National Hispanic Heritage Month: Gebar Byrd Jr.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Gebar Byrd Jr., a biracial Hispanic and African-American toddler who was last seen in University City, Missouri on March 22, 2010, a few weeks before his second birthday.

Gebar’s father, Gebar Byrd Sr., confessed to the murder of both little Gebar and his mother, Yasmin Rodriguez. He said he intentionally shoved her into the Mississippi River while she was holding the boy in her arms. Yasmin’s body was found in the river on April 9; Gebar Jr.’s never turned up. Gebar Sr. was convicted of second-degree murder in the mother’s death and involuntary manslaughter in the child’s, and sentenced to life in prison.

In spite of the confession and the convictions, there’s some hope among some of Gebar Jr.’s family members that he’s still alive, because his birth certificate and other papers disappeared. Me, I’m pretty skeptical of that theory.

Um…wut

Per the NamUs case for James Charles Stanford, “James had told family members before he went missing that he wanted to move to Texas or California to join a convent.”

But James is male. And not even a little child, a teenager. I’m pretty sure they don’t let teenage boys join convents. That has got to be frowned upon at the very least.

Do they mean a monastery maybe?

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.

Some recommended reading for you

I’ve just updated their cases so you can read about the sordid story of missing stepdad and stepdaughter Gary McCullough and Liehnia Chapin on Charley.

However, I highly recommend you check you the really wonderful two-part series on the case: After 10 years missing, is Lena Chapin still alive? and Cover-up, confession and what remains of Lena Chapin.

It is an absolutely awful and somewhat convoluted tale, and an excellent piece of investigative reporting on the part of the Salem News. Good job, guys!

Poor Lena. Poor Gary. I had kind of a deer-in-the-headlights feeling as I read what what down.

Black History Month: Marcus Daniel

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 Marcus J. Daniel, a University of Missouri student who disappeared from Columbia on December 6, 2002. I don’t know what he was studying or whether he was last seen on campus or what. He was 25 years old and would be 40 today.

Marcus apparently left of his own accord; he wrote a goodbye note to his dad, and a few days after his disappearance he sent his mom a letter postmarked Chicago. Perhaps as a result, he wasn’t reported missing until 2005.

He may believe he has good reasons for staying under the radar these past 15 years. In which case I recommend he contact the police and verify his identity and well-being. That way they can close his case and his family will know he is safe, but whatever new life he’s carved out for himself does not have to be disrupted.

What about this headline?

Eight years ago I wrote a blog entry about potentially problematic headlines for articles about missing persons and crime victims. That is, headlines that point out info about the MP or suspect that might be seen as shaming them. I was reminded of this entry cause I just found another such headline:

Police seek missing cross-dresser from Jennings

I’m inclined to let this headline go. The fact that Eddie Johnson was a cross-dresser was news to me until I saw the article. And he was, apparently, wearing a woman’s kind of wig when he disappeared, though I can’t tell from the clothing description whether they were women’s clothes or not. The inevitable possibility is that he was the victim of a hate crime and that’s why he’s missing.

That’s all.