Saturday, August 17, 2019

List Series: Eight People Who Sensed Danger Prior to a Murder or Disappearance

The following list contains eight cases in which a murder victim/missing person expressed fear or indicated that they were in danger prior to their death or disappearance. Each case in this list involves a person who reached out to others to either ask for help or to just simply state they were scared or hurt. Unfortunately, shortly after these messages were sent, the sender either vanished and/or was later found deceased. Some of these cases are solved, some are unsolved--all are quite jarring.

8. The Disappearance of Brookelyn Farthing
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"Please hurry, I'm scared."
On the evening of June 22nd, 2013, Brookelyn Farthing (18) attended a party in her hometown of Berea, Kentucky with some family members and friends. When her family members left the party early, Brookelyn arranged to get a ride home with a friend. However, at some point, Brookelyn's friend ended up leaving the party without her. As a result, Brookelyn caught a ride with a male acquaintance. Said acquaintance brought Brookelyn to his house after leaving the party. While there, Brookelyn texted several different people asking them to come pick her up. Her ex-fiance said he would pick her up after he got off work that morning, to which Brookelyn replied, “please hurry, I’m scared.” She reportedly sent several texts to other people indicating she was frightened as well.

Then, around 5:30am, Brookelyn's ex-fiance received another text from Brookelyn's phone. It read,“nevermind, I’m okay. I am going to a party in Rockcastle County.” Unfortunately, Brookelyn never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again. Investigators would later state that they do not believe Brookelyn was the one who sent the message about the party in Rockcastle County, mostly due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding her disappearance. The male acquaintance who gave Brookelyn a ride to his house allegedly left his home early that morning to go move some horses in a nearby field. He claims that he returned to his house around 7am to find the couch where Brookelyn was sitting on fire, and Brookelyn was gone. 

Police have not named any suspects in Brookelyn's case and she remains missing today. [read more]

7. The Murders of Pamela & Helen Hargan
"Caller is third party. Says his girlfriend advised that her sister killed her mother."
In July 2017, authorities found the bodies of Pamela Hargan (63) and her daughter Helen Hargan (23) inside Pamela's McLean, Virginia home. The mother and daughter had been shot to death. It was originally believed that Helen had shot Pamela and then shot herself, however police learned within days that this was not the case. It was soon revealed that Helen's boyfriend, Carlos, called local Virginia authorities from Texas on the day of the murder. During the call, the dispatcher is heard saying, “Caller is third party. Says his girlfriend advised that her sister killed her mother.” This indicates that Helen called Carlos shortly after Pamela had been shot to death to tell him that she was in danger. While Carlos attempted to contact authorities as quickly as possible, Helen was shot to death before police arrived at their home. 

In November 2018, Pamela's oldest daughter Megan Hargan (35) was finally arrested and charged with the murders of her mother and sister in November 2018. Other family members believe the murders of Pamela and Helen were motivated by both jealousy and finances--Megan was reportedly jealous that Pamela had helped Helen purchase a new home while Megan and her daughter could not afford to move out of Pamela's home. 

Megan remains behind bars as the case is pending. [read more]

6. The Disappearance of Jerry Castillo Jr.
"Please help me."
Shortly after midnight on March 21st, 2015, Jerry Castillo Jr. (21) picked up his girlfriend from her house in their hometown of El Paso, Texas. While driving, Jerry and his girlfriend reportedly got into an argument--leading Jerry to pull over and get out to the car to walk and cool down. He was seen walking down the 11600 block of Pellicano Drive shortly thereafter. Jerry never returned to the vehicle and was never seen or heard from again.

Jerry's girlfriend returned his car to his parents the following day. After his parents were unable to get in touch with him, they reported Jerry missing. Once police began investigating, they learned that his phone activity stopped around 3am, shortly after he sent a final ominous text to a friend. It simply stated, "Please help me." No additional details were provided. 

During a search, Jerry's cell phone was found by investigators on the ground on Pellicano Drive, where he was last seen. It is believed he sent his final text message from that area. There was no other sign of Jerry on the scene. He unfortunately remains missing today. [read more]

5. The Disappearances of Audrey Moran & Jonathan Reynoso
"I'm dying."
Jonathan Reynoso (28) and Audrey Moran (26) went missing in California on May 10th, 2017. On that evening, Audrey left her sister’s home in Coachella Valley to pick up Jonathan in Brawley, a town located around 70 miles away. She told family members that she planned to pick Jonathan up in Brawley and then drive him to his home, located an hour and a half away, in Palm Desert. Later that evening, Audrey's mother texted her to see if she had arrived safely. She received a response from Audrey's phone that contained the above image. Interestingly enough, though, Audrey’s mother recognized the photo and said it was from a previous outing; it had been taken on an earlier date. Still, Audrey's mother assumed she was safely with Jonathan at that point.  Around the same time, Jonathan sent a suspicious message to his friends in an Instagram group chat that said “I’m dying.” While this did not necessarily raise alarms to his friends at first, the message appeared to be especially eerie due to the fact that neither Jonathan nor Audrey have ever been seen or heard from again after the message was sent. 

Two days later, Audrey’s car was found pulled over to the side of interstate 10, west of Oak Valley Parkway in Beaumont. Her keys and purse were still in the car and the gas tank was almost full. There were no obvious signs of damage or a struggle, but there was no sign of the couple on the scene, either.

In June 2020, police arrested three men for murdering Jonathan and Audrey. However, they still remain missing. The case is ongoing. [read more]

4. The Murder of Alesha Bell
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"Mom, if I make it home, I need you. I'm scared."
Alesha Bell (18) left her mother's Warren, Ohio home on July 23rd, 2015, after stating she was going to walk to a relative's house. Sometime after leaving, Alesha’s mother received a frightening text from Alesha, expressing fears for her life. The text said, “Mom, if I make it home, I need you. I’m scared.” After receiving the text, her mother called Alesha’s phone over and over, but it went straight to voicemail. Alesha never made it to her relative’s house, and was never heard from again after that. She was reported missing a few days later. It was later determined that Alesha was last seen by a man named James Brooks (40). Brooks attended high school with Alesha's mother, so he was familiar with Alesha, as well. Throughout the investigation, it was determined that there was much more to Alesha's relationship with Brooks than they originally thought. In August 2015, police raided Brooks' home looking for drugs, but they found something much more gruesome. While searching the woods behind Brooks’ house, police found human remains in a backyard fire pit. On September 3rd, 2015, forensic test results confirmed that those remains belonged to Alesha. 

It is believed that was using Alesha and several other girls in a sex trafficking ring that he was involved in. Brooks was eventually charged with abuse of a human corpse, two counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count drug trafficking, kidnapping, abduction, tampering with evidence, compelling prostitution, and possession of cocaine, heroin and criminal tools. Despite this belief, though, the sex trafficking charges were later dropped.

On February 1st, 2017, Brooks plead guilty to all charges related to Alesha’s death. He was sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. [read more]

3. The Disappearance of Caitlin Denison
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"This man makes me scared for my life."
Caitlin Denison (19) has been missing since January 10, 2018. The teen is originally from Reno, Nevada, however she was last known to be in Midland, Texas. Six months prior to her disappearance, Caitlin met a man from Midland in Reno. Their relationship reportedly progressed, and on January 9th, 2018, Caitlin and the man flew from Reno to Texas together. Caitlin never told her family members the man's name or what he looked like; only that she was traveling to Texas with him. The day after she arrived in Texas, Caitlin called her sister from a Wal-Mart in Midland. During said phone call, Caitlin reportedly said "this man makes me scared for my life." This is the last time Caitlin's family spoke to her, and she has never been seen or heard from again.

The man Caitlin was reportedly with has never been identified. Caitlin's family members do not know the airline she took or the flight number. Due to this, investigators have been unable to check airport surveillance footage. Caitlin remains missing today. [read more]

2. The Murder of Jaray Wilson
"I feel sketched out. I can't go home?"
On the afternoon of October 14th, 2012, Jaray Wilson (16) asked her friend Tucker McGee (18) to pick her up in Hydro, Oklahoma, and give her a ride to Weatherford. Tucker agreed, and both he and Cody Godfrey (18) went to pick her up shortly thereafter. The three teens then drove to a field in Weatherford where they smoked synthetic marijuana together. At some point, Jaray indicated that she was ready to go home but was unable to do so. She sent a final text to her friend that stated, "I feel sketched out. I can't go home?" Jaray never returned home after that and was never seen or heard from again.

It would later be revealed that Jaray had every reason to feel 'sketched out'. Just minutes after that text was sent, while Jaray was still looking at her phone, Tucker pulled out his gun and shot her in the head. Tucker and Cody later enlisted their friend to help them destroy Jaray's phone and dispose of her body in a field north of Weatherford. All of this information came to light in 2013, after Cody confessed to his involvement in Jaray's disappearance and implicated both Tucker and Caleb in the process. When police asked Cody for a motive, he stated that Tucker found Jaray annoying because she talked "too much about her problems."

On March 4th, 2015, a jury found Tucker guilty of first-degree murder in Jaray’s case. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Shortly after, both Caleb and Cody pled guilty to accessory after the fact. Caleb was sentenced to 10 years, while Cody was given a suspended sentence. [read more]

1. The Murder of Kanika Powell
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"Who knows who these guys are, and what they are doing."

In August 2008, Kanika Powell (28) sent a detailed message to her family and friends describing a frightening incident that occurred at her Laurel, Maryland apartment. On the evening of August 23rd, 2008, a man knocked on Kanika's door. She asked who he was through the door, and he told her he was an FBI agent and he was looking for Kanika Powell. Kanika then asked to see a badge and/or a picture ID, which the man was unable to provide. She then told the man that she would need to see a warrant or some documentation before she opened the door. The man left after that, and Kanika watched through her bedroom window and he left the building. She reportedly heard a voice telling the man to walk in the opposite direction.

Kanika followed up with the FBI after this incident, and was told the person who came to her door was likely not in the FBI, as they do not come to any person's door alone and/or without leaving a card for future contact. Kanika warned her friends about this incident and then vowed to take more safety precautions. Unfortunately, just five days later, Kanika received another mysterious knock on her door. When she looked through the peephole, she noticed it was not the same man who had come by days earlier, but his motives seemed just as suspicious. He told Kanika he was there to deliver a package, and Kanika once again refused to open the door. The man left after that, but he did not leave the package or any other sort of note about where it could be claimed. 

This incident obviously frightened Kanika, but she decided to still go about her day and run her errands as planned. Five hours later, Kanika returned to her apartment after buying groceries. As she was retrieving her keys to unlock her front door, an unknown assailant emerged in the hallway and shot Kanika multiple times. She died the following day at a nearby hospital.

Over a decade has passed, and there are still no known persons of interest or suspects in Kanika's murder. [read more]

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