MP anniversaries today

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.

A little help here, again?

[EDIT: Several wonderful angels came through. Thank you so much!]

Twice now I’ve asked you guys for help about this: when I go to the Minnesota state missing persons page and try clicking on any of their PDF posters, I get an error message. I’ve tried my PC, Michael’s PC, my Kindle Fire and my iPhone and get the same stupid error message each time.

Y’all came through and sent me PDFs I can read of the posters, but there are some new ones now. So can you come through again? Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Specifically, I need the ones on the following list. (And yes, I know that many of those on this list are already on Charley; it’s just that I haven’t seen the Minnesota state posters for them, and I want to make sure I don’t miss anything.)

  • Noel Dalluge
  • Theodore Dengerud
  • Kevin Ellsworth
  • Donna Ingersoll
  • John Jacobson
  • Sandra Jacobson
  • Kyle David Jansen
  • Christopher Kerze
  • Daniel Klein
  • David Klein
  • Kenneth Klein
  • Kenneth Scott Kleppen
  • Janet Kramer
  • Hang Lee
  • Daniel Patrick Maleska
  • Victoria Owczynsky
  • Barbara Paciotti
  • April Pease
  • Eric Peterson
  • Sharice Pollard
  • James Tennison
  • William Underhill

Johnny Gosch missing 34 years

At the request of Brittany K., I am writing about John David Gosch on the 34th anniversary of his disappearance.

The facts are these: Johnny was a twelve-year-old paperboy in West Des Moines, Iowa and on the morning of his disappearance, he slipped out of the house before 6:00 a.m. to do this route alone — something he wasn’t allowed to do; he was supposed to bring his dad with him. A witness reported seeing Johnny talking to guy in a car.

After that, no one really knows. Johnny kind of walked into a void. He was missed at seven o’clock when customers began to complain that they hadn’t gotten their papers. Johnny’s wagon and newspapers turned up on the sidewalk just two blocks from his house.

The internet is rife with theories and speculation as to what happened — the more so because Johnny’s mother, Noreen Gosch, claims her son secretly visited her in 1997 and told her he had been abducted by a pedophile ring.

Eugene Wade Martin, a 13-year-old paperboy from Des Moines, also disappeared while on his route, less than two years after Johnny did, and there are a lot of theories that the two cases are connected somehow. And I should note that Marc James-Warren Allen disappeared from Des Moines, less than two years after Eugene Martin, but I don’t know much about his case. He wasn’t a paperboy.

With the latest news about Jacob Wetterling’s remains being found, some people have suggested Danny Heinrich (the prime suspect in Jacob’s case) should be looked at in the Des Moines disappearances as well. I have no idea whether the police have looked into this or not. But I do want to point out that Des Moines is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from St. Joseph, Minnesota, the town where Jacob was taken.

(If you guys are wondering why I haven’t resolved his case yet, it’s because according to my user stats, everyone is looking at right now. I’ll give it another day or so before I pull him.)

Jacob Wetterling’s body found

Well, it’s hit the news like lightning today: it’s not officially confirmed yet with DNA, but yeah, Jacob Erwin Wetterling is coming home at last. The prime suspect in his case has lead the cops to human remains in an unspecified location.

I never had much hope that Jacob was alive, especially after all the crap about Daniel Heinrich came out, but this announcement still makes me feel pretty sick. Thinking about what that poor little boy went through before his death. And his family, what they’ve been through in the nearly 30 years since.

You just know that Jacob’s brother and the other boy that was with them must have blamed themselves for years, and maybe still do. Even though there was nothing they could have done, even though this was a grown man with a gun and they were terrified children. People always blame themselves in situation like this. It’s easier to say “This has to be my fault somehow” than face up to the cold hard truth that the world is a cold, ruthless, capricious place and everything you know and love can be taken from you forever in a random instant.

Jacob’s mom, Patty, texted the media this simple statement: “All I can confirm is that Jacob has been found and our hearts are broken. I am not responding to any media yet as have no words.”

Per the same article as Patty’s statement, Daniel Heinrich’s brother has said he feels so sorry for the Wetterlings and is glad they found their son at last. The family members of such people are usually-forgotten-about secondary victims in cases like this. Plenty of perfectly decent people have relatives who are monsters — believe me, I know — and I always try to remember the families of those monsters in my thoughts.

And I remember Jacob. The little boy who loved sports and video games and making models from kits. R.I.P.

Home from Minneapolis

I got home yesterday around noon. I probably would have immediately commenced to catching up on MP news and stuff, given that Michael was working late and I was alone, but I was sick and quite miserable. Tuesday and Wednesday, all day, nausea and vomiting, and Zofran did not help. I dunno what was going on. Spent the rest of the day in bed moaning. I decided to see the doctor today if I wasn’t better, but when I woke up I felt fine.

Minneapolis was great. I’m so glad I went. It’s a beautiful city, everywhere seems to be within two blocks of a lake, and it was very pedestrian- and bike-friendly. I took loads of pics while I was there. My brother was an excellent host: he took us to various places of interest, and either home-cooked good meals for us or took us out to nice restaurants. He was all alone at home cause his wife had taken their kids to visit her folks for the holiday.

The only disappointment was the fireworks. Ian took us to in Mills Ruins Park three and a half hours ahead of time, to get a good spot. It was a great spot but I thought three and a half hours of waiting for fifteen lousy minutes of fireworks was a bit lame.

Here’s a picture taken from my chair before the fireworks began:

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I did get to see my friend John and his wife. I knew John’s wife had to be an admirable and accomplished person or he wouldn’t be with her, but she made an even better impression when we met: she was extremely kind. And VERY accomplished, Google says. She has mad skillz on the violin and played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

As I was going back home I texted John to say hi to his wife for me and how much I had enjoyed our meeting. He texted back:

I will pass your greetings to A. She told me your intelligence and good-heartedness were very evident in person; on drive home, we discussed our admiration for your continual learning. I told her how the friendship between you and me helped teach me, at a deep level, that some problems can only be treated or managed, not solved. That lesson has helped me as a husband, as a brother, and as a human being generally. So: Thank you, Meaghan.

I was very touched, reading that.

I used Uber twice in Minneapolis and my driver the second time was a really awesome guy. He was Somali — Minneapolis has a large Somali population — and told me about his life. He was born in Somalia, raised in Kenya and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. Now he’s studying business in college and starting his own business providing non-emergency medical transportation to people. He drives for Uber on weekends to get extra money. He is getting married next month and I asked if his fiancee was Muslim also and he said yes, she was from the same part of Somalia where he was from. I asked if she was hijabi and he said, “There’s regular hijabi and then there’s full on NINJA hijabi. My fiancee is regular hijabi.” I told him about the Charley Project and we discussed prejudice against Muslims in this country. I told him, “I’ve met a lot of Muslims in my life and one of them was an evil man. I will not hold an entire religion responsible for one evil man.” Then I actually wound up telling him about Rollo, without going into details, and the guy said that was truly horrible and he agreed that sending Rollo back to Sudan was the right thing to do, because Sudan was in even worse shape than Somalia. He also said I was one of the most interesting people he’d ever driven anywhere.

We went to visit Minnehaha Falls, which was beautiful. We followed the trail from the falls to the Mississippi River. There was a shallow spot where kids were wading and Mom took a pic of me there:

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And here’s another of me standing on a log:

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We also visited the Lyndale Park Rose Garden at Lake Harriet. Here’s me standing under the thicket. I have no idea why it’s called that because it does not meet the dictionary definition of “thicket” but the sign on it said “Please do not climb the thicket” so…

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I visited a lot of interesting places but my favorite, actually, was Lakewood Cemetery. I love cemeteries: every stone tells a story, and the bigger and older a cemetery is, the more likely you are to find very interesting stones and some great stories. I’m not just talking about famous people either. I kept Googling names that caught my interest. I found one stone for a young man, 21 years old, who had died in 2004 and Googled his name to find out what happened. I thought maybe he’d been in a car wreck or something. It turns out that poor guy was studying abroad in Italy when he was stabbed to death in a street fight.

At one point I saw an ordinary enough stone, fairly recent, in front of which was a metal cylinder set in the ground. I could only see the top of the cylinder. It was supposed to be secure in this metal plate type housing but the housing was broken and the cylinder was loose inside it. I’d seen several graves like this with cylinders but none of the others were loose like that. “Is that what I think it is?” I asked.

“I don’t know what you think it is,” Mom said.

I pulled the cylinder out of the housing — not all the way out, though I could have — and examined it. It had a cross on the side. “Yes, it is what I think,” I said, and set it back down in the ground and carried on. I wish I had remembered the deceased person’s name or taken a photo because later on I thought I should have reported this to the cemetery management and maybe they could have fixed it. This was not an old grave — I think it was like mid-2000s — and the housing should not have been broken like that, and if I had been a total douche, I could have just walked away with this woman’s cremains.

I took loads of pictures. Some highlights:

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This is the same stone, front and back views. You can see my reflection in the second picture.

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Me on the Elks Rest statue.

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You had onnnne job…

My brother suggested perhaps the earth shifted after the stone was placed but that seems unlikely to me. I’ve been in a lot of cemeteries but never seen anything like this before.

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I hope Peterson consented.

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I tickled it. It didn’t laugh.

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I would love to know the story behind this stone. I asked a few friends (my former professor of Russian history, my friend with a Russian wife) to translate the epitaph and it answers nothing: just says something like, “Sleep well, my darling.” No apparent relatives buried nearby. I went to the library this morning to look Mildred up on Ancestry and see if I could learn anything more but drew a dead end. I’ve contacted the Minneapolis library’s genealogy people to ask for info on Mildred and I’m waiting for a response.

Anyway. The journey home was difficult, mainly because I felt so sick and miserable, but I really enjoyed myself in Minneapolis. It’s a beautiful city. I missed Michael and the cats very much and I’m glad to be home. Now to get back in the swing of things…

Going to Minneapolis tomorrow

Yeah, so I’m going to Minneapolis tomorrow with my mom and her boyfriend. Google Maps says it’s a nine-and-a-half hour drive, but I think it will probably take longer than that because Mom wants to avoid Chicago. We might stay the night somewhere along the way. I have volunteered to share the driving but I’m not sure Mom will allow that. It’s her car and I’m a terrible driver, frankly.

I will get to see my friend John and meet his new wife as well. I’m really looking forward to that and I’m glad John and his wife could carve a hole in their very busy schedules. I’m honestly not sure of the date I’ll be returning. I think it’s like the 8th or so.

I’ve been to Minneapolis before, ten years ago, but I was only there to meet a friend. I stayed one day and visited the Mall of America and met my friend and then flew home immediately afterwards. I have checked Atlas Obscura for some cool and unusual places to visit while I’m there. (They actually have a “vegan butcher’s shop.” Oh-kay… I think I’ll skip that.) The Bell Museum of Natural History looks good, as does the Ax-man Surplus Store and the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. I’m open to suggestions.

For that matter, if anyone from the area reads this blog and wants to meet me while I’m there, I’m open to that too. Email me at administrator@charleyproject.org if you’re up for that.

I won’t be able to update Charley while I’m there, though I should be able to be on Facebook and this blog. So updates will resume when I return.

Need assistance again

Remember how early this year I asked you guys for help to get the PDF posters from the Minnesota missing persons page?

Well, I visited the site again and there are some people I’d like to add to Charley, but I’m still having the same problem where I get an error message when I try to open the PDFs.

Can you guys who can open the PDFs be so kind as to email me screenshots so I can add those MPs to Charley? Specifically, I need Roger Borowiak, Damon Lee Boyd, Cody R. Christle, John Deeny, Melissa Eagleshield, Larry Franklin, and Marc Welzant.

Thank you in advance.

False leads

As I’ve stated so many times before, I view the Charley Project as a place to share the story of a person’s disappearance: before, during, and after. That includes talking about the false leads that inevitably crop up during an investigation.

The Beverly Potts casefile, for example, details a number of leads that went nowhere, including a woman who wrote a letter that said she’d caught her husband disposing of Beverly’s body and left it in her house. It turned out, as I recall, that her husband was horribly abusive and she thought he would kill her, so she left the letter as a kind of attempt to frame him for child-murder from beyond the grave, assuming he actually did kill her.

As many of you know, there have been exciting new developments in the Jacob Wetterling case, and I dutifully updated his casefile. The details of disappearance includes an aside that Jacob’s father is an adherent of the Baha’i religion, a faith which not many Americans are familiar with, and there were rumors among the locals that Jacob’s dad’s religion had something to do with his son’s abduction.

A person posted a message on the Charley Project’s Facebook account saying they’d never read about Baha’i in relation to Jacob anywhere, and suggesting it be removed.

Well, the thing was, I hadn’t read about it either. The information about Jacob’s father’s religion and the subsequent rumor mill had been added to the casefile by Jennifer Marra back when she was running the MPCCN. So I checked with Newslibrary, a major source of old news articles, and found a St. Paul Pioneer Press article that referenced it. So at least I could confirm the accuracy of the information. (Not that I ever doubted it in the first place; Jenni cared as much about accuracy as I do.)

My question to you guys, though, is: where do we draw the line? At what point does a false lead or ruled-out potential suspect or local rumor become irrelevant, and perhaps even detrimental to the story?

Honestly, although I haven’t removed the info, I’m not sure I would have put the Baha’i thing into Jacob’s casefile if I myself had written it from scratch. There’s been news lately about Roger Day, an interview with his sister who mentions a “pedophile” who lived nearby and whose home was searched. They found bones that turned out to be not human. Yesterday I updated his case with more info, but didn’t include the bit about the neighborhood pedophile since there seemed to be no evidence, beyond his sister’s speculation, that Roger had any particular interaction with the man.

Where do we draw the line?

The Klein kids

I had meant to put the Klein boys up on Charley today: Daniel, David and Kenneth, missing for over 60 years now. It must have been a stupendous case at the time. I mean, three little boys, brothers, vanishing into thin air like that. I bet there was plenty of news coverage if I were to start digging in online archives and, perhaps, my local library’s microfilm collection. Maybe the case has a few mentions or even whole chapters in books concerning 20th-century Minneapolis history.

Slight problem, though: none of the boys have a law enforcement contact listed for them. I would assume the Minneapolis PD is investigating, but I don’t know that for sure. Indeed, I don’t know if any LE is investigating at all. I’ve put up old cases without LE contact before, for historical interest, but I think they were all older than this one.

Latest in the MP news

I’ve finally managed to pull my nose out of the birthday books (though they’re not all finished arriving in the mail) and plan to update today. I also made a huge score on Amazon’s free Kindle books. A publisher made their ENTIRE COLLECTION of Holocaust memoirs available for free, 35 in all. I snatched up every one of them.

Anyway, on to the news:

One Anthony Joseph Palma has been arrested and charged with Kirsten Renee Hatfield‘s abduction and murder. Kirsten disappeared in 1997, taken from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Palma was almost a literal next-door neighbor of Kirsten’s; he lived two doors down. His arrest has made news as far away as France. Right now they’re looking for Kirsten’s body at his house. I hope they find it. Kirsten’s disappearance was one of the earliest MP cases I remember reading about, and it really touched me. I wrote a poem about her when I was twelve or thirteen (that would be in 1998 or 1999) and posted it on the internet, and her mom found it and emailed me.

Moving on: Toni Ann Bachman‘s husband Norman has confessed to strangling her during an argument and he’s pleaded guilty to manslaughter. His son Frederick, Toni’s stepson, is awaiting trial in another murder. Frederick was ten when Toni disappeared. All in all…pretty awful.

Authorities have located Lee Jan Marie Kratzer, who disappeared from Roanoke, Louisiana in 1982. She wasn’t reported missing until 2014. Lee had walked out of her life, changed her name to Lisa Neese and given birth to a daughter, and then died of cancer in 2008, at the age of 46. I wonder if her post-disappearance daughter will establish a relationship with her pre-disappearance children.

Sabine Musil-Buehler’s killer, William Cumber, has confessed to her murder and lead authorities to her body in Holmes Beach, Florida. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and got a 20-year sentence, with credit for time served. As Sabine’s daughter noted, it’s pretty stupid, given that some non-violent drug offenders in Florida get more than that.

Barry Whitton was convicted of his first wife’s murder last month, and the other day he got sentenced to life in prison. Barry is also a suspect in the disappearance of his second wife, Kimberly Whitton, and her daughter, Haleigh Culwell, who vanished from Section, Alabama in 2007. I fear we may never know what happened to them, unless they give Barry an incentive to talk by reducing his prison sentence.