Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Murder of Milana Li

 

Milana Li was only 13 years-old when she was found deceased near her family's Beaverton, Oregon home on May 10th, 2022. The young girl was last seen alive on May 8th. Milana left her home around 4:00 PM that afternoon to take a walk along the Westside Regional Trail to Barrows Park. Milana regularly walked this route and was typically only gone for half an hour to an hour. When she did not return for her 8:00 PM curfew, her family members began to worry. Milana was reported missing the following day.

Milana and her family are originally from Kazakhstan. The family moved to Beaverton a few years before Milana's untimely death. Milana's mother lives full time in Beaverton with their children, while Milana's father travels back and forth between Beaverton and Kazakhstan, where he runs a business. Members of the community in Beaverton described Milana and a quiet and sweet young girl. When she was first reported missing, police classified her as a runaway-despite the fact that she has no history of such behavior. 

Shortly after 2:00 PM on May 10th, police received a call about "suspicious circumstances" in a small stream at Westside Linear Park. When officers responded the scene, they found the body of a young girl in the water. A short time later, the young girl was identified as Milana Li. 

An autopsy determined that Milana died by homicide. At this time, investigators have declined to comment on her exact cause of death. Very little other information about the investigation has been revealed. Police are now searching for Milana's killer. Though an arrest has not yet been made, police maintain that they do not believe there is a threat to the community at this time.

If you have any information that could lead to an arrest of Milana's killer, please contact Beaverton authorities at 503-629-0111.
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UPDATE (May 21, 2022): An arrest has been made in Milana's case.

Daniel Ryan Gore has been arrested and charged with Milana's murder. Gore is only 16 years-old, but prosecutors plan to try him as an adult. Gore has a criminal history dating back to 2020. He is currently facing second-degree theft, second-degree arson, and criminal mischief charges in an unrelated case.

In February 2022, Gore violated his probation. Prosecutors recommended that he be held in a juvenile detention center since he had already run away from two different shelters for minors with pending criminal charges. However, the judge ultimately decided to allow Gore to live with his father and stepmother in Salem. He ran away two weeks after this ruling.

In April 2022, Gore's father told Salem authorities that he believed his son was in Beaverton. For unclear reasons, those authorities failed to notify the Beaverton police. Gore's whereabouts remained unknown until his arrest for Milana's murder.

At this time, police have not released information on how they tied Gore to Milana's case. The prosecution has requested that the judge seal the probable cause affidavit. More details will likely be provided at a later date.

Sources:

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Murder of Blake Chappell

 

Blake Chappell's life was headed in a positive direction during the fall of 2011. The then-17-year-old was adjusting to life in a new town after his family moved to Senoia, Georgia earlier that year. Previously, Blake and his mother Melissa lived in Clayton County. Melissa decided to move Senoia after Blake got into a physical altercation with the stepfather of his ex-girlfriend. The incident was tough on Blake, but he was doing seemingly well in Senoia. He quickly made new friends and started dating a new girlfriend. Unfortunately, before Blake's life could continue to flourish, he was brutally murdered. His murder remains unsolved today.

Blake was last seen alive during the early morning hours of October 16th, 2011. On the evening of October 15th, Blake attended his high school homecoming dance with his girlfriend, Rion. Blake reportedly had a great time at the dance--he called his mother afterwards to tell her that he had "the best night of his life." Blake and Rion were picked up from the dance by Rion's mother. The pair then went back to Rion's house where they watched a movie. Around 11:30 PM, Rion's mother drove Blake to his friend Austin's house, where he planned to spend the night. 

At some point between 2:00 and 3:00 AM, Blake snuck out of Austin's house and walked 3 miles back to Rion's house. He arrived there around 4:30 AM and snuck in through Rion's bedroom window. About half an hour later, one of Rion's relatives caught Blake and Rion together. Knowing he was not supposed to be there, Blake quickly left the residence and began walking back toward Austin's house. 

During his walk, Blake texted with Rion several times. Around 5:30 AM, he sent her a message saying he was stopped by a police officer who asked where he was going. He sent one final text a few minutes later before ceasing all communication. Blake never arrived back at Austin's house and was never heard from again.

Blake's mother Melissa was alerted about her son's disappearance around 11:00 AM, after Austin contacted her and said that Blake had left his house and never returned. Melissa reported Blake missing very shortly thereafter.

Extensive searches for Blake ended unsuccessfully. Then, over two months later, passersby in Summer Grove spotted human remains in a local creek near East Newnan. Police were called, and the human remains were later identified as that of Blake Chappell. He died from a gunshot wound to the head. 

After the discovery of Blake's remains, the case shifted to a homicide investigation. 
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Blake's body was found wearing only underpants and an undershirt. However, when he left Rion's house on the morning of his disappearance, he was wearing black sweatpants, a white t-shirt and a jacket. Additionally, Blake had his cell phone on him when he vanished, but investigators have never found said phone. This initially left detectives with very little to work with while investigating Blake's murder.

As previously mentioned, Blake and his mother moved to Senoia just months before his disappearance. The move was prompted by a physical altercation that occurred between Blake and his ex-girlfriend's stepfather. The ex-girlfriend had reportedly run away to Blake's house, and before Blake could bring her back home, her stepfather showed up. Blake sent a text to his friend about the incident, saying "her dad showed up wit two other guys nd guns tellin all my friends he was gunna kill me". 

Blake would later tell police that the man "punched him in the face, knocked him to the ground, and kicked him in the head." Despite this, Blake was the one who ended up arrested. He was charged with custodial interference, as his ex-girlfriend had run away with the intention of being with Blake. However, the charges were later dropped.

Blake's mother Melissa stated that she wanted to move Blake out of Clayton County after this incident because she was afraid for her son's life. Inevitably, police looked into this man after Blake was found murdered--but various reports say that the man has been cleared as a suspect.

According to uncovered.com, police have cleared three other persons of interest in the case as well. Police have continued to keep details about the investigation under wraps, and at this time, no suspects or persons of interest have been publicly named.

There is currently a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for Blake's death. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Newnan Police Department's Tip Line at (770) 254-2350, or send your tip in an email to unsolvedhomicide@cityofnewnan.org. 
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Sources:

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Disappearance and Murder of Brittanee Drexel

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Brittanee Drexel vanished at the age of 17 on April 25th, 2009. Brittanee is originally from Rochester, NY and was taking a trip with some new friends to Myrtle Beach for spring break in April of 2009. Brittanee’s mother had not granted her permission to go on this trip—she was concerned because these friends were a few years older than Brittanee and Brittanee did not know them very well yet. Still, Brittanee was determined to go and told her mother that she was spending a few nights at a friend's house in Rochester. Instead, she went to Myrtle Beach.

The trip did not go as planned for Brittanee. According to her boyfriend, John Grieco, Brittanee wasn’t getting along very well with the girls on the trip. On April 25th, Brittanee decided to walk to her friend Peter Brozowitz’s hotel room at Blue Water Resort. Peter was an acquaintance of Brittanee’s from NY, and she was getting along much better with him than she was with the girls with whom she was staying. 

Brittanee entering the Blue Water Resort

Brittanee walked about a mile from her hotel to the Blue Water Resort—however, shortly after arriving, one of the girls texted Brittanee and demanded that she come back to their hotel to return a pair of shorts she had borrowed. Surveillance footage shows Brittanee leaving the Blue Water Resort at 8:48pm. She texted John as she traveled, expressing how she was annoyed about having to walk back to the hotel. At one point, Brittanee stopped replying. John grew concerned, as they had been constantly texting throughout the trip and it was unusual for Brittanee to stop replying without ending the conversation. John continued to try to get ahold of her, warning that he was going to call her mom if she did not reply. Hours passed without hearing from Brittanee, and John finally broke down and called Brittanee’s mother, Dawn. Dawn was able to contact the girls Brittanee had traveled with and they were unable to locate her as well. Dawn then contacted Myrtle Beach authorities to report Brittanee missing.

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Investigators had some strong leads to follow at first. Cell phone records revealed that Brittanee’s final phone ping was off of a tower 50 miles from Myrtle Beach, in Georgetown County. A massive search in that area turned up nothing. Sex offenders in the Myrtle Beach and Georgetown areas were looked into as well, yet they were unable to link any of them to Brittanee. After that, years passed with no sign of Brittanee.

Finally, on June 8th, 2016, the FBI held a press conference, stating that they had finally determined what happened to Brittanee. They announced that Brittanee was taken from Myrtle Beach to the McClellanville area,where she was held for a few days against her will and then was killed. When asked how the FBI came to this conclusion, the lead investigator said: “there has been an exhaustive amount of evidence in this case. The investigators are certain that this is what happened and I can’t give you the exact details on that, but we are certain.” The FBI then appealed to anyone in the McClellanville area to come forward with information on Brittanee’s whereabouts.

Years have passed since the FBI made this announcement in Brittanee’s case but Brittanee still remains missing. McClellanville local Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor has been named as a suspect in the case, but he denies all involvement and there have still been no arrests in the case. 

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UPDATE (May 2022):  Brittanee’s remains have been found AND an arrest has finally been made.

The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office announced on May 16th that they have arrested a man named Raymond Moody (62). He is charged with kidnapping, rape, and murder in relation to Brittanee’s case.


Moody is a registered sex offender, and he was named a person of interest in Brittanee’s case back in 2012. Back then, investigators searched a hotel room he stayed in at the time of Brittanee’s disappearance. It was never disclosed if they found any evidence at that time, but investigators did say that they did not have enough evidence to formally label him as a suspect.

Investigators turned their attention away from Moody in 2016, after the FBI announced that they believed Brittanee had been kidnapped and held hostage in McClellanville by a group of people associated with Timothy Taylor. However, Taylor was only 16 years-old at the time Brittanee went missing. Jailhouse informants told investigators that they saw Brittanee at Taylor’s residence back in April 2009. Taylor has adamantly denied any involvement in Brittanee’s disappearance and at this time, it appears that he is no longer a suspect.

It is unclear what led investigators back to Moody, but they were able to search property that belongs to him during early May. During their search, they found human remains. Dental records have confirmed that those remains belong to Brittanee Drexel.

Moody’s arrest warrant states that Moody strangled Brittanee to death on the night she was kidnapped. It is believed she was buried the next day.

News about Brittanee’s case is currently unfolding. Updates will be provided as they come.

Friday, May 13, 2022

The Disappearance of Courtney Holden

 


Courtney Holden was only 26 years-old when she vanished from her adoptive family's home in Spokane, Washington. At the time of her disappearance, Courtney and her young son lived in the Heroy Avenue residence with Judy Holden, her adoptive mother, and Joshua Holden, her adoptive brother. Police were alerted about her disappearance on October 8th, 2019, after a woman named Autumn Schatz requested for a welfare check on Courtney. Autumn was dating the father of Courtney's son, and she told police that they had not seen or heard from Courtney in two years. She stated that she and her boyfriend had visited the Holden residence several times over the past two years to visit the young son. The child was reportedly present each time they visited, but Courtney was not. 

When police went to perform the welfare check, Judy and Joshua were reportedly uncooperative. They both said that Courtney and her son had left on foot a few days earlier, but they would not offer any further information. Judy reluctantly allowed police to see Courtney’s room—and it appeared that nobody had been in there for quite some time. 

After the police were unable to locate Courtney themselves, they filed a missing persons’ report. That same day, police received a phone call from a woman claiming to be Courtney—who said she was alive and well. They would later learn that the caller was actually Courtney’s adoptive sister. Additionally, shortly before this phone call was made, Judy and Joshua withdrew $600 from Courtney's bank account.

There have inevitably been suspicions about Judy and Joshua ever since Courtney was reported missing. According to neighbors and friends, Judy and Joshua both mistreated Courtney. The two reportedly referred to Courtney as "Cindy"-short for Cinderella-because of all the chores they made her do. Courtney confided to neighbors that Joshua was physically abusive, and she was afraid of him. Neighbors noticed several bruises on Courtney's body on different occasions, which she stated were a result of Joshua's abuse. The neighbors described Joshua as violent and unpredictable. He reportedly has a criminal record that includes sexual assault charges. In 2005, he was charged with rape, but the charges were dropped after the victim stopped cooperating with the investigation. 

While investigating Courtney's disappearance, police were eventually able to determine that Courtney has not been seen since July 2018over a year before she was actually reported missing. This was determined after investigators learned that Courtney was taking a prescription medicine that was required daily, but she had not picked up the prescription since July 2018. Neighbors also corroborated that they had not seen Courtney since July 2018 as well. The last known sighting of her occurred at some point during that month. A neighbor reportedly saw Courtney exiting the house carrying a large duffel bag. Judy called after her for her to come back to which Courtney replied, "I'm not staying here anymore." Moments later, Joshua forcibly picked Courtney up and carried her back into the house. Courtney has never been seen or heard from again. 

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When Courtney was finally reported missing in October 2019, Judy and Joshua Holden became suspects almost immediately. In addition to being dodgy towards investigators, Judy and Joshua had also continued to use Courtney's food stamps and bank accounts from July 2018-October 2019--after Courtney had gone missing. Both continued to maintain that they were not involved in her disappearance. After initially saying that Courtney and her son had left their home on foot, they later would claim that Courtney had run off with a boyfriend. 

Investigators executed a search warrant for the Holden's house on October 24th, 2019. However, when detectives arrived, they found that Judy and Joshua had moved. They took the DVR storing their home surveillance footage with them. Investigators were still able to collect some evidence from the house, including some of Courtney's personal belongings. Cadaver dogs were also sent through the house, but nothing of significance was found.

The Holden home on Heroy Avenue. (source:spokesman.com)

About a month later, police were called after a neighbor noticed activity at the Holden house. When police went to the house, they were met by Judy's daughter and her husband. The couple told police that they had flown in from Texas to check on the house. They also told police that they had not seen Courtney in two years. When asked about Judy's whereabouts, the couple said she was on a retirement road trip. They reportedly gave conflicting stories about the whereabouts of Courtney's son. Judy's daughter said that the child was with Courtney, while her husband said he was living with Judy and Joshua. It is believed that Judy and Joshua were raising the child to believe that Judy was his mother and Joshua was his father. Neighbors in Spokane seemingly confirmed this, as they told police that they noticed the child had referred to Judy as "mommy" and Joshua as "daddy". 

In December 2019, police tracked Judy and Joshua down in Plano, Texas. They were living with Judy's daughter, and they had Courtney's son with them. Judy and Joshua were arrested and charged with identity theft and custodial interference. Courtney's son was placed in custody of his father, where he remains today. 



Despite their aforementioned charges, Judy and Joshua have still not been charged with anything related to Courtney's disappearance. Many still believe they know exactly what happened to Courtney. In addition to Joshua's known violent behavior, he also has been overheard saying that he could kill someone and successfully hide the body from police. Investigators believe that Courtney is deceased, but they have yet to make any arrests in her case. 

Courtney remains missing today. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Spokane Police Department at 509-755-2489 or Crime Check at 509-456-2233.
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Sources:
[KHQ]

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Murder of Tiara Lott


Tiara Lott was about to begin a new chapter in her life during January 2021. The then-22-year-old lived in Buffalo, New York, and she had just gotten a new job in the field of IT. Tiara was looking forward to beginning this new job, but before she could, she disappeared. About two weeks later, Tiara's body was found alongside train tracks on Wex Avenue. She had been murdered.

Before her disappearance, Tiara had been spending a lot of time with her 27-year-old boyfriend, Andre Whigham. Tiara's loved ones were worried about this relationship, especially since Tiara had several bruises on her face during her final video chat with one of her friends. That call took place on January 29th, 2021, and during the call her friend asked Tiara for her location so she could send an Uber to go pick her up. The video chat call was disconnected after that. A short time later, Tiara sent a text message to several loved ones that said "God forbid, if anything happens to me, that I love y'all and tell everybody." 

Andre Whigham
After receiving that worrisome message, Tiara's family members went to the Buffalo Police. Both investigators and family members spent the next two weeks searching for her. Shortly after notifying police, Tiara's loved ones went to a house on Gold Street where they believed Tiara was last seen. There, they found several of Tiara's personal items, including her clothes, shoes, and ID card. Then, on February 13th, 2021, police found Tiara's body approximately two miles away on Wex Avenue. Investigators have not revealed Tiara's exact cause of death, but her manner of death has been labeled as a homicide.

Andre Whigham is considered a person-of-interest in Tiara's case. Police are unaware of his whereabouts at this time. Various reports state that he has connections to both North Carolina and Ohio. Whigham is described as a Black male with several neck tattoos. He is approximately 5'9" and 210 lbs. It is believed that he is armed and dangerous. US Marshals are pleading for anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to come forward. 


If you have any information on Whigham's whereabouts, or any other information that could help solve Tiara's case, please contact the US Marshal service line at 1-800-336-0102.
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UPDATE (May 2022): Andre Whigham has turned himself in.

Once in custody, Whigham was charged with the second degree murder of Tiara Lott. Prosecutors believe that he strangled Tiara to death inside an apartment on Gold Street. After disposing of Tiara's body, he fled from the area. 

Whigham is being held without bail. He faces 25 years to life in prison. 

The Disappearance of Anesha Murnane


Anesha Murnane vanished under suspicious circumstances on October 17th, 2019. The 38-year-old woman lived at MainTree Apartments in Homer, Alaska at the time of her disappearance. MainTree is a supported living facility that provides housing to individuals with disabilities and beneficiaries of the Alaska Mental Health Trust. Anesha was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was considered a dependent adult, but according to her family members, she was stabilized and doing well at the time she vanished.

Anesha was last seen leaving the MainTree apartments shortly after noon on October 17th. Surveillance cameras captured her leaving the building at 12:13 PM. Anesha had a scheduled 1:00 PM appointment at the SVT Health & Wellness clinic on east End Road, and it is presumed that she was walking to that appointment when she left her apartment. Unfortunately, Anesha never made it to her appointment and has never been seen or heard from again.


After Anesha was reported missing, police sent search dogs along the route she would have taken to her appointment. Anesha's scent was tracked throughout the route as expected, but the scent trail ended in front of Pioneer Avenue area near Thai Cosmic Kitchen. Due to this, investigators believe that Anesha was picked up in a car at this location.

Anesha's parents believed that their daughter was abducted since the beginning of the investigation. She has not accessed her cell phone or bank accounts since her disappearance. Anesha also had applied for several jobs before she vanished, and she also had planned trips to Oregon and Mexico. Her plane tickets for both trips were never used.

In June 2021, nearly two years after Anesha vanished, a certificate of presumed death was issued. Under Alaskan law, a person missing for over five years is considered presumed deceased--but families can file a petition for the presumed death certificate before that under certain circumstances. A jury of six people in Homer listened to testimony from detectives, social workers, and from Anesha's parents. Afterwards, the jury ruled that Anesha is presumed deceased--and that she was likely killed by homicide.

Although the ruling was bittersweet, Anesha's mother also stated that the ruling validated her belief that Anesha was abducted by someone she knew and then killed. Despite this belief, detectives maintained that they still did not have any suspects in the case. 

If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Homer Police Department at 907-235-3150 or the Alaska State Troopers at 907-269-5511.
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UPDATE (May 2022):

An arrest has been made in Anesha’s case.


Kirby Calderwood (32) has been arrested and charged with first degree murder, second degree murder, kidnapping, and tampering with physical evidence. Calderwood reportedly knew Anesha because he briefly worked at the Main Tree Apartments, where Anesha lived, back in 2018. Calderwood has a history of violent behavior. He has been accused of sexual assault by women he previously dated, and he also reportedly has a history of harming animals ever since he was a child.

Investigators closed in on Calderwood as their prime suspect after a tipster reported that Calderwood admitted to being responsible for Anesha’s disappearance. The tipster told authorities that on the day of Anesha’s disappearance, Calderwood said he prepped the crawlspace at an empty home before leaving in his car to search for a victim. At some point, he spotted Anesha and offered her a ride. She accepted, and Calderwood ended up bringing her to the empty home. Once there, Calderwood reportedly tortured Anesha before killing her and then disposing of her body in a dumpster.

The tipster also told police that Calderwood kept Anesha’s Timex brand watch. When authorities went to Calderwood’s home in Odgen, Utah, they found the watch in question. Calderwood was taken into custody in Utah but will face charges in Alaska.

Although Anesha has already been declared deceased, her body has still not been found. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Murder of Taylore Jones

 

Taylore Jones was murdered inside her New Orleans, Louisiana home during the early morning hours of December 21st, 2021. The 26-year-old woman was living in an apartment in the Bywater neighborhood at the time of her death. The New Orleans Police Department responded to a call shortly after 5:00 AM about a woman who had been stabbed in the 700 Block of Lesseps Street. When officers arrived at the apartment, they found Taylore suffering from multiple stab wounds. She was transported to a nearby hospital, where she passed shortly thereafter.

Taylore had lived in New Orleans for less than a year before her untimely death. She moved there in March 2021. According to friends, Taylore was attracted to the music scene in New Orleans. She also loved being able to travel around town on her skateboard. In fact, just hours before she was killed, Taylore was seen riding her skateboard home from her job at Café Negril.

 A few months after Taylore’s murder, police released surveillance footage of the potential suspect. In the footage, a person wearing all black is seen walking towards Taylore’s apartment. Around 30 minutes later, the same individual is seen running away from the apartment. Police believe Taylore was killed within that 30-minute window.

 


A motive for Taylore’s murder is unclear. Reports state that nothing was stolen from Taylore’s apartment, so a robbery has been ruled out. Police have yet to identify the person in the surveillance footage, and they are hoping that somebody from the public will recognize this individual. Detectives note that the person appeared to have a distinct belt buckle and keychain that is visible in the footage.

There is a monetary reward available for any information that could lead to the arrest of Taylore’s killer. If you recognize the person in the footage, or if you have any other information that could help the investigation, please contact the NOPD at (504) 658-6020.

 

The Murder of Milana Li

  Milana Li was only 13 years-old when she was found deceased near her family's Beaverton, Oregon home on May 10th, 2022. The young gi...