Monday, August 31, 2020

List Series: Tragic Cases of Suspected Trafficking

Human trafficking is an ongoing issue worldwide. Far too many people fall victim to traffickers each day--and many of those victims are females and/or minors. On a worldwide level, it is estimated that 99% of trafficking victims are women and girls. In 2016, it was estimated that 57,700 people were trafficked in the United States. An estimated 70% of those victims from the US are female. (source) The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 1 in 6 of all missing children are victims of trafficking. The following list contains 8 cases of women/girls who have vanished in the US who are suspected to be victims of trafficking.

The purpose of this list is to raise awareness on the issue of trafficking. More information can be found at this resource.  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).

The Disappearance and Murder of Nicholle Coppler

Nicholle Coppler was only 14 years-old when she vanished in Lima, Ohio on May 19th, 1999. She was classified as a runaway, but there were no reported sightings of her following her disappearance. Three years later, in 2002, a man named Glen Fryer was arrested and 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. Nicholle remained missing in the years that followed, up until 2012 when 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.

To this day, investigators still hope to identify other men who were believed to be in Fryer's home at the time of Nicholle's disappearance. [read more]

The Disappearance of Alexis Scott

Alexis Scott (20) disappeared from Peoria, Illinois on September 22nd, 2017. According to her family members, Alexis had survived a kidnapping just three weeks before her disappearance after a trip to Las Vegas. Alexis, along with two males and one other female, had taken the trip to Vegas in late August with hopes of making some extra money working as go-go dancers after the Floyd Mayweather fight. According to Alexis’ mother, April Allen, from there Alexis was kidnapped, drugged, then transported to Sacramento, California and entered into a sex trafficking ring. She managed to escape, partially naked and beaten, by running into the street and flagging down a woman who let Alexis borrow her phone. Alexis then called her mother, who sent her a bus ticket back to Illinois. She returned to her hometown in Peoria, but she feared retaliation from her alleged kidnappers.

On the evening of her disappearance, Alexis went out in downtown Peoria with friends. Afterwards, she was invited to an after party. A cab driver dropped Alexis off at a house on Richmond Avenue at 5:15am. The cab driver later told police that a man greeted Alexis at the cab’s door and paid her fare. This is apparently the last official confirmed sighting of her. Investigators have stated that there is "no concrete evidence" that Alexis ever left that home.

Alexis' family members fear that she was trafficked again. The man who owns the house where Alexis was last seen is apparently affiliated with a person involved in trafficking Alexis during the Vegas trip. The details of this affiliation have not been publicly revealed. Alexis' case remains unsolved. [read more]

The Disappearance of Danica Childs

Danica Childs vanished at the age of 17 on December 21st, 2007. Prior to her disappearance, Danica was living with her mother and siblings in an apartment in Federal Way, Washington. A few days after she vanished, her purse, coat and cellular phone were found at a Sunset Motel in Kent—an area that is well known for prostitution activity. According to her mother, Danica was dating a man who was rumored to be a pimp at the time of her disappearance and had been spending nights out with him on a frequent basis. Danica denied these rumors, but when she did not return home on December 21st, her mother began to fear that the rumors were in fact true.

Messages on Danica’s phone confirmed her mother’s fears, and also revealed that Danica, who was still a minor, was working as a prostitute herself. Her phone was reportedly filled with several sexually-explicit messages from clients. Due to this, authorities believe that Danica left on her own accord. However, Danica’s family members do not believe that Danica would leave her cell phone or other belongings behind, and they also do not think she would go this long without contacting them. Her mother fears that she was kidnapped and sold against her will. [read more]

The Disappearance of Natanalie Perez

Natanalie Perez had only lived in Miami for six months when she vanished on June 1st, 2012. The media has not reported much on the 19 year-old's disappearance, however a nonprofit called the Anti-Predator Project has worked with Natanalie's family to spread awareness about her case. It was the Anti-Predator Project that first reported that Natanalie is believed to be a victim of trafficking.

One of the Anti-Predator Project 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 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.” The police have not confirmed whether or not this is true, but they have stated that they do not believe she is missing on her own accord. Natanalie's case remains unsolved. [read more]

The Disappearance of Sophie Reeder

Sophie Reeder has been missing since May 19th, 2017. She was only 15 years-old when she vanished. Sophie left her family's Fort Lauderdale, Florida that evening and never returned home. She has been classified as a runaway, however investigators believe she may have been a victim of human trafficking or an online predator. Sophie has run away once before, but was only gone for a day. 

This time around, she left behind all of her belongings and there has not been any activity on her mobile devices since the day she disappeared. Investigators were able to search Sophie’s computer after she vanished; it was there that they found evidence that she may have fallen victim to human traffickers or an online predator. However, investigators have not elaborated on said evidence and there are very few other details on what exactly they found on her computer.

All searches for Sophie have turned up empty. She remains missing today. [read more]

The Disappearance and Murder of Alesha Bell

Alesha Bell vanished at the age of 18 on July 23rd, 2015. That afternoon, Alesha left her mother's Warren, Ohio home after saying she was going to walk to a relative's house. Sometime after leaving, Alesha sent her mother a text message saying, “Mom, if I make it home, I need you. I’m scared.” Her mother tried texting and calling Alesha multiple times after that, but her texts went unanswered and her calls went straight to voicemail. Alesha never made it to her relative's house as planned and was never seen or heard from again.

A month after Alesha vanished, police in Warren raided the home of 40 year-old James Brooks to look for drugs. While searching in the woods behind Brooks' house, police found human remains in a fire pit. It was immediately believed that the remains belonged to Alesha. By this point, police had determined that Brooks was the last person to see Alesha before she vanished. Brooks was familiar to Alesha's family as well--as he attended high school with her mother. Upon the discovery of human remains in his backyard, Brooks was arrested and charged with abuse of corpse amongst many other unrelated charges.

Forensic testing later confirmed that the remains did, in fact, belong to Alesha. A few months later, Brooks received many additional charges, including two counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count drug trafficking, kidnapping, abduction, tampering with evidence, compelling prostitution, and possession of cocaine, heroin and criminal tools. At that time, prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci announced that he believed Brooks was using Alesha and several other girls in a sex trafficking ring that he was involved in. For reasons unknown, the trafficking charges against Brooks were eventually dropped. On February 1st, 2017, Brooks pleaded guilty to all charges related to Alesha’s death. He was sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. Despite the fact the trafficking charges were dropped, the authorities and many other people believe that Brooks has other victims from his sex trafficking service. [read more]

The Disappearance of Brittanee Drexel

Brittanee Drexel vanished at the age of 17 on April 25th, 2009. She is originally from Rochester, New York, but she disappeared while on a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Brittanee was last seen leaving the Blue Water Resort, where a few friends were staying. She left the resort to return to her own hotel, but unfortunately she never arrived. Brittanee was never seen or heard from again.

Years passed without any trace of Brittanee. Then, in June 2016, the FBI held a press conference, stating that they had finally determined what happened to Brittanee. They announced that Brittanee was taken from Myrtle Beach to the McClellanville area. She was then held against her will inside a house that is well known for prostitution activity. Brittanee was reportedly there for a few days before she was killed while trying to escape. Brittanee still remains missing and no arrests have ever been made, however the FBI has confirmed that they are certain that this is what happened to her.

McClellanville local Timothy Da’Shaun Taylor has been named as a suspect in the case, but he denies all involvement. At this time, he has never been charged with anything related to Brittanee's case. [read more]

The Disappearance of Corinna Slusser

Corinna Slusser vanished at the age of 19 on September 20th, 2017. The teen had recently moved to New York City before her disappearance. After being in the city for a bit, Corinna's mother learned that Corinna had taken out a restraining order against a man named Yhovanny Peguero. Corinna reportedly acted like it was not a big deal when her mother questioned her about it. However, once Corinna vanished, investigators announced that they believed Yhovanny was Corinna's pimp.

Over a year after Corinna's disappearance, investigators announced that a 23 year-old man named Ishi Woney was arrested and charged with sex trafficking and sexually exploiting young women. It was later announced that Corinna Slusser was one of the young women exploited by Woney. News reports state that Corinna became associated with Woney and another female victim in early September 2017, after Corinna took out a restraining order against her former pimp Yhovanny Peguero. The trio rented a room at Bronx motel that is well-known for prostitution. Between September 10th-September 20th, Corinna and Woney exchanged over 800 text messages. On September 20th, Corinna and the other female victim reportedly got into an argument because the female victim was jealous of Corinna’s relationship with Woney. After that, Corinna moved to a motel in Queens, where she was last seen.

Corinna has not been seen or heard from by her family members since September 20th, 2017. NYPD detectives allegedly told Corinna’s family that they believe Corinna is now being held in a sex trafficking ring against her will. They also believe that she has been passed through several different pimps and possibly has been taken out of the New York area. Corinna unfortunately remains missing today. [read more]

Thursday, August 27, 2020

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.
UPDATE (8/27/20): Eliza has pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Grant Nelson. Her guilty plea is the result of a deal from the prosecution that she accepted. As a result, Eliza was sentenced to 27 years in prison. She was also ordered to undergo continued health assessments.

Eliza has still not revealed what motivated the killing. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Disappearance of Kathy Pereira

Kathy Pereira was last seen by her loved ones on August 16th, 2015. The young girl was only 15 years-old at the time of her disappearance. Kathy had spent the majority of that summer in Portugal visiting her grandparents. She had recently returned to her hometown of Gaithersburg, Maryland shortly before she vanished. 

On the day of her disappearance, Kathy and her family members took a trip to Virginia Beach. Her family members said that their trip to the beach was enjoyable, and nothing seemed unusual about Kathy that day. When they returned from the beach that evening, Kathy and her family members watched movies together before going to bed. When they awoke the following morning, Kathy was gone. She has never been seen or heard from again.

After noticing that Kathy was not at home, her family members spent the day driving around looking for her. They reached out to her friends and checked her social media pages, but nobody appeared to have any information about her whereabouts. By the evening of August 17th, Kathy's family contacted police to report her missing. 

Investigators have classified Kathy as a runaway. Despite this, her family members are unsure of why she would leave and never return. According to her mother, Kathy was discussing her future plans the evening before her disappearance. Her mother explained, "we came back from the beach and [Kathy] was talking about all these goals, about going to college and what she wanted to study. She wanted to study Business, and get her Masters in Portugal." Based on these conversations, Kathy's family members did not have any reason to believe that she was planning to run away. However, Kathy's loved ones believe that somebody out there knows what happened to her, and they are hoping that person will come forward.

Certain initial reports state that Kathy might have been accompanied by a teenage boy at the time of her disappearance. Now that over five years have passed, it is unclear if investigators still believe this to be true. There are unfortunately very few other details available about Kathy's case, and she remains missing today.

If you have any information that could lead to Kathy's whereabouts, please go here to submit an anonymous tip. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Small Town Mysteries Vol. III

A third set of mysteries that occurred in a small town with a population of approximately 3000 people or less.

As explained in the first 'Small Town Mysteries' list, most of these towns are considered quiet communities with relatively low violent crime rates. This is one of the many reasons these cases are so perplexing and frightening. Additionally, due to the small residency numbers, these cases cause many to question whether or not there is a killer or predator lurking amongst their inner circles. These mysteries all remain unsolved today.

9. The Disappearance of Mercedes Toliver
Family desperate for answers in 2016 disappearance of Arkansas ...

Mercedes Toliver was only 18 years-old when she vanished on December 17th, 2016. The teen left her family's Prescott, Arkansas home after an argument with her mother. Prescott is her family's hometown, and Mercedes grew up in the area. The town has a population of 3,018 (2018) and Mercedes was very familiar with the area. In fact, when Mercedes left the house during the early-morning hours of December 17th, her mother thought she was going to walk to her aunt's house, who only lived a quarter mile away. Unfortunately, Mercedes never arrived at her aunt's house and she never returned home. She has not been seen or heard from again. 

Since her disappearance, Mercedes has not been active on any of her social media accounts, nor have any of her bank accounts been used. Earlier on into the investigation, the Prescott Police Department apparently had leads that Mercedes was in Clark or Lafayette counties, but those leads did not pan out. Ever since, there have been very few leads and very little information available about Mercedes’ case. She remains missing today.

8. The Disappearance of Sylvia Galvan
Family Continues to Search For Missing Mt Morris Woman

Sylvia Galvan has been missing since October 2011. At the time of her disappearance, the 30 year-old woman lived in Mount Morris, Michigan. Mount Morris is described as a quiet, family-oriented area with a population of only 2,855 residents (2018). Unfortunately, Sylvia was estranged from her parents and her children in 2011--and as a result, it took Sylvia's family members a very long time to realize she had gone missing. In fact, Sylvia was not reported missing until 2013—over two years after she was last seen.

Throughout the investigation, detectives were able to determine that Sylvia was last seen in Mount Morris on or around the date of October 21st, 2011. Witnesses reportedly told detectives that they saw Sylvia on or around that day getting into a vehicle with a group of unidentified men. Authorities have not revealed any further information on the investigation at this time, however they have stated that they believed foul play was involved in Sylvia’s disappearance. 

Sylvia's loved ones believe that somebody in Mount Morris knows exactly what happened to Sylvia. The FBI is now involved in her case. Sylvia remains missing today. [read more]

7. The Disappearance of Timeka Pridgen
2001 disappearance of Lenoir teen still unsolved ::

Timeka Pridgen was only 16 years-old when she went missing on May 12th, 2001. She was last seen at her family’s home in La Grange, North Carolina. On the evening of May 12th, Timeka was at the house with her mother, Cosandra Best. Cosandra was expecting to see her boyfriend, Eric Moore, that night—and she planned to end her relationship with him once he arrived at their house. However, 5 minutes before Eric said he was going to be there, Cosandra dozed off to sleep. She later woke up around midnight and realized that Timeka was gone. Cosandra was unsure if Eric ever actually stopped by, but she was immediately worried about her daughter when she realized Timeka’s shoes and other personal belongings were still inside the house. Cosandra subsequently reported Timeka missing.

Investigators initially believed that Timeka left on her own accord, however Cosandra never believed this to be true. La Grange is a small town--and in 2001, the population was approximately 2,851 residents. Nobody in the La Grange area reported seeing or hearing from Timeka at all after her disappearance. About a year and a half after she went missing, investigators stated that they no longer believed Timeka had run away, and they began treating her case as a kidnapping. Wider-scale searches of the La Grange area occurred after that point, but unfortunately no clues were found.

Cosandra's ex-boyfriend Eric Moore is considered a person of interest in Timeka's disappearance. After Timeka was reported missing, Cosandra learned that Eric had a criminal history with charges such as sexual assault, kidnapping, and theft on his record. In 2006, he was convicted of an unrelated sex crime and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Eric has continually denied involvement in Timeka's disappearance. She remains missing today. [read more]

6. The Disappearance & Death of Allyson Watterson

Allyson Watterson mysteriously vanished on December 22nd, 2019. The 20 year-old woman was last seen by her boyfriend, 21 year-old Benjamin Garland. Benjamin stated 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.

North Plains is a small town on the outskirts of the Portland metropolitan area. Though it's fairly close to a metropolitan area, North Plains has a small population with only 2,195 residents (2018). Investigators initially searched the area around Old Pumpkin Ridge Road, where Allyson was reportedly last seen, but they were unable to find any clues. Investigators did, however, notice that Benjamin had many outstanding warrants out for him on several different charges. He was arrested for said charges just five days after Allyson's disappearance and has since been sentenced to three years in prison.

A few months passed without any leads or clues in Allyson's case. Then, 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. A wider search of the area did not return any further clues. 

Finally, in June 2020, a property owner clearing some brush spotted human remains hidden underneath the thick area. A few days later, a coroner confirmed that the remains were that of Allyson Watterson. An investigation into her death is currently ongoing. [read more]

5. The Disappearance of Suzie Escobedo

Suzanna 'Suzie' Escobedo vanished at the age of 25 on August 2nd, 2018. She was last seen in Seadrift, Texas, where she lived in a mobile home with her husband and their 4 month-old daughter. On the day of her disappearance, Suzie texted with a few relatives, but all contact from her ceased after 1pm. Suzie's husband returned home from work shortly after 7pm that evening and found their infant daughter home alone. He also noticed that Suzie's cell phone, wallet, and other personal belongings were left behind. Suzie's husband promptly reported her missing.

A widespread search of the Seadrift area did not return any clues. Seadrift is a very small town with a population of only 1,493 residents (2018). However, no one in the area has reported seeing Suzie since her disappearance. Both Suzie's family members and authorities do not believe that Suzie left on her own accord. It is out-of-character for her to leave her infant daughter unattended and Suzie's loved ones do not believe she would leave town without her baby or 7 year-old son. 

Suzie does not have a history of mental illness or substance abuse, and it is not believed that she harmed herself. She remains missing today, and the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department is investigating in her disappearance. [read more]

4. The Disappearance of Jasmine Robinson

Jasmine Robinson was last seen by her loved ones on February 18th, 2019. The 23 year-old woman was 6-7 months pregnant at the time of her disappearance. On the evening of February 18th, Jasmine spoke to her aunt on the phone to confirm that her aunt was going to come to her house the following morning to take her to a doctor's appointment. However, when Jasmine's aunt showed up at her Archer, Florida home the following morning, Jasmine was nowhere to be found.

Archer is a small town in Florida with approximately 1,209 residents (2018). Since Jasmine's disappearance, nobody in Archer has reported seeing or hearing from her. However, Jasmine's family members believe the father of her unborn child might have had something to do with her disappearance. Jasmine reportedly did not want to have a relationship with this man, and she was upset about the fact that he had constantly been calling her in the months/weeks leading up to her disappearance. While investigators have not named this man as a suspect in Jasmine's disappearance at this time, they have stated that they do not believe Jasmine was alone on the evening of February 18th. 

Jasmine remains missing today and detectives are appealing to anyone who might have information about her disappearance to come forward. [read more]

3. The Disappearance of Lisa Knight

Lisa Marie Knight vanished at the age of 29 on June 8th, 2012. She was last seen at the residence of her ex-husband, Lloyd Frey, in Ossineke, Michigan. Lloyd is the father of two of Lisa's four children. Lisa's loved ones described her as a loving mother. However, Lisa also struggled with addiction. Her children did not live with her at the time of her disappearance, but she visited with them regularly. On the evening of June 8th, 2012, Lloyd picked Lisa up with the intention of going to visit their youngest daughter. Instead, the two ended up at Lloyd's residence.

Lloyd later told investigators that when he woke up the next morning, Lisa was gone. There are many theories about what might have happened to her. Lisa's loved ones have their suspicions about Lloyd, especially since he was the last person to have seen her. There are also theories that Lisa might have overdosed and her body was hidden. Neither theory has been confirmed, but authorities believe someone in the small town of Ossineke has information about Lisa's disappearance. Ossineke's population is approximately 899 residents (2019). It's likely that someone in the community has answers about Lisa's disappearance, but so far nobody has come forward. [read more]

2. The Disappearance of Keeslyn Roberts

Keeslyn Roberts has been missing since January 18th, 2020. The 20 year-old woman was last seen at a Flying J truck stop in Resaca, Georgia. When Keeslyn arrived at the Flying J that day, she told people at the truck stop that she was there to see someone. Employees at the Flying J ended up calling 911 after Keeslyn reportedly entered an employee-only kitchen area and got into an altercation. She fled the scene before the police arrived, however her cash, debit cards, identification, and phone charger were left behind. At this time it is unclear how Keeslyn left the truck stop, as her vehicle was left behind as well.

Resaca is a very small town with only 798 residents (2018). While many locals in the area know Keeslyn, nobody has come forward with information about her disappearance. The most recent update in her case came about in March 2020, when investigators searched the Flying J and found clothing that is believed to belong to Keeslyn in a dumpster behind the building. An anonymous witness told reporters that the clothes have been there since Keeslyn’s disappearance, however investigators did not obtain them until they conducted their search. The identity of this witness is currently unknown, but authorities stated that the witness has fully cooperated with the investigation.

Keeslyn remains missing today, and there is a cash reward being offered for anyone with information that could lead to her whereabouts. [read more]

1. The Disappearance of Peggy McGuire

28 year-old Peggy McGuire disappeared on November 16th, 2015. That morning, she dropped her young son off at school in Eufaula, Oklahoma and then was never seen or heard from again. At the time of her disappearance, Peggy, her son, and her son's father lived in Stidham, Oklahoma. Stidham is an extremely small town with a population of only 19 residents (2018). While Peggy's loved ones and other Stidham residents have their suspicions about what might have happened, nobody in the small community has seen or heard from her since November 2015.

The only clues in Peggy's disappearance that have been publicly revealed comes from surveillance footage captured at a rural bar. The day after Peggy's disappearance,  in the midst of a violent storm, surveillance footage captured her car being driven into the parking lot of T&J’s Ice House, a rural bar located 10 miles away from her home. An unidentified man was captured getting out of the driver’s seat of her car and walking away. Additionally, when police searched the home that Peggy shared with her son’s father Thomas Ryan McIntosh, they found blood on the couch on their back porch. They also found bloodstains on a leather glove found in McIntosh’s truck. Despite this, McIntosh was not arrested nor was he named as a suspect in Peggy’s disappearance. Investigators apparently submitted the blood samples for forensic testing, but the results of those tests have yet to be revealed.

Peggy remains missing today. [read more]

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Suspicious Death of Jill Wells

Jill Wells was 36 years-old when she died under suspicious circumstances on March 28th, 2001. The mother of two spent that day doing target practice with her husband Mike Wells and their six-year-old son, Tanner Wells.  The three were shooting on a remote ranch outside of Punkin Center, Colorado. At 1:48pm, Lincoln County dispatch received a 911 call from Mike. He told the dispatcher that his wife had accidentally been shot and killed. The dispatcher then passed the call to Lincoln County Undersheriff Adam Yowell. Yowell asked Mike what happened, to which he replied, "My wife and my son and I were out target shooting. And he turned the gun and it went off and shot her. I don’t even know where he hit her. But get somebody down here, please." 

First responders rushed to the scene, but due to the remote area of the ranch, it took around 20 minutes for them to show up. When they arrived, they found Jill on her stomach on an old foam mattress with a rifle in her right hand. She had a single bullet wound just above her ear. It was clear that she was deceased. 

Mike was once again asked what happened, and he explained that Tanner had been shooting with a child's rifle but asked if he could fire one shot out of the "big gun". Mike obliged Tanner's request and allowed him to fire a single shot out of his .22 caliber rifle. Mike then said that he turned his back to pick up Tanner's rifle, and when he turned back around, he saw Tanner trying to cock the rifle before it accidentally went off. That was the bullet that reportedly hit Jill, killing her. 

Both the prosecutor and the coroner who were sent to the scene honored Mike's story. The coroner took Jill's body straight to a mortuary after deeming that an autopsy was unnecessary. It seemed as if Jill's death was quickly labeled as a tragic accident. However, Jill's family members and friends always felt there was more to the story--and their feelings were not unfounded. In addition to an autopsy not being performed, there were many other things that were seemingly overlooked as well. Investigators did not attempt to identify any fingerprints on the rifle that killed Jill, nor did they did do any ballistics testing. They also did not conduct any in-depth interviews with anyone involved in the case. 

As the years passed after her death, Jill's loved ones could not shake the feeling that Jill's case was closed too quickly. A closer look into the details of Jill's relationship with her husband Mike revealed a possibility that perhaps her death was not an accident after all.


Continued from the Tumblr post..

From the outside looking in, the Wells' seemed like a family that had it all. Jill worked as a nurse, while Mike owned his own construction business. The couple had two healthy sons. They seemed to be a happy family. However, those closest to Jill said that the family was troubled financially. Mike had children from a previous marriage, and most of Jill's paycheck went towards Mike's child support payments. Jill reportedly told her mother and her friends that she wanted to quit her job so she could stay at home with her sons, but she was unable to due to their financial issues. 

Jill also told her mother and friends that Mike was not present emotionally. She suspected that Mike might have been having an affair with a woman who both Jill and Mike were friends with during college. Jill confronted both Mike and the woman about it, and they denied having an affair. Jill apparently chose to believe them, but the suspicions still remained. Additionally, in early 2001--just months before her death--Jill told a co-worker that Mike had asked Jill to buy more life insurance. The day after Jill's death, Mike called the insurance company to collect on her life insurance.

Jill's mother, sisters, and friends were left with more questions than answers after Jill's death. They wanted to talk to Mike about what happened, but he would often dodge the conversation. It also became apparent to many people that Mike was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

Mike eventually remarried, but by 2006, their marriage was falling part. During 2007, his third wife moved out of their home and sought a restraining order. She documented that there was an instance of physical abuse in 2006 while Mike was under the influence of drugs. She also stated that Mike had made threats to leave her without any money. 

By 2008, Jill's sister Julie Evenson finally decided to demand more answers. During June of that year, Julie went to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and asked for Jill's case to be reopened. She spoke to Deputy Alan Leach that afternoon, who asked her to write down a statement regarding her concerns about Jill's case. Julie wrote about several things, including the rumor that Mike had raised Jill's life insurance policy before her death. She also wrote about a story she had heard that Jill's son Tanner had told one of his friends that he did not actually shoot his mother. 

After hearing Julie's story and reading her statement, Deputy Leach decided to share the information with the county's new sheriff and undersheriff. The three officers then took a look at Jill's case file, and they noticed all the things that were not done in the case--there was no autopsy, no interview reports, no ballistics testing. The Sheriff's Office subsequently decided to reopen Jill's case.

Unfortunately, investigators were unable to get very far into their investigation. In August 2008, Mike Wells was found dead inside his home. He died of a methadone overdose. It appeared that his death was an accident, however investigators were unable to rule out suicide--so the manner of death remains undetermined to this day.

Although Mike had passed, the Sheriff's Office kept the investigation into Jill's death opened. Investigators then noticed that, in addition to the case lacking important information such as an autopsy, it also appeared that there was inaccurate information in the initial report on Jill's death. This was seemingly confirmed by a man named Patrick Leonard, who was one of the EMT first responders on the day of Jill's death. When the case was reopened, Leonard finally got to see the original report on Jill's case. The report stated that Jill was clutching a rifle in her left hand after she was shot. However, Leonard adamantly denies this. He told investigators that he is certain that Jill was holding the rifle with her right hand. Mike also reportedly told investigators that Jill was shooting with her left hand when she died. This report obviously contradicts Leonard's recollection of events--which leads to suspicion that the crime scene might have been staged.

The new sheriff believes that Jill's case could have possibly been classified as a murder if it had been investigated more thoroughly in 2001. In fact, he stated that he does not believe that Tanner was the one to shoot and kill his mother. Tanner, who is now an adult, continues to say that it was him who shot Jill--not his father. Many are still unsure of Tanner's account, and Jill's case remains opened today.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Disappearance of Crystal Grebinger

Crystal Grebinger has been missing since February 8th, 2013. The 32 year-old woman vanished just weeks after filing for divorce from her husband Sean Grebinger. Crystal and Sean had been married for sixteen years and they lived in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. However, at the time of her disappearance, Crystal was living at a shelter for abused women. Sean was reportedly abusive towards Crystal throughout their marriage. In fact, in November 2012, Crystal obtained a protective order to keep Sean away from both her and her four children. He reportedly violated that order on more than one occasion. On January 14th, 2013, Crystal finally filed for divorce.

Sean and Crystal before their separation

Crystal was last seen on February 8th at the women's shelter. She left the shelter that afternoon and never returned. Crystal had several child custody hearings scheduled over the following weeks, but she did not show up to any of them. Her children were living with relatives at the time, but Crystal was hoping to gain full custody of them. Knowing that Crystal would not voluntarily miss those hearings, her worried family members reported her missing on February 18th. 

Sean was identified as a person of interest in Crystal's disappearance very early into the investigation. Unfortunately, though, investigators were unable to locate him. He reportedly dropped out of sight just two days after Crystal was last seen, and years passed without any knowledge of his whereabouts. Eventually, it was learned that Sean had moved to Brazil. He reportedly obtained residency there after falsely claiming that he was an American Special Forces agent facing political persecution in the United States. Sean eventually married a Brazilian resident as well. He would occasionally answer questions about Crystal's case on his Facebook page, but he repeatedly denied involvement in her disappearance.

On January 31st, 2020, Sean was arrested in Brazil after assaulting his wife. He was released on a provisional without bail, but at that point, investigators in the United States learned about his location. In February 2020, it was announced that Sean would be extradited to the United States to face murder charges in Crystal's disappearance. He was arrested again and held in a Brazilian jail as he awaited extradition. Days later, Sean was found hanged in his jail cell. His death was ruled a suicide. Sean left behind notes to his family and friends, but he did not reveal any information about Crystal's whereabouts. 

Crystal remains missing today. The only trace of her that has been found is a shoe that she was believed to have been wearing on the day of her disappearance. Said shoe was found near Lake Fausse Point, a swamp park area approximately 20 miles away from Lafayette. It is believed that Crystal was murdered by Sean, but unfortunately authorities were never able to formally charge him.

If you have any information that could lead to Crystal's whereabouts, please go here to submit an anonymous tip.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Disappearance of Janteyl Johnson

Janteyl Johnson vanished from her family’s home in Newark, Delaware on February 3rd, 2010. The then-15-year-old was pregnant at the time of her disappearance. Janteyl went to school the day she vanished but ended up leaving early because did not feel well. She reportedly returned to her family’s apartment on Winterhaven Drive. However, when her brother went by later to pick her up, Janteyl was nowhere to be found. All of her personal belongings were left behind and the door to the apartment was left unlocked. Janteyl’s family members believe that Janteyl left the apartment that afternoon with the intention of returning quickly, but something prevented her from returning. When she did not return by 10PM, she was reported missing.

Cell phone records revealed that the last phone call Janteyl received was from a 27-year-old man; the father of her unborn child. This man’s name has not been publicly revealed, but police have interviewed him and have not labeled him as a suspect in the case—but he has not been cleared, either. He reportedly has stopped cooperating with investigators.

Police also theorized that Janteyl might have run off with an even older man, who she also was in contact with the day she vanished. This man also has not been publicly identified, but at a certain point in the investigation, police stated that Janteyl might be in Delaware or Pennsylvania. This older man reportedly also has ties to both of those states. It is unclear if there is any hard evidence that Janteyl ran away with this man.

Janteyl’s family members do not believe she is missing on her own accord. Her family was reportedly supportive of her pregnancy, and they do not believe she would intentionally keep her baby from them. If you have any information that could lead to Janteyl’s whereabouts, please contact 1-800-THE-LOST.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Disappearance of Maegan Hembree

Maegan Hembree (30) has been missing since February 26th, 2013. She was last seen in Smyer, Texas around 6:30pm that evening. Maegan left Smyer in her vehicle to visit a friend in Lubbock. She never arrived at her friend's house, and she never returned home to her 5 year-old son. Maegan's cell phone pinged one final time a few hours after she was last seen. After that, she was never seen or heard from again.

Three days after Maegan vanished, investigators found her car in the possession of a man named Michael Todd Ramsey. Maegan and Michael had met just a few months earlier. Investigators determined that Michael was the last person to see Maegan before she vanished. He was questioned several times by authorities, but he denied knowledge of Maegan's whereabouts. Still, investigators remained suspicious of Michael--especially after Maegan's SIM card was found in his possession over a year after Maegan's disappearance. 

Michael has a long criminal record, but he has never been charged with a violent offense. He still remains a person of interest in Maegan's case. There does not appear to be a reasonable explanation as to why Maegan's SIM card and car were in his possession. Additionally, when investigators searched the car, they discovered a small drop of Maegan's blood. However, it was not enough blood to determine that anything violent had occurred. 

In April 2015, authorities attempted to pull Michael over for a traffic violation. After leading the police on a chase, Michael eventually fled from the vehicle. The police were unable to capture him. When they searched his car, they found a large amount of meth. Michael was eventually captured in October 2015 and charged with possession of controlled substance and evading police. 

Michael Todd Ramsey Receives 80 Year Sentence From Jury
Michael Todd Ramsey

District Attorney Chris Martin offered to dismiss the aforementioned charges in exchange for Michael's cooperation in Maegan's case. Michael refused to take the deal. In 2018, he was sentenced to 80 years in prison for the drug and evasion charges. Michael not been charged with anything related to Maegan's case, but he remains the only person of interest.

Maegan remains missing today. If you have any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please go here to submit an anonymous tip.

Friday, August 14, 2020

List Series: Cases with Dead Suspects Vol. II

As explained in the original Cases with Dead Suspects list, investigators want to question persons of interest/suspects as soon as they are identified in any given crime. Unfortunately, though, there are quite a few cases in which a POI or suspect is identified, but said POI/suspect is deceased. This makes it especially difficult for investigators to solve cases; especially missing persons cases. These cases are often frustrating for the families of victims, as these situations often leave more questions than answers. Below is a list of 5 more such cases, where the identified suspect is deceased.

5. The Disappearance of Cortney Lake

Cortney Lake (24) has been missing since June 7th, 2017. The young woman was last seen getting into a truck in front of her Mount Pearl home--which is near St. John's in Newfoundland. Cortney was getting into the truck of her ex-boyfriend, Philip Smith (25). Just hours before that, Philip pleaded guilty to assaulting Cortney and to distributing intimate pictures of her. He was released from jail under the condition that he would stay away from Cortney, but obviously that did not happen. When Cortney never returned home, her family members reported her missing. 

Authorities questioned Philip on numerous occasions and he reportedly denied being involved in Cortney's disappearance. However, it was confirmed in August 2017 that Philip admitted to being the person who picked Cortney up on the evening she vanished. Months later, in November 2017, Philip was found dead near a family cabin in the woods. He had taken his own life.

Search teams scoured the area where Philip was found for any clues about Cortney's whereabouts, but unfortunately none were found. Still, Philip remains the one and only suspect in Cortney's disappearance. She unfortunately remains missing today.

4. The Disappearance & Murder of Nicholle Coppler
Image source: NY Daily News
Nicholle Coppler ran away from her Lima, Ohio home on May 19th, 1999. Although she left her home on her own accord, her family was significantly concerned for her safety. Nicholle was only 14 years old when she ran away, and she also had been spending time with an older man named Glen Fryer, who had a history of abusing young girls.

In 2002, Fryer was arrested and 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. 

Although authorities searched Fryer's home numerous times, Nicholle remained missing. Years later, in 2012, the city of Lima decided to tear down Fryer's abandoned house after it was deemed a safety risk. While tearing down the house, the construction crews found human remains in the foundation. Those remains were later determined to belong to Nicholle. From that point forward, it seemed clear that Fryer did, in fact, kill Nicholle years earlier. However, there were other men living in the house at the time of Nicholle's disappearance and investigators are still hoping to identify said men to see if they can shed any more light on the case. [read more]

3. The Disappearance of Bekime 'Becky' Elshani

Bekime ‘Becky’ Elshani vanished in Colorado Springs, Colorado during the early morning hours of March 29th, 2008. The 22 year-old vanished in the midst of a volatile relationship with her live-in boyfriend Daniel Dereere. Their relationship was very rocky, and had a documented history of domestic abuse. In fact, just two months before Becky's disappearance, Daniel was arrested after he hacked into her MySpace page and posted an intimate picture of her. He was due to appear in court for these charges on April 1st, 2008--just days after Becky vanished. 

Becky was last seen by her family members on March 28th. Both she and Daniel had gone to Becky's parents house, but they ended up leaving after they got into an argument. Becky's family members grew concerned when they did not hear from her during the following two days. Police went to her home on March 31st to perform a welfare check. Upon approaching the residence, police heard gunfire. They entered the apartment and found Daniel dead from a gunshot wound. He had shot himself. Becky was still nowhere to be found, and there was otherwise no sign of a struggle at the apartment. Still, investigators clearly found it suspicious that Daniel took his own life two days after Becky vanished, and one day before he was supposed to appear in court for the charges from posting Becky’s nude pictures on Myspace. 

Becky remains missing today. Daniel remains the one and only suspect in her disappearance. Investigators searched Daniel’s car and reportedly found evidence that indicated foul play was involved in Becky’s disappearance, however they have not specified what exactly was found. Investigators did reveal that Daniel drove his car to a park in Teller County just hours after Becky was last seen. Unfortunately, though, a search of the park turned up no evidence. Becky's case remains unsolved today. [read more]

2. The Disappearance of Relisha Rudd

Relisha Rudd was only 8 years old when she vanished during March 2014. Prior to her disappearance, Relisha and her mother Shamika Young lived at a homeless shelter in Washington, DC. While living there, Shamika grew close to a janitor named Khalil Tatum. Unbeknownst to Shamika, Khalil had a long felony record for burglary, larceny, and breaking and entering. He was also known to fraternize with the residents of the homeless shelter. Once Khalil and Shamika grew closer, Khalil grew attached to Relisha, as well. Eventually, Shamika trusted Khalil enough to allow him to take Relisha with him overnight. Khalil allegedly then took Relisha to his home to stay with him and his grandmother. 

By February 2014, Relisha was spending a lot of time under Khalil’s care. She stopped attending school at that point, but her mother provided a note to the school that stated Relisha was having health problems and she was under the care of a “Dr. Tatum”. Shamika provided a number, and the school contacted who they thought was Dr. Tatum and asked him to come to the school for a meeting. On March 19th, 2014, when nobody showed up for the meeting, the school called the police to report Relisha missing. 

Once the search for Relisha began, authorities attempted to locate Khalil's wife to see if she could provide any insight on the case. Investigators learned she was last seen checking into a hotel in Oxon Hill, Maryland. When police went to her hotel room, they found Andrea dead--she had been shot to death. At that point, police announced that Khalil was the main suspect in both Relisha’s disappearance and Andrea’s death. In the following weeks, investigators worked tirelessly to locate both Relisha and Khalil. Then, on March 31st, 2014, Khalil's body was found in a shed in Kenilworth Park. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. There was no sign of Relisha at the scene. 

With their prime suspect deceased, authorities have struggled to find any other sign of Relisha. She remains missing today. [read more]

1. The Disappearance of Timmothy Pitzen
Two Years After He Went Missing, Search For Timmothy Pitzen Goes ...

Timmothy Pitzen was only 6 years-old when he vanished during May 2011. On May 11th, Timmothy's mother Amy Pitzen unexpectedly showed up at his school and told the front office that there was a family emergency and she needed to pick up her son. However, there was no family emergency. Instead, Amy had planned a surprise trip for Timmothy, to various amusement and water parks around the midwest area. Timmothy's father learned that Amy had picked him up early when he went to the school later that afternoon to pick him up.

The last known sighting of Timmothy was captured on surveillance cameras at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin on May 12th. Amy and Timmothy were captured on the cameras waiting in the check-out line at the resort. The following day, Amy was seen at various stores in Rockford, Illinois. She was also seen checking into a local hotel. Amy was by herself during each of these sightings.

The following morning, a hotel maid found Amy dead in her room. She had taken a fatal amount of antihistamines and slashed her wrists. Amy left behind a note, stating that Timmothy was safe and cared for, but he would never be found. She mailed a similar note to her mother. No trace of Timmothy was found at the scene.

There are many theories about what might have happened to Timmothy. Rumors swirled that Amy might have sent Timmothy to live at an Amish community. In 2019, a young man came forward claiming to be Timmothy--however DNA testing confirmed his claims to be false. The most common theory that still stands today is that Amy killed Timmothy and disposed of his body before killing herself. However, since Timmothy remains missing today, this has never been confirmed. [read more]

The Disappearance and Death of Danielle Griffith

image source The morning of May 17th, 2019 began as a fairly typical day in the town Tumwater, Washington. It was a partly cloudy day, and ...