MP of the week: Debra Cole

This week’s featured missing person is Debra Jean Cole, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Lebanon, Indiana on August 29, 1981.

They’re pretty sure Debra was killed by her mother’s live-in boyfriend, who definitely killed Debra’s sister Frances in 1983. Unfortunately, the boyfriend was never prosecuted in either case. He died in 1989, and Debra’s body has never been found.

Thinking out loud today

  • Uh, where are Tarasha Benjamin‘s ears on the 2013 AP I found?
  • So it seems pretty obvious that “Larry Wilson” killed William Joseph Davis at that house that day, but I wonder what the motive would be? I’ve seen female real estates disappear under these circumstances, and usually the motive is a sexual attack, but this is less likely here. Robbery maybe?
  • Per articles at the time, several other adults disappeared from Hillsborough County in the same time period as Brian Lee Jones did. There was no indication the cases were related, though, and all the others, except Jones and one other, seem to have turned up. As for Jones… I can’t figure out what was going on there. How far away was that “secluded wooded area” from the ABC Lounge? Were the “possible bloodstains” on the pillow ever tested? Obviously DNA testing would have been impossible in 1981, but they could have at least determined whether it the stains were human blood or not.
  • I found frustratingly contradictory information about Tai Yung Lau‘s disappearance. One news account said he had no car and couldn’t drive, and other that his car disappeared at the same time he did. The new page for Hillsborough County missing persons, however, says Lau sold his car and said something about returning to China. But the thing is, if the story about him escaping from a forced labor camp during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and eventually getting working papers in the U.S. is true, there’s no way in hell he would have returned to China; they’d have killed him.
  • I originally read about Jack Donald Lewis‘s disappearance in this book; the author interviewed Carole Lewis (now Carole Baskin) and she mentioned that her husband just walked out of the house one day and never came back. As for Jack’s disappearance, I know there has been talk online that Carole killed him, but I am not going to venture a guess as to what caused his disappearance. The articles I found called Wildlife on Easy Street a “sanctuary,” but it didn’t have a very good reputation back in the nineties. I don’t know if things have improved now or what. On a side note, earlier this month Joe Exotic, who runs a horrible traveling petting zoo, was charged with trying to hire someone to kill Carole.
  • Despite Carlos Melgar-Perez‘s case being local to me, I never heard squat about it until I saw him on the Fort Wayne Police Department and began looking up info on his own. Apparently the police only interviewed his friend one time. The circumstances of his disappearance seem strange, to say the least. There aren’t any nearby bodies of water sufficiently large/deep/fast enough to have concealed his body for this long.
  • I found Eva Marie Ridall‘s dad’s obituary and noted that he was divorced from his kids’ mother and lived in Ohio when he died. I have to wonder if maybe she was going to Ohio to see her father, but I’ve got no proof that he lived in Ohio in 1977. I found some stuff about her disappearance online from her sister, and all indications seem to be that she did run away, but it’s been over 40 years; what happened?
  • About that extortion attempt in Cynthia Lynn Sumpter‘s case: was the man charged with molesting her in jail when she disappeared? If he wasn’t, have the police verified his alibi 100%?

And finally, I found the following article about something Peter Joseph Bonick did a full five years prior to his disappearance. I’m guessing the reason he was living in a children’s home when he went missing is because he continued on the delinquent path.

bonick

Pride Month: Allen Livingston

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 Allen Lee Livingston, a 27-year-old gay man who disappeared from Indianapolis, Indiana on August 6, 1993.

Livingston may have been a victim of the serial killer Herb Baumeister, who targeted young gay men in the Indianapolis area. However, his body wasn’t among the eleven unearthed on Baumeister’s property in 1996. So…shrug.

Thinking aloud about some of yesterday’s cases

I will add cases of MPs who are also wanted for some crime or other on a case-by-case basis. Loutonia Alexander has a warrant for his arrest for failure to appear in court on a minor weed charge, and it seems unlikely he’s been hiding since 2006 just because of that.

Sometimes I am a bit leery. Pricella Williams is, for example, listed on the FDLE database as a missing person, so I added her. But I’m pretty sure she’s not so much “missing” as “on the run.” If you Google her name — and make sure to search for Pricella, not Priscilla — the results are, shall we say, interesting. And the cops were seeking to have her designated a habitual offender, meaning she was facing some serious prison time.

Nevertheless, she is listed as a missing person with FDLE, and so I put her up on Charley. It’s entirely on the cards that she hung out with some bad people and something bad happened to her.

I found this PDF of Indiana missing persons and wound up adding dates of birth to loads of cases yesterday. I didn’t note this on the updates page cause that was too insignificant an update in my opinion. I did discover, based off those DOBs, that several of the listed ages on these people’s NamUs page are wrong.

I Googled names from the PDF, trying to get photos of these people so I could add them to Charley. I added several from Fort Wayne, where I live. Ryan Baughman‘s case struck me as pretty sad. On his Facebook page you can see he has two young kids. In his final post, six weeks before his disappearance, he wrote:

baughman

I can certainly understand why Ryan’s family believes he may have ODed or may have met with foul play. The reference to Hells Angels is worrying, though I’m not sure if he literally meant he was involved with them.

I wish I could find a Facebook page for Derrell Sims. I looked but didn’t see one. I really would like some more photos of them because they were apparently taken before he got the face tattoo. Personal Facebook pages of people are great sources of photos, and also tattoos — they often post photos of them, like “Hey, new ink, check it out.”

I have this to say

You know, I rarely openly criticize the police, because I am not a police officer and I do not know what they know, but I have to say the cops in David Morrison‘s case were a bunch of idiots.

I mean, you see a body floating in water just a few feet deep, practically within arm’s length of shore, and it’s windy and the lake is choppy and it’s LAKE MICHIGAN, it’s not a little pond or anything, and you don’t bother to fetch it? Just chill out on the shoreline and watch the lake take the body away?

Genius. And someone probably got away with murder because of it. Hard to prosecute without a body, particularly in 1979.

That is all.

MP of the week: Larissa Sam

This week’s featured missing person is Larissa Marie Sam, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared from Indianapolis on June 21, 2015. After work she went to her uncle’s house and had a few drinks, leaving at 4:30 a.m. She never arrived home and her car was found abandoned, with a flat tire.

Larissa’s family thinks she might have been a human trafficking victim. She was certainly an attractive woman, and within the age range for sex trafficking. If that is true, then the best bet for finding her may lie with some of her customers, who must surely have noticed those tattoos. The one on her chest is very large and unique.

If she’s not being held captive, though, I think it’s pretty unlikely she’s still alive.

FINALLY another “Let’s Talk About It”

It’s been awhile since I did my last “Let’s Talk About It” case, but I haven’t given up on them. This week is a double disappearance: Diamond Bynum and her her two-year-old nephew, King Rajan Walker, who disappeared on July 25, 2015.

Diamond was 21 and suffered from Prader-Willi Syndrome, a genetic condition characterized mainly by mental disability and a constant feeling of hunger. If not kept supervised, people with this condition will just eat and eat and eat until they get sick. At 4’10, Diamond weighed well over 200 pounds, and she had the mental capacity of a five- to seven-year-old.

She had recently moved with her parents to Gary, Indiana, and her nephew, King Walker, was visiting. Apparently the two of them slipped out while Grandma was taking a nap. Diamond regularly walked in the neighborhood in the town where she used to live, but that was safer because she’d lived there all her life and the locals knew her and knew she was disabled and looked out for her.

But she wasn’t familiar with Gary, and, well, Gary is an awful place. It’s regularly ranked as one of the ten most dangerous cities in the country and something like one-fifth of the population lives under the poverty line. The city is a swath of urban decay, with all sorts of ramshackle abandoned buildings — it’s really sad.

I think this case would have gotten more media attention if Diamond and King had been white, or more affluent, or at least disappeared from a more affluent area. But I do have to wonder what happened to them.

Foul play seems like an obvious answer…but why? The family seems to be in the clear. An extensive search of the neighborhood, all those abandoned buildings, turned up doodly squat. No one seems to know anything. I can’t think of a kidnapper or a serial killer or a human trafficker who would want BOTH a very overweight, mentally disabled young woman AND a two-year-old boy. It seems like one or the other should have turned up.

So what caused these two to disappear? Let’s talk about it.