Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Some MP news highlights while I was gone:

  • Mark Duane Woodard has been found. Or rather, he was found in 1977, 23 months after his disappearance, but not identified till now. The aforementioned news link uses his Charley Project pic, and asked me permission first. (Thanks!) This link has another photo of him, a much better quality one, as well as more details about his disappearance. He was murdered, shot to death. His sister is the only surviving member of the immediate family.
  • In the state of Thuringia in central Germany they have found a missing girl, Peggy No-Last-Name-Released [edit: per a UK article supplied by a commenter, it’s Knobloch], who disappeared mysteriously fifteen years ago, at the age of nine. A mushroom picker found her bones in the forest nine miles from Peggy’s hometown of Lichtenberg. According to this article and one other I found about the case, this had been a murder-without-a-body (MWAB) case: In 2004, a mentally disabled man was convicted of Peggy’s murder. He was later acquitted in a retrial due to lack of evidence after a key witness retracted his statement.
  • Corry Ehlers, a guy who disappeared while hiking in Utah in 2012, has also been found deceased. His skeletal remains, found “in a steep, rocky spot near Alta Ski Resort” last summer, were identified in late June. They think Corry fell off a cliff.
  • Three days ago it was fifteen years since sisters Diamond and Tionda Bradley vanished mysteriously from Chicago. The Chicago Tribune has done an anniversary article about it, with quotes from Diamond and Tionda’s two other sisters, Rita and Victoria: The girls disappeared just a day before Victoria Bradley’s ninth birthday. Until recent years, Bradley, who turns 24 on Thursday, said she was unable to celebrate her birthday because of her depression over the anniversary of their disappearance. I have not updated the girls’ casefiles in over a decade, and last time was just to add some more pics. I will give a look and see if I can find any developments that have taken place in the intervening years.
  • Two more recent anniversaries: eleven years since Stacy Ann Aragon and her boyfriend Steven Bishop disappeared from Arizona (see article; Stacy has been reported missing but it appears Steven has not been), and ten years since Roxanne Paltauf disappeared (article) from Texas.
  • The NCMEC reports that two of my oldest family abduction cases have been resolved, with the children located alive. One was Jacquelina Ann Gomez, who was abducted from Illinois by her father in 1992 at the age of 3. She would be 27 now, 28 in September.
  • The other case involves two brothers who disappeared with their mother and stepfather from Blairsville, Georgia in 1996, when the boys were 2 and 3. A day or so before I left for Minneapolis I got contacted by a very excited reporter who ran a story on Rick Tyler, a man who’s running for Congress under the odious slogan “Make America White Again.” She said after she ran the story she was deluged with emails from people who believed Rick Tyler was probably the same Rick Tyler who was listed as the missing Blairsville kids’ stepfather. She also said the police were now claiming that the boys’ mom DID have custody of them when they disappeared, after all. Well, then the day I left Minneapolis I got an NCMEC notice saying the boys were recovered. I’m not going to say their names on here or put them on the resolved page because I’m not sure about the custody issue, but it should be easy enough to determine who they are from the info I just provided.
  • The state of Arkansas has a brand shiny new MP database with 510 people on it, many whose names I don’t recognize. I am very happy about this. I believe every state should have their own publicly searchable online database, as large and comprehensive as possible. Many of the people listed in this new database have no pics though. I hope this situation improves.
  • Morgan Keyanna Martin, a pregnant teenager who disappeared in 2012, is now considered a MWAB case. Jacobee Flowers, the father of the unborn child, has been charged with her murder. Homicide is the most common non-natural cause of death for pregnant women in the US and from what I have read, all around the world, the murder of pregnant women — usually by their baby’s father — is a universal problem.
  • HuffPo has published a photo essay about the 1998 disappearance of SUNY-Albany student Suzanne Lyall. It’s a mysterious case; no obvious suspects, no answers. 19 years old, promising future, and then gone.
  • Kidnap survivor Jaycee Dugard has been in the news again, going on TV and talking about how her life’s going and how she’s raising the two daughters she had with her kidnapper Philip Garrido. The link I just gave provides lots of news articles to read, more than I can summarize here. But here’s one quote from this article to show what a resilient woman and amazing mother Jaycee was and still is: As she and her daughters grew older, Dugard said she planted a flower in front of the shed and set up a little school to teach them as much as she could with only her fifth-grade education. “They’re so resilient, and they’re beautiful and loving, and I’m really lucky,” she said. Dugard has protected her daughters’ privacy and said some of their friends don’t even know of their past. She said the three of them are able to talk about what happened with each other.

Jaycee’s kidnappers sentenced

According to CBS News, Phillip got 431 years to life in prison and Nancy got 36 years to life. The San Francisco Chronicle has a good article about the case as well. Nancy will become eligible for parole in 2040, by which time she will be 84 years old. Phillip, on the other hand, ain’t never gettin’ out.

Jaycee read a statement saying she had “hated every second of every day for 18 years” and that the Garridos “stole my life and that of my family.” But she’s happy now and they don’t matter to her anymore. Go, Jaycee!

I’m so glad that the criminal process didn’t drag out forever like it did with Elizabeth Smart. Though it’s all relative. Jaycee was found in August of 2009 — almost two years ago. 22 months is hardly what I could call a quick resolution. Brian David Mitchell was mentally incompetent for a long time, then he had to go to trial, which is why it took so long for Elizabeth. But I don’t understand what took so long in this case. It’s not like there was ever any doubt as to the Garridos’ guilt.

More about Phillip and Nancy Garrido’s guilty pleas

Naturally, Jaycee is pleased. Her prepared statement is reported in the Sacramento Bee among other places: “I’m relieved that Phillip and Nancy Garrido have finally acknowledged their guilt and confessed to their crimes against me and my family.”

No duh!

From a statement from the DA’s office in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Defendant Phillip Garrido pled guilty to kidnapping (Count 1) and to all the sexual assault counts alleged in the Indictment (Counts 4 – 16), as well as to all priors and enhancements. He will be sentenced on June 2, 2011, with a maximum possible sentence of 431 years to life in prison. He has waived his right to appeal.

Defendant Nancy Garrido pled guilty to kidnapping (Count 1), to one count of rape by force, and to various enhancements, including the “One Strike” rape law. She will be sentenced on June 2, 2011 to the negotiated disposition of life in prison (25-to-life sentence pursuant to the “One Strike” rape law, plus 11 years, which is the maximum possible sentence for the kidnapping charges based upon the sentencing laws in 1991). She has waived her right to appeal. Nancy Garrido’s plea was offered contingent upon Phillip Garrido pleading guilty and waiving his right to appeal.

And of course we have the reactions of local residents from Jaycee’s former neighborhood (her pre-kidnapping neighborhood that is):

The man who now lives in Dugard’s former home said he is weary of handling interviews with the media since the Garridos were arrested in August of 2009. But David Watkins said he was satisfied with the guilty plea and relieved Dugard and her two children will not have to testify in court.

Some had mixed deeply mixed feelings about the Dugard’s decision, that will mean life in prison for Phillip Garrido and likely the same for Nancy Garrido.

“I’m happy she doesn’t have to take the stand and I’m glad those people are gonna be put away for life,” said Phillip Aquilina as he picked up his son at a baseball game.

But Aquilina said he would have preferred a harsher punishment.

You can’t really get any harsher than this, though. As the DA’s statement noted, the state of California doesn’t allow life without parole (LWOP) sentences for the Garridos’ crimes.

I also found plea forms for both Phillip and Nancy.

Jaycee Dugard’s kidnappers lose phone privileges

According to CBS News, Philip and Nancy Garrido, the kidnappers of Jaycee Dugard, are no longer allowed to talk to each other on the phone. They had previously been allowed to have monthly conversations, but the police say the Garridos have abused their privilege (NOT “privelege,” CBS News! bad editor!) and so the convos have been suspended, pending a court hearing to have them stopped permanently.

So Jaycee Dugard’s money problems are over

I forgot to write this earlier: the state of California has given Jaycee Dugard twenty million dollars in compensation for her abduction and eighteen-year captivity by Phillip Garrido. The money will pay for things like housing, education/job training, health care, and presumably lots and lots of therapy for herself, her children and the rest of her family.

Although I think people are judging the police a bit harshly for not finding Jaycee sooner — correct me if I am wrong but I haven’t seen that anyone had any good reason to suspect he had a kidnapped kid on his property — I do think Jaycee deserves the money as much as anyone. Some people are making a fuss, saying “we don’t give that much money to every kidnap/rape victim,” but Jaycee’s ordeal was extraordinary by any measure. And “we can’t help/save everybody” is not an argument not to try to help whoever we can. Other people are claiming that money can’t help Jaycee, which is ridiculous: housing costs money, psychologists/psychiatrists cost money, education costs money, and for someone as high-profile as Jaycee, privacy will also cost money. The girl has suffered enough. Now we all can get on with our lives.

Philip Garrido cleared in three Reno, Nevada murders

Philip Garrido, whom everyone and their massage therapist knows kidnapped Jaycee Dugard, has been cleared of suspicion in the 1989 murders of siblings Charles and Jennifer Chia (six and seven respectively) and the 1990 murder of seven-year-old Monica DaSilva. No word on his status as a possible suspect in the 1988 kidnapping of Michaela Garecht from Hayward, California. She was nine and was abducted in broad daylight by a young man who took her away in his vehicle — very similar to Jaycee’s kidnapping. She also bore a strong resemblance to Jaycee and they were about the same age.