Saturday, December 31, 2022

Arrests Made in 2022

Many cases featured on True Case Files made progress this year. As previously noted, several cases were resolved. There were also numerous cases in which an arrest was finally made - which means these cases are now closer to being resolved as well. Below is a list of such cases - here's to hoping they finally conclude in 2023.

(Listed in order from time the crime occurred - recent to oldest):

The disappearance and murder of Audreona Barnes.

Audreona Barnes vanished in Cleveland, Ohio on July 30th, 2021. The then-18-year-old seemingly disappeared after being dropped off at the residence of her boyfriend, Bennie Washington. Audreona never returned to her family's home and was later reported missing.

Washington was initially questioned, but he denied any knowledge of Audreona's whereabouts. Then, in March 2022, Washington was evicted from his apartment. After his eviction, an employee from a cleaning company was sent to the residence. While clearing out the apartment’s balcony, the employee found the body of a female hidden under a pile of clothes. Police were called, and the body was eventually identified as that of Audreona Barnes. She died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Police then began looking for Washington. At some point, police spotted him in a nearby neighborhood, but he ran from the officers and was able to evade arrest. However, he was finally found on March 21, 2022, and charged with Audreona’s murder. He remains behind bars as the charges are pending.

The murder of Tiara Lott

Tiara Lott was only 22 years-old when she was found murdered in Buffalo, New York during February 2021. Tiara's boyfriend, Andre Whigham, was an immediate suspect in the case. Prior to her untimely death, Tiara's loved ones had noticed bruises on her body - leading them to believe that she was being abused by Whigham. Additionally, Tiara told several people that if something bad ever happened to her, Whigham was likely responsible.

After Tiara's body was found, Whigham seemingly went on the run. Police were unable to locate him for over a year. Then, during May 2022, Whigham turned himself in police. He was subsequently arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The case is currently ongoing. 

The disappearance and presumed murder of Anesha Murnane

Anesha Murnane vanished under suspicious circumstances on October 17th, 2019. The 38-year-old woman lived at MainTree Apartments in Homer, Alaska at the time of her disappearance. MainTree is a supported living facility that provides housing to individuals with disabilities and beneficiaries of the Alaska Mental Health Trust. Anesha was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was considered a dependent adult, but according to her family members, she was stabilized and doing well at the time she vanished.

On the day of her disappearance, Anesha left her residence shortly after noon to walk to a doctor's appointment. She never arrived and was never seen or heard from again. Anesha's family members immediately began to fear that she met with foul play.

Nearly 3 years later, an arrest was finally made. In May 2022, Kirby Calderwood (32) was charged with first degree murder, second degree murder, kidnapping, and tampering with physical evidence in relation to Anesha's case. Investigators closed in on Calderwood as their prime suspect after a tipster reported that Calderwood admitted to being responsible for Anesha’s disappearance. 

The tipster reportedly told authorities that on the day of Anesha’s disappearance, Calderwood said he prepped the crawlspace at an empty home before leaving in his car to search for a victim. At some point, he spotted Anesha and offered her a ride. She accepted, and Calderwood ended up bringing her to the empty home. Once there, Calderwood reportedly tortured Anesha before killing her and then disposing of her body in a dumpster.

Calderwood remains behind bars as the charges are pending. Anesha's body has still not been found.

The disappearance and murder of Kara Nichols

Kara Nichols disappeared at the age of 19 on October 9th, 2012. The then-19-year-old was living in Colorado Springs when she vanished. Kara worked as a model and escort. 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. 

Over the years, there were several reported sightings of Kara, but authorities were unable to locate her themselves. Finally, nearly 10 years later, a woman named Kristina Hollendorfer spoke to investigators and implicated her husband, Joel, as Kara's killer. Kristina explained that Joel admitted to her that he "accidentally killed an escort he hired and buried her body on top of an old horse grave on his parent's property." On February 3rd, 2022, investigators searched said property and found human remains. Days later, it was confirmed that the remains belonged to Kara Nichols.

Joel Hollendorfer was charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence shortly thereafter. His charges are pending while he remains behind bars in El Paso County. 

The disappearance and murder of Desiree Thompson

Desiree Thompson vanished in California City, California on January 7th, 2012. The then-30-year-old disappeared in the midst of a tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband, Edward Gibson III. There were reportedly several instances of domestic violence and encounters with the police throughout Desiree's relationship with Gibson - including one that occurred just hours before her disappearance. Due to this, Gibson quickly became the prime suspect after Desiree was reported missing.

Police inevitably wanted to question Gibson, but they were unable to find him. It is believed that he went on the run shortly after Desiree vanished. Many thought this was because he wanted to avoid charges related to Desiree's disappearance, but he also had several other active warrants on charges of burglary, domestic violence, violating a court order, brandishing a firearm, and possessing a firearm as a felon.

Years passed and Desiree remained missing. Gibson remained the only person of interest in the case. Then, in 2022, the case took an unexpected turn. During March, investigators received a tip that led them to a home in California City. A man named Jose William Lara, now 60, used to live in said residence. While there, investigators found blood splatters in the master bedroom and human remains in the backyard. Those remains were eventually identified as that of Desiree Thompson.

Police were led to Lara after they were contacted by an informant. The informant told police that Lara had described, in detail, how he murdered a woman matching Desiree's description and then buried the woman in the backyard of his old residence. Lara was reportedly angry that evening because he had been assaulted and kicked out of a party. He wanted to get revenge, and he picked a random victim. After leaving the party, he came across two individuals - one of them being Desiree.  He subsequently invited Desiree over to his house under the guise of drinking beers together. Lara said that once she was there, he bashed Desiree's head into a mini-fridge and then stabbed her to death. Later, he buried her in his backyard. 

Although Lara confessed to the informant, he has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. His case is currently pending. 

The murder of Anita Knutson

Anita Knutson (18) was brutally murdered inside her own apartment on June 3rd, 2007. Anita was a freshman at Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota at the time of her death. She lived with a roommate near campus. 

On June 4th, 2007, Anita’s father grew worried after learning she had not contacted any of her siblings or anyone else in her family for over a day. Her father was under the impression that her roommate had gone out of town for the weekend, so he decided to go directly to the apartment's manager. The manager let Anita's father into the apartment - where he stumbled upon a horrific scene: Anita was dead. She had been fatally stabbed in her own bedroom.

Years passed without any updates in the case. Then, in March of 2022, police finally announced that they had arrested a suspect: 34-year-old Nichole Rice.
Rice was Anita's roommate, who was originally believed to have been out-of-town when the murder occurred. At this time, a motive is unclear as the case is pending.

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