Since I’m in Facebook Jail again, here’s the news

Facebook didn’t like a meme I posted — despite the fact that it’s elsewhere on Facebook — and gave me 30 days in jail. But then they changed their minds and decided the meme is okay after all, but forgot to remove my 30-day sentence. Shrug. It is what it is. Facebook is broken.

In California:

  • The biological parents of Classic and Cincere Pettus, later known as Orson and Orrin West, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of California, alleging the state wrongfully removed the Pettus boys from a safe home and placed them with the people who have since been charged with their murders.

In Massachusetts:

In Michigan:

In Minnesota:

  • There’s a new podcast about the disappearance of Joshua Cheney Guimond, a St. John’s University student who disappeared from the university’s Collegeville, Minnesota campus in 2002.

In New Hampshire:

  • They’re still looking for Harmony Montgomery, and her father Adam’s lawyers have asked for police body cam footage of his arrest. Adam is charged with abusing Harmony prior to her disappearance, and with failure to report her missing. A little over a week ago the police searched Harmony’s old apartment and removed items, including a refrigerator. My guess would be they’re checking anything large enough to conceal a five-year-old child’s body.

In New York:

  • On this coming Saturday, the New York City Medical Examiner is holding an event to publicize missing persons in NYC. At the event, the ME’s office will accept “will accept any voluntarily shared information, like photos and DNA samples to help identify missing people.”

In South Carolina:

  • They interviewed the lead investigator in Shelton John Sanders‘s disappearance and presumed murder, asking him why they were unable to get convictions in that case. The investigator still thinks the suspect in guilty.
  • They have identified remains found at a recycling plant as Duncan Gordon, a missing man. He was last seen sitting on top of a shredding machine, and “a substance that looked like ground up flesh” was later found in that machine. Sounds awful; I hope it was quick. I’m predicting Gordon’s family files a lawsuit and OSHA hands out fines for this.

In Virginia:

In Washington state:

  • Othram has identified two more unidentified bodies: they are Blaine Has Tricks, who disappeared in 1977, and Alice Lou Williams, who disappeared in 1981. I know with Alice they got some help from the Charley Project; I know because the guy who owns Othram told me so.

In Canada:

  • They’re still looking for Vernon George Martin, who disappeared in 2009 after a fire at the airport hangar he co-owned. He could be missing or he could be on the run, as he’s wanted for sex offenses.

In New Zealand:

In the UK:

  • The father of Claudia Lawrence, who disappeared in 2009, died in February, and in his will he left £10,000 to a charity for missing persons.
  • They found Michael Anthony Lynch, a man who had been missing for 20 years. It appears he drove his car into Lough Erne, near Corradillar Quay, in Northern Ireland.

Harmony Montgomery report

Thought y’all would like to have a look at this report the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate about Harmony Montgomery‘s life up until she was placed with her dad, basically trying to figure out if child protection authorities failed her (they did) and in what way.

I only just started it myself but I can tell it’s going to be informative and infuriating.

I’ve been battling a horrible sinus infection for a week but I’m back on my feet now. Will be updating today.

Woman is not Brittany Williams, and the Harmony Montgomery case grows worse by the day

Since June there has been a woman named Kaylynn Stevenson who has claimed to be Brittany Renee Williams, a child in the foster care system who disappeared sometime between August and November 2000. It’s a pretty awful story, starting with the fact that no one is quite sure when the HIV-positive seven-year-old was last seen. Her so-called guardian was only interested in the benefits that came with fostering.

Kaylynn had a story that sounded so bizarre it might just be credible. I wasn’t sure and decided to hold my peace until law enforcement came out with a statement. Well, they have, and based on “a robust review of medical records, adoption records, consultation with Infectious Disease physicians, dozens of interviews, and DNA analysis,” Kaylynn isn’t Brittany.

I am sorry. I wish I had better news but this is not the happy ending you’re all hoping for. It hardly ever is, you know?

Meanwhile, Harmony Montgomery‘s case seems to grow more awful every time there is news about it. It’s come out that her father, Adam Montgomery, is a suspect in the 2008 murder of a 28-year-old woman who was shot in the chest in a Lynn, Massachusetts parking lot. Adam, who was 18 at the time, has never been charged in the case and perhaps he didn’t do it, who knows.

Right now he’s sitting in jail on charges of abusing Harmony months prior to her disappearance. He bragged to relatives about how he had “bashed her around the apartment” after he asked her to look after her baby half-brother and came back to find her covering the baby’s mouth to stop its crying. Well, Adam, her doing that to the baby is your own fault; you should have known that a four- or five-year-old is not a suitable caregiver for an infant precisely because they do dumb stuff like that. It doesn’t make Harmony a bad child and she didn’t deserve to be hit, never mind “bashed around the apartment.”

Remind me again what was so unsuitable about Harmony’s mom that she couldn’t get custody or even visitation? When she’s the only reason we know Harmony is even missing in the first place.

A bunch of “they’re still looking for…” and other stories

Lee and Anthony Redgrave are working with the the DNA Doe Project to identify transgender and nonbinary murder victims. They’ve started the Trans Doe Task Force, which helps police and medical examiners with cold cases involving transgender people.

Alaska: An unusually high number of people have gone missing from Fairbanks in the past ten months. Fairbanks averages five missing persons a year, but since May 2020, eleven people have disappeared and have not been found. (I wonder if the political, economic and emotional turmoil caused by the pandemic has anything to do with it.) Five of the missing eleven are Native. The community is concerned and held a vigil about it.

Colorado: Wendy Stephens, a Denver teenager who disappeared in 1983, has been identified as a victim of Gary Leon Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. He pleaded guilty to 49 murders but is believed to have killed more than 71. Not all of his presumed victims have been found, and three that have been are still unidentified.

Indiana: This article details the uncertainty about the veracity of a suspect’s confession in the Denise Diane Pflum case. Denise was 18 when she disappeared from Connersville in 1986. Her body has never been found. In 2020, her ex-boyfriend, Shawn McClung, confessed to her killing after being offered immunity for her death and also the dismissal of two charges he was in jail for. At the time he was dying. Before he passed away a few months later, McClung retracted his confession, saying he’d only made the statement because he didn’t want to die in jail.

Louisiana: They’re still looking for Cory Marie Rubio, a 24-year-old mother of two who disappeared from Shreveport in 1999. The most logical person to look at is her ex-husband; they were in the middle of a custody battle, and he had a history of violent behavior.

New Hampshire: Authorities have determined that the remaining unidentified body in the Bear Brook murders case has maternal relatives in the Pearl River, Mississippi area. DNA testing indicates the child and her mother were descendants of Thomas “Deadhorse” Mitchell, who was born in 1836, or William Livings, who was born in 1826. The dead child also may have suffered from anemia.

New Mexico: They’re still looking for Robert Marcos Romero, an eight-year-old boy who disappeared from Santa Fe in 2000. The most plausible theory is that his brother Ronnie killed him accidentally while under the influence of drugs, but nothing has been proven and Ronnie died over a decade ago.

New York: They believe the car found in the Muscoot Reservoir, which I wrote about earlier, is that of Brenda Kerber, a 40-year-old woman who disappeared from White Plains in 1989. I’d never heard of this case before.

Also New York: They’re still trying to identify a Jane Doe found in Chautauqua County. She now has her own Facebook page.

Oklahoma: They’re still looking for Darian Michelle Hudson, age 23, who went missing from Stillwater in 2017. She was going through a lot of personal problems and may have had a mental breakdown. Her family thinks foul play was involved in her disappearance, but the police say they aren’t sure.

Also Oklahoma: A proposed missing persons bill, House Bill 1790, is being called the Aubrey Alert, after missing transgender Native woman Aubrey Dameron. Aubrey was 25 when she disappeared from Grove in 2019. The Aubrey Alert bill, if passed, would require “critically missing” adult cases to be investigated immediately. The text of the bill can be read here.

Oregon: They’re still looking for Jodie Marie Anderson, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from Crescent City in 2017. She may be in the Linn County area.

South Carolina: They’re still looking for Shelton John Sanders, a 25-year-old man who disappeared from Columbia in 2001. He now has a Facebook page.

Tennessee: They’re still looking for married couple Kristie Wilson, 39, and Henry Wilson, 45, who disappeared from Monterey in 2018. Their car was found at the bottom of a ravine months after they went missing; it had been there so long there were plants growing in it. No sign of either of them. There have been multiple tips that the Wilsons were murdered, but no solid leads.

Texas: They’re still looking for Fredrick Joseph “Little Joe” Boehm, age 23, who disappeared from Marshall on this day twenty years ago. He was temporarily staying with a friend when late one night he got a mysterious phone call, changed from his pajamas into street clothes and left, saying he’d be back later. He never returned.

Also Texas: They’re still looking for Andrea Leigh Cotten, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Corsicana in 2004. She left her cousin’s house in the night and never returned. She disappeared the day before she was supposed to visit her child, who was in foster care, and her family doesn’t think she would have missed that on purpose. Since she went missing there’s been no activity on her Social Security number, which is ominous.

Canada: The four-month-old disappearance of 30-year-old Megan Michelle Gallagher from Saskatoon is now being investigated as a homicide.

England: The brother of Suzy Lamplugh, a 35-year-old woman who disappeared from London in 1986, has issued an appeal for answers in her case.

Three more of Terry Rasmussen’s victims identified

It hit the news today (see here on Boston 25 news and here on the Daily Beast, among other places) that authorities have identified three of the four victims found in Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire.

It’s an infamous case. The bodies were found wrapped in plastic and electrical wiring, in two barrels, close to each other: one barrel was located in 1985, and another in 2000. One young woman, and three little girls, two of whom were shown by DNA to be her own daughters. They all died around the same time, sometime between 1977 and 1981.

Now, three of them have names: Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch and her daughters, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn and Sarah Lynn McWaters. They disappeared from California in 1978, shortly after Marlyse started dating Terrance Peder Rasmussen. Marlyse was then 24, and the girls were 7 (Marie) and 11 months (Sarah). It doesn’t look like they lived long afterwards.

Rasmussen is a very unusual serial killer, in that he formed romantic relationships with women and sometimes even had children by them before killing them. He committed his final murder in 2001, that of his wife Eunsoon Joon, and died in prison in 2010. At the time, his other crimes were mostly undiscovered.

Denise Beaudin, who disappeared in 1981 at age 23 and listed on Charley, is presumed one of his victims, but her body hasn’t been found. She had an infant daughter at the time of her disappearance (not Rasmussen’s kid), and that little girl was abandoned by Rasmussen in California in 1985. It was the best thing he ever did for her, because as a result she was raised by a good family and apparently doing well. She has chosen not to speak to the media or let her current identity be known.

The fourth person found in the barrels at Bear Brook State park is still unidentified, but DNA proved she’s Rasmussen’s biological daughter. She was a toddler, about two to four years old when she died. She may have Native American ancestry.

There’s a good chance the little girl’s mother is also dead. Rasmussen was arrested under the name Robert “Bob” Evans for minor charges in New Hampshire in 1980, and he had a woman living with him who called herself Elizabeth Evans and said she was his wife. Perhaps this is the mother of the child in the barrel.

A stray thought

I was going over some old cases and NCMEC cases and stuff (and phoned in a tip to their hotline; I found a missing kid’s equally missing mother on Facebook) and noticed that on Amber Crum‘s casefile I’d written,

In 1986, investigators checked the fingerprints of a girl who was abandoned in California that same year. The girl matched Amber’s general physical description and was about the right age. Their fingerprints did not match, however.

I wonder, now, if that abandoned little girl was Denise Beaudin‘s child, Dawn/Lisa? Dawn was about the same age as Amber would have been, and she was abandoned in California in 1986.

I suppose I’ll probably never know. But it seems moderately likely.

Vosseler boys to be featured on Deadline

Per this press release sent to me by my friend Bill: brothers Charles Jason Vosseler and William Martin Vosseler, two of the Charley Project’s oldest family abduction cases (they’ve been missing close to thirty years) will be featured on Dateline Deadline tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. Some of you might want to tune in.

Flashback Friday: Patricia Wood

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Patricia Wood, who disappeared sometime in 1976 from the small town of Swanzey, New Hampshire. It’s a very sad case: we only have a baby photo of her, though she was three or four when she disappeared, and the police didn’t realize she’d vanished for over a decade. Her father and stepmother lied to everyone saying she’d died in a car accident.

We’ll probably never know for sure what happened here, but it’s not hard to guess.

Select It Sunday: Rachael Garden

This week’s Select It Sunday case was chosen by HennyLee: Rachael Elizabeth Garden, who disappeared from Newton, New Hampshire on March 22, 1980, at the age of fifteen. Newton is, curiously, just 35 miles from the town where Laureen Rahn, another petite brown-haired girl only a year and a half younger than Rachael, disappeared a month later. This may just be a coincidence though.

As for Rachael, she sounds like a pretty typical teenager of that time, a bit rebellious but not overly so, fond of her pet horse. The three guys she was last seen talking to had bad reputations. One of them later served time for rape and one them (not sure if it’s the same one) reportedly confessed to killing Rachael, but his statements were not verified.

There was a recent article about the case but it doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. The police believe Rachael met with foul play, if only because of the time that has passed since her disappearance — 35 years now. If she’s still alive she’d be 50 years old today.

Make-a-List Monday: State Capitals #6

I’m running a bit dry on list ideas at the moment, but I can always continue my “people missing from state capitals” series. See previous lists: one, two, three, four and five. This week I’m doing Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire and New Jersey.

Helena, Montana

  1. Shannon Clair LaBau
  2. John Baptiste Reamer

Lincoln, Nebraska

  1. Marilyn M. Alexander
  2. Regina Marie Boss
  3. Felicia L. Heinen
  4. Eugene F. McGuire

Carson City, Nevada

  1. John A. Randall

Concord, New Hampshire

  1. Shirley Ann McBride
  2. Raul A. Martinez

Trenton, New Jersey

  1. Melissa Diane McGuinn
  2. Danielle Marie Nuttall-Ravert
  3. Antoinette R. Williams