Media, finally, in Leanne Hausberg case

Per her sister: there was finally some media attention in Leanne Hausberg‘s disappearance, in the form of this local TV segment. When I first started getting interested in MPs around 1998-1999ish, Leanne’s case — she went missing from New York City on March 18, 1999 — is one of the first ones I connected with. I’ve wondered about her ever since.

Unfortunately, even with the TV thing I still don’t have a lot of info in her disappearance, and neither, it seems, does anyone else. She just seems to have evaporated from the street corner where she was last seen. The police classify her as a runaway, and her family believes she met with foul play, but really there seems to be no evidence pointing to any particular theory in her case.

Leanne Hausberg website

I’ve been Googling cases from the NCMEC of teenagers who’ve been missing a long time and whom I don’t know much about, and found this website about Leanne Hausberg, apparently created by her family. Leanne’s been missing from New York City since 1999, when she was fourteen. Originally classified as a runaway, she’s now in the endangered missing category. She would be 27 years old today. The site doesn’t really say much about her disappearance but does have lots of pictures.

Anyone know what happened to Patrick Alford’s dad?

I wrote last month about how the father of Patrick Alford was shot in a (probably drug-related) home invasion at his apartment in Brooklyn. Last I knew, Patrick Sr. was in critical condition. I suppose he’s either improved or died by now, but I can’t find any news or information one way or the other. Anyone know anything?

Patrick Alford’s dad shot, critically injured

We have all heard about Patrick Kennedy Alford Jr., who has been missing from his Brooklyn, NY foster home for two years less four days, but until today I had heard nothing of his father, Patrick Sr.

Patrick Sr. was shot during a home invasion at his apartment in Brooklyn. It was particularly nasty: Five men broke into the apartment in broad daylight and fired five shots, hitting Patrick Sr. in the head and the leg. He returned fire with his own gun. His two young children were inside the apartment and were, thank goodness, unharmed. The police are thinking it was drug-related: Patrick Sr. has 20 prior arrests, many of them for drug offenses, and there were 20 baggies of pot in his apartment.

He’s in critical condition. No word on whether they expect him to pull through or not. I suppose this case would probably have gotten no media attention at all were it not for Patrick Jr. being missing.

New York Daily News
The Staten Island Advance

8 NYC kids abducted by non-custodial parents with no imagination

There an Amber Alert out for eight siblings in foster care who were abducted by their parents, Shanel Nadal and Nephra Payne. Somehow the parents managed to sneak all eight of them out on what was supposed to be a supervised visit at Forestdale, a child services facility in New York City. (The agency is now in damage control mode.) They’re in care because of a “domestic abuse allegation.” Naturally they were split up; there’s no foster home to take eight kids.

What’s most unusual, however, is that seven of the kids — all boys — have the name Nephra Payne, like their father. The sole girl in the family is named Nefertiti. The NCMEC has to have two posters to fit them all, though the New York State authorities managed to cram them in on one page, albeit at the expense of accuracy.

The Nephras all have different middle names they use. Only the oldest, age 11, goes by Nephra. The others are Ceo, Shalee, Umeek, Yahmen, John and Rahsul. But still, it’s got to be an administrative nightmare. What happens when they’re old enough to get regular mail? What if several of them are enrolled in the same school at the same time? The case has gotten national attention for their names alone.

Nefertiti’s foster mother was quoted as saying the mother, Shanel, probably just thought she was doing the right thing when she took the kids. Another foster parent, the one who had Rahsul and John, said Shanel missed her kids a great deal and she personally wasn’t surprised they’d been snatched. That foster parent said that many parents whose kids are in care seem apathetic and don’t keep in touch with them, but Shanel always visited and often brought Nephra Sr. and they seemed desperate to have the kids back.

Of course I don’t know any of these people, but this situation — them all being fugitives — cannot last. Ten people trying to hide, the children all quite young, one of them not even a year old yet.


Today I saw the documentary film Cropsey on Netflix. It tells the story of the disappearances of several children and one young adult in Staten Island in the 1970s and 1980s and Andre Rand, the prime suspect. There’s Alice Pereira in 1972, Holly Hughes in 1981, Tiahease Jackson in 1983, Henry “Hank” Gafforio in 1984, and Jennifer Schweiger in 1987. (There’s also Audrey Nerenberg from 1977, but she didn’t disappear on Staten Island and isn’t mentioned in the film.)

Only Jennifer’s body was ever found, and there was insufficient evidence to prove murder. Rand was convicted of Jennifer’s kidnapping and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. In 2004, he was convicted of kidnapping Holly and got another 25 years to life.

Hank didn’t really fit the profile of Rand’s other victims, since he was male and 21 years old. But he was mentally disabled and functioned at the level of a young teenager, and he lived very close to where Holly disappeared from. In fact, as Cropsey shows, at one point just after Holly’s disappearance when a TV reporter was talking about her case, you could see Hank standing on the street right behind her.

The documentary is really good and I highly recommend it. Needless to say, I got a few bits of information for the Charley Project off of there.

Two MPs found deceased

A body found last July in New York City has been identified as Crystal Gray, age 20, who disappeared that same month from Syracuse, New York. Her family didn’t report her missing until January of this year. The cause of death is listed as undetermined, but it was probably a homicide, since the body was burned. The police aren’t releasing much beyond that.

Meanwhile, skeletal remains found in 2009 have been identified as Alexander Vasquez, a 21-year-old who vanished from Houston, Texas in 2002. The Houston Chronicle did some articles about how the police had gotten a federal grant and were trying to identify 400 John and Jane Does. Alexander’s mom read the article and contacted the cops about her son. She provided dental records and they matched. The police hadn’t had much to go on before as far as identifying that particular body; they had listed the UID as between 25 and 45 years old, of unknown race and sex. His mom says she had long believed he was dead, but she’s glad she has confirmation at last. She plans to have Alexander buried in Colombia, where he was born.

The tragic case of Cemal Cansev

Cemal Cansev, a 16-year-old boy from New York City, was listed on Charley for a long time. He just vanished into thin air. The police suspected he was a runaway, but his family said he would never have done that. And so the matter rested, for over seven years.

I resolved Cemal’s case a month or so ago. NCMEC reported he was found deceased, and I found his sister’s Twitter page where she said he’d been found drowned just a few days after he was reported missing. She was angry that the family didn’t find out his fate sooner. But I couldn’t find any articles about it. Until now.

The Daily Mail, a British newspaper (close to a tabloid) has written about the case. Cemal was found drowned off a pier just ten days after he was last seen, but the body was thought to be from a 25-year-old Asian (Cemal was Turkish). Since it says the body was still listed as a John Doe, I’m assuming the article means the coroner thought he was Asian and about 25, not that it was identified as a specific 25-year-old Asian guy.

Recently, the NYPD got federal money and was able to test all their John and Jane Does against DNA provided by families of missing people. And so Cemal was identified. Where he was in the intervening ten days is anyone’s guess.

The family is suing the city, saying the investigation was inept and Cemal could and should have been identified much sooner.

It is an exceptionally sad story. Cemal’s dad traveled all over New York City and across the country looking for his son. I hope the family has found some kind of peace knowing his fate now. I certainly don’t blame them for being angry that their uncertainty lasted as long as it did.

Eleven years ago today

Whilst writing updates for the case for Indira Montiero, I realized that today is eleven years to the day since she was last seen in Manhattan, New York. She was 22 years old at the time of her disappearance and seems to have been going places: she had a good job as an accounting clerk, she was enrolled in college studying accounting, and she was thinking of starting a business designing clothes for petite women. One problem, however: she was dating a dirt bag.

Indira’s boyfriend sounds like a real prince. He beat a man to death when he was fourteen and served two years for manslaughter. In his two-year relationship with Indira she filed eleven domestic violence complaints against him and he filed four against her. In spite of this they continued to live together and she repeatedly spent thousands of dollars bailing him out of jail after his numerous arrests — not all of which were related to her; he was also charged with attacking another woman who lived in his apartment complex. Oh, and a few days after Indira’s disappearance he took their one-year-old daughter and abandoned her at the babysitter’s house.

Needless to say, foul play is suspected in Indira’s disappearance.

Someone in the Bronx with the same name as Indira’s boyfriend, and the right age, was convicted of animal cruelty last fall for leaving his Maltese dog in a van while he went swimming. The temperatures outside reached 95 degrees that day and inside the vehicle they climbed to 140 degrees. The dog died, obviously. The guy actually got sentenced to some time in jail, which is unusual for animal cruelty charges. Usually people get off with a fine or probation. I think this is not closely enough connected to Indira’s disappearance to note it in her file, though. I’m not even 100% sure it’s the same guy, though it probably is.

I hope Indira’s daughter, who would now be 12, is being lovingly looked after, preferably by someone other than her father. I don’t think her mother’s coming back.

Patrick Alford in Cleveland?

According to this article and this one, seven-year-old Patrick Alford, who disappeared from New York City over a year ago, may be alive and in the Cleveland, Ohio area. The police evidently got some kind of tip, a sighting or something.

I really, really hope this tip pans out. Patrick’s disappearance is ridiculous. Seven-year-old boys don’t just “run away.” Or, if they do, they don’t get far without running into serious trouble. From what I’ve read, he shouldn’t have been placed in a strange foster home to begin with. There were relatives who were willing to take care of him. Patrick’s foster mother didn’t even speak English.

He looks like such a beautiful kid. Sigh.