We had a nice conversation about some kids who disappeared in the 1980s in Tennessee:
Erin Foster and Jeremy Bechtel located
To the surprise of no one, the remains of missing teens Erin Leigh Foster, 18, and Jeremy Lee Bechtel, 17, have been identified inside the wreckage of Erin’s car, which was found in 13 feet of water in a local river near Sparta, Tennessee. Per the article, the car was “almost completely intact” and it looks like they just ran off the road, poor kids.
It’s been 22 years in April, and I’m sure their families are relieved that they’ve found answers. May Erin and Jeremy rest in peace.
I’m feeling a lot better today.
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.
A bunch of “they’re still looking for…” and other stories
Lee and Anthony Redgrave are working with the the DNA Doe Project to identify transgender and nonbinary murder victims. They’ve started the Trans Doe Task Force, which helps police and medical examiners with cold cases involving transgender people.
Alaska: An unusually high number of people have gone missing from Fairbanks in the past ten months. Fairbanks averages five missing persons a year, but since May 2020, eleven people have disappeared and have not been found. (I wonder if the political, economic and emotional turmoil caused by the pandemic has anything to do with it.) Five of the missing eleven are Native. The community is concerned and held a vigil about it.
Colorado: Wendy Stephens, a Denver teenager who disappeared in 1983, has been identified as a victim of Gary Leon Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. He pleaded guilty to 49 murders but is believed to have killed more than 71. Not all of his presumed victims have been found, and three that have been are still unidentified.
Indiana: This article details the uncertainty about the veracity of a suspect’s confession in the Denise Diane Pflum case. Denise was 18 when she disappeared from Connersville in 1986. Her body has never been found. In 2020, her ex-boyfriend, Shawn McClung, confessed to her killing after being offered immunity for her death and also the dismissal of two charges he was in jail for. At the time he was dying. Before he passed away a few months later, McClung retracted his confession, saying he’d only made the statement because he didn’t want to die in jail.
Louisiana: They’re still looking for Cory Marie Rubio, a 24-year-old mother of two who disappeared from Shreveport in 1999. The most logical person to look at is her ex-husband; they were in the middle of a custody battle, and he had a history of violent behavior.
New Hampshire: Authorities have determined that the remaining unidentified body in the Bear Brook murders case has maternal relatives in the Pearl River, Mississippi area. DNA testing indicates the child and her mother were descendants of Thomas “Deadhorse” Mitchell, who was born in 1836, or William Livings, who was born in 1826. The dead child also may have suffered from anemia.
New Mexico: They’re still looking for Robert Marcos Romero, an eight-year-old boy who disappeared from Santa Fe in 2000. The most plausible theory is that his brother Ronnie killed him accidentally while under the influence of drugs, but nothing has been proven and Ronnie died over a decade ago.
New York: They believe the car found in the Muscoot Reservoir, which I wrote about earlier, is that of Brenda Kerber, a 40-year-old woman who disappeared from White Plains in 1989. I’d never heard of this case before.
Also New York: They’re still trying to identify a Jane Doe found in Chautauqua County. She now has her own Facebook page.
Oklahoma: They’re still looking for Darian Michelle Hudson, age 23, who went missing from Stillwater in 2017. She was going through a lot of personal problems and may have had a mental breakdown. Her family thinks foul play was involved in her disappearance, but the police say they aren’t sure.
Also Oklahoma: A proposed missing persons bill, House Bill 1790, is being called the Aubrey Alert, after missing transgender Native woman Aubrey Dameron. Aubrey was 25 when she disappeared from Grove in 2019. The Aubrey Alert bill, if passed, would require “critically missing” adult cases to be investigated immediately. The text of the bill can be read here.
Oregon: They’re still looking for Jodie Marie Anderson, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from Crescent City in 2017. She may be in the Linn County area.
South Carolina: They’re still looking for Shelton John Sanders, a 25-year-old man who disappeared from Columbia in 2001. He now has a Facebook page.
Tennessee: They’re still looking for married couple Kristie Wilson, 39, and Henry Wilson, 45, who disappeared from Monterey in 2018. Their car was found at the bottom of a ravine months after they went missing; it had been there so long there were plants growing in it. No sign of either of them. There have been multiple tips that the Wilsons were murdered, but no solid leads.
Texas: They’re still looking for Fredrick Joseph “Little Joe” Boehm, age 23, who disappeared from Marshall on this day twenty years ago. He was temporarily staying with a friend when late one night he got a mysterious phone call, changed from his pajamas into street clothes and left, saying he’d be back later. He never returned.
Also Texas: They’re still looking for Andrea Leigh Cotten, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Corsicana in 2004. She left her cousin’s house in the night and never returned. She disappeared the day before she was supposed to visit her child, who was in foster care, and her family doesn’t think she would have missed that on purpose. Since she went missing there’s been no activity on her Social Security number, which is ominous.
Canada: The four-month-old disappearance of 30-year-old Megan Michelle Gallagher from Saskatoon is now being investigated as a homicide.
England: The brother of Suzy Lamplugh, a 35-year-old woman who disappeared from London in 1986, has issued an appeal for answers in her case.
Legislation passed to deal with the migrants who die trying to cross the border, and other stories
In Arizona: the death toll of migrants crossing the U.S./Mexican border through the Arizona desert reached 227 last year. This is a 58% increase from 2019.
In Florida: they’re still looking for Christine Muriel Flahive, a 42-year-old woman who disappeared from Punta Gorda on January 5, 1995. Per the article, the primary suspect is Jonathan Payne (who is also named in Christine’s Charley Project casefile) and unfortunately he’s been dead for a decade.
In Illinois: the police are trying to find Victoria Puzinas, who disappeared from the Albany Park area of Chicago on November 25, 2019. She was 54 years old at the time, suffers from mental illness and was homeless.
In Massachusetts: they’re still looking for 59-year-old Abbie Flynn, who disappeared from Gloucester on February 2, 2020. She had a party planned at her house, and a few hours beforehand she went out for a walk and never returned.
In Kentucky: the police have located Kenneth Davis Jr., who had been missing from Harlan County since October. He is alive.
In Ohio: the police are still looking for David Alan Tackett, who was last seen in Miami Township on September 8. He was 56 years old at the time, and it’s notable how skinny he was: 5’7 and somewhere between 100 and 125 pounds.
In Oregon: they’re still trying to identify a Jane Doe whose body was found in Polk, County, Oregon in September 1996.
In Tennessee: the Holly Bobo Act, which increases the age limit from 18 to 21 for endangered or missing adult alerts, is now in effect. From now on, missing people age 18 through 20 will be classified with the children.
In West Virginia: they’re still looking for John Jesse Wiley, a 41-year-old man who disappeared from Morgan County sometime in 2018. He wasn’t reported missing till last April.
In the border region: an article about the Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act, bipartisan legislation that “opens up funding for the network of state and local governments, humanitarian organizations, forensics labs and medical offices that respond to migrant deaths on a day-to-day basis.” This should lead to a lot of unidentified migrants getting their names back.
In Europe: two children who were kidnapped from the Netherlands by their mom in 2014 have been found safe in Innsbruck, Austria. Their searching father is delighted.
Article Dump III
The Washington Post has done a three-part feature, called Indifferent Justice, on the serial killer Samuel Little. He is confirmed to have had over fifty victims, including former Charley Project missing person Mary Gertrude Brosley, and claims he’s killed as many as ninety-three. Part One: The Perfect Victim. Part Two: Through the Cracks. Part Three: Still Unsolved.
Discover Magazine has done this article that isn’t about missing persons may be of interest to y’all: What Explains the Decline of Serial Killers? Me, I have noticed a rise in mass murders in the past few decades and wonder if perhaps some of the people who might have been serial killers have decided to become mass murderers instead. Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2014, comes to mind as the sort of person who could have turned into a serial killer if he hadn’t taken the mass murder route instead.
Dateline is now honoring seven years of doing their Missing in America thing. 156 of the people featured on Missing in America are still missing.
From California: Woman Missing Out of Arcata since January; Mother and Law Enforcement Seek Information. The woman is named Jennifer Lynn Dulin and was last seen January 10.
Also from California: Missing Pico Rivera Woman Carolina Martinez Found After 5 Months. She was found alive (I think), but no other info is available.
From Colorado: Glenwood Springs teen Daniela Trejo-Noyola reported missing since September. She is 16 and was last seen on September 8. She will be 17 soon.
From Florida: Brevard County deputies search for missing woman last seen more than 1 year ago. Tara Coppola was last seen in West Melbourne on September 12, 2019.
From Iowa: Person of interest in missing-girl case set for trial on unrelated charges. The missing girl in question is Breasia Terrell missing from Davenport since July 10. She was ten at the time and would be eleven now, if still alive.
From Missouri: Missouri woman desperate to find mother Echo Lloyd who has been missing since Mother’s Day. Echo has been missing since May.
From North Carolina: Fayetteville police looking for woman missing since September. Heather Nichole Holmes was last seen on September 28.
From Ohio: Youngstown police seek info on man they just found out has been missing since 1969. The man is named Frank Cerimele and he was 21 years old when he went missing.
From Pennsylvania: Family & Friends Of Missing 22-Year-Old Tonee Turner Hold Silent Walk. She disappeared from the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh on December 30, 2019.
From South Carolina: Human remains found in Murrells Inlet park in 2018 identified as missing man. The man, David Scott Woolslayer, is listed on the Charley Project; I’ll resolve his case.
From Tennessee: Retired homicide investigator taking on two missing persons cases out of Dunlap. Tiffany Diane Holbert, missing since June 13, 2018, and Matthew Tyler Henry, missing since April 15, 2018. Though they both disappeared from the same town just a few months apart, the cases aren’t believed to be related.
From Texas: 33-year-old veteran missing from Houston home since October, mother says. The man, Marshall Powell, was last seen on October 23.
Also from Texas: Crime Of The Week: Cold case missing person last seen in 1961. Eleven-year-old Scott Andreas “Andy” Sims was last seen in Wichita Falls on December 9, 1961 — that’s 59 years ago tomorrow.
From Wisconsin: MPD: Plea for help in search for woman missing since Oct. 2016. Jamie Lee Hoaglan was last seen in Milwaukee on October 20, 2016.
From Australia: Missing kids campaign: “We’re frozen in time”. About the 1968 disappearances of sixteen-year-old Maureen Braddy and seventeen-year-old Allan Whyte, who disappeared after going out together to a dance at the YMCA in Bendigo, Victoria.
Also from Australia: Human remains found in bushland believed be missing NSW woman. Allecha Boyd has been missing from Coolamon, New South Wales since August 10, 2017; they found remains in the woods near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and think they’re hers.
From Canada: Remains found in 2009 identified as missing Penticton man. James “Jim” Neufeld disappeared from Penticton, British Columbia in January 2009. His remains were pulled from the Salish Sea about half a mile north of Orcas Island off the Washington coast a few months later, but not identified till now.
From Ireland: Ireland’s missing people: 823 cases remain ‘open’ with the Garda.
From Mexico: The Search for the Disappeared Points to Mexico’s Darkest Secrets. Apparently as a result of the drug war, Mexico now has more missing persons than Guatemala, El Salvador and Argentina do.
From the UK: Fears of rise in Christmas missing people rates due to lockdown.
Also from the UK: Mum of missing Saltdean teen Owen Harding prepares for Christmas. Owen was sixteen when he went for a walk on March 26, three days into the UK’s national coronavirus lockdown, and never returned. This was in Saltdean, a coastal village in the city of Brighton and Hove, England.
MP of the week: Amber Cates
This week’s featured missing person is Amber Elizabeth Cates, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Maury County, Tennessee on April 11, 2004. She’d had a bit of a chaotic life and had spent time in foster care, and was living with her older half-sister at the time of her disappearance.
She disappeared after going out with a male friend, who said he left her with another friend, who said he dropped her off and never saw her again.
Initially she was thought to be a runaway due to her age and background, but she’s been missing now for as long as she was alive beforehand, with nothing on her driving record, Social Security number, anything. It doesn’t look good.
Added my fourteen-thousandth case today
Today the number of Charley Project cases (both active and in the resolved section) went up over 14,000. The “lucky” case number 14,000 is Taquila Sherell Hayes, a nurse who disappeared sometime after clocking out of work at a Memphis, Tennessee hospital a year ago today. She was 41 years old.
Taquila’s disappearance wasn’t reported missing until August because her husband Carl did various things to make it look like she was still alive and well. She was a responsible person, though, and kept in regular touch with her loved ones. Pretty soon people began to sense that there was something wrong. Finally her family, who had grown increasingly suspicious, notified the cops, and Carl’s story quickly fell apart.
He’s been charged with his wife’s murder, but her body has never been located and it’s not clear what happened. I’m guessing forensic evidence will come up at the trial; Carl replaced the carpeting in three rooms in the house and in Taquila’s car, and also repainted the house.
A bad photo is better than none at all (and other thoughts on recent updates)
Just added Amanda Elise Southern to Charley. The 28-year-old woman disappeared from a nightclub in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana 26 years ago. Unfortunately the only photo I could find of her is absolutely terrible, but what can you do?
Reading the articles about how her ex tried to SELL THEIR KIDS (albeit to their grandparents) after her disappearance, I was struck by how much confidentiality and privacy norms have changed in the past few decades.
I can understand publicizing the kids’ information because for awhile they were missing. (When Amanda’s parents refused to pay for custody of the children, the dad took off with them and was on the lam for over a month.) But then when in the articles talking about how they were found, there was all sorts of information about the children and what they had been through, including the fact that they were believed to have been sexually abused. That kind of thing would not be published in the newspaper today.
I hope the kids are all right. I think Amanda’s parents got custody of them after they were found with their father. It seems super unlikely that she would have just walked away, what with one of the kids having disabilities, her parents living out of state and the children’s father overseas.
Some other random thinking-out-loud stuff:
- I am not sure that Courtney Corrinna Holden is really white. She is pretty dark-skinned and looks more likely to be Hispanic or maybe Native American. Certainly I’ve seen mistakes in this area before. She is adopted, but one article mentions that she was in touch with her biological brother, so it seems like this is something the police should know for sure. Shrug.
In any case, her story is incredibly sad. Especially the details about her family nickname “Cinderella” and her son calling his grandmother “mom” and his uncle “dad.” The articles I read said her son even did this before Courtney went missing. I cannot imagine how sad and scared and trapped Courtney must have felt, and I doubt she’s alive today.
- The guy Melissa Ann Jordon was last seen with is SERIOUSLY bad news. Judges see a lot of crazy stuff and I was stuck by that judge saying Mr. Nesbitt was one of the most violent and dangerous criminals she’d ever encountered in her career. The “felon in possession of a firearm” thing was something he pled down to, by the way; the original incident involved him breaking into his ex-wife’s house and holding her at gunpoint.
Given how long his sentence is, I wonder if the authorities have ever tried to sit down with him since he was imprisoned, pointed out he doesn’t have much to lose, and asked him to tell what happened to Melissa. I’m sure he knows.
(Melissa’s NamUs photo, btw, is a high school yearbook photo and almost ten years out of date. That’s why I didn’t use it, as I found a more current pic in Newspapers.)
- I dunno what I would do without Facebook as a source for recent cases. Okay, I do know what I’d do, I’d put up the cases, but there would be a lot less info. The case of Melissa Rose Ann Garrett is a great example; her daughter posted a bunch of photos of her and more info about her disappearance. Sad story. The daughter seems to suspect Melissa’s boyfriend may have been involved. Anne Marie Hubbert is another case where most of the pictures and some of the other info came from Facebook; Anne’s page and her daughter’s.
- Shakeeta Young disappeared just a few months after her nineteen-year-old son died. I found a few “RIP” posts on Facebook from some of the young man’s friends but no mention of a cause of death. I wonder if Shakeeta’s disappearance is in some way related. It’s very sad for their family, just bad luck all around there.
MP of the week: Alice Mae Sullivan
This week’s featured missing person is Alice Mae Sullivan (I’ve also seen it as Alicia), a twenty-year-old African-American woman who disappeared from Nashville, Tennessee on August 28, 1986. She was a sophomore business major at Tennessee State University and lived with her boyfriend and three-year-old son. She was last seen at a friend’s dorm room on the TSU campus.
Alice’s boyfriend is a person of interest in her case; I don’t know if it’s just by virtue of him being her boyfriend, or if there were some other indications. Another person of interest is the maintenance man at their apartment complex, who had a friendly relationship with Alice and was later convicted of rape and murder.
In the unlikely event she’s still alive, Alice would be 53 years old today.