Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Disappearances & Deaths of Sitlalli Avelar & Kamryn Meyers


On the evening of January 21st, 2023, authorities in Mesa, Arizona received a call about an unusual object floating in a water retention basin near Southern Avenue and Superstition Springs Boulevard. A man walking his dog near the basin had spotted what he thought was a mannequin in the water. When police arrived, they determined that the man had actually spotted the body of a young female. While investigating the scene, police found the body of another young female just 10 feet away. 

Days later, the bodies were identified as Sitlalli Avelar (17) and Kamryn Meyers (15) - two teens who had vanished earlier that month. Sitlalli and Kamryn were both staying at a group home in Mesa run by Powerhouse Youth Facility Inc. They reportedly ran away from the facility together on January 7th, 2023. The group home's staff members reported Sitlalli and Kamryn missing that same day.

According to reports, both Sitlalli and Kamryn had a history of running away. The staff at their group home heard that the two girls had been hatching a plan to leave, and procedures were followed to encourage them to stay. Arizona law prohibits state-licensed group homes from forcing children to remain there, so the staff members were limited in what they could do to prevent Sitlalli and Kamryn from leaving.

When it was discovered that the girls had followed through on their plan to run away, the staff members immediately followed the proper protocols with both police and the Department of Child Services. Hope was held out that Sitlalli and Kamryn would resurface, but nobody had seen or heard from either of them since they left the group home. One of Kamryn's friends reported that she had been inactive in their group chat, which was unusual. Both girls had also been inactive on social media. 

The girls' whereabouts remained unknown for 14 days until their bodies were found on January 21st. The medical examiner's office is still investigating their exact causes of death - and police suspect that foul play was involved. The investigation is ongoing, and updates will be provided if/when they become available.

If you have any information that could help solve the case, please contact Mesa police at 480-644-2211.

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Sources:
ABC 15
Oxygen
People
WAFB 9

The Disappearance of Ryan Larsen

 


Ryan Larsen has been missing since May 17th, 2021. The 12-year-old was last seen at La Vista West Elementary School in La Vista, Nebraska. Ryan walked off the school's campus between 11:55 AM and 12:05 PM. He never returned to the school or to his home, and he has not been seen or heard from since that day.

This was not the first time that Ryan ran from the school. He has autism and a history of running off—particularly while frustrated. In fact, reports state that local police were called numerous times about Ryan running out of the school unsupervised. Due to his history of running off, police referred to Ryan as "the king of hide and seek." Police were able to successfully locate Ryan during these previous incidents, but this time around, they have been unable to find him. 

On the day he vanished, Ryan had become frustrated with a math problem. He went to another room to calm down by himself. A staff member from the school was supposed to be in the room with Ryan, but he was left unsupervised for a ten-minute time period—during which he was able to leave the building. The school called 911 approximately 25 minutes later, and a search for Ryan began very shortly thereafter.

Throughout the investigation, it was revealed that a neighbor saw Ryan around 1:30 PM at the Southfield Apartment complex on 84th and Harrison. He was holding an umbrella outside of the apartment building. Ryan lived at an apartment in the complex with his mother and sister, but he did not have a key to the apartment at the time. His mother and sister were not home at the time, and their door was locked, so he would not have been able to enter the apartment. The umbrella Ryan was seen holding was found over six weeks later, behind a dumpster at the complex.

Before Ryan went missing, he reportedly made online searches about how to hide from police. Given his history of running away, these searches may not seem surprising; however, he has never been gone for this long. Police have not ruled out a criminal aspect in Ryan's disappearance. On the one-year anniversary of Ryan's disappearance, La Vista police Chief Bob Lausten told reporters, "We've had people that haven't been totally forthcoming with us regarding information. We've had people that have lied to us about information, so it's been frustrating." While Lausten did not further elaborate on these people, he suggested that someone possibly was not speaking up out of fear of getting in trouble.

Ryan's case remains open. If you have any information that could lead to his whereabouts, please contact the La Vista PD at 402-331-1582.
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UPDATE (January 2023): Ryan's mother Tammi Larsen has filed a petition to have Ryan legally declared dead. The law in Nebraska states that "a person who is absent for a continuous period of five years is presumed to be dead." However, a missing person can be declared deceased prior to that five-year period if enough evidence is provided that the person is no longer alive. 

The court documents state that Tammi intends to sue the Papillion La Vista school district for her son's wrongful death, but a death certificate is required in order to do so. The documents also state that La Vista police told Tammi that Ryan's case was no longer active in their department; the Omaha Cold Case Unit was handling it instead. La Vista police Chief Bob Lausten has denied these claims but did confirm that several agencies are investigating Ryan' disappearance.

Tammi's filing is currently pending, and Ryan's case remains unsolved. Anyone with information that could lead to his whereabouts is encouraged to contact authorities.

Sources:
Charley Project
KETV Omaha
WLWT
WOWT, 2


Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Disappearance of Mato Dow

image source: cbsnews.com

Mato Dow has been missing since October 2017. The then-26-year-old disappeared from Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Mato was last seen during the early morning hours of October 13th before he seemingly vanished into thin air. 

Very little is known about the circumstances surrounding Mato's disappearance. What is known is that Mato was at his sister's apartment in the 100 block of S Minnesota Street shortly before he vanished. He reportedly left the apartment at some point after midnight on the day of his disappearance and has never been seen or heard from again.

Authorities began appealing to the public for information about Mato's whereabouts very shortly after he was reported missing. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released an image of Mato that was captured by a local gas station's surveillance camera before his disappearance. The image shows him in the outfit he was wearing when he vanished: a gray sweatshirt, gray long shorts and dark colored shoes.

(image source: cbsnews.com)

Since then, authorities have remained quiet about the status of the investigation. There have been very few updates over the years. Mato's loved ones still actively post on a 'Help Find Mato Dow' Facebook page, and they remain dedicated to solving his case.

Law enforcement from both Redwood Falls and the Lower Sioux community are investigating Mato's case. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact Redwood Falls authorities at 507-637-4036 or Lower Sioux authorities at 507-697-8680.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The Disappearance and Death of Cheyann Klus

Image result for cheyann klus

Cheyann Klus vanished at the age of 22 on December 1st, 2017. Around the time of her disappearance, Cheyann was going through a rough time in her life. Her mother had passed away a month earlier, and according to her friends, Cheyann was very depressed after her mother’s death. However, she had recently started seeing a 38-year-old man named Brian Biddle who appeared to be helping her through her grief. Much like Cheyann, Brian liked to party—despite the fact that he was over 15 years older than her. 

A few days before her disappearance, Brian sent an Uber to pick Cheyann up and bring her to his home in Chicago. The two apparently partied together all day and all night. During that time, Cheyann was texting back and forth with her friend Chad Chanapai, who said that Cheyann seemed to be her normal, happy self. About a day and a half later, things changed. Chad started receiving a flurry of texts from Cheyann around 2am asking to be picked up. When he tried to call Cheyann back about 20 minutes later, she wasn’t responding. Chad then got in touch with Brian, who told him that he had been asleep for 18 hours and when he woke up, Cheyann was gone.

After days passed without any sign of Cheyann, her family knew something was wrong. Cheyann hadn’t updated any of her social media accounts, which was quite uncharacteristic of her. It was also unusual for her to be out of touch with her family and friends. Then, 12 days after Cheyann vanished, a phone call to 911 was made from her phone. The caller hung up before the operator could say anything. It is still unclear if Cheyann herself made the call, or if it was somebody else in possession of her phone. The call pinged off a tower near Mallard Lake Forest Preserve, located around 20 miles away from Cheyann and Brian’s respective homes. That area was searched, but it is unclear if anything significant was found.

Many people believe that Brian had something to do with Cheyann’s disappearance, since he was the last person known to have been with her. However, detectives working the case are currently not calling Brian a suspect. He has reportedly been cooperative, and they have not found any evidence that he knows what happened to her.

Meanwhile, Cheyann remains missing, and police are looking for leads. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office at (630) 407-2569.
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UPDATE (JANUARY 2023):

Authorities have confirmed that Cheyann's remains have been found and identified. Reports state that the FBI worked with the sheriff's offices in both DuPage and Cook County to identify Cheyann via dental records.

It's unclear when, where, and how Cheyann was found, and the investigation into her death is still ongoing. Updates will be provided if/when they are available.

Rest in peace, Cheyann.

The Disappearance and Murder of Cion Carroll

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Cion Carroll was due for a fresh start during the fall of 2022. The 17-year-old had recently moved to Kenbridge, Virginia, to live with his grandparents. Cion is originally from Richmond, but his mother opted to relocate him to Kenbridge in hopes that he could escape from the violent neighborhoods in his hometown. This arrangement appeared to be going well for Cion at first. He got a job at a local Popeyes, which he enjoyed, and he also was enrolled as a senior at a local high school. Due to all of this, Cion's family members were both shocked and baffled when he vanished on the evening of November 2nd, 2022. 

According to reports, Cion left his grandparent's home around 10:00 PM on November 2nd and never returned. His grandmother reported him missing the following day. Police reportedly treated Cion's case as a runaway, despite the fact that he did not take his medications or other personal items with him when he left the house. Cion's family members immediately knew his disappearance was out of character, and they never believed he left on his own accord. 

Frustrated with the local police's lack of effort, Cion's loved ones decided to take matters into their own hands. They used a location-based app to track the last known location of Cion's cell phone. Their results indicated that Cion's phone pinged at a local sex offender's house before it either died or was shut off. Police reportedly did not question said offender until after Cion's family brought this information to their attention. Even then, the police stated that they did not have enough evidence to search the residence. 

On November 12th, 2022, Cion's family was notified that his body had been found in a shallow grave in a wooded area of Lunenberg County. An autopsy confirmed that he had been shot and dismembered. It quickly became apparent that Cion had been brutally murdered - but many questions still remain. Namely: who killed Cion, and why?

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Disappearance in a small town.

Kenbridge, Virginia. (image source)

Kenbridge, Virginia is a small town with a population of roughly 1,110 residents. Located approximately 60 miles from Richmond, Kenbridge was once known for being a thriving tobacco farming town. Cion Carroll moved to Kenbridge just a few months before his murder.

As previously mentioned, Cion vanished after leaving his grandparents' house on the evening of November 2nd, 2022. It is unknown where he was going, but he left his bike behind - indicating that he either left on foot or was picked up by an unknown party. Cion never returned home, which immediately raised red flags for his family. He left behind his earbuds, which was very unusual, and he also left behind his daily medication. 

After Cion was reported missing, his family members initially heard more theories from the local residents than they did from police. Neighbors and friends of Cion's grandparents listened in on local police scanners, but it appears that they did not hear any accurate information. In fact, at one point, a neighbor reportedly heard police say that they believed Cion had taken his own life. This was disproved just days later once Cion's body was found, and it is still unclear how police came to that theory.

The cell phone location.

As also previously stated, Cion's family members eventually decided to use a location-based app to track Cion's cell phone location. Their findings indicated that Cion's phone was last located at a local sex offender's home. 

Cion's family members decided to visit the man's house themselves to see if he would provide any information about Cion's whereabouts. Prior to this, police had not looked into this man. According to Cion's mother, the police showed up to question this man only after Cion's family had confronted him first. It appears that police still did not gain enough information to search this man's house. When Cion's family questioned this, they were reportedly told that the local police did not have the same "manpower" than that of a big city police department.

Cion's mother also said that the police tried to come up with other reasons that Cion's phone pinged at that location. Maybe it pinged as someone was making a U-turn in the driveway, or maybe someone tossed it in that location. Neither reason has been disproved, however they seem less likely, as Cion's phone was never recovered, nor did it ping at any other location after pinging at the sex offender's residence. 

The offender.

The sex offender's name has yet to be publicly revealed, but according to an article on Oxygen.com, the offender was "convicted in 2000 for committing aggravated sexual battery against a person under 13 years of age." This was inevitably worrisome to Cion's family members when they learned that Cion's phone had pinged at this man's residence, but police seemed less concerned.

Even more noteworthy, WTVR reported that this man's name was "scrubbed from the sex offender registry within days of Cion's body being found." This leads to questions about whether or not a cover-up is happening regarding this man and his potential involvement in Cion's case.

Finding Cion.

Cion's family members told reporters that they were contacted by Kenbridge Police Chief Ben Barnes on November 12th, 2022, in regard to a shallow grave that had been found. Barnes reportedly told the family that he had found “disturbed dirt” in a wooded area north of Kenbridge. Upon further investigation, the "disturbed dirt" turned out to be a shallow grave containing Cion's remains.

The remains were located on Seay Way - just a few miles away from the sex offender's home where Cion's cell phone last pinged. There are still questions about how, exactly, the remains were found. Cion's family said that Chief Barnes claimed to find the gravesite, but this has not been confirmed by the police department. Police also declined to reveal exactly how Cion died, but his family has shared that he was shot, dismembered, and lye was poured on his body. Many have questioned what would motivate someone to kill a teenager in such a violent way.

Questions for police.

There are many remaining questions about the investigation into Cion's disappearance and death. Cion's family members never believed he was a runaway, so it is unknown why police were so quick to label him as such. Cion's family feels that the authorities did not take the necessary measures when searching for him. 

It's also unknown if police just stumbled upon Cion's remains, or if a tipster led to them to his gravesite. If it was, in fact, a tipster, how did they know where to find Cion? Does this person have any other information about Cion's murder? Both Cion's family members and reporters alike have attempted to come into contact with police about this, but their calls have gone unanswered. 

In January of 2023, it was noted that Chief Barnes resigned from his position. At just 26-years-old, it's not known why Barnes decided to resign at this point in his career. Many have speculated that he resigned due to Cion's case, but this has not been confirmed. 

Many have questioned if Cion's case is part of a larger issue of police corruption in the small town of Kenbridge. The police have remained tight-lipped amongst many unusual occurrences, including the sex offender's name being scrubbed from the registry. If the truth about Cion's case is being covered up, there are potentially other cases that are being covered up as well. 

Theories.

The most prominent theory in Cion's case is that the sex offender is responsible for his murder. Some theorize the sex offender alone is guilty, while others theorize that the police are somehow involved in covering it up as well.

Another report states that Cion was suspected of being involved in a shooting in Henrico County prior to his move to Kenbridge. It is not known if this plays a role in his death, but it is certainly plausible. 

Where the case stands.

As of today, Cion Carroll's murder remains unsolved. His family members have vowed to continue to fight for justice. 

The Virginia State Police are now in charge of the investigation. If you have any information that could help solve Cion's murder, please contact authorities at 1-434-352-3478.

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Sources:
Oxygen
WRIC Richmond
WTVR

Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Murder of Katelyn Slivenski

 

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Katelyn Slivenski was only 24 years-old when she was tragically killed in June 2020. The young mother-of-two was living in Knoxville, Tennessee at the time of her death. Katelyn was shot and killed close to her home in the Western Heights neighborhood. 

Police were called around 7:00 AM on the morning of June 30th about an unresponsive female in the 1200 block of Better Tomorrow Drive. When first responders arrived, they discovered that the young woman, later identified as Katelyn, had been shot. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

Very few updates have been given about the investigation into Katelyn's death. In 2021, Katelyn's older sister Jessica Slivenski told reporters that several people had told her a similar story about the events leading up to the shooting. Jessica said that she heard Katelyn was out looking for help because she had lost power at her house and wanted to charge her phone. According to the report, Jessica was told "someone was going to let her sister charge her phone, but then a couple called her sister’s name, she went over to them and was never seen again." This is believed to be the last known sighting of Katelyn alive.

It's unclear if investigators have identified any of the people that Katelyn may have interacted with prior to her murder. Investigators have also yet to comment on what they believe might be a motive for the killing. Jessica believes that drugs might have played a role in her sister's murder, but this has not been confirmed. 

Knoxville Police are investigating Katelyn's case. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please call the Violent Crimes Unit at 865-215-7317 or send an email to unsolvedmurder@knoxvilletn.gov.

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Sources:
ABC 6 WATE
Knoxville Unsolved Cases

The Disappearances & Deaths of Sitlalli Avelar & Kamryn Meyers

On the evening of January 21st, 2023, authorities in Mesa, Arizona received a call about an unusual object floating in a water retention ba...