Saturday, June 27, 2020

List Series: Cases with Evidence Found in Unexpected Places

Most missing persons and murder investigations are focused on the area where the victim was last seen before the disappearance or death. The place where a person was last seen is often the place where investigators are most likely to find clues and/or witnesses. However, there are certain cases where evidence or remains are found a significant distance from the place the victim was last seen. These cases are often even more difficult to solve, because investigators are then tasked with finding a potential link between the victim and the area the evidence was found. Below is a list of seven such cases, where evidence was found in an unexpected place. All seven of the cases remain unsolved today.

7. The Disappearance & Presumed Murder of Najah Ferrell
Testing confirms remains found in northwestern Indiana pond ...
Najah Ferrell (33) was reported missing after she failed to show up for her new job at a Panera Bread in Avon, Indiana on March 15th, 2019. Over a week later, Najah's car was found abandoned near the Panera. Additionally, some of Najah's items were found strewn across the nearby interstate. The police focused their search for Najah in the Avon and Indianapolis areas, but unfortunately they were unable to locate her. Then, on April 8th, 2019, two fisherman called authorities after they reeled a severed foot onto the shore of Crown Point--a pond location over 100 miles away from the town where Najah was seen. In early May 2019, that severed foot was confirmed to belong to Najah Ferrell. Investigators have revealed very few additional details, however they are now treating her case as a death investigation. No other remains have been found. [read more]

6. The Disappearance of Melvia Roarx
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Melvia Roarx (28) left her Horse Branch, Kentucky home on the evening of June 4th, 2013 to go to a convenience store. She never returned home. Melvia's family members were worried from her safety immediately, as it was uncharacteristic of her to leave behind her children. Eventually, Melvia's car was located at a gas station in Bullitt County, Kentucky--which is located over 80 miles away from Melvia's home in Horse Branch. Melvia's family members cannot think of any reason Melvia would drive there--and have questioned if she actually drove the car there herself. There is no other known link between Melvia and Bullitt County. Her disappearance remains unsolved. [read more]

5. The Disappearance of Jacob Tipton
EPISODE 46: JACOB TIPTON — The Vanished Podcast

Jacob Tipton (25) has been missing since April 23rd, 2016. That evening, he left the Berea, Kentucky apartment he shared with his brother after stating he was going out for the night with friends. Jacob never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again. Two weeks after his disappearance, Jacob’s car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a cemetery in Hart County, Kentucky. The cemetery is located over 100 miles—approximately a 2 hour drive—away from Jacob’s home in Berea. According to Jacob’s mother, he does not have any connections in that area and it is unclear why he would drive there—or if he was actually the one to drive the car there himself. 

Jacob’s car was eventually towed to a used car lot, where it was cleaned. The police planned to sell the car as abandoned property, but then they realized it was associated with a missing person. Any potential evidence in the car was likely destroyed when it was cleaned. Since the discovery of the car, there have been very few other clues or details available about Jacob’s disappearance. He remains missing today. 

4. The Disappearance of Latrice Armstead
True Case Files: The Disappearance of Latrice Armstead

Latrice Armstead vanished from her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee on July 28th, 2012. The 38 year-old woman was last seen that day around 11am. Latrice never returned home to her two children and has never been seen or heard from again. Just three days after her disappearance, Latrice’s car was found abandoned over an hour's drive away in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The car had been completely burned out and there was no sign of Latrice anywhere. After this discovery, Latrice’s loved ones feared something sinister had happened to her.

Shortly before her disappearance, Latrice obtained an order of protection against her estranged husband, Tony Bledsoe. Once Latrice was reported missing, Tony was arrested for violating the order of protection, as he was seen with Latrice on two occasions the day she disappeared. Other than this, though, Tony has never been charged with anything related to Latrice’s disappearance. Due to her car being found in Mississippi, the Coahoma County police are investigating her disappearance. Latrice remains missing today. [read more]

3. The Disappearance of Ben Coffey
True Case Files: The Disappearance of Ben Coffey

Ben Coffey mysteriously vanished at the age of 27 on December 31st, 2012. He was last heard from around dinnertime that evening, when he spoke to a friend on the phone and said he was headed to his home in Gloucester, Virginia for the night. The following day, on January 1st, 2013, police in Tappahannock, Virginia responded to a report of a disabled vehicle abandoned on Route 698. When officers went to investigate, they found a full-sized Dodge van registered to Ben Coffey. Ben’s dog and many of his other personal items were found abandoned inside the van. Ben was nowhere to be found, and has never been seen or heard from again.

The area where Ben's car was found is located 45 miles away from his home in Gloucester. However, cell phone records confirm that Ben was in Gloucester when he called his friend on the evening of December 31st. This means that Ben’s car ended up Tappahannock at some point after that phone call. It is unclear if Ben has any ties to that area, and subsequent searches of the area turned over very few clues. Ben's case remains unsolved today. [read more]

2. The Disappearance of Katelin Akens
Young Woman Found Dead In Car, Another Missing | HuffPost

Katelin Akens vanished while visiting her family in Spotsylvania, Virginia on December 5th, 2015. That day, Katelin was due to fly back to Arizona, where she was living with her fiance. Katelin's mother was unable to drive her to the airport, so she arranged for Katelin's ex-stepfather to drive her instead. The ex-stepfather texted Katelin's mother that afternoon to say that he had dropped her off, but unfortunately Katelin never boarded her flight and has never been seen or heard from again.

Two days later, Katelin’s luggage was found 50 miles away from the airport—in a drainage ditch in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Her luggage contained her phone charger, clothing, and her fiance's credit card.When police questioned the last known person to see Katelin—her ex-stepfather—he revealed that he did not actually drop Katelin off at Reagan International airport. Instead, he claims that Katelin requested to be dropped off at Springfield Mall, from where she would walk to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and take the Metro the rest of the way to the airport. However, there has been no evidence to support that Katelin was ever at that mall or Metro stop on that day. Additionally, Springfield Mall is located an approximate 40 miles away from where Katelin's luggage was later found. 

Though many find Katelin's ex-stepfather to be suspicious, he has not been charged with anything related to Katelin's disappearance. No other suspects or persons of interest have been named. Katelin remains missing today. [read more]

1. The Disappearance & Murder of Lindsey Baum
Vanished: Lindsey Baum Case Heartbreaking for Family, Frustrating ...

Lindsey Baum vanished at the age of 10 on June 26th, 2009. The young girl disappearance while walking home from a friend's house in McCleary, Washington. Lindsey's mother reported her missing that same evening, however an immediate search of the area did not yield any clues. Lindsey's case quickly garnered national attention, but still unfortunately appeared to grow cold quite quickly as well.

Over the years, many persons of interest have been investigated--including a local man who made 'inconsistent statements' to police about the case, and another man who reportedly was found with handwritten notes about Lindsey's disappearance in his possession. Investigators also searched the home of three elderly brothers who had been arrested for child pornography to search for a connection to Lindsey's case. Despite all of this, no arrests were made in Lindsey's case, and she remained missing throughout all of these searches.

Then, 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 an area that is an approximate three 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 now being investigated as a murder case. Unfortunately, Lindsey's case remains unsolved today. [read more]

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

List Series: Disappearances with Reporting Gaps Vol. II

As explained in the original 'Disappearances with Reporting Gaps' list, the first 72 hours of a missing persons case is the most critical time of the investigation. During the early stages of investigation, authorities have a better chance of preserving evidence and chasing down leads. If a person waits weeks or even days to reported a loved one missing, the chances of locating that person or finding evidence diminishes significantly. Below is a list of 8 more cases with a gap between the time they were last seen and the time they were reported missing. All of these cases remain unsolved today.

8. Pshara 'Shara' Jones

Pshara 'Shara' Jones was missing for two weeks before she was reported missing by her mother. The 20 year-old woman was last seen leaving her family's Claremore, Oklahoma home on September 21st, 2015. Shara left the home after an argument with her mother, who stated that Shara often did this to cool-off after tensions built inside the home. However, Shara always returned home after calming down. This time, however, Shara did not return. She left behind her cell phone and many other personal belongings. 

Shara's family members waited two weeks to see if Shara would come home. After she did not, her mother reported her missing. An investigation revealed that there were two bank transactions from Shara’s account on the night she vanished. Her bank accounts have never been accessed again. Shara also left behind her cell phone and she never picked up her prescription medication she was taking for bipolar disorder. She has not accessed any of her social media accounts since the day she was last seen.

Shara's family members believe she met with foul play. Due to the fact that her bank and social media accounts have not been used since the day of her disappearance, it's possible that she met harm on the last night she was seen. Unfortunately, Shara still remains missing today. [read more]

7. Jepsy Amaga Kallungi
Colorado woman Jepsy Amaga Kallungi missing for almost a month

Jepsy Amaga Kallungi was classified as a missing person by authorities on April 4th, 2019--after her mother requested that the Colorado Springs PD requested that a welfare check be done at her house. The 26 year-old woman last spoke to her family members two weeks earlier, on March 20th, 2019. After days passed without hearing from her daughter, Jepsy’s mother reached out to Jepsy's husband, Dane Kallungi, on social media. He replied, saying he has no clue about Jepsy’s whereabouts—and he has since deleted his social media accounts. Police finally went to their home on April 4th, and discovered that Jepsy was not there.

Jepsy moved to Colorado from the Philippines in 2017, after meeting Dane online that same year. Once it was discovered that Jepsy was missing, Dane told both family members and authorities that he and Jepsy had separated shortly before she vanished--which is why he never reported her missing. Dane has since moved to California.

Jepsy's family members stated that they were unaware about her alleged separation from Dane--and they do not believe it is true. They stated that they believe Jepsy would have told them about any potential marital problems they were having. Her family believes that Dane has information about her whereabouts, but at this time he has not been named as a suspect in her case. Jepsy remains missing today. [read more]

6. Jessica Garino
True Case Files: The Disappearance of Jessica Garino

Jessica Garino vanished at the age of 23 on January 23rd, 2012. She had moved from her hometown in Tennessee to Goldsboro, North Carolina just a month earlier. According to her family members, Jessica moved to North Carolina to get clean and have a fresh start. However, one of her roommates was a heroin dealer. Additionally, she was dating a 52 year-old man named Carson Cameron, who was a known drug user as well. Despite this, it appeared Jessica had every intention of getting clean, as she was committed to her outpatient treatment program. On the day she vanished, she was seen at the drug rehabilitation center. Jessica also spoke to her sister on the phone that day, and she promised that she would call her again in a week after she got paid.

That week came and went without any word from Jessica. Then, two more weeks passed--and her family had still not heard from her. This concerned Jessica's family members, as it was uncharacteristic for her to be out of touch. After three weeks with no word from her, Jessica's family members reported her missing in Tennessee. The Tennessee authorities lead the case to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations. Those authorities interviewed Jessica’s boyfriend Carson, and her roommates as well. Carson told investigators that Jessica abruptly left in the middle of the night and never returned. Jessica’s roommates, on the other hand, told a very different story. They told investigators that both Carson and Jessica were both gone for a few days, but Carson eventually returned…alone. Jessica's roommates knew that she had not been seen since January 23rd, yet none of them spoke up until law enforcement got involved.

Carson Cameron has since stopped cooperating with investigators. He has since been arrested on unrelated charges, but still has not spoken up about Jessica. Jessica remains missing today. [read more]

5. Jasmaine Smith

Jasmaine Smith was last seen by her loved ones on June 5th, 2015. At the time, the 22 year-old woman lived in Warren, Ohio. On the day she vanished, Jasmaine joined her family at their home in Farrell, Pennsylvania to celebrate her younger sister’s high school graduation. Jasmaine’s loved ones have not seen or heard from her since she left the party, and it is unknown if she ever made it back to her own home in Warren.

Jasmaine's family members were initially not too worried when they did not hear from her. After all, she is an adult and her family was aware that she was busy with work. However, as weeks went by without any word from Jasmaine, her family members grew more and more concerned. Jasmaine was finally reported missing on June 29th, 2015--a full 24 days after she was last seen.

A month and a half after Jasmaine vanished, another young girl from Warren disappeared: 18 year-old Alesha Bell. Just a few weeks later, Alesha’s remains were found at the home of 40 year-old James Brooks, a man who was known to be running a drug and sex trafficking ring. Jasmaine’s family said that Jasmaine knew Brooks, and they think it is possible that he is involved in her disappearance. Brooks is currently incarcerated on charges related to Alesha's death. He has never been charged with anything related to Jasmaine's disappearance, however Jasmaine’s family fears she may have fallen victim to his sex trafficking ring. Authorities also believe that foul play was involved in her case.

Jasmaine remains missing today. Her family members have created a fundraiser to raise the reward money in her case. If you'd like to donate, please go here. 

4. Shacaiah 'Blue' Harding
Shacaiah Blue Harding reported missing in Montana

Shacaiah 'Blue' Harding was last seen on the afternoon of July 23rd, 2018. The 19 year-old was walking along Buena Vista Road in Billings, Montana at the time. The following day, Blue posted a series of Facebook posts expressing that she was upset about a failed relationship, amongst other things in her life. She posted her final post shortly before midnight, which reads, "All depressing but I'm typing it like it's everything but.. relying on feelings suck." All of Blue's social media activity ceased after that, and she has never been seen or heard from again.

In the months leading up to Blue's disappearance, she was reportedly living on the streets of Billings. Her loved ones state that she was behaving 'erratically' in the months and weeks before she vanished, however she always kept in touch with her family. Finally, on August 20th, 2018, Blue's mother reported her missing after not being able to contact her for almost a month. Through the investigation, it was determined that the last known sighting of Blue was on July 23rd--a day before she posted her final posts on Facebook.

Blue remains missing today. [read more]

3. Brittany Peart
Brittany Peart Photos on Myspace

Brittany Peart left her family's Elkton, Maryland home around 1am on July 25th, 2008. The 21 year-old woman left the home in the midst of a disagreement with her mother. Brittany packed an overnight bag with only a few belongings before she left. Brittany’s mother assumed that Brittany just needed time to cool off and would return home soon. However, she never returned.

A week later, Brittany’s car was found abandoned in the town of North East, Maryland. Both her keys and the bag she packed before leaving her house were found inside the car. Brittany had not been reported missing yet at this point, and it is unclear if her family members were notified about the discovery of her car. If they were, it appeared they were still leaning towards the idea that Brittany was just taking some time away and would eventually return on her own accord. Finally,  in September 2008--after two months passed without any word from Brittany, her family members reported her missing Over a year later, in October 2009, Brittany's parents hired a private investigator. The investigator ended up telling Brittany's family that Brittany had likely started a new life in another city. The search for her seemed to hit a lull after that. Unfortunately, it appears the private investigator was incorrect--as two years later, in December 2011, Brittany's remains were found in a wooded area at the Maryland-Delaware state line. 

Very few details have been released about the investigation into Brittany's death, but her loved ones believe she was murdered. In fact, many of Brittany’s friends have posted that they believe she was killed not long after she left her family's home in July 2008--and that a man she was dating at the time could be responsible. This man has not been charged with anything relating to Brittany's death and her case remains unsolved today. [read more]

2. Monica Moynan
Ex-boyfriend named person of interest in Holly Springs mom's ...

Monica Moynan vanished at the age of 22 in April 2019. The mother-of-two was living in Holly Springs, North Carolina at the time of her disappearance. Monica was last seen in person by 44 year-old Brian Sluss--her boyfriend and father of her two daughters. However, from April to June 2019, Monica's family members and friends continued to receive text messages from Monica's phone. Her mother grew slightly concerned when she noticed that Monica had stopped calling her--as she previously would call at least once every two weeks. Still, the texts Monica's family members and friends received seemed to match Monica's normal texting style, so they were initially not too worried.

That all changed in early July 2019, when the manager at Monica's apartment called her mother and expressed concern for the young woman. The manager had reportedly seen Brian Sluss at their apartment numerous times, but had not seen Monica at all since late March 2019. A welfare check was requested, and when police were unable to pinpoint Monica's whereabouts, she was reported missing. As detectives investigated Monica's disappearance, they determined that Monica had actually not been seen since April 2019--and that Brian was the last person to see her. 

Brian became a suspect fairly early into the investigation--especially after investigators found a large amount of blood on the floor of the house where Brian and Monica lived together. Finally, in May 2020, Brian was arrested and charged with Monica's murder. Brian's wife, Jarlyn Sluss, was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and accessory to murder after-the-fact. Both remain behind bars as their cases are pending. Monica's remains have still not been found. [read more]

1. Taveta Hobbs
New hope but few answers in case of Raleigh woman missing since ...

Taveta Hobbs vanished at the age of 43 on November 24th, 2008. She was last seen in Raleigh, North Carolina where she lived with her husband Phil Hobbs. Taveta's family members said it was not unusual for her to drop out-of-touch with them for weeks or months at a time, so they were initially not concerned when they did not hear from her. However, Taveta's brother grew suspicious when almost a year went by without any word from her. Finally, in October 2009, Taveta's brother filed a missing persons' report. 

At that point, both Taveta's family members and investigators learned that Taveta had not been seen since November 2008. In fact, investigators spoke to the man Taveta worked for, and he told them that in late November 2008 he received a text from Taveta stating she was quitting. He thought this was unusual, as she had not previously indicated any desire to quit. Additionally, she never picked up her final paycheck.

Suspicions inevitably fell upon Taveta's husband, Phil Hobbs. He told investigators that Taveta left him and never returned. This seemed unlikely, as Taveta's vehicle and personal belongings were all left behind. Investigators also found it odd that Phil never reported his wife missing, nor did he make any attempt to contact her. Despite all these suspicious circumstances, Phil has not been charged with anything related to Taveta's disappearance. Taveta remains missing today. [read more]

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Disappearance & Death of Allyson Watterson

Allyson Watterson vanished on December 22nd, 2019. The then-20-year-old woman was last seen by her boyfriend, 21 year-old Benjamin Garland. Benjamin told police that he and Allyson were hiking in North Plains, Oregon when they got separated in a wooded area near Old Pumpkin Ridge Road. Benjamin and his father reported Allyson missing the following day.

While investigating Allyson's disappearance, authorities noticed that Benjamin had several active warrants for unrelated crimes. Just days after reporting Allyson missing, Benjamin was arrested and charged with failure to appear on five separate occasions, possession of a stolen vehicle, theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He later pleaded guilty to these charges and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Benjamin has not been named as a suspect in Allyson's disappearance, but police initially appeared to doubt his story. Days after Allyson's disappearance, the Washington County Sheriff's office said that they did not find any evidence to suggest that Benjamin and Allyson had actually gone hiking on December 22nd. When asked about this by reporters, Sheriff's Deputy Brian van Kleef stated "we've never been able to verify this narrative."

However, in March 2020, an anonymous tipster alerted authorities about "seeing something" near Pumpkin Ridge Road. When authorities went to the area, they reportedly found items that were confirmed to belong to Allyson. Authorities have not confirmed what items were found, but Allyson's mother told reporters that the items were Allyson's backpack and ID card. It's unclear if investigators now believe that this evidence suggests that Benjamin and Allyson actually did go hiking that day--or if they think the evidence was planted there after-the-fact. A wider search of the area was conducted after the items were found, and reportedly no other clues were found.

Allyson remains missing today. There is a $10,000 reward in place for information leading to her whereabouts. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 503-629-0111.
UPDATE (June 22nd, 2020): 

Allyson's remains have been found.

A property owner in North Plains was clearing out brush on Saturday, June 20th, when the gruesome discovery was made. Allyson was found in an area close to where she was reportedly last seen.  At this time, authorities have not yet announced whether or not they believe Allyson was murdered. However, the area where she was found is not easily navigated and investigators do not believe she ended up there by chance. One investigator working the case told reporters, "people aren't just going to go on a walk and end up in this area. It's just not going to happen." This case is currently unfolding and more updates are expected.

Rest in peace, Allyson. 

The Disappearance of Aaliyah Bell

Aaliyah Bell was last seen walking down Chestnut Street toward her uncle’s home in Rock Hill, South Carolina on November 25th, 2014. According to her godmother, Aaliyah left her house around 9:30pm to walk to her uncle’s house, located less than a mile away. Her godmother also said that Aaliyah told her she planned to come back the following day. Unfortunately, Aaliyah did not return as planned, and it was later revealed that she had never arrived at her uncle’s house the previous evening. The 18-year-old was then reported missing by her family members.

Initially, Rock Hill police did not believe foul play was involved in Aaliyah’s disappearance, and she was classified as a runaway. Aaliyah’s family members have disputed this from the beginning for many reasons. Aaliyah left her godmother’s house that evening with very few belongings, basically just the clothes on her back. She left her wallet and cell phone behind, and she also never picked up $100 that had been wired to her by a relative the day before she vanished. Aaliyah was also very active on social media, but none of her pages have been updated since her disappearance.
There were possible sightings of Aaliyah at a motel after her disappearance, but these sightings have not been confirmed. According Aaliyah’s profile on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Aaliyah could be in Atlanta, Charlotte, or Fayetteville, North Carolina. This information suggests that authorities may believe sex trafficking could have played a role involved in her disappearance. In fact, Aaliyah’s godmother said that certain authorities suggested that Aaliyah could have been abducted as part of a forced prostitution ring and is being held somewhere against her will. This also has not been confirmed; however, it is currently being looked into as a possible theory. Aaliyah was eventually reclassified as an endangered missing person rather than a runaway. She remains at that status today. If you have any information about her whereabouts, please report it here.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Murder of Nicholle Coppler

Nicholle Coppler was only 14 years-old when she vanished in Lima, Ohio on May 19th, 1999. She reportedly left her home on her own accord, but her family was concerned for her safety--especially when it was later revealed that Nicholle had been spending time with an older man named Glen Fryer. Fryer had a criminal history and had previously been in trouble for sexually assaulting a young girl. 

Three years after Nicholle's disappearance, in 2002, Fryer was charged with raping a 12 year-old girl. Authorities searched Fryer's home, and they found both Nicholle's ID card and her diary among the possessions in the house. Nicholle's diary had an entry that was dated May 24th, 1999--five days after her disappearance--that stated she had run away and wanted to return home, but the people she was staying with would not allow her to leave. From that point forward, Fryer became the prime suspect in Nicholle's disappearance. Investigators eventually produced the theory that Fryer might have tried to force Nicholle into prostitution, but ended up killing her when she resisted. Unfortunately, prosecutors never had the chance to charge Fryer with anything related to Nicholle's disappearance. Four days after pleading no contest for the 2002 rape case, Fryer hung himself inside his jail cell. Investigators still searched Fryer's home again, but they did not find anything. 

Finally, in 2012, the city of Lima obtained control of Fryer's house after its taxes went unpaid. The house had been abandoned for years and was in very poor shape by this point. As a result, the city declared that the house was a safety hazard and planned to tear it down. A demolition team tore the house down in February 2012. As they began to dig up the house's foundation, the demolition team found human bones. A coroner later confirmed that the bones belonged to Nicholle Coppler.

After this gruesome discovery, it was clear that the investigator's theory stating Nicholle had been killed by Fryer was likely correct. However, there were two other men living in Fryer's house around the time of Nicholle's disappearance and investigators are reportedly hoping to locate these men to question them about Nicholle's death.

Nicholle's case is tied to a much larger issue of human trafficking, and how runaway teens are at high risk. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an estimated 1 out of 7 runaway teens are likely to be victims of sex trafficking. If you or someone you know is involved in sex trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 — or Text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733).

Saturday, June 20, 2020

List Series: Murder Victims Who Helped Solve Their Own Case

The following cases contain examples of murder victims who helped solved their own murder cases through actions they took before they were killed. Whether it was through a social media post, personal writings, or other interactions they had before their death, each one of these victims left behind evidence that helped detectives to find their killer.

7. Annie Kasprzak
Dan Rascon on Twitter: "14yr old Annie Kasprzak body was found in ...

Annie Kasprzak was tragically murdered at the age of 15 by her boyfriend Darwin 'Christopher' Bagshaw on March 10th, 2012. Christopher, who was only 14 years-old at the time of the murder, lured Annie out of her family's Draper, Utah home that evening. He reportedly told Annie that he wanted the two of them to run away together, and he asked her to meet up with him near the Jordan River. Once Annie arrived at the agreed upon spot, Christopher attacked her and brutally beat her to death. He then disposed of her body in the water. The following morning, a jogger called police after spotting blood under a bridge near the Jordan River. This prompted a search by investigators, and Annie's body was found shortly thereafter.

Annie wrote both a note and numerous entries in her diary that would lead investigators to Christopher. On the evening of March 10th, Annie's mother and stepfather found a note in her bedroom that indicated she was going to run away because she had told people she was pregnant, even though she really was not. Annie's diary also had several entries in which Annie wrote about possibly being pregnant with Christopher's baby. Annie's parents confirmed that they had recently made Annie take a pregnancy test, which turned out to be negative. However, Annie's diary had entries that were dated after she had taken the pregnancy test, which indicated that Christopher still believed she was pregnant. These findings prompted investigators to question Christopher, but he denied seeing Annie on the evening of her death. 

Unfortunately, a false confession from another local woman led investigators to arrest two other men in connection with Annie's death. After months of pursuing charges against these men, investigators eventually determined that the men were not connected to Annie's death whatsoever. The woman who claimed to have witnessed Annie being murdered by the two men eventually admitted that she made the story up. 

The investigation once again circled back to Christopher. This time around, investigators found cell phone records that revealed that Christopher and Annie had messaged each other about running away and raising their baby together. These texts confirmed what Annie had written in her diary--that Christopher believed Annie was pregnant with his child, even though she was not. It is believed that this is the motive behind Annie's killing--Christopher did not want to have a child as a teenager. Investigators also confirmed that bloodstains on Christopher's shoes belonged to Annie, and that Christopher had asked a friend to lie on his behalf by telling investigators that the blood got there after Annie got a bloody nose while hanging out with Christopher at said friend's house. 

Christopher was arrested and charged with Annie's murder in 2014. By 2016, his charges were upgraded to adult status. He eventually pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. [read more]

6. Bryan Capnerhurst
True Case Files: The Murders of Tammy Jo Parker & Bryan Capnerhurst
Tammy Parker, Brett Parker & Bryan Capnerhurst

Bryan Capnerhurst was killed by Brett Parker on April 13th, 2012. Brett called the police that afternoon and claimed that Bryan entered his family's Irmo, South Carolina home and shot his wife, Tammy Parker. In an effort to defend himself, Brett stated that he grabbed his own gun and shot Bryan in self-defense. 

While investigating the incident, detectives learned that Brett had not been honest about what had truly happened. It was soon revealed that Brett and Bryan were both involved in illegal betting in Midlands—in fact, many referred to Brett as the “kingpin” of the operation. Both men were addicted to gambling and both were reportedly suffering from debt. Bryan's wife Cindy Capnerhurst told detectives that Brett owed Bryan money, and that Bryan intended to confront him about it on the day of his death. However, before leaving his home, Bryan told Cindy that he was fearful of meeting up with Brett--and he asked Cindy to call the police if he had not returned home in an hour. Once detectives learned this information, it became clear that Bryan feared for his life before he went to the Parker home.

Soon, investigators began to believe that self-defense was not involved in this case at all. In fact, it was theorized that Brett shot and killed Tammy before Bryan even came over to his house. Brett planned to use Bryan as the scapegoat for Tammy's death and had completely fabricated the story about killing him in self-defense. Brett then would be able to collect the life insurance policy he had out on Tammy--and he would also be relieved of the debt he owed to Bryan.

Three months after the shooting, Brett was arrested and charged with killing both Tammy and Bryan. He was found guilty and is currently serving a life sentence. [read more]

5. Candice Parchment
Candice Parchment's murderer Marshae Hickman was caught due to ...

Candice Parchment was only 15 years-old when she vanished from her family's Forest Park, Georgia home on April 28th, 2010. Although she left the home on her own accord, Candice's mother was very concerned for her safety--especially since she had been through a traumatic incident just two months earlier. On an afternoon in early JanuaryCandice called her mother and asked her to come pick her up at an abandoned house in Forest Park. Once Candice's mother found her, Candice ran to the car and said that she had almost been raped by two older boys. Candice's mother begged her daughter to reveal the identity of her attackers, but Candice refused. When Candice vanished in April 2010, it was initially unclear if the January 2010 incident was related to her disappearance. Her loved ones held out hope that she would come home safely, but unfortunately she never did. In December 2010, Candice's body was found underneath a mattress in a wooded area near her home. An autopsy confirmed that she had been strangled and stabbed to death. Candice's case quickly shifted into a homicide investigation...but unfortunately the case appeared to go cold in the months that followed.

In October 2011, Candice's mother eventually decided to move to a different home. While packing up some of Candice's items, her mother stumbled upon a diary that Candice had been keeping in the months leading up to her disappearance. Inside the diary, Candice's mother found the lead she had been praying for: the identities of the men who attacked Candice in January 2010. In a diary entry dated January 5th, 2010, Candice wrote that 19 year-olds Marshae Hickman and Jermaine Robinson had attempted to rape her in the abandoned home. At that point, Candice's mother was certain that Marshae and Jermaine were responsible for Candice's death as well. She immediately turned the diary over to detectives. By time police obtained Candice's diary, Marshae was already incarcerated on unrelated robbery charges. Detectives visited him in jail to question him about Candice, and he reportedly confessed to murdering Candice and hiding her under a mattress. Marshae was charged with her murder shortly thereafter. Police later also arrested Jermaine Robinson for attempting to rape Candice in January 2010, but he was not charged with anything related to Candice's death. Jermaine pleaded guilty to said charges. 

Marshae went to trial in 2013 and was ultimately found guilty on the following charges: murder, aggravated assault, attempted rape and concealing a death. He was sentenced to life in prison and remains behind bars today. [read more]

4. Sydney Loofe

24 year-old Sydney Loofe sent the above Snapchat to her friends on November 15th, 2017. That day, Sydney planned to go on a second date with 23 year-old Bailey Boswell--a woman she had matched with on Tinder. Sydney never returned to her Lincoln, Nebraska home after meeting with Bailey and was reported missing after she failed to show up to work on November 16th. Investigators were alerted to the Snapchat that Sydney had sent prior to vanishing, and from there they were able to identify Bailey as the woman who Sydney met up with on the day of her disappearance.

Bailey was quickly identified as a person of interest in Sydney's case, along with her older boyfriend/flatmate, 51 year-old Aubrey Trail. The couple went on to post a series of bizarre videos on Facebook, declaring their innocence in Sydney's case. They stated that they were on the run from police because they had warrants out for several unrelated charges. Bailey and Aubrey eventually ended up turning themselves in, and they were taken into custody for the unrelated charges. Just days later, Sydney's dismembered body was found in a rural area of Clay County. 

In June 2018, both Bailey and Aubrey were charged with first-degree murder and improper disposal of human remains. Aubrey was found guilty on all charges in July 2019. Bailey is currently still awaiting trial. [read more]

3. Tiana Notice
Man Who Killed Grad Student Sentenced to 60 Years – NBC Connecticut

Tiana Notice was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend James Carter II in front of her apartment in Plainville, Connecticut on February 14th, 2009. In the months leading up to her murder, the 25 year-old woman contacted the police several times to report James for stalking and harassing her. Unfortunately, the police did not take her claims seriously. Tiana had turned over a series of emails from James to police, but was told that the emails were non-threatening and therefore the police could not take action. Additionally, Tiana's car was vandalized--but once again, police told her they did not have any evidence that it was James who had vandalized her car, so no action was taken. 

Although the police repeatedly dismissed Tiana's claims, she did not give up on reporting any contact she received from him. Days before her murder, Tiana found a handwritten note by her front door that she was sure came from James. She turned the note over to police, and the police subsequently contacted James to request a handwriting sample for comparison. James grew enraged once he realized that Tiana had called the police on him. On February 14th, 2009, James lurked around Tiana’s apartment complex waiting for her to come home. Once she arrived, James ambushed Tiana and stabbed her 20 times before fleeing the scene. She was still somehow able to make a phone call to 911. Tiana told dispatchers, “I’m bleeding to death. My ex-boyfriend just stabbed me to death.” She was rushed to the hospital, where she unfortunately died shortly thereafter.

Tiana's story is an unfortunate example of a true miscarriage of justice. She had reported James to police several times prior to her death, but police did not take any action. Even as she was dying from numerous stab wounds, Tiana was able to call police and identify her ex-boyfriend as the man who had attacked her. From there, police were quickly able to arrest James and charge him with Tiana's murder. He was eventually sentenced to 60 years in prison and remains behind bars today. [read more]

2. Rachel Pernosky
Body of missing Mission woman found, homicide suspected | CBC News

Rachel Pernosky was only 18 years-old whens he was murdered by her half-brother, 33 year-old Matthew Pernosky, on March 16th, 2013. The half-siblings already had quite a rocky past--as Matthew had molested Rachel as a young child. He was 15 years-old at the time of the sexual assault, and he was sentenced to probation for it at the age of 19.

By 2013, Rachel had done the best she could to move on from the traumatizing event. In fact, the day she was killed, Rachel had agreed to allow Matthew to visit her at her Mission, B.C. Canada home--as he told her he wanted to apologize for assaulting her as a child. Rachel told a friend to tell her that Matthew was going to come over, and at some point during her conversation with Matthew, the friend texted Rachel to ask her how the conversation was going. Rachel replied that the conversation was “good, but emotional” and that she was tired and hoped Matthew would leave soon. This is the last time anyone ever heard from Rachel, and she was later reported missing after she did not pick-up her one year-old son. Unfortunately, just three days later, Rachel’s body was found hidden in steep terrain near Old Orchard Road in Chilliwack. 

The text messages that Rachel sent prior to her disappearance helped police determine that Matthew was the last person to see her before she vanished. From there, Matthew was quickly identified as a suspect--but unfortunately, there was not enough evidence to charge him with anything related to Rachel's murder. However, in 2016, an undercover detective befriended Matthew and was able to get a full confession out of them. At that time, detectives learned that the final text message Rachel sent to her friend is what ultimately prompted Matthew to grow enraged. He told the undercover detective that after seeing the text message, he felt that Rachel was 'acting like a victim', and that apparently triggered him to hit her on the head and tackle her before suffocating her to death by putting his hand over her mouth and nose. He then assaulted her body post-mortem before disposing of her in Chilliwack. 

In May 2018, Matthew pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges. He was given an automatic life sentence, but will be eligible for parole after 13 years. [read more]

1. Brittney Gargol
“ 21 year-old Cheyenne Rose Antoine(left) and 18 year-old Brittney Gargol(right) pictured together on the evening of March 24th, 2015. Later on that night, Cheyenne allegedly used the same black belt she is seen wearing in this...

18 year-old Brittney Gargol (pictured right) was murdered by her best friend Cheyenne Antoine (pictured left) on March 24th, 2015. Earlier that evening, Brittney made the above picture her profile picture on Facebook. Shortly thereafter, Brittney and Cheyenne went to several bars is the Saskatoon, Canada area. The following morning, Brittney's body was found on the side of Valley Road, located on the outskirts of town.

Cheyenne denied having any information about Brittney's death. In fact, she told police that she and Brittney became separated that night after Brittney went home from a bar with an unknown man. Years passed without any updates in Brittney's case, until finally investigators were able to link Cheyenne to the crime in 2017. At that time, investigators were looking at Brittney's Facebook posts to try and piece together the events of the night she was murdered. It was then that investigators noticed that Brittney's profile picture held the answer they were looking for. They noticed that the belt Cheyenne is pictured wearing is the same belt that was found near Brittney's body--the belt that investigators had determined was the murder weapon. 

When confronted with this information, Cheyenne finally confessed to being responsible for Brittney's death. However, she claims she blacked out and has no memory of the event. Cheyenne originally faced second-degree murder charges, but she accepted a plea deal and ended up pleading guilty to manslaughter. She was sentenced to seven years in prison. [read more]

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Disappearance of Larissa Sam

Larissa Sam (23) has been missing from Indianapolis, Indiana since June 21st, 2015. At the time of her disappearance, Larissa worked as a dancer at a club located south of Indianapolis. She left work around 1am on the morning of June 21st and headed to her uncle Rusty Wagner’s house to have a few drinks. While there, Larissa posted on her Facebook page that she was looking for a “texting buddy”—and she included her phone number on the post. Larissa left Rusty’s home around 4:30am, and sometime after that, she disappeared. Her parents reported her missing after she did not show up at their house to pick up her 4 year old son. Shortly after, police found Larissa’s car with a flat tire near an abandoned home in Mars Hill. Her purse, phone, wallet, and keys were found inside the car.

The FBI got involved in the case early on, after a Facebook post suggested that Larissa was kidnapped and taken to another country. However, after investigating that lead, the FBI determined that it was fake. Since then, a lot of strong potential leads in Larissa’s case have been ruled out as well. Many were concerned about the fact that Larissa vanished shortly after posting her phone number to Facebook, but the FBI said there was no evidence that somebody responding to her Facebook post had kidnapped her. Another theory was that Larissa had been followed by somebody she met at the strip club where she worked. However, the FBI said there was no evidence of that either. They have also ruled out sex trafficking and numerous people that have been interviewed—but they have not publicly identified anyone they have ruled out.

Very little has been said about Larissa’s uncle Rusty, who was the last known person to see her. There also has not been any information about the circumstances under which Larissa left his home. In fact, most of the significant information about Rusty has been revealed through online sleuthing. An admin on a Help Find Larissa Sam Facebook page posted a screenshot of records that confirm that Rusty was convicted of rape in 1989. A poster on Websleuths found an online obituary that confirms that Rusty passed away in March 2017. Comments on his Facebook page state that he died by suicide. Despite all of these tragic and odd twists, authorities have not commented on whether or not they believe he was involved in Larissa’s disappearance.
Larissa had dreams of auditioning for American Idol and often posted videos of herself singing on her YouTube channel.  Her family tries to remain hopeful that she will be found alive and can one day fulfill that dream. Anyone with information/tips about Larissa can report here.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Missing Black Lives Matter

There has been an ongoing discussion on my Tumblr blog about how cases of missing black men, woman and children do not receive equal attention from both detectives and the media. Studies have shown that recovery efforts for missing people increases if there is a larger amount of media coverage on the missing person. However, studies also show that there is a clear racial bias in the media when it comes to covering cases of missing persons--and numerous findings have confirmed that cases of missing white people receive more media coverage than cases of missing people of color. (source)
In an effort to spread awareness about missing black women, men, and children, I have compiled a (growing) list of unsolved cases in the US involving missing black people that have been covered on this blog. Links to full write-ups and active GoFundMe pages, petitions, Facebook pages and/or flyers connected to the cases are provided as well. Please share, sign the petitions, and/or donate to the GoFundMe pages if you can. The lives of these missing black individuals and their families MATTER! They deserve justice and answers. Feel free to send me other cases that you would like to have added to the list. 

The Disappearance & Murder of Kayleah Wilson

Image source: Dignity Memorial Kayleah Wilson was only 12 years-old when she was tragically murdered during the spring of 2010. The young g...