Monday, June 17, 2024

The Disappearance and Murder of Katelyn Markham

 

Katelyn Markham was just days shy of turning 22 years-old when she vanished in August 2011. At the time of her disappearance, Katelyn was a student at The Art Institute of Ohio, and she was passionate about her studies. She was also working two jobs and participating in an internship. By all accounts, she was a responsible person and reliable employee. Katelyn's disappearance left both her inner circle and investigators baffled.

After Katelyn was reported missing, it was determined that she was last seen alive by her fiancĂ©, John Carter. On the evening of August 13th, John went over to Katelyn's condo in Fairfield, Ohio after she had finished her day at work. A friend of Katelyn's also came over to hang out with the couple, but she ended up leaving after she sensed tension between Katelyn and John. The friend noticed that Katelyn seemed quiet, which John said was due to magic mushrooms that the two of them had taken. 

According to John, he left Katelyn's condo between 11:00 PM and midnight to go hang out with some friends who were having a bonfire. The couple reportedly continued to text throughout the night. Katelyn sent her final text shortly before 1:00 AM. She was never seen or heard from again. John returned to his own home around 4:00 AM. He sent a "good morning" text to Katelyn shortly before going to sleep until the late afternoon. When he awoke to go to his job at Papa John's, he noticed Katelyn had not responded to the text. John said he continued to call or text her throughout the afternoon, but he never got a response. Worried, he left his job early to go check on Katelyn at her condo. 

John used his own key to enter the residence. When he got there, nothing seemed out of place - except Katelyn's dog, which was found locked in an upstairs bedroom. This was not the usual spot where Katelyn kept her dog. It also appeared that the dog had not been let out at all that day, which was also unusual. Additionally, Katelyn's car was parked in its normal spot outside the home, but Katelyn herself was nowhere to be found. At this point, the worries for Katelyn continued to build.

Soon, John learned that Katelyn's friends and family members had not heard from her either. He also heard that Katelyn had never shown up from her scheduled shift at David's Bridal. Shortly before 8:00 PM, John called police to report Katelyn as missing. The search began shortly thereafter. Over the next few weeks, volunteers passed out fliers, and search teams scoured the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, nothing was found. 

Over time, Katelyn's case went cold. Police followed tips and conducted interviews, but they seemingly got no closer to locating her. Then, on April 7th, 2013, human remains were found at Big Cedar Creek in Cedar Grove, Indiana - located approximately 30 miles from Katelyn's condo. A couple was searching for scrap metal in the area when they spotted what looked like a human jaw wrapped in a grocery bag. 

Police were called, and a search of the area resulted in the discovery of more remains. Dental records later confirmed that the remains belong to Katelyn Markham. To this day, Katelyn's cause of death has never been determined - but it was clear that somebody had taken her life. 

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Who killed Katelyn?

Katelyn's family members were inevitably devastated when they learned that Katelyn had been a victim of homicide - but they were also not incredibly surprised by the news. When she was first missing, Katelyn's loved ones clung to hope that she would be found safe. As weeks turned into months without any sign of her, their hopes dwindled. Eventually, Katelyn's family came to believe that Katelyn had been murdered. Once those beliefs were confirmed in April 2013, many questions still remained. The one key question being: who killed Katelyn? 

Many theories have emerged over the years, but no arrests have ever been in made in the case. Investigators have uncovered a lot of information about Katelyn's life before she was killed. They have also been able to establish a timeline of the events leading up to her disappearance. Both the information and the timeline have led to a few prominent theories.

Who was Katelyn?



Katelyn's loved ones describe her as a kind person who enjoyed making others happy. Her father Dave Markham describes her as warm, outgoing, positive, and energetic. She was always known as reliable, a good student, and a responsible employee. 

In 2011, Katelyn was living a busy life. As previously stated, she was student at the Art Institute of Ohio. Reports say that she was very dedicated to her craft. Katelyn also worked two jobs, one at David's Bridal and another co-op position at her school's bookstore. 

Katelyn was also engaged to a man named John Carter. The two had been together for about six years at the time of Katelyn's disappearance. They had been engaged for one year. 

The relationship.


Katelyn and John did not yet live together, as John lived with his family and Katelyn had her own place in Fairfield. However, John had a key to her condo and frequently spent time there. According to John, he and Katelyn were looking forward to the future. The couple reportedly wanted to move to Colorado after getting married. 

John and Katelyn would frequently text/call each other when they were not together. John said that when Katelyn did not respond to any of his texts on August 14th, 2011, he knew something was off. It was John who called 9-1-1 when he discovered Katelyn to be missing. Some believe he sounds genuinely concerned in the phone call, while others disagree. Audio of the call can be found here.

For nearly a decade, John was not named as a suspect in Katelyn's disappearance and/or murder. There were inevitably people who have always believed he is, in fact, responsible for her death - but it took years for charges to be brought forward. Initial suspicions on John were likely due to some of his actions/words around the time of Katelyn's disappearance. 

When John called 911 to report her missing, the dispatcher asked if he and Katelyn had been having issues in their relationship - to which he responded, "not at all". However, Katelyn's friend Michelle Feist has contradicted this. In fact, Michelle told Crime Watch Daily that Katelyn and John had a pretty heated argument just two days before her disappearance.

According to the Michelle, John and Katelyn got into an argument on August 12th, 2011, over some financial struggles. Despite this, the couple still attended a festival at a local church that evening. By Michelle's account, the argument between John and Katelyn carried over into the event. Eventually, Katelyn got very upset and ended up leaving the festival early. 

It's completely possible that John and Katelyn resolved their spat before she vanished - but, as previously stated, the couple seemed to have some tension the following night as well. A friend visiting the couple at Katelyn's condo decided to leave after she believed the two wanted to be alone. John said that Katelyn was not acting like herself because the couple had taken magic mushrooms.

Many have questioned John's story about the mushrooms. Katelyn arrived home from work approximately 15 minutes before the friend came over. Even if she had taken the mushrooms as soon as she walked through the door, it's very unlikely that she'd be feeling the effects that quickly. Some have questioned if Katelyn even took the mushrooms at all. She had just returned home from a long day of work, she was tired, and it seems unlikely that she'd want to experience the effects of mushrooms if she just wanted to lounge at home.

Another aspect of John's story that some people found odd was the bonfire. John told investigators that he left Katelyn's condo around 11:00 PM on August 13th to meet up with friends. He brought a bag full of documents belonging to Katelyn to burn in the fire. John explained that Katelyn wanted to shred the documents instead of throwing them away, but she did not have a shredder. Instead, John took the documents with the intention of burning them so she would not have to worry about it. 

Some find this to be an odd explanation as to why he destroyed Katelyn's documents, but it also didn't seem like too much of a stretch at first. He told investigators that he often ran errands for Katelyn - so it's possible that he truly was doing her a favor by removing the papers from her home. Still, some have questioned John's alibi in general. A few of the friends John alleged to be with that night have told a different story. In fact, some claim that there was never even a bonfire that night.

Although there was a lot of speculation about John, it appears that investigators eventually began to focus their attention elsewhere. Over the years, John spoke out publicly several times about Katelyn's case, and he continued to deny any involvement in her death.

A potential new lead.

In 2018, a new potential suspect came on the investigator's radar. A man named Michael Strouse had been charged with murdering 23-year-old Ellie Weik in West Chester, Ohio.

Michael Strouse

West Chester is located only an approximate 45-minute drive away from Fairfield, where Katelyn was killed. There were also some similarities between the two cases. The bodies of both Katelyn and Ellie were found in a field. Ellie's cause of death was asphyxiation, and she was found with a plastic bag over her head. While Katelyn's cause of death was undetermined, her skull was also found in a plastic bag.

The one thing that truly made Strouse seem like a viable suspect? He knew Katelyn. Sources say Strouse and John Carter had mutual friends. Several people sent investigators a picture on social media that includes both Strouse and John. 

However, there were many reasons to doubt that Strouse was involved in Katelyn's murder as well. Ellie Weik and Strouse were involved in a romantic relationship at some point prior to Ellie's murder. He had apparently been stalking her for months beforehand. There is no evidence to suggest that Strouse had ever stalked Katelyn, nor is there any physical evidence that connects him to Katelyn's case. 

An update in 2023.

In February of 2023, police announced that they arrested a man named Jonathan Palmerton (35) on perjury charges in relation to Katelyn's case. 


Palmerton is a resident of Fairfield, and he was arrested on February 17th. The arrest came after a search warrant was issued at his home. 
At the time of his arrest, police announced that Palmerton lied in connection to the investigation into Katelyn's disappearance/murder. 


Another 2023 update.

John Carter was finally arrested and charged with 2 counts of felony murder during 2023. At the time of John's arrest, very little details were revealed, but many had suspected that John was involved from the very beginning of the investigation. Many felt this was finally Katelyn's time to get justice. 


After John Carter was charged, the prosecution ultimately decided to drop the charges against John Palmerton. In May 2023, it was reported that Palmerton's trial could cause a conflict if it took place before John Carter's trial. Prosecutor Mike Gsomer explained, "In short, the prosecution has an irreconcilable conflict procedurally and ethically with respect to forcing a trial to go forward, with respect with respect to Mr. Palmerton and forcing him into an uncompromising situation that I created as a result of the grand jury indictment."



A circumstantial case. 

In June 2024, 
Det. Joe Nerlinger and Sgt. Rob Whitlock of the Butler County told reporters that the case against John Carter was mostly a circumstantial one. Both investigators stated that they believe that the 9-1-1 call that John made to report Katelyn missing was a complete fabrication. Both also believe that John is a psychopath.

Investigators also reportedly found several writings by John around Katelyn's house. The writings and poems were described as "dark" by investigators. They included sentences such as "Deep down, I love her. You want to kill her. But I love her. She must die," and "I slit your wrist with the key to your heart." 

Detective Nerlinger also told reporters that he believes John acted alone when he killed Katelyn, but "he may have had help dismembering her and getting her out to where she was dumped in Indiana."

John Carter takes a plea deal.

That same June 2024 article that John Carter eventually took a plea deal initiated by his defense team. The plea deal allowed John to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter instead of murder; citing that Katelyn died during a misdemeanor assault. The prosecution reported that they feel satisfied that John Carter admitted to being responsible for Katelyn's death. 

However, the involuntary manslaughter conviction indicates that John may not serve much prison time. He faces "anywhere from probation up to three years in prison." John is expected to be sentenced on July 18th.


Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Disappearance of Sarah Lindsey Rozniewski

Source: Attempt to Locate on Facebook

Sarah Lindsey Rozniewski (also known as Sarah Cooper) has been missing since the spring of 2021. The then-31-year-old lived in St. Martin, Mississippi at the time of her disappearance. Sarah was reported missing to the Biloxi Police Department by a friend on March 21st, 2022. 

The friend who filed the missing person's report told police that it had been several months since any friends or family had heard from Sarah. Due to this, an exact timeline leading up to her disappearance is unknown. However, the investigation did reveal that Sarah's last bank activity occurred on May 10th, 2021 - nearly ten months before she was reported missing. 

According to MissingSippi.org, the last known sighting of Sarah occurred weeks later, on May 31st, 2021, at her apartment in St. Martin. Details about that last sighting have not been disclosed. Sarah has never been seen or heard from again.

Various comments online indicate that Sarah's sister and friends attempted to report her missing many times over the months before the police finally agreed to open her case. 

Source: Facebook

Details about the status of the investigation have been kept under wraps. The Biloxi Police were originally in charged investigating Sarah's disappearance, but it has since been passed to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. 

Sarah's loved ones are devastated by her disappearance and are still searching for answers. If you have any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Police Department at (228)769-3024 or submit a tip online.

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Sources:
Biloxi PD Facebook post
Magnolia State Live
MissingSippi
Mississippi Coast Crimestoppers

Pride Month: Unsolved LGBTQ Cases Vol. III

This Pride Month, it is important to remember the missing and murdered members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Several cases involving LGBTQIA+ individuals featured on True Case Files remain unsolved today. 

Each week during Pride Month, a set of 3 unsolved cases involving a missing or murdered member of the LGBTQIA+ community will be featured on this page. Let's continue to spread awareness on these cases in hopes that justice will be served.


The Disappearance of Katelin Akens.

Katelin Akens has been missing since December 5th, 2015. Prior to vanishing, the then-19-year-old lived in Lake Havasu City, Arizona with her fiancĂ©, Amber Rios. However, Katelin was visiting family in Spotsylvania County, Virginia at the time of her disappearance. 

Katelin is originally from Virginia, and she took a trip to her hometown in December 2015 to meet her new baby nephew. She stayed with her mother, Lisa, at Lisa's residence during her visit. Katelin was scheduled to take a flight back to Arizona on December 5th, 2015 - the same day she vanished. 

Lisa was unable to take Katelin to the airport that day, so she arranged for her ex-husband/Katelin's ex-stepfather, James Branton, to drive her there instead. Lisa dropped Katelin off at Branton's residence early that morning.

A few hours later, Lisa received a text from her ex-husband stating that he had dropped Katelin off. She also received a text from Katelin’s phone stating that she had arrived at Reagan International Airport. However, Katelin never boarded her flight. Two days later, her luggage was found abandoned in a drainage ditch located over 50 miles away from the airport. 

When police questioned Branton, he said that he that he did not actually drop Katelin off at Reagan International Airport. Instead, he claimed that Katelin requested to be dropped off at Springfield Mall, from where she would walk to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and take the Metro the rest of the way to the airport. However, is no evidence to support that Katelin was ever at that mall or Metro stop on that day.

There is inevitable speculation that Branton is involved in Katelin's disappearance, but at this time, he has not been charged with anything related to her case. Katelin remains missing today. Her case is considered cold.

If you have any information that could lead to the whereabouts of Katelin Akens, please submit a tip.

Read more about Katelin's case.


The Disappearance of Eztli Cortez-Trujillo.

Eztli Cortez-Trujillo was last seen in North Odgen, Utah on April 23rd, 2020. The then-22-year-old vanished after getting into a minor car accident on North Odgen Divide Road. A passing GrubHub driver spotted Eztli and asked if they wanted a ride. Eztli accepted, and the GrubHub driver agreed to pick Eztli up after completing a nearby delivery. 

When the driver returned a short time later, Eztli was gone. Their car remained abandoned on the side of the road. The GrubHub driver called police to report the abandoned vehicle. Once police determined that the vehicle belonged to Eztli, officers attempted to contact Eztli and notified Eztli's family. This was an immediate red flag to Eztli's inner circle, as it is completely out of character for them to abandon their vehicle. 

Both officers and Eztli's family and friends attempted to contact them to no avail. Eztli was subsequently reported missing on April 25th, 2020. Loved ones have expressed frustration with the Salt Lake City Police Department for not putting more investigative efforts into Eztli's case. Friends and family have never believed that Eztli vanished on their own accord. However, police maintain that there is no evidence of foul play in Eztli's disappearance.

If you have any information that could lead to the whereabouts of Eztli Cortez-Trujillo, please submit a tip.

Read more about Eztli's case.


The Murder of Jenna Franks.

Jenna Franks was found brutally murdered in Jacksonville, North Carolina on February 24th, 2021. The 34-year-old's body was discovered by street division workers in a wooded area near Ellis Boulevard and White Street. Investigators later determined that she had been stabbed to death.

Jenna's death is a devastating loss for both her loved ones and members of the local LGBTQ+ community. Jenna was a transgender woman and had active involvement with the Onslow County LGBTQ+ Community Center. Due to her gender identity, Jenna's murder is being investigated as a possible hate crime. 

The FBI became involved in Jenna's murder case just weeks into the investigation. Detectives from the FBI believe that Jenna willingly met up with her killer(s), unaware that her life was in danger. Other than this information, authorities have overall kept quiet about the status of investigation. 

Both investigators and Jenna's loved ones have made an ongoing appeal to the public in hopes that anyone with information will come forward. A monetary reward is available in exchange for information that will lead the arrest and conviction of Jenna's killer(s).

If you have any information that could help solve the murder of Jenna Franks, please submit a tip.

Read more about Jenna's case.

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The next set of unsolved LGBTQ cases will be posted next week. 

Cases from week two.

Cases from week one.

Friday, June 14, 2024

The Disappearance Kaitlin Ashley Kincaid

Source: Charley Project

Kaitlin Ashley Kincaid has been missing since March 1st, 2022. The then-34-year-old was last seen in Los Angeles, California. She has never been seen or heard from again.

On February 7th, 2024 - nearly two years after Kaitlin's disappearance - her car was found and towed from a parking garage in the 8000 block of Osage Avenue. According to Charley Project, the car's keys were found taped to the inside of the bumper. 

The discovery of Kaitlin's car inevitably leads to more questions than answers. Despite these suspicious circumstances, there is very little additional information available about Kaitlin's case. At this time, it does not appear that there has been any news reporting about her disappearance.

The Los Angeles Police Department is in charge of investigating Kaitlin's disappearance. If you have any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please call the LAPD Missing Persons Unit at 216-996-1800. Anonymous tips can be submitted online using this form.

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Sources:
California Department of Justice
Charley Project
LAPD Missing Persons Unit on Facebook


Saturday, June 8, 2024

Pride Month: Unsolved LGBTQ Cases Vol. II

This Pride Month, it is important to remember the missing and murdered members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Several cases involving LGBTQIA+ individuals featured on True Case Files remain unsolved today. 

Each week during Pride Month, a set of 3 unsolved cases involving a missing or murdered member of the LGBTQIA+ community will be featured on this page. Let's continue to spread awareness on these cases in hopes that justice will be served.


The Disappearance of Colin Arey.

Colin Arey has been missing since January 25th, 2017. The then-26-year-old man was last seen in Brewer, Maine. According to reports, Colin's stepfather dropped him off at the Brewer Civic Center on the day of his disappearance. He has never been seen by his loved ones again.

Colin was not reported missing until June 25th, 2018 - nearly a year and a half after his disappearance. At that point, various family members realized that nobody had seen or heard from Colin in quite some time. A missing persons' report was subsequently filed with the Bucksport Police.

Very little information is available about the investigation into Colin's disappearance. Friends of Colin have posted online that he was in the local gay dating scene in the Bucksport area - but it's unclear if he was seeing anyone at the time he vanished.

There has also been some online speculation about Colin's stepfather possibly being involved in his disappearance. It also appears that Colin lived with the stepfather at the time of his disappearance, yet the stepfather never reported him missing. Despite these odd circumstances, the stepfather has never been publicly named a suspect.

If you have any information that could lead to Colin Arey's whereabouts, please submit a tip.

Read more about Colin's case.

The Murder of Irasema Chavez.

Irasema Chavez was found murdered inside her Arlington, Texas apartment when she was just 33 years old. Irasema had moved to the United States from Mexico just a few months before her murder, and she was reportedly enjoying her new home and life. Unfortunately, that life was cut short on January 20th, 2012.

Surveillance cameras captured an unknown individual entering Irasema's apartment on January 19th, 2012. It appears that the individual knocked on the door and Irasema let this person inside. The person later left the apartment.

The following morning, Irasema's niece was dropped off at Irasema's apartment so the two could spend the day together. When her niece entered the apartment, she stumbled upon a horrific scene: Irasema was dead. She had been stabbed over 100 times. 

Irasema's loved ones remain baffled by her murder. She was still new to the area at the time of her death, and she did not have any known enemies. According to family members, Irasema had made several new friends since moving to Arlington. She had also recently come out to her family as a lesbian. By all accounts, Irasema's life appeared to be moving in a positive direction before she was tragically killed.

To this day, no suspects have been publicly announced in Irasema's case. However, the individual in the surveillance footage is inevitably a suspect. Investigators have yet to identify this person. 

If you have any information that could help solve the murder of Irasema Chavez, submit a tip.

Read more about Irasema's case.


The Disappearance of Sage Smith.

Sage Smith has been missing since November 20th, 2012. The then-19-year-old lived in Charlottesville, Virginia at the time of her disappearance. She was reported missing after she never returned home from a first date.

Sage's life appeared to be moving in a positive direction prior to her disappearance. She had recently aged out of the foster system and had found her own place with a roommate. Sage also had recently come out as transgender. According to Sage’s grandmother Lolita Smith, Sage was reportedly very happy to be living her truth.

On the evening Sage was last seen, she told her roommate that she was meeting up with a man - later identified as Erik McFadden - for a date. Sage's roommate grew worried the following day, when Sage never returned home. Her roommate subsequently reported her missing that evening. 

Erik McFadden was quickly identified as a person of interest in Sage's disappearance. Unfortunately, investigators have never been able to question McFadden in person. He has evaded police for several years since Sage went missing. In fact, in June 2019, investigators officially opened a missing persons' case for Erik McFadden as well. 

Although Sage remains missing, detectives are investigating her case as a homicide. Her loved ones have not given up on their quest for answers. There is a monetary reward available for information that could help solve Sage's case.

If you have any information that could lead to the whereabouts of Sage Smith and/or Erik McFadden, please contact the Charlottesville Police Department at 434-970-3280.

Read more about Sage's case.

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The next set of unsolved LGBTQ cases will be posted next week. 

See last week's unsolved LGBTQ cases.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

The Disappearance of Jennifer and Adrianna Wix

Source: Justice for Jennifer and Adrianna Wix

Jennifer and Adrianna Wix have been missing since March 25th, 2004. The mother and daughter were reportedly last seen together between 9:00 and 9:30 PM that evening in Cross Plains, Tennessee. Since then, the whereabouts of Jennifer, then 21, and Adrianna, then 2, remain a mystery to this day.

At the time of their disappearance, Jennifer and Adrianna lived in Cross Plains with Jennifer's boyfriend, Joey Benton, and his parents, Joseph and Cindy Benton. Jennifer and Joey reportedly began dating during the summer of 2003. Jennifer and Adrianna moved into the Benton's home in December of 2003 - just a few short months before they vanished.

Family members of Jennifer and Adrianna stated that Jennifer was struggling at the Benton home in the days leading up to her disappearance. In fact, she called her mother on March 24th - the day before she vanished - upset over a fight she had with someone in the Benton family. The next morning, Jennifer called her aunt, Lisa Fierro, and said she no longer wanted to live with the Benton's. 

According to Lisa, Jennifer said she planned to tell Joey that she and Adrianna were going to move out. Lisa explained that Jennifer told her, "If he does not agree for us to leave when he gets home, I’m leaving and I’m coming [to your house].’” Lisa subsequently left a spare key out at her house for Jennifer to use. Jennifer and Adrianna never arrived at the residence.

Later that morning, Jennifer spoke on the phone with her father. During their conversation, Jennifer talked about her fight with the Benton family. She also told her father she was looking forward to seeing him the following week. Nothing about their conversation indicated that the loved ones of Jennifer and Adrianna would never see or hear from them again. However, that phone call was Jennifer's last documented form of contact.

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Jennifer and Adrianna are reported missing.

It's clear that Jennifer spoke to several family members - including her mother, father, and aunt - about her struggles at the Benton home. Conversations about these struggles happened all within a 24-hour window prior to Jennifer and Adrianna's disappearance. 

As noted above, Jennifer's aunt Lisa left a spare key in an available spot at her house in case Jennifer and Adrianna needed somewhere to go amidst her struggles with the Benton's. After the two did not show up, Lisa expected Jennifer to at least call her with an update on the situation. However, that call never came.

Jennifer's mother reported both Jennifer and Adrianna missing on March 27th, 2004. Police inevitably wanted to question the Benton family, especially Jennifer's boyfriend, Joey Benton. Joey initially said that Jennifer and Adrianna left the residence on the evening of their disappearance with an "unknown individual". He later told a different story - which inevitably caused even more suspicions about him.

The changed story.

Joey later told police that, on the day of their disappearances, Jennifer asked him to drive her and Adrianna and to a local Cross Plains grocery store so Jennifer could use the phone. Afterwards, they reportedly drove to a nearby Exxon gas station near Exit 112 off Interstate 65. Joey said that he dropped both Jennifer and Adrianna off at the gas station after he and Jennifer got into an argument. 

Joey then said he drove across the street and parked. He explained that, after five to ten minutes passed, he observed Jennifer and Adrianna getting into a white four-door sedan. The driver of said sedan is unknown.

Joey also told police that Jennifer returned to his family's home on March 26th, 2004 - without Adrianna. He claimed that Jennifer drove the car that had picked her and Adrianna up the previous day. She left after collecting a few belongings but said she would return later for her income tax return. According to Joey, this was the last time her ever saw or heard from Jennifer. 

An unverified story. 

Police have never been able to verify Joey's version of events. Not only have they been unable to verify that Jennifer returned to the Benton home on March 26th, they also have been unable to verify that Jennifer and Adrianna were dropped off at the gas station on the evening of March 25th. 

The last known trace of Jennifer and Adrianna appears to be from that phone call that Jennifer had with her father on the morning of March 25th, 2004. This phone call took place around 11:00 AM. What happened to Jennifer and Adrianna after that remains unknown. 

Information from Jennifer's cousin/Joey's co-worker.

On March 25th, 2004, Joey Benton went to his construction job as planned. This is corroborated by Joey's co-worker, Jeff Grayson. Jeff also happens to be Jennifer's cousin; he is the son of Jennifer's aunt, Lisa Fierro. 

According to Jeff, Joey left abruptly while on the job. Jeff told reporters that "Joey got a phone call and had to leave. It was really fast. It was really — something happened, you know? ‘We gotta go, I gotta go,’ you know? It was really, really, really, really urgent.”

It's unclear what, exactly, prompted Joey to leave his job so abruptly. However, it appears that this happened after Jennifer's last known contact with her father at 11:00 AM. 

Unanswered questions and a cold case.

Although many people have suspicions about the Benton's, no one from the family has been charged with anything related to the disappearance of Jennifer and Adrianna. As months trickled into years without answers, the case quickly became cold. In 2013, it was reclassified as a homicide investigation. 

Police have remained quiet about the status of the investigation. However, in March 2024, it was reported that a search warrant was executed at the Benton home. The search took place over 20 years after Jennifer and Adrianna's disappearance, and it's unclear what, if any, evidence was found.

The search for answers.

Loved ones of Jennifer and Adrianna have never given up on their quest for answers and justice. The investigation is still open. There is a monetary reward available for information that could lead to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the disappearance of Jennifer and Adrianna. 

If you have any information that could help solve Jennifer and Adrianna's case, please Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND or email TipsToTBI@tbi.tn.gov.

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Sources:
Charley Project, (2)
Dateline
Justice for Jennifer and Adrianna Wix
Smokey Barn News
WSMV 4

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Pride Month: Unsolved LGBTQ Cases Vol. I

This Pride Month, it is important to remember the missing and murdered members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Several cases involving LGBTQIA+ individuals featured on True Case Files remain unsolved today. 

Each week during Pride Month, a set of 3 unsolved cases involving a missing or murdered member of the LGBTQIA+ community will be featured on this page. Let's continue to spread awareness on these cases in hopes that justice will be served.


The Disappearance of Mia Santiago.

Mia Santiago has been missing since August 20th, 2005. She was only 16 years-old at the time of her disappearance. Mia was last seen in Brooklyn, New York. She reportedly was seen getting in a cab with an unidentified man in the 300 Block of Rodney Street. She has never been seen or heard from again.

There are some discrepancies online about Mia's gender identity. Most sources refer to Mia as a transgender woman, however some sources refer to Mia with her previous name. There are many rumors online that Mia was a victim of the Long Island serial killer. Remains were found in Gilgo Beach that remain unidentified today, and there is speculation that the remains belong to Mia. Some posts have indicated that Mia's family members have yet to provide a DNA sample to compare to the remains, but Mia's family members have denied this.

The details about Mia's disappearance remain unclear, the only thing that is certain is that she remains missing today. Her case is considered a cold case. 

If you have any information that could lead to Mia Santiago's whereabouts, please submit a tip.

Read more about Mia's case.


The Murder of Priscilla Pimentel.

Priscilla Pimentel was found murdered inside her Queens, New York apartment on November 24th, 2006. The 24-year-old woman was supposed to join her family in Pennsylvania for the Thanksgiving holiday, but she never showed up. Her worried siblings traveled to New York to check on her the following day.

When Priscilla's siblings arrived at her residence, they stumbled upon a horrific scene: both Priscilla and her dog had been brutally stabbed to death. Both were found deceased in Priscilla's bathtub. Their bodies were covered in green paint that Priscilla had recently used to paint her walls.

Priscilla was still new to New York City at the time of her murder. She grew up in the small town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. After her murder, Priscilla's stepfather Raoul Laracuente told reporters that he believes Priscilla moved to the city because she was afraid her sexuality would be hurtful to her family. He Laracuente explained, "I truly believe in my heart that she moved away just so she wouldn’t hurt her mother’s feelings. This is a small town; everybody knows your business. She said she’d go to New York so that her mother wouldn’t be hurt."

Several have passed since Priscilla's death, and her murder remains unsolved today. No suspects or persons of interest have ever been announced. 

If you have any information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of Priscilla's killer(s), please submit a tip.

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The Disappearance of Jasmine Moody.

Jasmine Moody has been missing since December 4th, 2014. The then-18-year-old was a student at Texas Women's University at the time of her disappearance. Jasmine vanished while visiting her girlfriend, Brittany Gurley, in Detroit, Michigan. 

Jasmine arrived in Detroit on November 25th, 2014. She spent Thanksgiving and the days following with Brittany and her family. Jasmine was scheduled to return to Texas on December 5th, 2014—the day after her disappearance.

According to Brittany and her mother, Jasmine vanished after angrily leaving the Detroit residence during an argument. She never returned to the house, nor did she ever make her trip back home to Texas. She has never been seen or heard from again. 

Over the years, there has been a lot of suspicion about Brittany and her mother. Many believe that the mother and daughter know exactly what happened to Jasmine. However, neither woman has ever been charged with anything related to Jasmine's case. Both deny involvement in her disappearance.

Jasmine remains missing today, and her loved ones are still left without answers. A monetary reward for anyone with information that could lead to her whereabouts is available.

If you have any information that could lead to Jasmine Moody's whereabouts, please submit a tip.

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