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: Tageana Griffith

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 Tageana Elizabeth Griffith, who was abducted by her non-custodial mother from Niagara Falls, New York on June 13, 2010, at the age of five. She is now 13 years old.

Tageana was born in Jamaica, but lived in the U.S. at the time of her disappearance. Her parents had joint custody. The court confiscated Tageana’s passport after her mother, Patricia, took her to Jamaica for a “vacation” without permission. Pretty much right after the passport was returned, Patricia took Tageana back to Jamaica again and this time came back without her.

(Incidentally, most major airlines in the U.S. now have a rule that if a minor child is traveling out of the country with only one parent, not both of them, this parent has to produced signed and notarized permission for the trip from the other parent, or proof that they have full custody rights, in order to fly. That’s to prevent stuff like Tageana’s abduction from happening.)

Patricia was sentenced to 18 months for parental abduction. The authorities believe Tageana is living with her maternal grandmother in Jamaica, but they can’t find them. Meanwhile her father has been looking for her for almost eight years now. All he’s got are some pics of her taken on her tenth birthday, five years after she was kidnapped.

Select It Sunday: Brittanee Drexel

Preston Winfrey, my new web guru, was given the honor of selecting my Sunday case this week, and he chose Brittanee Marie Drexel. Her case has been relatively high profile and bears similarities to Natalee Holloway’s: a beautiful high school student with everything going for her goes off to a resort town and is never seen again. She was seventeen and a junior when she disappeared from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on April 25, 2009. She was from New York and had gone to Myrtle Beach (without parental permission) for spring break.

In 2016, investigators announced they thought they knew what happened to her. The theory is that she was abducted, held against her will and gang-raped for several days. Her abductors planned to sell her into prostitution, but because her disappearance received such widespread publicity, they decided to kill her instead.

This theory is short on evidence, though, and although suspects have been named in the alleged kidnapping, rape and murder, no one has been charged and Brittanee has never been found.

MP of the week: Kelson Roby

This week’s featured missing person is Kelson Ryanell “Ryan” Roby, who disappeared on June 15, 1990 at the age of 31. The Texas Department of Public Safety page for him is a bit unclear: it says he’s missing from New York, but that he was last seen in Irving, Dallas County, Texas.

The Newspapers.com archive yielded no articles about Roby’s disappearance, but I did found some articles from 1979 that mentioned a Kelson Roby who matches the details of the missing man. The Kelson Roby in the articles transferred to the University of Northern Iowa from Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Minnesota and played on the UNI football team. The articles describe the UNI player as a college junior and 6’1 tall. The Kelson Roby on the Charley Project would have been 20 years old in 1979 (that is, about the age to be a junior in college) and his listed height is 6’2, well within the margin of error.

I don’t know for sure but I think it’s entirely likely that they’re the same person in spite of the distance. Kelson Roby isn’t the world’s most common name, after all.

I wish I knew more about Roby’s case. Foul play is suspected but I don’t know why. I do think it’s worth noting that he was wearing a pricey Rolex — gold and platinum with a diamond bezel — as well as a diamond ring. I’m assuming those things have serial numbers or something and are traceable.

There’s been a social media storm these last 24 hours

For those who haven’t heard, there’s a woman who claims she is Jennifer Klein who disappeared in 1974. This story has been floating around the internet for about a month, but yesterday there was a YouTube video published where the woman claimed she had DNA testing done and it proved her identity.

This woman also claims her abductors were members of a Satanic cult and that they kidnapped Kurt Newton and Etan Patz (who both disappeared in the 1970s, across the country from Jennifer) as well. She says she was brainwashed and didn’t start remembering what happened until after she was injured in a car accident.

As for what I think, well, I didn’t write this editorial but it pretty much sums up my own position on the matter.

Hopefully the truth will come out over the next few days or so. Until then, that’s all I’ve got to say.

Flashback Friday: Frank Fox

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Frank Lamont Fox, who disappeared after a New Year’s party in Manchester, New York in 1983. He was walking home and never made it. It’s a “few details are available” case, but “drunk guy walking home late at night in the middle of winter” makes me wonder if he wandered off into the woods or fell into a river or something and froze to death or drowned.

(Okay, I don’t know 100% that he was drunk, but it seems likely.)

The Guthrie Family part deux

You’ll recall my “let’s talk about it” post about the Guthrie family last month: Leslie and her children Julie and Timothy, who’ve been missing for forty years come February. Well, I wanted to draw your attention this comment that was posted today.

Boy, am I excited. I really, really hope this is the real deal. I mean, it’s terrible really to say “I hope it’s a car and I hope it has three bodies inside it” but after forty years this is really the best anyone can hope for.