Video Cameras Lead to Suspect in Iowa Student’s Murder

An undocumented immigrant who allegedly followed Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts her while she jogged had been charged with her murder. Cristhian Rivera is being held on a $1 million cash bond.

An undocumented immigrant who allegedly followed Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts her while she jogged had been charged with her murder, reports the Des Moines Register.  The news shattered hopes in the small central-Iowa town that the smiling 20-year-old featured on thousands of red-lettered “Missing” posters would somehow be found safe. Authorities said Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, admitted to following and then confronting Tibbetts on while she jogged on July 18, but he claimed he blacked out after that. Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Rick Rahn said Rivera led law officers to the body, which was hidden beneath cornstalks in a field outside the town of Guernsey. Rivera is being held on a $1 million cash bond. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a detainer with the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office on Rivera to make certain he would not be released.

Rahn said Rivera had immigrated illegally to the U.S. and had been in the Brooklyn area four to seven years. Rahn said the case was solved with the help of video recordings from  security cameras. The recordings showed Tibbetts running by, and also showed a black Chevrolet Malibu repeatedly passing through the area. Investigators traced the car to Rivera. He admitted he followed the jogger in his car, got out and started running after her, Rahn said. Rivera told investigators that as he ran alongside Tibbetts, she grabbed her phone and threatened to call police. Rivera said he panicked, got mad and ‘blocked’ his ‘memory,’ which is what he does when he gets very upset,” said a charging document. Tibbetts had been caring for dogs at the home of her boyfriend and his brother when she went for an evening jog on July 18. Her abrupt disappearance drew nationwide attention. Nearly $400,000 was raised for a reward for information about her whereabouts.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Video Cameras Lead to Suspect in Iowa Student’s Murder

An undocumented immigrant who allegedly followed Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts her while she jogged had been charged with her murder. Cristhian Rivera is being held on a $1 million cash bond.

An undocumented immigrant who allegedly followed Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts her while she jogged had been charged with her murder, reports the Des Moines Register.  The news shattered hopes in the small central-Iowa town that the smiling 20-year-old featured on thousands of red-lettered “Missing” posters would somehow be found safe. Authorities said Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, admitted to following and then confronting Tibbetts on while she jogged on July 18, but he claimed he blacked out after that. Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Rick Rahn said Rivera led law officers to the body, which was hidden beneath cornstalks in a field outside the town of Guernsey. Rivera is being held on a $1 million cash bond. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a detainer with the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office on Rivera to make certain he would not be released.

Rahn said Rivera had immigrated illegally to the U.S. and had been in the Brooklyn area four to seven years. Rahn said the case was solved with the help of video recordings from  security cameras. The recordings showed Tibbetts running by, and also showed a black Chevrolet Malibu repeatedly passing through the area. Investigators traced the car to Rivera. He admitted he followed the jogger in his car, got out and started running after her, Rahn said. Rivera told investigators that as he ran alongside Tibbetts, she grabbed her phone and threatened to call police. Rivera said he panicked, got mad and ‘blocked’ his ‘memory,’ which is what he does when he gets very upset,” said a charging document. Tibbetts had been caring for dogs at the home of her boyfriend and his brother when she went for an evening jog on July 18. Her abrupt disappearance drew nationwide attention. Nearly $400,000 was raised for a reward for information about her whereabouts.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Missing Iowa College Student Found Dead

Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, 20, has been found dead, just over a month after she was reported missing. She was last seen July 18 jogging near her home in the central Iowa town of Brooklyn. Her family reported her missing the next day when she didn’t show up for work. Her disappearance set off a massive investigation.

Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts has been found dead, just over a month after she was reported missing, CBS News reports. The 20-year-old was last seen July 18, jogging near her home in the central Iowa town of Brooklyn. Her family reported her missing the next day when she didn’t show up for work. Her disappearance set off a massive investigation and weeks of fruitless searches. Last week, authorities said they were focusing their investigation on five areas in and near Tibbetts’ hometown.

Those areas reportedly included her boyfriend’s home in Brooklyn, a car wash, a truck stop, a farm more than three miles from downtown Brooklyn, and another farm more than six miles away. Tibbetts’ father said he believed his daughter may have left willingly with someone she knew. “I think someone went to the house that Mollie knew or that Mollie trusted and that she left with them willingly,” Robert Tibbetts said. Police  scheduled a news conference for 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Tuesday on the case. No details have been released about where she was found or the possible cause of death.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Death BY Hospital Negligence: The Lynne Spalding Case

     On September 19, 2013, Lynne Spalding, suffering from a bladder infection, checked herself into the San Francisco General Hospital. The 57-year-old native of Peterlee, England worked in San Francisco’s tourist industry. The thin, fr…

     On September 19, 2013, Lynne Spalding, suffering from a bladder infection, checked herself into the San Francisco General Hospital. The 57-year-old native of Peterlee, England worked in San Francisco's tourist industry. The thin, frail divorced mother of two seemed confused and disoriented, perhaps from the effects of  her medication. Members of the hospital staff assigned to her care were under orders to look in on Spalding every fifteen minutes.

     When one of Spalding's friends showed up at the hospital on September 21 for a visit, Spalding was not in her room. Hospital employees searched the immediate area and couldn't find her. Maybe she had checked herself out. The friend went to Spalding's apartment and found it vacant. When Spalding didn't return to her dwelling, the friend filed a missing persons report with the police.

     Over the next few days, the missing woman's friends and members of her family looked for her at various places in the city. They posted missing persons flyers around as well. One of her friends created a "Find Lynne" Facebook page. Deputies with the sheriff's office, the agency in charge of hospital security, conducted a search of the giant medical complex. It seemed this woman had vanished into thin air.

     At ten in the morning of October 8, 2013, seventeen days after Lynne Spalding went missing from her hospital room, a hospital employee discovered the body of a middle-aged woman lying dead in a stairwell used as a fire escape. Todd May, the chief hospital medical officer tentatively identified the dead woman as Lynne Spalding. (I presume she was wearing a hospital identification bracelet.)

     The job of determining when, where, and exactly how this woman had died rested in the hands of the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office. The principal determination involved Spalding's manner of death. While it was not unreasonable to presume that this hospital patient's death occurred naturally, the forensic pathologist looked for signs of physical trauma that suggested a struggle. The pathologist who performed the autopsy also looked for physical evidence of a sexual assault.

     Assuming the absence of foul play in this unusual death, the Spalding case presented the obvious question as to how this sick woman had gotten from her room to the stairwell without being observed by hospital staff. Unless the stairwell where Spalding's body was found was located in an extremely remote section of the hospital, someone should have detected the odor of decomposition.

     San Francisco General Hospital spokesperson Todd May, at a press conference held on October 8, 2013, said, "What happened at our hospital is horrible. We are here to take care of patients, to heal them, to keep them safe. This has shaken us to our core. Our staff is devastated."

     David Perry, Lynne Spalding's friend and the family spokesperson told reporters that "We need to know what Lynne's condition was. We need to know what she was being treated for and frankly we need to know what medications she was on and what state of mind she was in. We're not trying to place blame. We're trying to find answers."

     On Thursday, October 10, San Francisco General Hospital Chief Operating Officer Roland Pickens announced that pursuant to the medical examiner's office report, the corpse in the stairwell was Lynne Spalding's body. A second hospital spokesperson revealed that the stairwell in question was located several hundred feet from the unit where Spalding was being treated. According to this spokesperson, Spalding was being treated in a unit where patients are not watched closely. This contradicted previous information regarding the fifteen minute patient check-ups.

     In a private ceremony held on October 21, Spalding's body was cremated. (This meant, of course, that there would be no second autopsy if one became necessary.)

     On October 22, 2013, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that four days before sheriff's deputies responded to the dead woman found in the city-owned hospital's stairwell, an orderly had twice stepped over her body thinking she was a homeless person. To reporters, Haig Harris, the attorney representing Spalding's children, said, "This is a hospital. Why didn't somebody put their hand on the body to see if there was a pulse?"

     David Perry, a Spalding family spokesperson said this to reporters: "The family is angry and frustrated and out of patience. While we understand the need for a thorough investigation, it has now been one month and three days since Lynne Spalding went missing....The time for answers and real solutions that will protect lives of future patients is long past due."

     A woman who had been visiting her son at the hospital in June 2013 said she had been locked in the same stairwell. She had taken the stairs instead of the elevator, entering the fifth-floor stairwell without realizing it was an emergency exit. The woman walked down to the ground level, but the door sounded an alarm when she opened it. She slammed the door shut and went back upstairs where she pounded on the door window to attract attention. A nurse who happened by let her back inside. No one had responded to the exit alarm.

     Investigators and hospital authorities did not reveal if Spalding had changed into her street clothes before leaving her room. (The fact the orderly presumed she was a homeless person suggests that she had.) While the coroner still had not revealed Spalding's cause of death, the family was assured she had not been the victim of foul play.

     Dan Cunningham with the San Francisco Police homicide unit announced on October 28, 2013 that four days before Spalding's body was discovered, an Asian man in his thirties wearing a hospital name tag told a hospital supervisor that he had seen a person lying in the stairwell. The supervisor checked out the stairwell but didn't see anyone there. Homicide investigators were trying to identify this man for questioning. (It's not clear if the Asian man was the orderly who stepped over the body on October 4, 2013.)

     On December 15, 2013, the medical examiner's office released the results of Spalding's autopsy. According to the San Francisco medical examiner, Spalding had died of "probable electrolyte imbalance with delirium clinical sepsis." In other words, she had died from a chemical imbalance related to chronic alcoholism. According to Dr. Thomas Shaughnessey, the electrolyte imbalances, in combination with a liver that is unable to compensate form the imbalance, resulted in a collapse of Spalding's heart or brain resulting in her death. The forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy was not able to say exactly when she died.

     Members of Spalding's family immediately disputed the allegation that she was an alcoholic. They were therefore outraged by the contents of the medical examiner's report.

     In February 2014, the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that decides whether hospitals meet minimum standards to be eligible for Medicare payments, announced the results of its extensive investigation into the Spalding tragedy. According to the report, hospital nurses failed to act on a doctor's order that this patient be watched around the clock. Federal investigators also blamed the sheriff's department for not having an emergency plan worked out with hospital staff. Investigators concluded that the hospital's "chaotic and poorly coordinated response had contributed to patient Spalding's death."

     The sheriff, in the wake of the hospital scandal, fired one member of the agency's hospital staff and suspended two others. Five more deputies were disciplined administratively. No hospital employees were punished for the Spalding fiasco.

     The Spalding family filed a wrongful death suit against the hospital and the city. In December 2014, the city of San Francisco settled the case for just under $3 million.

     

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Legally Dead But Still Alive: The Brenda Heist Missing Person Case

     In 2002, forty-three-year-old Brenda Heist and her husband Lee were going through an amicable divorce. The couple had two children, a daughter who was eight, and a twelve-year-old son. They lived in Lititz Borough, a small Lancaster…

     In 2002, forty-three-year-old Brenda Heist and her husband Lee were going through an amicable divorce. The couple had two children, a daughter who was eight, and a twelve-year-old son. They lived in Lititz Borough, a small Lancaster County town in southeastern Pennsylvania. Brenda worked as a bookkeeper at a local car dealership.

     In an effort to finance her own apartment, Brenda applied for state housing assistance. The agency denied her request. Depressed, overwhelmed, and distraught, Brenda, after driving the children to school one day in February 2002, drove to a nearby town and parked her car in a bus station lot. From there she walked to a park where she sat on a bench and cried.

     Brenda did not go back to her car and drive home that day. To her family and friends, and to the local police, she became a missing person.

     Four days after Brenda dropped her children off at school, police found her car parked in the bus station lot. When a mother takes her kids to school and doesn't return home, the police assume that she has been abducted. As days went by without anyone hearing from or seeing Brenda Heist, detectives began to think that she may have had been murdered. At this point the missing persons case turned into a homicide investigation. As in most missing wife cases, the suspicion in Brenda's disappearance fell on her husband.

     As psychic detectives and other whack-job callers flooded the Heist missing persons investigators with false leads, homicide investigators focused on Lee Heist as their primary murder suspect. Mr. Heist  had to quit his job. He ran into financial difficulties, and eventually lost his home. After several years as a suspect in his wife's disappearance and murder, investigators, after a series of polygraph tests, cleared Lee Heist of wrongdoing in the case. His wife remained missing, however, and was presumed dead.

     In 2008, the Lancaster County Major Crimes Unit began investigating the Brenda Heist disappearance as a cold-case murder. Two years later, Lee Heist petitioned a Lancaster County Court to declare his wife legally dead. With Brenda officially declared "missing and possibly deceased", Mr. Heist was able to marry another woman.

     As it turned out, while Lee Heist was put through hell as a suspect in his wife's murder, Brenda was alive in south Florida. On the day of her disappearance, she was approached by two men and a woman who saw her crying on the park bench. After she related her tale of woe, they invited her to join them on a hitchhiking trip to Florida. She accepted their offer.

     Brenda Heist spent her first two years in Key Largo, Florida living under bridges and eating restaurant garbage. She entered a new phase in her life when she moved into a camp trailer with a man she met on the street. For the next seven years Brenda lived with this man in Key West. They both worked as day laborers cleaning boats and doing odd jobs for cash.

     In 2011, after her relationship with her trailer roommate soured, Brenda was back on the street. She worked odd jobs and hung out on the beach. In December 2012, under her alias Kelsie Lyanne Smith, Brenda got a job as a live-in housekeeper for a family in Tampa Bay. (According to her employer she had good references.)

      A few months after landing the housekeepers job, a police pulled Brenda over for driving with an expired license plate. The officer found drugs in her car. She served two months in Pensacola County Jail on the drug possession offense. Following her release from jail, she spent a few weeks behind bars in Santa Rosa County on an identify theft charge. At one point she lived in a tent community run by a Florida social service agency.

     On Friday, April 26, 2013, Brenda Heist surrendered herself to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Thinking that there were warrants for her arrest out of Pinellas County, the 54-yar-old told the Monroe County deputies that she was at the end of her rope, and tired of running. She informed the officers that eleven years ago she had walked out on her family in Lititz Borough, Pennsylvania.

     The Florida authorities called Lititz Borough Sergeant John Schofield with the news that Brenda Heist was not dead, and no longer missing. Her children, now college students, still had a mother.

     On May 3, 2013, Brenda was sent back to the Santa Rosa County Jail on various theft related charges. Morgan Heist, her 19-year-old daughter, has told reporters that she has no interest in reuniting with her mother.

     On June 11, 2013 a judge in Pensacola, Florida sentenced Heist, known in the Santa Rose court system as Kelsie Smith, to one year in jail in connection a probation violation. She pleaded no contest to failing to check in with authorities after leaving the Pensacola area following her release from jail in April. She'd been on probation for using someone else's identification during a traffic stop.
     

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

45 Missing Kid Cases Daily Involve Suspected Abductions

Publicity over the search for missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts has focused on a high number of missing juveniles in Iowa, 48 in July. Only a small number of missing children cases involve abductions.

As the search for missing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts continues, 48 Iowa juveniles have went missing so far in July, a development that has prompted a flood of social media warnings and theories, reports the Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader. Heavy news coverage of Tibbetts’ disappearance from Brooklyn, Ia., 60 miles east of Des Moines, has led to more focus on missing children. Last year, 4,311 Iowa juveniles were reported missing to the national missing persons clearinghouse, about 12 kids a day. Most of them are believed to have run away. And a single juvenile can be listed in several cases throughout the year.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children assisted law enforcement and families in more than 27,000 cases of missing children last year. That averages about 75 a day. More than 9 in 10 were runaways, and 1 in 7 of those youth were likely victims of sex trafficking, the center said. Of those, 88 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing. Strangers kidnap about 100 children annually, a fraction of 1 percent of missing-children cases, according to the Polly Klaas Foundation, a Petaluma, Ca.  nonprofit. Klaas, 12, was kidnapped Oct. 1, 1993, from her home; her body was found two months later. The FBI’s National Crime Information Center says that 2.5 percent of more than 650,000 missing children cases opened last year involved suspected abductions, a little more than 45 a day nationwide.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Kenia Monge Disappearance: Turns Out ‘Good Samaritan’ Travis Forbes is a Pervert

  ​ Breakfast reading from the True Crime Report archives: Surveillance video showed Forbes turning off the cameras at a bakery where he rents space. And a neighboring employee saw several men burning something in a 55-gallon barrel behind the bakery. Westword has the story.

The post Kenia Monge Disappearance: Turns Out ‘Good Samaritan’ Travis Forbes is a Pervert appeared first on True Crime Report.

  ​ Breakfast reading from the True Crime Report archives: Surveillance video showed Forbes turning off the cameras at a bakery where he rents space. And a neighboring employee saw several men burning something in a 55-gallon barrel behind the bakery. Westword has the story.

The post Kenia Monge Disappearance: Turns Out ‘Good Samaritan’ Travis Forbes is a Pervert appeared first on True Crime Report.

from http://www.truecrimereport.com

The Man Who Kidnapped Himself

     On Thursday October 23, 2014, Paul Kitterman, a 53-year-old construction worker from Kremmling, Colorado, a town 100 miles north of Denver, was in the mile high city with his stepson and two of his stepson’s friends to watch a Bronc…

     On Thursday October 23, 2014, Paul Kitterman, a 53-year-old construction worker from Kremmling, Colorado, a town 100 miles north of Denver, was in the mile high city with his stepson and two of his stepson's friends to watch a Broncos-San Diego Charges football game. Mr. Kitterman and his 22-year-old stepson, Jarod Tonneson, were seated in the stadium's south bleachers section. They were among 70,000 fans attending the game. Tonneson's friends watched the game from another part of the Sports Authority Field.

     At the beginning of the third quarter, Tonneson and his stepfather visited the public restroom. When Tonneson came out of the men's room, Mr. Kitterman was not there waiting for him as agreed upon. The stepfather was not in the restroom and had not returned to his seat in Section 230.

     Jarod Tonneson and his friends searched the stadium inside and out until one-thirty the next morning. They found no trace of the man who had accompanied them to the game. Mr. Kitterman, without possession of a cellphone or credit cards, had simply vanished. He had been carrying about $50 in cash.

     Mr. Kitterman had not been intoxicated and was not suffering from a mental problem. This raised the possibility that someone had kidnapped him. Or perhaps he had just gotten sick or lost in the stadium. There seemed to be no other logical explanations for his disappearance. The concerned stepson filed a missing person report with the Denver Police Department.

     On Monday October 27, 2014, a police spokesperson announced that a football fan had seen Mr. Kitterman in the stadium during the third quarter, but the witness couldn't remember where in the stadium he had seen him. Investigators viewed hours and hours of stadium surveillance video footage for clues regarding the missing man's whereabouts. In the meantime, the stepson and his friends posted fliers around the city of Denver.

     On Tuesday night October 28, 2014, someone called the police in Pueblo, Colorado regarding a man believed to be Mr. Kitterman. Shortly after the call, five days after he had gone missing from the football stadium located 112 miles north of Pueblo, police officers found Mr. Kitterman in a K-Mart parking lot.

     Paul Kitterman had not been the victim of foul play and other than being tired, he was in good physical condition. The object of the five-day missing persons search told officers that he had walked and hitchhiked to the city of Pueblo. He said he slept in parks and wooded areas. Along the way he had disposed of his Broncos hat to avoid being recognized. He apparently had not wanted to be found.

     Detectives asked Mr. Kitterman the question that was on everybody's mind: Why did he slip away from his stepson and travel to Pueblo, Colorado? Surely he knew that walking off like that would trigger a police manhunt and cause his friends and family a lot of stress.

     Mr. Kitterman told the officers that because he hadn't watched television for five days, he had no idea people were looking for him. When asked to explain why he had made himself a missing person, Mr. Kitterman said he had gotten his "fill of football" and simply wanted to walk to someplace warmer.

     Because the missing man's actions reflect some form or degree of dementia, the authorities in Denver had no plans to file charges against him. And even if he was of sound mind, what crime did he commit? You don't go to prison for kidnapping yourself. 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Petra Pazsitka Lost And Found Case

     In 1984, when 24-year-old Petra Pazsitka, a computer science student attending college in Braunschweig, Germany, failed to show up at her brother’s birthday party, her parents reported her missing. The police in this northern German…

     In 1984, when 24-year-old Petra Pazsitka, a computer science student attending college in Braunschweig, Germany, failed to show up at her brother's birthday party, her parents reported her missing. The police in this northern German city launched a massive hunt.

     About a year after the student's disappearance, the missing persons case was featured on a popular German television crime show. The public exposure did not create any tips that led to Pazsitka's recovery.

     Not long after the airing of the TV segment, a man named Gunter confessed to the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl from the neighborhood where Pazsitka had disappeared. This man also confessed to kidnapping and murdering the missing college student. But after Gunter was unable to lead homicide investigators to Pazsitka's body, the suspect took back his confession and that case was closed.

     In 1989, five years after Pazsitka's disappearance, she was officially declared dead even though her body had not been recovered.

     In September 2015, police in Dusseldorf, Germany were called to an apartment to investigate a burglary. At the scene they spoke to the victim tenant, a 54-year-old woman who identified herself as Mrs. Schneider. Investigators, when they learned that Mrs. Schneider didn't possess a driver's license, social security card, passport, or bank account, or any other form of personal identification, turned their attention on her.

     As it turned out, Mrs. Schneider was Petra Pazsitka. After staging her disappearance 30 years ago, Pazsitka lived in several German cities under numerous assumed names. She paid all of her bills with cash and didn't drive a car.

     When detectives asked Pazsitka the obvious question of why she had voluntarily disappeared, causing a massive police hunt as well as pain and suffering for her family, she said she had wanted to start a new life. She offered no explanation beyond that. Her father had since died. When asked if she wanted to reunite with her mother and brother, she said she did not.

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Donthe Lucas Finally Arrested in Alleged Murder of Missing, Pregnant GF Kelsie Schelling

Reading from the Voice Media empire: Barely two weeks after Donthe Lucas was arrested on robbery charges, the former basketball star was served with an arrest warrant in the February 2013 disappearance of Kelsie Schelling, who vanished after telling her boyfriend, Lucas, that she was pregnant. The bust took place on the same day his mom, Sara Lucas, was taken into […]

The post Donthe Lucas Finally Arrested in Alleged Murder of Missing, Pregnant GF Kelsie Schelling appeared first on True Crime Report.

Reading from the Voice Media empire: Barely two weeks after Donthe Lucas was arrested on robbery charges, the former basketball star was served with an arrest warrant in the February 2013 disappearance of Kelsie Schelling, who vanished after telling her boyfriend, Lucas, that she was pregnant. The bust took place on the same day his mom, Sara Lucas, was taken into [...]

The post Donthe Lucas Finally Arrested in Alleged Murder of Missing, Pregnant GF Kelsie Schelling appeared first on True Crime Report.

from http://www.truecrimereport.com