Sunday, September 2, 2012
Patch has been featuring missing persons, the unidentified dead and homicide victims with open case files, but today we are honoring the labors of those who work these cases by sharing some solved cases.
When someone goes missing, there's usually a large effort by law enforcement, family and friends to find them. When someone is murdered without a known suspect, police and relatives try to find out who did it. And when a body is discovered and no kin claim it, advocates who work on such cases push to link circumstances or DNA to bring them home. In honor of Labor Day, Patch is recognizing the efforts of all who work to solve these cases, bring the missing and unidentified home, and provide closure to the families or justice for the victims of unsolved homicides. Included are the many people who give the missing and unidentified "temporary homes" on websites like the Doe Network or NamUS until they are found or claimed. Here are 10 of the …
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Seneca Valley High School senior disappeared in 1981 after leaving work to buy cold medicine.
Michele Reidenbach smiled for the camera as she posed for her senior pictures on Sept. 22, 1981. A senior at Seneca Valley High School in Jackson Township, Butler County, she had saved up $100, tucked in a drawer at home, to pay for her class ring. The 16-year-old from Evans City, like other seniors, had the exciting, final year of high school ahead. After school that day, she went to her part-time job at Mel-Den TV and Appliance, a store at 240 South Main St. in Zelienople, where she addressed envelopes and wrote advertisements for the owners. At 4 p.m., she left her job to walk to a Rite-Aid pharmacy located a half block away to buy cold medicine. A clerk at the store confirmed that she purchased the medicine and left the store. Be …
Sunday, August 19, 2012
In 1991, the 28-year-old returned from a date, went back out and was never seen again.
Terry Slaugenhoupt, 28, came home from a date to the East Liberty apartment vicinity of the 1400 block of North St. Clair Street that she shared with a roommate. There are two versions of what happened next. One is that she got a phone call and told her roommate she was going out again. The other is that she told the roommate she was going out to make a phone call. No one knows who the call was to or from and where she was headed—and two decades ago, tracking calls wasn't as easy as it is today. That was the last time Terry was seen and she was never heard from again. She would be 50 years old today. At the time of her disappearance, on Jan. 6, 1991, she was 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighed between 105-120 pounds. She had long, curly …
Sunday, August 12, 2012
The 1-year-old was last seen in the front yard of his West End home in 1986.
Jamie Martin Thornton was a little more than a month shy of his second birthday as he played in the front yard of his home in the West End of Pittsburgh on Oct. 4, 1986. But when his birthday arrived on Nov. 12 that year, Jamie, whose nickname was "J.T," wasn't there to celebrate it. Some reports say he disappeared in Chartiers Creek. There is very little information available on his case, other than the standard online listings on the Pennsylvania Missing Persons, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, NamUs and The Doe Network. He is considered one of the "endangered missing." Today, he would be 27 years old. In a March 7, 2011 story, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Jamie's mother, Gloria Steffens of Overbrook, became …
Sunday, July 29, 2012
The Wilkinsburg teen disappeared just two weeks before she turned 18.
Genelle "Princess" Bradford, 17, had a lot to look forward to in the spring of 1999. That May, she would turn 18. She was only two months away from her graduation day. And friends told investigators Genelle was looking forward to her prom. The last time her family saw her was the morning of April 27, 1999, as she left her home for Wilkinsburg High School, where she was an honor student. Genelle—who was described as smart, funny, quiet, meek and mild—was raised by her grandparents, Princess and Ira Bradford. Her mother died of cardiac arrest induced by an asthma attack when Genelle was 5 years old. Her father was not involved in her life. She had never been in any kind of trouble and her friends did not believe she would have run away at …
Monday, July 23, 2012
A baby boy found dead on Neville Island in 1999 has never been identified.
Most babies are brought into the world wanted, cared for and loved. But there are some babies who aren't that lucky. On April 11, 1999, some buzzards circling near the river's edge caught the attention of two employees doing a security check on the 3-11 p.m. shift at Pittsburgh Gear Co., a manufacturing company on Neville Island. As they walked down a rutted path toward the banks of the Ohio River, they saw what drew the buzzards' attention—the lifeless body of a baby boy caught in the rocks and twigs in very shallow water off to the side of an old boat ramp. Part of his umbilical cord was still attached. According to an April 12, 1999, story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the men called police. Law enforcement officials said at the time …
Sunday, July 15, 2012
The Clairton teenager was reportedly headed to a high school pep rally but she never made it there.
Football has always been a big deal in Clairton. Just last December, the Bears celebrated winning the team's third PIAA championship in a row, continuing a decades-old tradition of being a powerhouse team. As memorable as those games are for some, the one played on Nov. 6, 1981, is remembered by others—but not because of the sport. For them, the disappearance of ninth-grader Toni Lynn McNatt-Chiappetta the night before is what brings that game to mind. A petite 14-year-old, Toni left her home on Van Kirk Street, just one block over from the Clairton Bears' football stadium on Miller Avenue. Atop her white sweater and jeans, she was wearing a black jacket with orange-trimmed cuffs and waist. "Toni" was in white letters on the front and "…
Sunday, July 1, 2012
James Kos of Monroeville left his place of employment in April 2000 and has not been heard from since.
Some people literally disappear one day without a trace. James Kos of Monroeville is one of those people. He was 42 years old the day he left work in Monroeville on April 22, 2000. It was the last time he was seen. He is described by police as a white male; 5 feet, 7 inches tall; about 132 pounds; blond hair; hazel eyes; medium complexion; and wearing glasses. Not much else is known. There's been little publicity about his case and even the information on the missing persons websites is limited. Anyone with information is asked to call Monroeville Police Department at 412-576-3387. For more information about this and other missing person cases, visit Pennsylvania Missing Persons, NamUs or the Doe Network.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
The elderly woman found over a hillside in Avalon was never identified.
The woman survived about eight decades on this earth, but her death gave no dignity to those years. On June 19, 1997, the mummified body of a petite black woman with short, curly, gray-and-white hair—only 5 feet tall and weighing about 100 pounds—was found over a hillside behind the Ponderosa Restaurant at 920 Ohio River Blvd. (Route 65) in Avalon. The woman, who was found inside a blue sleeping bag, was wrapped in two black plastic trash bags—one tied over her head, one tied over her feet—then wrapped again in what authorities believe was a plastic mattress cover, according to the Pennsylvania Missing Persons website. Her head was lying on a pillow with a towel covering her face. Her body was covered with a green blanket. She was dressed …