Friday, April 30, 2021

Fundraiser Friday: April 30, 2021

 This week's Fundraiser Friday features two cases of teen girls who went missing and were later found murdered. Both murders remain unsolved, and their respective family members are raising money to help find answers in their cases. Please share their stories and consider donating. 


Anastasia Hill


Anastasia Hill was only 14 years-old when she vanished in Ellenwood, Georgia on March 6th, 2010. The teen girl lived with at her grandmother's home with her siblings at the time of her disappearance. Before vanishing, Anastasia spent the day with her family. When her grandmother went to wake her up with following morning, Anastasia was gone. It appeared that she had left out of her bedroom window.

Months later, on November 19th, 2010, human remains were found in a wooded area off of Georgia Highway 138 in Stockbridge. It took over a year, but in January 2012, dental records confirmed that the remains belonged to Anastasia Hill. She had been murdered. An autopsy confirmed that Anastasia died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Years have passed, and no arrests have been made in Anastasia's case. According to Anastasia's family members, detectives have questioned "certain individuals of interest about her case, but there hasn't been enough information for a conviction." Her family is now hoping to raise reward money to provide incentive for those with information about Anastasia's case to come forward. [fundraiser link] [more info on this case]

Summer Smith


Summer Smith was only 18 years-old when she was found murdered in Lake Stevens, Washington during January 2015. Before her untimely death, Summer was struggling with drug addiction and was living a somewhat transient lifestyle. She last spoke to her family members on November 19th, 2014. Summer's mother attempted to contact to her via text message a few weeks later, and reportedly received replies to the texts that seemed completely out-of-character for Summer. 

Just a few weeks later, Summer's remains were found by a man hired to clean property located south of the lake in Lake Stevens. While clearing the brush, the man stumbled upon a human skull. The Snohomish police were called, and they began searching the surrounding area. After scouring through over 30 acres, investigators found a trash bag with clothing items and paperwork that belonged to Summer. The bag also contained blood-stained bedding, a knife with a broken blade, and screwdrivers. The human skull was positively identified as that of Summer Smith shortly after its discovery. Summer's death was classified as a homicide.

No suspects or persons of interest have been identified in Summer's case. Her loved ones are hoping to hire a private investigator to help find answers about her death. [fundraiser link] [more info on this case]



Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Disappearance of Samantha Clarke


19 year old Samantha Clarke has been missing since September 14th, 2010. The previous evening, Samantha told her younger brother that she was going out with a few friends and would be back later. However, when their mother Barbara Tinder returned to their Orange County, Virginia home after her night shift at work, Samantha still had not returned home. Barbara was immediately worried about her daughter, but was told that she could not file a missing persons report until 48 hours after her disappearance. Barbara remained hopeful that Samantha would show up sometime during that 48 hour period, but unfortunately, Samantha never returned home and was finally reported missing two days later. 

Randy Allen Taylor is considered a suspect in Samantha’s disappearance. Taylor is currently serving a life sentence for kidnapping and murdering 17 year old Alexis Murphy on August 3rd, 2013. A detailed write-up on Alexis’ case can be found here. 

Image result for alexis murphy randy allen taylor holding door surveillance
Randy Allen Taylor
Three years earlier, in September 2010, Samantha and Taylor met at a restaurant off of route 29 called Northside. Samantha was at the restaurant with her mother after the two had attended a high school football game together. While there, Samantha struck up a conversation with two younger men in their 20s. Taylor happened to be a friend of the young men, and joined them at the restaurant. Samantha later ended up going home with one of the younger men, however she took down Taylor’s phone number as well.

In the hours before Samantha’s disappearance on September 14th, Taylor called Samantha five different times. He was identified as a suspect early on into the investigation, but he vehemently denied any involvement in her disappearance and investigators were unable to find any other evidence against him. News about Samantha’s disappearance seemed to die down a bit until Taylor became the prime suspect in the disappearance of another young girl: Alexis Murphy. Police were able to find DNA evidence that Taylor had kidnapped, murdered, and disposed of Alexis. He was ultimately convicted in Alexis’ case; which only reinforced the earlier beliefs that he was involved in Samantha’s 2010 disappearance as well.

Taylor still denies involvement in Samantha’s case. He also claims he was wrongfully convicted in Alexis’ case as well. Neither women have ever been found. Police are still investigating Samantha’s case. If you have any information, please report it here.
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UPDATE: In January 2021, authorities in Orange County announced that they are now investigating Samantha's case as a murder. Samantha still remains missing, but detectives reportedly have new evidence that led to the shift in this investigation. The Chief of Police stated that "new information and advances in investigative and forensic technology" is what ultimately sparked the murder reclassification. 

At this time, investigators are not revealing any details about the new evidence. Investigators also have not elaborated on whether or not this new evidence has any connection to Randy Allen Taylor. The chief explained, "it's no secret that Randy Taylor was one of the last people to have contact with Samantha Clarke. Beyond that, we're not going to comment any further." 

The investigation is still ongoing, and police are still encouraging anyone with information about Samantha's whereabouts to contact them. 
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Sources: [one, two]

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Disappearance of Kara Nichols

 



Kara Nichols has been missing since October 9th, 2012. She was only 19 years-old at the time of her disappearance. Kara was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During her early teen years, Kara began using drugs, and she struggled with addiction throughout high school. She graduated from a local alternative high school and then got a job as a waitress. Around the same time, Kara began to pursue a career in modeling as well. Unbeknownst to her parents, Kara had also been working as an escort since she was 17 years old. 

During the summer of 2012, Kara's parents moved to Chicago, Illinois. Kara initially moved with them, but continued to struggle with drug addiction. She later decided to return to Colorado Springs, and ended up moving into a house there with three male roommates. Kara also returned to her previous waitressing job and continued to pursue modeling. She created a Model Mayhem profile to help her network with more agencies and photographers.

It appeared that Kara was getting more and more work as a model. In fact, on the evening of her disappearance, Kara told her roommates that a friend was picking her up and driving her to a modeling job. Unfortunately, she never returned home and was never seen or heard from again. 

-Continued from Tumblr post-

Over the following two days, Kara's brother attempted to contact her several times but was unable to get in touch. On October 12th, 2012, Kara's brother reported her missing--but police initially did not take the case seriously. Kara's brother was told that Kara is an adult and was free to remain out-of-touch. However, Kara's family members knew something was wrong--as it was uncharacteristic for her to not contact them. 

As weeks passed without any sign of Kara, the investigation finally began to progress. It was discovered that Kara's cell phone pinged one final time at 11:45 PM on the evening of her disappearance. The phone appeared to be traveling towards Denver. In November 2014, investigators announced that they wanted to talk to two brunette women who were seen with Kara on the evening of October 9th. It's believed that both women were associates of Kara's through the modeling/escorting business. Neither women have ever come forward, nor have their identities been discovered. 


One of the persons of interest (click to enlarge)

Over the years, there have been numerous reported sightings of Kara. Some have reportedly seen her accompanied by a man in the area of Fillmore Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. The witnesses stated that Kara appeared frightened of the man. Still, these sightings have never been confirmed and this man has never been identified. 

In May 2014, a recording was released of Deputy Sheriff Cliff Porter admitting that he had "cut corners in regards to the investigation" and did not look into certain pieces of evidence in the beginning of the case. Kara's family members are frustrated by the lack of urgency in her case. They've placed a monetary reward for anyone with information about her disappearance in hopes that it will encourage someone to come forward.

Today, authorities believe that foul play was involved in Kara's disappearance. She remains missing today. If you have any information that could lead to Kara's whereabouts, please call 719-634-7867 to submit an anonymous tip. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Murders of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions

Picture left: Kara Kopetsky, age 17 (2007). Picture right: Jessica Runions, age 21 (2016)

Kara Kopetsky (17) disappeared on May 4th, 2007, in Belton, Missouri. On that day, classmates say Kara unexpectedly left school early. She was never seen or heard from again after that. About a week before her disappearance, Kara filed a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend Kylr Yust. The order claims that Kylr, who was 18 years old at the time, had kidnapped Kara and refused to let her leave his car for a period of time. Kara disappeared a week after this alleged incident. Due to this, suspicions fell on Kylr very early on into Kara’s disappearance. However, police were unable to find any concrete evidence that Kylr was involved in her May 4th disappearance.

Kylr Yust
Nine years passed without finding Kara or any clues to her whereabouts. Kylr was in and out of jail during these 9 years on various unrelated charges, including charges for domestic violence and animal abuse.  After being recently released from prison, on September 8th, 2016, Kylr went to a party in Grandview, Missouri. Multiple partygoers witnessed Kylr leaving the party with 21 year-old Jessica Runions. Jessica, however, never made it home after leaving that party and was reported missing on the evening of September 9th. At 2am the following morning, Jessica’s car was found burning on 95th and Blue River Road. Kylr was later arrested and charged for knowingly burning a vehicle.
Kylr following his 2016 arrest

Meanwhile, Jessica remained missing and Kylr was not giving up any information on her whereabouts. Many people had already long suspected that Kylr had killed Kara back in 2007, and now it was believed that Kylr had killed Jessica as well. Still, without the girls’ remains or any other DNA evidence, police were unable to charge him with murder.

That finally changed on April 3rd, 2017, when a mushroom hunter found a set of remains in a rural area of Cass County, Missouri. When authorities arrived and conducted a more thorough search of the area, they found a second set of remains. Those remains appeared to have been there for much longer than the first set of remains that were found. It only took a few days to confirm that the first set of remains belonged to Jessica. While everyone else already knew the second set belonged to Kara, that was not officially confirmed until August 17th, 2017. 

Kylr Yust was charged with killing both Kara and Jessica on October 6th, 2017. He has pleaded not guilty to both murders. His trial is expected to begin in 2021.
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UPDATE (April 2021): Kylr Yust has been found guilty for the deaths of both Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions. 

A jury convicted Kylr of voluntary manslaughter for the death of Kara, and second-degree murder for the death of Jessica. He will likely be sentenced tomorrow, April 16th, 2021. Updates will be provided.
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Kara's case was featured on season 2 of ID's 'Disappeared'--available here on Amazon.

Timeline: The Many Crimes & Confessions of Kylr Yust


Kylr Yust (30) is currently behind bars awaiting trials for the murders of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.  Kylr has been a suspect in Kara's case ever since she vanished in 2007. In the years that following Kara's disappearance, Kylr confessed to various different people that he was involved in Kara's disappearance. Then, in September 2016, he became the prime suspect in the disappearance of another young girl: 21 year-old Jessica Runions. The remains of both girls were found in a similar location in Cass County during April 2017. In October 2017, Kylr was charged with murder. The following timeline provides details of Kylr's case, from the time he met Kara until present day, as he awaits trial for murdering both women. 

2006: Kara Kopetsky (17) and Kylr Yust (18) meet in Belton, Missouri and begin dating.

Kara (left) and Kylr (right) circa 2006/2007
April 2007: Kara and Kylr break-up.

April 28th, 2007: Kara visits the Belton Police Department to report that Kylr had forced her into his car earlier that evening as she was leaving a fast food restaurant. He drove to Grandview before eventually letting her go.

Police report describing the incident
April 30th, 2007: Kara files for an order of protection against Kylr.


May 1st, 2007: Kylr is served with the order of protection. He is told that he is not to have any contact with Kara. 

Morning of May 4th, 2007 (time unknown): Kara calls a male friend and asks if she and Kylr can come over to his house to hang out. He declines, and states that he is too busy. 

May 4th, 2007, 9:19am: Kara is seen unexpectedly leaving school early. She never returns home.
Surveillance footage of Kara leaving Belton High School. (KSBH)
May 4th, 2007, 12:30pm: Kylr unexpectedly shows up at the home of the friend Kara called earlier that morning. He later starts frantically crying, explaining to the friend that he had been with Kara earlier that day, but did not want anyone to know about it because he did not want to get in trouble for violating the order of protection. After Kylr left the friend's house, said friend continuously tried to call Kara, but the calls went unanswered.

Evening of May 4th, 2007: After Kara fails to show up at her job at Popeyes or to return to her family's home, she is reported missing by her mother.
Image result for kara kopetsky missing poster
Kara's missing poster
May 6th, 2007: Police question Kylr for the first time about Kara's disappearance. He admits that to kidnapping Kara the previous week, prompting the order of protection--but he denies any involvement in her disappearance.

July 23rd, 2007: Police question Kylr again. This time, he admits that he violated the order of protection and spoke to Kara on the phone on the evening of May 3rd. Kylr tells investigators that he and Kara got into an argument after Kylr accused Kara of planning to "spend the weekend partying and running around on him" with another man. He still denies involvement in her disappearance.

2009: Kylr drunkenly confesses to a former roommate/bandmate that he "snapped" and killed Kara because she "refused to love him."

Kylr and bandmates
April 26th, 2010: That same bandmate/friend contacts Belton police and tells them about Kylr's 2009 confession.

Part of the police report regarding alleged confession (click to enlarge)

January 22nd, 2011: A young woman contacts police and tells them that Kylr told her that he choked Kara to death and disposed of her body in the woods.

February 2nd, 2011: The same woman calls police again, and states that Kylr once again confessed to killing Kara. This time, the woman stated that Kylr "described watching the victim breathe her last breath and falling back against a chair and staring at her body for a short time before packing her up and placing her body in the woods."

August 19th, 2011: Kylr's pregnant ex-girlfriend tells police that Kylr had recently tried to kill her by choking her. He also reportedly told her that he had killed girlfriends before in the past and would do the same to her. While reporting this attack, the ex-girlfriend also told police that Kylr had abused and killed kittens in front of her.

Incident report regarding Kylr's attack on his ex-girlfriend. (click to enlarge)

Incident report regarding the animal abuse.
September 2011: Kylr is arrested on assault and animal abuse charges.

February 24th, 2012: Kylr is arrested on drug trafficking charges.

June 5th, 2012: Another witness contacts police and states that Kylr confessed to killing Kara, and described the event with details similar to his previous reported confessions. 

November 22nd, 2013: Kylr is sentenced to 4 years in prison for the drug trafficking charges.

September 2015: A Belton detective visits Kylr at a federal prison in Oklahoma. Kylr refuses to answer any questions about Kara's disappearance.

March 28th, 2016: A former cellmate of Kylr contacts Belton police and tells them that Kylr was worried after the September 2015 interview. According to the cellmate, Kylr asked him for help establishing an alibi before breaking down and ultimately admitting to killing Kara.

September 2nd, 2016: Kylr is released from prison, and placed on supervised release. 

September 8th, 2016: Kylr attends a party in Grandview, Missouri. Also in attendance is 21 year-old Jessica Runions.
Image result for jessica runions
Jessica Runions
September 9th, 2016, around 2am: Jessica and Kylr are seen leaving the party together. Kylr was drinking heavily and the two had reportedly been seen arguing. Jessica never returns home from the party.

September 9th, 2016, afternoon: Jessica is reported missing.

Image result for jessica runions missing poster
Jessica Runions missing poster
September 10th, 2016: Jessica's car is found burning near 95th Street and Blue River Road. 

Image result for jessica runions car
Location where Jessica's car was found burning
September 10th, 2016: Kylr Yust's half-brother, Jessep Carter, contacts police and tells them that he was present when Kylr burned Jessica's car. He also stated that Kylr admitted that he strangled Jessica and disposed of her body in the woods.


September 11th, 2016: Kylr is arrested at Jessep's house. He is charged with knowingly burning Jessica's vehicle. 

Image result for jessica runions car
Kylr following his 2016 arrest
October 5th, 2016: Following this arrest, another former roommate of Kylr's comes forward and states that Kylr confessed to killing Kara Kopetsky during a conversation that had taken place three years earlier.

April 3rd, 2017: A mushroom hunter finds a set of remains in a rural area of Cass County, Missouri. When authorities arrive and conduct a more thorough search of the area, they find a second set of remains. Those remains appear to have been there for much longer than the first set of remains that were found.

April 5th, 2017: The first set of remains are identified as that of Jessica Runions.

August 17th, 2017: The second set of remains are identified as that of Kara Kopetsky.

October 6th, 2017: Kylr is finally charged with the murders of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.  He is also charged with 2 counts of abandoning a corpse.

October 10th, 2017:  Kylr pleads not guilty to all charges. 

October 10th, 2017
October 10th, 2017 (cont.): Kylr's brother Jessep Carter speaks to news reporters. He says, on behalf of his family, "we just want Kara and Jessica, those families to have some justice served and if he's found to be guilty we just want them to be-we just want them to feel better at night that he's finally put away. You know and I'm not ok and my family is not ok with anything that he did." Although Jessep admitted to being with Kylr while he burned Jessica's car in September 2016, it appears that he has not been charged with anything related to that case.

Jessep Carter speaking to Action 41 News

July 2018: Jessep is arrested and charged with arson after he reportedly set a Kansas City home on fire.

September 19th, 2018: Jessep is found deceased in the Jackson County Jail. Reports state his death was a suicide. He was likely going to be a key witness in Kylr's murder trials--so many begin to fear this will delay the trial.

October 1st, 2018:  Kylr's trial date is set for November 4th, 2019.

August 2019: Kylr's lawyers claim that Kylr is not competent to stand trial. The court ultimately rules that Kylr "lacks capacity to understand murder trial proceedings against him." The judge is reportedly still intent on starting the trial on time.

October 2019: The state rules that Kylr is competent to stand trial. His lawyers request to seek a second opinion. The judge orders a new evaluation to completed in 60 days--which pushes back the trial start date.

November 2019: Kylr's lawyers state they will withdraw their motion for a new mental health evaluation if the jail doctor prescribes him medicine for anxiety and depression. 

December 3rd, 2019: Kylr appears in court during a hearing. His lawyers file a motion for more DNA testing on both Kara and Jessica's remains--which could further delay the trial. 

December 19th, 2019: A judge declares that jury selection will begin on July 22nd, 2020.

February 2020: Kylr's lawyers are granted their motion for additional DNA testing. 

April 2020: Kylr's lawyers receive reports found by Belton police officers after they cleaned out an old desk. The reports contain "detailed circumstances of a witness providing information in 2013 about another suspect, whose car was later searched by the FBI." The desk also reportedly contained a recording of a suspect who confessed to multiple people that he killed Kara. The lawyers also claim that "they have identified witnesses who saw Kopetsky after she was reported missing May 4, 2007. They said that testimony would disprove a key element of the state’s case against Yust."

May 2020: Kylr's lawyers request yet another delay in trial start date. In addition to the ongoing investigation regarding the reports they received in April 2020, Kylr's lawyers also stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered their ability to provide counsel and interview witnesses.

July 2020: A Kansas City police officer is accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a witness in Kylr's case. Reports state that "the officer has been investigating the disappearance of Kopetsky in his spare time for the last ten years. During the off-book investigation, the officer allegedly had a sexual relationship with a witness in the case."Police officers are forbidden to have a relationship with a witness in an ongoing criminal investigation. Kylr's lawyers claim that this revelation will make it impossible for Kylr to have a fair trial. 

July 2020 (cont): Kylr's lawyers claim that their phone calls with Kylr were wrongfully recorded. They file a motion to have those recordings turned over to a third party investigator.

August 2020: Prosecutors argue that the alleged recordings should not delay the trial. The report explains,  "although [prosecutors] acknowledge some of Yust's jail communications were recorded and accessed by Cass County Jail staff, the violations do not warrant the removal of the county prosecutor or the dismissal of the case."

April 2021: Kylr Yust is found guilty for the deaths of both Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions. A jury convicted Kylr of voluntary manslaughter for the death of Kara, and second-degree murder for the death of Jessica. He will likely be sentenced tomorrow, April 16th, 2021. Updates will be provided.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Disappearance of Jackson Miller


Jackson Miller vanished at the age of 19 on May 15th, 2010. He left his family’s Cupertino, California home that day and drove his car to the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. Jackson parked his car around 4:10pm that day. He left his wallet, cell phone, and iPod inside the vehicle. Jackson’s family inevitably feared the worst once they learned his car had been abandoned on the bridge with his personal belongings inside—especially because he had recently been suffering from depression and anxiety due to medication withdrawal. However, surveillance cameras on the bridge did not capture any person jumping that day, nor did any bodies wash up on shore. 

In the days following Jackson’s disappearance, there were a few possible sightings of him in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. These sightings were never confirmed, and the case seemed to go cold after that. Then, nearly four years later in 2014, a Lake Tahoe resident contacted the police and stated that Jackson had been seen numerous times in the South Lake Tahoe area. The police announced that the caller seemed very confident that this person is Jackson, but unfortunately the sightings have never been confirmed. 

Years have passed since the possible Tahoe sightings, and Jackson still remains missing today. News about the investigation into his disappearance is very scarce. At a certain point, his family members theorized Jackson might have been staying in a homeless shelter in the San Francisco area, but it is unclear if they still suspect this. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department is primarily in charge of investigating Jackson’s case. If you have any information that could held the investigation, please contact them at 408-808-4720. You can also contact the South Tahoe dispatch at 530-542-6100.
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UPDATE (April 2021): There has been a reported sighting of Jackson near a Target store in Woodland. 

A local woman told police that she was approached by a man outside of the Target store on March 26th, 2021. The man reportedly told her that his name is Jackson and he is a missing person. He also asked her for a cigarette and a ride to Sacramento. The woman did not give him a ride, but she did later contact investigators about the interaction. 

It has not been confirmed that the person was, in fact, Jackson Miller--however investigators are continuing to investigate this lead. If you have seen Jackson or have any information about his whereabouts, please contact authorities. 

The Murder of Sara Burke

 


Sara Burke was only 19 years-old when she was brutally murdered on May 3rd, 2011. She lived in Bremerton, Washington at the time of her death. On that tragic evening, police were called after a young woman was found with a single stab wound to the neck on the 800 block of Warren Avenue. Shortly before Sara was found, witnesses heard two people arguing and subsequent screaming.

Investigators have been unable to establish a motive for Sara's murder. In fact, investigators have not ruled out the possibility that her murder was completely random. In 2013, police announced that they had a "specific person of interest"--but this person has never been publicly identified and no arrests have been made in Sara's case. Now that years have passed, it is unclear if investigators are still looking into this person of interest. 

Investigators have also looked into the possibility that Sara's case was connected to other cases of stabbings in the Bremerton area. About a month and a half after Sara's death, a 50 year-old man survived a knife attack by an unknown assailant on Burwell Street. Seven months later, a woman named Melody Brannon was found brutally stabbed to death inside her home on High Avenue. After these attacks, many began to worry that there was a serial killer in Bremerton. While this possibility has not been ruled out, investigators have since announced that they do not believe Sara and Melody were killed by the same person. 

Sara's murder remains unsolved. If you have any information that could lead to her killer, please contact Bremerton Police Department's General Investigations Unit at (360) 473-5228.
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Sources: [one, two]

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Murder of Aseal Iysheh

 


The evening of June 11th, 2020 began as a regular Thursday night for Aseal Isyheh. The 24 year-old was seen at a BJ's Food Mart in Knoxville, Tennessee around 9PM that evening. Around 9:15, while at the store, Aseal sent a text message to her sister saying that she was hungry. Nothing seemed unusual about that text exchange. However, mere minutes later, Aseal was dead. She had been shot to death in the store's parking lot.  

Around 9:30 PM, Knoxville PD responded to a call about the shooting. Once they arrived at the BJ's Food Mart, they found the gruesome scene in the parking lot. Aseal had suffered from numerous gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead on the scene. There were reportedly numerous witnesses who saw the shooting, but many had fled before police arrived. The shooter also fled the scene and has still not been caught. 

Throughout the investigation, it was revealed that Aseal had allegedly been assaulted in the same parking lot just weeks before her death. She told police that her assailant was a 44 year-old man she was dating at the time. Police have not revealed this man's name, but they did reveal that he was in jail on the evening of Aseal's death. As a result, he has been ruled out as Aseal's killer--however it is unclear if investigators believe he might have somehow been involved in another way.

Although investigators have not formally identified a suspect, they did state that Aseal was shot by a man. Through some witnesses, investigators learned that Aseal and the man had gotten into an argument before she was subsequently shot. There were many other witnesses on the scene who have yet to come forward with information. 

There is a monetary reward for anyone with information that leads to Aseal's killer. The reward has been raised numerous times in hopes of providing incentive for a witness to speak up. At this time, the reward is $20,000. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please call the Knoxville police department's crime hotline at 865-215-7212.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Fundraiser Friday: April 9th, 2021

This week's Fundraiser Friday features cases of two women who vanished under suspicious circumstances. Both women are mothers who are unlikely to leave their children behind voluntarily. The families of both women are raising money to pay for private investigators. Please share their stories and consider donating.


Graciela Garcia


Graciela Garcia has been missing since November 2019. The 49 year-old woman was last seen in Hermiston, Oregon. On the evening of November 8th, 2019, Graciela had dinner plans with her 14 year-old son, who was staying at his father's home. Graciela's son was surprised when his stepfather--Graciela's husband--showed up with food instead. Graciela's husband explained that she had already gone to bed. Graciela was never seen or heard from again.

It's uncharacteristic of Graciela to drop out of sight. She was sharing custody of her teenage son with her ex-husband. Her daughters are now grown, but she regularly kept in touch with them as well. Graciela's daughter reported her missing on November 11th, 2019. So far, no persons of interest or suspects have been named. Graciela's family is raising money for a private investigator, and her daughter is also selling items on Etsy to raise money as well. [fundraiser link] [Etsy link] [more info on this case]

Crystal Fry

Crystal Fry has been missing since late 2020. Before vanishing, the 31 year-old young mother was living in Baltimore, Maryland with her boyfriend/father of her two youngest children. Crystal's family members have not heard from her since November 11th, 2020. 

That day, Crystal called her mother, Teresa Silverman, and told her that the previous three days had been the worst of her life. She explained that somebody had broken into her home by kicking in the front door, so she was staying with the father of her oldest child until it could be fixed. Crystal also told Teresa that she was scared for her life. The two then made plans to meet up the following day so they could talk more about the break-in. Crystal never showed up as planned, and her family has not heard from her again. 

There have been very few updates on Crystal's case, but her mother has hired a private investigator. The family is raising money to continue to pay for the investigation. [fundraiser link] [more info on this case]

Monday, April 5, 2021

The Disappearance of Cory Schroeder

 



Cory Schroeder vanished in Benton, Arkansas on May 21st, 2019. He disappeared just one day before his 45th birthday. Before Cory vanished, he posted "Going to be leaving Facebook in a few days.. Going on a new adventure," on his Facebook page. It's unclear what he was referencing in this post, and he has not been active on Facebook again.  Cory went missing the following day. 


News reports state that Cory vanished after a friend dropped him off at the Avilla grocery store in Benton. He was reportedly wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt and carrying a red and black backpack at the time. Most news reports about Cory's disappearance say that he was never seen or heard from again after that, and very few other details are provided. However, Cory's family members have shared a few more details on a Facebook page dedicated to spreading awareness on his disappearance. 

In response to a post inquiring about the day Cory vanished, Cory's sister wrote that he was dropped off at Huckaby's on Highway 35 and then either got a ride or walked to another friend's place on Cottonwood. From there, Cory's sister explained that she was told Cory left that house on foot at some later point. The person who said he left on foot is reportedly incarcerated on unrelated charges at this time. It's unclear if this person is considered a person of interest in Cory's disappearance.

Cory is described as 6'8" tall and approximately 235 pounds. Many have questioned how someone of his size can simply vanish without a trace. Cory's loved ones believe that someone in Benton community knows what happened, and they are hoping someone will come forward soon. 

The Saline County Sheriff's Office is investigating Cory's disappearance. If you have any information that could lead to his whereabouts, please go here to submit an anonymous tip. 

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Sources: [one, two]

Friday, April 2, 2021

Fundraiser Friday: April 2, 2021

This week's Fundraiser Friday features cases of two indigenous women. There is speculation that both women were murder victims, but both of their cases remain unsolved. These women are just two of the many Native women who go missing and/or are murdered. These cases often go cold and receive far less attention in the media. Please share these stories and consider donating. 


The Disappearance of Caitlin Potts


Caitlin Potts has been missing since February 22nd, 2016. The young mother was 27 years-old at the time of her disappearance. Caitlin was last seen in Enderby, British Columbia on the day she vanished. She has never been seen or heard from again. Caitlin vanished in the midst of a volatile relationship with a man named Jason Hnatiuk. He has been convicted of assaulting Caitlin during an altercation that occurred during August 2014. Despite this, Jason denies involvement in Caitlin's disappearance and also denies ever being in a serious relationship with her. 

Investigators believe that Caitlin was murdered. Still, no arrests have been made in her case, and she remains missing today. Caitlin's loved ones have grown increasingly frustrated with local authorities due to lack of progress in her case. They hope to hire a private investigator to help aide their search. [fundraiser link] [more info on this case]

The Disappearance & Death of Kaysera Stops Pretty Places

Kaysera Stops Pretty Places was only 18 years old when she was found deceased in Hardin, Montana on August 29th, 2019. The young girl was a member of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribal communities and she lived with her grandmother. Kaysera was last seen by her family members on August 24th, 2019. She was reported missing on August 27th. 

Two days later, a passerby spotted human remains in the backyard of a Hardin home. The remains were later identified as Kaysera. Unfortunately, the discovery of her remains has led to more questions than answers. Authorities have described Kaysera's case as suspicious, but medical examiners were unable to determine an exact cause or manner of death. Her autopsy reportedly did not turn up any evidence of injury or disease. To this day, it is unclear how Kaysera ended up in the backyard where she was found. 

Kaysera's family members believe she was murdered. They are raising reward money in hopes that someone with information about her case will have an incentive to come forward. [fundraiser link] [more info on this case]



Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Disappearance of Parris Hopson

 



Parris Hopson has been missing since December 25th, 2019. The 26 year-old vanished in the midst of a family Christmas celebration in Massillon, Ohio. She has never been seen or heard from again. 

Prior to her disappearance, Parris lived in Columbus, Ohio with her mother. During the 2019 holiday season, Parris' family was still struggling with the loss of Parris' brother, Perry Hopson Jr. During 2017, Perry was involved in a fatal car accident after another driver hit him in a head-on collision. He was on life support for months before passing away in April 2018. The driver who hit Perry fled the scene after the accident and still remains unidentified to this day. Before vanishing, Parris had reportedly been spending a lot of time trying to identify and locate the other driver. 

On Christmas Day 2019, Parris and her mother traveled from Columbus to Massillon to celebrate the holiday at Parris' grandmother's house. According to family members, Parris was behaving unusually during the gathering. She reportedly appeared quite anxious and was seen pacing back and forth. Around 2:30 PM, Parris told her relatives that she was going to take a walk to clear her head. Her family members thought that she would only be gone for a short amount of time, but she never returned. 

It's believed that Parris was headed towards Shriver Park on Third Street. A neighbor reportedly saw Parris walking shortly after she left her grandmother's house. Parris stopped to wish the neighbor a merry Christmas before continuing towards the park. After hours passed without any sign of Parris, her relatives discovered that she had left her cell phone charging in her car. There were no messages on her phone that identicated she was going to run away OR meet up with anyone. In fact, she sent her final outgoing text message to her church pastor to ask if there were any services that evening. 

Once Parris was reported missing, investigators questioned her relatives about Parris' mental health. Her loved ones stated that she might have been depressed and/or anxious at the time of her disappearance, but she was not making any indications that she planned to harm herself. Parris does not have a history of serious mental health issues, nor does she have a history of using drugs. Her cousin stated that Parris was dating a man who was trying to alienate her from her family and friends, but it is unclear if this man played a role in her disappearance. It is also unclear if Parris' investigation into her brother's death played a role as well. 

Parris remains missing today. If you have any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please use this form to submit an anonymous tip.

The Disappearance and Presumed Murder of Tianna Phillips

Tianna Phillips has been missing since June 13th, 2018. The 25 year-old woman was last seen in Berwick, Ohio. Tianna reportedly left a resid...