Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: William Gu

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 William Gu, a 22-year-old City University of New York student who disappeared from Brooklyn on March 7, 2013. I’m not sure of his ancestry but Wikipedia says his surname is either Chinese or Korean.

William was supposed to meet a friend on Staten Island, but never showed up, and his car was found wrecked and abandoned in Somerset, New Jersey. His disappearance is especially worrying because William had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) which causes “depression, paranoia, minor hallucinations and psychotic behaviors.”

William’s disappearance reminds me a lot of the disappearance of Sean Sidi, another young Asian man with a TBI who disappeared just two and a half months later, albeit on the opposite coast.

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Black History Month: Angela Darcel Cephas

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 Angela Darcel Cephas, who disappeared from Port Norris, New Jersey on May 4, 1984.

She was tiny — only a little over four feet tall. And she was seven months pregnant.

Angela left to go on a bike ride through her neighborhood and never came back. The bike never turned up either, which is unusual. She left all her belongings behind at home.

Sadly, the most common non-natural cause of death in pregnant women is homicide, and the most common killer is the father of the baby. In Angela’s case, she had identified a former boyfriend as the father of her unborn child, but he said he was not the father and had never even dated her. This man also refused to cooperate with the police in her disappearance.

If Angela is still alive, she’d be 52 or 53 and her baby would be 33. But I’m pretty sure Angela is dead and her baby was never born.

Select It Sunday: Carla Vicentini

Vivi D., a woman from Brazil, asked me to profile fellow Brazilian Carla Vicentini. I was going to make her my MP of the week but decided to do a Select It Sunday case for her instead.

Carla was 22 and living in Newark, New Jersey on a cultural exchange program when she disappeared on February 9, 2006. Vivi D., when asking for me to give the case some publicity, said, “There was not a lot of publicity in her case since she was a student in Brazil, she was there only a month when it happened.” Carla’s Charley Project casefile notes that her case “has been well-covered in the media in Brazil and in Portuguese-language newspapers in New Jersey, but the mainstream American press has given it little attention.”

I haven’t updated Carla’s case since 2009, but I ought to. I found this 2010 article and this 2015 article, both from the Star-Ledger newspaper, with additional details about her case.

She was a very attractive young woman, didn’t speak much English, and was perhaps a bit naive — she grew up in a small farming community in Brazil, and Newark is a pretty rough city. She was last seen leaving a bar with a strange man; my guess is he was either a trafficker or, more likely, a garden-variety predator who wouldn’t take no for an answer, and that he knows what happened to her. The problem is that he has yet to be identified.

MP of the week: Michael Fauntleroy

This week’s featured missing person is Michael Lanyette Fauntleroy Jr., a 25-year-old man who disappeared from Trenton, New Jersey on February 25, 2011. He left behind a young son with a daughter on the way. Although his disappearance is a suspected homicide, I don’t have a lot on it, and the police haven’t named any suspects in his case.

Let’s talk about it: Francheska and Misheila Martinez

On June 9, 2000, Francheska Martinez disappeared from Paterson, New Jersey. She was twelve years old; it was the day before her thirteenth birthday. A few days later, the miniskirt and pink top Francheska had been wearing the day she disappeared were found inside a plastic supermarket bag in the driveway outside her mom’s house.

Francheska had a twin sister, Misheila. One month and twelve days after Francheska went missing, Misheila also disappeared. It’s been sixteen and a half years since then and nobody has heard from either of the girls.

Although the NCMEC classifies both sisters as runaways, the phrase “human trafficking” comes to mind. According to her friends, Francheska had a secret “boyfriend” who was 22 years old. I can well understand why he would want to keep such a relationship a secret because, pretty much by definition, there was something very wrong going on there. According to this legal website, if Francheska was having sex with that “boyfriend” he could have faced a very long prison term.

But even if human trafficking was involved here, it’s VERY unusual for these girls to have been gone as long as they have, without a word to anyone or any indication as to what became of them. What do you suppose happened? Let’s talk about it.

ET yesterday: three alleged rioters

I had another Executed Today entry run yesterday: three men who were alleged to have participated in a riot and machine-breaking in Nottingham. I think this entry is a good example of how well Jason (owner of the blog, aka the Headsman) and I work together. I submitted an entry about the hangings, and then he added the information about the motivations for the riot and how dubious the evidence was against the three condemned, which made the entry much better.

Some other things: after two postponements, I finally saw the pain management doctor about my headaches. I was impressed with him, actually. He told me he had “no idea” what was causing my headaches and then he was like “because of your symptoms, I get the idea that Treatment X might work. Or it might not. We don’t know until we try. So I’ll write the prescription, and next time you get a headache try Treatment X.” I’m supposed to call the office to report the results. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, they’ll try something else. Frankly, it’s nice to hear a doctor admit he doesn’t know what the answers are.

Yesterday and today I spent some time in purging cases from Charley — notably from New Jersey. I went over the entire state and removed a bunch of outdated cases. I also got some additional information on some of them. Stephen Davaris, for example, was declared dead last May, a presumed suicide. His family has actually kept in touch with the people who found his bag washed up on a beach in Ireland. I was struck by this because I’ve actually been to the Cliffs of Moher, in January 2003, about two and a half years before Davaris is presumed to have leaped to his death.

I was going to update yesterday but in the evening the internet unexpectedly kicked it and didn’t come back on for ages. I should get something up today.

MP of the week: Darius Miniotas

This week’s featured missing person is Darius Miniotas, a 29-year-old who disappeared from Carteret, New Jersey on November 19, 1994.

Now, I have nothing on Miniotas’s disappearance, but a look at Newspaper.com’s archives turned up a 1989 Asbury Park Press article mentioning a Darius Miniotas of the right age. This Darius was on the crew of a Lithuanian yacht that showed up in Atlantic Highlands. I’m pretty sure it’s the same person; Carteret is a coastal town. I wonder if Darius had moved to the US by the time of his disappearance, or whether he was just here on shore leave.