Missing Person News

Missing Person News (9)

June 24th, 2020 - Army Times

The remains of one of two missing Fort Hood soldiers were discovered Friday in Killeen, Texas, according to Fort Hood officials.

The skeletal remains have been positively identified as those of Pvt. Gregory Morales.

Morales’ remains were discovered in a field near the 3200 block of Florence Road Friday morning after U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Special Agents received information as to the location of the body, according to a Fort Hood media release.

Foul play is suspected at this point in the investigation. Army Special Agents are working closely with the Killeen Police Department and are offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone with credible information concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Morales.

Morales was positively identified using dental records with the assistance of the U.S. Army Dental Corps. An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause and manner of death.

Investigators say they “have no credible information that this case is in any way connected to the search for Pfc. Vanessa Guillen who went missing from Fort Hood in April. That investigation is still being aggressively investigated,” the release states.95150816 2558022634447403 8880072994488057856 n

Morales’ mother, Kim Wedel, told a local television station that investigators found her son’s remains.

"It was a missing soldier. My missing soldier Greg Wedel," his mother, Kim Wedel wrote in an email Saturday to Houston ABC station KTRK.

Police said skeletal remains were found Friday in a field several miles from Fort Hood, after a tip to Army criminal investigators. Army officials confirmed the identity on Sunday. Morales was last seen driving his personal vehicle off-post in the town of Killeen on the night of Aug. 19, 2019. He was driving a 2018 Black KIA Rio with temporary Texas license tags – 46190B3, according to the Army. The vehicle has since been recovered by authorities.

He was set to be discharged within a couple of days when he disappeared, according to the Army. Though his mother told a Texas television station her son’s remains were found, Morales still appears to be listed as a deserter by the Army, with the date of desertion one month after he was last seen.

The last known verbal contact with Morales was Aug. 20, 2019. Morales, also known as Gregory Wedel, was out processing from the Army and was scheduled to be discharged within a couple of days when he disappeared. Wedel was his last name before taking his wife’s name in marriage.

Wedel, Morales’ mother, told local Texas media that her daughter-in-law tracked down Morales’ vehicle on Carfax. It was in Dallas this December and is now held by Army CID. She also said she does not believe her son would have intentionally vanished given that he was set to be discharged.

“What it would tell me is that they also suspect something has happened at this point, beyond him just going AWOL,” Wedel said.

As investigators work to find answers about what happened to Morales, they are also searching for Guillen, another missing Fort Hood soldier.

The 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood, Texas, is conducting its own investigation into allegations that Guillen, 20, faced sexual harassment from a sergeant prior to her April 22 disappearance, according to a Texas congresswoman lobbying for answers.

Investigators say they “have no credible information that this case is in any way connected to the search for Pfc. Vanessa Guillen who went missing from Fort Hood in April. That investigation is still being aggressively investigated,” the release states.

rawImageGuillen’s family has lobbied for Army CID and Fort Hood officials to be more transparent about the ongoing investigation and search process.

Rep. Sylvia García said during a press conference Tuesday with Guillen’s family that she has been in touch with Col. Ralph Overland, 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander.

Guillen’s family has said that the missing soldier complained to her mother about an Army sergeant who was sexually harassing her and following her on runs prior to her disappearance.

“I was pleased this morning, on a call with the colonel, he mentioned that he had formed his own internal investigative group to look at every allegation related to sexual assault or sexual harassment in this case,” García said Tuesday afternoon. “So I’m hopeful that that, too, will shed light on this.”

Officials from 3rd Cavalry Regiment confirmed last week that Overland appointed a team led by a senior investigating officer to conduct an AR 15-6 Investigation into allegations by Guillen’s family that the soldier was sexually harassed.

Guillen’s older sister, Mayra, told Army Times last week she was unsure whether her sister ultimately reported the sexual harassment to the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program. A website for Guillen states she told her mother she was worried her allegations would get her in trouble or be brushed aside.


“We know that the armed services do not always have the best record when it comes to cases of sexual assault,” García said. “So we cannot let these allegations go without full investigation.”

García also asked the regiment commander for “a concrete deadline about what they have been doing to find Vanessa and ensure there is more transparency in this case.”

“We are still waiting on information from the base, and I would certainly like the FBI to have a more robust investigation in conjunction with [Army CID],” García added.

Mayra, Guillen’s sister, wants the FBI to take over the case from Army CID, because of what she termed the lack of information being provided.

Guillen’s family has raised questions about how much of a search effort is actually underway, as well as about the absence of video surveillance records. The family was told there is no camera in the armory where Guillen worked prior to her disappearance before 1 p.m. April 22.

“It happened inside a federal building, a military base, and we still don’t get answers as to who, what, where exactly and why,” Mayra said last week.

Persons with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170. They can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html. They can also contact their local police departments. People wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The number of missing person reports in Montana increased last year compared to previous years, according to state officials.

Deputy Attorney General Jon Bennion said during a news conference on Tuesday that may mean missing people are being more accurately reported after state officials took steps to address the issue, particularly in the case of missing and murdered Native Americans.

For example, law enforcement officials filed only 10 missing persons reports related to the Northern Cheyenne tribe in 2017 and 2018, according to a Montana Department of Justice report. Last year, that number jumped to 39 reports, The Billings Gazette reported.

The report says 3,277 different people were reported missing from 2017 to 2019. It says 97% of the people were found alive or dead and 3% remained missing.

The report finds Native Americans, which account for 6% of Montana’s population, are four times more likely to go missing that non-Natives.

 

Missing Persons Center -
Here is a link to Montana's Missing Persons Database, as of today it isn't working properly but we did find a PDF copy of listing of missing children.  Click here to see the PDF is it's still up.

 

lfp20190402dr010 70516218 e1554252901698BBC Online 1/29/2019

People who go missing in Avon and Somerset and are deemed "low-risk" may not spark a police search for 36 hours.

The change in policy comes as the force declares itself at tipping point after years of budget cuts and falling officer numbers.

Avon and Somerset Police says up to 30% of its daily resources are being spent looking for "high-risk" missing people rather than solving crimes.

A charity warned that the approach could endanger vulnerable children.

As numbers are rising, the force is now considering who to actively search for, as 40% of those who go missing disappear more than once.

What is low risk?

According to official police guidelines:

  • A no-risk missing person (not used for children in Avon & Somerset) is where no there is no risk of harm to either the subject or the public
  • A low-risk missing person is where risk of harm is assessed as possible but minimal - for instance an adult who has had a family argument and storms off but has no history of self-harm/mental health issues
  • A medium-risk missing person is where risk of harm is "likely but not serious", possibly a child who repeatedly goes missing or somebody with dementia who goes missing a lot
  • A high-risk missing person is where harm to them or the public is very likely

The force spends between £24,000 and £40,000 every day on missing people, but said it would not change when it hunted for those deemed at high-risk.

Det Supt Richard Kelvey said: "We are at a point where we have to say to some families, 'call us in 12 hours' time'.

"If we didn't deal with missing people, we would probably have 300 more people on the ground."

Missing People

  • In 2017-2018 the force was alerted to about 8,000 missing people - about 26 a day
  • Forty per cent of those who go missing are children
  • About 4,500 people go missing more than once - for some it is 50 times in a year
  • Seventy-five per cent of missing people are found within 24 hours, and many return of their own accord
  • Many are adults in crisis or vulnerable children in care

The police force said when delaying the deployment of officers for low-risk cases, they reassured relatives and advised them to call back in 12 hours if they felt "the risk had changed".

The charity Missing People UK says it has concerns as seven out of 10 children who were sexually exploited were reported as missing.

Karen Robinson, from the organisation, said: "With Operation Bullfinch in Oxford, many of the girls who were exploited had had repeated missing episodes, but were mistakenly deemed as 'low-risk'.

"Focussed, well-resourced policing teams to assess and respond to these risks are vital, because when someone goes missing it is a sign that something is very wrong."

Avon and Somerset Police has said it is "highly unlikely" its officers would deem a child as low-risk. If the young person was particularly vulnerable, such as being in care, they would be prioritised.

But Mr Kelvey said despite the delayed approach, teams still used 30% of their time on missing people daily.

"The people that unfortunately kill themselves are normally dead by the time we are told about this - it's very sad but true," he said.

Avon and Somerset Police Federation said the force had 700 fewer officers, and it blamed government cuts.

The Home Office has pledged an extra £161m this year for England and Wales' 43 police forces, which its says will protect police budgets in "real terms".

Tuesday, 02 October 2018 16:01

Palu tsunami: desperate search for survivors.

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nm palu 2710Death toll expected to reach into the thousands after tsunami hit Palu and Donggala on island of Sulawesi

Following a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Sept. 28, a tsunami brought 18-ft waves to Palu, pummeling the coastal town on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. As first responders and civilians search through the wreckage, with the death toll rising past 1,200, satellite images provide a broad view of the devastation.

Palu is the capital city of Sulawesi and home to 300,000 Indonesians. Known as the city of the valley, it’s nestled between the archipelago ranges west and east of the city. Sitting at the end of a 20 mile (32 km) long cove, Palu is usually protected against ocean waters. It surprised disaster authorities when tsunami waves channeled down the inlet moving at speeds of 100 mph. This satellite image from Planet Labs shows sediment runoff from receding flood waters.

The number of people killed had risen to 1,234 on Tuesday, Indonesia's national disaster agency said, including Monday's grim discovery of 34 bodies, mostly children, in a church recreation hall in Sigi Biromaru south of Palu.

Sri Puguh Budi Utami, Indonesia’s prisons chief, said that 1,425 inmates have escaped from jails which were damaged in the quake, including those from the Donggala detention centre which was set on fire and all 343 inmates are now on the run.

The amount of missing people is well into the thousands and we will be making available profiling to the Indonesian families that want to list their family members on this site.  If you are reading this and know someone effected by this disaster who knows of anyone in the region that has been reported missing, be sure to get them listed at the Missing Person Center.

Friday, 11 January 2019 18:53

Jayme Closs updates: 21-year-old man arrested.

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BY Jeff Baenen and Gretchen Ehlke
Associated Press

21-year-old man is jailed in the deaths of a Wisconsin couple he killed because he wanted to kidnap their teenage daughter, investigators said Friday, a day after the girl approached a stranger along a rural road saying she'd been abducted in October and held against her will.

Jake Thomas Patterson was taken into custody shortly after 13-year-old Jayme Closs sought help from a woman walking her dog in a rural, heavily wooded neighborhood near the small town of Gordon, about 60 miles north of Barron. Jayme disappeared from her family's home near Barron after her parents were killed Oct. 15.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said during a news conference Friday that Jayme was taken against her will. He said investigators believe Patterson killed Jayme's parents because he wanted to abduct her, and that Patterson "planned his actions and took many steps to hide his identity."

Fitzgerald said investigators believe the girl was "the only target" and don't believe Patterson had any contact with the family. Douglas County Sheriff Thomas Dalbec said Patterson was jailed on kidnapping and homicide charges.

The woman who first spotted Jayme on Thursday, Jeanne Nutter, said she was walking her dog along a rural road when a disheveled teenage girl called out to her for help and quickly grabbed her. Only then did Jayme reveal her name.

Nutter said Jayme told her she had walked away from a cabin where she'd been held captive, a cabin not far from Nutter's home.

"I was terrified, but I didn't want to show her that," Nutter, a social worker who spent years working in child protection, told The Associated Press on Friday. "She just yelled, 'Please help me. I don't know where I am. I'm lost.'"

Nutter added: "My only thought was to get her to a safe place." The two went to the home of Peter and Kristin Kasinskas, who said Jayme was skinny and dirty, wearing shoes too big for her feet, but appeared outwardly OK.

Kristin Kasinskas, who called 911 to report the girl had been found, told the AP on Friday that Jayme had identified the suspect once she was safely inside her home.

"She said that this person's name was Jake Patterson, he killed my parents and took me," Kasinskas said. "She did not talk about why or how. She said she did not know him."

Patterson lived just three doors down from Kasinskas, but Kasinskas said she didn't realize it until police identified him as the suspect. She said she never saw Patterson on her street or in town, and doesn't remember seeing him since he was in high school.

Kasinskas said she taught Patterson science in middle school, but added: "I don't really remember a ton about him."

"He seemed like a quiet kid," she said. "I don't recall anything that would have explained this, by any means."

Fitzgerald said Closs was taken to a hospital but has since been medically cleared and released. She was being interviewed by law enforcement, the sheriff said.

Jayme went missing after police discovered someone had broken into the family's home outside Barron and fatally shot her parents, James and Denise Closs. Jayme was nowhere to be found. The Barron County Sheriff's Department said the girl had likely been abducted.

Detectives pursued thousands of tips, watched dozens of surveillance videos and conducted numerous searches in the effort to find Jayme. Some tips led officials to recruit 2,000 volunteers for a massive ground search on Oct. 23, but it yielded no clues.

Fitzgerald said in November that he kept similar cases in the back of his mind as he worked to find Jayme, including the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, who was 14 when she was taken from her Salt Lake City home in 2002. Smart was rescued nine months later with the help of two witnesses who recognized her abductors from an "America's Most Wanted" episode.

"I have a gut feeling she's (Jayme's) still alive," Fitzgerald said at the time.

On Friday, Smart posted on her Instagram account that it was a "miracle" Jayme had been found alive. Smart said the girl's family should be given "space and privacy on their road to finding a new sense of normal and moving forward."

"Whatever other details may surface, the most important will still remain that she is alive," Smart said.

During the 20 minutes Jayme was in their home, Peter and Kristin Kasinskas said they tried to make her feel more comfortable. They offered her water and food, but she declined both. Jayme was quiet, her emotions "pretty flat," Peter Kasinskas said.

Jayme told the couple she didn't know where she was or anything about Gordon, a town home to about 644 people in a heavily forested region where logging in the top industry. From what she told them, the

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office confirmed on its website that Jayme was found in the town at 4:43 p.m. Thursday, and that a suspect was taken into custody 11 minutes later.

Jayme's grandfather, Robert Naiberg, told the AP on Friday that he'd been praying for months for the call he received Thursday about his granddaughter being found alive.

Naiberg said his daughter called him with the news, saying Jayme reported having been held by "a guy in the woods" but was able to escape.

Sue Allard, Jayme's aunt, told the Star Tribune newspaper that she could barely express her joy after learning the news Thursday night.

"Praise the Lord," Allard said between sobs. "It's the news we've been waiting on for three months. I can't wait to get my arms around her. I just can't wait."

Newsweek
BY  

A family has launched a desperate appeal to help find a woman who vanished in Costa Rica while on vacation celebrating her 36th birthday.

Carla Stefaniak, of Hallandale Beach, Florida, has been missing since last week and failed to catch her scheduled flight home on November 28.

Stefaniak was in Costa Rica to celebrate her 36th birthday along with her sister in law, April Burton.

The family said she has not been heard from since around 8 p.m. on November 27, when she texted Burton to say the power at the Airbnb she was staying at was going out, reports the Miami Herald.

Prior to that, Stefaniak dropped her sister-in-law off at the airport before returning a rental car they had hired and taking an Uber to her apartment. The Uber she hired was the same one she had used previously to take her shopping and sightseeing.

Her family is now fearing the worse as Stefaniak had checked in online for her scheduled 1 p.m. flight on November 28, but did not get on the plane. The 36-year-old was reportedly seen leaving the rental car around 5 a.m. with her luggage and getting into another car.

“She had been ready to come back home but she didn’t,” her brother Mario Caicedo told NBC News. “That means somebody kidnapped her or abducted her.”

Katie Gardner, the family’s spokesperson, said they are confused as to why Stefaniak would hire a cab so early in the morning when her flight wasn’t until 1 p.m.

“The Uber driver arrived around 8 a.m. to pick up Stefaniak but could not find her,” Gardner told the Miami Herald. “However, her family says the story does not make sense since her flight was not until that afternoon and the airport was only 30 minutes away. And since she had already used that Uber driver the day before, why would she have called a different Uber?”

The Costa Rican law enforcement agency Organismo de Investigation Judicial has launched an investigation into Stefaniak’s disappearance and shared an image of her on social media as part of an appeal for information.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the family said local officials and US Embassy in Costa Rica were reluctant to pursue the matter “because they feel she was rational at the time of her disappearance and got into a taxi of her own free will.”

“However, she checked into her flight but did not show up. It indicates she was willingly trying to leave the country,” the statement added.

“She has not been in contact with anyone since November 27th, nor has she used social media or Uber, which is part of her daily pattern.

“We implore the US State Department to deploy its resources and those of the FBI to access phone records, bank records and utilize all available assets to find our loved one.”

Friday, 16 November 2018 23:00

California Camp Fire

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(CNN)As the death toll from Northern California's Camp Fire rose to 63 and those reported missing spiked to more than 600, rescue workers searching for human remains hope that hundreds of people who remain unaccounted for are still alive.

"A lot of people are displaced, and a lot of people don't know we're looking for them," Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea said late Thursday.
 
The dramatic rise in those unaccounted for came after authorities combed through a week of 911 calls and incident reports. Combined with relatives who have reported loved ones missing, investigators are looking into reports of 631 people possibly missing.
Wednesday, 10 October 2018 20:02

Matthew Weaver Jr.

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California man Matthew Weaver Jr. still missing nearly two months after car found abandoned in Malibu Canyon

UPDATE, October 16, 2017: The list of people listed missing in Puerto Rico has now decreased to 109.

On Thursday morning, the Puerto Rico Police released the names of 117 people who are listed as missing since September 20, the day Hurricane Maria made landing in the U.S. territory, causing an estimated $90 billion in damage and widespread calls for relief.