This week’s featured missing person is Merkedes Jordan, a 21-year-old mother of one who disappeared from Meridian, Mississippi on November 7, 2006 — eleven years ago this fall. Unfortunately I don’t have a whole lot on this case. She has a Facebook page set up for her but there’s hardly anything on it, and her NamUs profile has nothing much either.
If anyone out there who knew Merkedes stumbles across this blog post, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
It’s been a bit since I did a Select It Sunday. Sorry. This one was chosen by one I. Can’t-Remember, someone who contacted me on the Charley Project’s Facebook page (which hit 10,000 likes this week! Wee!) This person asked me to write about Myra Lewis, a Camden, Mississippi who disappeared on March 1, 2014, at the age of two.
There’s very little information about Myra, although the Clarion-Ledger did do an anniversary article about her disappearance last month. She just disappeared from her front yard on Mount Pilgrim Road in Camden, a rural unincorporated community. Myra’s mom was going to the grocery store and told Myra and her sisters to go inside, where their father was. This was between 10:30 and 11:00 in the morning.
Myra apparently never made it inside, or if she did, her father never saw her. Because each parent thought she was with the other one, she wasn’t missed for hours.
Me, I have to wonder if she didn’t just wander off. I was trying to get a better idea of what the Camden area was like — the Wikipedia entry doesn’t say much — so I looked at Zillow, a real estate website. Their listings for Camden have a lot of “lots” for sale, with trees and ponds and such. It would be easy for a two-year-old to disappear in such an environment.
For what it’s worth, the police are saying there’s no reason to believe Myra isn’t alive. I hope she is. She wasn’t even two and a half when she disappeared and would probably have no memories of her home and parents.
My first (of two, unless I write another) Executed Today entry of the month: Cordella Stevenson, a black woman who the victim of a horrific lynching in Columbus, Mississippi 101 years ago today. She didn’t even do anything “wrong,” not that anyone deserves that kind of death — she died because her son was suspected of arson. (Oh, and she was black.) The locals couldn’t find him so they took out their rage on her family. Of course no one was brought to justice. TJ Jarrett wrote a poem about her in her 2013 book, Ain’t No Grave.
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.
A NamUs profile that just went up is for Reginald Lovell Garrett. I already had a Reginald Garrett on Charley, courtesy of the CDOJ, so I pulled him up to update his case with the info from the NamUs profile.
Reginald Lovell Garrett on NamUs has the listed date of disappearance as January 1, 1995, and in the “details of disappearance” it says his family doesn’t actually know the date but they believe it was sometime between 1994 and 1996. He is said to have disappeared from Pascagoula, Mississippi, after getting into a car with a white man. The Pascagoula Police Department is investigating.
Reginald Garrett on the Charley Project has a date of disappearance as February 2, 1995, and the place is given as Tulare, California. I have no other details about his disappearance. The Tulare Police Department is investigating.
I’m pretty sure these are the same man. I mean, the names are the same; they’re both black; the listed ages, heights and weights correspond with each other; the date range in Reginald Lovell Garrett’s case fits the date given for Reginald Garrett; Reginald Garrett’s photo closely resembles the three photos of Reginald Lovell Garrett.
I’m just not really sure how to deal with this, though. I mean, where’d he actually disappear from? Is it possible that he disappeared from Mississippi, went to California and then disappeared again from there? This isn’t the only time that’s happened.
I wasn’t sure whether I should bring up this case, because I blogged seven years ago about Leigh Occhi‘s disappearance and even ventured a possible theory as to what happened. But I’m sure plenty of readers haven’t read every entry I’ve ever written, so here goes.
On the day 13-year-old Leigh disappeared, Hurricane Andrew had struck Mississippi and was causing some violent storms in the area. This was before the school year would have started, but Leigh did plan to attend an Open House at her school with her grandmother and was home waiting to be picked up. Her mother tried to call her a few times but no one ever picked up.
When Leigh’s mother came back home, there was a violent crime scene: blood everywhere and indications of a struggle.
All of this sounds like it could have been a fairly ordinary abduction; Evelyn Hartley‘s 1953 disappearance was much the same way. Yet, in this case there’s a very peculiar detail: a month after Leigh’s disappearance, her glasses were mailed to her home. Just the glasses. No note. The envelope was addressed to Leigh’s stepfather, but he and her mother were separated when Leigh disappeared. The mailed eyeglasses were the last trace of Leigh, who would be 37 today.
I have NEVER heard of any case where someone abducted a person from their home and then mailed one of their belongings back to the house with no other message.
So what happened here? Let’s talk about it.
(I know I’ve been a lazy-butt and not updated for like a week. I hit my head last Friday and my head was killing me for days afterwards in spite of the application of ice packs etc. On Saturday I went to ER because I thought I might have a concussion. They did tests, and said no, and prescribed some completely ineffective painkillers. I actually went back a few days later because my head was still hurting horribly and they did the same tests and said I was fine. Well, the headache finally stopped. Maybe it was the weather — we’ve had horrible storms and humidity all week, and things finally cleared up today.)
- As various commenters and emailers have noted: Francine Frost (missing from Oklahoma, 1981) and Joseph Spears (missing from Mississippi, 1973) have both been identified.
- Joseph was 17 when he escaped from a juvenile detention center. Less than a month later, he’d made it to Texas and was crossing a freeway when he was hit by a vehicle and killed. He was finally identified this month. Per this article:
Mary Raskin, mother of missing teen Joseph “Joey” Norman Spears, ended up looking at pictures of her son’s body to positively identify him, Harrison County Sheriff’s Investigator Kristi Johnson said Monday.
Officials with the Galveston medical examiner’s office were unable to get a proper DNA sample from Spears’ body to confirm the identity, Johnson said. Instead, they called on Harrison County cold case investigators to provide all the facts they had on the case for comparison to the evidence Texas officials had on hand.
Mary Raskin, Spears’ mother, identified her son.
“I have mixed emotions,” Johnson said after learning the news. “I am relieved the case is solved but I know it’s not the outcome Mrs. Raskin was hoping for. I’m sad for her but I’m glad she is getting the answers she was searching for for 43 years. The family has shared their appreciation for us working on this.”
- As for Francine, her body was found in Muskogee County, Oklahoma two years after her disappearance. She was 43 years old. Per this article: a year ago Francine’s family heard about the Muskogee remains and got a court order to exhume and test for DNA:
Vernon Martin, the superintendent of Green Hill Cemetery, helped make it happen.
He said there are about 1,400 unidentified bodies buried there – many of them dating back before statehood.
He took us back to the plot where Frost’s remains stayed for more than 30 years before they were finally identified.
“This is actually greater than the pay that you receive in this job, the people that we come across on a daily basis and able to help them through their loss, whether it’s last week, or, in this case, 1981,” Martin said.
Unlike with Joey Spears, this case is obviously still not over yet. Joey died in an accident; Francine appears to have been abducted and murdered. Her family has half the answer now — that is, they have her back and they can bury her — but I’m sure they’d also like to know who killed her.
(An Oklahoma TV show actually wanted to interview me about Francine and in particular about identifying long-buried John and Jane Does, but I had spent the day in bed nursing that headache. I didn’t even check my email until 10:00 p.m. and thus missed the interview opportunity. Oh well.)
- The case of long-missing Quebecois child Yohanna Cyr is back in the news, because a woman in the United States has come forward and thinks she’s Yohanna. Usually I don’t pay too close attention to claims like this, because it’s hardly ever the missing person. But this one has me wondering, because, as this article says, both Yohanna and the American woman have a Y-shaped birthmark on their index finger. I blogged about Yohanna twice, once in 2014 and once in 2011. In the 2011 entry, Yohanna’s mom posted a comment in French.
- You guys may have heard about the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania twins who disappeared at some indeterminate time years ago — some articles say 10 years, some say 13-14 years. Mom claimed she sold them, but retracted her story after she was informed this was a crime. The first time authorities realized the kids were missing was when CPS sent the cops to the house to remove all the kids, and the cops duly removed the four they found, and CPS was like, “Um, she actually has six.”
NamUs has profiles for the kids: Inisha Fowler and Ivon Fowler. The only picture that I’ve been able to find is a photo of them as babies, side by side, and I have no idea which twin is which. (See this article for that photo, and a pic of Mom, and of the twins’ not-missing brother as well.) I suppose I’ll post the case on Charley anyway. A baby photo is still a photo, and this is certainly an outrageous story that the world needs to know. Even if, by some miracle, Ivon and Inisha are still alive, the fact that no one noticed they were gone for so long is truly terrible. Heads should roll here — a lot of people dropped the ball.
- The kidnapper of Zephany Nurse, a South African girl who was abducted as an infant and not found for seventeen years, has been sentenced to ten years in prison. (You might recall that Ann Pettway, Carlina White‘s abductor, got twelve.) Zephany grew up just a mile away from her real family’s home and attended the same school as her biological sister. The identity of the woman who kidnapped her has been withheld from the media to protect Zephany’s privacy.
Outrageously, the kidnapper has refused to admit she did anything wrong. And sadly for the Nurse family, Zephany has chosen to remain with her kidnapper’s husband. I don’t blame her. I mean, for 17 years she thought this guy was her dad, and it’s a terrible situation she’s in. I just think it sucks for her real parents and I hope that Zephany does eventually choose to form a relationship with them.