Monday, August 15, 2022

The Murder of Vanessa Cocly

23 year-old Vanessa Cocly was tragically murdered by her ex-boyfriend on March 31st, 2018. She left her family’s Orlando, Florida home that evening around 8pm, after telling her parents that she would be back in a few hours. When Vanessa still was not home by the following morning, her parents used her Google Services account to track her phone’s location. The tracker revealed that Vanessa’s phone was at the home of 32 year-old Christian Ruben Valentin Penchi—her ex-boyfriend.

Vanessa’s parents were actually not worried when they first tracked her phone. Although Vanessa and Christian had broken up, Vanessa’s parents were relieved to see that she was still in the area and that her phone was still active. Her parents began to worry the following day when they noticed that her phone was shut off and she still had not returned home. She also had not shown up for her first day of training for her new job at Disney, nor did she show up for Easter dinner. 

Vanessa’s mother reported her missing around 5:00 PM on April 2nd. She told investigators that Vanessa’s phone had been tracked to Christian’s home the previous day. However, when investigators went to talk to Christian on April 3rd, he was nowhere to be found. As it turns out, he had boarded a flight to Puerto Rico just hours earlier. There were no records of Vanessa boarding a flight with him, so the possibility of her traveling with him was quickly ruled out.

It was later revealed that Christian had visited a pawn shop just hours before Vanessa was reported missing. While there, Christian sold a .380 caliber handgun. Investigators found it suspicious that Christian had pawned a gun and left the country shortly after the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. 

The suspicions continued to build after Vanessa’s car was located at a Panda Express restaurant near Christian’s home on April 4th. Investigators found Vanessa’s backpack with her school books in the back seat of her car, and her credit cards and purse in the trunk.

Meanwhile, Christian’s brother contacted the police that same day to report Christian missing. 
At this point, it was clear to investigators that Christian had not told anybody about any travel plans to Puerto Rico, and it appeared that he had, in fact, fled the country.

Christian's brother decided to report Christian as missing because was worried after having not heard from him for days. The brother told investigators that Christian was depressed about a custody battle with his ex-wife, and he had recently just lost his job. Additionally, Christian’s brother stated that Christian was actively trying to rekindle his relationship with Vanessa, but she was not interested. 

On April 5th, a judge signed a warrant to search Christian’s condo. While there, investigators found Vanessa’s body in the bathroom. She had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Investigators labeled Vanessa's death as a murder.

Police captured and arrested Christian in Puerto Rico the following day, where he was arrested and charged with first degree murder. He was eventually extradited back to Florida, where he was held without bail in the Orange County Jail.

source: The Orlando Sentinel

In January 2019, Christian pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Vanessa Cocly. On April 12th, 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison. It was revealed at the sentencing that Christian shot Vanessa to death after an argument in his bathroom.  

However, Christian claims he did not intend to harm Vanessa. He spoke at the sentencing, stating “I want to say to the victim’s family I’m sorry. I’m deeply sorry. It wasn’t me, it was something out of the ordinary, I was the under the influence of drugs and that wasn’t me that night and I’m deeply sorry.” Christian remains in Florida prison.

The Murder of Hailey Perkins

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Hailey Perkins was found murdered inside her family's Pueblo West, Colorado home on June 27th, 2022. The young girl was just 13 years-old, and she was killed one day before her 14th birthday. Pueblo County Police were sent to the Perkins home shortly after 10:00 AM on June 27th after they received a call about an unresponsive female. When officers arrived at the house, they found Hailey deceased. Her death was labeled a homicide.

The news about Hailey's tragic death quickly spread throughout the community. However, her exact manner of death was not immediately revealed. Initial reports about Hailey's case labeled her death as "suspicious" - but no other details were provided. As such, many rumors began to spread about what might have happened to Hailey. One prominent rumor was that drugs were involved in her death. Just days later, though, police confirmed that Hailey had actually been murdered. 

It was later revealed that Hailey died from a gunshot wound to the head. No arrests have been made, nor have any suspects or persons of interest been publicly identified. Despite this, police have maintained that there is no current threat to the public. Police have otherwise remained quiet about the details of Hailey's case, but the investigation is active and ongoing. 

Hailey leaves behind two brothers, one of whom was her twin. She also leaves behind her parents, friends, and her other loving family members. The community is determined to find justice for the young girl. A Go Fund Me has been created to help raise money for funeral and investigative services. If you are interested in donating, you can do so here.

If you have any information that could lead to the arrest of Hailey's killer(s), please call 719-542-STOP.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Today in True Crime: August 14, 2022

It's the 11 year anniversary of two different cases - one is a missing persons' case, the other is a murder. Unfortunately, both cases remain unsolved.

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Julius 'TaDarius' Jones vanished at the age of 26 on August 14th, 2011. He lived in Meridian, Mississippi at the time of his disappearance. TaDarius' loved ones last saw him on the evening he went missing. He ate dinner with his family, went out afterwards, then never returned home. TaDarius has never been seen or heard from again.

Two days after he was last seen, TaDarius' car was found parked near an abandoned home on 27th Street. There was no sign of TaDarius at the scene and no additional clues were found. His case went cold quickly. On February 19th, 2019, TaDarius was declared legally dead. 

Over the years, several leads have been chased, but no suspects or persons of interest have been publicly named. There is a lot of online speculation about what happened, but no arrests have been made. TaDarius remains missing.

[read the full case write-up] [submit a tip]

My thoughts on this case...

Definitely another case where investigators have a lot more information than disclosed. Not sure if they have a legitimate suspect or not, but I would bet money that police have an idea of what happened...especially since they declared TaDarius dead without a body.

TaDarius' mother said she did not know that her son had been declared dead for almost 3 years. If investigators did not bother to let TaDarius' own mother know about this, I highly doubt they will share any information with the public anytime soon... unless they finally make an arrest. I hope that this happens soon, and that TaDarius' family gets the answers they deserve.

Case # 2-

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Katelyn Markham vanished in Fairfield, Ohio on August 14th, 2011. The then-22-year-old was last seen alive was last seen at her condo in Fairfield. Nearly two years later, Katelyn's remains were found at Big Cedar Creek in Cedar Grove, Indiana. Her death was labeled a homicide, but investigators were never able to determine her exact cause of death.

Several people have been investigated in Katelyn's case, including her fiancĂ© John Carter. John was the last person to have seen Katelyn before her disappearance, and his alibi had a few inconsistencies. However, he's been investigated extensively and he has never been charged with anything related to Katelyn's death.

Others have been investigated too...but no arrests have ever been made. Katelyn's family members have not given up on solving her case.

[read the full case write-up] [submit a tip]

My thoughts on this case...

I think this was a pretty high-profile disappearance when it first happened. It's really sad that she was found dead and they still don't have any suspects. Like all unsolved cases, I really hope Katelyn and her family members find justice.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

The Disappearance and Murder of Anjelica 'AJ' Hadsell

Anjelica 'AJ' Hadsell

Anjelica 'AJ' Hadsell vanished from Norfolk, Virginia at the age of 18 on March 2nd, 2015. At the time, AJ was a freshman at Longwood University. When she vanished, she was visiting her hometown, Norfolk, while on spring break. 

When news about AJ's disappearance was initially reported, it was believed that AJ was last seen by a neighbor while driving away from her mother’s home on Millard Street. However, suspicion quickly fell upon AJ’s adopted father/ex-stepfather, Wesley Hadsell. The day AJ was last seen, Wesley abruptly left his job around noon after telling his co-workers that he had to meet up with his daughter to give her some money. He returned about two hours later, but his co-workers stated that he appeared agitated upon his return and he ended up needing to take the rest of the day off. 

Initially, it appeared that Wesley was going to great lengths to deflect suspicion away from him. In fact, within the first week of AJ’s disappearance, Wesley broke into a home and reportedly “found” AJ’s jacket. He claimed that the person who lived in said home kidnapped AJ, which is why her jacket was there. 

Wesley was arrested for breaking and entering after that, and many suspected that he actually planted the jacket there himself. At this point, Wesley was officially named a person of interest in AJ’s disappearance. The 38 year-old was already no stranger to the police–he was a convicted felon with previous bank robbery and burglary convictions.

As the investigation into AJ's disappearance continued, Wesley continued to publicly deny harming AJ, even after the investigators searched his motel room and seized his van. Inside the motel room, investigators found several rounds of ammunition; which he is forbidden to own as a felon. Inside the vehicle, investigators found a shovel, duct tape, and a pair of black work gloves. 

In April 2015, investigators received an analysis report on Wesley's van’s GPS, which revealed that it had been driven to an abandoned home close to the North Carolina border on the day AJ vanished. The report states that the van remained on the property for about 20 minutes. On April 9th, 2015 detectives went to the property and found AJ’s body buried in a ditch behind the abandoned home. Now, investigators were tasked with putting her killer behind bars.

The slow journey to justice.

News about AJ’s body being found spread quickly, but no arrests were made and investigators did not immediately reveal how they came across the property she was found on. Many suspected that Wesley Hadsell killed her, but police did not immediately charge him with murder or any other charges related to AJ's death.

An autopsy later revealed that AJ died of “acute heroin poisoning and homicidal violence.” Despite these findings, police still did not arrest or charge Wesley with anything related to AJ’s death. Instead, they pursued unrelated charges for unlawful possession of ammunition. 

Wesley was initially sentenced to 20 years for the ammunition charges, however he was re-sentenced in early November 2018 to 10 years. Around the time of these court proceedings, other court documents related to AJ’s case were unsealed. The documents reveal that another currently unidentified inmate stated that he “helped” Wesley with AJ’s disappearance, yet he did not reveal when or how. 

Just a few weeks after Wesley's re-sentencing, on November 19th, 2018, he was officially charged for AJ’s murder. Many people strongly suspected he was responsible for AJ’s disappearance/death since the beginning, and AJ’s loved ones were glad to see he was finally being charged. Still, a motive for AJ's murder still remained unclear.

The mistrial. 

Wesley Hadsell's murder trial began in February 2020, however on the second day in court a mistrial was declared. The judge overseeing the case declared a mistrial after Wesley reportedly decided he did not want to keep an agreement that his defense team had made with the prosecution prior to the trial. 

The agreement regarded which parts of Wesley's previous criminal records would be brought up during the trial. Due to the fact that Wesley changed his mind about said agreement after the trial was underway, the prosecution did not have time to restructure their case and therefore asked the judge to declare a mistrial. A new trial was scheduled to begin at a later date, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the proceedings significantly. 

The retrial.

After several delays, Wesley Hadsell finally went to retrial during January of 2022. This time around, he was found guilty. During the trial, AJ's mother testified that AJ and Wesley had a seemingly normal father-daughter relationship up until she went to college.
AJ and Wesley at her high school graduation. (source)

While AJ was away at school, she learned that Wesley was abusing drugs. Due to the drug usage, AJ no longer wanted anything to do with him, and she did not make plans to see him over her spring break. However, the evidence that the prosecution presented showed that Wesley did, in fact, murder AJ by forcibly injecting her with a lethal dosage of heroin before partially burying her body behind an abandoned home.

The jury only deliberately for 45 minutes before finding Wesley guilty on all counts. In April 2022, he was sentenced to life plus 15 years. He still maintains his innocence and claims to have been wrongly convicted. As of today, he remains in prison.

Today in True Crime: August 13, 2022

Today is the anniversary of 3 different types of cases: an unsolved murder, and unsolved disappearance, and a resolved murder. 

We'll begin with the unsolved cases, so the "submit tip" links are higher on the page. 

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It has been 17 years since Alexandra 'Alex' Anaya vanished from her family's Hammond, Indiana residence. The young girl was only 13 years-old at the time of her disappearance. Just days after she vanished, Alex’s torso was found floating in Little Calumet River in Chicago. She had been dismembered, and the rest of her body has never been recovered.

No arrests have ever been made for Alex’s death. Her mother’s ex-boyfriend was tried in federal court shortly after Alex’s disappearance on charges of stalking the family, but he was eventually acquitted. He has never been named as a suspect in Alex’s case. However, investigators do believe that Alex knew her killer. The case remains unsolved.

My thoughts on this case...

If I've read between the lines correctly, it seems like investigators have a pretty good idea about who their suspect is. They just need that one extra tip or that one extra shred of evidence to finally make an arrest. This girl was only 13 years old when she suffered this brutal death. She deserves to rest in peace...and her loved ones deserve justice.

Case # 2:

On this day in 2010, DeNeka Walker vanished in Muskegon, Michigan. The then-30-year-old woman was last seen getting into a black Cadillac CTS driven by a man known only by the nickname ‘Brick’. She never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again.

It is not believed that DeNeka vanished on her own accord. She left behind four children, which is uncharacteristic. Those children were placed into foster care after DeNeka's disappearance. Police were eventually able to track down the man known as 'Brick'. They questioned him, but he was then released from police custody. It's unclear if he is a person of interest or not.

DeNeka's family reportedly heard rumors that prior to her disappearance, DeNeka was involved in the theft of a large amount of drugs and money. These rumors have not been confirmed, and it is unclear if the rumors have anything to do with her disappearance.

12 years have passed, and there is still no answer about what happened to DeNeka. Her case remains unsolved. 

My thoughts on this case...

It's so sad that DeNeka's children were placed in foster care instead of with a relative. It's possible that foster care was their best option - but we all know the foster system can be very tough on children. I hope those children are doing okay now.

There haven't been that many updates on DeNeka's case. It seems like yet another unfortunate case that has fallen through the cracks. I hope I'm wrong, though. Let's not let DeNeka be forgotten!

Case # 3:

It's been sixteen years since Alycia Mesiti (14) was killed by her own father in Ceres, California.

Alycia and her brother were placed into Mark Mesiti's custody after their mother was deemed unfit by a Santa Clara County judge. However, Mark also did not have a clean-cut past, as he had a history of substance abuse and domestic violence. Still, the judge deemed that Mark was the more suitable parent for the two children, so they were sent to live with him in Ceres.

Alycia was reported missing on August 14th, 2006. That day, Mark’s girlfriend Shelly Walker took a flight from Los Angeles to Northern California to visit Mark. When Shelly asked Mark about Alycia's whereabouts, he told her that she ran away. Shelly subsequently reported Alycia missing. Initially, police truly believed Alycia had run away. Months later, Mark and Shelly moved to Los Angeles.

In March 2009, investigators brought cadaver dogs to Mark’s old home in Ceres. After getting a hit, a team dug up the backyard and ended up finding remains. Those remains were later identified as that of Alycia Mesiti. An autopsy concluded that she died of acute drug intoxication. At that point, it became clear that Mark Mesiti, at the very least, was responsible for disposing of his daughter's body.

Investigators subsequently obtained a warrant for Mark's new home in Los Angeles. There, it was discovered that Mark and Shelly were running a meth lab in the home where children were living. The two were subsequently arrested and booked on drug and child endangerment charges. Those charges were pursued first, and he was convicted of the drug and child endangerment charges in 2011. After that, Mark was sent back to Stanislaus County where he was charged with Alycia's murder.

Prosecutors believe that Mark provided his daughter with these drugs for a horrifying reason: to prevent her from resisting his sexual abuse. There was proof that Mark had been sexually abusing Alycia, as a numerous amount of pornographic images of Alycia and other minor children were found on his computer. Investigators also uncovered videos of Mark molesting his daughter while she was unconscious. 

Mark pleaded guilty in October 2017. He was eventually sentenced to life in prison, where he remains today.

My thoughts on this case...

Everything about this case is awful. This young girl was being drugged and molested by her father, yet a judge somehow deemed him the more suitable parent? Obviously it was not *known* that he was an abuser when he obtained custody, but I'd like to know why exactly the mother was deemed unfit. Reports say she suffered from depression.. but with proper treatment, that could have been managed! There must be more to the story, but who knows if we will ever know the truth.

I am glad Alycia's murderer is exactly where he deserves to be: in prison for life. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

The Disappearance of Tiffany Daniels

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Tiffany Heaven Daniels (25) was last seen in Pensacola, Florida on August 12th, 2013. That day, she went to work at a theater at Pensacola State College, where she painted sets. While at work, Tiffany asked her boss if she could leave a little early. Her boss granted this request.

Tiffany also told her boss that she would be away from work for the next couple of days, but she did not specify why; she simply said she had “a few things to take care of.” Tiffany’s roommate saw her return to their house that afternoon, however, he was on a phone call when she returned and he did not get a chance to speak with her. By time he got off the phone, Tiffany had left again. She never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again.

Tiffany’s family members and friends apparently did not know that she planned to take a few days off from work. According to them, she did not have any known plans to travel out of town that week. In fact, a day prior to her disappearance, her boyfriend moved to Austin, Texas, and Tiffany declined to move there with him. She had, however, already made plans to visit him during the upcoming months; so it was quickly ruled out that she had run off to follow him to Texas.

On August 20th, eight days after her disappearance, Tiffany’s car was found parked at Pensacola Beach. Her wallet, cell phone, bicycle, water bottles, and other personal items were found inside. The car was found by a jogger who recognized it after seeing coverage about Tiffany’s disappearance on the news. 

Police spoke to residents who lived in the condominium across the street, and one resident in particular said that the car was “definitely not” parked there two days earlier. Two other residents said that they had seen an unidentified man getting out of the car earlier on that day.  After the car was towed to the police garage for examination, investigators found two fingerprints, one on the door handle and the other on the steering wheel, that could not be matched to Tiffany or any of the investigators who had worked on the car.

Ever since the discovery of her car, there have been very few clues in Tiffany’s case. There have been a few sightings of her in nearby states, however none of those sightings have been verified. Tiffany’s mother fears she may be a victim of sex trafficking. If you have any information about Tiffany/her whereabouts, please contact the Pensacola Police Department at 850-435-1900.

The Disappearance and Murder of Savannah Spurlock

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Savannah Spurlock vanished on January 4th, 2019. The 22-year-old young woman was last seen leaving The Other Bar, located in Lexington, Kentucky. Savannah was captured on the bar’s surveillance camera with two unidentified men. She FaceTimed her mother one final time at 3 AM. During the call, Savannah told her mother that she was out in Lexington and would come home soon. Unfortunately, though, Savannah never returned home and was never seen or heard from again.

The young men Savannah left the bar with were eventually located and questioned by police. The men were initially not named as suspects; however, investigators did not clear them either. Police also interviewed a third man who was seen with Savannah that evening. No arrests were made at the time, but a search warrant was executed at a home of David Sparks' parents. David is one of the men Savannah was with on the evening of her disappearance. A car was seized when investigators searched the Sparks' home. 

It was never believed that Savannah left on her own accord. She had recently given birth to twins in December 2018, and she also had two other children. Savannah’s loved ones described her as a dedicated mother who would not abandon her children. During her final FaceTime call, Savannah seemed happy and according to her mother, nothing seemed amiss. 

Months after Savannah's disappearance, police revealed a few more details about her case. It was then revealed that Savannah was taken a rural home in Garrard County by Sparks and the other men she was with at the bar. Police explained that they “have evidence to suggest [Savannah] went to the home, but nothing to show she ever left.” At that point, it became clear that investigators believed something awful had happened to Savanah.


The men from The Other Bar.

Police confirmed that Savannah did not know David Sparks or any of the other men prior to going to The Other Bar on the evening of January 3rd. David later told police that Savannah left his house on foot the following morning, and that he never heard from her again. It was clear that investigators did not buy David's story, but they still initially did not have enough evidence to charge him with anything related to Savannah's disappearance.

The other men present that evening were eventually cleared. They told investigators that they all drank at Sparks' house after leaving The Other Bar. The other men eventually left, but they noted Savannah was alive at that time. They also noted that it appeared Savannah was going in and out of consciousness, and David had touched her inappropriately.

It did not take long for David to become the prime suspect. However, Savannah remained missing, and they could not charge him with anything yet. That finally changed upon the discovery of her remains.

Finding Savannah.

Months later, on the evening of July 10th, 2019, human remains were found on the Sparks' property in Garrard County. The following day, those remains were identified as that of Savannah Spurlock. 23-year-old David Sparks was arrested upon the discovery of Savannah's remains. He was initially only charged with tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse. However, by the end of the next month, David was also charged with Savannah's murder. 

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Plea deal.

In 2020, David Sparks pleaded guilty to the murder of Savannah Spurlock.

While in court, the plea deal agreement was read aloud. It stated, 
“During the early morning hours of January 4, 2019, at 118 Price Court in Garrard County, Kentucky, the defendant, acting alone, intentionally caused the death of Savannah Spurlock. After so doing, he bound her legs and wrapped her body in plastic bags. He later transported her body to (Fall Lick) and buried her in the yard behind that residence. He did so with the intent to elude apprehension for the murder and to impair the evidence’s availability in any future proceeding pertaining to that crime.”

A true motive for Savannah's murder still remains unclear. An investigative file was released on the case, which contains handwritten admissions from David that he is a "psychopath." He called himself a psychopath in a letter found by his bedside table but told investigators it was not related to Savannah's case. However, he also mentioned that he was profiled as a psychopath as well. While this does not provide a true motive, it does provide some insight into his state-of-mind.

As part of his plea deal, Sparks was sentenced to 50 years in prison. He remains incarcerated today.

The Murder of Vanessa Cocly

23 year-old Vanessa Cocly was tragically murdered by her ex-boyfriend on March 31st, 2018. She left her family’s Orlando, Florida hom...