Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Hiep Luu

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 Hiep T. Luu, a 21-year-old Vietnamese immigrant who disappeared from Berwyn, Illinois on December 15, 2003.

Luu had moved to the U.S. in the 1990s and was living with his parents, sisters and brother-in-law. He was last seen when he left home to drive to work. He never arrived and was never heard from again.

I don’t have much information on this case, but as his car is missing also, I have to wonder if he got into an accident of some kind. Driving conditions in the midwest in the wintertime can be rather horrible. It’s a forty-minute drive from Berwyn to Woodridge, the town where his job was, and I note several forest preserves dotting the area. I wonder how thoroughly these have been searched.

Advertisements

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Wendy Kimura

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 Wendy M. Kimura, a 28-year-old woman who disappeared from Cary, Illinois on May 21, 1999. I don’t know for sure but I think she’s of Japanese descent; Kimura is a Japanese surname.

Wendy was a Chicago resident who took the train to Cary on May 20, and spent the night with a friend. She was last seen walking along Route 14 the next day.

There isn’t a whole lot out there about the circumstances of her disappearance, but it’s worth noting that she has both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In June 2013, fourteen years after her disappearance, the cops searched the Fox River for her, but didn’t find anything.

Thoughts on today’s updates

It’s 11:47 p.m. as I type this, so perhaps by the time it’s finished, “today” will be “yesterday.”

For all the updated cases today, except Jahi Turner and Donna Mezo, you can thank Mion, who kindly gathered together a bunch of old newspaper articles about cases I had and emailed them to me.

Regarding my Donna Mezo update, I hope it clarifies the situation with her boyfriend’s death. Earlier I had said there was a suicide note and his death was ruled a suicide in spite of the fact that the gun used was found in “a nearby lake.” Well, I have since learned that “nearby” was more like “a few feet away.” I think what probably happened is that Jeffrie either threw or dropped his weapon into the water during or after firing it.

I found quite a lot on Newspapers.com for Marcell Byers‘s case. His NamUs profile includes a clipping about how the people charged with kidnapping him disappeared and their lawyer had been threatened and maybe it was foul play.

Well, the two suspects did disappear, leaving a van shot full of holes, but I guess it was all just an attempt to evade prosecution because they were alive, back in custody and well enough to cop a plea less than a year later.

It’s disturbing that Marcell was never found. All this over a gold chain. The Zuppos pleaded no contest to kidnapping, meaning they didn’t even admit they were guilty. They’d be out of prison by now and I’m not sure what they’re up to these days. I think Gerald Sr. may be dead; someone with the same name and birth year died in North Carolina in 2003.

Tejin‘s case is just sad. (Also, NamUs has him listed as a girl? I admit you can’t really tell from the pictures. If I hadn’t found some articles on his disappearance I’d have been none the wiser.) I found his Facebook page and one picture was of him holding a little turtle, whom Tejin called “my son.” This was just a few months before his presumed death.

Julie Davis‘s case is sad too. Judging from the Facebook page created for her, she was lost for awhile before she disappeared. They only have the one not very good quality and out-of-date photo of her, and from the Facebook page her family apparently wasn’t really clear on when they’d last heard from her. They mentioned getting a letter from her “around 1985 or 1986.” (I’m not sure where NamUs’s date of disappearance comes from.)

She was just sixteen years old and already out on her own, almost four hours from her hometown.  I know things were a bit different back in the eighties, but that’s still pretty unusual. I wonder if she was in foster care. Obviously her family cares about her or they wouldn’t be trying to find her. I hope she’s alive out there and doesn’t even know anyone is looking, and isn’t a Jane Doe somewhere, or worse, dead and never found.

For this case, normally I’d have listed her as just regular “Missing” but then I saw the detail about the track marks and thought “drugs” and upgraded her case to “Endangered Missing.” Question: do track marks ALWAYS mean drugs? There are some medical conditions that require a person to get frequent injections; do those people get similar scars?

Ashley Lynn Thomas has such striking eyes, so big and dark against her pale skin and hair. I hope she’s okay. I hope she and the baby are both healthy and being looked after.

Stuart Owen Collins got a big update today. (Thanks again, Mion!) It does sound like something bad happened to him, and one inevitably wonders about the woman he was with, and even more so about her husband.

With Paul Egan (another big update there) the whole rendering theory is just awful to contemplate. The police seemed to suspect Paul’s friend. They said his friend was not a suspect, but they also made a point of saying they couldn’t confirm the friend’s story.

It could have happened something like this: Paul and his friend got into some kind of argument at the plant after hours — his friend was a foreman, Paul a technician — and things got out of hand something went horribly wrong, and his friend is panicking and thinks “well, there’s this rendering machine, if I just chuck him in and keep my mouth shut, no one will ever know.” I doubt such places had security cameras in 1975. The rendering machine was designed to grind up horses; a human corpse would be easy.

Of course that’s all supposition. I did look up the friend in the Florida DOC database and on Facebook and couldn’t find anyone by that name. I did find a Newspapers.com mention of a person by that name (and a photo of that person) from 1970, five years before Paul disappeared. Nothing since then. I wonder if I’ve got the spelling of his surname right.

As far as the note Elsie Elsinga left behind — and her daughter’s poo-pooing the significance of that note — I don’t know. Her daughter said something like “How could someone of that age have done anything to mess up their life?” But perhaps Elsie’s “possible mild depression” was more significant than her daughter thought.

For Helen Robinson, I wonder if she decided to take a plane to visit one of those CB radio friends she had, and maybe something happened that prevented her from coming back. It was two solid years before her van turned up; by then, the weeds might have grown over the flight records. Robinson is definitely dead now; I don’t think she would have lived long in any case, because of her emphysema.

I added 27 updates and I’m very pleased with my work output today. I hope y’all have noticed how much more productive I’ve been ever since the site got redesigned. It takes less time to add/update stuff, since I don’t have to write all the code by hand, or hand-add case names to the lists.

MP of the week: Kianna Galvin

This week’s featured missing person is Kianna Galvin. (I had to ask Preston how to change the MP of the week.) Kianna is a 16-year-old girl who disappeared from South Elgin, Illinois on May 6, 2016. She has some distinctive tattoos; I have a photo of one.

The police don’t think she ran away, though some sites list her as a runaway. Given her age, one inevitably wonders about human trafficking.

First MP of the week for 2018: Carina Karras

This week’s featured missing person is Carina Lynn Karras, twenty, missing since December 31, 2005. I have lots of pictures of her, ten in fact, but very little info on her disappearance. She was taking a train to Las Vegas and I don’t know if she disappeared en route or after she arrived.

Given that it’s Las Vegas and with Carina being a young woman and it having been twelve years, I’m concerned for her safety. I wish I knew more about this case.

Select It Sunday: Timmothy Pitzen

I forget who suggested this, but I promised to do a Select It Sunday for Timmothy James Pitzen, who disappeared from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin on May 12, 2011 at the age of six. He is missing under unusual circumstances.

Timmothy’s mom, Amy Fry-Pitzen, signed him out of kindergarten and took off with him without telling his dad. They went to the zoo, then to two resorts before checking into a hotel in Rockford, Illinois. The next morning the hotel staff found Amy dead; she’d taken her own life. There was no sign of Timmothy. Amy left notes saying he was being cared for, but she didn’t say where he was or who was taking care of him.

Investigators believe Amy may have been planning her son’s disappearance for months. As to where he is, or if he’s still alive, nobody seems to know.

MP of the week (late, sorry): Jamie Travis

This week’s featured missing person is Jamie Jo Travis, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Peoria, Illinois on August 30, 2005. Unfortunately I don’t have any details on her disappearance. I checked her NamUs page hoping it would have new information, but all I could find was a note saying she may use the last name Wolgemuth.

If Jamie is still alive she would be 39 this year.