Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Daniel Dutton

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Daniel Murry Dutton, a biracial 28-year-old of Asian and Caucasian descent, who disappeared from Long Beach, Mississippi under unclear circumstances back in 2000.

Dutton lived with his parents and worked as a cab driver. He left a note at home saying he’d be gone for a few days, then apparently drove his cab to Lake City, Florida, which is over 400 miles away, around six hours on I-10. That’s where the cab was found, in the parking lot of a hotel where Dutton hadn’t checked in. Investigators think he actually stayed at a hotel in Gainesville, another hour down I-10.

Why he left, what he intended to do, and why his cab was found in Lake City and not Gainesville all appear to be mysteries.

Was he just taking off for a short vacation, and did something happen to him in Gainesville? Or was he planning on leaving for good? He was having serious financial issues. Did he have an episode of dissociative fugue, where a person develops amnesia and just wanders off? That doesn’t explain the note he left, though.

One detail that worries me is the fact that Dutton’s glasses were inside his abandoned cab. Speaking as a glasses-wearing person, the furthest I will go without them is down the street to the mailbox. I can’t even see well enough to use the computer without my glasses and I certainly can’t drive. And Dutton’s eyesight is noted as being very poor. Unless he had another pair of glasses — which is entirely possible, I have several pairs myself — I can’t see him voluntarily leaving without them.

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Thinking aloud with May 14 updates

Yeah, I was up all night working on these. Go me.

  • Suzen Cooper: The cops have GOT to know who this unidentified third party is. After all, Rachael took a plea deal and one of the conditions of the plea was to be honest with the authorities about what happened (though she claims she doesn’t know where Suzen’s body is). So where is this Mystery Man and why hasn’t he been charged?
  • Tamara Lynn Elbertson: Does anyone know what sort of medical conditions can cause that droopy eye? Maybe a stroke? My mom’s first husband (before she met my dad) has something similar and I was told he was dropped on his head when he was a baby, but I’m not sure that was meant entirely seriously.
  • Kito Royal Felton: Not mentioned in the casefile, but Kito may be one of those people where the line between “missing” and “on the run” is pretty thin. Right around the time he disappeared, a woman and her teenage son, Susan and Laurier Myrick, were shot to death in north Tampa and the articles said Kito was sought for questioning. I don’t think the murder has been solved.
    However, he’s listed as missing both on NamUs and FDLE, he doesn’t have any active warrants that I’m aware of, and he was simply wanted for questioning in the murders, not named as a suspect, so…I dunno.
  • Jared Baptista Germano: I studied his Facebook page pretty carefully. I don’t know what happened to him, but I hope he is missing because he wants to be. Jared had a troubled past and an extensive arrest record in Florida and North Carolina.
    His Facebook is public and is pretty open about his background; it says he studied criminal justice in the educational institution called “prison”. Per Jared’s posts, he had a meth problem, which would explain the arrests. But his Facebook says he had gone through rehab, got clean, was working and was generally trying to make a decent go of it.
    Wherever he is, he’s managed to avoid getting arrested again, which is a significant departure from his prior lifestyle. That could mean he’s leading a law-abiding life somewhere or it could mean he’s dead.
    Incidentally, Jared has a brother who looks JUST LIKE him. The brother also has an arrest record and I thought one of his mug shots was of Jared till I realized one person had neck tattoos and the other didn’t. Then I saw a photo on Jared’s Facebook of him and his brother side my by side and was like, “Ah, okay, here’s your double.”
  • Teresa Gossage and Alfred Hoffman Marshal: I’m very proud of getting these two up because their case is notorious in local history and they’re not listed on ANY database. They’re not even on the Missouri Highway Patrol’s list of missing persons, perhaps because they vanished on federal land. I found their names by accident while looking for something else.
    Fort Leonard Wood, by the way, is some 61,000 thousand acres spread over the Missouri Ozarks. My bet is TC and Al are still somewhere on the base. And I’m pretty sure Mr. Thornton is responsible. It would be a very strange coincidence if he wasn’t.
  • Sarah Necaise: She appears to have an active Facebook page — at least, there’s a page under that name, with a young woman who lives in Mississippi and resembles the missing girl. Hmm. An active page doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been found.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Karen Zhou

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Karen Zhou, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared from this apartment complex in Grenada, Mississippi on May 21, 1994. She was born in China and had only been living in the U.S. for a few years before she vanished; her English was limited.

Karen used to be listed on the NCMEC, but she isn’t anymore. It’s my understanding that the family asked her to be taken off their database. She is, however, on NamUs.

The prime suspect in her disappearance is her stepfather, Shindong He. (I remember I struggled a bit to write Karen’s casefile, not sure which of the stepfather’s names was his family name, since the Chinese do this the other way around. I still don’t know.)

Prior to her disappearance, Karen frequently came to school with bruises, and Shindong He was also abusive to Karen’s mother, Wen Hua “May” Zhou. He later attacked her and, during the assault, told her he’d killed Karen. Shindong He was convicted of aggravated assault and then deported back to China, and who knows where he is now.

If still alive, Karen would be 34 years old. Her disappearance is still classified as a non-family abduction. I don’t know if Wen Hua Zhou is still in the U.S. Wherever she is, I hope she’s been able to rebuild her life.

Well, this is absolutely terrible

So I’m trying to ease back into things, still not feeling the greatest, and I ran Nelda Louise Hardwick‘s name through Newspapers.com and came across an awful story.

Nelda may have been killed along Interstate 10 in Hancock County, Mississippi on May 10, 1998, four and a half years after her disappearance from Lake Charles, Louisiana on October 14, 1993.

The unidentified woman was a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle on the interstate. In 2013, Nelda’s family identified the dead woman as her based on photos of the body.

The coroner was quoted as saying there was just “one chance in a thousand” that the body wasn’t Nelda, and speculated she was held captive the entire time and somehow managed to finally escape, only to be killed on the road.

An exhumation was duly ordered, but when they dug up the Jane Doe’s grave in St. Joseph Cemetery, they found a MAN in the coffin, not a woman. The judge ordered the proceedings stopped, writing, “Unfortunately, it appears that the remains at the Jane Doe headstone were not those of Jane Doe. Further, the chief medical examiner advises it is obvious that the location of her grave is unknown.”

So Nelda is still listed among the missing, and this Jane Doe is now missing as well and will probably NEVER be identified now.

I cannot imagine how devastating this must have been for Nelda’s family.

Four year anniversary of Myra Lewis’s disappearance

As the Clarion-Ledger pointed out in this article, today it’s been four years since toddler Myra Lewis disappeared from outside her Camden, Mississippi home. If still alive, she’d be six years old, probably in kindergarten by now.

I blogged about Myra’s case last year. I still wonder if she simply wandered away and perhaps drowned, but there was a pretty extensive search and they presumably checked the local ponds. I hope she’s still alive.

Black History Month: Shirley Gladney

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Shirley Anne Gladney. This 20-year-old woman disappeared from Okolona, a small town in northern Mississippi, on April 9, 1999. She was last seen walking away from her home to go pay an electric bill. She never returned and sadly that’s all I’ve got.

Black History Month: Jesse Edwards

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Jesse Curtis Edwards Sr., aka J.C. Edwards, an elderly man in the early stages of Alzheimer’s who disappeared from Holly Bluff, Mississippi on November 4, 2007.

Edwards may have been seen walking down the road thirty miles outside of town shortly after he disappeared from his home. His daughter believes he may have been murdered, but I don’t have much on the case.