The mysterious disappearances on Hawaii’s Napali Coast and the Kalalau Trail on Kauai

The Kalalau Trail is considered a dangerous trail, located in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park of Kauai. Most people know this trail for the first 2 miles to Hanakapiai Beach, but permitted backpackers can go the full 11 miles to Kalalau Beach at the end, where camping is allowed.

Set among a coastline of steep cliffs, valleys and streams, the Kalalau Trail requires the most rescues on Kauai. Aside from the usual risks that come with hiking, rain on this coastline can cause the many streams in the area to flash flood. Kauai’s red clay dirt can crumble when dry and be extremely slippery when wet. Strong ocean currents can pull swimmers out to sea.

Deaths on the trail happen often enough that a sign posted at Hanakapiai Stream tallies its victims — close to 100 the last time I visited. This doesn’t include deaths at other streams and beaches, those from falling rocks or falls from great heights.

Still, the trail’s wild and remote beauty attracts day hikers, backpackers, free spirits and illegal campers, who stay for extended periods. About 500,000 visitors and residents ventured out on the trail in 2015, according to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Keep reading

New Details Emerge Regarding Georgia Mom Debbie Collier’s Activities on Day She Disappeared

Police have revealed new details about the circumstances surrounding the death of Debbie Collier, the Georgia mom who disappeared after sending her daughter a chilling text after surveillance footage revealed that she purchased several items that were found on or near her body when she was discovered.

The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division (CID), the organization investigating Collier’s death, said in a press release Monday afternoon that Collier was alone when she entered the Family Dollar Store in Clayton, Georgia, on Saturday, September 10. 

Over the weekend, The CID said that it had received information claiming that Collier’s daughter, 36-year-old Amanda Bearden, had been at the store that day, but after talking to the clerk on duty and reviewing store camera footage, police determined she had not been there.

However, the footage revealed that Collier herself had entered the store at around 2:55 p.m., and exited around 3:09 p.m. While she was there, she appeared calm and “not in fear of anything,” the CID said in its press release. Authorities said she purchased a rain poncho, refillable torch lighter, paper towels, a large tarp and a reusable tote back.

Collier was found in a ravine 60 miles from her Athens, Georgia, home just a day later. She had severe burns on her body and there was the remains of a burned tarp nearby.   

Keep reading

Body Found in Tennessee Confirmed as Missing Heiress Eliza Fletcher

Memphis police confirmed Tuesday that they found the remains of teacher Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, who was reportedly abducted last week

The police department wrote on Twitter that “the deceased victim that was located yesterday in the 1600 block of Victor [street] has been identified as 34-year-old Eliza Fletcher, a teacher who was also the heiress to the Orgill Inc. hardware fortune.

The development comes after Cleotha Abston, a 38-year-old male, was charged in connection to Fletcher’s kidnapping and with tampering with evidence. His DNA was found on a pair of sandals near her disappearance, police said.

Authorities wrote Tuesday that Abston now faces additional charges, including first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping. Previously he was charged with aggravated kidnapping and evidence.

Keep reading

‘It makes me sick’: Neighbors’ shock after body is discovered in search for billionaire heiress near home of suspect’s brother ahead of his court appearance today – as medical examiner leaves scene after six hours

Heartbroken neighbours have described their horror after a body was found in the search for missing Eliza Fletcher ahead of her suspected kidnappers court appearance in Memphis, Tennessee, today.

Police have yet to confirm the identity of the body, which was found seven miles from where the billionaire heiress, 34, was last seen.

She vanished while out for a jog around 4.30am on Friday, sparking a four-day long hunt for the mother-of-two.

The area where the body was found is just a hundred yards from the Longview Gardens apartment complex – where 38-year-old kidnapping suspect Cleotha Abston’s brother, Mario, lives.

Just prior to the announcement of the discovery of human remains, a large Memphis Police Department mobile command unit truck was moved into area. Reporters who were covering the search were also asked to move further back from the scene. 

A van believed to belong to the medical examiners unit left the scene six hours after the remains were found, and is thought to have been transporting the body. 

Photos from the scene showed a police helicopter circling above the search. Horrified neighbors gathered around the crime scene as the gruesome discovery was made. 

‘It’s emotional, it really hurts,’ April Jackson, 30, told DailyMail.com at 7.30pm, with the body yet to be removed.

‘That could have been anybody out jogging that morning, a student, anyone. And he was just released two years ago for another abduction and he gets out and does it again,’ she said. 

‘It makes me sick.’ She was out yesterday offering to aid the search, when police and a bloodhound were out in the area, within a couple hundred yards of the body. 

In the criminal complaint against Cleotha, witnesses were quoted as saying they saw the suspect at his brother’s home behaving strangely and washing the carpet of this 2013 GMC Terrain. 

The violent felon, accused of snatching billionaire heiress Eliza, had stalked the area she went missing from while jogging for almost 30 minutes before her abduction.

Keep reading

Arkansas Judge Found Dead in Lake After He Went Missing on a Family Trip

An Arkansas judge was found dead at the bottom of a lake Sunday after he went missing during a trip with family and friends over the weekend, authorities said.

Arkansas County Northern District Judge Jeremiah Bueker, 48, was in Jefferson County for “recreational travel” with his loved ones, but at some point during the trip he “ventured off alone” and was not seen alive again, according to a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office news release. His death is being investigated as an accidental drowning, the office said.

Bueker was last seen near Mud Lake, where his body was later found, the sheriff’s office reported.

“After time had passed and no one had seen or heard from Bueker, worry began to set in,” the release said. “A search for Bueker by family and friends began.”

After the sun set, the family had still not found Bueker, so they called 911, the release said. An extensive ground and water search was conducted late into the night and early morning by the sheriff’s office and wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Eventually, the search had to be paused due to low visibility, the sheriff’s office said.

On Sunday morning, the search resumed as authorities scoured the lake using boats with side-scan sonar, which allowed them to get “a birds-eye view of the water,” Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said in the release.

“At approximately 9:16 a.m., the side-scan sonar revealed a body on the bottom of the lake,” and deputies pulled the body from the water, the sheriff’s office said.

The family helped authorities identify the recovered body as Bueker’s and an autopsy will be performed by the State Medical Examiner, the sheriff’s office said.

Keep reading

More human remains discovered as drought dries Lake Mead

More human remains have been found at drought-stricken Lake Mead National Recreation Area east of Las Vegas, authorities said Sunday.

It’s the fourth time since May that remains have been uncovered as Western drought forces the shoreline to retreat at the shrinking Colorado River reservoir behind the Hoover Dam.

National Park Service officials said rangers were called to the reservoir between Nevada and Arizona around 11 a.m. Saturday after skeletal remains were discovered at Swim Beach.

Rangers and a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police dive team went to retrieve the remains.

Park Service officials said the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office will try to determine when and how the person died as investigators review records of missing people.

On May 1, a barrel containing human remains was found near Hemenway Harbor. Police believe the remains were that of a man who died from a gunshot wound and the body was likely dumped in the mid-1970s to early 1980s.

Less than a week later, authorities say human skeletal remains were found at Calville Bay.

More recently, partial human remains were found in the Boulder Beach area on July 25.

Police have speculated that more remains may be discovered as the water level at Lake Mead continues to recede.

Keep reading

North Carolina Co-Pilot Mysteriously Disappears From Plane During Flight, Found Dead

A North Carolina pilot died under mysterious circumstances Friday afternoon, officials said.

Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was one of two people onboard the small, 10-person plane Friday but it landed with just one person in Wake County, North Carolina, WRAL reported.

Authorities say Crooks either jumped or fell from the plane in midair without a parachute.

According to the report, the remaining co-pilot safely conducted an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport after reporting to air traffic control that the plane had lost its right wheel and was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Dozens of first responders were at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and several other officers canvassed the local area and the plane’s flight path to search for Crooks’ body.

Keep reading

Remains found at serial killer’s ‘house of horrors’ in 1981 finally identified

More than four decades after a young woman’s remains were discovered on a Florida property belonging to a serial killer, cutting-edge DNA technology has finally identified the victim as a missing teenager.

Sixteen-year-old Theresa Caroline Fillingim was identified as the third of four bodies discovered in April 1981 at the sprawling home neighbors referred to as a “house of horrors.”

The property belonged to convicted killer Billy Mansfield Jr., who is currently serving a life sentence in California.

Sheriff’s officials made the announcement last Wednesday.

It took weeks for excavators and deputies to unearth the four sets of human remains buried in the junkyard owned by Mansfield in Spring Hill, sheriff’s officials said in a news release. Only two of the female victims were quickly identified.

Fillingim had been reported missing by her sister, Margaret Johns, in Tampa on May 16, 1980. She was a week shy of her 17th birthday.

Fillingim’s remains were sent to numerous labs over the years, but investigators didn’t develop a DNA profile until 2020, sheriff’s officials said. The sample was sent to the University of North Texas seeking a match in a national database, without results.

Keep reading

Florida human remains from 1974 ID’d as missing teen, linked to serial killer

Human remains of a teen girl discovered in Florida almost 50 years ago were finally identified — and possibly linked to a serial killer, according to authorities.

Susan Poole, 15, who was reported missing in 1972, was connected to skeletal remains found in 1974, but not matched to DNA until recently, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Detective William Springer said during a press conference Thursday.

“She was tied up in the mangroves with wire to a tree,” Springer said. “She was skeletal remains, totally nothing left of her except bones.”

The case turned cold after authorities couldn’t identify the body found in north Palm Beach and still turned up nothing in 2015 when her DNA was submitted to a national missing persons database, he said.

Keep reading