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."  Next he became the "East Area Rapist," after moving north and making Sacramento County and the surrounding areas his hunting ground.  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 seemed to became entranced with young man's girlfriend.  The dark-clothed man watched her through the house's front windows.  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 dark-clothed man 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, only to reemerge night after night, protected by the mundaneness of California single-story homes, manicured lawns 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
http://ktul.com/news/local/new-tips-in-13-year-cold-case-after-sketch-released-of-possible-suspect 

PRNewswire, "Parabon Announces New Snapshot Forensic Art Service at the International Homicide Investigators Association Meeting," August 18, 2015:
http://parabon-nanolabs.com/nanolabs/news-events/2015/08/snapshot-forensic-art-services.html

 

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.   


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Alisha Smiley - Missing from Atlanta, Georgia since 1985

by Dark Sleuth
Left: Alisha Smiley, circa 1985.
Right: Age-progressed composite by NCMEC (circa 2010)
(Source: NCMEC)


On Thursday, June 6, 1985, 3 year-old Alisha Smiley disappeared from the Omni Hotel Complex in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Alisha Smiley was at the Omni that day with her aunt and 4 year-old cousin.  Her aunt left the two children sitting unattended on a bench inside the Omni, while she went outside to a ticket booth to purchase tickets for a wrestling event.  When the aunt returned only Smiley's cousin was still there.  Alisha Smiley was last seen at approximately 1:45 p.m.

According to a June 16, 1985 article from the Atlanta Daily World, Smiley's aunt explained why she chose to leave children alone inside the Omni Complex while she purchased tickets outside:

"She said that she left the two there in an attempt to let the children cool off.  The temperature that day was in the high 90s." 


Alisha Smiley was seen wandering around the Omni Complex shops by herself.   According to The Doe Network, "Alisha was last seen by Omni employees asking for a cookie and asking about a bathroom."

Several reports also state that Alisha Smiley may have wandered off to the nearby McDonald's because she loved hamburgers.   

Smiley's aunt described the child as an "extremely friendly, trusting toddler."   Smiley was originally from Birmingham, Alabama.  She  had been living with her aunt and her aunt's husband for approximately 8 months prior to her disappearance.   Her parents were struggling financially as they went to college

According to a June 9, 1985 article from the Atlanta Daily World, published a few days after Alisha disappeared, "if asked, [Alisha] will state that she lives in Birmingham, Alabama." 

In the days after she disappeared, the Atlanta Daily World reported on several searches to find the missing toddler.  Nearly 150 people searched the Omni Complex and the nearby Georgia World Congress Center.  A wooded area behind a school in northwest Atlanta was also searched, all to no avail. 

Alisha Smiley was born on October 7, 1981.  She would be 36 years-old today. 

Physical Characteristics:
Sex: Female
Race: Black
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Height: 3' 0" 
Weight: 30 lbs
Dental: Gap in lower teeth 
- Smiley had pierced ears and may have been wearing gold earrings at time of her disappearance.

Smiley was last seen wearing: 
- a red and white checkered sundress
- white sandals
- braids tied with lilac-colored ribbons 



If you have any information regarding this case, please contact:
Atlanta Police Department:
Tel: (404) 577-8477

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC):
Tel: 1 (800) THE-LOST or 1 (800) 843-5678 


Thursday, December 28, 2017

UPDATE: Important court decisions in Crosley Green's case

by Dark Sleuth

UPDATE: 

Summary of legal developments in the Crosley Green case in 2018:

July 2018:  Crosley Green won a new trial after the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida "ruled that prosecutor Chris White improperly suppressed crucial evidence from Green's attorneys that might have resulted in a different verdict."  As John A. Torres reported for Florida Today, "this is known as a Brady violation." 

https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/crime/2018/07/20/crosley-green-convicted-murderer-new-trial/807644002/  

August 2018Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appealed the July 2018 federal court ruling granting Crosley Green a new trial.  

https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2018/08/20/attorney-general-pam-bondi-says-federal-court-wrong-green-ruling/1045146002/


September 2018:  Crosley Green's attorneys responded to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's appeal to deny Green a new trial with a "claim of actual innocence."  Green's attorneys are continuing to fight, including a "63-page cross appeal" that serves to "preserve the record and keep certain assertions active in case they need to them up before the U.S. Supreme Court."   

https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2018/09/05/crosley-greens-future-limbo-more-appeals-filed/1202230002/ 



No resolutions yet, pending court decisions



Crosley Green and his attorney at a court hearing.
(Source: Florida Today)

Crosley Green was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Chip Flynn in 1990.  For more than 25 years, Green has been fighting to prove his innocence and win back his freedom. 

Learn more about Crosley Green's case in my previous post:
Crosley Green - Miscarriage of Justice

On Friday, December 15, 2017, the 11th District Court of Appeals gave Crosley Green an important legal victory. 
According to Florida Today
This means that there may likely be a hearing regarding in Green's case in 2018.  His attorneys "want to present their case in open court, arguing the conviction was rife with inconsistencies and a pattern of misconduct by the state."
This is a hopeful turn in a painful case.  Let's hope that Crosley Green can be a free man in 2018!

Source of information:
Florida Today, "In major legal victory, Crosley Green may get a chance to prove his innocence," by John A. Torres, December 16, 2017