I thought I’d do a run-down in the latest news in murder-without-a-body cases:
- Per everybody, Antolin Garcia-Torres has been found guilty of the murder of Sierra Mae Lamar, a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Morgan Hill, California five years ago. Her abduction and killing is of the most terrifying kind: she was just snatched off the street in a random act of violence.
- In Iowa, Tait Purk has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Cora Ann Okonski, who disappeared from the town of Tama on April 16, 2000. Unlike in Sierra Lamar’s murder, there wasn’t anything in the way of physical evidence here. However, Purk supposedly confessed to at least two other people that he had killed Cora and buried her body.
- No charges have been filed as of yet, but Dale LaFleur‘s grand-nephew, Philip, has confessed to murdering him and the police are looking for the body. Philip is currently in jail for the 2015 murder of another man. He’s only 23 now, and Dale disappeared in 2011, so chances are Philip was a minor when he (allegedly) killed his great-uncle. (Not that it’ll matter.) He says he put Dale’s body inside his (Dale’s) car and dumped it in the Atchafalaya River. Police have said they’ve found an “object” in the river that might be the car. Fingers crossed.
- And as for Peter Kema, alas, I don’t know anything more than I did three weeks ago: namely that Peter Sr. has led police to the alleged disposal spot. I seem to recall some article that claimed the remains were cremated and dumped at sea. If that is so, they’re almost certainly unrecoverable. But I don’t know if that information is correct. There’s a big difference between outright cremating a body and merely setting it on fire. I think if the cops had found something, they would have said so by now, but who knows?
The Charley Project is designed for missing people and is not an appropriate place to put up fugitives, so I really wasn’t sure about whether I should add Shannon Dion McCullough to my site or not. In the end I made a judgement call and decided to do so. I wanted to explain my reasoning.
I’ve got plenty of people listed on my site who had charges pending against them when they went missing. Usually it’s minor charges. McCullough’s charge was pretty major, as you can see in his casefile, and he was facing 15 years or possibly even more if convicted. That made me hesitate about posting him, because I wondered if he was running from the law. If I was facing 15+ years I might be tempted to run.
(For what it’s worth, I saw a post on a web board from one of McCullough’s family members saying he’s really not a bad guy or a violent one and the man he beat half to death was a big bad dude who was in a biker gang and had threatened McCullough with a knife. But moving on…)
However, I ultimately decided to post him for the following reasons:
- He’s already listed as a missing person on multiple perfectly reputable databases.
- His vehicle was found abandoned — wouldn’t he have taken it with him if was trying to get away?
- I couldn’t find any evidence that he had a habit of running, and he’d been in court for a lot of things, including at least one prior felony.
So Shannon McCullough was obviously not a model citizen but he does seem to be genuinely missing.
This week’s Select It Sunday is Ashley Marie Eiffert, chosen by Ashley’s mom. This tiny (under five feet tall) nineteen-year-old disappeared from New Orleans on January 9, 2003. She was last seen arguing with someone on her cell phone. She left her vehicle behind, but it was reportedly broken anyway. Ashley has two tattoos and she was seven months pregnant.
Ashley’s mother told me she’s got a Facebook page, but I can’t find it. I wish I could find out more about her case. Hopefully her mother can provide me more info. I wonder how much attention the New Orleans police have given it; I’ve heard terrible things about that police department, and then of course Hurricane Katrina trashing the city two years later can’t have helped matters.
If Ashley is still alive, she’d be 34 now. Her child would be 14 this month.
Way back in the day in July 2014, commenter “Purple Prowler Book Reviews” suggested I run LaMoine Jordan Allen or Kreneice Marie Jones for Select It Sunday. These two toddlers disappeared together on May 10, 1992 from outside Woodville, a little southwestern Mississippi town near the Louisiana border.
Both LaMoine and Kreneice’s respective families actually lived over the border in Edgard, but that day they made the approximately two-hour trip to Woodville to attend a Mother’s Day church service. The kids — LaMoine was two and Kreneice, three — vanished together while playing outside a store after the event was over. It appears they were abducted.
Frustratingly, I can find VERY little about this even after combing through paid news archives. And there are contradictions in what I do have — as of this writing the Charley Project says the kids’ families were friends, but many reports have it that LaMoine and Kreneice were, in fact, cousins. Of course, those things are by no means mutually exclusive, and probably not a factor in their actual disappearances, but it would be nice to know whether there was in fact a blood relationship or not.
This is a case that might have been solved much earlier had the Amber Alert existed in 1992. I just wish I knew more about it. I will keep digging.
Courtesy of the Unfound Podcast‘s Twitter feed and my own checking:
- Colleen Vanita Simpson, 14, missing since 1975 from Clearfield, Iowa. Disappeared from her home at night, classified as a non-family abduction, but I’ve got nothing on her. Wish I did.
- Karen Lee Kohls, 31, missing since 1982 from Maumee, Ohio. Her car turned up parked at a nearby lake with chairs and fishing tackle locked inside it. Foul play is suspected.
- Daniel A. Naylor, 14, missing since 1982 from Fremont, California. Although his case was classified as a runaway for decades, foul play is now suspected.
- Babette Nadine Alberti, 23, missing since 1983 from Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. I don’t have much on her, but she might have gone to Mississippi after her disappearance.
- Michelle Doherty Thomas, 17, missing since 1985 from Santa Fe, Texas. She was a young wife and mother (she was last seen the day before her son’s first birthday), and had been a police informant prior to her disappearance. Two men were later indicted for her kidnapping but never brought to trial.
- James Jamison, 75, missing since 1987 from Burlington, Iowa. He was last seen getting into a cab with suitcases; he’d planned to go to Chicago. His disappearance was seen as completely out of character, though.
- Amanda Marie Rivera, 14, missing since 1990 from La Mesa, California. She was a recent MP of the week. I don’t have much on her.
- Zeta D. Gordon, 43, missing since 1992 from Atchison County, Kansas. There’s speculation that her husband was involved in her case; he took his own life in 1998. She was MP of the week in 2004. Two months ago someone posted a comment on the blog entry: I was in Atchison for a friends wedding, I met the daughter of Wayne and Zeta. It was shortly after she went missing. There is a lot not being told in this story. The daughter pulled out a scrapbook of all the articles written about this story. They did I fact have 3 kids together, the daughter and oldest son believed there dad had everything to do with the mothers disappearance, the oldest son would no longer have anything to do with Wayne and the daughter who was barely out of high school who was still living at home was visibly scared of her dad when he walked in while she was showing us the scrapbook. She absolutely believed her dad was guilty the younger brother was to young to understand. The daughter said she thought that her mom and dad were meeting somewhere later to talk and that’s where her car was found. Her dad accused mom of having an affair with someone and was trying to shift the blame onto someone else. From everything the daughter said I believe he was to blame
- Barry Paul Duncan, 38, missing since 1994 from Phoenix, Arizona. Eleven days later his truck turned up abandoned at the Gila River Indian Reservation. Foul play is suspected.
- Kenneth William Harker, 34, missing since 1996 from Sioux City, Iowa. He was disabled due a head injury, although capable of living independently. Investigators believe he was murdered.
- Ronald Leonard Farrell, 62, missing since 1999 from Hemet, California. He left on foot to go to the pharmacy several miles away and and fill a prescription, and never returned. Farrell was a retired Air Force veteran.
- Andrea Michelle Reyes, 1, missing since 1999 from New Haven, Connecticut. A family abduction; her mother took her. Mom is from Mexico and well-experienced at crossing back and forth across the border.
- George Boardman, 70, missing since 2000 from Bingham, Maine. Because he often left for weeks-long trips without telling anyone, his family didn’t notify the police he was gone until they failed to hear from him at Christmas. Foul play is suspected.
- Tristen Alan Myers, 4, missing since 2000 from Roseboro, North Carolina. His story is exceptionally sad. Even before he disappeared, this poor little boy never had a chance.
- Bedriye Sayrun, 33, missing since 2001 from Chicago, Illinois. Last seen at a restaurant in the early morning hours. She suffered from mental illness.
- Eric M. Apatiki, 21, missing since 2004 from Nome, Alaska. He didn’t live there; he lived in a tiny village on St. Lawrence Island. He’d traveled to Nome to see his girlfriend, who was pregnant with his child.
- Janita Gay Sites, 60, missing since 2005 from Las Vegas, Nevada. A murder-without-a-body case; her husband was convicted. He claimed self-defense but given that Janita was mostly wheelchair-bound, that didn’t exactly go well.
- Christie L. Wilson, 27, missing since 2005 from Rocklin, California. This was also a murder-without-a-body case; Mario Flavio Garcia, a man she met at a casino the night she disappeared, was convicted in her death and sentenced to 59 years to life.
- Uvaldo Moises Anaya, 64, missing since 2007 from Denver, Colorado. He was living with relatives at the time of his disappearance and was drinking and using hard drugs. For some reason at the time of his disappearance his left eye was painted over with white shoe polish.
- Barbara D. G. Sears Frears, 56, missing since 2008 from Reno, Nevada. She had schizophrenia and lived in a group home for mentally ill people. Apparently she hopped a bus to San Francisco after she left the home.
- Eric Lawrence Brown, 23, missing since 2009 from Tucson, Arizona. I don’t have much on him, but he did associate with a local street gang.
- William Cameron Brown, 66, missing since 2010 from Monroe County, Florida. He lived in a houseboat and was traveling to shore in a dinghy but apparently never made it; the dinghy never turned up either.
- David Christopher Allor, 56, missing since 2011 from Enterprise, Alabama. He may have tried to hitchhike to his previous hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
- Catherine Marie Tornquist, 56, missing since 2011 from Hot Springs, South Dakota. Another murder without a body. Her own son, Matthew, is serving LWOP in this case.
- Citlalli Perez-Coronel, 13, missing since 2012 from Louisville, Kentucky. A runaway; she had previously run to Nashville, Tennessee and may have done so again.
- Jason Lee Lovelady, 38, missing since 2013 from Whatcom County, Washington. He disappeared while gathering pinecones in the Mt. Baker Wilderness in the northern part of the state.
- Melissa Dawn Eagleshield. 42, missing since 2014 from Becker County, Minnesota. She apparently left a friend’s rural home, shoeless, in the early morning hours and it’s possible she accepted a ride from a passing motorist.
One of my Charley Project irregulars has been sending me a load of useful stuff lately I haven’t even gotten to yet (I’m not ignoring you, I promise!) and a few days ago I got a strange one: proof that Hilary Harmon Stagg Jr., currently listed on both Charley and Doe as having disappeared at age 16 on some unspecified date in the spring of 1970, was alive and well as late as 1972. She sent me his senior yearbook picture as proof. Websleuths says Hilary disappeared in November 1977, a full seven years after the date I have listed as of this writing. He would have been 23 then.
What…? How on earth did the wires get crossed that badly?
Anyway, I thought I’d let y’all know.
This week’s featured missing person is Larkie Toups, who was found wandering around in an intoxicated state in Bogalusa, Louisiana on New Years’ Day, 2008. Rather than arrest him for being drunk in public, the police took him to a hotel and got him a room. Two hours later a hotel employee noticed he was missing and had left his door open and his ID and room key inside.
The police believe Toups may have been robbed and killed on the night of his disappearance. Certainly he would have been vulnerable. I did my usual check and, to my pleasure, found an article on the case from 2015 that provides a lot more information than I had before, and a new picture of Toups as well.