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Coach Craig Wood Charged with Murder

Yesterday an Amber Alert was issued for Hailey Owens, a 10-year old from Springfield, MO after she was taken around 5 p.m. by a man driving a gold Ford Ranger.  Witnesses report that the truck had circled the area several times before pulling over and dragging Hailey into the vehicle. The Amber Alert was canceled just before 7 a.m. Wednesday and Coach Craig Wood was arrested and charged with murder.  Springfield police say they received a tip that led them to Coach Wood at a residence in town.  It was initially believed he and the child were heading to Oklahoma.

Pam Bodine, Sr. Communications Specialist, at Pleasant View Middle School confirmed for me this morning that Wood is a paraprofessional (“teacher’s aide”) and coach at the school and has been employed at the school since August 1998.  He is currently suspended pending outcome of this case.


photo of Wood from school news bulletin


MISSING: Newborn Kayden Powell

Wisconsin police and the FBI are trying to locate a 5 day-old baby boy who went missing from a home in the town of Beloit, Wisconsin early Thursday morning.

Town of Beloit Police Chief Steve Kopp says the mother of Kayden Powell, Brianna Marshall,  contacted police immediately after she woke up around 4:30 Thursday morning when she discovered her son was gone. The home belongs to the great-grandmother of the infant where she lives with the baby’s father, Bruce.  A relative living in the home told police that the last time he saw Kayden was when his mother was trying to calm him down before putting him down for bed.  An aunt of Brianna Marshall’s from Colorado left in the night and was later pulled over in Iowa by law enforcement to determine if she knew where the baby was.  The baby’s parents were to be moving to Colorado with the aunt, and baby clothes were found in the car, but no baby.  She was arrested on fraud warrants out of Texas and is being detained.

Continue reading MISSING: Newborn Kayden Powell


Missing Children

Tonight on Twitter a conversation was going on about missing children and specifically about Elizabeth Johnson, mother of missing 8-month old Gabriel who disappeared nearly three years ago.  Some history on the case for those not familiar, but Elizabeth Johnson  initially told the baby’s father  that she killed Gabriel and dumped him in a trash bin.  She later recanted and told police that she gave Gabriel to a couple at a San Antonio, TX park.  She never provided the couple’s names and refused to do so during Friday’s hearing where she was sentenced and Gabriel’s body has never been found.  It is unlikely that Elizabeth Johnson will ever tell the truth about what happened to her son, and another child joins the ranks of missing in a case that may never be solved.

The conversation turned to how specific groups online pick and choose which high profile case they adopt as their own and oftentimes these people go completely overboard in their “following” of said cases.  I have written extensively about the mania within the true crime genre online and the lunatic fringe who “e-adopt” missing and murdered children and carry on as if they were their own child. It’s rather frightening to watch and no doubt there are DSM-IV descriptions for MANY of these people who insert themselves into these cases and go above and beyond batshit. 

Continue reading Missing Children


A Silent Epidemic

Several years back, I became involved in trying to give an unidentified woman her name back.   She was found off of a service road in Brazoria County, Texas.   This area of Texas has become known as “the killing fields”.  There were many murdered women who were dumped in and around this area in Brazoria County.   September 10, 1990, when a local pulled off of the road to relieve himself, he found skeletal remains near an old tire.  With the remains was jewelry;  one being a 1975 class ring from Robert E. Lee High School.  According to the medical examiner, her remains had been there for a few years.   No one knew who she was.  To this day, she remains unidentified.

What intrigued me about this particular case was the Class of 1975 Robert E. Lee High School class ring that was on her finger.   The school was located in Houston, Texas, and has since been renamed “Lee High School”.  One would think that this would be a great clue and would make the chore of identifying her very easy.   That proved not to be the case.  During this time, I had a website that was a database of sorts and contained information on many missing and unidentified person.  It was called

Unidentified missing always make me sad because they have been found, but their families may wait for years or may never know that their loved one’s remains were found.  They have a name, but no one knows it until DNA is matched, and sometimes that takes a very long time.  That was the thinking behind the website name — someone knows me.   This girl did not have a name, and as an act of respect we gave her the name “Princess Blue” signifying the color of the stone inlaid into the class ring.  My former admin at, myself and others found a Robert E. Lee High School 1975 yearbook for sale on ebay and purchased it.  We harvested the names of students from the Class of 1975 and searched tirelessly to find their location, and sent hundreds of letters out with Princess Blue’s composite and a photo of the ring hoping that someone knew who this young lady was, or might have heard of someone whose daughter was missing.  The ring was a woman’s ring, size 9.5 and had been upsized twice, from an original 7.5.  Because of the resizing, any markings or initials in the band would have been wiped out. We realized this was a long shot, but was worth the effort just in case.

Princess Blue was too young  to have graduated in 1975.  When the medical examiner did a second study of her remains it was determined that she was white, but with some ­African-American ancestry and around 17-21 years old.  We had been in contact with the detectives on her case, and provided all of the information that we had gathered, as well as a photo overlay that I had done of Princess Blue and a missing woman named Kimberly Cheatham.

Kimberly was last seen in Dallas, Texas on April 12, 1989.  She was supposed to go to a cousin’s residence to do her laundry, but never arrived there. She has never been heard from again.  A short time after Cheatham’s disappearance, her car was found abandoned outside of Dallas, covered with brush.  There was no sign of her at the scene. She is believed to have been taken against her will. Few details are available in Kimberly’s case.  It is suspected that she met with foul play.  When the overlay was done on Princess Blue’s composite and Kimberly’s photo, we were hopeful that we had identified her.  We had been able to locate Kimberly’s mother and facilitate her DNA swab to be submitted into CODIS so an analysis could be initiated to determine if she was Princess Blue.  Kimberly’s mother was getting up in her years and her words to me were that she did not want to leave this world without locating her daughter.  Understandably, this was heartbreaking to hear her pain in not knowing where her child was.  Her DNA was submitted and it was not a match. 

Continue reading A Silent Epidemic


Craigslist Connection?

Deanna Ballman was found last week in her car, and an autopsy revealed her death to be by undetermined causes.  A Columbus doctor has been interviewed and items taken from his home, but the mystery surrounding Deanna’s death has yet to be solved.  I am still on the fence with regards to what happened, and do not want to be one who is pointing accusatory fingers at anyone until all of the facts are in.

A Grove City, Ohio model Gabrielle Roush has come forward regarding a run in that she had with the doctor.  She states that she answered an ad on Craigslist for a modeling gig that was to pay $300.  When she got there with her father in law, he was asked to leave and said resident wanted to paint human organs on Gabrielle’s stomach area.  In all honesty, that in itself is a bit creepy but hey…what do I know, right?  To each his own.  Here’s the interview from Channel 10TV.


Missing Woman Found Dead After Answering Craigslist Ad

Missing woman’s car.

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office said that they found a body matching the description of a missing pregnant woman this morning.  Deanna Ballman of Pataskala, Ohio was reported missing yesterday after she did not return home.

Information is really sparse right now regarding specifics as to who she was to be meeting.  She was said to have “answered an ad on Craigslist” and did not return home.  Her car was found along the 12000 block of Bevelheimer Road near the Delaware and Licking county line before 1 p.m. today.   The sheriff’s office said that the missing woman was reported missing in Pataskala Tuesday afternoon and that she was last seen in New Albany.

From what I have been able to gather using social media sites, Deanna was 23-years old with two young children and one on the way.  She had recently moved back to Ohio from Colorado and was in the Army National Guard.

Ohio has been in the spotlight in the past when it comes to violence resulting from answering a Craigslist ad.  Last year two men lured other men to meet them for job opportunities for the purpose of robbing them and then killing them.  Little is known at the moment about who she was meeting or if it is connected to her death.  The sheriff’s office did not release the identity of the woman nor the circumstances leading to her death. The license plate of the car matches that of Deanna’s vehicle, and friends have commented on her Facebook that it is her.

Channel 4 Columbus has coverage of this developing story.  You can read here.  My thoughts go out to her friends and family.



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Missing Woman – Incestuous Relatives

There is no delicate way to write about this case.  It is all kinds of jacked up. Each time I think that I have heard it all and cannot be shocked anymore, a new story comes out that just blows my mind.  This one is so convoluted and the persons involved are seedy and mysterious.  Brittany Wood has been missing since May 30.   She is 19-years old and from the Mobile, Alabama area.

What started out as a missing persons case has now become a family feud and allegations of incest and rape against specific family members.  Brittany went to meet her uncle Donald Holland, Sr.  Her last cell phone transmission was located less than a mile away from her uncle’s home.  She left her daughter behind which was very suspect and two days later, Brittany’s “Uncle Donnie” committed suicide.  It was later determined that the gun he used belonged to Brittany.  Her mother states that she carried a firearm for protection.  As it would turn out, Donnie Holland was being investigated as part of a state sex crimes investigation and was to report to the police about half an hour after he was found with the self inflicted gunshot wound.

The story becomes even more complicated as several of her relatives have been arrested and charged with incest, rape and sodomy.  Five men in total have been arrested in this investigation, two uncles, one brother, a cousin and a family friend.

On Tuesday, deputies arrested Randall Scott Wood, another uncle of Brittney’s. He is charged with sex abuse, sodomy, and incest. Dustin Alton Kent was the other relative arrested. More arrests are expected.

Brittney’s cell phone was last detected in the Grand Bay area. Search crews began going door to door on Thursday passing out fliers in an attempt to locate the missing teen.

Authorities are looking into the possibility that the arrests could be connected with Brittney’s disappearance. Her brother mentioned her possibly being scared and in hiding when he was interviewed earlier this month. If the charges against her family members turn out to be true, this could be the motivation she has to be in hiding.

There has been no sign of or word from Brittany and anyone who knows Wood’s whereabouts should call Mobile police at 251-208-7211 or the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office at 251-574-8633.


Remembering the Victims' Families

If you want to start a heated debate, just discuss politics, religion or the death penalty.  Everyone has their views on whether the death penalty is actually a deterrent to crime, but in our haste to voice an opinion on the matter – how often do we reflect on the families of the victims of the homicide that brought the killer to Death Row?  This entry is not to defend or denounce the death penalty, but to take an introspective look at the families of victims who are left to deal with life after a monster has taken their loved one.  Last month, serial pedophile and killer, James Crummel, hanged himself in his San Quentin cell.  Crummel had a very long, violent history and destroyed many lives in his wake.   He had a past filled with violent child molestations spanning 30 years and four states.

In a 1968 Wisconsin State Prison psychiatric report, the psychiatrist stated: “This is one of the few people that we see who really fits the prototype of a cold-blooded killer. ”  James “Jamey” Wilfred Trotter, a 13-year old Costa Mesa boy disappeared in 1979 while on his way to school. For years, his family hoped for his return – never losing hope that one day he would come home.  Eleven years later, Crummel called police pretending to be a random citizen, in what police later called a twisted game of cat and mouse, to say he found some charred human bones while hiking off the Ortega Highway in Riverside County.  It wasn’t until 1996 that the remains were identified as Jamey Trotter’s.  Police had also learned that Crummel lived about a mile from where the boy disappeared.  In 2004, Crummel was convicted of Jamey’s murder and sent to Death Row.

Continue reading Remembering the Victims' Families


Bring Mickey Home

Lafayette, LA – Detectives with the Lafayette Police Department continue to search for clues which would assist them in locating Michaela “Mickey” Shunick.  Shunick went missing after leaving a friend’s residence in the 100 block of Ryan Street at approximately 2:00 am on Saturday, May 19, 2012.  She was wearing a pastel, multi-colored striped shirt, light wash skinny jeans and grey shoes.  Shunick departed the residence on a black Schwinn bicycle with gold handle bar grips and wearing a brown leather backpack purse.  It is believed that she was going to her residence near the intersection of Ambassador Caffery Parkway and Congress Street.  Shunick is described as a white female, blonde hair, 5’1″ tall and 115 pounds.

Continue reading Bring Mickey Home