Friday, December 22, 2023

Resolved in 2023 - Part Two.

Below is a list of another set of cases that were resolved in 2023. Links to full case write-ups are provided. Part one of the 'Resolved in 2023' series can be found here.

The Disappearance and Presumed Murder of Jepsy Amaga Kallungi (2019)

Jepsy Amaga Kallungi went missing on March 21st, 2019. The-then-26-year-old woman was last seen in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she lived with her husband Dane Kallungi. Jepsy moved to Colorado from the Philippines in 2017, after meeting Dane online that same year. 

Jepsy kept in regular contact with her family members, who began to worry when Jepsy fell out-of-touch. Jepsy's mother subsequently reached out to Dane on social media, who claimed he had no idea about Jepsy's whereabouts. He deleted all of his social media shortly thereafter. With no help from Dane, Jepsy's loved ones contacted Colorado Springs PD to conduct a welfare check on April 4th, 2019. After police were unable to locate Jepsy themselves, they filed a missing person's report.

Dane was questioned by police, and he told them that he believed Jepsy had run off with another man. However, Jepsy's family members had their doubts about this story, as did police. It took two years of investigating, but police finally arrested Dane in June 2021 and charged him with Jepsy's murder. At that point, it was announced that police found evidence that a "domestic disturbance occurred where Dane Kallungi strangled Jepsy Kallungi and buried her body in an unknown location."

Dane's trial began in March 2023. The jury ultimately found him guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Jepsy's body has still not been found.

[more details about this case]

The Disappearance and Presumed Murder of Iyana Sawyer (2018)

Iyana Sawyer vanished in Jacksonville, Florida on December 19th, 2018. The 16-year-old girl was 5 months pregnant at the time of her disappearance. A man named Johnathan Quiles, then 33, was the father of Iyana's unborn child. Quiles is Iyana's uncle through marriage, and he had a history of sexually assaulting several underage girls. According to reports, Iyana believed she was in love with Quiles.

After Iyana was reported missing, Quiles became an immediate person of interest. At the time, he was already facing charges of sexually assaulting another teenage girl. It took a few months of investigating, but in 2019, Quiles was finally charged with the murder of Iyana Sawyer. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Quiles' trial began in September 2023, during which many people testified to knowing about the inappropriate relationship between Iyana and Quiles. Quiles' brother Joseph testified that Quiles confessed to killing Iyana. According to Joseph's testimony, Quiles lured Iyana to meet up with him at a local Ace Pick-a-Part - where he worked - on the day of her disappearance. Iyana believed the two were going to run away together. Instead, while sitting in a car behind the building, Quiles attempted to strangle Iyana before ultimately shooting her to death. He later disposed of her body in a dumpster.

A jury deliberated for about an hour before finding Quiles guilty of murdering both Iyana and their unborn child. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. 

Iyana's body has still not been found.

[more details on this case]

The Disappearance and Murder of Desiree Thompson (2012)

Desiree Thompson (30) vanished in California City, California on January 7th, 2012. After she was reported missing, her ex-husband Edward 'Face' Gibson III became an immediate suspect in the case. There had been several instances of domestic abuse throughout Desiree's relationship with Gibson. According to reports, Gibson pointed a shotgun in Desiree's face just hours before she vanished. 

With all of this in mind, it was obvious why Gibson was a suspect in Desiree's disappearance. Even more suspicious, Gibson seemingly vanished himself after Desiree was reported missing. Investigators believed that he went on the run - especially because he had several active warrants for his arrest as well. 

Meanwhile, Desiree remained missing, and the case went cold. Then, over a decade later, police received information that a man named Jose William Lara may be involved in Desiree's disappearance. In March 2022, investigators dug up the backyard of a California City home where Lara used to live. During their search, they found Desiree's remains. Lara was subsequently arrested and charged with Desiree's murder.

Court documents revealed that Lara reportedly randomly targeted Desiree after being angry at an unrelated party on the evening of January 7th, 2012. He encountered Desiree outside that night and invited her over to his house for a drink. Once there, Lara smashed Desiree's head into a mini fridge before stabbing her to death. Later, he buried her in his backyard. 

In May 2023, a jury found Lara guilty of Desiree's murder. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. 

[more details on this case]

The Disappearance and Murder of Kara Nichols (2012)

Kara Nichols was only 19 years-old when she vanished on October 9th, 2012. She lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the time of her disappearance. Kara worked in the area as a waitress, but she was also involved in modeling and escorting. On the evening she vanished, Kaara told her roommates that her friend was going to pick her up to drive her to a modeling job. She never returned home and was never heard from again.

Investigators quickly began to suspect that Kara's work as an escort played a role in her disappearance. It was eventually announced that police wanted to speak with two women who had been seen with Kara before she vanished. Said women were believed to be escorts as well. Other than that, though, very little information about the investigation was provided to the public. Kara's case then seemingly went cold.

In early 2022, detectives got a break that end up being vital to the case. A woman named Kristina Hollendorfer spoke to investigators and implicated her husband, Joel Hollendorfer, as the man responsible for Kara's disappearance. Kristina explained that Joel had confessed to accidentally killing an escort and burying her on his parent's property. Said property was searched on February 3rd, 2022 - during which Kara's remains were found. Joel was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence shortly thereafter.

Joel went to trial in June 2023. He was ultimately found guilty of manslaughter instead of murder. However, since Joel is a habitual offender who had violated his parole several times, he was given an enhanced sentence of 24 years in prison. 

The Disappearance and Presumed Murder of Unique Harris (2010)

Unique Harris vanished at the age of 24 on October 9th, 2010. The young woman lived in Washington, DC at the time of her disappearance. The evening before she vanished, Unique spent time with her two young sons and her cousin's daughter. When the children awoke the following morning, Unique was gone. She was never seen or heard from again.

Unique's loved ones immediately believed that she did not vanish on her own accord. Not only would she not leave the children unattended, but she also left behind several of her personal items. Police questioned/interviewed several people in the case, but no prime suspects were ever announced.

Over 10 years passed without any publicly announced updates in the case. Then, in December 2020, that all changed. On December 21st, it was announced that a man named Isaac Moye was arrested and charged with Unique's murder. Unique had met Moye after moving to DC in 2010. Moye had romantic feelings for Unique, but Unique did not return those feelings - as she had a boyfriend in Richmond. 

Through the court proceedings, it was revealed that Moye was wearing a GPS ankle monitor at the time Unique vanished - which confirmed that he was at Unique's house shortly before she vanished. Cell phone records also showed that Unique was in contact via text with her boyfriend several times throughout the night. Prosecutors allege that Moye felt jealous of this, which motivated his actions. It was also revealed that Moye's semen was found on Unique's couch, which led investigators to believe that he sexually assaulted Unique before killing her and disposing of her body. 

In June 2023, Moye was convicted of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Unique's body has never been found.

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