Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mélina Martin - Missing from Farnham, Quebec since 2005

By Dark Sleuth

Mélina Martin 

Françoise Algier dropped her 13-year-old daughter, Mélina Martin, at a Fête des Neiges event in Farnham, Quebec on January 23, 2005.  It was approximately 1:30 p.m.  Martin was supposed to meet her mom later that day at 5 p.m. at a nearby restaurant but she never showed.  

Mélina Martin has been missing for 14 years.

The Fête des Neiges was an outdoor event in and around Roch-Bourbonnais Park in Farnham, about an hour east of Montreal.  It featured dog sledding and a fire pit.  

Police originally thought that Martin had runaway and would be back in a few days.  Her mother thought otherwise.  She said Martin was happy.  

According to her mom, Martin had checked in with her older sister to see if her older sister's children were going to the event.  Martin also asked another friend if she was going.  As her mother stated, "Why would she want friends there if she planned on running away?"

Sadly, in the years since her disappearance, Martin's father passed away.  Her family continues their search, although never quite giving up hope.  Martin's mother told reporters, "But as long as I don't have a body or bones, I won't mourn.  I won't believe it"

In November 2018, a group of divers searched the Yamaska River in Farnham for signs of Martin.  The diving operation was organized by the nonprofit Meurtres et Disparitions Irrésolus du Québec (MDIQ).

  (Source: Global News)

Mélina Martin was born in 1992.  She would be 27 years-old today.

Physical Characteristics:
Age at time disappearance: 13
Gender: Female
Race: White
Eye color: Blue/Green
Hair Color: Red with blond highlights
Height: 5' 3" / 160 cm
Weight: 115lbs / 52kg
Languages: Speaks French

Distinguishing characteristics: Pierced ears, pierced navel, pierced bottom lip

Last seen wearing:
Jeans with fur on the bottom, beige camisole, jean vest with fur sleeves, black coat with fur hood, white scarf and beige vinyl purse with blue star on side. 

There's a $3,000 reward for information that solves this case.  
If you have any information please contact:

Sûreté du Québec: 1-800-659-4264  
Reference Case#: 097-050125-001

Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS(8477)

Missing Children's Network: 514-843-4333 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Halifax John Doe - Halifax, Nova Scotia 2004

By Dark Sleuth

Halifax John Doe
(Source: CBC)
In early October 2004, the body of a man was found in the woods near a Petro-Canada station, close to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.  Authorities estimated that he had been dead for 10 days.  

He was described as a black man, weighing approximately 160 pounds and 5'11" tall.  He wore his hair in dreadlocks.  He also had a beard.  Authorities estimated he was in his late 20s or early 30s.  Both of his ears were pierced, but no jewelry was found. 

Halifax John Doe wore "a multi-colored dress shirt, Emilio-brand grey sweater, Lee blue jeans, and a new beige Timberland hiking boots."   A pair of Dolce and Gabbana prescription glasses, a flashlight and a McKinley brand backpack were located near his body.  There were several articles of clothing folded neatly inside the backpack.  Unfortunately no identifying documents were found. 

Items found near Halifax John Doe's body
(Source: CBC)
A forensic anthropologist noted that Halifax John Doe "had characteristics of both black African populations as well as white European populations" and therefore may have been mixed race. 
According to authorities, he had broken his leg before he died and it didn't properly heal.  Dr. Tanya Peckmann stated that he "either didn't get modern medical treatment or removed the cast before his leg healed."    

Authorities ruled out foul play as the cause of death.   His DNA profile is on file.

Important Note:  Sources list Halifax John Doe's discovery date differently.  Some articles state he was found October 8 or 9.  The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains states he was found on October 12, 2004. 

Physical Characteristics:
Gender: Male
Race: Black, possibly mixed race (White)
Age: estimated late 20s - early 30s
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 160 pounds
Hair: black, dreadlocks
Build: Medium 
Additional:  Pierced ears. Improperly healed leg fracture- may not have received modern medical treatment or cast was prematurely removed.  

If you have any information on this case please contact: 

Halifax Regional Police:
Tel: 902-490-5333 
Reference Case # 2011-55984 

Crime Stoppers:  (You can remain anonymous)
Tel:  1-800-222-TIPS(8477)

National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains
Case # 2014031015:

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Alice Mae Sullivan- Missing from Nashville, Tennessee since 1986

By Dark Sleuth

Alice Mae Sullivan 
(Source: The Charley Project

On August 28, 1986 Alice May Sullivan, a bright 20 year-old sophomore attending Tennessee State University in Nashville disappeared.  Sullivan was an ambitious business major who "earned excellent grades" and worked part-time at Burger King.  She was also a devoted mother to her 3 year-old toddler son.  

Sullivan lived with her boyfriend and her son in the Town Terrace Apartments near the TSU campus.  She moved there with her boyfriend only 3 weeks before she went missing.  Sullivan was from Gallatin, Tennessee, where her parents still lived.  She was very close to them. They spoke every night on the phone. 

She was reportedly last seen "by a friend from Gallatin walking near TSU's Gentry Center" on the afternoon she disappeared.  

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Book Review- I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

By Dark Sleuth

A single prolific criminal terrorized communities in Northern and Southern California.  He was a peeper, a burglar, a rapist and a killer.

For decades he remained nameless except for several monickers that, like his crimes, traversed the state.  
It started in the early 1970s in Visalia, California, where a man peeped, stalked and burglarized homes.  He earned the name the "Visalia Ransacker."  After moving north and making Sacramento County and the surrounding areas his hunting ground, he became the "East Area Rapist."  Later he targeted southern California, seemingly ending his crime spree in the mid 1980s in Orange County.  By then he was known as the "Original Night Stalker."    

What followed was silence.  Some believed that he had died.

But not Michelle McNamara, the writer and blogger behind True Crime Diary.  She predicted that he was still alive and would be found living a quiet, nondescript life.  

 In 2013, McNamara consolidated the previous monickers into one.  She rebranded the unknown perpetrator as the "Golden State Killer" in her Los Angeles Magazine article titled, "In the Footsteps of a Killer." 
Nearly 5 years later authorities announced the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo on April 24, 2018. He was a Navy veteran and former police officer.  DeAngelo was living in the suburbs near Sacramento.  The suspected Golden State Killer was caught when his DNA profile was uploaded to a genealogical database and it revealed a familial link.  

Sadly, despite all of her hard work on the case, McNamara passed away before her book was published and before police made an arrest. She died in 2016.

*   *   *

 I'll Be Gone in the Dark is a book meticulously researched.  True to its title, the book describes the author's growing obsession with the case.  In the beginning, McNamara tells of taking over her daughter's playroom at night as her family slept.  Surrounded by toys in a still house, she poured over details in online forums run by amateur sleuths.

Over time, McNamara gained the trust of investigators and was given extraordinary access to case files. 

It is strange to read the book after the news of the arrest.  As Rolling Stone reports, "The timeline for all these crimes significantly overlaps with DeAngelo's own history."  Even during the crime spree, authorities suspected that the perpetrator may have had military training and/or been a police officer.  

This is evident in a chilling eyewitness account McNamara describes of the "Visalia Ransacker" studying a target. 

One night, a young man was waiting for his girlfriend outside her home.  They were going out.  Inside his girlfriend was talking to her mom.  As he waited, he spotted a figure in the distance.  A dark-clothed man stared at the young man's girlfriend through the house's front windows.  The dark-clothed man seemed entranced.

The boyfriend stayed in his position, not visible to the voyeur. He watched as the man dropped to the ground and began a military crawl, quickly approaching the house.  When the man stood up, the boyfriend made his presence known.  It spooked the voyeur and there was a chase.  It ended with the Visalia Ransacker getting away- he seemed to be armed.

Even in his earliest cases, long before he escalated to rape and murder, the Visalia Ransacker/Golden State Killer, was using his military training to reconnoiter.  Practicing his approach, gathering information until he could strike.  Gaming the advantage. 

As McNamara had predicted, the perpetrator would eventually be found among the same communities he targeted: middle-class suburbs.  

The title I'll Be Gone in the Dark refers to something the Golden State Killer said to threaten a victim.  He was right, of course.  After each attack he was gone, protected both by the darkness and his knowledge of military and police procedures.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

UPDATE: DNA Snapshot Composite of Suspect in Brittany Phillips Case

By Dark Sleuth

UPDATE: On August 7, 2018 Fox 23 News in Tulsa reported that authorities are planning to use DNA to try to find a familial link to the suspect in the Brittany Phillips case.

DNA Snapshot composite of suspect in the 2004 murder of Brittany Phillips.
(Source: KTUL News

On January 11, 2018, Tulsa Police released a DNA phenotype composite of the suspect in the 2004 unsolved rape and murder of Brittany Phillips.  

Brittany Phillips was killed on the night of September 27, 2004 in her Tulsa, Oklahoma apartment.  

Police are looking for a suspect who is a white man with blue or green eyes.  The composite is not age-progressed.  By default, Parabon Snapshot "produces composites from DNA at 25 years of age".

Video from KTUL News:

Read my previous post for more details on the case:
Brittany Phillips- Caravan to Catch a Killer 

If you have any information on this case, please contact:
Crime Stoppers
Tel: (918) 596-COPS (2677)

Sources of Information:
KTUL News, "New tips in 13-year-cold case after sketch released of possible suspect," by Angelica Brown, January 12, 2018 

PRNewswire, "Parabon Announces New Snapshot Forensic Art Service at the International Homicide Investigators Association Meeting," August 18, 2015:


Friday, January 12, 2018

Unidentifed John Doe Victim in Suspected Serial Killer Case- Brooklyn, NY

By Dark Sleuth 

11/29/2018:  UPDATE: Kwauhuru Govan was convicted in September 2018 of the 2004 murder of 17 year-old Sharabia Thomas.  He was sentenced to the maximum, 25 years to life.  He is awaiting trial for the murder of Rashawn Brazell

This post is an update of the recent developments in the Rashawn Brazell case, previously covered here:

DNA Snapshot composite of an unidentified John Doe, a possible victim of a serial killer.
(Source: NCMEC)

The gruesome 2005 murder of  Rashwan Brazell went unsolved for 12 years before police made an arrest in February 2017. Authorities believe that the suspect, Kwauhuru Govan, could possibly be a serial killer.

At the time, Kwauhuru Govan was already in custody.  He was indicted in November 2016 for the 2004 murder of 17 year-old Sharabia ThomasDNA found under the victim's fingernails matched Govan.    

Both victims lived within blocks of Govan's residence in Brooklyn, New York.  Brazell and Govan were neighbors.

Now police are investigating whether Govan may be responsible for a third victim, an unidentified John Doe, whose remains were found just five months after Rashawn Brazell was killed.