Friday, April 15, 2022

List Series: Suspects on the Run

 A list of cases in which the prime suspect or person of interest is on the run and hiding from authorities. 

The Murder of Joana Peca

Joana Peca was murdered in front of her young children on July 31st, 2021. The 27-year-old woman was shot multiple times as she sat in her vehicle near the Woodlawn Memorial Gardens in St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Petersburg police believe that Joana was shot by 38-year-old Benjamin 'Bambi' Williams. There is currently a warrant out for Williams' arrest.

Williams is the father of Joana's youngest son, who was only four-months old at the time of his mother's death. On the day of Joana's murder, Williams asked Joana to meet him at the Woodlawn Memorial Gardens. Joana brought both her baby and her four-year-old son with her. At some point after arriving, Joana was sitting in the front seat of her car, holding her baby when Williams reportedly shot her multiple times. Williams then fled the scene.

Police have been unable to locate Williams. Sources say that Williams is connected to "several" open homicide cases. He also has a criminal background that spans over 20 years. There is currently a $20,000 reward available for anyone with information on Williams' whereabouts. [read more]

The Disappearance of Kassandra Ramirez
(image source: Facebook)

Kassandra Ramirez has been missing since September 19th, 2018. The then-25-year-old lived with her cousin in Bronx, New York at the time of her disappearance. On the evening Kassandra vanished, she left home to meet up with her ex-boyfriend John 'Kilo' O'Brien. She never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again.

O'Brien has told conflicting stories about the last time he saw Kassandra. He first said that Kassandra never showed up to meet him, and then later said he dropped her off at Hunter's Point train station in Queens. There is no evidence to confirm either story. Kassandra was not captured on any surveillance footage at the Hunter's Point train station, and there is no other evidence to suggest she was there.  

O'Brien is the only named person of interest in Kassandra's case. He has since dropped out of sight. Police are reportedly unaware of his current whereabouts. There are other suspicious circumstances surrounding Kassandra's disappearance as well, and the FBI is involved in the search. [read more]

The Murder of Courtney Phillips

Courtney Phillips (23) was found murdered inside a San Antonio, Texas residence on April 5th, 2015. She had planned to meet up with 19-year-old Isaac Estrada for a date at the Edge Avenue residence where she was killed. A friend dropped her off there that afternoon, and then returned to the residence a few hours later and found Courtney's body. She had been stabbed several times in the neck. 

Investigators were quickly able to determine that Isaac had invited Courtney to the residence, but he did not actually live there, and the homeowners were out of town when the incident occurred. It is believed that Courtney was lured to the residence by Isaac, who intended to rob her. Three months before the murder, Isaac was charged with aggravated robbery in a similar case in which he met up with the victim under the pretext of a date and then robbed her. 

Isaac has been on the run since Courtney's murder. Authorities believe he is in Mexico, but they have been unable to pinpoint his exact whereabouts. [read more]

The Disappearance of Meta Valentine

Meta Valentine has been missing since October 28th, 2014. The then-42-year-old was last seen in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Meta's ex-boyfriend Reginald McDowell was almost immediately identified as a person-of-interest in her disappearance. Reginald is the father of one of Meta's three children, and the couple had a tumultuous relationship that spanned back many years.

Reginald has a history of violence. In 1999, while Meta was dating a different man, Reginald reportedly kidnapped, robbed, and shot at the couple. He was eventually arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping and one count each of first-degree burglary and shooting into an occupied vehicle. In 2001, Reginald was sentenced to 15 years for those charges. He only ended up serving about 10 years and was released in 2011.

Meta and Reginald got back together upon his release, but by October 2014, Meta had enough. She broke up with him just two weeks before her disappearance. These circumstances, along with their rocky past, made Reginald an obvious suspect. Eventually, investigators found surveillance footage that showed Reginald chasing Meta at her apartment complex on the night of her disappearance.

In 2018, police charged Reginald with first-degree kidnapping and murder in Meta's case. However, despite these charges, Reginald has still not been arrested. Police have not been unable to locate or contact Reginald since the charges were filed. It is believed that he is in hiding. [read more]

The Disappearance of Sage Smith

Sage Smith has been missing since November 20th, 2012. The young woman had recently come out as transgender shortly before her disappearance. On the day she was last seen, Sage left her Charlottesville, Virginia apartment after telling her roommate that she was meeting up with a man named Erik McFadden. Sage and Erik reportedly met online and it's believed that they were meeting up for a date. Sage never returned home and has never been seen or heard from again. 

By the time authorities determined that Sage had met up with a man named Erik McFadden, they were unable to locate him. In fact, Erik’s girlfriend ended up reporting him missing on November 24th—just four days after Sage was last seen. However, Erik ended up contacting Charlottesville authorities three days later. He told them that he did plan to meet up with Sage on the evening of November 20th, but Sage never showed up. Still, investigators asked Erik to meet with them in person, but he told them that he couldn’t because he was in New York. When investigators asked him when he would be back, he hung up.

Erik's girlfriend later told police that Erik planned to take a bus back to Charlottesville on November 29th. The next day, though, Erik changed his mind. He sent his girlfriend an e-mail saying that Sage was blackmailing him by threatening to tell people that the two of them had sex. Erik also stated that he did meet up with Sage on the night of November 20th, but he did not know what happened to her. This version of events clearly differed from the story that Erik told authorities, and he was officially classified as a person of interest after that. Unfortunately, investigators have never been able to question Erik in person. He reportedly has never returned to Charlottesville, and the last sign of him was an e-mail he sent to his girlfriend in May 2013, from an untraceable e-mail address.

In 2016, the investigation into Sage's disappearance was reclassified as a homicide. Three years later, on June 26th, 2019, police announced that they officially filed a missing persons report for Erik McFadden. To date, he remains the only person of interest in Sage's case. It is believed that Erik is in hiding. Both he and Sage remain missing today. [read more]

The Disappearance of Desiree Thompson

Desiree Thompson vanished under suspicious circumstances on January 7th, 2012. The then-30-year-old was last seen that evening after a frightening incident with her estranged ex-husband, Edward ‘Face’ Gibson III. There were reportedly several instances of domestic violence and encounters with the police throughout Desiree’s relationship with Gibson. On the night of her disappearance, Gibson showed up unannounced at Desiree’s home in California City, California. When Desiree answered the door, Gibson pointed a shotgun at her face. It appears that no shots were actually fired at that time, as Desiree was seen alive just a few hours after that incident. After that last sighting, she was never seen or heard from again.

Gibson is the only known person of interest in Desiree's disappearance. He is also wanted on numerous other charges including burglary, domestic violence, violating a court order, brandishing a firearm, and possessing a firearm as a felon. Investigators have been unable to locate him, and it appears he has been on the run since Desiree's disappearance. Both remain missing today. [read more]

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