience stores have security cameras, but I don’t think that was the case in 1985.
If that girl WAS Angelica, though, it would seem to indicate she was kept alive for an extended period after her disappearance, which makes me wonder if human trafficking was involved. Perhaps she might even still be alive today.
The fact that the little girl didn’t ask for help doesn’t mean this witness’s account is discredited — Shasta Groene didn’t ask for help either, although she did keep walking up to people and staring at them in right the face.
- Regarding Carol Woolsoncroft:
I tried to find out what Eugene LaFaye is doing nowadays but came up with nothing I could verify. I couldn’t find anyone by that name listed in the sex offender registry. I couldn’t find him listed in the Florida Department of Corrections database.
I did find mention of a Eugene LaFaye in the Fort Myers area in 1979 and I’m pretty sure this guy was Carol’s boyfriend’s father, since (a) the 1979 Eugene was 65 is and Carol’s Eugene would have been in 19 at the time and (b) I know Carol’s Eugene is a junior, so his father would have had the same name.
I did find mention of an “incapacitated person” named Eugene LaFaye in the Fort Myers area in 2001. I’m not sure which Eugene this is. Eugene Sr. would have been 87 by then.
At any rate this is a very sad but all-too-common kind of disappearance — domestic violence. It’s like super-obvious what happened, they just can’t prove it.
- Also… I found photos of Ivan Gutierrez and Charles Gibson! They’re not even really awful photos, either! I mean, they’re not the greatest, but they’re about as good as you can expect from newspaper archives, and I could finally add the cases to Charley!
Though why Gibson is in FDLE and Gutierrez isn’t, I don’t know; one of the articles said Gutierrez was officially reported missing by his father. Shrug.
I find the disappearance of best friends Mark Anthony Degner and Bryan Andrew Hayes puzzling and troubling. They’ve been missing from Jacksonville, Florida since February 1, 2005 — twelve years, nearly twelve and a half.
At first the circumstances of the boys’ cases look pedestrian enough: they were living in a group home, told friends they were going to run away, and apparently did just that. They were even sighted in Holly Hill, a small town south of Jacksonville on the Florida coast, two months later.
The boys, at just twelve (Mark) and thirteen (Bryan), were extremely young to have been gone this long. Bryan had run away before, but never for longer than a day, and Mark had no history of running away. Furthermore, they were developmentally delayed, functioning on the level of seven- to ten-year-old children, and both suffered from bipolar disorder.
How could they have remained off the map this long? Did the boys meet with foul play? If they’re still alive, why haven’t they resurfaced and who’s helping them stay hidden? Were relatives investigated? Were some member or members of the boys’ families unhappy that they were living in a group home? Or is it possible they fell victim to sex trafficking? Due to their disabilities. I should think they would have been extremely vulnerable to any kind of exploitation — even more so than most runaways.
The case reminds me of Clayton Lynn McCarter and Rodney Michael Scott, who ran away from a Bowling Green, Kentucky children’s home three and a half years ago and still haven’t been found. They were almost the same age: fifteen and thirteen. Clayton was developmentally delayed and had psychiatric issues, just like Mark and Bryan, and there’s a good chance Rodney had similar problems though I don’t know that for sure. I’m not suggesting McCarter/Scott disappearances are related to Mark and Bryan’s, though, given the distance in both time and space.
So what do you think happened to Mark Degner and Bryan Hayes? Let’s talk about it.
I’m going through the FDLE database (which has a new location btw) again, trying to find pictures for MPs which have none. Some of these MPs aren’t listed ANYWHERE except the FDLE, not even NamUs, and I aim to change that.
As I’ve said before, I’ve gotten pretty creative in finding sources for pictures. Today I’ll be posting at least one case where I got the MP’s pics off his own Facebook profile. There’s no news on this guy, he’s not in any other database — “few details are available” — but I’ve got pictures for him so up he goes.
It actually makes me really happy when I’m able to add a case that isn’t listed on any other major database. It’s providing valuable, even vital exposure for that MP’s case, and other people and databases can then take my information and use it as necessary.