Friday, April 29, 2022
Edith Howard Cook was a child that died at the age of 2 years 10 months. Her cast iron casket and mummified body were found in 2016 during a home renovation project in San Francisco, California. At the time of the discovery, her identity was unknown. However, it was known that the modern residence was atop the former location of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows cemetery, which was in use between 1860 and 1901. The Odd Fellows cemetery was initially on the outskirts of the growing city of San Francisco, but was closed around 1903 and all bodies were exhumed in the 1930s to make way for new residential neighborhoods. Nearly all traces of the former cemetery, including headstones, were removed at that time. Only the columbarium still stands. Under most circumstances, Edith would be just another name in a book of historical records, one of hundreds of thousands of children who died before the age of 5 years in 1800s United States, mostly due to a range of infectious diseases. However, an archaeoforensics investigation was able to identify her name using genealogy, mapping, stable isotope, and DNA analyses. Her case provides new insights into living conditions of children in late 1800s San Francisco. History: Edith Howard Cook was the eldest daughter of Horatio Nelson Cook and Edith Scooffy, who were married in 1870 in San Francisco. Horatio Nelson Cook helped establish M.M. Cook & Sons, a company that specialized in hide tanning and the manufacture of industrial leather belts. Edith Scooffy was born in San Francisco. Her father's family was Greek, and Edith Scooffy served for many years in San Francisco as a consul for Greece. A birth announcement for Edith H. Cook appears in the San Francisco Chronicle on December 5, 1873. A baptismal record also survives showing she was baptized September 5, 1874. A sponsor for the baptism is listed as "Ada B. Barry". Edith's death was announced in the Saturday October 14 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, stating "In this city, October 13, Edith Howard, daughter of Horatio N. and Edith Cook, aged 2 years and 10 months. Friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral, at 1 o'clock p.m. tomorrow (Sunday) from the residence of the parents, 635 Sutter street, near Taylor". A funeral record lists the cause of death for Edith as "marasmus". Edith H. Cook was survived by a brother, Milton H. Cook, a sister Ethel Cook, and a brother Clifford G. Cook. A living descendant of Milton H. Cook provided a DNA sample that was matched to DNA extracted from hair removed from Edith H. Cook's mummified body. Archaeoforensic investigation: A number of genealogical analyses, mapping the exact location of the find, analysis of stable isotope signatures within hair samples, and analysis of DNA extracted from the hair, all point to the mummy being Edith H. Cook. A study published in 2017 on carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes of hair samples removed from the individual's head, revealed a pattern that is consistent with wasting away or nutritional starvation. This is also consistent with the funeral record listing the cause of death as marasmus. A later study published in 2020 on hydrogen isotopes in hair samples shows cyclical variation in the isotopes, consistent with the individual dying during the late Fall or early Winter. This too, is consistent with the known date of death October 13 for Edith H. Cook. Analyses of historic maps of the Odd Fellows cemetery, overlain onto the find location of the mummy, is consistent with the location of the recorded location of the Cook family plot. Impact: The 2020 study using hydrogen isotopes on sequential segments of hair sets a precedent in Forensic Anthropology showing that the season of death information can be recorded in biological tissues. As a result, season of death can be estimated in archaeological and forensic cases where hair is preserved and there are predictable/regular changes in regional precipitation patterns (e.g., dry and wet seasons).
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Luke Durbin disappeared during the early hours on Friday 12 May 2006 from Ipswich, Suffolk. Durbin vanished after a night out with friends and was reported missing by his mother on the afternoon of Saturday 13 May 2006. Background: Durbin lived with his mother, Nicki and sister Alicia in Hollesley, Suffolk, both of whom he shared a close relationship with. An avid guitarist, he enrolled in a music technology course at a college in Colchester, Essex, although he dropped out after a year due to issues with the daily commute. Durbin then worked periodical jobs over the next year, until acquiring a job at a greengrocer in Aldeburgh, a month and a half before his disappearance. Durbin has been described as easygoing and affectionate, often bringing back groceries to cook for his mother and sister. His family stated his disappearance was uncharacteristic, having always been communicative over his whereabouts. Disappearance: Durbin’s friend Alex, a chef in London, had returned for the weekend to see friends and family, prompting Durbin to take time off work alongside another friend, Zach. Durbin rode his new motorbike to Alex’s place in Woodbridge, leaving his wallet, keys, phone and a change of clothes, planning to spend the night. Durbin wore a black/grey long-sleeved collared shirt under a reversible plum-grey sweatshirt, alongside faded denim jeans with a motif on the side thigh, and brown suede shoes. After some drinks at a local pub, Luke Durbin, Alex and Zach then took a cab from Woodbridge to Ipswich to go clubbing at Zest nightclub, although Alex took a taxi back shortly after having too much to drink. After some hours at Zest nightclub, Durbin lost contact with Zach after the latter went to purchase drinks. Durbin was reported at Ipswich train station, a 5-minute walk from Zest nightclub at around 02:00-03:00 AM BST. After being told no trains were running, Durbin is next spotted on CCTV at around 03:45 AM BST heading to Hawk Express Cabs. Having left his wallet at Alex’s place, the receptionist suggests Durbin call his mother for her bank card details, although he refused stating he didn’t wish to wake her. Durbin is then spotted on CCTV walking across the zebra crossing on Dogs Head Street headed towards the bus station at 04:00 AM. This is the last positive sighting of Durbin. Shortly after, a silver or white Volvo 440 is caught on CCTV with registration ‘M206 LYE’, later discovered to be false plates. The vehicle is of primary interest to investigators. The next day, Durbin’s family assumed he had gone to work, although after contacting friends and his work over his whereabouts, he was reported missing by his mother. Unconfirmed sightings: -A witness reported seeing an individual match Durbin’s description walking near Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich on the May 12, 2006 between 7:30-8:00 AM. This lead was reinvestigated in mid-late 2011 but failed to produce new evidence. -On 13 May 2006 between 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, two witnesses reported seeing Durbin in a dark blue Renault Mégane being driven by a man, near the Turban Centre car park in Quayside, Woodbridge. -In late March 2007, a classmate of Durbin’s from Farlingaye High School reported seeing him outside Aldwych Theatre in Drury Lane, London. Subsequent events: -After a fatal shooting of a patron in December 2006, a police appeal to the Ipswich Borough Council led to a revocation of Zest nightclub's license, leading to an immediate closure in January 2007. Council members cited the club's reputation for attracting violent criminals and failing to ensure a safe environment as grounds for its closure. -In March 2008, Durbin's mother alongside Valerie Nettles, mother of missing teen Damien Nettles organized a 'March for the Missing' event. The event intended to raise awareness over the scale of how many go missing every year in the United Kingdom, in addition to appealing to the government to provide financial support to the Missing People charity. -In August 2011, a 29-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were arrested for identity fraud after using Luke Durbin’s details for making online purchases in August 2007. The pair were questioned but ultimately released. -In June 2012, a 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder with a 25-year-old arrested on suspicion of being concerned. Both were eventually bailed after questioning and a search of their homes. -The LotToDo Theatre Company's December 2012 production, 'The Missing' reenacted Durbin's story based on material from interviews with his family and friends. The production took place at The Etcetera Theatre in Camden, London. -In March 2019 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Missing People charity, artist Ben Moore curated the Unmissable exhibition at The Other Art Fair located at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London. A group of artists commissioned 25 portraits of the missing over the years, with Durbin's portrait painted by artist Ru Knox. -In April 2020, a Channel 5 documentary explored Durbin’s drug dealing history and his ties to gangs in Brixton, London. It is speculated Durbin owed money to dealers within his network. According to investigators, after Durbin’s shift concluded at the greengrocer, he went on to finalise a drug deal in Woodbridge before meeting up with Alex and Zach, on the night he disappeared. -Suffolk Police have described Durbin's disappearance to be one of their most baffling cases. Criticism of investigation: Durbin's mother has voiced her criticisms towards the initial police investigation stating it wasn't taken seriously enough, leading to "grave mistakes" and missing a crucial window in declaring it a murder investigation. Following a review in 2010, the Suffolk Police relaunched Durbin's case as a murder inquiry, referring the case to their Major Investigations Team (MIT).
amien Nettles disappeared from Cowes on the Isle of Wight on 2nd November 1996 at the age of 16 during a night out with a friend. Nothing has been seen of him since. The investigation into his disappearance has been ongoing ever since, with five men arrested in 2011, although no charges have been brought. Background: Damien Nettles was born June 21, 1980, to parents Valerie and Edward. He has a sister named Sarah. At the time of his disappearance he was roughly 6' 4" in height. He loved the rock band Nirvana and was often seen wearing his Doc Martens boots. Disappearance: On the night of his disappearance, Nettles was wearing blue jeans and a black fleece. It was believed that he had not taken a bag of any kind or any personal belongings with him from home. Nettles planned to go to a party with his friend, Chris, who lived in East Cowes, so his father, Ed, gave him a lift there. The night started with Nettles and Chris attending the party and, after spending some time there, they left to purchase some cider. Nettles was, however, seen leaving the party carrying a black camera, which has never been found. Nettles then journeyed back over to West Cowes via the ferry with Chris. Once back in West Cowes, Nettles entered Yorkies, the High Street fish and chip shop, but left without ordering anything. They then made attempts to get into pubs, but their efforts failed, causing the two friends to part ways for the night with Chris heading home. Nettles then purchased chips from Yorkies and was later seen staggering about till just after midnight. A witness remembers that Nettles was attempting to open the car doors of a blue Ford Fiesta. This person recalls it being somewhere around 23:15 and claims it took place in the Harbour Lights pub car park. After this, another witness placed Nettles at a bus stop near one of The Co-operative Group supermarkets. He entered a bus here, but exited shortly after talking to the driver. It was alleged that he had tried to take the drivers picture with the camera he had on him. He was said to have thanked the driver at the time of exiting the bus. A third witness was waiting in their car for their child to be dropped off by a different bus. Whilst waiting, they claim a person matching Nettles description was eating chips, nestled together with his arms and legs close to his body. The witness then claims the figure approached him, saying “They are watching us”. Investigation: Numerous people who witnessed Nettles on the night of his disappearance alleged he looked as though he could’ve been heavily drunk and possibly somewhat confused. Another allegation was made that a drug dealer by the name of Bunny Iles had sold drugs to Nettles. A previous girlfriend of Nettles, Abbie Scott, revealed she believed there were some aspects of his life he was keeping secret, and went on to say it could have involved drugs, although she wasn’t entirely sure. However, it wasn't possible to completely verify all witness statements from the night of Nettles’ disappearance, as some of the CCTV footage from the High Street that could've featured him, was claimed to be lost by Police. As of 2011, eight arrests for conspiracy to murder had been made by Hampshire Constabulary. All these people were released and nobody was charged. On 1st November 2011 two arrests were made in Cowes on suspicion of conspiring to murder after the police received information. The suspects were a man, aged 44 and a woman, aged 35. They were both questioned whilst in custody and linked to an address in Marsh Road, Gurnard, Isle of Wight, which was searched by police in the hopes of finding Nettles, or any evidence related to the case. Prior to this, in May 2011, five arrests had been made on suspicion of murder. These included a man from Sandown, Isle of Wight, aged 48, a person from Cowes, aged 45, a person from Newport, Isle of Wight, aged 50, a person from Ryde, aged 37 and a person from Gravesend, Kent, aged 40. All were released on bail. A sixth arrest was also made in July 2011, a man from East Cowes, aged 38. He was also released. As of 4th October 2013, a £20,000 reward was on offer from Hampshire Constabulary for 6 months. Despite receiving 30 accounts of information during this period, the authorities were still no closer to solving the mystery of Nettles’ whereabouts. Regardless of the family’s pleas, the reward wasn’t extended. On 25 July 2016, a BBC Three series, Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared, was broadcast about the case. As reported in this documentary series, the police originally claimed that the man responsible for collecting video footage had lost the tapes after police had returned them, but records relating to evidence proved that was not the case. In episode five of Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared, Nettles' mother expresses frustration at the police's handling of her son's disappearance, which had led to an official complaint on her part. Frustration is also expressed at the police's refusal to be interviewed for the documentary, and although the police maintain that Nettles' case remains open, she states dissatisfaction about what this actually entails, commenting "if they'd done it right the first time I wouldn't be here now". Crucial records, including the log of calls made to police that night, are gone, police notebooks were not retained, and even details of which officers were on duty that night have now been lost. Other criticisms towards the handling of the investigation include requests made to commence searches both on land and from the air, being rejected, and the error made by police who initially listed Nettles as a missing adult rather than a missing child. There have been several public campaigns to bring attention to Nettles' case. Various theories have emerged to explain Damien's disappearance, including that he owed money to drug dealers. Rumours have persistently alleged that a local drug dealer who was in the area on the night Nettles vanished was involved. Witness accounts include recollections of holding a boy up against a wall whose physique matched Nettles'. Associates were arrested and later released. The documentary Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared also mentions rumours of Nick McNamara, shortly after Nettles' disappearance, referring to himself as a "damned man", and of him incinerating suspicious objects outside his house. The documentary also mentions McNamara possibly making a "deathbed confession" about Nettles before dying of a heroin overdose. In spite of the many investigations conducted, plenty of campaigning, and production of documentaries seeking a resolution, Nettles’ whereabouts still remains a mystery.
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Robert Lane Saget was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and television host. Saget is known for playing Danny Tanner on the ABC sitcom Full House, and its Netflix sequel Fuller House. He was also the original host of America's Funniest Home Videos, and the voice of narrator Ted Mosby on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Saget was also known for his adult-oriented stand-up comedy, and his 2014 album That's What I'm Talkin' About was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. Early life: Saget was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 17, 1956, to a Jewish family. His father, Benjamin, was a supermarket executive, and his mother, Rosalyn "Dolly", was a hospital administrator. Early in his life, Saget's family moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where he briefly attended Lake Taylor High. Saget would later attribute the start of his developing sense of humor to being a rebellious student at Norfolk's Temple Israel, a Conservative synagogue. Due to a lack of family in Virginia, Saget had his bar mitzvah in Philadelphia when he turned 13. Saget's family moved from Virginia to the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he met Larry Fine of The Three Stooges and heard various stories from Fine. The family would then move back to Philadelphia prior to his senior year with Saget graduating from Abington Senior High School. Saget originally intended to become a doctor, but his Honors English teacher, Elaine Zimmerman, saw his creative potential and urged him to seek a career in films. Saget attended Temple University's film school, where he created Through Adam's Eyes, a black-and-white film about a boy who received reconstructive facial surgery, and was honored with an award of merit in the Student Academy Awards. While attending Temple, Saget made trips via train to The Improv and to Catch a Rising Star in New York City where he would play "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" while using a water bottle to make the guitar appear to weep. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1978. Saget intended to take graduate courses at the University of Southern California but quit after only a few days. Saget described himself at that time in an article by Glenn Esterly in the 1990 Saturday Evening Post: "I was a cocky, overweight twenty-two-year-old. Then I had a gangrenous appendix taken out, almost died, and I got over being cocky or overweight." Saget talked about his burst appendix on Anytime with Bob Kushell and said that it happened on the Fourth of July, at the UCLA Medical Center, and that they iced the area for seven hours before taking it out and finding that it had become gangrenous. Career- 1987–2001: Following a short stint as a member of CBS' The Morning Program in early 1987, Saget was cast as Danny Tanner in Full House, which became a success with family viewers, and landed in the Nielsen ratings' Top 30 beginning with season three. In 1989, Saget began as the host of America's Funniest Home Videos, a role he held until 1997. During the early 1990s, Saget worked on both Full House and AFV simultaneously. In 2009, he returned to AFV for the 20th-anniversary one-hour special co-hosted with Tom Bergeron. Saget directed the 1996 ABC television movie For Hope, which was inspired by the life story of his sister, Gay Saget, who had died from scleroderma three years earlier. In 1998, he directed his first feature film, Dirty Work, starring Norm Macdonald and Artie Lange. Released one year after he left his long-running role as host of America's Funniest Home Videos, the film received broadly negative reviews from critics and earned low box office returns. However, it has since become a cult favorite, due partially to Artie Lange's later popularity on The Howard Stern Show where the film is sometimes mentioned, often in unflattering terms. In 1998, Saget made a cameo appearance as a cocaine addict in the stoner comedy Half Baked. 2001-2022: In 2001, Saget took on another widowed-dad role, starring on Raising Dad on The WB. It co-starred Kat Dennings, Brie Larson, and Jerry Adler and lasted only one season, from October 5, 2001, to May 10, 2002. He served as the voice of the future Ted Mosby, who narrated the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, which ran for nine seasons from September 19, 2005, to March 31, 2014. He was host of the NBC game show 1 vs. 100 from 2006 to 2008. His HBO comedy special, That Ain't Right, came out on DVD on August 28, 2007. It is dedicated to his father, Ben Saget, who died at age 89 on January 30, 2007, due to complications from congestive heart failure. From 2005 to 2010, Saget had a recurring role in four episodes of the HBO TV series Entourage playing a parody version of himself. He would later appear in the 2015 feature film based on the series. 2005 also saw him be part of "Rollin' with Saget", a song by Jamie Kennedy and Stuart Stone, about a night out with him that shows off his raunchier behaviors. Saget even does vocals on the track. The video appeared on the MTV series Blowin' Up, and he would come to use it as a pseudo-theme song on his stand-up tours and website. Saget wrote, directed, and starred in Farce of the Penguins, a parody of 2005's March of the Penguins, which was released direct-to-DVD, in January 2007. Saget appeared in the Broadway musical The Drowsy Chaperone for a limited four-month engagement. He played "Man in Chair" while Jonathan Crombie, who normally played the character on Broadway, was with the national tour of the musical. On January 4, 2008, Saget's caricature was unveiled at Sardi's Restaurant. In April 2009, he debuted in a new sitcom along with his co-star Cynthia Stevenson on ABC called Surviving Suburbia. The series, which was originally slated to air on The CW, ended after a single abbreviated season. In 2010, Saget starred in the A&E series Strange Days, in which he followed others in different activities and lifestyles, documenting their adventures in unusual ways. In 2014, his book Dirty Daddy was released, in which he writes about his career, comedy influences, and experiences with life and death. He embarked on a small tour in support of the book, including the Pemberton Music Festival, where he introduced Snoop Dogg prior to performing his own set. In the same year, he toured Australia for the first time, with a stand-up show called Bob Saget Live: The Dirty Daddy Tour. The show was performed in the major cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth. In 2015 and 2016, he guest-starred in two episodes of Grandfathered, starring and produced by his Full House co-star John Stamos. From 2016 to 2020, Saget reprised his role as Danny Tanner for fifteen episodes of Full House's sequel series, Fuller House, including the series premiere and finale. In 2017, he released another stand-up special, Bob Saget: Zero to Sixty. In 2019, he was announced as host of ABC's Videos After Dark. Saget also hosted the game show Nashville Squares on CMT, and made his first of three appearances as a panelist on To Tell the Truth. In 2020, Saget competed in season four of The Masked Singer as "Squiggly Monster". Saget also launched a podcast titled Bob Saget's Here for You with Studio71. Its 130th and final episode, with comedian Dane Cook, was released posthumously on January 31, 2022. Personal life: Saget married Sherri Kramer in 1982. They had three daughters. The couple divorced in 1997. In 2018, Saget married Kelly Rizzo, host of Eat Travel Rock TV. Saget was a board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation. His scleroderma efforts benefited celebrities like Scary Movie star Regina Hall. In an interview with Ability Magazine, Saget discussed how his sister was diagnosed with scleroderma at 43 and died at 47. She had previously been misdiagnosed numerous times. Death: On January 9, 2022, at about 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), Saget was found unresponsive in his room at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, south of Orlando, Florida, near Williamsburg. He had missed his scheduled checkout time, and family members became concerned after being unable to contact him. Emergency responders pronounced Saget dead at the scene; he was 65 years old. No cause of death was immediately announced, though foul play and drug use were ruled out by the sheriff and the medical examiner. At the time of his death, Saget was on a stand-up tour, and had performed in Ponte Vedra Beach the previous evening. -An autopsy report was released on February 9, 2022, and found that Saget had blunt head trauma from an accidental blow to the back of his head, likely from a fall, and subsequently died from the resulting injuries (subdural hematoma and subarachnoid hemorrhage) in his sleep. At the time of his death, he was COVID-19 positive, though there were no signs of inflammation. On February 15, 2022, Saget's family sued to prevent county officials from releasing additional documents from the investigation of his death, arguing that their graphic content would present privacy violations; a permanent injunction was issued against their release on March 14. -News of Saget's death broke during a broadcast of America's Funniest Home Videos in the Eastern and Central time zones, and ABC interrupted the program to announce it. A tribute video was posted on the show's official YouTube channel, and a dedication to Saget was added before the credits of the following episode. -Saget had been honored with donations and offers to help the charity Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF), whose board of directors Saget served on since 2003. According to a statement made by the foundation's executive director on January 13, 2022, the foundation has received donations from more than 1,500 donors from all over the world, totaling more than $90,000. Additionally, a donation of $1.5 million was awarded to the charity by one of its board members in the form of a grant, which will match every donation made in memory of Saget. -Saget's funeral took place on January 14, 2022. He was buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery near the graves of his parents and sister. -A tribute special, filmed at The Comedy Store by longtime friend Mike Binder on January 30, is set for release on Netflix in June 2022. this is really sad since i watched full house and saw snippets of america's funniest home videos.
Monday, April 18, 2022
The runaway bride case concerns Jennifer Wilbanks, an American woman who ran away from home on April 26, 2005, in order to avoid her wedding with John Mason, her fiancé, on April 30. Her disappearance from Duluth, Georgia, sparked a nationwide search and intensive media coverage, including media speculation that Mason had killed her. On April 29, Wilbanks called Mason from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and falsely claimed that she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a Hispanic man and a white woman. Jennifer Wilbanks gained notoriety in the United States and internationally, and her story persisted as a major topic of national news coverage for some time after she was found unharmed. Many critics of the mass media attacked the coverage as a "media circus". Howard Kurtz, an influential media critic for The Washington Post and CNN-TV, and Fox News wrote that the runaway bride had become a "runaway television embarrassment", comparing the story to a TV soap opera. Wilbanks repeated the false claims that fell apart under FBI interrogation resulting in a felony indictment of providing false information to law enforcement, a charge that could have resulted in up to five years of imprisonment. On June 2, 2005, Wilbanks pleaded no contest to this charge. As part of her plea bargain, she was sentenced to two years of probation and 120 hours of community service, and she was also ordered to pay $2,250 in restitution to the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department. As part of the plea bargain, a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report was dismissed. Wilbanks's criminal record was expunged after she successfully completed her period of probation. Timeline: -April 26, 2005 – Mason notified police that Wilbanks was missing two hours after she failed to return from her evening jog. -April 27 – 250 people took part in the search for Wilbanks. Local police speculated publicly that Wilbanks' disappearance might be "a case of the premarital jitters," but the search continued. The mayor of Duluth later reported the city spent between $40,000 and $60,000 in the search. -April 27 – Police received numerous pieces of evidence that later turned out to be false leads, including large clumps of dark brown hair in an area next to a retention pond, a variety of clothing, and purported murder weapons. -April 28 – Major Donald L. Woodruff of the City of Duluth's Police Department announced that because there were no other explanations, Wilbanks' disappearance was being handled as a criminal investigation. The FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were now involved in the case. -April 29 – Wilbanks' relatives offered a $100,000 reward and planned vigils. Later that day, Wilbanks called Mason from a pay phone and told him that she had been kidnapped, but had just been released. She also called 911, declaring in a frantic voice that she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a Hispanic man and a Caucasian woman in their 40s driving a blue van. When asked if she knew what direction her captors went after setting her free, she said, "I have no idea. I don't even know where I am." The calls were traced to a pay phone at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she was picked up by local police. Her family publicly thanked the media for getting through to the kidnappers. Later, during FBI interrogation, Wilbanks admitted that she had not been abducted, but needed time and space to escape the pressures of her upcoming wedding. -May 9 – Wilbanks entered a treatment facility "to address physical and mental issues which, she believes, played a major role in her running from herself." -May 17 – Wilbanks canceled her engagement to her fiancé. -May 25 – Wilbanks was charged with making false statements. -May 31 – Wilbanks reached an agreement with the city of Duluth to repay more than $13,000 in costs incurred by the city in their search. -October 10, 2006 – Wilbanks filed a lawsuit against her ex-fiancé for $500,000, claiming it is her share of a home the ex-fiancé purchased with the proceeds to a book deal he negotiated for them when she was medicated, plus punitive damages. Her ex-fiancé, Mason, counter-sued. -December 2006 – Both parties dropped their respective lawsuits. Aftermath and lawsuit: On May 22, 2006, People magazine reported that Wilbanks and Mason had officially called off their engagement. According to the BBC, Jennifer Wilbanks sold the media rights to her story to a New York City company for $500,000. Wilbanks did not offer to repay the whole cost of the search for her, which totaled almost $43,000. In September 2006, Wilbanks filed a lawsuit against her ex-fiancé, claiming that while she was hospitalized and under medication, she granted Mason power of attorney to negotiate the sale of the couple's story to a publisher in New York. According to her, Mason negotiated a deal for $500,000 and then used the money to buy a house, in his name only, from which he later evicted Wilbanks. She claimed $250,000 as her share of the house, and another $250,000 in punitive damages. Mason countersued, claiming emotional distress from being left at the altar. In December 2006, both of the parties dropped their respective lawsuits. On March 15, 2008, Wilbanks's ex-fiancé, John Mason, married another woman, Shelley Martin, in a quiet ceremony at his parents' home in Duluth, Georgia. Wilbanks and Mason's original wedding was to have had 600 guests and 28 bridesmaids. In June 2010, Wilbanks announced via Facebook that she had been dating twice-divorced landscaper Greg Hutson since early in 2009. Impact of the events: -Herobuilders, a manufacturer of action figures, rushed to produce a doll representing Wilbanks, wearing a jogging suit bearing the slogan "Vegas baby". It came with a small towel, to put over the doll's head, to model how she appeared on TV when in the custody of Albuquerque Police. -Wilbanks has inspired a "Runaway Bride" action figure and a hot sauce called "Jennifer's High Tailin' Hot Sauce". An auction on eBay of a slice of toast carved with a likeness of Wilbanks closed with a winning bid of $15,400. -Nearly two years after Wilbanks ran away, the incident was used by the Albuquerque Police Department as a means of attracting new recruits to the police force. The police department used the image of a bride in a white wedding dress and veil being apprehended by Police Officer Trish Hoffman, posted on a billboard with the advertisement reading "Running away from your current job? Call APD Recruiting" followed by the police department's telephone number. Hoffman was the officer who was pictured in the media leading Wilbanks through Albuquerque International Sunport after being taken into custody. The Police Department's reasoning for using the image was the fact that many people would recognize the reference to the incident and that people still talked about the incident. -A musical play based on the story of Jennifer Wilbanks opened on March 13, 2008, at the Red Clay Theater in Duluth, Georgia. -A photo of Wilbanks appears in the trailer of the 2008 movie about professional poker, The Grand, as one of the many women Woody Harrelson's character has been married to in the past. -Wilbanks' case is frequently used as an example, in both scholarly and popular articles and books. In 2012 Psychology Today wrote an article about cold feet that cited Wilbanks as an example. Diana M. Concannon textbook Kidnapping: An Investigator’s Guide began its chapter on staged kidnappings by using Wilbanks' case as an example.
An American woman named Sherri Papini disappeared from her husband and family on November 2, 2016, reportedly while out jogging a mile from her home in Redding, California. Papini was 34 years old at the time. She reappeared three weeks later on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, having been reportedly freed by her captors at 4:30 that morning still wearing restraints, on the side of County Road 17 near Interstate 5 in Yolo County, about 150 miles (240 km) south of where she disappeared. The case garnered major media attention, with national law enforcement experts reporting doubts or otherwise baffled as to the unlikely details and inconsistencies of the reported abduction. On March 3, 2022, Papini was arrested on charges of making false statements to federal law enforcement officers and for mail fraud. According to the DOJ, Papini fabricated the story of her abduction. She had reportedly been staying with a former boyfriend during the time she was supposedly missing and had harmed herself in order to give credence to her false narrative. She maintained her story when questioned by a federal agent and a detective from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office in August 2020, despite being advised that it was a crime to lie to a federal agent. From 2017 to 2021, Papini had received over $30,000 from the California Victim's Compensation Board. On March 9, 2022, Papini was released from jail before her trial, on a $120,000 bond and after surrendering her passport. She and her lawyer had no comment on the allegations against her. Papini had faced up to 25 years in prison between the charges of mail fraud and lying to a federal officer. However, six weeks after her arrest, Papini signed a plea deal admitting that she had orchestrated the hoax. Background: Sherri Louise Graeff was born on June 11, 1982. She married Keith Papini in 2009. The couple have two children together. Timeline: Sherri's husband Keith Papini first became concerned when he returned from his job at Best Buy on November 2 and could not find his wife at home. He eventually used the "Find My iPhone" application to locate her cell phone and ear buds at the intersection of Sunrise Drive and Old Oregon Trail (40.6950511°N 122.318494°W), about a mile from their home. According to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, in interviews Papini said she was held by two Hispanic women who took steps to keep their faces hidden from her, either by wearing masks or by keeping Papini's head covered. Papini was branded on her right shoulder during her captivity but details of what the brand includes have not been revealed. According to a statement by her husband Keith Papini, Sherri was physically abused during her captivity, had her nose broken and her hair cut off, and weighed 87 pounds (40 kg) when she was released. The sheriff said that this is still an active investigation and that authorities are "looking for a dark-colored SUV with two Hispanic females armed with a handgun." The sheriff indicated that there is sensitive information that is not being released at this time. Detectives have authored close to 20 search warrants and they said they’re examining cellphone records, bank accounts, email and social media profiles. Investigators have declined to discuss what prompted them to file the search warrants or why detectives have traveled out of state. According to Bosenko, Keith Papini "has been cooperative and even volunteered for a polygraph, which he passed." However, Bosenko has not ruled out Papini as a suspect in the abduction, stating "We are keeping an open mind and looking at all avenues." Keith has been reported as possibly compromising the investigation with his statements to the media after Sherri was found. Authorities declined to comment on specific details of the ongoing investigation but have reported that they are actively pursuing the case. In November, while Papini was still missing, authorities executed more than 12 search warrants in Michigan. The FBI has provided assistance in the case. Papini was found with both male and female DNA on her, neither of which matched her or her husband. The FBI ran the DNA through their database CODIS and found no matches. In March 2022, it was reported that DNA found on her clothing matched that of an ex-boyfriend, who confirmed that Papini stayed with him during the time she was allegedly kidnapped. Arrest: On March 3, 2022, Sherri Papini was arrested by the FBI, accused of lying to federal agents and faking her kidnapping to spend time with her ex-boyfriend, away from her husband and family. Six weeks after her arrest, Papini signed a plea deal admitting that she had orchestrated the hoax.
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Steven Zelich is a convicted murderer and a former police officer for Milwaukee who was dubbed the "Wisconsin Suitcase Murderer" by the press. Murders: Zelich frequented S&M websites under the alias “mrhandcuffs”, where he searched for submissive sex slave partners. That's where he met his two victims, 19-year-old Jenny Gamez and 37-year-old Laura Simonson. Gamez was killed in Oregon in late 2012 and Simonson was killed in Minnesota mid 2013. Zelich claimed both died accidentally during sex. He admitted that after causing their deaths, he put their bodies into suitcases and hid them in his home. The suitcases were later put into the trunk of his vehicle, and then dumped along a Geneva, Wisconsin roadway in tall grass. On June 5, 2014, a highway worker discovered the pair of discarded suitcases. According to the subsequent criminal complaint, the more decomposed of the two bodies was partly concealed in black plastic garbage bags and had her hands bound behind her back with rope. The other body “was found with a rope wrapped around her neck, had a sexual ball gag strapped into her mouth with a collar and was naked.” Zelich, who had continued to use S&M dating websites after the recovery of the bodies, was arrested on June 27, 2014. Investigation: Laura Simonson was immediately identified from her dental records. Jenny Gamez was initially unable to be identified, and labeled a Jane Doe. Gamez was last seen by her family in Cottage Grove, Oregon in 2012 at which time she said she would be moving, and had not been reported missing. Walworth County released a composite sketch of Gamez, which led friends and family to identify her. The identification of Jenny Gamez was confirmed by dental records on June 28th, 2014. On the 25 of June 2014, Zelich was charged with two counts of hiding a corpse and given a million dollar bail. He was later charged with murder. Trial and imprisonment: Zelich pleaded guilty to the murder of Jenny Gamez in early 2016. He received 35 years imprisonment. In February 2017, he was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of Laura Simonson. Zelich received another 10 years for the charges of hiding of corpses in October 2017. In the media: -Crime Watch Daily reported on the case with a focus on the Walworth County police’s identification process of Jenny Gamez through forensic science.