Latest in the MP news

I’ve finally managed to pull my nose out of the birthday books (though they’re not all finished arriving in the mail) and plan to update today. I also made a huge score on Amazon’s free Kindle books. A publisher made their ENTIRE COLLECTION of Holocaust memoirs available for free, 35 in all. I snatched up every one of them.

Anyway, on to the news:

One Anthony Joseph Palma has been arrested and charged with Kirsten Renee Hatfield‘s abduction and murder. Kirsten disappeared in 1997, taken from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Palma was almost a literal next-door neighbor of Kirsten’s; he lived two doors down. His arrest has made news as far away as France. Right now they’re looking for Kirsten’s body at his house. I hope they find it. Kirsten’s disappearance was one of the earliest MP cases I remember reading about, and it really touched me. I wrote a poem about her when I was twelve or thirteen (that would be in 1998 or 1999) and posted it on the internet, and her mom found it and emailed me.

Moving on: Toni Ann Bachman‘s husband Norman has confessed to strangling her during an argument and he’s pleaded guilty to manslaughter. His son Frederick, Toni’s stepson, is awaiting trial in another murder. Frederick was ten when Toni disappeared. All in all…pretty awful.

Authorities have located Lee Jan Marie Kratzer, who disappeared from Roanoke, Louisiana in 1982. She wasn’t reported missing until 2014. Lee had walked out of her life, changed her name to Lisa Neese and given birth to a daughter, and then died of cancer in 2008, at the age of 46. I wonder if her post-disappearance daughter will establish a relationship with her pre-disappearance children.

Sabine Musil-Buehler’s killer, William Cumber, has confessed to her murder and lead authorities to her body in Holmes Beach, Florida. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and got a 20-year sentence, with credit for time served. As Sabine’s daughter noted, it’s pretty stupid, given that some non-violent drug offenders in Florida get more than that.

Barry Whitton was convicted of his first wife’s murder last month, and the other day he got sentenced to life in prison. Barry is also a suspect in the disappearance of his second wife, Kimberly Whitton, and her daughter, Haleigh Culwell, who vanished from Section, Alabama in 2007. I fear we may never know what happened to them, unless they give Barry an incentive to talk by reducing his prison sentence.

Barry Whitton charged with murder

For the uninitiated, Barry Whitton is or was the husband of Kimberly Whitton and stepfather of Kimberly’s daughter Haleigh Culwell. The pair have been missing since 2007 and Barry’s considered a possible suspect in their cases, though it’s worth noting that Kim never complained about any mistreatment.

Well, Barry’s been charged with murder: not of Haleigh and Kimberly, but of his first wife, Michelle Whitton. He married Kimberly only about a year after Michelle’s death. Barry is already in prison doing ten years on weapons charges. I know Alabama has the death penalty, but I don’t know whether a murder conviction in Michelle’s case would be a DP-eligible offense.

I wonder if the authorities could use these murder charges as a bargaining chip to make Barry tell where Kimberly and Haleigh are. Probably not.

In my opinion this case never got the kind of attention it should have gotten. Perhaps if Haleigh and Kimberly lived in a more populated, more affluent area, rather than rural Alabama, more news outlets would have covered it. All I could find were regional publications, nothing national. And this for a mother and her child who dropped off the face of the earth.