Posted in C-Haze

The Disappearance of Scott Kleeschulte

1Scott Kleeschulte was just nine years old when he vanished from St. Charles, MO in June of 1988. He disappeared on the last day of school, having completed first grade. After riding the bus home, Scott went in search of outdoor adventures, something he regularly did.

The day of his disappearance, a very large thunderstorm rolled through the area. Since storms frightened Scott, his parents assumed he’d ridden this one out at a friend’s house. He was last seen just after the storm ended, between 4:30 and 5 PM, walking down a road in his neighborhood.

Scott’s parents knew almost immediately after arriving home from work that something was wrong. They had plans for the evening – Scott needed a new pair of tennis shoes – and they were going to take the family to dinner, in celebration of the last day of school. Everyone felt certain that he would not have stayed outside long into the evening. Not willingly, anyway.

Initially, investigators were concerned he may have been swept away by flash flooding in the area after the thunderstorm. After searching rivers, creeks, caves and tunnels, this theory was quickly discounted. Both Scott’s family and law enforcement have believed since very early on that Scott was abducted.

Dogs were able to track Scott’s scent along a road near where where he vanished, but the trail grew cold.

Many have wondered if Scott Kleeschulte’s disappearance is related to the disappearance of Arlin Henderson. Arlin vanished in July of 1991, three years after Scott, in Moscow Mills, a town roughly 30 miles from St. Charles, MO. The boys are similar in appearance, though at 11 years old, Arlin was two years older than Scott was when he went missing. Another eerie similarity is that Arlin, like Scott, was never found.

The case grew cold, but briefly made headlines in 2007, when news broke of the rescue of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby. Abducted by Michael Devlin of Kirkwood, MO, both boys were found alive and in good physical condition in Devlin’s apartment. Many believed these were not Devlin’s first victims, and as a result, he was carefully investigated for any possible connection to Scott Kleeschulte, Arlin Henderson, Bianca Piper and others. Nothing was found, and the Michael Devlin Task Force ultimately closed its doors.

In early 2012, investigators executed a search warrant at a home in Scott’s neighborhood. Holes were drilled into the garage floor as well as other areas of the house, and dogs were used to help search for clues. In what has become a common theme, nothing was found.

Most recently, a Florida inmate (who is also an ex-cop from Chicago) made claims in 2013 that he knew the identity of Scott Kleeschulte’s abductor. After investigating, the St. Charles County District Attorney’s office stated they’d learned nothing new from the man.

The case is still open, and the mystery remains.

What happened to Scott Kleeschulte?

Posted in C-Haze, Missing, Missouri, True Crime

The Disappearance of Bianca Noel Piper

Bianca Noel Piper was 13 years old when she went missing from Foley, MO in March of 2005. Bianca was a troubled child, and suffered from ADD, as well as bi-polar disorder.

Some say Bianca had the mentality of a six or seven year old. Others claim that isn’t true, that she was an average teenager, albeit with some behavioral issues.

On March 10, 2005, Bianca and her mother, Shannon Tanner, got into an argument about Bianca doing the dishes. Shannon had been instructed by a mental health professional to drop Bianca some distance from their home to let her walk back when her temper became a problem. The hope was that this would give Bianca some time to cool off. In fact, Bianca had requested this treatment the previous day when she was out of sorts, and it had worked quite well.

Frustrated with her daughter’s temper, Shannon drove Bianca about a mile away from their home, and dropped her off around 6 PM with a flashlight and instructions to walk home.

She never made it.

By 8 PM, Shannon was panic-stricken, and by 8:20 had reported her daughter missing.

The road Shannon dropped her daughter off on is not well-traveled, and it isn’t likely someone who isn’t local to the area would have known about it. Besides, what are the odds that a predator happened to be sitting on that lonely stretch at the exact moment Bianca was dropped off there? Not very high.

Next, there’s Bianca’s physical size. At 13 years old, she was already 5’6″, and weighed approximately 185 lbs. She was large for an adult, let alone a child, and likely would have been mistaken as grown by any passersby in the dark.

Some speculated that perhaps Shannon Tanner had a hand in her daughter’s disappearance. If not her, then perhaps her live-in boyfriend, Jim Felt. These suspicions heightened to a near-frenzy when, mere months after Bianca vanished, Shannon was charged with the assault of another daughter, allegedly hitting her repeatedly with a curling iron and punching her in the head. According to police reports, Shannon threatened to tie her daughter up and lock her in her bedroom.

Then there were the domestic disputes between Jim and Shannon…

… It couldn’t all be coincidental…

Or could it?

Apparently, the answer is yes, it can be. Local law enforcement has stated neither Shannon nor Jim are suspects in Bianca’s disappearance. Both were investigated fully, and both have passed lie detector tests.

In 2007, two years after Bianca vanished, investigators announced they were looking to find any possible links between this case and the Shawn Hornbeck/Ben Ownby cases. Shawn Hornbeck had been kidnapped in 2002 in Richwoods, MO by Michael Devlin, and held captive in Kirkwood (a suburb of St. Louis) for five years. Devlin, likely growing tired of Shawn, later kidnapped Ben Ownby. Both boys were found, and were saved.

Unsurprisingly, no link was ever established between the cases. Devlin pretty clearly preferred young(ish) boys, and Bianca simply did not fit that mold.

The case of Bianca Piper’s disappearance grew cold.

Shannon moved from her home in Foley, MO, where for years she had kept Bianca’s room exactly as she’d left it, hoping she’d return. She split from Jim Felt, and life went on, though her daughter’s disappearance was never far from her mind.

Locals never forgot, but their lives, too, had to move on.

The case again made headlines in 2014, when one of Bianca’s sisters was charged with promoting prostitution. The woman, Tiffany Piper, admitted to trafficking two high school age girls for sex, and received an eight year sentence for her crimes. Tragically, it was learned Tiffany herself had been a victim of sex trafficking. It appeared to be a case in which the victim becomes the perpetrator.

The family of Shannon Tanner, and Ms. Tanner herself, appear to have lived lives that were anything but charmed. Criminal histories abound, but through their presence in both mainstream and social media, it’s clear one thought remains forefront in their minds:

Where is Bianca Noel Piper?

Posted in abduction, Abigail Hernandez, C-Haze, Missing, Mystery, News, North Conway, True Crime

Where is Abigail Hernandez?

abby vigilAbigail Hernandez was last seen three days before her 15th birthday in North Conway, NH. She was reported missing by her mother on October 9, 2013.

Not much is known about what happened to Abby, and the few facts available in the case are strange and at times contradictory.

We know for sure Abby went to school on the day of her disappearance. The last confirmed sighting of Abby is on her school’s surveillance camera, which shows her walking through the hallway. She had a backpack with her and an iPhone in her hand. She was alone.

A friend claims to have seen Abby walking home from school at about 2:30 that afternoon, and no one reports seeing anything suspicious. Abby was texting for about a half hour after this last sighting, with her last text, a heart symbol, being sent to her boyfriend a little after 3:00 PM.

By all accounts, Abby’s mother reported her missing on the evening of October 9, 2013, as soon as she got home from work. Some fine it strange, how quickly law enforcement reacted, immediately calling in state police, the FBI and the Secret Service for assistance with the investigation. There was no talk of a possible run away. Abby’s home was quickly sealed off, and was treated as a crime scene, though police said repeatedly they had no evidence a crime had been committed.

A massive search was launched, and through daily press briefings, law enforcement and the state’s attorney’s office would give daily “updates” about the case. Very little by way of information was released during these gatherings, but still, they continued.

Law enforcement set up roadblocks as part of their search effort, stopping cars along the route Abby is believed to have taken home on the afternoon of October 9. This was a busy time of year in North Conway, as many tourists were in the area to view the fall foliage. This area is an annual tourist attraction due to its unrivaled scenery and quaint lodges. It’s believed investigators pulled surveillance footage from neighboring businesses, though it’s unknown if Abigail was seen in any of the videos.

The woods were searched extensively, with human remains, unrelated to Abby’s case, having been found as a result.

Initially, investigators stated they believed Abby had made it home on the afternoon she went missing. This, they claimed, was based on the work of K-9s, who were able to follow Abby’s scent to her home. It was never determined whether there was any other evidence to support this belief. More recently, authorities have said they do not know if she made it home or not.

It was said early on that Abby was believed to have walked her “normal” route home. Later, however, Abby’s mother told the media that her daughter did not typically walk home, and that she was supposed to have ridden the bus on the day she vanished.

Days into the investigation, a report emerged that Abby had made a call on the evening she vanished, at around 6:30 PM. This call was said to have pinged off a nearby cell tower on Cranmore Moutain, a popular ski and tourist area a few miles away. During a press conference with law enforcement and the state’s attorney present, a member of the media asked one of the Fish and Game officers if that report was true. The officer confirmed the legitimacy of the report, and agreed that a call was made from Abby’s phone the evening she went missing, at around 6:30 PM.

Afterwards, however, investigators directly contradicted that report, and said publicly it was not true.

Police have asked people to be on the lookout for Abigail’s missing cell phone, an iPhone with a pink and gray case. Strangely, while Abby is also seen in the surveillance footage at her school carrying her backpack, and investigators claim to have no idea if she made it home that day or not, there has been no public plea to look for her bag, or a description of what it looks like. This, despite the fact that the surveillance at her school is reportedly the last confirmed sighting of her.

Has her bag already been located? Was it found at her home on the night she went missing, perhaps?

Law enforcement has always stated they do not know whether or not Abby was abducted, or whether she vanished on her own. Despite the massive police presence, and immediate involvement of multiple investigating agencies, it remains  a “missing person’s” case.

While refusing to publicly discuss Abby’s father, he has been ruled out as a suspect, along with her mother and older sister. Abigail’s boyfriend is not considered a suspect either, and the same holds true for her boyfriend’s father, who also shared a close relationship with the teen.

Many have said they believe investigators have much more information than they have released publicly. Others think law enforcement has no idea what happened to Abigail, and are simply trying to be as thorough as possible.

There has been speculation that Abigail’s mother, Zenya Hernandez, believes her daughter ran away, based on the statements she’s made asking anyone who noticed any changes in Abby’s behavior in the days leading up to her disappearance to contact authorities. She has addressed her daughter directly during press conferences, but has made no mention of an abductor, or anyone who may have taken her.

Rumors run rampant, with some even wondering aloud if Abby’s father is somehow involved in the military, or law enforcement, prompting the quick response from so many different investigative agencies. For weeks after she went missing, law enforcement refused to answer any questions about him, and would not identify him. He was not present at any press conferences.

Eventually, however, he wrote his daughter a public letter, pleading with her to let everyone know she is safe. He asked that she post her favorite bible verse so that he would know it was her reaching out, and not an impostor or her abductor.

The area is no stranger to tragedy. In recent years, the region has mourned the disappearances and  subsequent murders of Celina Cass and Krista Dittmeyer. Krista’s murderers were quickly caught, while Celina’s case remains unsolved. All three cases have been handled by the same state’s attorney, with some speculation that this fact explains the extreme and immediate response and involvement of law enforcement when Abby was reported missing.

Since she disappeared, Abigail Hernandez has turned 15 years old. She has missed Thanksgiving, and her family needs to know where she is, and what happened to their beloved daughter.

Posted in News, True Crime

Mother issues public appeal for return of missing Medfield girl

MEDFIELD–Fighting back tears, the mother of a missing Medfield teenager offered a plea to the unidentified man who left the local library with her daughter Monday afternoon.

Brittany Thompson was last seen leaving the Medfield Public Library at 4:25 p.m. Monday.

“Whoever you are, could you please just bring her home to us today?” said Maureen Thompson, the mother of 17-year-old Brittany Thompson, during a news conference at the town police station. “I want her to sleep in her own bed tonight.”



Related Articles:

State Police Search for Missing Medfield Teen Who May Be in Danger

Brittany Thompson Missing: Police search for Mass. teen last seen with man she may have met online

Parents of missing Medfield teen make plea for her return


Posted in C-Haze

UPDATE: Body of Jesus Trejo Found

Jesus Trejo Found: Body Of Missing Miami-Dade Teen Discovered In Everglades Canal

By Vanessa MartinPosted: 09/05/2013 5:08 pm EDT  |  Updated: 09/05/2013 5:16 pm EDT

The search for a missing Miami-Dade teen has ended in a remote canal and a homicide investigation.

Miami-Dade Police confirmed Thursday that a body found Wednesday night in an Everglades canal has been identified as 18-year-old Jesus Trejo, who was last seen by family and friends Tuesday morning.



Missing Teen’s Death is Homicide Investigation

From KTLA 5:

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The search for a missing South Florida teenager is officially over as Miami-Dade Homicide detectives confirm his body was found in a canal in the Everglades.

Jesus Trejo, 18, disappeared in Southwest Miami-Dade and while police were searching for him on Wednesday afternoon, they found the body of an adult male in a canal….

Whoever did this, we’re going to find you.


Jesus Trejo (Source: Braulio Trejo)

Related Articles:

Body Found in Everglades is Missing 18 Year Old Jesus Trejo: Miami-Dade Police

Police Find Body While Searching for Missing Teen in Everglades

Posted in abduction, Busch Wildlife, Missing, St. Louis, True Crime, Unsolved

Who Killed Angie Housman?

In the St. Louis area, there is a child’s name that      everyone knows. When the name is mentioned, it  send shivers down the listener’s spine:

 Angie Housman

In 1993, Angie Housman was a fourth grader who  lived in St. Ann, a quiet suburb just outside of St.  Louis, MO. She was a trusting little girl, a child who  was unusually friendly.

“…Angie would meet you two or three times and you were her friend… she’d go up to people and say, `Hi. My name is Angie. Are you my friend?’ She was looking for attention.”

It was a cool November afternoon when Angie disappeared. She was at school that day, and the only episode of interest is that she told her teacher she was looking forward to a trip to the country with an “uncle”, scheduled for the following day. Angie was later seen on the school bus that afternoon, and she exited the bus at her normal bus stop. She had to walk past eight houses before making it to her own doorstep.

She never made it home.

It was a simple- yet terrible- coincidence that no one saw her walking from her bus stop that day. Usually, at least two people would have seen her: a woman that normally watches out her front window, and another lady who stands on her front porch as the bus drives by. Neither were present that fateful afternoon, and consequently, no one saw a thing. She had simply vanished, without a trace.

Angie was missing for nine days before her body was found in the Busch Wildlife Conservation area in Saint Charles County, a remote area near St. Louis. She was found by a deer hunter, and had been tied to a tree. She was alive when left there, and had died slowly of exposure. A small pile of ice chips had formed over her body.

It was later revealed that her abductor had kept her alive a full week, torturing and raping her, before taping her to the tree, abandoning her to die.

Law enforcement officials state they do have evidence in the case. They have the killer’s fingerprint from duct tape found at the crime scene, and they likely have his DNA. Still, almost 20 years later, no arrests have been made, no suspects announced. A sketch was issued years ago, depicting a bearded man in a long coat, thought to have been seen in the area of Angie’s disappearance two days prior to her abduction, but nothing ever came of that account. In addition, no one has ever identified the mysterious “uncle” Angie told her teacher about, and no member of the family had plans to take the child anywhere at the time of her disappearance.

Marking the longest-standing unsolved case in St. Louis’ Major Crimes history, no stone has been left unturned. Angie’s step-father was carefully investigated, as were countless others. Over the years attempts have been made to link Angie’s death to such characters as Michael Devlin (the kidnapper of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Owenby), John Wayne Parsons (an admitted child molester from Florida who spent time abusing at least one child in Missouri), Gary Stufflebean (a local child molester, charged with attempted kidnapping in another St. Louis-area case) and many, many others.

Law enforcement has looked into whether other cases could be related to Angie’s- for a time a link was sought between this case and that of Cassidy Senter, another St. Louis-area child who was abducted and murdered in the same timeframe, from the same area, as Angie’s disappearance. Cassidy’s case, however, has since been solved, and authorities do not believe the two are connected. Since that time, other children have disappeared, girls murdered. Locals will remember the still-unsolved disappearance of Bianca Noel Piper (missing since March 2005), and the unsolved murder of 12 year old Heather Kullorn in 1999. While nothing is certain, authorities do not believe the cases are linked.

Almost 20 years later, the question still remains:

Who killed Angie Housman?

Posted in Crime, Missing, News

Etan Patz: Investigators have a tough road to conviction

PHOTO: Pedro Hernandez sits during his hospital arraignment, May 25, 2012.As I continue following the case of Etan Patz, I am struck by a few different thoughts.

First, it is amazing to me- assuming this child was disposed of in the manner suspect Pedro Hernandez claims he was- just how easily a life can be seemingly erased.

Just gone.

Hernandez says after luring the child into the basement of the bodega (where he was employed), he simply placed the body in a bag, and left it in the narrow walkway/alley where the trash collectors would have taken it as part of their regular pick up.

In just a short period of time, the child has simply vanished. Now, 33 years later, it is unlikely he will ever be found.

Next, I am struck by the how difficult this case is going to be for the prosecution. What was the motive for committing this crime? Hernandez doesn’t seem to be a pedophile. When asked why he did it, Hernandez had no answer. He says he doesn’t know. He later said that maybe he did it because little Etan reminded him of a nephew he wasn’t fond of.

Others have speculated that Hernandez was mentally ill, as if that explains the lack of motive. If Hernandez was simply crazy, how did he manage to dispose of the boy’s body in such a thorough manner? How did he manage to live a sane life, with a wife and a child, committing no other crimes, victimizing no other children for 33 years?

Then again, perhaps there are other victims, and Hernandez managed to kidnap and dispose of them as effectively as he kidnapped and disposed of Etan.

Personally, I doubt he could have done that over the course of so many years without raising suspicion somewhere along the way.

In a case that has had its share of both suspects and false confessions, a case that is 33 years old, where there is no body, DNA or physical evidence, the lack of motive seems significant.

I wonder how police can be sure they have the right man. Even if they do, I’m not sure they’ll be able to convince a jury to convict him.

Posted in Missing, True Crime

The Mystery of Brittany Renee Williams


Born in Richmond, VA in March of 1993, Brittany Renee Williams had a difficult start. Her mother, Rose Marie Thompson, was diagnosed with AIDS while pregnant with Brittany, and passed the virus to her unborn baby girl.

Burdened with an illness that has no cure, both mother and daughter struggled; little Brittany bounced from foster home to foster home as Thomson tried, unsuccessfully, to get her life together.

In 1996, Rose Marie, close to death, gave guardianship of 3 year-old Brittany to Kim Parker. Parker was the founder of Rainbow Kids Inc., a charity that provided long-term care for children with AIDS. The charity is no longer in existence.

By all accounts, Kim Parker cared for little Brittany until sometime in 2000. In August of that year, Brittany was seen by a doctor. That same summer, Kim approached Brittany’s half-sister, an adult, and asked if she could take the child in and care for her. The older sister declined, as she was unable to provide the extensive medical treatment Brittany required. Parker then stated she would give the child to Linda Hodges and Kathie Evans, two Rainbow Kids Inc. volunteers.

No one has seen Brittany Williams since.

Sometime in 2003, authorities realized that Brittany had not been accounted for in over two years, despite the fact that Parker had been cashing the baby girl’s benefit check every month- using the money to renovate her house. Kim Parker told authorities that Brittany was in California with her charity’s ex-volunteers, Hodges and Evans.

She was not able to provide an address for the women.

Parker was soon placed under arrest, jailed for about three weeks for contempt of court, refusing to tell authorities where the child could be found.

All told, Ms. Parker accepted over $16,000 from government and charity organizations after Brittany disappeared, all under the pretense of caring for the sick little girl.

Police eventually located Linda Hodges and Kathy Evans, who were able to confirm what many had already feared: they had never had Brittany in their care, though both Hodges and a neighbor stated they had reported Kim Parker to Social Services on multiple occasions.

At this time, it is unclear why no action was ever taken.

Finally, in 2003, Kim was charged with more than 73 felonies- but was never charged in Brittany’s disappearance. The bulk of the charges were fraud-related, and Parker ultimately pleaded guilty in federal court to counts of mail and wire fraud. She was sentenced to eight years in prison, and received an additional two years for state charges of Medicaid fraud.

Later that year, authorities thoroughly searched Kim’s home, and drained her septic system in hopes of finding any evidence of what may have happened to little Brittany Williams. Nothing was ever found.

A possible link was even explored between the body of a decapitated little girl, found in 2001 in Kansas City, and Brittany Williams. It was later determined, in 2005 that the little girl, dubbed Precious Doe, was actually another missing child named Erica Michelle Maria Green. At three years old when she disappeared, Erica, like Brittany, had never been reported missing.

To-date, Brittany Renee Williams has never been located. No one has been charged in her disappearance, and due to her medical condition, it is not likely that she has survived all these years. Police confirm that after Kim Parker, no one ever used Brittany’s social security number or Medicaid benefits.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Henrico County Police Department.

Posted in Mystery, True Crime

The Cruel Hoax

How devastating to have a child go missing.

For Mike and Dorothy Sherrill, something that was already so horrifying it was unimaginable, actually got a lot worse.

In 1986, Mr. and Mrs. Sherrill were in the midst of a divorce. There little girl Shannon, 6, had just returned from her weekend visitation with her dad, Mike. Dorothy had moved into a trailer, a neighborhood that housed lots of other children, in addition to her own.

Though it was fall, that October day in 1986 was balmy, so Mrs. Sherrill had allowed Shannon to play outside with the other kids- including her two year old brother.

Barefoot, with a blue and white sundress on, Shannon was happy.

Throughout the afternoon, the kids played hide-and-seek, under the watchful eye of the neighborhood.

When it was time to come inside, however, little Shannon was nowhere to be found. Her young brother told their mother, Dorothy, that Shannon had gone “behind the trailer”. Mrs. Sherrill hurriedly looked there, but her daughter was gone.

The case was strange from the beginning- neighbors had been outside while the kids were playing- and many of them remembered seeing little Shannon amongst them. No one, however, can recall anything out of the ordinary… and no one seems to remember anyone in the area that did not belong there.

Immediately, Shannon was reported missing, and a massive search was launched. Hundreds of volunteers scoured the area, along with police, helicopters and bloodhounds. Before long, the searches got out of hand, with volunteers attempting to force their way into the homes of residents who didn’t answer their doors quickly enough.

The bloodhounds, it’s reported, tracked little Shannon’s scent to a field. Authorities even found tiny footprints, indentations that are believed to have been made by Shannon’s little feet. Accompanying those footprints were two separate adult prints- likely male- all of which led nowhere.

Shannon was never located, nor was any trace of what may have happened to her ever found. Days turned to months, and then years went by, all with no leads.

It was if she had simply vanished off the face of the earth, in the blink of an eye.

Mike Sherrill would give interviews on the anniversaries of his daughter’s disappearance, and would even reach out to psychics, who would tell him that Shannon was still alive.

Some people might say we’re grabbing at straws… but then, what else do we have?

Suddenly, in July of 2003, it seemed their prayers may have been answered.

Dorothy received a phone call from a young woman who stated, simply:

I think I might be Shannon.

The woman claimed her name- at least the name she answered to- was Beth Ann Harris. Living in Virginia at present, she had recently been in therapy, and it was through this counseling that she believed to have unearthed previously repressed memories. She now thought herself to be the long-lost Shannon Sherrill.

She mailed pictures of herself to Dorothy and Mike, and even had other members of her family- the Harris family- speak with both investigators and the Sherrill family. Beth Ann was able to describe landmarks from Indiana, down to the small town and elementary school that Shannon had attended. Best of all, she agreed to take a DNA test.

The excitement was palpable- finally, 17 years after Shannon went missing, she may have been found. 17 long years, with no leads, no clues, no nothing. That she may have been alive and well all that time was almost more than her parents could stand.

The local media began reporting the story in a frenzy. Rumors began circulating that Shannon had been found. National media arrived in the small town of Thornton, IN, where the child originally went missing. It was reported that preliminary tests on Beth Ann Harris were a match to Sharon Sherrill. The news was alive with new information, reporting that Beth Ann’s birthmarks, her scars, and even her dental records matched the missing child’s.

State Police Detective Jeff Heck, one of the original detectives from 1986 when Shannon disappeared, wanted to believe all of it. The investigator in him, however, pushed him to do his homework. He checked out every single one of Beth Ann’s stories and realized…

… It simply wasn’t true.

He began to trace the calls Beth Ann was making to the Sherrill family; Calls she claimed were coming from her home in Virginia.

Jeff Heck traced them to Topeka, Kansas.

The calls were traced to a woman who was lost, alright, but more in a mental sort of way- not so much in the physical sense. The lady’s name was Donna L. Walker. She was 35 years old (12 years older than the missing Shannon Sherrill), and was already known to the FBI for similar hoaxes, committed in California. Shannon Sherrill’s case, it was learned, was not the only high-profile case in which Donna Walker had involved herself.

Mike Sherrill didn’t learn the truth about Walker’s cruel hoax until it was almost too late. He arrived, as planned, at a pre-scheduled news conference. It was at this news conference that he was to receive official confirmation that his baby girl had been found.

When he was told the truth- that his family had been scammed, little Shannon had not been found, and investigators are no closer to the truth about what happened to her than they were in 1986- it proved too much.

Sobbing, he collapsed.

Donna Walker was taken into custody in Kansas. While pretending to be Shannon Sherrill, she was also scamming childless couples, claiming to be a woman named Deanna Poizner. Ms. Poizner was supposed to be 9 months pregnant, looking to give her fake baby up for adoption.

Walker was ultimately sentenced to 18 months in prison.

She served 9 of them, and walked free.

Mike and Dorothy Sherrill are still looking for their daughter Shannon, who vanished in October of 1986.


The Charley Project

The Indy Star

Posted in Forest Boy, Germany, James Darwin, Missing, News, Weird News

Germany, Forests, Teenagers and Canoes

German authorities have a mystery on their hands.

On September 5, 2011, a boy- most likely a teen- wandered into the administrative offices of City Hall in Berlin, Germany’s capital.

Claiming to know only his first name- Ray- his story is remarkable. He told authorities that he is 17 years old, that he had been living in the wild with his father, Ryan, for the last five years. Ray and his father had moved into the woods when his mother, Doreen, had been killed in a car accident. Ray might have been in the car accident too, as he told at least one person that he still bears scars on his legs from the tragedy. After the accident, his father moved them into the forest, where they lived as savages in the wild, until Ryan was killed during an accidental fall.

Ray claims he buried his father in a shallow grave, pulled out his compass, and began walking north to Berlin. His father, he explained, had always told him to go to Berlin, should anything ever happen.

The walk, it is estimated, was about 150 miles long.

Ray has no memory of where he was born, or who he is. He speaks only broken German, but is fluent in English. Authorities do not believe he is from England, as he is said to have a “strange” accent, one that is not easily identifiable.

Upon his arrival in Germany, an official directed him to a children’s support facility, and he successfully navigated the route, alone, via public transit. A city employee, who spoke with the boy at length, recalls he did not have any form of identification on him, nor did he seem to know what “identification”- such as a passport- even was. He was, however, well spoken and polite. His clothing was clean, did not appear disheveled, and had enough money in his pocket (a few coins) to pay the bus fare required to reach the youth support facility, though he did not seem to know how to count it.

He didn’t look like at all like a vagrant – he didn’t smell, he was clean, his clothes were clean but he simply didn’t know anything about who he was.

Ray came to city hall with a backpack, sleeping bag and little else, save for those coins in his pocket.

He was placed in a “care home” facility for 10 days, where his demeanor seemed unremarkable, and mostly normal. He interacted well with others, save for the language barrier, enjoyed watching TV, sleeping in a bed and taking regular showers.

A fellow resident, a youth, recalls Ray’s broken German causing an issue with verbal communication, but says they watched TV together and both enjoyed smoking cigarettes.

Police and mental health experts alike have all tried to speak with Ray, and while he’s friendly enough, he seems to lack any information that could help them identify who he is, or where he is from. Over and over again, they’ve hit a dead end. They have been unsuccessful in locating any missing persons reports that coincide with the timeframe Ray has provided of his disappearance. They haven’t been able to find any record of a fatal crash in which a woman named Doreen was killed either.

So far, the corpse of Ryan, Ray’s father, has not surfaced.

This story calls to mind one of James Darwin, who famously faked his own death in 2002, only to resurface years later, in 2007. Darwin was married at the time of his disappearance, with two sons. He was deeply in debt, and took out a life insurance policy on himself.

He was reported missing and presumed dead when he disappeared during a canoeing trip. The smashed remains of his canoe were later located, as was a single rowing oar. In 2003, Darwin was declared dead in 2003, allowing his wife to collect on the life insurance.

In 2007 he walked into a London police station and stated, “I think I’m a missing person”. He claimed to have no memory of who he was, or of his past.

Authorities quickly determined Mr. Darwin did, in fact, know who is was. After faking his death, he had reconnected with his wife, and had moved back home. His wife had successfully hidden him on their property, away from their sons, who, like everyone else, had believed their father to be deceased- until he walked into that London police station, that is.

Elation that their father was alive quickly turned to despair, as the brothers learned of the deceit their mother and father participated in for so many years.

While no one is willing to say that Ray, wandering in from the forests of Germany, is a long-lost criminal, there is sufficient reason to doubt parts of his story.

How is it, for example, that a boy who has lived in the wilderness for five years, emerges from the woods looking clean, and has money in his pocket?

How does a boy, who by his own account, has lived in the forest since the age of 12, have money in his pocket?

How does he have any sort of- even basic- working knowledge of public transit in Germany?

One wonders where a boy from the wilderness learned to smoke cigarettes, as he was reportedly fond of doing at the youth support center.

Due to his tender age and friendly demeanor, one wonders if Ray is not a lost boy from the woods, but rather suffering a psychotic break. Perhaps Ray is in a fugue state, having witnessed something so horrible (such as his father killing his mother) that his subconscious mind cannot bear to relive it.

Perhaps Interpol should expand its scope to include domestic incidents; Ordeals in which a mother was killed, and her husband and son disappeared- not just those cases that include automobile accidents.

Ray, while physically located, is still a long way from being found.