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Entries in Missing (333)

Sunday
Jul282013

Hudson River Boat Crash: Body Believed to Be Best Man Found

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- Searchers found a body Sunday believed to be the best man in a wedding party, who along with a bride-to-be was thrown overboard from a speed boat that slammed into a barge on the Hudson River, police said.

Mark Lennon, 30, has been missing since he and the future bride were ejected from a 21-foot Stingray powerboat in the Hudson River that struck three connected barges in the water by the Tappan Zee Bridge in Piermont, N.Y., at approximately 10:40 p.m. Friday night.

Authorities said six people were onboard the boat, including groom-to-be Brian Bond, 35, and his fiancée, 30-year-old Lindsay Stewart. The group was on their way to Tarrytown, N.Y., when the accident occurred.

A man on a personal water craft saw the body Sunday morning and called 911, Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said.

The body has not been positively identified, but Falco said officials believe it is Lennon.

Rescue crews found what appeared to be a female body floating on the surface of the water without a life jacket Saturday morning. It is believed to be the body of Stewart, but officials have not yet confirmed it is her.

Jojo John, 35, of Nyack, N.Y., the operator of the boat, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault. Officials said they believe John was drunk behind the wheel of the boat when the crash occurred.

"At this point, we have probable cause to believe [John] operated the boat while intoxicated, and that's the basis for the charge," Rockland County Undersheriff Robert Van Cura said.

John was arraigned in his hospital bed and was ordered to be held on $250,000 bond, ABC New York station WABC-TV reported.

Bond, John and two other men onboard were injured in the accident and taken to local hospitals. Bond was knocked unconscious and suffered a fractured eye socket, WABC-TV reported. When he regained consciousness, he called 911 to report the crash.

The future bride and the best man at her wedding, just two weeks away, were reported missing after the crash.

Stewart and Bond were to be married on Aug. 10, Stewart's mother said.

"It can't end like this," Stewart's mother, Carol Stewart, told WABC-TV.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul042013

Bald Eagle Missing from Baton Rouge Zoo

Credit: BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- A bald eagle that zoo officials thought couldn’t fly surprised everyone when it was spooked during a routine maintenance session and flew toward  his mesh enclosure with enough force to create a hole and escape, according to the zoo.

The unnamed male bald eagle came to the zoo about a year ago after wildlife rehabilitators found it injured and with broken bones.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife determined that it could not be re-released into the wild and needed a permanent home, according to Kaki Heiligenthal, the director of marketing for the Baton Rouge Zoo.

She said the zoo believed the eagle was unflighted, or had limited flight capabilities, until it became startled and took off.

“When he ran into the mesh at the top of the exhibit, it was hard enough to create a hole,” Heiligenthal told ABC News on Thursday. “It turns out he could fly a little bit better than we had originally anticipated and just took off and kept going.”

The eagle escaped on Wednesday morning. Zoo officials have been searching for it ever since and have asked  for the public’s help in locating the bird.

“We are actively searching,” Heiligenthal said. “We’ve been fielding a bunch of phone calls from people in the area who have seen birds that they believe to be the eagle and we’re recording all of those and looking into the ones that seem most likely.”

The zoo staff is searching the zoo grounds as well as the surrounding parks and neighborhoods. Heiligenthal said that eagles naturally gravitate toward high places.

“Eagles are not notoriously aggressive, but if someone tried to grab him or something, certainly he could become defensive,” she said. “The best thing to do would be to keep him within sight and give the zoo a call so we can send out the proper personnel to come collect him.

“It’s been a little over 24 hours, but we’re still very hopeful that we’ll find him,” Heiligenthal said.

The zoo is asking that anyone who may spot the eagle call it at (225) 775-3877.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun292013

Fire Authority Wants to Bill Missing Teen for Search and Rescue Costs

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(COSTA MESA, Calif.) -- County fire authorities want a Costa Mesa, Calif., teenager to pay the cost of its search and rescue efforts to find him when he went missing while hiking with a friend in the woods on March 31.

On Wednesday the Orange County Fire Authority filed a briefing in Orange County Superior Court seeking $55,000 in restitution fees from Nicolas Cendoya, 19. In the briefing the Fire Authority asks that Cendoya pay restitution in addition to the penalty he could incur for possession of a controlled substance, according to court records.

Cendoya was charged last month with one felony count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine after officers from the Orange County Sheriff's Department found .5 grams of methamphetamine in Cendoya's car in the course of the search and rescue effort, according to a police complaint obtained by ABC News.

Cendoya's disappearance near Trabuco Canyon sparked a four-day search and rescue effort for him and his companion, Kyndall Jack, 18, who was not charged with anything, that involved multiple emergency agencies and amounted to a total cost of $160,000, according to Kris Concepcion, a division chief in the Fire Authority. The Fire Authority's costs came to $55,000.

Cendoya was found on April 3, and Jack on April 4.

Cendoya admitted he'd taken methamphetamine before and during the hike, Concepcion told ABC News.
"We're making the argument that if it were not for the ingesting of drugs and becoming disoriented, Cendoya would not have been lost, and search and rescue would not have been necessary," Concepcion said.

"A lot of people feel that ingestion of drugs is a victimless crime, but it truly is not. In this case, Cendoya's criminal activity resulted in a large cost to the Orange County taxpayers. It also caused two injuries, one to a deputy and one to a volunteer," Concepcion said.

"The search cost the fire authority $55,000. It covers the cost of search and rescue efforts over the course of four days, which includes the use of our helicopter and 30 crew members who searched on foot," Concepcion explained.

The briefing cites an amendment to the California constitution called Marcy's Law, which allows for restitution to victims of criminal activity.

"We, and the taxpayers, are the real victims of Mr. Cendoya's criminal activity," Concepcion said.

Other agencies that participated in the search and rescue have chosen not to seek restitution.

"We've never done something like that before and we're not planning to. Our commitment is to public safety," Farrah Emami of the Orange County Sheriff's Department told ABC News. "We just answer the call."

The search and rescue cost the Sheriff's Department $32,000, said Emami.

But the Orange County Fire Authority has found support elsewhere.

On May 31, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a legislative proposal to allow the County to recover the cost of search and rescue operations, according to a statement given to ABC News by a Board of Supervisors spokesperson.

"Individuals who recklessly put themselves and others in danger should pay the cost for such rescues. Innocent taxpayers should not bear the burden of these exorbitant costs," Town Supervisor Todd Spitzer said in the statement.

Under current state and county law, Orange County cannot receive restitution for search and rescue operations.

The Orange County Fire Authority is still awaiting the ruling on its briefing.

"I won't speculate on the case, but we're hopeful. We're waiting to see what happens," Concepcion said.

Efforts to reach Cendoya were not successful, as his phone, as well as his mother's, had been disconnected. Two phone messages were left for Cendoya's attorney regarding the restitution and the criminal charge, but the calls were not immediately returned.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun092013

Body of Missing Teacher Found

New Orleans Police(NEW ORLEANS) -- The body of missing teacher Terrilyn Monette was found today in her car, which was discovered submerged in a Louisiana bayou, New Orleans officials said Saturday.

Monette's body was found in the driver's seat of the vehicle, according to ABC News affiliate WGNO-TV in New Orleans.

Monette, 26, has been missing since March, when she was last seen leaving a popular bar early in the morning hours. No suspects have been named in connection with her disappearance.

Her family, based in Long Beach, Calif., have been traveling to New Orleans for months in an attempt to bring more attention to her disappearance. On Friday they held a prayer vigil and asked that the FBI be brought in to handle the case.

Previously Monette's mother, Toni Enclade, had asked authorities to widen the search to a national level to find her daughter.

On Saturday, divers revisited a bayou that had already been searched, after sonar picked up an object in the water

State Rep. Austin Badon, who helped to organize many of the underwater searches in the area, was also there.

"It was not the outcome we had looked for, but we did find her. It allowed the family to have some sense of relief and closure," Badon told WGNO-TV.

After hearing that the car was being pulled out, Monette's family gathered to watch as the teacher's car was pulled to dry land.

"I don't understand why it took them so long to find her car," Enclade told The Times-Picayune. "This is supposedly one of the first places they would have checked. I'm just overwhelmed. It doesn't make sense."

At the time of her disappearance, Monette had recently become a second-grade teacher at the Woodland West Elementary school in Jefferson Parish.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr282013

Michigan Mother Disappears From Late Night Shift at Gas Station

ABC News(NORTH SHORES, Mich.) -- The disappearance of a Michigan mother who was last seen working the late shift at a gas station was reclassified Sunday as an abduction, as the woman's family pleaded for her safe return.

Jessica Heeringa, 25, made her last sale at the Exxon gas station in North Shores, Mich., at 11 p.m. Friday, police said. She was preparing to close the store for the night, but 15 minutes later authorities said they received a call from a concerned customer reporting that there was no employee at the open gas station.

"She was going to get out in 15 minutes," Shelly Heeringa, Jessica's mother, told ABCNews. "In 15 minutes that store would've been closed and she would've been on her way home."

Heeringa's purse and keys were left behind and the cleaning supplies she always took out at closing time were on the counter, her mother said.

North Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw said today that it appeared robbery was not a motive, and that the store's cash drawer was left untouched.

The gas station was not outfitted with surveillance cameras, so investigators are relying on tips to help them zero in on what happened during the 15 minute time frame Heeringa went missing.

Shaw said authorities are looking for a silver minivan, possible a Chrysler Town and Country, that was seen in the area prior to Jessica's disappearance.

Shelly Heeringa said someone saw her daughter "walk out of the store with this guy like there was no problem," but when they got to his van, a struggle ensued.

"If somebody did take her, I wish they would just drop her some place so she could come home," Heeringa said of her daughter.

"She's just a hard working girl. She was trying to support her child," she said. "She was trying to get her life going and she just needs to come home."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar242013

Sunil Tripathi: Search for Missing Ivy League Student Expands Across Northeast

Courtesy Tripathi Family(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- The search for a Brown University student who left home without his wallet and cellphone has expanded across the Northeast after authorities found no signs of him in the Providence, R.I., area.

Sunil Tripathi, a 22-year-old philosophy major, was last seen by his housemate on the morning of March 16.

His sister, Sangeeta Tripathi, said her brother had "no exceptional plans" that weekend and that it was "completely atypical" of him to disappear without contacting anyone.

"Between family and friends, we are in constant contact with him," Tripathi, 30, said. "We became worried when he didn't respond to many missed calls."

Tripathi's bicycle, which he used as his main form of transportation, was also at the apartment he shared with several other Brown University students, his sister said.

The search has focused in the past week on hospitals, stores, parks and other public spaces where Tripathi could be, but authorities have found no signs of him.

The search, which has been spearheaded by the Providence Police Department and the Brown University Department of Public Safety, has now expanded to Boston, Connecticut, New York and Philadelphia, according to a statement from the school.

The FBI has joined the search.

"[It's] on the small hope he just decided to go somewhere and is OK. People have been posting fliers and visiting places a young person without an ID or money would go," Tripathi said.

Sunil Tripathi grew up in Radnor, Pa., as the youngest of three siblings, who have all attended Brown University, his sister said.

"He's just a really quiet smart kid. All three of us went to Brown and he outscored us in all of our grades," Sangeeta Tripathi said.

"We're a very, very close family and when we heard [he was missing], we were trying to frantically look for photos. We had trouble finding a photo [where] we all weren't so physically close in the image," she said.

Sunil Tripathi was last seen wearing a pair of blue jeans, a black Eastern Mountain Sports ski jacket, glasses and a Philadelphia Eagles wool hat. He is 6-feet tall and weighs 130 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Providence Police Department.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar232013

Jogger Sought in Case of Missing New Orleans Teacher

Images Courtesy of Amy Hoyle(NEW ORLEANS) -- New Orleans police believe that a jogger seen on surveillance video may have information about the disappearance of elementary school teacher Terrilynn Monette.

"If anyone knows who that jogger was, or if you were jogging in City Park that morning, please come forward. Maybe that person saw something that can help the investigation," Lt. Christopher Kalka told ABC affiliate WGNO News.

Police have also released a sequence of events on the night the second grade teacher disappeared.

Police say that on the night of March 1, Monette, 26, originally of Long Beach, Calif., joined a friend for dinner in a New Orleans area restaurant. The two then joined several other pals at Parlay's bar about midnight.

"She did not consume any excessive number of alcoholic beverages while she was there," the police statement said. Police say they interviewed several people who were at the bar including the two bartenders on duty that night, bouncers and other patrons at the bar.

According to the police statement, Monette's phone ran out of battery life and stopped working just before 1 a.m.

Around 3:30 a.m., she went to her car for 45 minutes with a man who has since been interviewed and ruled out as a suspect, the police said.

"He said, at the time, that she was passed out in the driver's seat and appeared intoxicated. He thought it was best for her to 'sleep it off,'" the statement said.

The young teacher left the parking lot around 5:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, March 2.

Police say several unreleased surveillance cameras reveal that no cars followed Monette after leaving the bar, but a jogger was spotted at one of the intersections 10 minutes after her car was last seen on the surveillance tape.

Police also checked a traffic camera near her apartment but there is no sign of her returning home, police said.

Detectives are interviewing "aggressive sex offenders within a 2 mile radius" of the area, Kalka said.

Earlier this week, Monette's mother urged authorities to expand their search beyond the New Orleans area.

"It should be nationwide now," Toni Enclade told ABC News. "As a mother, my instincts were leading me to know that she is not in any of the areas where they've been searching. I feel and believe that someone has Terrilynn."

Anyone with information is asked to call New Orleans Police at 504-658-4000.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar082013

Missing "People's Court" Mom's Family Files Wrongful Death Suit

ABC News (ORLANDO, Fla.) -- The mother of missing Florida mom Michelle Parker has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Parker's ex-fiance, who is the father of two of her children.

Parker, 33, of Orlando, Fla., has been missing since Nov. 17, 2011, the same day her appearance on The People's Court television show aired. She and Smith appeared in the episode to resolve a dispute over a $5,000 engagement ring.

Parker was last seen dropping off the couple's twins at Smith's home.

Police named Parker's ex-fiance Dale Smith as the prime suspect in the case, but no charges have been filed and no arrest has been made. He still has custody of the children. But the attorney for Parker's family claims he has evidence against Smith, including text messages.

The lawsuit, which seeks damages in excess of $15,000, claims that Dale Smith was "negligent or otherwise committed a wrongful act and caused the death of Michelle L. Parker."

Parker's Hummer was found after her disappearance as was her battered iPhone, at the bottom of a lake. Though the cell phone was found about 40 minutes from Parker's home, the lake is only five minutes from Smith's home.

Parker's body has not been found, but the lawsuit claims that Parker "died on or about November 17, 2011 as a direct and proximate result of the negligence of the Defendant."

"That's the day we believe it happened," Parker estate attorney John Morgan told ABC News. Parker's mother Yvonne Stewart represents her daughter's estate, which includes her three children.

"[Yvonne Stewart] doesn't want to believe it happened, but everyone knows what happened and when it happened," Morgan said. "We think she was killed."

Morgan said the legal team is not ready to elaborate on the details of what they believe happened to the mother of three, but said he will let the lawsuit speak for itself for now.

"If the said Defendant had not been negligent or otherwise committed a wrongful act, and if said Defendant had acted appropriately in accordance with the prevailing standard care of the Defendant, there would not have been any injuries or damages sustained by Michelle L. Parker," the filing states.

More than a year after Parker's disappearance, detectives are still investigating her case.

"It's still an open investigation," Orlando Police Sgt. Jim Young told ABC News Friday. He spoke to the case's lead detective on Thursday who said there are no updates in the case and Smith is still listed as a suspect.

Morgan claims he has evidence against Smith, including text messages between Parker and Smith.

"We just think that we have some pieces that when taken with testimony may tell a more full story and that testimony has to come from Dale and his parents."

Asked if he could elaborate on the content of the messages, Morgan said, "I don't want to say. I don't want him to be ready for that."

"We'll be most interested when we get a chance to depose him," Morgan said. "Will he take the fifth or tell the truth?"

Smith could opt out of answering most questions by pleading the fifth in the civil case to prevent incriminating himself in any possible future criminal case.

Smith's attorney Mark Nejame refutes the claims made by the Parker estate's attorney.

"They're barking up the wrong tree," Nejame said. "They've been frustrated for a long time because law enforcement hasn't found a scintilla of evidence that ties him to her disappearance or murder...Just because everyone thinks he did it doesn't mean he did it."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar082013

Missing Colorado Woman's Roommate Refuses to Meet with Police

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Authorities in Colorado are hoping to interview the roommate of a Colorado bank employee who has been missing for nearly two weeks.

Police in Wheat Ridge, a western suburb of Denver, said there wasn't evidence to suspect foul play in the disappearance of Leann "Annie" Meyer, 52, however, they're perplexed that her roommate, Melissa Miller, is unwilling to meet police in person.

"We certainly think Melissa Miller has information that would be useful to us. We don't know if she knows where Annie is, but we would certainly like to speak with her," Wheat Ridge Police Cmdr. Dave Pickett said. "We don't have a criminal case at this point. We have no crime scene, no one telling us Ms. Meyer was in danger. This is still very much a missing persons case."

Authorities can't pinpoint the exact date Meyer -- or her two vehicles-- disappeared.

 

Miller called in sick for her roommate, who is employed by U.S. Bank, on Feb. 22, Pickett said. The next day, a friend reported speaking with Meyer on the phone. And on Feb. 25, a text message was sent from Meyer's phone to her employer, letting her employer know she would not be coming into work.

"She's real responsible. She's been at the same job for the last 15 years, never misses work. This is very unlike her to not have spoken to anyone," Meyer's friend, Luann Joecken, told ABC News. "I have no reason to believe [Melissa] would harm Annie in any way, but the fact she is not coming forward makes me suspicious."

On Thursday, authorities searched the women's shared residence for a third time. Miller has not returned to the home she shared with Meyer since police became involved on March 4, Pickett said.

She told authorities over the phone that her roommate left with a woman named Cathy, police said, but Joecken said she was skeptical.

"I've known her for 28 years. She has never once mentioned this Cathy person to me," Joecken told ABC News. "I've been talking to people for the past four days, and no one has ever heard of her."

Meyer's absence is particularly stinging for her friends, who would have celebrated her 52nd birthday with her Friday.

Instead of a birthday celebration, they are organizing search parties. Joecken and a group plan to search the area on Saturday for signs of their friend, and to hand out flyers, if bad weather does not get in the way.

"It's extremely stressful. I just wish there was something I could do," Joecken said. "We're having a search for her tomorrow, but we're expecting bad weather, so it may be delayed. I'm very upset."

ABC News could not reach Melissa Miller for comment.

Meyer's missing silver Rav4 has a Colorado license plate 975-YUH. Her missing Toyota pick-up trick has the Colorado plate 688-DJH.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Wheat Ridge Police Department at 303-235-2947.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar082013

FBI to Mark Six Years Since Former Agent Went Missing in Iran

Courtesy Levinson family(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of former FBI agents across the country on Friday are expected to observe a moment of silence in honor of their missing colleague, ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who six years ago on Saturday was kidnapped in Iran.

Levinson, who spent more than two decades in the Bureau before retiring in 1998, was traveling as a private businessman when he was taken captive by unknown assailants on Iran's Kish island March 9, 2007.

Since then, his family has mounted a worldwide campaign demanding that Iran set him free, pushing U.S. officials in a meeting in the Oval Office last March to negotiate for him.  

On Friday, the family is scheduled to meet with the FBI and State Department about the case, but as one family member told ABC News, "There is no news, unfortunately."

After his sudden disappearance, the first public sign of life from Levinson, who has diabetes, came in a hostage video posted on the Internet a little over a year ago.

"Please help me get home," says Levinson in the video.  "Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something.  Please help me."

In January, the family released a series of pictures of Levinson they received from his captors in 2011.  This time the 64-year-old appeared haggard in an orange mock-prison uniform with a long gray beard and chains over his shoulders.  There were five different photos, each staged with a different disturbing message by his captors.  In each he holds a sign, one of which reads "Help me."

People involved in the case said the pictures, which also reference Guantanamo, were designed to suggest he is being held by al Qaeda, although the same people are certain Levinson is in Iran.

Authorities either do not know or have not publicly identified Levinson's suspected captors, but the U.S. government has repeatedly asked the Iranian government's help in finding him.

However, despite those pleas and a $1 million reward offered by the FBI for information leading to Levinson's discovery, it appears he will mark his sixth year away from his family and in captivity.  Levinson turns 65 years old on Sunday.

"Bob's former colleagues have not forgotten him and we call on the international community to redouble its efforts to gain his release," said Konrad Motyka, President of the FBI Agents Association.  "Let's make this the last solemn anniversary that needs to be marked by focusing world attention on Levinson's continued unjustified imprisonment and gaining his release."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio