Emily Lu found deceased

Earlier I had written about my college friend whose mom, Emily Lu, was missing. Well, after 50 days, Emily was found murdered in the woods less than two miles from her home. She rented out rooms in her house, and one of her tenants, Brian George Sayrs Jr., led police to the body. The cops are calling it a “brutal, vicious murder”, one which apparently occurred in her home.

No motive has been given, but my friend says her mom was having “issues” with Sayrs. Perhaps he owed her rent or something and they got into an argument. But no matter what happened there is no excuse for slaughtering an old lady.

I feel so bad for my friend and the rest of Emily’s family and friends. But I’m glad she was finally found and I won’t have to list her on the Charley Project.

EastPark John Doe, missing persons events, and other stories

Colorado: There will be two events to honor the May 10, 2020 disappearance of Suzanne Morphew from Chaffee County. (I haven’t added her yet cause it hasn’t yet been a year.) The first will be held at the Poncha Springs Visitor Center at 7010 U.S. Highway 285 in Poncha Springs, Colorado at 7:00 p.m. on April 30. This day would be/have been Suzanne’s fiftieth birthday. The second event is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on May 2, at the Community Garden at 202 East Church Street in Alexandria, Indiana; Suzanne grew up there and many family and friends still live there. I might attend that event as it’s only an hour and ten minutes from where I live.

Kentucky: In EastPark, on the edge of Boyd County, last July, hunters found the badly decomposed remains of a murdered man partially buried. He had been dead for between approximately two weeks and a month. The man was wearing only boxer shorts and there were no personal effects. The man was between 20 and 40 years old and about 5’8 and 140 to 160 pounds, with brown hair between earlobe length and shoulder length. He had been shot, but also had drugs in his system when he died. The place where he was buried, although somewhat secluded, had easy access to the interstate; the dead man “literally could have come from anywhere.” The man has yet to be identified.

Also in Kentucky: Skeletal remains found in Hardyville in February 2020 have been identified as Jacob Lewis Tipton, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Berea on April 23, 2016. Unfortunately there wasn’t much left of him and they couldn’t establish a cause of death.

Also in Kentucky: They’re still looking for Andrea Michelle Knabel, a 37-year-old woman who disappeared from Louisville on August 13, 2019. A retired homicide detective has taken an interest in the case and believes he’s found a three-hour discrepancy in the timeline of the night of Andrea’s disappearance.

Mississippi: They’re still trying to identify a Jane Doe who were found under a bridge over the Pearl River in Rankin County in 1978. She was nude and wrapped in an old blanket. She had died of multiple blows to the head and may have been killed by serial killer Samuel Little, who died late last year. They’re looking into the possibility that the Jane Doe may be Wendy Susan Byron, a 24-year-old woman who disappeared from Glendora, California just two days before Jane Doe was found in Mississippi.

New York: They’re still looking for Flossie A. Wilbur, a 75-year-old woman who disappeared from Angelica on August 24, 1985. David Sherk, one of her then-neighbors, confessed to her murder in 2020 and told authorities he had buried her body near the Almond Dam, but the body has never been found. Doesn’t mean the man was lying; the dam has flooded multiple times since 1985. Sherk had terminal brain cancer when he made his confession and I’m not sure he’s still alive now, but he was never charged.

South Dakota: In Rapid City, groups and leaders both from town and from Native American reservations across the state united yesterday to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous people. Here are some photos of the event.

Virginia: It’s been ten years now since Robert Lee Hourihan disappeared, leaving behind a wife and six-year-old daughter her adored. Foul play is suspected in his case. His wife has never remarried and still hopes every day that he will be found.

Also Virginia: Human remains found in the woods on the campus of Hollins University back in February have been identified as Jessica Darling Dickson, a 30-year-old woman who disappeared from Roanoke on June 1, 2019. Jessica’s death is under investigation, but the police said there doesn’t seem to be any connection to the university and they don’t think the students (it’s a women’s college) are in danger.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada: There’s an interesting article/podcast episode on the systemic failures of Toronto Police and missing persons cases.

New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada: They’re still looking for Debbie Hutchinson, 59-year-old woman who disappeared on April 15, 2017 and wasn’t reported missing for twelve days. Her niece found groceries lying on the floor of Debbie’s home, and her car later turned up abandoned and burned.

MP of the week: Sarah Murray

This week’s featured missing person is Sarah Lee Murray, a 14-year-old girl who disappeared from Kenbridge, Virginia on February 18, 1997. She had been living with a relative at the time of her disappearance; her mother had died a year and a half earlier. The police, at the time, thought Sarah had run away, and perhaps she did. But it’s been over 20 years, almost 25, and that’s a long time for someone to be under the radar. There is little evidence to support any theory.

If still alive, Sarah (also known as Susana) would be 38 years old today.

Tiktok girl, searching through ponds and other stories

Honestly… it’s been ten days and it’s still very hard for me to take my mind off of the situation or to get much of anything done. I really wish I would not live through any more major historical events; I think I’ve endured more than my share already. But I’m trying, guys. I really am.

Oh, and an update on my Facebook woes: my release date from Facebook Jail has been moved from early February to late January. 6:26 a.m. on January 23 to be precise. I have no idea why and I’m not sure Facebook will honor this release date, since they didn’t last time.

Arizona: They’re still looking for Elizabeth Emma Breck, a 46-year-old teacher who disappeared from the Sierra Tucson behavioral health center in Saddlebrooke in January 2019. She had just arrived a few days earlier for a thirty-day treatment program for PTSD. Nothing significant to report regarding her disappearance, just that the anniversary was this week.

Arkansas: There has been much talk over the last couple of days that a dark-haired girl with bruised eyes in a viral Tiktok video was Cassie Kay Compton, who disappeared from Stuttgart in 2014, at age 15. The FBI says they’ve identified and spoken to the Tiktok girl and it’s not Cassie. They haven’t released her name, but she has been identified elsewhere as Haley Grace Phillips, a Los Angeles woman.

California: They’re looking to see if David Emery Misch, the man recently charged in the 1988 murder of nine-year-old Michaela Joy Garecht, who was kidnapped from a Hayward supermarket and never found, was also responsible for the disappearance of thirteen-year-old Ilene Beth Misheloff from Dublin in 1989.

Connecticut: They’re released an age-progressed image of Vanessa Morales, a two-year-old girl who was last seen in from Ansonia on November 29, 2019. The cops found Vanessa’s mother murdered at home on December 2, with no sign of Vanessa. I’ll add her to Charley soon.

Florida: They’re still looking for Mary Opitz, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Fort Myers back in 1981. They’re also still trying to solve the murder of Mary Hare, whose abduction and killing may have had the same perpetrator as in Opitz’s case.

Illinois: They’re still looking for Steven Robert Asplund, a 32-year-old tool and die worker who disappeared from Moline on January 9, 1994. The 27th anniversary of his disappearance was a week ago but there’s nothing new to report.

Iowa: They’ve finally canceled the Amber Alert for Breasia Terrell, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared from Davenport in July. She is still missing.

Michigan: Brad Cournaya, the longtime suspect in 34-year-old Krista Robin Lueth‘s 2008 disappearance from Lansing, has been charged with her murder. Her body has never been found.

Mississippi: They’re still trying to identify a little boy whose skull was found in a drainage canal in Sharkey County in 2014. No other remains were located. He was estimated to be between 5 and 7 at the time of his death, which may have occurred up to several years before he found. Preliminary DNA results indicate the boy was black, and probably has relatives from Sharkey County and the surrounding area.

Kansas: Some divers from an Oregon-based organization searched two ponds in Leavenworth County for Randy Wayne Leach and his mom’s car, which have both been missing since 1988. They didn’t find them.

Maryland: They’re still looking for Andre Thompson, a sixteen-year-old who disappeared from Baltimore on June 23. He may be in the Glen Burnie area.

Michigan: They have located fifteen-year-old Gloria Alvarado, who was missing from Taylor for 75 days. She is alive and well, and had run away with a seventeen-year-old boy because her parents would not allow her to date. She has returned home.

New York: They’re still looking for Joseph David Helt, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Ellenville on January 17, 1987, thirty-four years ago tomorrow.

Nevada: They’re still looking for Cassandra Ayon, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Loyal back in October. In particular, the police are asking for public help for info on a red or maroon SUV that may have been on one of the residential side streets near Unity Trailer Court, which is where Cassandra was last seen.

North Carolina: They’re still looking for Ebonee Shanetta Spears, a 30-year-old woman who disappeared five years and one day ago. Nothing new has been reported though.

Also North Carolina: In Winston-Salem, they’re still looking for two missing adults: Lucinda Farris, who disappeared from in June, and Eliseo Ernesto Gomez-Martinez, who disappeared in November. There’s no indication the two cases are related.

Oregon: They’re still trying to identify a child whose body was found near a rest area in Lincoln County on December 10. The little girl had dark brown or black hair and was between six and a half and ten years of age at the time of her death, which occurred at least a month before she was found. Cops have ruled out several possibilities for the girl, including five-year-old Dulce Maria Alvarez, who was abducted from a New Jersey playground in September 2019.

Virginia: The police have reclassified the 2010 disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke from a missing person to a kidnap/homicide. They have not said whether they have any current suspects in the case, but Randy Allen Taylor, who was found guilty of murder-without-a-body in the 2013 disappearance of seventeen-year-old Alexis Tiara Murphy, has been mentioned before.

Wisconsin: They’re still looking for Daajane Morgan, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Milwaukee on March 6.

Canada: They’re still looking for Alyssa Turnbull, a young woman who disappeared from Nipigon, Ontario in late March 2020.

Also Canada: Six patients went missing from the now-defunct North Bay Psychiatric Hospital in Toronto, Ontario between 1966 and 2010. They have never been found.

England: They’re still looking for Andrew Gosden, a fourteen-year-old schoolboy who disappeared from London in 2007. Andrew Gosden and another English missing person, Charles Horvath Allen, have both been featured recently on the podcast The Missing.

Trinidad: They’re still looking for Kelly Ann Seerattan, a 25-year-old kindergarten music teacher who disappeared from Princes Town in 2011. The article has some quotes from Kelly’s mom.

Twelve-year-old missing for four months is classified as a runaway, and other stories

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Mine was pretty good. Very quiet of course, cause of covid.

In California: the body of Barbara Thomas, a 69-year-old woman who disappeared hiking in the Mojave Desert in 2019, has been found in the desert near Essex.

In Louisiana: they’re still looking for David Claude Yeager, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Shreveport in 1971, and there’s little indication as to what happened to him. His cousin has created a Facebook page for him.

In Missouri: they’re still looking for Cheryl Anne Scherer, a 19-year-old girl who disappeared from Scott City in 1979. The article doesn’t have a lot in terms of information, just focuses on her family’s pain and grief.

In New York: they’re still looking for Jaylen Griffin, a 12-year-old boy who disappeared under unclear circumstances from Buffalo in August. The police have this preteen listed as a runaway.

In Ohio: they’re still looking for Mary Jane Vangilder, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared from Willard in 1945. They’re going to check some Jane Does and see if any of them are her.

In Pennsylvania: Justo Smoker, who had previously been charged with Linda Stoltzfoos’s kidnapping, has been charged with her murder as well. Linda, an 18-year-old Amish girl, disappeared while walking home from church in Lancaster County back in June. She has never been found. Smoker was arrested on the kidnapping charges in July.

In Texas: they’re still looking for Patty Inez Brightwell Vaughan, a 32-year-old woman who disappeared from La Vernia on Christmas Day, 1996. She went missing after an argument with her estranged husband, who is the prime suspect in her case, but he has never been charged.

In Virginia: they’re still looking for two people missing from the Richmond area: Stephanie Collette Wallace, a 45-year-old woman who went missing from Richmond in 2005, and Robert Lee Hourihan, a 33-year-old man who disappeared from Palmyra in 2011. They also are hoping to identify a white or Hispanic man whose skeletal remains were found near a vacant apartment in Highland Springs in 2014.

In Australia: they’re still looking for Russell Hill and Carol Clay, who disappeared while on a camping trip in the Wonnangatta Valley in eastern Victoria back in May. They are believed to have been murdered.

In Canada: they’re still looking for Melanie Ethier, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house in her small Ontario town in 1996. Melanie’s birthday is on Christmas Day.

“An Uncertain Future for a Key Missing Persons Program” and other stories

Another article dump (I’ve decided to make a regular thing of this, even after I’m out of Facebook Jail):

This article about the near-defunding of NamUs. Key highlight: “Meanwhile, according to a statement from NIJ, the program could be facing staffing and service cuts, at least in the short-term — and it remains unclear what exactly the longer-term future of NamUs may be.”

From Alaska: four Native people disappeared this fall after visiting the city of Fairbanks, and they are all still missing. Their names are Willis Derendorf, Frank Minano, Debbie Nictune and Doren Sanford. Police don’t think the cases are related.

From Florida: Ashley Lucas disappeared in September, a few months after traveling from her home in Texas to the Florida Panhandle for work. She was hospitalized and has not been seen since her release at the end of the month.

From Massachusetts: it’s coming up on the sixth anniversary of the disappearance of Sabrina Lee Hatheway from Worcester.

From Mississippi: they’ve installed Crime Stoppers kiosks in Walmarts in Biloxi, Gulfport and Pascagoula to help find missing people from the area.

From Nevada: A body found in 2004 has been identified as Aldo Araiza, who disappeared in 2000 at the age of 20.

From North Carolina: the police are still looking for two people missing from Shelby: Kenneth Jamison, missing since 2017, and Walter Vernon McCraw, missing since 2018.

From Ohio: Brian Rini, who surfaced in Cincinnati in April 2019 and falsely claimed he was Timmothy James Pitzen, who disappeared from Wisconsin in 2011, has been sentenced to two years in prison for identity theft as a result. But because he gets credit for 20 months of time served, he’ll be out in four months. A year of probation follows his release.

Also from Ohio: the police are still looking for Jeffrey Hayes Pottinger, who disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2009 from Warren County.

From Texas: the police are still looking for Orville Seaton, who disappeared from Navasota two days before Christmas in 1997. He was 71 at the time and would be 94 today.

From Virginia: Ronald Roldan, recently charged with the kidnapping of Bethany Anne Decker, has now been charged with her murder as well. Bethany has been missing since 2011.

From Wyoming: Angela Laderlich disappeared from Casper on September 25 and is still missing.

From England: they found some human bones in Solihull, which were thought to possibly be those of thirteen-year-old David Spencer and eleven-year-old Patrick Warren, who disappeared the day after Christmas in 1996. However, it turns out the bones are over a century old.

From Nigeria: in an all-too-familiar story, the terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 330 boys from a government-run boarding school in Kankara.

From Pakistan: despite promises to end the practice, security forces are still regularly abducting, torturing and murdering people. Thousands of victims are still missing.

From Scotland: A review of missing people from Glasgow.

MP of the week: Miller Harlow

This week’s featured missing person (which I forgot to add yesterday, sorry) is Miller Smith Harlow, a 62-year-old man who disappeared from Gordonsville, Virginia on August 28, 1991. He was last seen standing in front of a funeral home in town, possibly on his way to a local restaurant where his cousin was supposed to pick him up.

He was retired, lived alone, had never driven a car and would get around on foot, on his bike or by getting rides from people. He had very regular habits and because of this the police thinks something bad happened to him.

If still alive he’d now be in his nineties.

MP of the week: Sarah Hill

This week’s featured missing person is Sarah Ashley Hill, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared from Stuart, Virginia on June 6, 2018. After her disappearance, her car was found abandoned in a store parking lot. She had some substance abuse issues and lived a somewhat transient life.

There was actually an article published about Sarah’s case the other day but it didn’t have much in the way of new info, just that they did another search in late July. If still alive she’d be 35 today.

I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly sheepish I feel right now

So forget everything I said a little bit ago. Turns out the “device for detecting DNA in soil” is a lot of hooey.

Had it NOT been a lot of hooey, it WOULD have been a game-changer, and I’m afraid I got so excited about the possibility that I didn’t actually bother to investigate what this thing consisted of.

This is me right now:

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Gina Hall’s sister clearly believes in it, and posted a comment (at the bottom of this page that I linked to before) defending Dr. Vass and saying he found Gina. But now I wonder if that scrap of bone that they found and said was Gina’s was ever actually scientifically confirmed to be hers. Based on what I’ve read about this device, it probably was not.

And I’d already resolved her case and everything.

I cannot emphasize how much of a game-changer this is

So, I found out today that Dr. Arpad Vass, a forensic archaeologist I’d heard of, has invented a nifty little widget that detects buried human DNA.

I have no idea how much it works, but it’s already proven its effectiveness: they found Gina Renee Hall‘s DNA in EIGHT PLACES along a river valley FORTY YEARS after her disappearance, as well as a piece of Gina’s bone (making her Charley Project case resolvable, which I have done), as well as DNA from someone else entirely: Angela Mae Rader, a girl who disappeared with her friend Tammy Lynn Akers in 1977. The girls (who were fourteen at the time) have been missing even longer than Gina.

Rather than thinking this means the guy who killed Gina (whose identity is known; he’s Stephen Epperly and he’s serving life in prison for her murder) must have also killed Angela, I think it’s more likely that both girls’ bodies coincidentally ended up somewhere in the same river valley and probably the same body of water. (DNA from Tammy was not found, but it seems likely that she’s somewhere in the same river valley.)

I haven’t resolved Angela’s case, since they only found DNA, not an actual body or even a piece of bone like with Gina. But I’m hopeful that her and Tammy’s cases can still be resolved, even after 43 years.

Dr. Vass’s invention could wind up leading to answers in a LOT of missing persons cases. This is really exciting.