Friday, May 31, 2019

The Disappearance of Natanalie Perez


Natanalie Perez has been missing since June 1st, 2012. The 19 year-old was originally from central Florida, but she had moved to Miami about six months before her disappearance. She was last seen in front of Burke’s Motel on Southwest 8th street. It was believed she was living there at the time. She reportedly never went back inside the motel and has never been seen or heard from again.

There has been very little news about Natanalie’s disappearance in the media. However, a nonprofit called the Anti-Predator Project has been working with Natanalie’s family to spread awareness about her case. The organization has provided a few more details about her disappearance as well. One of their blog posts reads, “[Natanalie] was lured to Miami from a small town in central Florida in January of 2012 with the promise of a job in the music industry. Once she arrived in Miami she was beaten, gang raped, and stripped of her identification. After that she was sold online via Backpage.com out of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach and the Hyatt in Miami. Natanalie was last seen by her boyfriend outside the Burks Motel in Miami on June 1, 2012 when she took a phone call on his cell phone, got into a mysterious car with unknown individuals and drove off. She has not been seen or heard from since. Obviously we believe that her trafficker were involved in this but due to integrity of the investigation we cannot release their names. We are looking for anyone who may know something about this case.” None of this has been confirmed by the Miami Police Department or the news media, but investigators do not believe that Natanalie is missing on her own accord.

Anyone with information on Natanalie’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Anti-Predator Project at 305-609-1918 or the Miami Police Department at 305-603-6300.
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Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Disappearance of Taylor Devin Johnson


Taylor Devin Johnson has been missing since May 31st, 2017. The 22 year-old was last seen in his hometown of Gilbert, South Carolina, walking towards his ex-girlfriend’s home so he could see his children. Around 7pm that evening, Taylor’s father spotted Taylor walking alongside the road near the Dollar Store on Pond Branch Highway. His father noticed Taylor looked a little upset, so he pulled up to him and asked him if he wanted to get in the car. Taylor refused. 

Taylor never arrived at his ex-girlfriend’s home and has never been seen or heard from again. According to Taylor’s mother, he was suffering from depression at the time of his disappearance after going through the breakup with his ex-girlfriend. He reportedly missed his children very much. Due to this, both law enforcement and Taylor’s parents do not believe that Taylor is missing on his own accord. Taylor’s mother mentioned that Taylor would often take walks while stressed out, but that he had every intention of seeing his children on the evening of his disappearance.

Taylor did not have a habit of dropping out of sight prior to his disappearance. He also did not have any known enemies, and he kept in frequent contact with both his parents and his children. Taylor remains missing today and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. If you have any information that could lead to his whereabouts, please contact the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office at 803-785-8230.


List Series: Deadly Age Gaps


Five cases of age-gap relationships that ended in murder. 


5. Tayler Harsch & Franklin Lee Burress

Tayler Harsch met Franklin Lee Burress when she was only 14 years old. Franklin was 25 at the time. Franklin was reportedly very controlling over Tayler, and the two had a rocky on-again, off-again relationship that at times turned physically violent. Despite their volatile courtship, Franklin and Tayler ended up marrying in 2014. Things did not improve after getting married, though--the two continued to fight and Franklin reportedly moved in and out of their Lake Monticello, Virginia time numerous times throughout the following year. 

On the evening of September 4th, 2015, Tayler left work around 9pm with plans to go out with a group of friends later that night. When she got home, she posted the above selfie to Facebook and texted her friends about what she was going to wear that night. However, around 10pm, Tayler began texting her friends to tell them that she was not feeling well enough to go out. Nobody heard from Tayler or Franklin again until 3am, when Franklin called his parents and said that he “snapped” and killed Tayler.  Franklin’s parents called the police. When they arrived at the couple’s home, police found Tayler’s body in their hot tub, and Franklin covered in her blood. He was arrested and charged with murder.

On July 7th, 2016, Franklin accepted a plea deal and plead guilty to second degree murder. He was sentenced to 40 years—the maximum sentence for murder in the second degree.

4. Michael Wolfe & Karissa Fretwell

Michael Wolfe is a 52 year-old married man from Salem, Oregon. Despite his marriage, Michael was engaged in an affair with a 25 year-old woman named Karissa Fretwell. Karissa got pregnant at some point during their affair, and she gave birth to their son William 'Billy' Fretwell in 2016. Michael and Karissa had already ended their affair by the time Billy was born, and Michael actually did not learn that he was Billy's father until 2018. Karissa and Billy disappeared on May 13th, 2019 and they were reported missing by Karissa's family members a few days later. About a week after that, police announced that they arrested and charged Michael with murdering both Karissa and Billy. 

After his arrest, it was revealed that Karissa had sought child support from Michael shortly before her disappearance. Cell phone records place both Michael and Karissa's phones in the same place on the evening of May 13th. Finally, in June 2019, investigators found their remains in a wooded area. Michael remains behind bars as the case is pending. [read more]

3. Dominique Pittman and Evalyce Santiago
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Dominique Pittman (left), Evalyce Santiago (right)
Evalyce Santiago was only 16 years old when she was tragically murdered by 27 year-old Dominique Pittman on December 4th, 2017. Evalyce was found in the passenger seat of Dominique’s car as it burst into flames. She had gunshot wounds to both her hands and her head. The car had crashed into a private yard at a home in Waterbury, Connecticut and caught fire shortly thereafter.

Police encountered Dominique shortly after the incident. He was reportedly visibly shaken with cuts and bruises. It was immediately believed that he was responsible for the incident and he was subsequently arrested. After initially denying involvement Dominique confessed that he and Evalyce were in a sexual relationship. Evalyce apparently considered him to be her boyfriend, despite the fact that he had actually been dating Evalyce’s aunt for the past six years and had three children with her. Evalyce’s family members, including her aunt, were unaware of her inappropriate relationship with Dominique. In fact, Evalyce referred to Dominique as her uncle when talking to others.

However, on December 4th, Dominique and Evalyce were driving around in Dominique’s car when they got into an argument and Evalyce threatened to tell her aunt about their relationship.  In order to cover up the relationship, prosecutors alleged that Dominique shot and killed Evalyce before crashing the car and escaping from it before it burst into flames.  In September 2018, Dominique pleaded guilty to the murder of Evalyce Santiago. He maintains that Evalyce’s death was an accident–that he unintentionally shot her as the two struggled over the gun during an argument in the car. It is believed Dominique took the plea deal in exchange for a 35 year sentence, which he formally received on November 27th, 2018. 

2. Lindsay Nichols & Timothy Roses

Lindsay Nichols (22) met Dr. Timothy Roses (45) in 2011, while Lindsay was studying radiology at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, Iowa. The two began having an affair, unbeknownst to Timothy's wife--who was raising Timothy's children in Texas. Lindsay ended the affair in February 2012, and Timothy did not take the break-up well. He allegedly sent Lindsay several text messages while trying to win her back, but Lindsay refused. The situation escalated on March 21st, 2012--when Lindsay posted on Facebook that she was in a relationship with a new man. 

Enraged by Lindsay’s new relationship, Timothy then decided to take matters into his own hands. He rented a truck with out-of-state license plates and watched as Chase picked Lindsay up from Waterloo to drive her to his home in Jesup, a town located approximately 15 miles away. Timothy followed Chase and Lindsay all the way to Chase’s driveway. At that point, Lindsay realized it was Timothy who was following them and she got out of the car to confront him while Chase called the police. A brief argument ensued that ended with Timothy shooting Lindsay in the head before he turned the gun on himself. The incident was ruled a murder-suicide. [read more] [also on the 'Love Triangles With Tragic Endings' list]

1. Baleigh Bagshaw & Shaun French

Shaun French (24) moved into the home of Shawna Bagshaw in Salt Lake City, Utah during 2017. Shawna lived in the home with her daughter, Baleigh Bagshaw. Baleigh was only 14 years old at the time Shaun moved into their home, however that did not stop Shaun from pursuing Baleigh. The two quickly fell into a months-long sexual relationship. Shawna kicked Shaun out of their home in July 2017. Baleigh and Shaun still kept in touch after this, but Baleigh’s mother was unaware of the extent of their relationship until May 2nd, 2018. That day, Baleigh confessed to her mother that she had been in a sexual relationship with Shaun that began when she was 14 years old. Baleigh had recently ended the relationship, and Shaun was threatening to send her nude photographs to her mother and to post them on social media. In fact, as Baleigh and her mother were having this conversation, Baleigh’s mother received a nude picture of her daughter from a social media account that she did not recognize. The mother and daughter then decided to contact police and to secure a restraining order against Shaun.

A few days later, the situation escalated. On May 7th, 2018,  Shaun and a male friend spent the day in a park near Baleigh’s home in Salt Lake City. The male friend would later tell police that he dropped Shaun off at Baleigh’s house on the 7th, and when Shaun returned, he was covered in blood and said he had to leave the state because he had killed a girl while she was talking on the phone. He allegedly told his friend, “I damn near cut her head off.” Police ultimately located Shaun and his male friend on May 11th, 2018 in Colorado. After that, the friend told police his version of events and led them to a dumpster where they had discarded Shaun’s knife and bloody clothes.

Shaun was extradited back to Utah and charged with aggravated murder, obstruction of justice, and sexual exploitation. No bail was set and he remains behind bars as his case is pending. [read more]

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Murder of Grant Nelson: an Uber driver who was killed by teenage passenger Eliza Wasni

Grant Nelson (34)

During the early morning hours of May 30th, 2017, an Uber driver named Grant Nelson (34) stumbled into a condominium in Skokie, Illinois and began banging on the lobby doors while screaming “Help me, help me! I’m going to die!” Grant appeared to have suffered numerous wounds to the right side of his arm, his torso, his head, and his chest. When police finally arrived on the scene, Grant was barely conscious, but he was able to tell them that he had been attacked by his passenger. His Uber app was still open, and his latest passenger was simply listed as “Eliza”.

Paramedics transferred Grant to a nearby hospital, where he later died. Meanwhile, police searched the scene for Grant’s assailant. After following a trail of blood, police located Grant’s vehicle, which had been abandoned after it was crashed into a median. Just a block away, police spotted a young woman crouched behind an air conditioning unit at an office complex. She was dressed in only a bra and leggings, and she was clutching a bloody knife and machete. As police approached her, they noticed she was actually a young girl. They demanded she put down her weapons, but she ignored them. Officers ultimately used a stun gun to take her into custody. Shortly thereafter, police were able to identify the girl as 16 year-old Eliza Wasni.

Eliza Wasni
Eliza did not have a history of violence prior to this incident, and many were baffled by what she had done. The attack was apparently completely unprovoked, and self-defense was ruled out. Investigators soon learned that Eliza had ordered the Uber from a nearby Wal-Mart in Skokie, so they looked at the store’s surveillance footage to try and piece together the events. The footage revealed that Eliza was dropped off at Wal-Mart by another Uber driver shortly before 3am. Surveillance footage from inside the store shows Eliza calmly walking through the store with a knife in one hand, and a machete in the other. Not a single person notices as Eliza walks out of the store without paying for either item. After exiting the store, Eliza ordered another Uber to come pick her up. Grant, who was just a block away, received Eliza’s Uber request at went to pick her up at 3:18am. Grant had not driven Eliza very far before she randomly began to attack him with the knife and machete she had stolen from Wal-Mart.

At this time, investigators have not released a possible motive for this crime. It seems quite likely that mental illness played a role, but further details about that have not been released. Since being taken into custody, Eliza has had several incidents with the guards at the detention facility that have involved her biting, kicking or hitting them. While she currently remains at a juvenile detention center, Eliza has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder. She is currently waiting further court proceedings.

Abigail Hernandez Victim Impact Statement at the Sentencing of Nathaniel Kibby

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Abigail Hernandez (pictured left) was kidnapped at the age of 14 by Nathaniel Kibby during 2013. After 9 months of captivity, Kibby released Abigail. After initially lying (due to fear) about her abductor's identity, Abigail eventually revealed that Kibby was the one who kidnapped her. 
"I was told that I would have to give a victim impact statement and that I would have my time in court to talk.

It seems like forever - two years - have gone by, both fast and slow, in different senses. But I often think about Kibby and what he did affects my life on a day-to-day basis. My name does not mean the same thing anymore that it did before Oct 9 [2013]. I am attending school and I'm afraid to let anybody know what my last name is. Nobody knows what my last name is.

I fall asleep thinking about you. And, some people might call you a monster but I've always looked at you as human. And I want you to know that even though life became a lot harder after that, that I still forgive you.

I wish things didn't have to work in the way that they do but I need to be safe and so does my family. And I want you to know: I did not do this to you. I did not put you in prison. You put yourself in prison, so I can't carry that blame on my shoulders when it is simply not true that I put you in prison. When you decided to point that gun at me, that was not my choice. It was not my choice to go to your house. It was not my choice for you to rape me. It was not my choice for you to threaten me. You did all that yourself.

I don't want to talk down on you and I hope don't think that I am, I am just telling you the truth because sometimes I feel like I wear this whole thing like a millstone around my ankle. Sometimes I still feel like I'm chained, and sometimes I don't feel like I'm completely free. There are certain aspects of my freedom that I can never get back. 

But in the same aspect I want you to know that I appreciate my freedom because of you and that I enjoy and appreciate life because of you. I never look at sunshine in the same way. I never think about fresh air in the same way. So, I also just want to thank you for giving me my freedom back."

(source)

Jaycee Dugard Victim Impact Statement, Read by her Mother at the Sentencing of Philip Garrido


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Jaycee Dugard (left) was kidnapped at the age of 11 by Phillip Garrido in 1991. Both Phillip and his wife Nancy held Jaycee captive for 18 years. Jaycee birthed two of his children. In 2009, Jaycee revealed her true identity to a college campus security officer who subsequently called police. Jaycee opted not to go to Phillip's sentencing; she instead her her mother Terry Probyn (right) read her statement on her behalf.

"I chose not to be here today because I refuse to waste another second of my life in your presence. I've chosen to have my mom read this for me.

Phillip Garrido, you are wrong. I could never say that to you before but I have the freedom now and I am saying you are a liar and all of your so called theories are wrong. Everything you have ever done to me has been wrong and someday I hope you can see that.

What you and Nancy did was reprehensible. You always justified everything to suit yourself but the reality is and always has been that to make someone else suffer for your inability to control yourself and for you, Nancy to facilitate his behavior and trick young girls for his pleasure is evil. There is no God in the universe that would condone your actions. You called yourself an "honest man" but these are just words to you. They were your tools of choice and you wielded them with brute force.

To you, Phillip, I say that I have always been a thing for your own amusement. I hated every second of everyday of 18 years because of you and the sexual perversion you forced on me.

To you, Nancy, I have nothing to say.

Both of you can save your apologies and empty words. For all the crimes you have both committed I hope you have as many sleepless nights as I did.

Yes as I think of all of those years I am angry because you stole my life and that of my family. Thankfully I am doing well now and no longer live in a nightmare. I have wonderful friends and family around me. Something you can never take from me again. You do not matter any more."

--
Jaycee wrote a book about her ordeal, which can be found here. 

Elizabeth Smart Victim Impact Statement at the Sentencing of Brian David Mitchell

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Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped in 2002, at the age of 14, by Brian David Mitchell. Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, held Elizabeth captive in a remote tent in the woods of Utah. After 9 months of torture, Elizabeth was brought to a Burger King by her kidnappers--where she was recognized from her 'Missing Persons' poster by a patron who called police.

"I don’t have very much to say to you. I know exactly what you did. I know that you know that what you did was wrong. You did it with full knowledge...but I have a wonderful life now and no matter what you do, you will never affect me again. You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned. You will have to be held responsible for those actions, whether it’s in this life or the next, and I hope you are ready for when that time comes."

--
(source)
Today, Elizabeth is an advocate for kidnapping survivors and works to help families with missing loved ones. She has written a book about her ordeal, which is available here. An A&E miniseries about Elizabeth can also be found here. 

Elizabeth Thomas Victim Impact Statement at the Sentencing of Tad Cummins


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Elizabeth Thomas was only 15 years old when she met a teacher named Tad Cummins at her high school in Tennessee. Elizabeth met Tad during her first experience with public school. She had been a victim of childhood abuse and Tad preyed on her vulnerability and manipulated her into to running away with him in March 2017. The pair was found at a commune in California nearly 40 days later. 

"It is very difficult for me to stand here and fully describe the impact that Mr. Cummins' crimes have had on my life. The effects have been devastating and permanent, and they are not over. They are still an ongoing struggle that I experience one day, and sometimes even one moment, at a time in my life.

Mr. Cummins, what you did to me is unspeakable. I don't know that any words could ever accurately express how much pain I have suffered and continue to suffer because of you. When I started school, you picked me out of the crowd. I was just a kid who wanted to make friends, but you were someone who had a plan. You saw a broken girl, who was lonely, scared, and traumatized. You made her feel safe and loved because you saw what she needed and made her believe you would be her "protector." I was at a point in my life where I needed to be protected the most. And when it came down to it, that was all a part of your plan. All you were was a man who wanted sex, and you manipulated me and used me just for that.

I don't know if you have ever taken or could ever truly take responsibility for those actions. First, you said I was to blame. Then, you said the devil made you do it But if that's true, then you are the devil. Your choices were yours and yours alone. A 17-year-old girl should not have to tell a 52-year-old man this, but choices have consequences. Your choices destroyed not just my family, but also yours.

You act like you care now and that you're full of all this regret, but where was any of that before? Where was any of that when you first had me alone in your classroom and told me you wanted to see me naked? Where was any of that when you directed me into your classroom closet and violated me over and over again for months? Where was any of that when you spent untold amounts of time and effort into manipulating, pressuring, and deceiving me into thinking that you were the only person who cared about me? Where was any of that when I told you I was depressed and wanted to see a therapist, but you talked me out of it? Where was any of that when you convinced me to get in the car with you on March 13, 2017? Where was any of that when you sexually assaulted me night after night? Where was any of that when you made me sleep without my clothes on? Where was any of that when you made the decision to keep me away from my home and my family not once, not twice, but for 38 straight days?

It is convenient that you only say you're sorry now, while sitting in a courtroom, in front of a judge who is about to sentence you. But the truth is, it doesn't matter how much time you have to serve, you will never be able to undo what you did to me. You may someday have the luxury of moving past it, but I never will. I will have to live with the scars you left on me forever.

You preyed upon a vulnerable girl and robbed her childhood. For the last two years, I've been picking myself up, piece by piece, and proving to myself that I am much, much stronger than you convinced me I was. I choose to surround myself with people who pick me up, who cherish me, and who truly love me. Because of that, I'm able to stand here today, face you, and tell you that you don't have the power over me that you used to have. You can't hurt me anymore. I really hope that no matter what happens today, you learn from your actions. You did this. No one made you. No one influenced you.

I hope the Court is able to see the truth about Tad Cummins. This is not a man who has the convenient opportunity of using a troubled upbringing, bad relationships, or poor mental health as excuses for his actions. Mr. Cummins was a man who could have had anything he wanted in life. He had a good career, a family who loved him, and a community who admired him.

But Mr. Cummins is also a man who craved power and control. He is a man whose needs came first to him. Mr. Cummins always made it clear that if anyone found out what he was doing to me, everyone would take his side, and no one would believe me. He could have had anything in life and he chose to be a sexual predator. He chose to prey on me, knowing the problems I had in my home life, and he convinced me that I was weak. He chose to belittle me, degrade me, and abuse me. There is no doubt in my mind that if Mr. Cummins had never been caught, he would have eventually discarded me like a piece of trash and made another impressionable young woman his next chosen victim. Tad Cummins is a sick, disgusting criminal. I believe Mr. Cummins' sentence should be 38 years in prison-one year for each day he kept me away from my family. Thank you."

--
(source)

Michelle Knight Victim Impact Statement at the sentencing of Ariel Castro

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Michelle Knight reads her victim impact statement at the sentencing of Ariel Castro in August 2013. Castro kidnapped Michelle and two other girls during the early 2000s. They finally escaped from his Cleveland home in May 2013.

"Good afternoon. My name is Michelle Knight. And I would like to tell you what this was like for me. I missed my son every day. I wondered if I was ever going to see him again. He was only 2½ years old when I was taken. I look inside my heart and I see my son. I cried every night. I was so alone. I worried about what would happen to me and the other girls every day.

Days never got shorter. Days turned into nights. Nights turned into days. The years turned into eternity. I knew nobody cared about me. He told me that my family didn't care even on holidays. Christmas was the most traumatic day because I never got to spend it with my son. Nobody should ever have to go through what I went through or anybody else, not even the worst enemy.

Gina was my teammate. She never let me fall. I never let her fall. She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse. My friendship with her is the only thing that was good out of this situation. We said we would some day make it out alive, and we did.

Ariel Castro, I remember all the times that you came home talking about what everybody else did wrong and act like you wasn't doing the same thing. You said, at least I didn't kill you. For you took 11 years of my life away, and I have got it back. I spent 11 years in hell, and now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity.

From this moment on, I will not let you define me or affect who I am. You will live -- I will live on. You will die a little every day. As you think about the 11 years and atrocities you inflicted on us, what does God think of you hypocritically going to church every Sunday, coming home to torture us. The death penalty would be so much easier. You don't deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison. I can forgive you, but I will never forget. With the guidance of God, I will prevail and help others that suffered at the hands of others.

Writing this statement gave me the strength to be a stronger woman, and know that there's good -- there is more good than evil. I know that there is a lot of people going through hard times, but we need to reach out a hand and hold them and let them know that they're being heard.

After 11 years, I am finally being heard, and it's liberating.
Thank you, all. I love you. God bless you."

--Castro's two other victims, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, were not present at Castro's sentencing.

Monday, May 27, 2019

List Series: Victims found by Loved Ones


Ten cases of murder victims who were unfortunately found by their loved ones. 

10. Anita Knutson: found by her father
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Anita Knutson was savagely murdered inside her Minot, North Dakota apartment on June 3rd, 2007. At the time of her death, Anita was a freshman at Minot State University and she lived with a roommate near the college campus. Anita's roommate was out-of-town on the evening of June 3rd--leaving Anita at the apartment by herself. After not hearing from her for over a day, Anita's father went to her apartment to check on her. Knocks to Anita's apartment door went unanswered, so her father was eventually able to get the apartment's manager to let him in. When he entered, he stumbled upon a horrific scene: Anita was dead. She had been stabbed to death in her own bedroom.

It appears that whoever killed Anita broke into the apartment. The front door was locked, but the screen on Anita’s bedroom window had been slashed and pushed out of the frame—suggesting that the killer had entered through said window. Police initially had many leads to follow.They investigated apartment maintenance workers, Anita’s friends from school, and various people who were seen in the area around the time of Anita’s murder. Unfortunately, nothing panned out. Since then, leads have been very scarce and Anita’s case has gone cold. Her killer remains free today. [read more

9. Faith Hedgepeth: found by roommate Karena Rosario
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Karena Rosario (left) with Faith Hedgepeth (right)
Faith Hedgepeth (19) was a junior at UNC Chapel Hill when she was brutally murdered in her off-campus apartment on September 7th, 2012. The young woman lived in the apartment with her roommate/friend Karena Rosario. On the evening prior to Faith's murder, both Faith and Karena spent the evening at the campus library to work on a project. The two returned to their apartment at around 12am and then promptly left again at 12:30am to go to Thrill nightclub—a spot that was popular amongst Chapel Hill students. Faith and Karena returned to their apartment around 3am. Around 4:30am, Karena left the apartment once more, when she was picked up by another fellow Chapel Hill student, Jordan McCrary. Out of habit, Karena did not lock the door to their apartment when she left. Hours later, Karena wanted to return home, but was unable to get ahold of Faith for a ride. She instead called one of their mutual friends, Marisol Rangel, to pick her up. Karena and Marisol returned to Karena and Faith’s apartment around 11am. They called out Faith’s name, and when she did not answer, they opened her bedroom door and found Faith’s body partially covered by a bloody comforter on her bedroom floor. Karena immediately called 911 to report that her roommate had been murdered. When police arrived at the grisly scene, they found a paper bag near Faith’s body with words “I’m not stupid bitch jealous” written on it. Faith had been brutally beaten and stabbed to death.

Many were suspicious of Karena's story when Faith was first discovered to be murdered. Karena quickly Karena faded from the public eye, which lead many to believe that she knew more about what happened to Faith than she was letting on. Additionally, prior to Faith's death, she was having trouble with Eriq Jones (21)--an ex-boyfriend of Karena's. A friend of Faith’s told police that Faith had felt threatened by Eriq. Sometime during the spring and summer of 2012, Eriq allegedly told Faith that he hated her and was going to kill her if Karena did not get back together with him. On July 11th, 2012, Karena obtained a restraining order against Eriq. The restraining order was granted after the police responded to a domestic assault incident in which Eriq had kicked two doors in Karena and Faith’s apartment off the frame. The investigators who were involved in the processing of this restraining order also learned that Eriq resented Faith because of the influence she had over Karena.

On September 6th, the day before Faith’s murder, Eriq sent messages to two of his friends, asking them to “forgive him for what he was about to do.” Despite this, Eriq has denied any involvement in Faith's murder and police have yet to make any arrests in the case. [read more]

8. Samantha Folsom: found by her mother

On November 5th, 2011, Samantha asked her parents to drive her to a rehab facility the following morning. Despite this, her parents were unable to get ahold of her the next day. After days passed without hearing from their daughter, Samantha’s parents went to her apartment building and asked the manager if he would allow them to open Samantha’s apartment for a welfare check. A maintenance worker eventually let her parents into the apartment, and at first glance, it did not appear that Samantha was there. Samantha’s mother then began to look around for Samantha’s cat. Her mother went to the closet where she knew Samantha’s cat carrier was kept. When she opened the closet, she found a horrific sight: the body of her daughter. At that point it was clear that Samantha was dead—she had been killed and stuffed into the closet.

It took over a year for Samantha’s death to be classified as a homicide. It was initially classified as undetermined, but police later reclassified her death as a murder. Her exact cause of death has never been revealed. When the investigation into Samantha’s murder finally began, it seemed detectives had quite a few obvious suspects: Samantha’s new abusive boyfriend and her abusive ex-husband, Jesse. The only issue was, both men were in jail at the time Samantha was killed. Jesse was in jail for assaulting Samantha’s new boyfriend, and her new boyfriend was in jail for assaulting her. After both men were cleared, detectives stated that they had very few leads to chase. Samantha’s case eventually grew cold, and police have not released any information about a potential suspect to the public. [read more]


 7. Gabby Bledsoe: found by her mother


Gabrielle 'Gabby' Bledsoe was only 16 years-old when she was brutally murdered inside her family’s home in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 1st, 2013. She was last seen by her mother Lacrecia Bledsoe that evening, before Lacrecia decided to go spend the night with a friend, leaving Gabby at the home by herself. The following morning, when Lacrecia returned, she found her daughter's body on the floor of their home. At some point throughout the night, somebody had broken into the home and violently stabbed Gabby to death. 

Police identified a person-of-interest relatively early into the investigation. 31 year-old James Barber is that person--he also happens to be an ex-boyfriend of Lacrecia Bledsoe. Barber is currently incarcerated for unrelated charges and he has never been charged with anything related to Gabby's case. Police are still looking for more evidence in the case. Gabby's murder remains unsolved. [read more]

6. Egypt Covington: found by her boyfriend

Egypt Covington (27) was murdered inside her home in Van Buren Township, Michigan on June 22nd, 2017. She was found by her long-term boyfriend Curtis Meadows, who entered her home after not being able to get ahold of her. As Curtis approached the door to her house, which was slightly ajar, he noticed her dog was barking wildly. He followed the dog to see what it was barking about--and what he found was a horrific scene: Egypt was dead. She was face-down on the floor, and had her arms bound with Christmas lights. Egypt had been shot to death.

Curtis was inevitably investigated thoroughly, and he was eventually ruled out as a suspect. About a year after the murder, though, police announced they had another person of interest: Kenny Michalak, an ex-boyfriend of Egypt's. Kenny and Egypt had a volatile relationship, and after it ended, Kenny was reportedly very jealous of Egypt's relationship with Curtis. Still, Kenny has not been charged with anything related to Egypt's murder, and Egypt's family does not believe he is responsible for her death. Egypt's murder remains unsolved today. [read more]

5. Tiffany Ferguson: found by her roommate Melissa Thornily

Tiffany Ferguson (22) was brutally murdered inside the Nashville, Tennessee apartment she shared with her roommate Melissa Thornily on February 28th, 2017. Shortly before 6am, Melissa awoke to the sound of Tiffany screaming. When she went to check on her, she found Tiffany fatally injured in her bed. Melissa attempted CPR to no avail; Tiffany was dead by time the paramedics showed up.

A drifter named Christopher McLawhorn (24) was eventually arrested and charged for Tiffany's murder. Christopher pleaded not guilty to all charges. At his trial in September 2018, it was revealed that Christopher did an Internet search on his phone just hours after the murder that stated, “just how incriminating is a fingerprint really?” Additionally, Christopher also viewed numerous online news reports about Tiffany’s murder. During closing statements, the lead prosecutor told the jury, “[Christopher] relived it, looking at pictures of the young woman whose life he took. This isn’t the first time a killer has returned to the scene of a crime.” The jury ultimately found Christopher guilty of all charges. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. [read more]

4. Irasema Chavez: found by her niece
Image result for irasema chavez

33 year old Irasema Chavez was found brutally murdered inside her Arlington, Texas apartment on January 20th, 2012. On the night of January 19th, 2012, Irasema called her sister and asked her and her niece, who was visiting from Mexico, to come over. They declined, as Irasema’s sister did not want to drive over to her apartment that late at night. However, Irasema’s sister planned to drop her niece off at Irasema’s apartment the following day so the two could spend the day together. When that time came the next morning, Irasema’s sister dropped her niece off at Irasema’s apartment complex and waited until she got inside safely before she left. However, just a minute after Irasema’s niece entered her apartment, she came running back out, screaming for somebody to call the police. According to her, Irasema was dead. She had been murdered—stabbed over 100 times.

Surveillance footage from the previous night shows an unidentified person wearing a hood approaching Irasema’s door and knocking. The person is seen standing there for about a minute before the door opens and he is let in. Investigators consider this person to be a suspect, and are hoping to identify him. None of Irasema’s friends or family members recognize the suspect, however they believe that he was known to Irasema, since she let him into her apartment. Her murder remains unsolved today. [read more] [also on the 'Unsolved Home Invasion Mysteries' list]

3. Tess Richey: found by her mother

Tess Richey was just one day shy of turning 23 when she disappeared on November 25th, 2017. That night, Tess went out for drinks in Toronto with an old friend from high school, Ryley Simard. According to Ryley, she and Tess met up with a man—whose name Ryley was unable to remember—after leaving a club around 1:30am. Surveillance footage shows this man with Tess and Ryley near a hotdog stand on the intersection of Church Street and Wellesley Street East around 3am. Around 3:45am, Ryley received a text from her boyfriend, asking where she was. It was then that Ryley decided to part ways with Tess and this unidentified man. This was the last time that Ryley saw or heard from Tess. Tess never returned home that morning and was later reported missing.

Four days later, Tess’s mother decided to search for her daughter herself. It was then that she found Tess's body in a stairwell of a building undergoing renovation, just doors away from where she was last seen. Police ruled her death a homicide. The man who was seen on the surveillance footage with Tess and Ryley was eventually identified as 21year-old Kalen Schlatter. He has since been arrested and charged with Tess's murder. His case is currently pending. [read more]

2. Hannah Leflar: found by her stepfather
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Hannah Leflar (16) was murdered by her ex-boyfriend Skylar Prockner on January 12th, 2015. The teen had broken up with Skylar nearly six months earlier, but Skylar was not ready to let Hannah go. Skylar was infuriated by Hannah dating other guys, and he eventually enlisted a friend to help him lure Hannah to her own home so they could ambush her. This is exactly what happened on the evening of Hannah's murder--said friend lured Hannah to her family's Regina, Canada hosue after school, then the friend watched as Skylar approached Hannah, chased her around her house, then eventually ended up stabbing her to death in her parent's bedrooms.

Skylar and his friend fled the scene. A little bit later, Hannah's stepfather returned from work and found Hannah's lifeless body on his bedroom floor. It did not take investigators long to find out who had killed her, and Skylar was arrested the following day. He was charged as an adult. The other teen who was involved in Hannah’s death was arrested as well, but his charges remained at juvenile status. In July 2017, Skylar was sentenced to life in prison. The friend was sentenced as a juvenile offender and will be released in the future. [read more] [also on the 'Cases of Break-up Violence' list]

1. Ashley Ellerin: found by her roommate Justin Peterson
Image result for ashley ellerin justin peterson

Ashley Ellerin (22) was brutally murdered inside the Los Angeles, California home she shared with her roommate Justin Peterson on February 21st, 2001. At the time, Ashley was dating up-and-coming young actor Ashton Kutcher. Ashley and Ashton last spoke on the phone just hours before she was murdered. Ashley asked if she could attend the Grammy viewing party at Ashton’s friend’s house with him that night, but Ashton said no. He promised her that he’d come see her at her bungalow later after the show instead. Ashton told detectives that he left the viewing party around 10:45pm and called Ashley. She didn’t answer the phone, and Ashton thought she was ignoring him because she was annoyed that he didn’t invite her to the party. He then decided to drive to her house to try and sort of what he believed was an impending argument. When Ashton got there, all of the house lights were on, and Ashley’s car was parked in the driveway. He banged on the door, but there was no answer. Ashton then peered through a side window and saw what he thought to be red wine spilled on the floor. He thought that Ashley had gone to bed after having drinks, and decided to go home. Ashley’s body was discovered the following morning by Justin, after he returned from being out for the night. Justin found her slumped in the hallway by the bathroom, just out of view from the side of window that Ashton looked through. She had been stabbed 35 times.

Ashley’s friends immediately had a suspect in mind: air-conditioning repairman Michael Gargiulio. Michael, who was 24 years old at the time, lived with his girlfriend in the same neighborhood as Ashley and Justin. He approached Ashley and Justin one day after seeing them sitting outside in front of their house and handed them his business card. After that, Ashley’s friends said that Michael began to show up fairly often. Ashley was kind to Michael and even invited him to a few parties at their bungalow, despite her friend’s growing concerns that Michael was obsessed with her. In fact, two months before Ashley’s murder, Justin noticed that Michael was parking his car outside of their bungalow at odd hours of the night. When Justin confronted him about it, Michael said that he FBI was after him in connection with a murder in Chicago. He said that the FBI wanted his DNA and he was hiding from them. Justin warned Ashley to stay away from Michael after this, but Ashley still brushed off any concerns about him.

Michael was inevitably a strong potential suspect very early into the investigation, but police did not have evidence to arrest him at that time. Seven years later, in 2008, Michael was arrested for the attempted murder of another young woman in his neighborhood: Michelle Murphy. Michael attacked the woman in her apartment, but Michelle was able to fight him off and identify him to authorities. It was then that investigators were finally able to obtain Michael’s DNA. Not only did that DNA match the DNA found on Ashley’s body, it also linked Michael to two other murders: 32 year-old Maria Bruno in 2005, and 18 year-old Tricia Pacaccio in 1993. Michael was 17 years old at the time of Tricia’s murder, and it believed that this case is the one that he was referring to when he told Justin he was hiding from the FBI. At this point, police knew they had a serial killer on their hands. He is currently behind bars as his cases are pending. [read more]

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These cases serve as a reminder that safety precautions must be taken, even when inside your own home. To see/purchase items that can help protect you in your home, please go here.

The Disappearance of Asia Martin


Asia Nicole Martin was 19 years old when she disappeared on May 27th, 2005. Before her disappearance, Asia was living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and attending school at Pearl River Community College. However, she had recently decided to take a semester off to help take care of her mother, who was sick. In fact, three days prior to vanishing, Asia bought a bus ticket to Denver, Colorado, where her mother was living. On the evening of May 27th, Asia left her apartment on foot after telling her roommate she was going for a walk. She never returned home after that. Asia spoke to her mother on the phone at 8:40pm about her upcoming trip to Colorado. That phone call was the last time anyone has heard from her, and she was reported missing after she never boarded the bus to Denver as planned.

Asia’s roommate told police that nothing seemed amiss when she left their apartment on the evening of her disappearance. Even though the circumstances of her disappearance seem rather suspicious, authorities stated that they believe it’s possible Asia left on her own accord. Her family disagrees; they do not believe she would have abandoned her sick mother. Unfortunately, Asia’s mother has passed away since her disappearance, but her father is still alive and is hoping for answers in his daughter’s case. If you have any information that could help Asia’s family, please contact that Hattiesburg Police Department at (601) 545-4910.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Jayme Closs Statement: Read at the Sentencing of Jake Patterson

Jayme Closs and her aunt

On May 24th, 2019, Jake Patterson (pictured at the bottom of this post) was sentenced to life in prison for killing the parents of Jayme Closs and kidnapping Jayme from her Barron, Wisconsin home. She was taken to Jake's cabin located in a remote area nearly two hours away. Jayme bravely escaped after 88 days of captivity, and Jake was arrested shortly thereafter. Jayme has since been reunited with her surviving family members and is living with her aunt. 


“Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I loved away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my Mom and my Dad. I loved my Mom and Dad very much and they loved me very much. They did all they could to make me happy and protect me. He took them away from me forever. 

I felt safe in my home, and I loved my room and all of my belongings. He took all of that too. I don’t want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night. My parents and my home were the most important things in my life. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory.

I have to have an alarm in the house now just so I can sleep. I used to love to go out with my friends. I loved to go to school. I loved to do dance. He took all of those things away from me too. It's too hard for me to go out in public. I get scared and I get anxious. These are just ordinary things that anyone like me should be able to do, but I can’t because he took them away from me.

But there's some things that Jake Patterson can never take from me. He can’t take my freedom. He thought that he could own me but he was wrong. I was smarter. I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not.

Jake Patterson can never take away my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn’t. I feel like what he did is what a coward would do. I was brave. He was not.

He can never take away my spirit. He thought that he could make me like him, but he was wrong. He can't ever change me, or take away who I am. He can't stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life, and he will not.

Jake Patterson will never have any power over me. I feel like I have some power over him, because I get to tell the judge what I think should happen to him. He stole my parents from me. He stole almost everything I love from me. For 88 days he tried to steal me, and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that.

He should stay locked up forever."

Image result for jake patterson
21 year-old Jake Patterson, sentenced to life in prison

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

List Series: Unsolved Mysteries with Surveillance Footage

Many crimes have been solved with the help of CCTV. In fact, Investigation Discovery's 'See No Evil' is a series centered around just that: murders and disappearances that have been solved with the help of surveillance footage that captured the victim and/or suspect's last moments. However, there are quite a few cases that have remained unsolved, despite having surveillance footage that leads up to the disappearance or death. Below is a list of seven unsolved cases with surveillance footage.


7. The Disappearance of Iyana Sawyer
Iyana Sawyer (16) vanished after leaving school early.
16 year-old Iyana Sawyer has been missing since December 19th, 2018. The teen was five months pregnant at the time of her disappearance. On the day she vanished, she was captured on surveillance camera leaving her high school in Jacksonville, Florida. Iyana has never been seen or heard from again.

Iyana’s uncle Johnathan Quiles is considered a person of interest in her case. Iyana was living with him shortly before her disappearance, and it is rumored that he might be the father of her unborn child. Investigators have also found evidence that Iyana and Johnathan were engaged in a romantic relationship. Johnathan is currently behind bars on charges for sexual battery against another teenage girl. Johnathan has not been charged with anything related to Iyana's disappearance, even though he reported confessed to his brother that he murdered her. Iyana remains missing today. [read more]

6. The Murder of Nicole Coleman
Nicole Coleman (23) vanished after stepping out of the camera's frame. Her body was found 3 days later.

Nicole Coleman vanished in Austin, Texas on December 28th, 2018. The 23 year-old woman was last seen alive at a Kool Korner gas station, where she was captured by surveillance cameras. In the footage, Nicole is seen stepping out of the camera’s frame. She was never heard from again.

Three days later, on New Years Day, Nicole’s naked body was found in the woods off of Ed Bluestein Blvd. She was found in a spot that is an approximate 10 minute walk from the gas station where she was last seen. Nicole’s cause of death has not been revealed, and investigators are unsure if she was targeted or if her death was completely random. So far, investigators have been unable to find any witnesses who saw Nicole at any point after she left the gas station. The Austin Police Department is appealing to the public for help with solving this case. [read more]

5. The Disappearance of Cynthia Martinez-Perez
Cynthia Martinez-Perez vanished after leaving a bar with Jaime Hernandez. She has never been seen or heard from again.
Cynthia Martinez-Lopez has been missing since July 16th, 2017. The 27 year-old woman spent the evening of July 15th at a bar in Keizer, Oregon. Cynthia left the bar around 2:30am; she was captured on surveillance cameras walking away from the building accompanied by a man who was later identified as Jaime Alvarez-Olivera (30). Cynthia has never been seen or heard from again.
Jaime is considered a person of interest in Cynthia’s case, however investigators have not been able to question him. It is believed that he has been on the run ever since he learned that there is surveillance footage of him and Cynthia leaving the bar together. Both of their whereabouts remain unknown today. [read more]

4. The Murder of Katherine ‘Kétie’ Jones
Kétie Jones (26) was murdered less than a minute after stepping out of the camera's frame.

Kétie Jones was murdered at the age of 26, during the early-morning hours of October 15th, 2016. She spent the previous evening at a bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, with friends. The group remained at the bar until last call at 2am, and afterwards, Kétie opted to walk home because she wanted to enjoy the nice weather. During her walk home, Kétie continued to message back and forth with her friends via Facebook messenger. She sent her final message at 2:33am. Minutes later, at 2:40am, Kétie was captured on surveillance camera walking down Central Avenue in an area called Plaza-Midwood. She is seen making a left towards Hamorton Place and then she eventually steps out of the frame. Less than a minute later, Kétie was shot. A witness walking his dog spotted Kétie’s body minutes later, and immediately called police. 

At this time, police have not publicly named any suspects or persons of interest in the case. No items were taken from Kétie, so at first it did not appear that Kétie’s murder was a robbery gone bad. However, police have not ruled a robbery out yet either. The surveillance footage shows that a car appeared right next to where Kétie would have been walking at the time she was shot. Just 21 seconds later, the car is seen abruptly slamming into reverse and backing away. Investigators have theorized that it is possible the shooter got spooked after the gunfire set off alarms at a nearby local business, and fled the scene before having the opportunity to rob Kétie. None of this has been confirmed, but it does appear that Kétie’s death happened in a matter of seconds after she stepped out of the surveillance camera’s frame.  [read more]

3. The Disappearance and Death of Janina Vasquez
Janina Vasquez (27) vanished after leaving the Isle of Capri casino. A week later, her body was found in a well.
Janina Vasquez disappeared on February 12th, 2015. The 27 year-old lived at her parent's home in Kansas City, Missouri at the time of her disappearance. The evening she was last seen, Janina told her mother that she was going to the Isle of Capri casino with two of her friends. At 7:40pm, Janina was seen exiting the casino by herself. Surveillance footage captured her leaving the building and getting into an unidentified red vehicle. Janina never returned home that evening and her family reported her missing the following day.

Just seven days later, a city worker found Janina’s body at the bottom of a well in Overland Park. Investigators determined that Janina had died from blunt force trauma. Despite this, authorities ruled Janina’s death as accidental. However, there are many factors in this case that lead Janina’s mother and many others to believe that Janina was murdered. The well that her body was found in is surrounded by a gate with a barbed wire. Janina suffered from chronic pains and seizures, and her mother does not believe she would have been able to climb over that gate by herself. Additionally, over a year after Janina was found dead, authorities told her mother that Janina apparently made a 911 call from the bottom of the well during on the night of February 12th. Apparently the officers who responded to the 911 call searched the park, but not the well, before leaving. It is unknown what Janina said on the 911 call, but her mother believes that somebody had thrown her into the well. The person who picked up Janina from the casino also remains unknown. [read more]

2. The Disappearance of Max Greenfield
Max Greenfield (25) was last seen leaving the Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River, California
25 year-old Max Greenfield has been missing since March 18th, 2018. He was last seen during the early morning hours of that day, after his friends picked him up from his mother’s home in Bookings, Oregon. Max’s friends drove him approximately 15 minutes away from his house, to the Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River, California. Surveillance cameras at the casino captured him entering the place around 1am. Less than an hour later, cameras captured Max and an adult white male talking in front of the casino. The two are seen walking south across the parking lot and then they eventually step out of the camera’s frame. This is the last known sighting of Max.

Less than 20 minutes later, the man Max was with returned to the casino alone. Although this man’s name has not been publicly identified, authorities were able to locate him for questioning. In fact, he has reportedly been interviewed several times by police. According to detectives, the man has always stood by his original statement, which is that he and Max “went separate ways after leaving the casino.” At this time, it is unclear if investigators consider this man a person of interest, but they have questioned numerous other people in the case as well—including the friends who drove Max to the casino, and the other friends that Max planned to meet that night. Investigators have also not revealed the names of said friends, citing that they are not publicly identifying them to protect the integrity of the investigation. [read more]

1. The Disappearance of Kierra Coles
Kierra Coles (27) was last seen walking away from her apartment. She has never been seen or heard from again.
Kierra Coles was three months pregnant when she vanished on October 3rd, 2018.  The above surveillance image is the last known sighting of the 27 year-old young woman. Kierra worked for the U.S. Postal Service. However, on the day of her disappearance, she called out sick. Surveillance cameras later captured Kierra walking away from her Chicago apartment wearing her U.S. Postal Service uniform, despite the fact that she’d already called out of work. She was seen walking down 82nd Street and Coles Avenue, passing her car, before eventually stepping out of the frame. Kierra has never been seen or heard from again. She was reported missing by her mother a few days later.

Police conducted a welfare check at Kierra’s apartment, but found no sign of her. Kierra’s car was still parked outside of the apartment, and her cell phone, wallet, and packed lunch were found inside the vehicle. Investigators quickly began to believe that foul play was responsible for Kierra’s disappearance. In fact, detectives working the case have stated that they “have a pretty good idea” of what happened to Kierra. Still, they have revealed very few details about the investigation and no arrests have been made. Investigators did state that they have persons of interest, though. One detective in particular told reporters that there are a “minimum of two or three people of interest” who were the last to see Kierra before she disappeared. The identities of the persons of interest have not been released at this time. [read more]

List Series: Small Town Mysteries

Ten mysteries--murders or disappearances--that occurred in a town with a population of 2,000 or less. Most of these towns are considered quiet communities with relatively low violent crime rates, which is what makes these mysteries especially eerie. Additionally, due to the small residency numbers, these cases cause many to question whether or not there is a killer lurking amongst their inner circles. These mysteries all remain unsolved today. 


10. The Disappearance of Melvia Roarx from Horse Branch, Kentucky (Population of 1,280)
Melvia Roarx vanished at the age of 28 on June 4th, 2013. She left her Horse Branch, Kentucky home that day to go to a convenience store to buy drinks and cigarettes. Surveillance cameras captured Melvia arriving at the store, making purchases, and...

Melvia Roarx vanished at the age of 28 on June 4th, 2013. She left her Horse Branch, Kentucky home that day to go to a convenience store to buy drinks and cigarettes. Surveillance cameras captured Melvia arriving at the store, making purchases, and then leaving. Her car was headed in the direction of her home when she left the store, but unfortunately she never made it home. Melvia has never been seen or heard from again. 

Melvia’s car was later found 80 miles away, at a gas station in Bullitt County, Kentucky. There was no sign of her at the scene, and her family members cannot think of a reason that Melvia would drive there. However, they did notice that the car’s driver seat was pushed all the way back--indicating the likelihood that somebody other than Melvia drove the car last. 

It is not believed that Melvia is missing on her own accord. Before she left the house, she said she planned to be back in a few minutes. Her family also does not believe she would voluntarily leave behind her four children. She remains missing. [read more]

9. The Murder of the Short Family from Bassett, Virginia (population of 1,100)
Mary and Michael Short with their daughter Jennifer
The Short family was known as an average, everyday family living in a quiet small town of Bassett, Virginia. Michael (50) and his wife Mary (36) owned a mobile home moving business and they had a 9 year-old daughter named Jennifer. The trio was described as a private, but happy family. According to acquaintances, the Short family tended to be on the quieter side, and they were not known to cause drama. Due to all of this, community was incredibly shocked when Michael and Mary were found shot to death at their home on the evening of August 15th, 2002. The police were called that evening after a co-worker who drove by the Short’s home spotted Michael laying in a pool of his blood inside their enclosed carport. One police arrived on the scene, they found Mary shot to death in the couple’s bedroom. Their daughter, Jennifer, was nowhere to be found. An Amber Alert was issued, and a search for the young girl quickly ensued.

All of the searches by professional search teams unfortunately came up empty. Then, over a month later, on September 26th, 2002,  a gruesome discovery was made. A man’s dogs found human remains in a creek in Rockingham County, North Carolina. The remains were located approximately 35 miles away from the Short’s home in Virginia. The remains were sent to the lab for forensic testing and were later confirmed to be that of Jennifer Short. She had also been shot in the head. It was clear at this point that the Short family had been executed—but so many questions remain, such as: who would want the Short family dead? Why was Jennifer taken to a different location? Was she held captive for a period of time before she was killed? Perhaps the most haunting question, though, is the motive. Why did someone kill this entire family? [read more] [also on the Unsolved Home Invasions list]

8. The Mysterious Arson Case in Flora, Indiana (population of 1,981)
Gaylin Rose and her 4 daughters, who were unfortunately killed in a house fire. Gaylin was the only survivor.

On November 21st, 2016, a devastating fire broke out at the home of Gaylin Rose in the small town of Flora, Indiana. Gaylin lived in the home with her four daughters: Keyana (11), Keyara (9), Kerriele (7), and Kionnie (5). The four girls were trapped inside the house when it caught fire. Gaylin was able to make it out, and was immediately rushed to the hospital. Firefighters were unable to save the girls from the home, and unfortunately they passed away as a result. 

Two months later, an investigation concluded that the fire was caused by arson. However, the initial incident report was unclear. It was first reported that investigators found accelerants in numerous places all throughout the house, but it was later revealed that the accelerants were actually only found in one place. This means the fire could have only been started in one area of the house. Additionally, this information was released by a private fire investigator rather than the state department--which led many to believe that the state was not properly investigating the case. 

No suspects in the case have been named, and a motive for harming this family remains unclear. [read more]

7. The Mysterious Death of Todd Geib from Casnovia, Michigan (population of 222)

Todd Geib (22) went missing from a party in Casnovia, Michigan on June 12th, 2005. The town of Casnovia itself only has about 222 residents, and on this particular night, about 100 people were at this party in a rural, marshy area. Shortly before 1am, Todd called a friend and told him that he ‘had enough’ of the party and was ready to leave. He made a few more phone calls to his sister after that, but neither of them were able to make out what the other was saying. Todd was never seen alive again after that.

Nearly 3 weeks later, Todd's body was founding standing upright in Ovidhall Lake. The initial autopsy concluded that Todd died of accidental drowning, however his family and friends do not believe this to be true. About four years later, Todd's case was re-examined--and it was concluded that Todd had only been dead for 2-5 days at the time he was found, despite the fact that he had been missing for 3 weeks. Additionally, it was concluded that Todd did not have any water in his lungs at the time of his death, which rules out drowning as a cause of death. Despite these findings, though, police have still not re-opened Todd's case.

Todd's case continues to baffle investigators. Not one of the 222 residents of Casnovia reported seeing Todd at any point from the time he went missing until the time his body was found.  [read more]



6. The Disappearance of Brandon Swanson from Porter, Minnesota (population of 176)


19 year-old Brandon Swanson disappeared during the early morning hours of May 14th, 2008. He vanished after driving his car  into a ditch while on the way to his family’s Marshall, Minnesota home after a night out with friends. He decided to head home around midnight. At some point shortly thereafter, Brandon accidentally drove his car into a ditch. He was not injured in the accident, but his car was stuck. He called his parents around 12:30am and told them that he had gotten his car stuck near the town of Lynd. Brandon’s parents immediately headed out there to pick him up, but they were unable to locate him. Brandon called his father back and told him that he could see the lights from the town, and he was going to walk towards it and meet them there. He remained on the phone with his father for the next 45 minutes as he walked towards his destination. Brandon and his parents continued to look for each other to no avail. Then, shortly after 2am, Brandon’s father heard Brandon abruptly shout “oh shit!” before their phone call was disconnected. Brandon’s parents continued to look for him for a few hours before finally calling the police at 6:30am.

Police looked into Brandon’s cell phone records later that day, which revealed that Brandon had actually called his parents from the city of Porter; a small town with a population of less than 200 residents. Porter is located over 25 miles away from Lynd. Police then went to that area, where they found Brandon’s car stuck a ditch in nearby Taunton County. It is unclear if Brandon was aware that he was not actually in Lynd. [read more]

5. The Disappearance of Megan Foglesong from Alden, Kansas (population of 145)


Megan Foglesong (21) was last seen in the very small town of Alden, Kansas in late November or early December 2015. Despite living in a very tight-knit community, Megan's family members stated that she lived a ‘spontaneous lifestyle’ and it was common for her to be out of touch every once in a while. Due to this, she was not reported missing until February 10th, 2016—over two months after she was last seen.

Prior to vanishing, Megan was in a relationship with an older man named David Madden. The two had a very tumultuous relationship; Madden was both physically and emotionally abusive. In fact, Megan had previously told her friends that if she ever went missing, Madden would likely be the one responsible. Megan and Madden apparently broke up several times, but kept reconciling. It appeared that the two were together shortly before Megan’s disappearance. Megan’s last Facebook activity was on November 30th, 2015, when she messaged a friend and mentioned that she was at Madden’s house. The following day, Madden told a local sheriff that he caught Megan stealing from him and that they got into an argument and she left.

Another seemingly disturbing aspect about Megan and Madden’s relationship is that Madden was previously in a relationship with Megan’s mother, Pam Lewis. Madden apparently began to pursue Megan while he was still dating Pam. Despite this, Pam and Madden still seemed to be on friendly terms after their breakup. After Megan was finally reported missing, Madden told Pam that Megan left for Colorado with one of his friends. Pam does not think that Madden is responsible for Megan’s disappearance; she believes that his unidentified friend is to blame.

Megan remains missing today, and authorities have not named any suspects or persons of interest. [read more]

4. The Disappearance of Derrick Tenorio from Steamboat, Arizona (population of 284)

Derrick Tenorio was only 21 years-old when he vanished on August 5th, 2011. Derrick is a member of the Navajo Nation tribe, and he lived in small community of Steamboat, Arizona prior to his disappearance. He was last seen between 11pm and 12am on the day he disappeared, walking towards the Steamboat Hill area to visit his girlfriend. Derrick never arrived, and has never been seen or heard from again.

Derrick left behind two toddler children, and his girlfriend was pregnant with another child at the time he disappeared as well. His family members do not believe that he is voluntarily missing. In fact, three months after Derrick’s disappearance, his sibling Mercedes Tenorio wrote a letter to the Navajo Times that stated that Derrick was badly beaten by people he trusted on the night he vanished. The individuals who allegedly beat Derrick have not been publicly identified and it is unclear if the incident is related to Derrick’s disappearance. Authorities believe that there are numerous people in Steamboat who are aware of what happened to Derrick. Despite this, Derrick remains missing today. [read more]

3. The Murder of Matthew Leroy Grant from Browning, Montana (population of 1,026)

Matthew Leroy Grant (21) was murdered on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana. Despite having barely one thousand residents, this particular reservation is considered one of the larger reservations of the Blackfeet Tribe. Still, the community is tight-knit and Matthew was well known around his neighborhood. He was last seen alive on December 15th, 2016. After he failed to return home, family members used social media to spread awareness about his disappearance. They also pleaded for Matthew’s safe return. Unfortunately, on December 31st, 2016, Matthew’s body was found in an alley between the College Homes and South Glacier Homes neighborhoods in Browning.

Matthew’s death was classified as a homicide, however investigators have not released Matthew’s exact cause of death. According to Matthew’s aunt, “he had frozen ice in his hair. Snow covered. His shirt was partially pulled up like someone lifted him out of a vehicle and just tossed him there.” How Matthew ended up in the alley still remains a mystery—no arrests have been made in the case and very little information about the investigation has been released. [read more]

2. The Disappearance of Karlie Gusé from Chalfant, California (population of 651)

Karlie Gusé vanished from her family's Chalfant, California home during the early-morning hours of October 13th, 2018. The 16 year-old lived in the remote Chalfant community with her father, stepmother, and brother. The night before her disappearance, Karlie went into town with her boyfriend and a few friends. While out, the group smoked marijuana, which caused reportedly caused Karlie to react strangely. She asked her stepmother Melissa Gusé to come pick her up, and when she did, Melissa noticed that Karlie was acting paranoid. Melissa stated that she attempted to calm her stepdaughter down—she even slept in Karlie’s room with her that night to make sure she was okay. However, when Melissa awoke the following morning around 7:15am, Karlie was nowhere to be found. 

There were possible sightings of Karlie walking through her neighborhood that morning, however the sightings have never been confirmed and she has never been seen or heard from again. Karlie also left behind all of her personal belongings, including her cell phone. Many pondered if her reaction to marijuana caused her to leave the home in a disoriented state, but according to her boyfriend, Karlie smoked marijuana on a regular basis and has never had a reaction like that before. Her boyfriend insists that it was only marijuana that they were using that night--and it wasn't laced--but Karlie's father stated that he believes Karlie was on a different drug that night. 

As months have passed without any sign of Karlie, suspicions have begun to build against her stepmother and father. A common theory is that Karlie died of an overdose at home, and that her stepmother and father panicked and hid her body. This theory has not been substantiated, and Karlie's father and stepmother have adamantly denied it. Karlie's birth mother, however, believes this is what happened to her daughter. Karlie remains missing today. [read more]

1. The Disappearance and Murder of Lindsey Baum from McCleary, Washington (population of 1,691)
Lindsey Jo Baum was only 10 years old when she disappeared on June 26th, 2009. The night before she vanished, Lindsey told her mother, Melissa Baum, that she was frightened that something bad was going to happen to her very soon. When Melissa asked... 

Lindsey Baum was only 10 years-old when she vanished from McCleary, Washington on June 26th, 2009. McCleary is described by many as a small, quiet town. Lindsey's mother was comfortable allowing her children to walk around the neighborhood. On the evening of Lindsey's disappearance, Lindsey walked to a friend's home located approximately 5 blocks away. The two friends hoped to have a sleepover that night, but her friend's mother said no. Lindsey began walking back to her home around 9:15pm--leaving her just enough time to make it home in time for her 9:30 curfew. However, Lindsey never returned home that night. After searching around the neighborhood, Lindsey's mother reported her missing by 11pm that night.

An immediate search provided no sign of Lindsey, nor did it provide any clues to her whereabouts. Her case grew cold over time. There was a brief investigation into a man who potentially made "inconsistent" statements to police about Lindsey's disappearance, but said man has never been charged with anything related to the case. There was another search at the home of semi-local sex offenders, but no arrests were made after that, either. 

During September 2017, a hunter found human remains in a remote area of Eastern Washington. News about these remains were not spread in the media. At that time, it is unclear if investigators even pondered the idea that the remains belonged to Lindsey, due to the fact that they were found in a place that is a 3 hour drive away from Lindsey’s home in McCleary. The remains were sent to Quantico, Virginia for forensic testing. Months later, on May 10th, 2018, investigators announced that the remains had been positively identified as Lindsey Baum. Her case is being investigated as a homicide, but at this time no arrests have been made in the case. [read more]



PREVIOUSLY ON THE LIST:

The Abduction & Murder of Cynthia Carver from Newsoms, Virginia (population of 299)

Cynthia Carver was reportedly abducted from her home in Newsoms, Virginia on February 21st, 2019. The small community of Newsoms only has a population of 299 residents, and many members of Cynthia's family lived in Newsoms as well. In fact, Cynthia was discovered to be missing by her mother, who drove by Cynthia's house around 1pm the following day. As she was driving by, she noticed the front door was open. Cynthia's mother explained, “I stopped and came in, and when I came in I saw blood and stuff in the house. [The blood was] right here at the door and in the living room, and there was a knife lying in front of the sofa.” Cynthia’s mother then called the police to report her daughter missing. Once investigators arrived on the scene, they determined that Cynthia likely did not leave her home voluntarily. From that point forward, Cynthia's disappearance was investigated as a kidnapping.

In March 2019, Cynthia's body was found in Suffolk, Virginia. She died of multiple sharp force injuries. The Medical Examiner's Office ruled Cynthia's death as a homicide. In June 2019, a man named James Goodwyn was arrested and charged with Cynthia's murder. [read more] [also previously on the 'Unsolved Home Invasions' list]

The Disappearance of Chelsea Cobo

22 year-old Chelsea Cobo, pictured in late April 2016—shortly before she disappeared on May 7th, 2016. At the time the above photograph...