This week’s featured missing person is Jose DeJesus Padilla, a three-year-old boy who was abducted by his non-custodial father from Sacramento, California on August 15, 2008. He would now be 13 years old. Jose may be in Mexico, where his grandparents live.
I wanted to blog about this story because it’s so awesome — a girl who vanished at the age of TWELVE has turned up alive and well eight years later — and at the same time, extremely sad.
The headline: Juárez girl found after missing for 8 years.
From the article:
[Viridiana] Santillan had been reported missing by her mother on March 2, 2010, officials said.
The girl’s mother at the time told authorities that she had last seen her 12-year-old daughter when she left home in late July 2009, the attorney general’s office said.
The mother said that she took eight months to report that her daughter was missing because the young girl would sporadically run away and always returned, but that this time she didn’t come back, officials said.
After she was located, Santillan told Morelos state investigators that she ran away from a hostile and abusive environment at home in Juárez, officials said.
That’s absolutely horrific, that a twelve-year-old girl had it so bad at home that she had to run away and never come back. And Viridiana’s story about a bad home environment is borne out by the fact that her mom didn’t report her missing for the better part of a year. Remember, she was only twelve.
Fortunately, although life on the run was initially very hard for her, it sounds like she’s in a much better place now:
Santillan told investigators that she spent several days as a vagrant in the streets of Juárez before ending up in a shelter with the help of a government social assistance program, known as DIF…
Santillan later got the opportunity to study in [Cuernavaca] and ended up staying in that old colonial city located south of Mexico City, officials said.
Santillan told investigators that she wants to remain in Cuernavaca and has no plans to return to Juárez, officials said.
I hope she has a good life from now on.
From what information I have (which isn’t very much), the disappearance of Brian Lee Drew is pretty puzzling. He went missing three years ago from his home in Tucson, Arizona.
Drew’s NamUs page makes it look like he could have left of his own accord; he “mentioned going to Mexico to help feed the hungry.” But if he did, he left his vehicle and most of his stuff behind. I don’t know how he would have gotten to Mexico without those things.
If he did indeed cross the border there should be a record of that. NamUs said his wallet disappeared with him, but what about his passport? He should have needed one to cross the border — although I’m aware that American border officials are much more concerned about keeping people out than keeping people in.
His Facebook page is puzzling. In one of his last posts, less than a week before he went missing, he writes:
I don’t know if he really was at risk or if he was just paranoid.
As is often the case, his Facebook was a rich source of photos of him, and photos of his tattoos as well. He had a bunch of them.
I hope he is alive and well and decides to contact his family soon.
For this week the featured MP is Claudia Berenice Guillen, the 21-year-old mother of a toddler also named Claudia who disappeared with her from Yuma, Arizona on November 24, 2004. The child went by her middle name, Jareth.
I don’t have much on them, but the obvious suspect is Claudia’s boyfriend, who had a history of domestic violence and went to Mexico shortly after Claudia and Jareth vanished. The cops in both Arizona and Mexico have interviewed him, with no result.
I’m thinking Claudia is probably dead, but maybe there’s a chance Jareth is alive and perhaps is in Mexico. I’d like to know more — particularly whether Claudia’s boyfriend is Jareth’s biological father.
This week’s featured missing person is Jason Richard Macias, who disappeared from El Paso, Texas on August 30, 2011, at the age of 23. He left all his belongings behind, including his car, but nothing has been said about his passport, which probably would have needed if he was going to cross the border into Mexico. Macias was a frequent traveler to that country, but I don’t know if he went there after he disappeared.
If he is still alive, Macias would be 28 today. He’s quite tall — six foot five — and has the name “Martha” tattooed on his arm.
Last Friday I profiled a guy named Mirko Yug for Flashback Friday. I knew nothing about him as a person or about his disappearance at the time. Well, the Charley Project Irregulars decided to pitch in and I’ve gotten some emails from different people with a LOT of info on Mirko, mainly from Ancestry.com. Here’s what I know now:
Mirko Yug was born in Yugoslavia to Friedrich Jug and Melia Serianz. His city of birth was Ljubljana, which is now the capital of Slovenia. One person who emailed said his name at birth was (also) Friedrich Jug. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1950. His first wife was a Yugoslavian-born woman named Bozena, born in 1919 and thus seven years older than him. They married in Austria.
In 1954, Mirko petitioned for naturalization. His petition was granted in 1958 and he changed his name to Mirko Yug at that time. (The change in spelling of his last name was probably for ease of pronunciation. My psychiatrist, born in Haiti, had the last name Brunot, but changed it to Bruno in America, presumably for similar reasons. As to why he’d change “Friedrich” to “Mirko” I don’t know.) Bozena was naturalized in 1956.
In 1956 or 1957, Mirko graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles with a BA in Finance and an MA in Foreign Trade. He listed his hometown as Cleveland, Ohio (which is where his wife had been from). On December 31, 1956, he married again to a woman named Terry, who was born in California, and was several years younger than Mirko. No word on what happened to his first wife. In 1958, Mirko attended the American Institute for Foreign Trade in Arizona. The school still exists but it is now called the Thunderbird School of Global Management, at Arizona State University. Thunderbird’s website says it’s one of the top-ranked business schools in not just the country, but the world.
Also in 1958, Mirko and his second wife moved to Mexico City. One or both of them had been transferred there by an employer, Pfaudler-Permutit, an industrial and chemical company that’s apparently still around. There’s a record of Terry crossing back into California in 1959, but no similar record for Mirko. In 1964, the couple had two sons (twins?) and in 1972, a daughter. That same year, they divorced in Nevada. (All three children still live in Nevada and have good jobs and are apparently upstanding members of society. Terry remarried in 1979 and also still lives in Nevada.)
Also in 1972, Mirko was one of the founding members of a the first modern maquiladora association in Mexico, in Matamoros. (A maquiladora is a US-owned factory that produces goods for export back to the US.) He is listed as the commissioner for Mexicomp, a company that apparently doesn’t exist anymore, though other companies use that name. The maquiladora still exists though. Whether Mirko was actually still living in Mexico at this point is unclear.
Then he disappeared in Los Angeles in 1976. About the actual circumstances, there’s still nothing known.
This is all very interesting. Mirko was, apparently, an intelligent, driven man and a successful businessman. This is not the kind of background you’d expect from someone who would drop so completely out of sight like that.
People send me “tips” about cases all the time, mostly through email. I really wish they wouldn’t. I try to actively discourage people from doing this, for obvious reasons, but what can you do?
I got a really intriguing private message on Charley’s Facebook page last night, though, that I did feel compelled to pass on to the NCMEC. A woman from Mexico, whose English wasn’t terribly good, sent me a series of messages saying she had found a missing boy in Mexico. He’s been missing for nine years. She said she’d also found his mother — where, she didn’t say, whether the mom was with him or what.
All of this is not very much by itself: she didn’t even say WHERE in Mexico this kid supposedly is. But intriguingly, the woman attached a series of what appear to be current photos of this young man.
I called the NCMEC and told them about it, and they actually had me email them all the photos and stuff. I hope something comes of this.