National Hispanic Heritage Month: Diane Aviles Colon

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Diane Marie Aviles Colon, a fourteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico on September 9, 1999.

Her case is classified as a runaway and it’s noted she may have traveled to Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan. But that was twenty years ago and who knows where she is now, or even if she’s still on the island. Puerto Rico was trashed by Hurricane Maria and hasn’t recovered, and a lot of Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland US as a result of the hurricane.

For a runaway, Diane has been missing a very long time.

MP of the week: Catalino Gomez

This week’s missing person is Catalino Gomez, a 54-year-old Hispanic man who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on June 3, 1994.

He was visiting relatives in Florida and someone accused him of molesting a ten-year-old girl. Afterwards, Gomez ran away without any of his belongings and was never seen or heard from again.

There’s a theory that he returned to Puerto Rico, where he’s from, and chose not to resurface because of the sex abuse allegation, but I’m not sure. As far as I know, there’s no warrants out for his arrest. Plus, how is he going to get to Puerto Rico? You would need to get on a ship or (probably) a plane, and would need money to buy a ticket and also probably identification, and he didn’t have those. I wonder if the possibility of suicide was investigated.

If he is indeed still alive and had gone into hiding in Puerto Rico, I highly doubt he’s going to reappear after 25 years. Given his age now (79) it’s possible he’s deceased.

YouTube Saturday: I am just on fire this week

Gotcher vids, hot and fresh: eleven of them to be exact, covering sixteen MPs. In chronological order:

Alfred James Grimes and Sammy Lloyd Jackson, 1968

Barbara Aurora Burhans, Carmen Garcia and Diego Garcia, 1982

Jasmine Kirlissa Collins and Melissa Ann Collins, 1991

Keith Chau and Ai Wei Kaung, 1995

Ruben David Felix, 1997

Yim Yeung Tsui, 1998

Yamaira Vivian Montes-Gonzalez, 2000

Sonya Lynn Bradley, 2002

Yaroslav Victorovich Iventyev, 2003

Joey Lynn Offutt, 2007

Marizela C. Perez, 2011

Working on Puerto Rican cases today

I decided to run Puerto Rican cases through the system and see what I could come up with. It’s a bit of a problem because of most of the articles being in Spanish, but I did study Spanish for a year in college, and it’s close enough to English so I can sort of read it anyway. And there’s always Google Translate.

Well, I came up with some interesting results: several teenage girls currently who had been listed as runaways on the NCMEC and on Charley are presumed victims of a suspected serial killer named Amílcar Matías Torres. Matías Torres is doing twenty years right now, but he hasn’t been charged in any unsolved disappearances or homicides; he’s only in jail for soliciting sex from young girls he met online. Nevertheless, the cops believe he might have had as many as seven victims.

At last, some more info on the Colonna Aponte children

Twelve-year-old John Colonna Aponte and his eleven-year-old sister Giannina disappeared from Puerto Rico thirty-eight years ago. Until now, I had next to nothing on them — and I still don’t have a decent LE contact number. But thanks to a link (in Spanish) which a helpful stranger sent me today, I now know a lot more:

It looks like the children were kidnapped for a 72k ransom, and something went wrong with it, or maybe the kidnappers never intended ransom in the first place. Eight months after they vanished, a guy in Miami killed himself and left a note, implicating himself in the plot.

Interpol, which is apparently investigating the case, did genetic testing using Maria’s blood, some of the children’s baby teeth, and DNA taken from the father’s exhumed body. and the results indicate that John and Giannina were not the biological children of their mother’s husband. The husband, John Colonna, died in 1982. The mother, Naomi, is still alive and quite indignant, insisting that the children most definitely WERE John Sr.’s and it’s quite impossible that they weren’t.

There was a possible explanation for this raised in the comments: John died of cancer. Perhaps, during his treatment for the cancer, he had blood transfusions, and perhaps that messed with the genetic testing results. I have no idea whether this could happen or not, but it sounds possible. Of course, the children’s paternity might well be completely irrelevant anyway.

So now Mom’s having them declared legally dead. She’s 73 years old and has breast cancer. And there the matter rests.

In an aside, another puzzling Puerto Rican case: Michelle Delfi-Feliciano, a four-year-old who disappeared from her front yard in 1992. “It has been established that Michelle was in the company of a family acquaintance sometime after her initial disappearance. The individual has since returned to Puerto Rico, but Michelle has not been located. It is believed that the child may be in a Puerto Rican community in Massachusetts, New York or Florida. Her family has ties to those regions of the country. She may also be in the Dominican Republic.” Um…what?

A rare Puerto Rican case

Tomorrow I shall be posting the November 2000 disappearance of Yamaira Montes-Gonzalez. I don’t have too many Puerto Rican cases on Charley, in large part because I can’t read Spanish so most of the LE sources there are lost to me.

I am curious as to why Interpol is investigating Yamaira’s disappearance. The only thing I can think of is a suspected international kidnapping — perhaps human trafficking. She was a very pretty teenager, maybe even beautiful. I looked up Yabucoa and Wikipedia says it’s a coastal town. (They call it a “small town” but the population is close to 40,000. Speaking as someone from a town with a population of 600, give or take, Wikipedia doesn’t know what it’s talking about.)

I hope Yamaira just ran away or something and hasn’t been trafficked.