Yes, I know Larry Murillo has been located

Just about everyone has been texting, messaging and emailing me about the sad recovery of Larry Ely Murillo. His body turned up behind the coolers in the supermarket he used to work in. The business has been closed for years and a contractor was engaged in removing the coolers and shelving units when they found Murillo’s partially mummified remains in the eighteen-inch gap between the cooler and the wall.

Murillo was apparently having a psychotic break at the time of his disappearance. The day before, he had been prescribed an antidepressant, but his mental condition just deteriorated and he was paranoid and hearing voices. He ran out into the snow, coatless and barefoot, and vanished. Until now.

Per MANY the news articles about the finding, apparently workers at the supermarket would sometimes hide on top of the coolers when they wanted to take a break without the boss knowing. My guess is that Murillo, in his paranoia, went dashing for the familiar hiding space, only to slip into the space behind the units. The noise from the compressors would have drowned out his cries for help. And so he died a slow, horrible death.

The case reminds me of the tragic death of Joshua Maddux, whose corpse was found inside a chimney in a remote cabin in Colorado in 2015, seven years after he vanished. There was (and is still) talk of murder, but the most plausible theory is that he was trying to break into the cabin via the chimney and got stuck.

I am, not, of course, a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist, but I don’t think the antidepressant was responsible for the mental breakdown leading up to Murillo’s death. He had been showing mental illness symptoms before taking the drug, and that’s why it was prescribed for him. And he had only been prescribed the drug the day before his disappearance.

Deaths like Larry Murillo’s remind me of just how lucky I am. As most of you readers know, I’ve got bipolar disorder. I’ve had psychotic breaks before. And one time, a common prescription painkiller I’d innocently taken interacted with one of my psychiatric meds and threw a party in my brain, resulting in very bad psychotic symptoms. This was not technically psychosis but delirium; however at the time everyone thought it was psychosis.

Anyway, that time I was hallucinating, delusional, and kept trying to leave the house at night in early March wearing only a shirt and underpants. The hospital refused to admit me, and the police wouldn’t help either, so Michael called his parents and they came over and stayed up with me all night to make sure I didn’t leave the house or do anything to harm myself.

If it weren’t for Michael and his parents, I might have died that night. I was lucky. Sadly, Larry Murillo wasn’t.

MP of the week: Walter Grant

This week’s featured missing person is Walter Sidney Grant, a 61-year-old Native American man who disappeared from Lincoln, Nebraska on October 17, 1992.

He was homeless at the time of his disappearance, and for that reason (and his age–he’d be in his late eighties now) I doubt he’s still alive. He had distinctive tattoos, and I hope if his body is located, he can be identified.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Anwesha Dey

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 Anwesha Dey, a 30-year-old woman of Indian nationality who disappeared from Lincoln, Nebraska on May 3, 2015. She had moved to the area to attend graduate school at the University of Nebraska.

We basically know what happened; it’s a matter of finding her. Anwesha was walking home from a friend’s house when she fell into a creek. It wasn’t deep, but it had a strong current and she couldn’t swim. She was swept away and is presumed drowned.

No one was around I guess, but her last moments were captured by a surveillance camera owned by a nearby business.

Anwesha’s body could theoretically have made it all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Flashback Friday: Ronald Zellmer

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Ronald LeRoy Zellmer, who disappeared from Sioux City, Iowa on April 6, 1985 at the age of 31, and his car was found abandoned on a bridge just over in the border in Nebraska during the wee hours. Zellmer had depression and the police don’t seem to be sure whether he committed suicide or whether something else, such as abduction, happened to him.

MP of the week: Christi Jo Nichols

This week’s featured missing person is Christi Jo Nichols, a 22-year-old mother of two who disappeared from the town of Gothenburg in central Nebraska two weeks before Christmas in 1987.

Although her then-husband, Mark, says she simply left him,the police disagree and are investigating this case as a possible homicide. What person who’s run away ditches their car, their purse and the suitcase they packed? Whenever a person disappears and their car is left behind, I tend to think that it was probably not voluntary, unless there’s evidence to the contrary (i.e. a bus or plane ticket). Especially in a state like Nebraska, I should think, you really need a car to get anywhere.

The most recent article I could find about this case was from 2012.

Flashback Friday: Mary Oliva

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Mary Oliva, a 79-year-old woman who disappeared from Wilber, Nebraska in July of 1973. Her husband Frank, 76, disappeared with her. They were never found, and neither was their vehicle. Obviously we’re not going to find either of them alive.

The prevailing theory seems to be that this was a case of murder-suicide, that Frank chose to drive their car into a lake because he couldn’t handle Mary’s health problems. This theory seems to be mostly supposition with little hard evidence to support it, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

R.I.P. Frank and Mary Oliva, wherever you are.

A sad anniversary

Just realized it’s been 14 years this day that Jason Jolkowski walked out of his Omaha, Nebraska house into the void. His mother, Kelly Murphy, founded Project Jason in his honor. Project Jason is a great organization; I refer a lot of MP families to it. Kelly is an amazing woman and I admire her ability to bring something good out of this tragedy in her family. I hope this year is the year that Jason gets found.