MP of the week: Willie Johnson

Hello, all. This week’s featured missing person is Willie Lee Johnson, a 26-year-old African-American man who disappeared from Akron, Ohio on January 20, 1978. He went out that night to the Tropicana Lounge on north Howard Street (which now appears to be derelict) and never returned. His car was later found abandoned with his things inside.

Unfortunately that’s basically all I know about Willie’s disappearance. I can’t find anything about him in the newspaper archives, and having a name like “Willie Johnson” does not help matters. But I’m sure he still has family who miss him and wonder what became of him.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and washing their hands.

MP of the week: Elaine Ford

This week’s featured missing person is Elaine Ford, a 29-year-old woman who was last seen in Cleveland, Ohio on May 21, 1990. I don’t have any details about her disappearance, unfortunately. She wore a Jheri curl wig at the time of her disappearance, as well as a black or brown skirt. She has a scar on her left hand and a knot on her neck.

If still alive, Elaine would be 58 today.

I hope everyone is okay. Someone at Michael’s workplace tested positive for the coronavirus. He remains in good health but I think it’s a not a matter of if he gets sick but when. Not necessarily because of that person at his work (they worked different shifts and in different areas of the facility), but just because this virus is extremely contagious and is likely to get basically everywhere before they can come up with a vaccine. It’s pretty scary.

All my family and my loved ones remain in good health, thank goodness. I did have an online friend who got infected, and she was hospitalized for a time but she is at home recovering.

Hanging in there, and I hope everyone else is too

I hope everyone is doing all right. Michael and I are doing fine; however, one person at his place of work has tested positive for COVID-19, and another is believed to have it, which is scary. Michael thinks it’s unlikely he was exposed to either individual because they work different shifts, and in different parts of the facility, than he does.

One of the things I’ve been doing is contributing to a subreddit set up in memorial of COVID-19 victims, basically posting links to obituaries and such. It’s scary how many stories I’ve come across of young healthy people getting very sick or even dying of this. One of my online friends has it, a young woman, and she’s in the hospital. A five-year-old girl with no preexisting conditions died of COVID-19 last week.

I mean, I know what the statistics are. I know that the overwhelming majority of people who get it survive. But it’s hard to focus on those numbers when you’re looking at a photo of a dead kindergartner.

On another note, a few missing persons have been found:

  • Eric Randolph Pracht, a 25-year-old Lakewood, Colorado paramedic who disappeared in July 2016, His skeletal remains were found on Green Mountain, but a cause of death hasn’t been determined.
  • Martin Hugh Sackler, whose family last heard from him in October 2004 when he was 41. He has been arrested in Mobile, Alabama, where he was apparently living under a false identity.
  • Michael Alexander Rickard, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania in March 2018. His remains were found along some railroad tracks in Bethel Park. There isn’t much information out there as to when or how he died, but the police are saying foul play is not suspected.
  • Cheryl L. Coker, a 46-year-old woman who disappeared from Riverside, Ohio in October 2018. Her skeletal remains were found by a mushroom hunter in Caeserscreek Township, Ohio; the coroner said it looked like they were just dumped there, not even buried. I know her husband has been a suspect in her case for some time, but they’re still trying to figure out the cause of death and whatnot.

This is kind of horrifying to me

I read many of articles from different publications about the drowning deaths of brothers Ayden Leroy Cecil and Anthony Joseph Tullius, and I really can’t understand why their parents were charged with anything.

When I saw the headlines that said things like “Toddlers drowned while parents slept”, I thought perhaps maybe the parents were passed out under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or didn’t begin to look for the kids for hours, or something like that. I mean, there HAD to be more to the story, right?

I can only go by what’s been reported and I can’t find any more to the story.

On that tragic night they set up camp at a designated campsite near the river, and everyone went to bed. Dad zipped the tent and tightened the top zipper. Mom took one Xanax before bed, as her prescription said she should. Dad was exhausted after a long week of work. They went to sleep. And sometime during the night the boys unzipped the bottom zipper of the tent (which Dad had forgotten to tighten) and wandered into the river.

This is all terrible and I’m sure any parent in that situation would be full of what-ifs and should-haves and blaming themselves for a very long time, if not the rest of their days on earth, but I don’t see how this rises to the level of a crime.

At their first trial the children’s mother, Kasey, would insinuate her husband, their stepfather Richard, may have killed them on purpose. This is because, although Kasey thought she’d removed Ayden’s shoes before bed and he couldn’t put them on by himself, when his body was found he was wearing the shoes. I think it’s more likely that Kasey simply forgot to remove the shoes (she’d put them on over his sleeper so he could run around and play during the evening). If Richard were planning on tossing the boys in the river it doesn’t make any sense for him to have put their shoes on.

I myself nearly drowned as a five-year-old and a police officer had to pound life back into my chest after they pulled me out of Lake Michigan. This is because my mom, who was on lifeguard duty, decided to help the other adults pull a boat ashore and was distracted for a few minutes. Obviously she should not have done that, but the idea that a parent would be charged with a crime in such a situation is appalling to me.

As this story was reported I can’t understand why the Kleins were even charged, never mind convicted, in their children’s drowning deaths. Was something left out or was this the overzealous prosecution is appears to have been?

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Neal Boware

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 Neal Louis Boware, a 21-year-old man of African-American and Korean descent. He disappeared from Akron, Ohio on July 24, 2006.

Neal has schizophrenia and is supposed to take medication, but I don’t know whether he was on his meds at the time of his disappearance.

He ran away from his mom and jumped off a bridge; there were railroad tracks below the bridge, and a train was passing on them at the time. Presumably he landed on top of the train, though that’s not really clear. I’m not sure anyone actually saw this happen. No one has seen Neal since.

MP of the week: Deklon Ford

This week’s featured missing person (sorry about last week, it wasn’t a good week) is Deklon Ford, who disappeared on May 6, 2015. He was only six months old at the time, and would be four years old now.

He and his mom, 28-year-old Brittany Anne Ford, disappeared together, and although the place of disappearance is given as Columbus, Ohio, they were “last known to be” in Hardin, Montana. Brittany’s car (which had Georgia plates, incidentally) was found abandoned on Highway 87 between Billings, Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming, but I’m a bit hazy as to which state it was in.

I’m not sure under what circumstances they’re missing, but they have a Facebook page set up for them, and Deklon’s dad set up a GoFundMe for search funds.

Black History Month: Dwaun Cox

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 Dwaun Thomas Cox, a 23-year-old man who went missing from Columbus, Ohio on November 21, 1979.

His car turned up abandoned in Logan, Ohio, which is about fifty miles southeast of Columbus. I don’t know where in Logan it was found or when it was found, but usually when an MP’s vehicle is found abandoned that’s not a good sign.