Something that I used to write about on my old blog – and a particular series of posts that I used to love – were my missing person and mystery cases. But when I changed my domain, my brand and my content strategy, I stopped writing about these because they didn’t align with what I wanted to do on my platform. Alongside my personal platforms, I also run two podcasts and a political Instagram, so I couldn’t bare the idea of creating yet another separate website.
That said, lately I have found myself wanting to write about these topics again and hence today’s post was born.
I am all about living your best life and doing what interests you and for me, that’s anything related to true crime, mysteries and missing people. In my spare time I often find myself exploring unsolved true crime cases or attempting to disappearances.
And while it doesn’t exactly align with the aims and purposes of this website, occasionally you just have to share what you’re passionate about.
At the time of writing this blog post, I have no idea if this is going to be a one-time thing, or if it’s something that is going to happen more often. Inspired action is a huge part of the manifestation process and as often as possible, that action should be taken without asking the universe why.
Let’s take it each day at a time and see how these posts go.
Anyway, without further ado, here are some of the missing person cases that have recently caught my attention.
Case one - Brittany Marie Walker
The last confirmed sighting of Brittany was on the 2nd of April 2017, but the exact date of her disappearance is unknown. Aged just 19, Brittany was last seen leaving a restaurant called Jack in the Box in Fife, Washington State.
It is considered likely that she actually disappeared on or around 11th of April, as this was the date that she last posted on her social media profiles. Yet despite this, she wasn’t actually reported missing until the September of that year.
Her then boyfriend claims that he reported her missing several days after the 11th of April, but police refute this claim and allege that September was the first time that they had been advised of her disappearance.
Around the same time that she was actually reported missing, Brittany’s social security number was used for the last time, having already been used on two other occasions. Between April and September 2017, three rent applications were made using her security number.
Although it is possible that she did travel to Olympia, Tacoma or West Seattle, Washington after her disappearance, her family don’t believe this to be the case. Despite her drug problem, they argue that she would never have left without contacting her family or friends.
Yet despite having disappeared now over three years ago, to date Brittany has not yet been found and little more information is publicly available.
Since she went missing – and although her last actual post was the 11th of April – police are aware that her social media has been accessed during the past three years.
According to the Charley Project, Brittany can be identified from the following description:
‘Caucasian female. Blonde/brown hair, hazel eyes. Walker may dye her hair black. She has a large mole or freckle on her left forearm. She has the following tattoos: a triquetra on the left side of her upper chest, the number 59 behind her right ear, a small anchor on her right ankle, and an unfinished tiger and cherry blossom on her right thigh. A photo of one of the thigh tattoos is posted with this case summary. Walker’s collarbone has previously been fractured, and her ears are pierced. She may use the last name Tautua.’
Case two – Abby Lynn Patterson
On the 5th of September 2017, Abby left her mothers’ home to run some errands, advising that she would be home within 30 minutes. As she left the address on East 9th Street, she walked down the street towards Inglewood Avenue and was seen getting into a brown Buick sedan.
The driver of this vehicle was later identified as an acquaintance of Abby’s, but they claimed they had dropped her off at a location and never heard from her again. At 6pm that day, her mother reported her missing.
Her family were particularly concerned about her disappearance as Abby has previously had issues with heroin, having spent time in rehab in Florida for these problems. In September 2017, Abby was staying with her mother but prior to this, she had lived in Florida.
Although authorities still have no idea about what happened to Abby, they are keen to state that they do not believe her disappearance is linked to a string of other unexplained deaths that took place in 2017.
In the months before Abby vanished, police found the bodies of three women in unclear circumstances in Lumberton, North Carolina, the same place where Abby disappeared from. The bodies of Rhonda Jones and Kristin Bennett were found on the 18th of April 2017, just fifty yards apart and the third body of Megan Oxendine was found two blocks away on the 3rd of June.
Each woman was found in a varying state of decay and were naked and all had struggled with drug addiction at some point in their lives.
Yet that is where the similarities end, despite much public speculation and for that reason, police do not believe that these cases were linked in any way. Her case remains unsolved.
According to the Charley Project, Abby can be identified from the following description:
‘Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Patterson has a dark-coloured birthmark on the back of her right thigh and a tattoo of three birds in black ink on the back of her right shoulder; a photo of the tattoo is posted with this case summary.’
Case three – the four missing kids from California
Ok, I bet you’re disputing the idea that there are only ‘four’ missing kids in California and of course, you would be right. But these four children are suspected to be interlinked, with them each having a connection to the same presumed suspect. It’s for that reason, that I wanted to consider these four cases together because it seems possible that they are all victims of a serial killer.
In fact, Timothy Bindner has been linked to each of the following cases and he is now believed to be a suspect in each instance. However, it’s important to point out that he denies any role and he successfully sued Fairfield for defamation in 1997.
Before we get into the details of each of these cases, let’s take a second to consider this suspect in more detail.
A married sewage treatment plant worker, Bindner first came to the attention of authorise when he began to send greetings cards to young girls in the East Bay area. This came about after a parent contacted them having found a hand-written letter which Bindner had written to their daughter. The note, which was handed to police, was written backwards and could only be read if it was held up to a mirror. When asked about this rather strange and somewhat chilling gesture, he claimed that he had done so because he believed the girl to have been ‘lonely.’
Additionally, he was known to have visited the gravesite of Angela Bugay in Oakmont Cemetery, a five-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in California in 1983. This being despite the fact that another man has since been arrested for her murder.
Interestingly, search dogs traced the scents of Amanda and Amber to Bugay’s grave.
For many years he was also considered a suspect in the June 1988 disappearance of Amber Swartz-Garcia from Pinole, California.
Anyone who is interested in true crime knows that police often watch for strange visitors at the funerals and searches that are held for the person that is missing, as often times the perpetrator can’t resist getting involved in the process. Whether that be for a morbid, thrill-seeking reasons, to avoid suspicion or simply to gain a Birdseye view of how things are unfolding, the police believe that Bindner may have also done just this.
After each of these girls went missing, Bindner is said to have approached the mothers and offered his support. In the case of Amber, her mother was asked to maintain a quasi-friendship with him in order to ascertain any evidence that he may or may not be involved in their disappearance. While no such evidence was garnered, police and families agreed that he often played mind games with the authorities and the families of this missing.
We know that he enjoyed making himself out to be the ‘good Samaritan’. At one point in time, he asked Linda Golston, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, to interview him at Oakmont Cemetery at 4.30am in the morning. In what can only be described as a bizarre encounter, for the duration of the interview he played ‘Jesus, here’s another child to hold’ on his car stereo. He told the reporter that he thought of the missing girls as ‘his children’. During the interview, Golston asked Bindner how he believed the abductions had occurred and his answers were even more chilling and surreal. He told her that he believed one child to have been suspicious whilst the other at fought back against the assailant, claiming that he was just taking a guess.
In fact, some people believe that he enjoyed taunting families into believing that he was involved in some way or another. And that’s the only reason I can think of someone doing such a strange and no doubt suspicion provoking interview.
He was once arrested for annoying to little girls whom he was attempting to lure into the Dodge van he was often seen in. The van was lite blue in colour with a number plate that read ‘Love You’, the inside of which was papered with pictures of children.
In the late 1980s, Bindner wrote a letter to law enforcement advising them that he believed a nine-year-old child would be the next to be abducted. Sure enough, just a short while later Michaela was abducted and she was nine-years-old.
In 1989, his ‘good Samaritan’ claims were to be further validated as he was given a heroism award for assisting other during an earthquake.
Yet, there is more still because in 1990, Bindner sent a holiday card to an FBI profiler, the card depicting a young girl holding up four fingers. The fourth child to go missing in this story, Amanda, was just four years old.
Despite all of this, there was never enough evidence to charge and he has never been arrested for any of these cases.
Amanda Nicole Eileen Campbell
On the 27th of December 1991, Amanda was last seen near her family home in Fairfield, California. That day she had been to a friend’s house, which was situated just four doors down from her parents’ home with her brother. Sometime between 4:30 and 5:00pm, she split form her brother and his friend, telling him that she was going to ride her bike to another friend’s home which was just eight more doors away. However, she never arrived, her bicycle was found a few blocks away on the same evening, but Amanda was never seen again.
An extensive search of the area found only a pair of child-sized blue socks, but it is unknown if these belonged to Amanda.
The police dogs were brought in and tracked her scent from Larchmont Drive to Oliver Road, to a drive-through at the nearby McDonalds and then east on Travis Boulevard to the westbound interstate 80 on-ramp. As a result, police believe that she was likely pulled into a vehicle on Larchmont Drive and Salisbury Drive.
Yet while police have linked Bindner to all of these cases, there was another suspect in Amanda’s case.
In 2000, Curtis Dean Anderson was convicted of the kidnapping and molestation of a young California girl and is considered to be a suspect in this case. In 2001, police searched his mother’s property in an attempt to link him to this or any of the other three cases, but nothing was ever found.
In 2009, police confirmed that Anderson had confessed to Amber’s murder a month before he died whilst in prison in 2007 and they believed themselves to be close to ending her search. Over the course of the 18 months that followed that statement, police thoroughly investigated the confession, finding little evidence to refute it. However, they also never found Amanda and her body has never been located.
For obvious reasons, foul play is now considered to the be reason why she has never been seen again.
According to the Charley Project, Amanda can be identified from the following description:
‘Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Amanda has facial dimple and light brown moles on her forehead and near her nose. Her ears are pierced. Amanda’s nickname is Nikki. She occasionally develops a rash around her mouth.’
Tara Lossett Cossey
On the 6th of June 1979, Tara vanished after making a trip to the local liquor store. She was there on the request of her mother, who has asked her to purchase a bag of sugar at the Pirell’s Liquor store. She was last seen inside the Montalvin Shopping Center and never returned. She was never seen again.
According to the Charley Project, Tara can be identified from the following description:
‘Biracial (Caucasian/Native American) female. Black hair, brown eyes. Some agencies may spell Tara’s middle name “Cossette” or “Cosette.” She is of Choctaw Indian descent.’
Michaela Joy Garecht
On the 19th of November 1988, Michaela and her friend rode their scooters to the Rainbow Market on Mission Boulevard in Haywood, California. The shop was just two blocks away from her home.
Once they left the store, Michaela noticed that her friends scooter had been moved further along the parking lot and when she went to grab it, an unidentified Caucasian male grabbed her and forced her into his vehicle. Her friend responded quickly, running in to the store for help, but it was too late, and she was gone.
Her friend was able to describe the abductor as being:
- Between 18 and 24 at the time of the abduction
- Had a pockmarked or pimpled face
- Wore a white tshirt
- Hard dirty blonde long hair
- Slender build
A sketch was created from this description, but it was later revised and updated.
The abductor drove an older model American-made sedan, it was possibly four-door and is believed to have been cream gold or tan in colour. The front bumper was battered, and it is possible that it had been in an accident. The ‘run-down’ car was last seen speeding south on Mission Boulevard towards nearby Union City.
The same two men linked were once again considered potential suspects in this case. However, this case does also have other possible suspects.
The police have also considered James Daveggio as a reasonable suspect in the case, as he and his former girlfriend, Michelle Lyn Michaud, were both charged with the 1997 abduction, rape and murder of Vanessa Lei Swanson. They were also convicted of another count of sexual assault in relation to a further, unrelated case from the mid-1990s. They were both sentenced to death and are awaiting execution.
In 2012, the so-called ‘spped greak killers’ – Wesley Howad Shermantine Junior and Loren Joseph Herzog have also been considered suspects. They were a team of serial killers who were arrested in 2000 and were convicted of murdering several women between the 1980s and 1990s. It is believed that had up to fifteen victims. As far as Shermantine is concerned, it was very much Herzogs’ fault and that he only helped with disposing the bodies.
At the moment, Shermantine is on death row but Herzog’s sentence was reduced from 78 to 14 years after it was revealed that his confession was coerced. In 2010, Herzog was paroled but he took his own life in January 2012, after discovering that his former partner doing a deal with prosecutors. In exchange for $33,000, Shermantine was prepared to reveal the locations of the victims’ bodies. As a result of this deal, he led police to the remains of Chevell Wheeler and Cyndi Vanderheiden, who had been missing since 1985 and 1998.
Further to this, he then directed police to a well in Linden California and alleged that there were twenty victims inside, including the body of Michaela. Police found 300 human bones and person items inside this well. The police are still sorting through the remains that were discovered but two missing people have now been identified.
For Michaela’s mother, she believes that there is a high chance that her daughter was the victim of human trafficking and that she was potentially taken out of the country. This theory is further compounded by the suggestion that she has been seen in Mexico or more recently, the United Arab Emirates. Her mother is actively searching for her and her case remains unsolved.
According to the Charley Project, Michaela can be identified from the following description:
‘Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Michaela’s nickname is Kayla. Her ears are prominent and both are pierced. Michaela’s eyes slant slightly downward. Her teeth were slightly mottled at the time of her 1988 disappearance. Michaela’s hair may darken as she ages and she may have grown tall in adulthood; her siblings are all tall. She may also now need vision correction.’
Ilene Beth Misheloff
On the 30th of January 1989, Ilene was seen walking home from Wells Intermediate School, Dublin, California and this has been verified by several of her classmates who saw her. A number of them reported seeing her, alone, on Amador Valley Boulevard near Village Parkway and Shamrock Shopping Centre. That afternoon, she vanished and was never seen again. When she was spotted, she was taking a shortcut home, passing through a wide alley behind the shopping centre, a furniture store and a local pub, across the boulevard and through John Mape Part and along a dry creek bed.
At the time she disappeared, she was carrying a dark blue backpack, and this was later located along the dry creek bed. It suggests that she had been abducted from that area, as although it is suspected that it was placed there after the police conducted an initial search, whomever placed it had to have known she was walking that way. Hence it is believed that this was either the location of her abduction or at least very near to there.
An accomplished figure skater, who was a good student and dreamed of being a paediatrician, she was never seen again.
As with the other cases, Patterson and Bindner are considered suspects but so too is Daveggio.
According to the Charley Project, Ilene can be identified from the following description:
‘Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Ilene wore braces on her teeth at time of her disappearance. Her ears are double-pierced. Ilene has freckles on her cheeks and on the bridge of her nose, and a small lump on the inside of her left ankle.’