Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Disappearance of Erika Lloyd


Erika Lloyd has been missing since June 16th, 2020. The 37 year-old woman is among the many Americans who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to family members, Erika was struggling with the stress of losing her job and trying to homeschool her son. Once the month of June came about, she decided to get away for a bit by taking a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Erika left her Walnut Ridge, California home for the trip on June 14th. The drive was supposed to take approximately seven hours. Erika stayed in contact with her family after leaving her home, but all contact abruptly stopped on June 16th. She has not been seen or heard from again.

That same day, a California Highway Patrol found Erika's car abandoned on Highway 62--located approximately 20 miles away from Joshua Tree. Both the front and back windshields of the car were broken. Erika's items were still inside the vehicle, but Erika herself was nowhere to be found. Investigators believe the damage to the car is consistent with an accident and it does not appear that somebody broke into the vehicle. However, investigators were unable to find evidence that a collision occurred in a nearby area--so the exact cause of the car's damage remains unclear.

It is not believed that Erika camped in any of the nearby campgrounds--as her items were still inside the car and there was no evidence that any campers had been in the area. Erika's family members fear that she may have become disoriented following the speculated car accident. Investigators have focused on searching the surrounding areas for any sign of Erika, and they have enlisted the help of a man named Doug Billings. Billings is an expert in the area's caves and mines, and he assisted in the search for Erin Corwin years earlier. Similar to Erika, Erin vanished while taking a trip to Joshua Tree National Park on June 29th, 2014. She was later found murdered in an abandoned mine. A write-up on Erin's case can be found here.

Erika is described as 5'4" and approximately 125 lbs. She has dark hair and blue eyes. If you have any information that could lead to Erika's whereabouts, please go here to submit an anonymous tip.
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UPDATE (2/19/21): Erika's remains have been found.

On January 31st, hikers in Wonder Valley found human remains near Danby Road and Amboy Road. The remains were found just a few miles away from where Erika's vehicle was found abandoned. On February 18th, 2021, investigators confirmed that the remains have been identified as that of Erika Lloyd. Her cause of death remains unknown at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.

Rest in peace, Erika. 
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UPDATE: In July 2021, two men were arrested on suspicion of stealing Erika's vehicle in June 2020. As previously stated, Erika's car was found abandoned on Highway 62 the same day that she disappeared. The car had extensive damage and it appeared that whoever had been driving the car had gotten into an accident. At the time, detectives believed that Erika had been the one who crashed the vehicle--however they later determined that the car had been stolen after Erika had vanished.

Despite these arrests, it is not believed that these men played a role in Erika's death. In May 2021, it was reported that there was "no apparent evidence" that foul play led to Erika's' death. Still, an exact cause of death had not yet been revealed. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

The Murders of Crystal Jackson and Britney Cosby

 

Crystal Jackson (left) and Britney Cosby (right)

Young couple Crystal Jackson (24) and Britney Cosby (24) were found brutally murdered in Port Bolivar, Texas on the morning of March 7th, 2014. Galveston County police were called that morning after a delivery man spotted two bodies behind a dumpster of a Port Bolivar convenience store. When police arrived on the scene, they found the bodies of two young females. One of them had been bludgeoned to death, while the other had been shot. 

Neither of the bodies had identification on them, so police were not immediately able to determine their identities. What police were able to determine, though, was that the two women were likely killed in a different location before being dumped in Port Bolivar. There was no additional blood splatter in the area, but there were tire tracks near the bodies, which indicated that someone had driven their bodies to that location. 

After scouring the area, police found a check containing the name Britney Cosby and a Houston address that was an approximate hour drive away from Port Bolivar. Detectives immediately drove to said address to see if they could connect it to one or both of the victims. Once there, they were greeted by an elderly woman named Annie Lee Cosby and her grandson, Larry Cosby. After showing Annie Lee and Larry pictures of the crime scene, it was determined that one of the bodies did, indeed, belong to Larry's daughter, Britney Cosby. Larry identified the other body as Crystal Jackson--Britney's girlfriend. 

After speaking to Annie Lee and Larry, detectives learned that Britney, Crystal, and Crystal's young child had been living at the residence in Houston. Crystal had been on rocky ground with her own family, as her father Ivan Jackson was a pastor who believed that homosexuality was a sin. Ivan reportedly did not support Crystal's relationship with Britney. This inevitably raised suspicions against Ivan--but after investigating, detectives were able to determine that Ivan had a solid alibi at the time of the killings. 

Detectives continued to search for additional evidence. It had already been determined that the girls were not actually killed in Port Bolivar--so detectives had to figure out how their bodies ended up there. Port Bolivar is located off the Gulf Coast of Texas and can only be reached by ferry. After speaking with witnesses and reviewing surveillance footage from both the ferry station and other local places, detectives identified a suspect they were not originally suspecting. 

--Continued from Tumblr post:

A witness reportedly told detectives that he saw a man driving a silver 2006 Kia Sorento on the evening of March 6th, 2014. Britney had purchased that exact car shortly before her death. The man driving the car was accompanied by two women who matched Britney and Crystal's description. Surveillance footage from the ferry station also captured a man driving the car. At this point in the investigation, detectives had not yet located this car--but now had a description of a potential suspect.

Sketch of the potential suspect

In addition to this evidence, detectives also found a wooden shutter with a bloody fingerprint on it near the dumpster where Britney and Crystal's bodies were found. Forensic testing revealed that the blood on the shutter belonged to Larry Cosby--Britney's father. Detectives then searched their home, where they found blood belonging to Larry, Britney, and Crystal on the porch and in other places throughout the residence. The home was deemed a crime scene and Larry was arrested and charged with two counts of tampering with evidence. 


This was not the first time that Larry had been accused of violence. In fact, he already had previous convictions of sexual assault, unlawful carrying of a weapon, and assault and bodily injury. Still, a motive for Larry to kill his daughter and her girlfriend was not immediately clear. After his arrest, some conflicting reports about Larry's relationship with Britney surfaced. Britney's mother stated that Larry's relationship with Britney was strained, and that he had trouble accepting Britney's sexuality and relationship with Crystal. Larry's grandmother Annie Lee, who lived with both Larry and Britney, stated that they got along just fine. Though he had not yet been charged with murder, the evidence collected at the home and near the bodies was enough for detectives to determine that Larry was, at the very least, responsible for moving Britney and Crystal's bodies. 

About a month after Larry's arrest, Britney's missing Kia Sorento was found at a vehicle storage lot in Houston. Detectives were told that it had been towed there after being found abandoned at Ritz Cabaret along the Gulf Freeway. The car also had large amounts of blood belonging to both Britney and Crystal. 


Over a year later, Larry was also charged with capital murder. It would be another year until he finally went to trial during August 2016. During the trial, it was revealed that Britney had been bludgeoned and strangled to death. Crystal had also been beaten and strangled; however, it was a gunshot wound to the head that ultimately caused her death. 

The evidence made it pretty clear that Larry was the one responsible for Britney and Crystal's deaths--but the motive was still unclear. Although many testified that he was unhappy about Britney and Crystal's relationship, it is unknown if that is the main motive behind their murders. Detective Barry Cook of the Galveston Sheriff's Office explained to reporters, "these are the things we know: He had resentment. They had a better life. They were being treated differently at that house. He didn't agree with their lifestyle, but neither did the Jacksons. Were they killed for being gay? Who knows? He's the only one who knows and he's not talking."

Despite not talking, a jury still convicted Larry Cosby for the murders of both Britney and Crystal. After an unsuccessful attempt to appeal, Larry was sentenced to life in prison in 2018. 

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Sources:

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Disappearances of Erin Foster & Jeremy Bechtel


Longtime friends Erin Leigh Foster (18) and Jeremy Bechtel (17) have been missing since April 3rd, 2000. The two teens were born and raised in Sparta, Tennessee, and on the day they vanished, they took Erin’s car to go visit a mutual friend right outside of town. They spent the day there, and then Erin and Jeremy left their friend’s house in Erin’s car that evening. Witnesses spotted them in the car just outside of Sparta around 10pm that evening. They never made it home and have never been seen or heard from again.

The exact circumstances surrounding the pair’s disappearance are unclear. At first, investigators believed that Erin and Jeremy were runaways. However, as time passed without any trace of them, this theory became unlikely. Neither of them have accessed their Social Security Number since they vanished, and Erin never renewed her driver’s license.
Erin’s car vanished with them as well. The vehicle is described as a black two-door 1998 Pontiac Grand Am with the Tennessee license plate number 473EJR. Both Erin and Jeremy remain missing today and the White County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case. If you have any information that could help lead to their whereabouts, please contact investigators at 931-836-2700.
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UPDATE (December 2021):
A YouTube named Jeremy Sides used side-scan sonar technology to search the Calfkiller River during late November 2021. During his dive, he located a car. The license plate on the vehicle confirmed that it was the same car that Erin Foster was driving on the day that she and Jeremy Bechtel vanished. Human remains were also found inside the vehicle. It is believed that the remains belong to Erin and Jeremy, however this has not yet been confirmed. Updates are expected. 
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UPDATE (2022):
It has been officially confirmed that the remains found in the vehicle belong to Erin and Jeremy. Investigators stated that there were no signs of foul play on the scene. It is believed that the Erin and Jeremy accidentally drove the car into the river on the day of their disappearance. 

The Disappearance & Murder of Kayleah Wilson

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