LoriDavis

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  1. http://siouxcityjournal.com/news/local/state-and-regional/norfolk-chief-still-stumped-by-case-of-missing-girl/article_ad9066ea-ac99-51a0-bac5-ce6c0f999763.html Norfolk chief still stumped by 1987 case of missing girl LORI PILGER Lincoln Journal Star Sep 8, 2016 NORFOLK, Neb. | Early on Aug. 13, 1987, Jill Cutshall's stepmother saw the 9-year-old laying out her clothes — jeans and a purple shirt — in their Norfolk apartment. It was the last time she would see her stepdaughter. Three months later, a hunter would find those clothes, along with the girl's underwear, shoes and keys, in a wildlife area a dozen miles southeast of town, near Stanton. And a Norfolk man, David Phelps, would be given a life sentence for kidnapping her. But his trial left so many questions. "We've never determined exactly what happened to Jill," said Norfolk Police Chief Bill Mizner. He started as chief 11 days after Jill was reported missing. Everyone wanted to find the 4-foot-6, 60-pound girl, later described in court records as outgoing and athletic, happy, mature and intelligent. The day she disappeared, the plan was for Jill to leave the McNeely Apartments, where she was staying that summer with her dad and stepmom, and walk to her baby sitter's house a few blocks away. But when her stepmom got off work and went to the baby sitter's to pick up Jill, she learned the girl had never arrived. After checking other places Jill might be, her father and stepmom went to the police department. No one knew then she still would be missing 29 years later. Witnesses reported spotting a girl matching her description at about 6:30 that morning on the baby sitter's steps. But the baby sitter's live-in boyfriend didn't see her before he left for work around 7:30. Others reported seeing her near the McNeely Apartments, and in Fremont, West Point, even a Sioux City, Iowa, mall. None of the leads panned out. In early 1988 the lead police detective had come across Phelps while searching for a former tenant of the McNeely Apartments and would interview him several times. But it was Roy Stephens, a private investigator hired by Jill's mother, Joyce, who in January 1989 would drive him to Wood Duck, hand him a shovel and tell him to show him where Jill was buried. Stephens, a felon who had lied about his criminal record to get his private investigator's license, told Phelps he could kill him right there and nobody would find him, and at one point Stephens fired his gun into the air, according to 1992 Nebraska Supreme Court records. Phelps dug for about 20 minutes before finally saying he was ready to talk. With a tape recorder going, he said another man woke him that day, saying he had a child in his car and they were going to go for a ride. Phelps said they went out to the Wood Duck area, where he held Jill down while the other man raped her. Phelps said he drove back to Norfolk, leaving the two behind. In 1991 the case went to trial, a jury found Phelps guilty and a judge sentenced him to life. Today, Phelps has an appeal pending. And the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has a photo of what Jill might look like now — she would be 38 — on its website. "I don't know if she's alive or not, but if we get any information, we still will follow it up," Mizner said.
  2. http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/09/03/breaking-news-heinrich-told-fbi-where-he-says-they-will-find-wetterling/ Sources: Heinrich Led FBI To Jacob Wetterling’s Remains September 3, 2016 6:34 AM MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sources say the suspect in the Jacob Wetterling case led the FBI to remains that are now being tested for DNA. Agents pressed Danny Heinrich for information on the nearly 27-year-old mystery in the last few days. Sources say the FBI took Heinrich out of jail at least twice this week. It is during that time that Heinrich told investigators where they would find Jacob’s body. Searchers have been at a site in Stearns County for several days, and at some point found bodily remains and Jacob’s clothing at the scene. Jacob’s mother, Patty Wetterling, texted WCCO’s Esme Murphy Saturday morning. “Our hearts are broken. We have no words,” Wetterling said. Patty said the family will release an official statement at some point. Jacob was 11 when he was kidnapped by a masked gunman on Sunday, Oct. 22, 1989 in St. Joseph. He was biking home from a convenience store with his brother and a friend. The FBI says a similar case happened in January of 1989, when 12-year-old Jared Scheierl was sexually assaulted in nearby Cold Spring. There was also a series of sexual assaults in nearby Paynesville in 1986 and 1987. Danny Heinrich, of Annandale, was questioned in 1990 about the assaults and the Wetterling case, but was never formally charged. The FBI named Heinrich a person of interest in the Wetterling case last October. Heinrich was charged with 25 counts of child pornography possession on the same day, to which he eventually pleaded not guilty. It was also announced on that day that DNA taken from Heinrich in 1990 linked him to Scheierl’s assault, a discovery made by investigators in 2015. Heinrich would not face any charges due to the statute of limitations, but Scheierl filed a civil suit against him in May, accusing Heinrich of sexual battery and false imprisonment. Heinrich’s attorney has asked for evidence and incriminating statements made to investigators to be thrown out of his child porn case. His attorney also asked for his trial to be moved away from the Twin Cities area, which was denied. Heinrich will likely face decades in prison for possessing the porn, with experts calling it a very strong case against him. His trial is scheduled for next month, but there is concern that it could all fall apart due to the possible discovery of Wetterling’s remains. He could appear in court as early as Tuesday, although nothing has yet been scheduled. The Jacob Wetterling Resources released this statement Saturday morning on their Facebook page: “We are in deep grief. We didn’t want Jacob’s story to end this way. In this moment of pain and shock, we go back to the beginning. The Wetterlings had a choice to walk into bitterness and anger or to walk into a light what could be, a light of hope. Their choice changed the world. This light has been burning for close to 27 years. The spark began in the moments after the abduction of Jacob Wettlering, when his family decided that light is stronger than darkness. They lit the flame that became Jacob’s Hope. All of Central Minnesota flocked to and fanned the flame, hoping for answers. The light spread state-wide, nationally and globally as hearts connected to the 11 year old boy who liked to play goalie for his hockey team, wanted to be a football player, played the trombone, and loved the times he spent with his sisters, brother and parents. Today, we gather around the same flame. the flame that has become more than the hope for one as it led the way home for thousands of others. It’s the light that illuminates a world that Jacob believed in, where things are fair and just. Our hearts are heavy, but we are being held up by all of the people who have been a part of making Jacob’s Hope a light that will never be extinguished. It shines on in a different way. We are, and we will continue to be, Jacob’s Hope. Jacob, you are loved.”
  3. http://www.kare11.com/news/wetterlings-remains-found-our-hearts-are-broken/313210664 Wetterling's remains found: 'Our hearts are broken' Sara Pelissero and KARE 11 Staff , KARE 9:57 AM. CDT September 03, 2016 GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The remains of Jacob Wetterling have been found, according to his mother, Patty. Patty Wetterling told KARE 11's Caroline Lowe via text Saturday morning, "All I can confirm is that Jacob has been found and our hearts are broken. I am not responding to any media yet as I have no words.” Authorities have not yet confirmed if Jacob Wetterling's remains have been found or if new information has been revealed in the case. Wetterling disappeared in October of 1989 after he was on a bike ride home from a convenience store. Wetterling, who was 11 years old at the time, was kidnapped by a masked man who approached him, his brother and a friend on a rural Stearns County road. The man threatened the other two boys and told them to run into the woods and never look back. Despite an intensive investigation and non-stop efforts by Patty Wetterling and her husband Jerry to keep Jacob's case in the public eye, he has never been found -- until this possible development. Authorities arrested 52-year-old Danny Heinrich of Annandale last fall, and declared him a "person of interest" in the Wetterling abduction. They recovered books of child pornography, and a DNA sample tying Heinrich to the kidnapping and sexual assault of another Stearns County boy from the same time period of Jacob's abduction. No charges can be filed in that case, however, as the statute of limitations has passed. David Heinrich, Danny's brother, told Lowe that he learned about Wetterling's story Saturday morning. "I want the Wetterlings to know I had no idea," a very emotional David Heinrich said to Lowe. "My prayers are with them. I am happy for them that they know, not that he’s passed, but at least they have closure." Heinrich remains incarcerated, awaiting trial next month on child pornography charges. Authorities are not saying anything in this case. KARE 11 is working to gather more information and will update as soon as it is available.
  4. NamUs profile for Jerry Michael "Mike" Williams https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/26767/34/
  5. http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2016/08/08/man-ties-cold-case-jail-unrelated-charged/88418470/ Man with ties to cold case in jail on unrelated charges Jennifer Portman, News Director 6:34 p.m. EDT August 8, 2016 A Tallahassee man with ties to one of the area’s most vexing unsolved crimes is in jail, accused of kidnapping his wife at gunpoint. Brian Winchester, 45, was arrested Friday on charges of kidnapping, domestic assault and armed burglary. Denise Winchester, 46, told Leon County Sheriff’s Office investigators her estranged husband snuck into her car and held her against her will for about an hour. His defense attorney, Tim Jansen, of Tallahassee, says he is innocent of the charges. Denise Winchester is the former wife of Tallahassee real estate appraiser Mike Williams, who disappeared Dec. 16, 2000, while duck hunting alone on Lake Seminole. Years after he vanished – law enforcement officials initially surmised he must have been eaten by alligators – Williams was considered a suspicious missing person. Investigators today believe the 31-year-old father was the victim of foul play but have named no suspects or persons of interest in the cold case. About six months before he vanished, Brian Winchester wrote Mike Williams – at the time his best friend - a $1 million life insurance policy. Six months after Williams was presumed to have fallen from his boat and drowned, his wife Denise had him declared dead and collected at least $1.5 million in death benefits. Denise and Brian Winchester, who have known each other since preschool, married in 2005. They have long declined to comment on the case. After nearly seven years, however, the marriage began to fall apart. The Winchesters separated in November 2012 and last year Denise Winchester filed for divorce. Court documents indicate Brian Winchester opposed the divorce. Last month, a Leon County judge ordered he cooperate and allow an appraisal on the couple’s Millers Landing Road house where he lives, a sign of proceedings moving forward. He had until this week. A little after 9 a.m. Friday morning, Denise Winchester pulled out of her Centennial Oaks subdivision south onto Miccosukee Road on her way to work at Florida State. As she does every morning, she picked up her cell phone and dialed her sister. According to court records, she noticed a figure behind her climb over the third-row seat of her gold 2002 Suburban. Brian Winchester moved into the passenger seat behind her, grabbed her cell phone and started yelling at her what route to take. She told investigators she initially ignored his demands, then he threatened to hurt her and brandished what looked like a semi-automatic pistol. He pushed the barrel into her ribs, she said. But instead of following his directions to an unknown location, she pulled into a CVS parking lot and parked in a spot close to the door. Admonishing her not to cry lest she attract attention, she said her husband told her he didn’t want a divorce and “had to do this” because she blocked his calls and text messages. He said he had nothing to live for, Denise Winchester told investigators, and got the gun so he could kill himself. “Denise asked if today was ‘the day the two of them died.’ ” the report said. “Brian stated, ‘Just me.’” After 45 minutes to an hour, Denise calmed him down, and she reportedly drove him back to his truck parked at the Miccosukee Greenway at Edenfield Road. Before getting out of her SUV, he gathered from the back compartment a tan sheet, another sheet of a kind of plastic material, a spray bottle of bleach and a tool. She told police she promised him she would not tell anyone what happened. Brian Winchester drove away, first pulling up to her at a light and apologizing. She drove straight to the Sheriff’s Office. In petitions for domestic violence protection filed Monday, Denise Winchester said she believed she and her 17-year-old daughter -- who was 18 months old when her father Mike Williams went missing -- would be in danger if Brian Winchester is let of out of jail. “I believe and know that Brian will kill me and/or my child if he is released,” she wrote. Brian Winchester will have a first appearance in court Tuesday morning.
  6. http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/bismarck/human-remains-identified-as-missing-bismarck-resident/article_205fda77-7bdd-53b3-93a7-d97d6f8b7c4f.html Human remains identified as missing Bismarck resident CAROLINE GRUESKIN Bismarck Tribune Jul 26, 2016 Bismarck Police said the remains of a man who went missing five years ago were found along the Missouri River near McLean Bottoms on July 17. Christopher Mann, 26, of Bismarck, was last heard from by his family on Feb. 16, 2011, police said. He was extremely depressed and was last seen walking in southwest Bismarck. He was known to frequent the river area. Detectives searched along the Missouri River and Memorial Bridge at the time, according to news reports from 2011. Divers from the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department also checked an area near Sertoma Park, Maj. Kelly Leben said. The remains were first reported to the Morton County Sheriff's Department and then turned over to the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department, who asked local agencies with missing persons reports to help identify them, police said. The North Dakota Office of the Medical Examiner confirmed the match through dental records, said Bismarck Police Sgt. Mark Buschena. State Medical Examiner Dr. William Massello said he would not be able to determine a cause of death, because of the intervening years. Buschena said the death is not considered suspicious.
  7. http://wkrn.com/2016/07/22/franklin-police-find-truck-missing-ny-teen-drove-to-tennessee/ Franklin police find truck missing NY teen drove to Tennessee WKRN web staff Published: July 22, 2016, 3:58 pm Updated: July 22, 2016, 4:09 pm FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – Authorities have found the truck a New York teen drove to Tennessee before he vanished in 2011. Franklin police and New York State Police investigators say they found the truck locked inside the garage of a Middle Tennessee home while following up on a lead Friday. The truck, a gray 2004 GMC Canyon, was driven to Franklin by Nieko Lisi in 2011. The 18-year-old left New York on Sept. 30 that year and arrived in Franklin on Oct. 1. His cell phone last pinged at 4:08 p.m. and he was last seen on Flintlock Drive. He has not been seen or heard from since, and the truck’s whereabouts remained a mystery until Friday. Authorities did not disclose exactly where it was found. The discovery comes just one day after Franklin police and New York investigators held a joint press conference on the cold case, urging the public to come forward with any information they might have. “We don’t have any solid information to lead us to believe he’s not with us anymore, but there has been no contact with him since the day he went missing. That bothers us,” said Investigator Eric Hurd, noting they do have suspicions that foul play was involved. Nieko is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs around 165 pounds. He has dark hair and muscular build; he was in good shape. He also has a tattoo of a guardian angel on his left side. The Lisi family is offering a $2,500 reward. Franklin police and Crime Stoppers are offering an additional reward of up to $1,000 for information in this case. If you have information, please call Crime Stoppers at 615-794-4000.
  8. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/missing-woman-case-tears-apart-jefferson-city-lobbying-team/article_685b6b96-c31e-5f66-907b-afc86f6f304f.html Missing woman case tears apart Jefferson City lobbying team By Nancy Cambria St. Louis Post-Dispatch 07/15/2016 The conservative father-and-son lobbying team of Kerry and Abram Messer was a fixture in Jefferson City. Under the moniker of the Missouri Family Network, the pair often approached lawmakers through their fundamentalist “ministry” to fight abortion rights, same-sex marriage and other issues they view as government intrusions on parental rights. Sometimes they brought their wives along. When he wasn’t with his wife, Kerry Messer, 57, made a point of never going alone in an elevator with another woman as part of his creed to always remain accountable to God. Standing together as two generations of a rural family working the farm was an important image to project as they sought the support of private donors. They lived a half-mile apart on the same property near Festus on a farm with cattle, dogs and cats. The son’s ranch house sat on the top of a hill near the main road, the father’s aging and cluttered farmhouse and buildings were down a dirt and gravel road in a hollow. But a shadow has hung over the Messers’ pro-family message for two years, dating back to the July 8, 2014, disappearance of Lynn Messer, the family matriarch and Kerry Messer’s wife of more than 30 years. In the months after, Kerry Messer said publicly that his wife, 52 at the time, walked away from the farm in the middle of a moonless rainy night while he slept, possibly met up with trouble and disappearedwithout a trace. He has continued to lobby in Jefferson City, initially with his son Abram at his side, as police searched in vain for his wife, whom he at times called “Ma.” He was so respected, he was invited by conservative Republicans to open the 2015 legislative session partly in honor of his missing wife. Prior to that, he and his son posted an open letter in a small political newspaper inviting those with questions about Lynn’s disappearance to ask them. But now that partnership has been shattered amid a very public family feud. Both of Kerry Messer’s sons, Abram and Aarron, now doubt aspects of their father’s accounting of events relating to the disappearance of their mother. The brothers say they are particularly disturbed by their father’s changing narrative. Recently, Kerry Messer speculated on a local radio show that his wife may have walked eight or nine miles to the Mississippi River to take her life — a direct contradiction to his initial claims on social media and in various media interviews that his wife was not depressed nor suicidal. The discord runs even deeper. Abram Messer said his father never disclosed to the public that the morning his wife disappeared he had found a vague note of affection, apology and regret seemingly written by Lynn. Kerry Messer had maintained that his wife had vanished without a clue. Moreover, the sons are bitter over Kerry Messer’s decision to begin what their father describes as a romantic, but chaste, relationship with another woman — a decision that they say raises questions and sullies the reputation of the Missouri Family Network. The brothers tried, but failed, to persuade their father to resign from his lobbying position. Then, two months ago, Kerry Messer fired Abram. The two say they haven’t spoken to each other since Christmas — and even have wound up on opposite sides of the same legislation. More recently, Abram Messer said he has moved his family off the farm to an undisclosed location. Kerry Messer calls it all a misunderstanding. He said there is nothing unusual about his changing views about what happened to his wife. Given the passage of time, he said, there is a very likely possibility that she is dead and that her disappearance may have been a suicide, and that he overlooked signs of depression. “Everything is being blown out of proportion by everyone,” he said. “It’s gut-wrenching. Maj. Jason Schott of the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department, which is leading the inquiry into Lynn Messer’s disappearance, said the ongoing investigation continues to be one of the most bizarre situations he has ever encountered. Everyone, he said, remains a suspect. “We still don’t have a clue where she’s at or what happened to her, or if this is something she’s done on her own, or if it was something that happened to her,” Schott said. Disputing the facts Aarron Messer refuses to speculate on what happened to his mother. In the aftermath of a divorce, he is currently living in an apartment on his parents’ farm. But he has made it clear in an interview and on his Facebook posts that he is estranged from his father. “I don’t have any physical proof he has done anything to my mother,” he said in an interview. “I do know he has certainly put himself in the most terrible of light.” Abram Messer has said he believes his father knows what happened the morning his mother disappeared. He told KMOX radio that his dad either hid the evidence of a suicide or was more actively involved in her disappearance. He reiterated those theories to the Post-Dispatch. He said there is no way his mother was physically capable of walking off the 250-acre property to the Mississippi River as his father only recently has suggested. Both brothers dispute some details of their father’s account of the first few hours after Kerry Messer informed Abram before dawn that Lynn was missing. They say their father also appeared angry and uncomfortable when he learned Aarron had called 911 and that investigators were on their way to the farm. They say Kerry Messer then inexplicably ordered the sons away. The sons are frustrated by their father’s initial insistence both in the press and on his Facebook posts that their mother was not depressed. Abram Messer said his mother confided to him six months prior to her disappearance that she went to the barn on the property to shoot herself but then turned the firearm on some cats. Kerry Messer said in an interview that he was unaware of the incident. Aarron Messer and Kerry Messer both said that Lynn had been dealing with persistent hip pain and had been disturbed to learn that hip surgery had not resolved the problem. Last week, authorities confirmed the existence of a note possibly left by Lynn Messer before her disappearance — a note police retrieved the morning of her disappearance. They say they do not consider it a suicide note. Kerry Messer said last week he sidestepped many questions from the media about whether his wife left a note because authorities asked him to keep it quiet. The sons say that for many months their dad kept them from knowing the note’s true content and asked the local sheriff’s department to keep the note from them. Kerry Messer said he did so because a middle section of the note referenced a recent family squabble between Lynn and Abram. That section was written in different ink, said Abram Messer, who was first given a copy of the note by police last year. “I tried to protect (Abram) from that note because I feared if something bad had happened, that seeing that note would cause him to take on all the blame and all of the guilt,” Kerry Messer said. Abram Messer isn’t buying his father’s explanation. He said his father’s handling of the note was intentionally meant to cast his son as a suspect in his mother’s disappearance. Kerry Messer said authorities had previously questioned him for nine hours about the note, alleging he had written it and not his wife — an allegation he denies. Police say the FBI has not been able to conclude whether Lynn Messer wrote the letter. A ‘cautious relationship’ In months of lengthy, often passionate posts on a Facebook page entitled “Find Lynn Messer,” Kerry Messer espouses great love, devotion and longing for his missing wife. He also has acknowledged a “wholesome” relationship with a woman from Wildwood named Spring Thomas, a family friend. “For the first time in 39 years I kissed someone other than my wife, Lynn. If you want to call that an affair, then you call it that term. But this is not an affair,” Messer said in an interview. “This is a very cautious relationship that’s in a holding pattern while we wait to find out about Lynn. I’m a married man.” Thomas could not be reached for comment. In an interview last week, Kerry Messer said his relationship with Thomas began around Christmas 2014 — about five months after his wife disappeared. But Schott, of the Sheriff’s Department, said detectives had confirmed a relationship between Kerry Messer and Thomas months earlier — about eight weeks after Lynn Messer disappeared. Messer said in an interview that he disclosed the relationship to police voluntarily and upon advice from pastors. However, police say Messer first told them about Thomas only after authorities already had learned of the relationship from her, while visiting her farm. Hours later, police say, Messer called them to disclose the relationship. Schott said Thomas was seen by police among search parties organized soon after Lynn’s disappearance. Police said she has refused further questioning. Thomas was a longtime friend of the Messer family. Indeed, according to various family accounts, Lynn Messer had for several years told both her husband and sons that Kerry Messer should marry Thomas if she were to die before him. Abram Messer said the day before his mother disappeared, she made a point of talking to his own wife in private. In that conversation, Abram Messer claims his mother reiterated her wish for her husband to end up with Thomas if something ever happened to her. Kerry Messer said he only learned of the timing of this conversation 11 months later during a family meeting. Torn apart Abram and Aarron Messer said they believe their father’s relationship with Thomas has cast more suspicion on Kerry Messer and put the moral foundation of the Missouri Family Network in jeopardy. “I’ve had state reps come to me with a great deal of concern about what’s going on with my father,” Abram Messer said. “When everything is said and done, that could potentially destroy something he spent so many years working on.” Abram Messer even found himself battling his father last legislative session over the merits of a bill. Kerry Messer testified in favor of the legislation, which concerned missing persons. One provision in the bill would restrict the use of any voluntary DNA samples provided for a missing-person case solely for locating or identifying the person and not for any other purpose. Abram Messer said the bill, if approved, would have protected his dad from having his previously collected DNA used against him in an investigation. Kerry Messer called that absurd and said the provision in no way would deter police from collecting DNA as evidence. Lawmakers later dropped the bill. Associates of Kerry Messer say his lobbying efforts have suffered in the two years since his wife went missing. “Kerry has always been valuable to the pro-family movement. In the first year after her disappearance, he sort of disengaged,” said longtime Jefferson City lobbyist Samuel Lee, who describes himself as a dear friend of Kerry Messer. “In the second year, the strain between him and his son was visible.” Kerry Messer, for his part, says he is trying to be as morally accountable as possible to the ministry, which he said is fully functioning. He said advisers agreed with him last year that the Missouri Family Network should not be handed over to his son, and that he should remain at its helm. “I have visited with our key funding people and those who support us financially,” Kerry Messer said. “I have sat down with boards and leadership of those organizations and I have been forthright, and done everything I can to be transparent with everyone.” There appears to be just one thing all three Messer men can agree upon. The family is torn apart — something that would have pained Lynn Messer deeply. “For the first anniversary of Lynn’s disappearance I had to sit and deal with her loss. And now on this anniversary I have to sit through the loss of my sons, and I don’t know what to do with that,” Kerry Messer said. Abram Messer said a reconciliation is not likely. “I love my mother, and she deserves more than this,” he said. “And I truly in my heart of hearts believe that the truth will absolutely come out, and if I have to wait my whole life, I will wait.”
  9. http://foxillinois.com/news/local/crimestoppers-offers-5000-in-missing-person-case Crimestoppers Offers $5,000 in Missing Person Case BY BRENDAN CULLERTON THURSDAY, JULY 14TH 2016 Sangamon - Menard County Crime stoppers is now offering $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the disappearance of a woman who went missing years ago. 43-year-old Michelle Bianco was last seen near her cousins house on the corner of Wheeler Avenue and South Grand in 2008. She willingly accepted a ride home from a white male in a black Pontiac with faded paint and was never seen again. She had blonde hair and blue eyes. She was 5'7'' and 112 lbs. The sheriff's office says it will be a tough case to solve with so little information. "It's hard to build anything until you know if she is deceased, or where she is," Capt. Gerry Felts said. "What's the cause. Because obviously we cant, we don't know those things." Law enforcement believes Bianco is deceased because there has been no financial activity on her accounts or communication since that night, but Officer Mike Badger says there is still hope. "There's always a possibility and a hope that we could find somebody that's missing and they could still be alive. Around the country they've found some people that have been missing for years and years being held in homes and so forth." The increased $5,000 reward counts for any tips leading to finding Bianco's potential killer. Any tips leading to local homicide arrests will be worth the extra reward money through September. Anyone with information can call investigators at the sheriff's office at 217-753-6840 or can anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 217-788-8427.
  10. http://www.syracuse.com/crime/index.ssf/2016/06/madison_county_dig_officially_linked_to_tammy_mahoney_murder_case.html Madison County dig officially linked to Tammy Mahoney cold case By Ken Sturtz on June 28, 2016 at 5:17 PM, updated June 28, 2016 at 6:25 PM A search by FBI and police in Madison County was officially linked Tuesday to efforts to solve the 35-year-old cold case of Tammy Mahoney, a college student who disappeared in 1981. The Oneida police department said in a Facebook post that the digging and search for evidence at a home on Monday and Tuesday was linked to the Mahoney case. "As we continue to investigate the disappearance of Tammy Mahoney, we are continuing to work closely with the FBI, prosecutors, and other law enforcement agencies and officials, to continue the investigative process, search for and collect evidence, and determine possible prosecution of those involved," the police department wrote. That statement ran with photos of police and FBI working the site on Chestnut Ridge Road in the town of Sullivan with the captions that said "tip leads police, FBI to Sullivan in Mahoney cold case." Oneida police officials have not commented on any link to the Mahoney case before this online post. They also have not said if they have found anything this week. The area being searched Monday sits on the 1100 block of Chestnut Ridge Road. Investigators from the FBI's evidence response team and its Violent Crimes Task Force can be seen working under tents with shovels and loading dirt into a wheelbarrow. Mahoney was believed to have been gang-raped and murdered on the 32-acre Oneida Nation territory on May 8, 1981, the night she disappeared, police have said. She was last seen hitchhiking on Route 46, on her way to visit friends in the Hamilton area. Oneida police asked anyone with any information regarding the disappearance of Tammy Mahoney to please call 315-363-9111.
  11. http://www.pressrepublican.com/news/local_news/gillis-missing-person-case-remains-active/article_c3dfab06-bd2e-5c83-b3fc-180293911839.html Gillis missing person case remains active INVESTIGATE: State Police seek information about teen last seen on March 11, 2012 By KIM SMITH DEDAM Press-Republican June 23, 2016 RAY BROOK — State Police are still actively investigating the 2012 disappearance of 18-year-old Colin Gillis. Home from college for spring break, the Tupper Lake teen was last seen on State Route 3 at about 1:45 a.m. March 11 of that year. Passers-by in a vehicle saw him walking along the road, swinging his arms. He had just left a party on foot and was headed west, toward Piercefield, the direction opposite his home. “Interviews conducted to date have produced mixed results," State Police said in a press release. "While some information gleaned from the interviews has been determined to be rumor or proven to be false, many interviews and leads have moved the investigation in a positive direction.” Asked if there is new information on the case, State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Kyle Otis said: “The State Police continues to actively investigate this case. We follow up on each and every lead that we discover or that is brought to our attention.” INTENSE SEARCH The Gillis family notified police after Colin didn’t arrive home from the party. Within hours, family members, State Police, State Department of Environmental Conservation and hundreds of volunteers launched an intensive grid search around the area Gillis went missing, near Setting Pole Dam Road. The wooded area surrounding Route 3 between Tupper Lake and Piercefield has numerous hunting camps and an extensive waterway leading into Raquette Lake. Personal items belonging to Gillis, including a driver’s permit, were located near the Franklin/St. Lawrence county line. "The investigation, including ground and water searches, dive details and interviews, is ongoing in an effort to locate Colin and determine the circumstances that led to his disappearance,” police said. WHEN LAST SEEN Colin in 2012 was 6 feet tall and weighed about 170 pounds. He has blue eyes, and his blond hair was cut then in a crew-cut style, police said. “He was last seen wearing red-colored, Nike Air high-top sneakers (size 10); Levi brand, boot-cut jeans (size 34/32); and a white with blue stripes American Eagle-brand V-neck shirt (size men’s medium). "On the night he disappeared, Colin likely possessed a red/black L.L. Bean reversible coat and an orange L.L. Bean backpack.” A substantial reward remains in place for information leading to the whereabouts of Colin, police said. Anyone with information relevant to this case can contact State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Investigator Jeremy Viele at 518-897-2041.
  12. http://www.richmond.com/news/local/crime/article_5728f620-d1bf-50b8-bf06-7258f923fd5b.html Trial begins in slaying of missing Altria executive Leyla Namiranian Posted: Monday, April 18, 2016 8:49 am By MARK BOWES • Richmond Times-Dispatch A Chesterfield County prosecutor on Monday told jurors they should be able to convict a man of killing an Altria executive whose body never was found after tying together all the circumstantial evidence they’ll hear during the next several days. But in opening arguments during the first day of Michael Anthony Edwards’ trial in the presumed death of Leyla Namiranian, the defense countered that prosecutors have a very high burden in proving she actually died, let alone that Edwards killed his former girlfriend with premeditation. The opening salvos of a scheduled weeklong trial occurred late Monday after both sides spent most of the day selecting a jury in Chesterfield Circuit Court. Part of the difficulty in finding the right mix of people arose when some members of the jury pool balked at whether they could convict a person of murder without a body. At least five potential jurors expressed reservations, with one man saying flatly he could not. He was dismissed. Prosecutors in two other Virginia localities have won convictions in “no-body” homicides in the past two years, but the list of killers found guilty in such cases remains small. Win or lose, the trial could be the final chapter in a vexing, four-year mystery that began when Namiranian, 41, mysteriously disappeared sometime after she had dinner with a former co-worker at her home in the 2000 block of Normandstone Drive about 11 p.m. on April 4, 2012. Namiranian was reported missing the next day after another co-worker told police she uncharacteristically failed to arrive for work as director of marketing and consumer research for Altria Client Services, a subsidiary of the Altria Group. Namiranian, described as a highly skilled and handsomely paid executive, was so dedicated to her job that she never would miss work or be late without notification, Chesterfield Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry S. Hogan said. Hogan on Monday spent most of his 45-minute opening argument outlining the prosecution’s entire case and what jurors could expect to hear as evidence. He noted the prosecution’s case largely is circumstantial with some direct evidence. The prosecution will rely heavily on cellphone records tied to Edwards’ phone; entries in a journal Namiranian kept that outlined her relationship with the defendant; and the findings of a police cadaver dog that Hogan said “alerted” to the presence of human remains in the trunk of Edwards’ Cadillac. Hogan said the prosecution will establish that Edwards, 56, a laborer with a violent criminal past, killed Namiranian in a jealous rage after she broke off their unorthodox relationship Feb. 18, after an incident in which he choked and threatened her. But defense attorney Greg Sheldon said despite testing of numerous items for fingerprints and DNA — using the services of three different laboratories — prosecutors have not located any physical evidence that implicates Edwards. “There is no DNA, fingerprint or other scientific evidence that proves the defendant’s criminal agency or demonstrates how, or even if, Ms. Namiranian died,” Sheldon wrote in one court filing. Hogan on Monday mentioned a “Caucasian” hair found inside the trunk of Edwards’ car that was found to be consistent with hairs in Namiranian’s hair brush, according to an FBI lab trace analysis of the evidence. Also discovered in the trunk was a laundry bag that contained a red blanket that was similar in size and color to one in Namiranian’s house, along with a roll of duct tape. But the case appears to hinge more strongly on indirect evidence, such as Namiranian’s journal in which she recorded her fears about Edwards after she broke things off. In an entry for Feb. 26, 2012, about eight days after she ended their relationship, Namiranian wrote that she “got scared” when Edwards suddenly showed up at her door, and she was “really upset that he just tried to ignore my request that he doesn’t come back until invited.” “His moods are very sudden and he is very jealous, very insecure,” she wrote. “He drives me crazy. Even when we are not together he is jealous ... this cannot work.” Hogan also told jurors they will see detailed cellphone records that show Edwards attempted to call Namiranian on April 4 at 8:57 p.m. — hours before she disappeared — using a cellphone tower near where he worked in Hanover County. Records also show that Edwards’ phone utilized a cellphone tower near Namiranian’s home to make calls to her at 9:42 p.m., 9:45 p.m. and 9:58 p.m. that evening. The next morning, Namiranian’s two phones — one for work, another for personal use — were using the same cell tower in her neighborhood — as was Edwards’ phone. Later that afternoon, Hogan explained, all three phones began to move north and, around 2 p.m., all three utilized the same cell tower near Interstates 95 and 295, which is the route Edwards took to his job. Police later located both of Namiranian’s phones along northbound I-95 where they had been discarded. Hogan said Namiranian, a native of Italy who became a U.S. citizen in January 2012, was a very kind and considerate person who was looking for a relationship to make her happy. “She was struggling,” the prosecutor said. “She was not finding it with (Edwards).”
  13. http://myfox28columbus.com/news/nation-world/remains-found-during-search-for-missing-houston-teen Remains found during search for missing Houston teen BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SATURDAY, MARCH 19TH 2016 HOUSTON (AP) Human remains have been found at a pasture in a rural area of Houston where authorities have been looking for the body of a teenager who disappeared in 1997. It was not immediately known if the remains are those of 17-year-old Jessica Cain, who vanished after having dinner with friends. Mirna Torres, an investigator with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, says the medical examiner's office will work to identify the bones found at the site. It wasn't known how long that would take. For more than three weeks, investigators have been digging in the pasture. They were directed to the location by William Reece, a convicted kidnapper. Reece is also a person of interest in the 1997 disappearance of a North Texas university student.
  14. http://www.krgv.com/news/local-news/Family-Speaks-Out-About-Indictment-in-Cold-Case/37000966 Family Speaks Out About Indictment in Cold Case Ruben Torres facing murder charges POSTED: 09:04 PM CST Dec 16, 2015 BROWNSVILLE - A grand jury indicted Ruben Torres Jr. in connection to an 8-year-old cold case. Torres was arrested in August in connection to Abigail Estrada’s disappearance. Evidence was brought before a grand jury on Wednesday. Torres is facing two charges. The first charge is for capital murder. Prosecutors said they believe Torres committed the crime while also committing another felony, such as kidnapping or retaliation. The second charge is for the murder of Estrada. Her family said they want to know where the body is. The thought of Abigail Estrada is still in the hearts of her loved ones. Her aunt, Laura Estrada, talked to CHANNEL 5 NEWS when she heard about the indictment. Estrada lives in Austin; she was close to Abigail Estrada. She shared a message for Ruben Torres, “The man above only knows the truth. If you want forgiveness, if in fact you took our loved one from us, please find it in your heart to give Abigail’s siblings and family the peace that they need in your heart.” Abigail Estrada was last seen with Torres in June of 2007. then. The Cameron County District Attorney says he was 17-years-old then. He and Estrada were dating. Her body is still missing. Torres is now 25-years-old and is facing charges for murder. The Cameron County DA released a statement saying, “Although Abigail’s body has never been found, we believe the evidence will show that Torres is responsible for her disappearance and death. We worked closely with Harlingen PD to solidify the investigation and we are confident that Torres will face the justice he deserves.” Estrada’s parents haven’t spoken to CHANNEL 5 NEWS since her disappearance, fearing retaliation. Her aunt is releasing a statement on behalf of Estrada’s parents. Estrada’s mom said nothing will ever bring her daughter back. “Ruben, I hope this opens your eyes knowing that this will help you in the long run…by confessing and letting us know where Abigail is,” she said. Estrada’s father said they’ve suffered a long time without her. “It’s in God’s hands. Hopefully the judge will make the right decision at Ruben’s punishment. This won’t bring Abigail home, but it will bring peace knowing that Abby has a big family willing to fight for justice to the person that did this to her,” he said. Another hurdle cleared for the Estrada family, but Laura Estrada knows they have many more to go. Torres remains in the Cameron County jail with no bond.
  15. http://wkrg.com/2015/12/16/new-hope-in-finding-tiffany-daniels/ New Hope in Finding Tiffany Daniels By Debbie Williams Published: December 16, 2015, 6:32 pm Updated: December 17, 2015, 12:19 pm New information and new hope for a family searching for their missing daughter, we’re encouraged by it if nothing else,” says Rodney Daniels, “It can possibly disprove something and lead in another direction.” Tiffany Daniels has been missing for more than two years. Her 1999, grey, Toyota 4Runner was spotted in a parking lot near the gate to Fort Pickens eight days after she was last seen. Now a new clue from someone else leaving Fort Pickens two years ago. “The citizen noticed the vehicle because it was parked in an area that was roped off for wildlife,” says family spokesman Brad Dennis with KlassKids. “Not only was it parked there but it was parked on the inbound lane, facing outbound. That was extremely odd to this person. The tailgate of the vehicle was up and at the time there was a caucasian male in the age range of 30 to 40, wearing only red shorts, standing behind the vehicle.” Initially, a door-to-door canvas of the area turned up two vacationers reporting a similar description. “Someone saw a man inside her vehicle coming out of that vehicle which is somewhat of a major clue.” A sighting inside the gate of Fort Pickens has led to at least one new search and more are planned. In the meantime, new leads are also raising more questions. “Was someone else in Tiffany’s car?” asks Rodney Daniels. “Did Tiffany drive her car out to the beach and park and leave it there and it was found eight days later or was she actually driving it or someone else driving it? We’re hoping this will lead us to those answers.”