I wanted to drop a recommendation for y’all

So this podcast series, “Through the Cracks: The Untold Story of Mbuyisa Makhubo” came out in 2016, but I didn’t discover it until a few days ago. I really wanted to tell everyone because it’s an awesome series, four episodes, great journalism, very thorough, telling a fascinating story about a missing person.

Mbuyisa Makhubo was a very ordinary teenage boy living in Soweto, South Africa in the 1970s when he became world-famous by accident. Basically, what happened was that a 1976 youth protest against the brutal apartheid regime got out of hand and the police opened fire on the crowd, killing a twelve-year-old boy named Hector Pieterson (and a lot of other people). Mbuyisa was the one who picked up Hector after he was shot and carried him to a nearby car — a photojournalist’s — to take him to the hospital. The journalist’s photos of Mbuyisa, running with a dying Hector in his arms and Hector’s screaming, hysterical sister running next to him, were displayed in newspapers across the world. You might have seen the images yourself; they’re still famous.

The result was that Mbuyisa (who hadn’t even been attending the protest, he just happened to live on that street) became a target of South African security forces. Afraid for his life, he had to flee the country. He got a scholarship to attend a school in Nigeria, but couldn’t adjust, began deteriorating physically and mentally, and ended up on drugs and living on the streets of Lagos. Sometime in 1978, he disappeared, and his family in South Africa never heard from him again.

Then he may have resurfaced, thirty years later, alive and well in a Canadian jail. Or maybe he didn’t.

From there the story just keeps getting stranger and stranger and more and more complicated. I don’t want to say anything more for fear of spoiling things, but I wound up listening to the whole podcast in one streak, ruminating on it for hours and puzzling it over with my friends afterwards.

So yeah, listen to it.

Article Dump IV

From Alabama: Fancie Eller disappeared from Marshall County just before Thanksgiving 2018, and her family is still looking for her. The police say they’ve run out of leads. The fact that she had no cell phone, debit card or permanent address means she doesn’t have much of a paper trail to pick up on. I had not previously heard of this case.

From Indiana: in Fort Wayne, my city of residence, the police are trying to find two different missing people who vanished this year. (The cases are unrelated.) Roger Henry, 60, disappeared on January 14, and Suprina L. Wayne, 48, went missing sometime in early November. Suprina actually went missing from Bluffton, Indiana, but may be in Fort Wayne.

Also from Indiana: they’re still looking for Shannon Orton, a 37-year-old mother of two who disappeared from Hobart in July. She wasn’t actually reported missing until September 30, as she’d previously been out of touch with family for as long as a month at a time.

From Michigan: D’Wan Christian Sims disappeared from Livonia on December 7, in 1994. His mother, D’Wanna, has not been named as a suspect in his case (and neither has anyone else) but she said he disappeared from the mall and not only did no witnesses see him there, but he didn’t show up on any of the surveillance cameras either. Anyway, D’Wanna died in North Carolina recently. Per this article, cause of death was a heart attack.

From New Mexico: this article about how there’s a serious lack of resources and coordination when it comes to looking for Native American women who’ve gone missing.

From North Carolina: They’re still looking for Daniel Allan Price, aka Danny, who disappeared on January 23, 2019, after leaving a “very long, but disturbing” voice message for his mom. His two roommates, Natasha Myers and Christopher Burgess, went missing at the same time but returned home without Price a few days later, saying they’d taken a short trip out of state and didn’t know where Price was.

From Ohio: The police announced they were trying to identify this guy in the 2009 disappearance of a seventeen-year-old girl from Alliance, last seen on June 2, 2009. They didn’t call him a suspect, they just said they thought he had information. A day after they initially published their appeal and his photo, the man was identified. Though the article doesn’t identify the girl, the details it does give make it easy to determine that she is Glenna Jean White, who is listed as a runaway and needs medication. It hasn’t been said whether the alleged witness provided anything helpful in the case.

From Pennsylvania: Eric Wayne Pyles, age 12, disappeared twenty years ago yesterday from Union Township. He had some emotional/behavioral issues and a history of running away, but the police no longer believe his December 2000 disappearance was voluntary.

From South Carolina: Brittanee Drexel‘s disappearance is going to be on CNN’s Headline News channel show “Real Life Nightmares” at 10:00 p.m. this evening. The 17-year-old was last seen on April 15, 2009, when she took a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach without her parents’ knowledge and vanished, possibly abducted by human traffickers.

Also from South Carolina: the remains of Aeron Buchanan Young, a 58-year-old woman, were found in a wooded area on South Gregg Street in Columbia. Young had gone missing in February 2019. Her death is under investigation.

From Texas: in my previous article dump I’d listed an article about the disappearance of Scott Andreas “Andy” Sims, an eleven-year-old who went missing from Wichita Falls on December 9, 1961. Well, there’s another article, which has more info on the case including a photo of Andy that I’d never seen before.

From Washington State: the true crime podcast Hide and Seek, which I had never heard of, will be covering the 2016 disappearance of Logan Drew Schiendelman from Tumwater for their second season. The first season covered the 2009 disappearance of Nancy Kareen Moyer from Tenino. The podcasters hope to release the first episode of Season Two sometime this month.

From Australia: They’re re-opening the long-since-cold investigation into the disappearance and presumed murder of Sharron Phillips. She was last seen on May 8, 1986 in Brisbane. There’s new evidence and an inquest will begin in March.

Also from Australia: this article about the disappearance of Kim Hoa Tran, who disappeared from South Australia on August 23, 1985. She had gone to Lyell McEwin Hospital in north Adelaide to be treated for a migraine. She called her father and asked him to come and get her, as she’d been discharged, but when he arrived she wasn’t there. Her younger sister, now 40, is offering a $20,000 reward for information. Kim was a Vietnamese immigrant with no papers, and the private detective her sister hired says he doesn’t even know her exact age or if “Kim Hoa Tran” was her legal name. The Daily Mail says she was somewhere between 16 and 18.

From Canada: The police have arrested Joseph Thauberger for the murder of his brother Patrick Thauberger, 53, who went missing from Regina, Saskatchewan in September 1997. His body has never been found.

From South Africa: There is a podcast on the unsolved disappearance of nine-year-old Matthew Ohlsson from Mitchells Plain. He was last seen on March 24, 1997.

Latest MP news

(I know I’ve been a lazy-butt and not updated for like a week. I hit my head last Friday and my head was killing me for days afterwards in spite of the application of ice packs etc. On Saturday I went to ER because I thought I might have a concussion. They did tests, and said no, and prescribed some completely ineffective painkillers. I actually went back a few days later because my head was still hurting horribly and they did the same tests and said I was fine. Well, the headache finally stopped. Maybe it was the weather — we’ve had horrible storms and humidity all week, and things finally cleared up today.)

  • As various commenters and emailers have noted: Francine Frost (missing from Oklahoma, 1981) and Joseph Spears (missing from Mississippi, 1973) have both been identified.
  • Joseph was 17 when he escaped from a juvenile detention center. Less than a month later, he’d made it to Texas and was crossing a freeway when he was hit by a vehicle and killed. He was finally identified this month. Per this article:
    Mary Raskin, mother of missing teen Joseph “Joey” Norman Spears, ended up looking at pictures of her son’s body to positively identify him, Harrison County Sheriff’s Investigator Kristi Johnson said Monday.
    Officials with the Galveston medical examiner’s office were unable to get a proper DNA sample from Spears’ body to confirm the identity, Johnson said. Instead, they called on Harrison County cold case investigators to provide all the facts they had on the case for comparison to the evidence Texas officials had on hand.
    Mary Raskin, Spears’ mother, identified her son.
    “I have mixed emotions,” Johnson said after learning the news. “I am relieved the case is solved but I know it’s not the outcome Mrs. Raskin was hoping for. I’m sad for her but I’m glad she is getting the answers she was searching for for 43 years. The family has shared their appreciation for us working on this.”
  • As for Francine, her body was found in Muskogee County, Oklahoma two years after her disappearance. She was 43 years old. Per this article: a year ago Francine’s family heard about the Muskogee remains and got a court order to exhume and test for DNA:
    Vernon Martin, the superintendent of Green Hill Cemetery, helped make it happen.
    He said there are about 1,400 unidentified bodies buried there – many of them dating back before statehood.
    He took us back to the plot where Frost’s remains stayed for more than 30 years before they were finally identified.
    “This is actually greater than the pay that you receive in this job, the people that we come across on a daily basis and able to help them through their loss, whether it’s last week, or, in this case, 1981,” Martin said.
    Unlike with Joey Spears, this case is obviously still not over yet. Joey died in an accident; Francine appears to have been abducted and murdered. Her family has half the answer now — that is, they have her back and they can bury her — but I’m sure they’d also like to know who killed her.
    (An Oklahoma TV show actually wanted to interview me about Francine and in particular about identifying long-buried John and Jane Does, but I had spent the day in bed nursing that headache. I didn’t even check my email until 10:00 p.m. and thus missed the interview opportunity. Oh well.)
  • The case of long-missing Quebecois child Yohanna Cyr is back in the news, because a woman in the United States has come forward and thinks she’s Yohanna. Usually I don’t pay too close attention to claims like this, because it’s hardly ever the missing person. But this one has me wondering, because, as this article says, both Yohanna and the American woman have a Y-shaped birthmark on their index finger. I blogged about Yohanna twice, once in 2014 and once in 2011. In the 2011 entry, Yohanna’s mom posted a comment in French.
  • You guys may have heard about the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania twins who disappeared at some indeterminate time years ago — some articles say 10 years, some say 13-14 years. Mom claimed she sold them, but retracted her story after she was informed this was a crime. The first time authorities realized the kids were missing was when CPS sent the cops to the house to remove all the kids, and the cops duly removed the four they found, and CPS was like, “Um, she actually has six.”
    NamUs has profiles for the kids: Inisha Fowler and Ivon Fowler. The only picture that I’ve been able to find is a photo of them as babies, side by side, and I have no idea which twin is which. (See this article for that photo, and a pic of Mom, and of the twins’ not-missing brother as well.) I suppose I’ll post the case on Charley anyway. A baby photo is still a photo, and this is certainly an outrageous story that the world needs to know. Even if, by some miracle, Ivon and Inisha are still alive, the fact that no one noticed they were gone for so long is truly terrible. Heads should roll here — a lot of people dropped the ball.
  • The kidnapper of Zephany Nurse, a South African girl who was abducted as an infant and not found for seventeen years, has been sentenced to ten years in prison. (You might recall that Ann Pettway, Carlina White‘s abductor, got twelve.) Zephany grew up just a mile away from her real family’s home and attended the same school as her biological sister. The identity of the woman who kidnapped her has been withheld from the media to protect Zephany’s privacy.
    Outrageously, the kidnapper has refused to admit she did anything wrong. And sadly for the Nurse family, Zephany has chosen to remain with her kidnapper’s husband. I don’t blame her. I mean, for 17 years she thought this guy was her dad, and it’s a terrible situation she’s in. I just think it sucks for her real parents and I hope that Zephany does eventually choose to form a relationship with them.

I’m still here

Sorry, guys. I know I’m slacking and letting you down. For what it’s worth it would seem I’m letting everyone else down, too. I don’t know what is wrong with me this week, this month, this year.

There’s good news in the missing persons world, as told to me by a blog commenter: Zephany Nurse, an infant who was snatched from the hospital in Cape Town, South Africa shortly after birth, has been found alive and well and living only a few miles from home. She and her biological sister even attended the same school and apparently bore a striking resemblance to each other. The woman who abducted Zephany has been charged with kidnapping and fraud, and Zephany has been reunited with her parents.

It must be a very difficult time for the girl. She’s 17, old enough to know what this is about, and she’s got to be very upset by it all. I hope she gets lots of therapy.

Article about missing South African girl

I found this article about Mbali Nkosi, a fifteen-year-old girl from Dube, South Africa who vanished without a trace seven months ago. She went to the grocery store and never came back. Later that day her mom, Zodwa, got a (text?) message saying “please call me.” She did, and Mbali said “Mama” and then the line went dead and she was never heard from again. Reminds me of Maria De Los Angeles Martinez. Or Diane Augat.

Mbali’s sixteenth birthday was on February 7. The article says, “Her disappearance has since affected Zodwa, who was admitted at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Academic Hospital.” From that sentence I’m not sure if it was depression or just health problems caused/exacerbated by stress. I checked the hospital website and it doesn’t have a psychiatry/behavioral health department listed. It is, in any case, very sad.

There have been anonymous calls from people saying they saw Mbali, and one wanted 1000 South African rands (about $123) to reveal her whereabouts. Her father arranged to meet up with the man, but he never showed. I looked up her name on Google and found several people with that name, but most of the results weren’t about this Mbali. I did find this article written shortly after her disappearance. She was a Grade 9 student at Orlando West High School in Soweto, and was considering a career in nursing.

It sounds as if Mbali might have been forced into prostitution. I certainly hope not. I know the crime rate in South Africa is very high — as is the HIV infection rate, which Wikipedia says is at 18.10% compared to .60% in America.

Another MP from South Africa

Found this article about Edna Elaine Piercey, a sixteen-year-old girl who’s been missing from Rustenberg, South Africa since 2001. She was last seen walking to a friend’s house. The article has an AP drawing of her, as well as a letter written by her mother, Janine Lottering.

Just months after Edna disappeared, Lottering’s other daughter, Blanche disappeared and soon after her body was found.

Blanche was brutally murdered and her face was removed. “There was a hole where her face was,” Lottering said.

She also believes that her daughters’ tragedies are connected, that Blanche might have been taken by the same people who took Edna.

Holy crap. That’s horrible. Reminds me of the Debra Jean Cole disappearance and her sister Frances’s murder.

South Africa’s missing children

I found this article about missing kids in South Africa; apparently it’s a very serious problem. One paragraph didn’t make sense though:

The Pink Ladies group said less than 70 percent of missing children are found within the first week, but the rest never. The figures are conservative, they said. Many more went missing and were never reported.

So, a child is NEVER found after the first week? I understand the chances of them getting found go down the longer they’re missing, but I have a hard time believing NO ONE gets found after a week. But the idea that less the 70 percent get found in the first week is pretty scary.

Here are a few South African missing children and teens, whose posters are on the NCMEC site:

Veronique Adams, missing since 1989, when she was only a year old. She was abducted by her nanny, named Beauty. I found an article that talks about the disappearance: Veronique Adams was barely a year old when she was abducted. Her mother Junice returned from work to find the house in shambles, the nanny gone and Veronique with her: ‘The people in the street saw her walking down the road with Veronique on her back and a suitcase in her hand, and nobody has ever been able to trace her,’ says Junice.

Shaunice Robin Adams, missing since 1990, when she was a year and a half. The same article I linked to above talks about her case as well: 19-month-old Shaunice Adams was playing with her cousins. Her parents Vincent and Joyce Adams haven’t seen her since. One of the children told Joyce that ‘a woman with an orange overall’ took her by the hand and walked off with her – leaving behind a shattered family.

Maria Blaauw, missing since 1998, when she was fifteen. Classified as a runaway. I found a person by that name on Facebook, residence listed as Johannesburg, but the photos are of a white woman and the missing Maria is black.

Tracy Boucher, missing since 1998. I’m not sure how old she was, because the posters give a default DOB of January 1, 1970 when they don’t know. She appears to have been in her mid- to late teens. She apparently ran away from a children’s home, where she was sent to stay temporarily after her boarding school closed.

Sikumbuzo Cenga, missing since 2000, when he was nine or ten. He was sent out to buy bread and never came back home. I found an Afrikaans-language article that, translated by Google, says: Sikumbuzo Cenga (10) disappeared after his mother took him to a store sent. He was never seen again. The day of his disappearance he was in a blue shorts and a gray shirt dress.

Melusi Dladla, missing since 1999. No idea as to his age, though from the picture he looks to have been not older than his early teens. He left for school, never arrived there and never came home.

Lungile Dlamini, missing since 1999, when she was two. She disappeared while playing with some other children.

Charl Duister, missing since 1994, just short of her third birthday. A man her mother had laid a criminal charge against apparently kidnapped her: witnesses saw her getting into his car, and he turned up later without her and said he didn’t know where she was and she had never been with him in the first place.

Hester Du Preez, missing since 2001 on her nineteenth birthday. She was in a car with a man who said he dropped her off near her home, but she never arrived home. Like the Kimberly Moreau case.

Chantelle Gordon, missing since 1996, when she was ten. Suspected family abduction by her father; he might have taken her to Cloetesville.

Renata Ismail, missing since 1999, just before she turned five. (The poster says “Renate” but I found several articles that mention her and all called her “Renata.”) She was abducted by a strange man who climbed through the window and took her from the bedroom. A sketch of the suspect is provided.

Innocenta Lungelo Kentane, missing since 1994, when she was eight. She was supposed to meet her aunt, but never showed up.

Danie Labuschagne, missing since 2000, when he was eighteen. He had AIDS and was living in a home for people with AIDS. He just walked out one day without saying where he was going, and never came back.

Kwesi Lobeloane, missing since 1997, when he was fifteen. It looks like he ran away from home after he crashed his mom’s car.

Francois Louw, missing since 1999, when he was five. He disappeared from the farm where his uncle worked. Farm workers saw him, and then he was suddenly gone. It reminds me of the Richard Ray Barnett case.

Siphesihle Farewell McHunu, missing since 1999, when he was six. He left school without permission with a man he called “Uncle” and was never seen again. Like Bianca Lebron.

Kamogelo Mogane, missing since 2000, when she was five. Presumed family abduction by her father, who took her to London for a vacation and never returned with her.

Nobuhle Mokone, missing since 2001, when she was only six weeks old. Taken from her mother’s home under false pretenses by an unknown woman. There’s no photo available for Nobuhle and a sketch is used instead.

Mighael Myburg, missing since 1997, when he was two. He was kidnapped from his front yard by a strange man.

Mgondana Nkosi and her sister Nhlanhla, missing since 1999. The date of birth for Mgondana is given as 1984, which would have made her fourteen at the time; however, if she was fourteen that photo is seriously out of date. Nhlanhla was a year old. The girl were abducted by their father and taken to Mozambique.

Vuyokazi Nolili, missing since 1999, when she was seven. A suspect was charged in her abduction; he maintained his innocence and it’s unclear how the criminal case went.

Zephany Nurse, missing since 1997. She was kidnapped from the hospital only three days after birth. I found this article about her disappearance with a better picture, and also this article. In 2009, someone called Zephany’s family and said she had information and wanted money in exchange for it. It turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by a neighbor of Zephany’s grandmother.

Ranelle Terblanche, missing since 1998, when she was fourteen. She left a note behind saying she was running away because she was very unhappy and didn’t want to go to school anymore.

Sindiswa Jennette Walaza, missing since 2001, when she was sixteen. She was on a bus to Bloemfontein and apparently did arrive there, but vanished after that and was never seen again.

South African toddler missing for almost a month found under unusual circumstances

I hadn’t heard about this case before today, but a three-year-old girl named Chante Christoffels was abducted in Bellville, South Africa several weeks ago, on June 3. According to this account, a woman whom her parents knew by sight offered to buy her some yogurt, then walked off with her, and this was all captured on CCTV. There’s a picture of Chante here. Her parents are “car guards,” whatever that is, and apparently homeless.

The police found her over the weekend, playing alone not far from where she disappeared, wearing the same clothes she’d been wearing at the time of her abduction. They were clean. It looks like they’re still trying to figure out what happened. In the meantime, Chante is not being returned to her parents’ care, although they’re being allowed to see her. I don’t know if the police think they were involved in the abduction, or whether it’s just concern about their living situation, or what.

Possible lead in South African cold case

I found this article from a news site out of South Africa that says the police got a lead in the disappearance of five-year-old Florencia Langenhoven. She was abducted while playing in her front yard. A neighbor later confessed to kidnapping her and served ten years in prison, but he never disclosed her whereabouts. (Rather like Jillian Cutshall or Melissa Brannen.) According to the tip, Florencia is alive.

Why the headline says “girl missing for 20 years” is a mystery to me. Florencia was kidnapped in December 1993. That’s not even 18 years ago.

In any case, I hope this is a real tip and Florencia is located. She would be 22 years old today.