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General Discussion / Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« on: April 12, 2019, 10:35:06 AM »
Sometimes you just have to trust a parent's intuition.

Tony Lethbridge knew his son Sam and his habits - he wasn't the type to just disappear. When after 24 hours, his 17-year-old failed to reach his destinations or home and he didn't call or return text messages, he knew his son needed help. Tony and his wife reported him missing to the authorities. "The police officer actually asked us what do we think," said Tony, admitting that his wife didn't hold back. "My wife actually said, 'I think he's in a ditch or something, bleeding out.'" Sam's mother Leigh recalls, "I wanted to be positive with all my heart but my brain was telling me this may not have the happy ending." The authorities, according to Tony, told the couple to "go home and wait" for his son to return home. For Tony, that wasn't good enough.

Call it a wonderful connection with his son, or learned experience, or intuition... actually, call it whatever you would like... but sitting home was not the answer. You see, Sam was an apprentice electrician who had simply set out early Sunday morning to drive a friend to Wyoming on the New South Wales Central Coastline of Australia. Then Sam had plans to meet his girlfriend and had even texted her that he would see her at noon. But, nobody had heard from Sam since. By day's end he was missing. Sam's friends recall he was a bit tired when he set out for his drive, so the parents initially searched for hours along the Pacific Highway route that is well-known for fatal crashes. And after 24 hours, his parents sought assistance from the authorities. "It's out of character. It's not him," Tony told Sydney Morning Herald his reaction to the authorities rationalizing that his son might have run away, done this, or could have done that.

Tony also had a hunch that his son may have had an accident and was lying injured somewhere without the ability to gain assistance. He felt time was running out. He even recalled that six years earlier a man traveling the same roadway had veered off the road and into a ditch and died from his injuries as no one found him in time (five days later). He realized there were points in his son's drive along Pacific Highway that would be hard to see an accident in the roadside brush or during the route's dangerous stretch. So Tony went to NSW-Hunter Region helicopter firm's reception area and begged for help. He needed an aerial view of the roadside trip. "I knew Sam might've been driving tired and if there was a chance he'd veered off the road in about the same place. I had to check."

Upon arrival, Skyline Aviation office at Lake Macquarie Airport offered up Pilot Lee Mitchell and the ability to leave immediately. Even though Tony had brought his hard-earned $1,000 AUD as a payment offer, no payment was accepted. It was decided that Tony's motion sickness would keep him grounded, while Tony's brother Michael would fly with the helicopter crew. Within ten minutes they located debri that lead to Sam's crashed Hyundai. He was trapped in thick bushland at Crangan Bay, south of Newcastle.

The helicopter stayed in the air to guide Tony and emergency services to the accident site. They found Sam alive, conscious, severely injured, bleeding, in pain, and dehydrated having been pinned at the waist against the dashboard for nearly 30 hours. It took emergency crews four hours to extricate him. He had spinal injuries. His right arm was broken, his right elbow dislocated, and right thighbone had pierced the skin. "Dad, I'd love a drink," he said. (I can't imagine what that moment felt like to his dad.) Tony jumped in joy and it was at that time the helicopter crew and Sam's uncle also knew Sam was alive. Sam would require intensive care, six surgeries and a year of rehabilitation.

"The doctors said they don't think Sam would've lasted much longer out there if we hadn't found him when we did," Tony said, relieved.

With two stories in hand, Tony would like to bring attention to the police about their missing persons protocol.  "We've done a number of search-and-rescue operations and they don't always end up as positively as this, so it's good to have a win," said Mitchell, a pilot with 18-years experience flying missions. Perhaps, he can lend additional experience to Tony's plea for swifter action by authorities in missing person reports. Maybe, Sam could offer a word or two, as well. It makes us appreciate the authorities that take inquiries serious and act immediately. We know, in our hearts, they are busy but our loved ones may be holding on with all they have.


Maybe it's just a feeling but I will say that I don't think she wandered off in to the woods on her own never to be found. The main reason I feel this way is actually the cigarette butts in her car. I just know this is a strange occurrence ....she was not a fan of smoking - no matter what her mental state.

Just curious, ::anna, do you know if the cigarette butts were ever tested for DNA? Also, do you get access to the file after 20 years?

The FBI Will Pay You $50,000 To Crack This Cold Case
By Meagan | Shared | Aug 23, 2017

In 1992, Tammy Zywicki disappeared. The Iowa college student was driving from her home in New Jersey to college when she was last seen alive on August 23, 1992. She was standing next to her broken-down Pontiac T1000 on the interstate.

Her car was found abandoned by a state trooper that afternoon, and that evening her mom reported her missing.

Zywicki's body was found a week later in Missouri, wrapped in a blanket and covered with duct tape. She had been stabbed and strangled.

Witnesses say they saw Zywicki on the interstate, with a tractor-trailer parked behind her car. Others say it was a pickup truck, not a trailer.

The Investigation

The FBI worked with state police to form a task force to try and solve Zywicki's case. They looked at any possible relations to other cases. Any truck or tractor driver suspected in other murder cases or sexual attacks were looked at. The search spread from California to North Carolina, but nothing showed up. One year after the investigation started, the task force disbanded.

But now police think they might have a lead, and they need your help.

New Technology

One week before the 25th anniversary of Zywicki's disappearance, the FBI is reaching out to the public for help in finding her killer.

"After 25 years, the murder of 21-year-old Tammy Zywicki remains unsolved, but the FBI and the Illinois State Police believe new techniques for testing DNA may help reveal the killer’s identity," the FBI posted on Facebook.

“These cold case homicides are always difficult cases,” said Lt. Jeff Padilla, an Illinois State Police detective who has been working on the investigation for the past six years, “but this case has so much evidence that still exists, it should help us be able to bring justice to Tammy and her family.”

The bureau now has access to new forensic techniques for DNA extraction, and believe re-testing the 200 pieces of physical evidence they have could help crack the case.

“I’m hopeful this new technology will help us,” Padilla said. “I am convinced the DNA and the suspect are in the case file. It’s just a question of finding them.”

That's where the public comes in. Many of Zywicki's items are still missing, such as her Cannon 35mm camera, a wristwatch with an umbrella on the face, and a distinctive patch issues by Zywicki's soccer team for only one year. All of them are believed to have been kept by the killer. The FBI is hoping people who might recognize these items step

“There continues to be a $50,000 reward offered in this case,” she added. “Even after 25 years, a concerned citizen doing the right thing can help us solve this case.”

JoAnn Zywicki

Though it has been 25 years since her daughter was killed, JoAnn Zywicki is not giving up hope of catching her killer.

“I’m glad to see they are pursuing that,” she said. “It’s good to see the FBI and the Illinois State Police working together.” She added that her daughter’s tragedy “has brought a lot of attention to how many cold cases we have, and that’s important.”.

“It always amazes me how many people remember Tammy in different ways,” she said. “She did make her mark. She would have been a very successful person. She was well rounded and had a lot of interests, and she was very motivated.”

If you have any information on Tammy's disappearance, you are encouraged to contact your local FBI office or submit a tip online.

Source:  Shared

General Discussion / Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« on: January 14, 2019, 01:00:34 PM »
Sometimes they grow up fast and escape.

Escape, she did. Right into the arms of a stranger walking a dog and some protective neighbors. Then boldly to police and FBI. Eventually, to the arms of her aunt Suzi Allard, grandfather Robert Naiberg, Aunt Jennifer who babysat her for 11 years, and seven other relatives. She made it home. SHE made it home.

Her name is Jayme Closs and she's 13 years old. Little is yet known of what happened in the 88 days she went missing from Barron, Wisconsin, on Monday, October 15, 2018. Her parents (father James, 56, and mother Denise Closs, 46) were murdered in their home. Someone called 9-1-1 from her mother's phone, perhaps her mother's last attempt to save her daughter Jayme. No one spoke, but the dispatcher heard yelling. Police would arrive to find the parents dead, the girl missing, and little clues as to what happened.

The community came together in those crucial days. The family, friends, school authorities, law enforcement and community, at large began searching for the missing teen. Some 2,000 volunteers (two-thirds of Barron's population) searched. Organizations offered assistance from around the country that formed as a result of other missing or murdered children who had been through this type of ordeal before. Who would do this? They really didn't know. They certainly didn't give up. But, they didn't have the answer even though they knew the stakes were high.

So, what does it take to find a missing girl when the clues just aren't surfacing? A determined young girl, apparently. Despite having witnessed her parent's death, and whatever she went through in those 88 days of captivity, she had the strength to find an opening, escape without a coat or gloves in the Midwestern chill, seek assistance from strangers, meet with law enforcement to describe her abductor, and who knows what else. In the end, she would be reunited with her aunt, her grandfather, and her dog Molly. She made it back. SHE made it back.

It's not quite home, the way she knew it. But, it's her new, bright future. Her grandfather and aunt say she is doing well, smiling and talking a little, but at times she goes blank to another place. It may be a while before she meets with her friends or returns to school, although she says she wants to and is more than welcome. We can believe the best mental health authorities will be working with her to bring her out of that dark space, and with family, friends and school officials to bring her into the future. What a wonderful little miracle she is; they all are. Someday she, as well, will feel her strength and beauty like we do. You did it Jayme. YOU did it!

And, with your escape, Jayme, you gave us all relief. A little hope. A reason to believe. A path to restore faith. You've given others who may unfortunately find themselves in similar situations a great example of what to do and why. Hope that maybe a few more others will find their way home, too. Now it's our turn to make sure Jayme feels the same - relief, hope, belief, and faith against all odds. We send our thoughts, strength and prayers.

We have yet to know her story, perhaps never really will. Authorities are getting what information they can, when she is ready to provide it. And, that's okay for now. The alleged perp Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, who is believed to have kept her hidden in a cabin in the woods near Gordon, Wisconsin, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for killing Closs' parents and one count of kidnapping Jayme, and armed robbery. Upon arrest, he admitted to police, he did it and upon further interrogation provided vidid details. Perhaps more charges will surface as more is discovered and evidence processed. Upon conviction, he will likely be the one to spend many, many days in captivity now. Life without parole, perhaps. Rightly, so.

To the woman walking her dog in the right place, at the right time... bless you. For the couple in the nearest house who not only took them in immediately, but took measures to protect them... bless you. To all those who never stopped looking and responded immediately... bless you. To Jayme's parents who raised her to be strong and have the power to act... bless you. Now, we'll give our best wishes to the law enforcement and legal teams to secure the appropriate justice, while Jayme and the community begins to heal.

Just know, Sweet Jayme and family, there are many of us standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you. Hang in there, get well and thrive! Sadly, you've been through enough already.

Source: (Updated as more details become available.)

Was wondering (a bit unrelated to the last couple posts), if Sonia was dating at the time, could there have been a jealous girlfriend/wife of the dates that hired a hit? Any money arrangements or phone activity of those involved with her dates that could cause reason for concern? This would not necessarily be a person from the community that was DNA tested. The door key could have been obtained unknowingly from the boyfriend/husband. Or, remember, there are reports that she use to keep doorwall/door open to let pet out.

If she was dating, was she using a dating site? Any chance a person rejected may have been involved?

Just trying to think out of the box again.

Regarding the geneology records, can a relative of Sonia's request (through proper authorities) a sample to be processed through a geneology search in a state that allows it?

USA & Other / Re: Baby Brianna Lopez death 2002
« on: September 26, 2018, 06:22:11 PM »
Baby Brianna was repeatedly and severely assaulted and abused during her short five-month-old life span.

Her mother Stephanie Lopez received 27 years in prison. She was released early (13 years into her sentence) on September 21, 2016 and received a two year probation that ended this week. Her mother's boyfriend and Brianna's father Andy Walters, received 57 years in prison.
Her uncle (and mother's twin brother) Steven Lopez received 51 years in prison.
Her grandmother Patricia Walters and other uncle Robert Walters Jr received 60 days in jail.

Brianna was born in February 2002 prematurely and died in July. In that short time, Brianna was reportedly tortured, assaulted, thrown, dropped, bitten, pinched, beaten and raped and sodomized. She had bite marks, both legs fractured in two places, a fractured arm and broken ribs, her skull was fractured in two places, lacerations to her fingers, blood shot eye sockets, and bleeding to the brain that was both old and new.

There were no smiling baby pictures of Brianna in the house or signs that the baby had any joy in her short life, so a lead investigator took a picture of Brianna at the time of the autopsy and edited to hide the bruises to give a first look of the baby without any harm. New Mexico would go on to pass child abuse bills in her name. Town's people paid for her casket, her burial and claimed her body when nobody else did. Her gravesite became a memorial with dozens of toys, flowers and sentiments that Brianna's family didn't approve of so her "family" put a cage over her gravestone. It set there messy, unkempt and full of trash.

Mourners still visited and placed flowers around the cage. They also made another memorial site for people to visit that the family couldn't destroy. They have gathered at her resting place on birthdays and anniversaries, including what would have been Brianna's 10th birthday, 12th birthday and more. The family wanted her to be left alone and her story forgotten, but to this day people have vowed to keep her story alive and still tell it. Their message: if you see child abuse or suspect it, use your voice as the young one may not have a voice... speak up and speak out. Save a life.

Her name was Brianna Mariah Lopez, she survived from Valentine's Day February 14, 2002 to July 19, 2002. She was too young to die, too small to save herself. She managed to survive daily abuse for 153 days. She rests in peace now.


USA & Other / Re: Etan Patz - Age 6 - Murdered - May 25, 1979 - NYC
« on: September 26, 2018, 05:23:53 PM »
Pedro Hernandez, a former store clerk convicted of murdering Etan Patz who was on his way to school in 1979 was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Some believe Mr. Hernandez is not guilty as the case weighed heavily on videotaped confessions he made to the police and prosecutor. Etan's body has never been found and no scientific evidence actually links Mr. Hernandez to the crime.


USA & Other / Re: Lisa Irwin, 10 month old: Missing Kansas City, Mo
« on: September 26, 2018, 05:17:06 PM »
October 3 will be the seven year anniversary of the date little Lisa Irwin, then 10-months-old, disappeared from her room. If she is alive still, she may be enrolled in school (or homeschooled). The fact that we haven't found her body, may bring hope that someday she can found alive.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have created an age-progressed photo of what she may look like today.

Sad thing is, she may never really know that her current parents are not her real parents and that a whole nation is looking for her.

Source (with pictures):

Penny Meek, Thomas Brown's mother, has asked that the Texas Attorney General be handed the case that has been handled by Hemphill County Sheriff's office. She gathered 7,500 signatures to back up her request.


USA & Other / Re: Baby Doe 4 years old - Massachusetts - June 2015
« on: September 26, 2018, 04:45:41 PM »
Michael P. MCarthy sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the second degree murder of two-year-old Bella Bond. His lawyer claims McCarthy is the innocent man and Bella's mother Rachelle Bond was the perp.


Rachelle Bond, sentenced to time serve (less than two years) and was released from jail for disposing of her daughter's remains. She was released from jail and ordered to go directly to a residential substance abuse treatment facility. She pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors to a charge of being an accessory after the fact.


The family of Jennifer Kesse are no longer willing to just sit on their daughter's "cold case." It's been 12 years since she disappeared. They have lawyered up and have a group of investigators that would like to take a look at her case and are asking the Orlando Police to hand over her files.

“We have secured a team of lawyers and investigators; we feel it’s time,” Drew Kesse said. “We have gone through the process of asking for public information, and it comes back completely redacted.”

Present during the press conference is the family of Michelle Parker, another Orlando woman who went missing in November 2011.


USA & Other / Re: Natalee Ann Holloway
« on: September 26, 2018, 10:38:56 AM »
Natalee Holloway case: Man who claimed to help Joran van der Sloot dispose of teen's body is stabbed to death

Stan Chambers, WTSP-TV, Tampa-St. Petersburg
Published 8:55 a.m. ET March 15, 2018 | Updated 12:54 p.m. ET March 15, 2018

NORTH PORT, Fla. — In the 2017 series The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway, John Christopher Ludwick made headlines when claiming he helped Joran van der Sloot dispose of the missing teen's body.

Now he, too, is dead.

Ludwick, 32, of Port Charlotte, Fla., a community northwest of Fort Myers, Fla., was stabbed to death Tuesday after he attempted to kidnap a woman from her vehicle in nearby North Port, police said.

Ludwick was roommates with the woman at one point and wanted a romantic relationship with her, but she didn't, North Port police spokesman Joshua Taylor said.

"He essentially ambushed her getting out of her car, going into her home," said Taylor.

The woman was able to wrestle a knife from Ludwick, then stabbed him in the abdomen, police said.

 “It appears that the male subject who has passed was attempting to kidnap a young woman as she exited her vehicle in her driveway. They are familiar with each other,” police said in a statement on Facebook. “A struggle ensued, and he is the one who ended up stabbed. He then fled the area on foot. He was found nearby suffering from the stab wounds.”

Ludwick was airlifted to a local hospital, where he died. The woman won't be charged, Taylor said.

"From every ounce of evidence we have so far, she was a victim in this case," he added....


London / Re: Jacqueline English - London, ON - Murdered - 1969
« on: September 18, 2018, 10:53:11 PM »
Wow, 49 years. Bless your hearts.

General Discussion / Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« on: September 17, 2018, 03:32:35 PM »
Sometimes equipment developed for a different industry becomes affordable and efficient for search and rescue operations.

A sonar imaging technique that works similar to an MRI scanner was developed to help fishermen find where the big fish are at on both sides of a boat in up to 350 feet of water. The Oaklahoma Highway Patrol used it to find a '52 Chevy and a '68 Camaro that were about 100 feet offshore in Foss Lake. Six bodies were recovered in what is believed to be two cold cases from the 1970s.

The equipment manufactured by Humminbird costs about $2,800 compared to base models by traditional suppliers of underwater sonar suppliers who charge $40,000, or more. They hope by making sonar more affordable that departments of natural resources, search and rescue departments, and sheriffs' departments may work more quickly to turn some cases into rescues versus recoveries.

After recovering the body of a 13-year-old boy who was lost in 2012 due to a boat crash on Lake Lanier, Georgia, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources ordered 28 sonar units to equip their entire fleet.

For police divers in Scotland and Ireland, sonar is one technique of three they use in water searches as well as historic missing person cases. They choose their method depending on the environment (ditches, canals, rivers, large lakes, estuaries or oceans). They typically deploy old-fashioned traditional methods first, like accessing points of access and possible traveling distances to narrow their search. They use sonar from a boat or held by a diver to image the pond or lake bed. If soft sediment is an issue, they deploy ground penetrating radar which use radar pulses to image the subsurface. If an object is detected they then utilize a specially trained victim recovery dog to detect scent rising from a decaying body to determine a closer proximity.

Some point to future technological advances currently used by submarine surveys of telecommunication cables, offshore windfarms and oil rigs for hope in rescue and recovery efforts. Even underwater autonomous vehicle searches and aqueous drones may be able to roam on the bottom of waterways or along the sediment surfaces.

What other industry advances can we convert?


General Discussion / Re: Just in Case You Need Some Hope Today
« on: September 16, 2018, 07:41:42 AM »
Sometimes a case lingers in the mind of a retired sheriff until he can put the pieces together.

Retired Bibb County Sheriff Deputy Anthon Strickland was touched by the thought that a boy around the age of 15 who had been struck by a truck and killed in 1979 in Georgia was buried as a John Doe because he had no identification at the time of the accident. Nobody came forward in the area saying they had a missing loved one. And, at that time, there was no national database. He went to the boy's funeral and the feeling that some family out there was missing their child never left his conscience.

All John Doe had in his pockets at the time of the deadly accident were candy wrappers and a note with a phone number on it. The phone number belonged to someone who had given the hitchhiking boy a ride. All the driver could recall at the time was that the boy said he was from Michigan and his name was "Drew Greer."

Investigators in Georgia tried to connect with Michigan authorities, but at the time there was no known database and the effort would mean contacting individual jurisdictions - there were hundreds of them. Media wasn't as social. My, how things have progressed. The case went cold, but forever made a lasting impression on the Sheriff. In the decades that followed, he would continue to search media sources for a boy named "Drew Greer."

In the meantime, the family of Andrew Greer in Lenawee County were searching for their son who was wearing a blue quilted parka when he ran away from Addison High School because he got in minor trouble.

His parents would go to authorities who didn't make a report because they thought he would return in a few days - a typical teen runaway. The Michigan State Police in 1979 launched an investigation, without success. The Lenawee County Sheriff's Department would try in 2000. Andrew's stepfather said at some point the authorities would point fingers at the family "wanting answers" but the family had no idea where he had gone.

Different family members would try at different times in the decades to come to resurge the case, gain media attention. In 2000, Andrew's father pushed tirelessly to launch an investigation. In 2014, Andrew's younger brother contacted friend Daniel Cherry, a journalist for The Daily Telegram, to ask him to write a story about his younger brother, in hopes of reopening the case. That's when Michigan State Police St. Larry Rothman entered Andrew Greer into a database for the missing persons and began working the case.

As fate would have it, Retired Sheriff Strickland who had not stopped looking through available databases for teens that went missing around 1979. He suspected a link of the missing "Andrew Greer" with the John Doe who was possibly "Drew Greer" and in December 2017, he contacted Sgt. Rothman who then in April 2018 traveled to Georgia to exhume the body for DNA testing with the assistance of Macon District Attorney's Office and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

On Tuesday, August 14, the match was confirmed. Andrew's mother, Joyce had died the year before. Andrew's father had died several years prior after desperately hoping to find his son. But, Andrew's stepbrother, now in his 70's was thankful to finally know what happened - Andrew ran away from home, was killed when he was struck by a semi-truck while hitchhiking down I-75 near Macon on Valentine's Day in 1979. They suspect he was headed to Florida to be with other family members.

Andrew Jackson Greer's body is being transported back to Michigan for proper burial and Retired Sheriff Strickland no longer has to spend time looking for answers for a boy he never knew, but forever (and thankfully) held in his heart and mind.

When people don't give up, sometimes pieces of the puzzle miraculously come together even after 40 years to deliver much needed answers.


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