Remains found in 1979 identified, and other stories

Today is National Missing Persons day. This article has some info about how the new Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act, which was signed into law on New Years’ Eve, will help communities along the Mexican border.

In Alabama: Skeletal remains have been found in Conecuh County, Alabama. Though they haven’t been identified yet, the police think they’re those of Brian Estrada, who disappeared last October. His ID was found near the bones.

In California: They’re still looking for Sydney West, a 19-year-old University of California, Berkeley student who disappeared from San Francisco on September 30. Her parents are offering a $10,000 reward for info leading to her return.

In Colorado: The murder trial of Donthe Lucas in the disappearance of his 21-year-old pregnant girlfriend Kelsie Jean Schelling from Pueblo has begun. Kelsie was last seen on February 5, 2013.

In Florida: They’re still looking for Lemuel Robert Hall, a 79-year-old man who disappeared from Escambia County in 2019. He was last seen in July, but wasn’t reported missing till September.

In Maine: They’re still looking for Jason D. Reil, a 33-year-old man who disappeared from Brunswick in January 2012. He had schizophrenia and was off his meds when he went missing.

In Mississippi: They’re still looking for William Brian McKenzie, a 21-year-old who disappeared in September 2019.

In Ohio: They’re still looking for Nylo Lattimore, a 3-year-old boy who disappeared from Cincinnati on December 4. His mother was allegedly stabbed to death in her home on December 5 and her body dumped, but it wasn’t found for a week. Desean Brown has been charged with Nylo’s mother’s murder, but Nylo has never been found and Brown hasn’t cooperated in the case.

In Pennsylvania: They’re still looking for Robert Scott Baron, who disappeared from his restaurant in Old Forge on January 25, 2017. It looks like he was probably killed in a robbery of the business; they found some blood in his car and a tooth in the restaurant’s sink.

In South Dakota: 9-year-old Serenity June Dennard disappeared from the Black Hills Children’s Home two years ago today. Though the case is still open, the police have suspended the search for now, for lack of any ideas where to look.

In Tennessee: They’re still looking for Shelley Lynn Mook, a 24-year-old woman who disappeared from Shelbyville on February 28, 2011. Her husband Tyler is a person of interest in her case, but has never been charged.

In Texas: They’re still looking for Joshua Jayvaughn Davis Jr., a one-year-old boy who disappeared from New Braunfels on February 4, 2011 — ten years ago tomorrow. The police seem to think his parents were involved or at least know what happened. I’m not sure. I am a firm believer in the axiom that there’s usually no smoke without fire. But one thing I will observe: Joshua’s parents have talked to the media a fair bit about his disappearance and tried to publicize it as much as they can, which in my observation is inconsistent with people who were responsible for their child’s disappearance.

In Oregon: They have identified remains found at the bottom of Multnomah Falls in September 1979. His name is Freeman Asher Jr.

In Washington: They’re still looking for Sofia Lucerno Juarez, who disappeared from Kennewick on February 4, 2003, the day before her fifth birthday. 18 years ago tomorrow.

In Australia: They’re still looking for Lisa Govan, a 28-year-old woman who disappeared from Kalfoorie, Western Australia in 1999. The police believe she was murdered.

Also in Australia: They’re still looking for Steven James Goldsmith, a 28-year-old arborist who disappeared from Toowoomba, Queensland in 2000. Authorities believe he was murdered. There’s a $250k reward out to help solve the case.

In Canada: They have identified a body that washed up on Gulf Island Beach in British Columbia in 1972. The name of the man, who was 41 when he disappeared from Coquitlam in 1967, has not been released.

Also in Canada: They’re still looking for Ben Tyner, a ranch manager who disappeared from Merritt, British Columbia in January 2019.

In Belgium: A car was found in a canal in Bruges; it turned out to belong to Ronny Lateste, a 39-year-old man who disappeared in 1990. His body was inside it.

Ten years ago, yesterday

On February 4, 2003 — a decade ago, plus one day — Sofia Lucerno Juarez vanished from Kennewick, Washington. She appears to have been abducted, but there were no witnesses or anything and it looks like the police aren’t any closer to solving her case than they were the day after she disappeared.

Sofia was four years and 364 days old when she disappeared. Today would be her fifteenth birthday.

She had no father, and her mother died tragically young — just 26 — four years ago. But she’s got at least one half-sibling, and extended family looking for her still.

I hope she comes home this year, one way or another, but I’m not counting on it.

MP news of the past week

William Frank Simmons, the accused killer of Kaelin Rose Glazier, is set to go to trial next week. Kaelin, who was 15, disappeared from Ruch, Oregon in 1996. Simmons, who was in his late teens at the time, was the last person known to have seen her. In 2008, her body was found across the street from his parents’ home. He was charged in 2010.

Sofia Juarez will have been missing nine years next Saturday, as noted in this article. She vanished without a trace, presumably kidnapped, the day before her fifth birthday — making her just old enough to have some memories of her former life, assuming she’s still alive. After Jaycee Dugard, etc., you can never say never. Sadly, though, Sofia’s mother will never be reunited with her daughter on this earth. Maria Juarez died three years ago. She was only twenty-six years old. Natural causes.

(Another article about the case which says “Sofia is the only open missing child case on record for the [Kennewick] police department, but the oldest missing person case is from 1978 when June Howard disappeared.” Who’s June Howard? Inquiring minds want to know. They ought to do an article on her.)

The police are re-examining the case of Virginia Rambus, who disappeared from Washington state in 1985. She was nineteen and last seen leaving home to go to a party. They had previously mentioned a person of interest, a neighbor known only as the “Candy Man.” Well, he’s been identified as Jesse Pratt, who’s currently doing life in an Oregon prison for killing another Seattle woman. Prior to the murder he had kidnapped yet a third woman. Click here for a picture of a car Pratt drove, which might have some connection to Virginia’s case.

The family of Tracy Melton, a 32-year-old Stockton, California woman who disappeared in 1998 and is profiled on Charley, are very angry that the police identified a bone fragment as hers all the way back in last April but didn’t bother to inform them for nine months. The police are sorry and promised to mend their ways. With so little remains to go off of, they may never know how or when Tracy died.

There’s going to be a TV show focusing on black missing persons, hosted by S. Epatha Merkerson, who used to be on Law and Order.