40 People Missing from two Adjoining Counties
Please note the list of missing is farther down on the page, but please take the time to read the paragraphs before to get a complete understanding of what is going on in the area.
Click to watch the story done by KHOU news on The Missing Texas Forty.
Click to read story on CHRON
BRAND NEW INTERACTIVE MAPThe Missing Texas Forty
With 40 people missing from two adjoining counties, is it something sinister or is it just a coincidence?
Written by Jerrie Dean
Researched and edited by Helen Harriman-Oliver
Please note: A Facebook page for the Missing Texas Forty has been created on 2/14/13. Please stop by and like and bring your support and your thoughts!
You may want to look at this list of unidentified missing from Montgomery County Texas.
UPDATE 8/15/13 – The Liberty county Sheriff’s Office announced that the human remains found on Gladstell Road (CR322) on April 12, 2013 do not belong to Rodney Stokley, Larry Baker, Mark Rhineburger, Dennis Rogers, Edwin Rodgers, or Westley Moore. The preliminary forensic tests show that the bones belong to a person who was Hispanic or “a similar popular description,” and was between the ages of 15 and 20 years old and 63.5 to 67 inches tall. Because no DNA match has been found the body remains unidentified.
Interesting Fact: Self-professed Serial Killer Henry Lee Lucas (died in 2001) confessed to many murders in Montgomery County, in 1983 amounting to about 600. DNA is slowly but surely proving that many he confessed to he did not do.
UPDATE: Is there a connection between alleged killer of Mickey Shunick and the Missing Texas Forty? Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft says a burned truck found in San Jacinto County, Texas, that was registered in Montgomery County and belonged to Brandon Laverne was the key to his arrest. Click here to read.
About 10 months ago, I was contacted by Jerry, the brother of missing Larry Baker that disappeared in Liberty County in 2010. Jerry told me about Larry and he also brought up the name of another person, Rodney Stokely that was missing from the same small town in Texas called Cleveland. Cleveland, Texas has a population under 8,000 people. Two people missing from one small town seemed usual to me, and you would think that the odds would have it that the police would have found at least one of these men.
When I wrote up the article, I mentioned that I thought the number was high and I received an email from Helen Harriman-Oliver. She told me that the comment I had made about “two people missing, especially two people living only blocks from each other is unusual,” and she was interested in taking a closer look at that county.
As Helen did her research, she came up with several more names in Liberty County and several more from the adjacent Montgomery County, and emailed me a map she had put together. As I was looking at it, my son, who is planning on becoming a U.S. Marshal when he grows up, said he saw a pattern, but there were a couple of spots missing. So, I typed in the town along with the word missing person and sure enough a name popped up. I typed in another town where there was a missing spot on the map, and another name of a missing person came up. This new information warranted further investigation to see if there were more in that particular county.
I contacted Helen and after her extensive research in the two adjoining counties of Montgomery County (population 450,000) and Liberty County (75,000), she came up with an astounding 39 people missing. Then yesterday another name was added raising the number to 40.
In the whole state of Texas with a population of over 25.5 million people, there are 708 missing persons listed with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Missing Persons Clearinghouse. Texas has the most counties in the U.S. at 254. So if you average it out, that would mean there would be about 2 and ¾ people missing in each county of Texas. If I reduced the counties in half to 137, then the number would rise to about 5 people per county. Still not close enough to what Montgomery and Liberty Counties were showing with 40 missing people, 7 from Liberty and 33 from Montgomery.
While doing the research for this article, I wanted to compare these two counties with others in the U.S., but it was hard to find overall statistical information and listings of missing persons.
I did find some interesting information about Alaska, that is nicknamed the Land of the Lost. Alaska in 2005 had 650,000 people in the whole state, less than the city of San Francisco, but comparable to the combined population of Montgomery and Liberty counties. According to the LA Times, “on average, 5 of every 1,000 people go missing every year, roughly double the national rate…Alaska has the highest percentage of people who stay missing” with a compiled list of 1,100 people who “remain” lost.
This information is interesting but still 6 years old. What was realized during the research is that the information is spread all over and there is no standard—every county and state reports missing persons differently. Law enforcement agencies are faced with personnel shortages to update their databases, and each jurisdiction reports the various classifications of the missing differently.
“A great example of this void is the literal void for Liberty and Montgomery Counties on this map (map is no longer there). As luck would have it, that map has one I hadn’t found elsewhere here (link no longer there) and I just found this listing with Rita Mae Hughes, who I also did not have,” Helen said.
According to the Texas Dept. of Public Safety Clearing House, they show 14 people missing in Montgomery County and 4 in Liberty on their website, which is about half of what Helen found.
Why is this? According to Tara Lindborg from the Clearing House, “Not every person that is reported missing is listed on our site. We do not use a set criteria to put someone on our website. If a family wants someone to be listed all they need to do is call.”An example of this is written up in this article about the missing in Wisconsin.”Entering a missing person into the TIME system does not place the information into the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Missing and Exploited Children and Adults. Dana Brueck, communications officer with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, said, “It is up to local law enforcement and the family of missing persons what additional dissemination takes place.”This can be a problem, if there is a serial killer stalking people or some other unknown circumstance that is causing an anomaly. You are not going to see it, if it isn’t put into a database. A police officer in Conroe, may never know there is several people missing in the nearby city of Spring because they were never put into a database.
In Kitsap County,Washington, according to the Central Kitsap Reporter “Parents of teens who have disappeared in the county in the last year are accusing police of using the distinction between missing person and runaway as an “excuse” to not investigate their children’s disappearance.”
The majority of police departments in the U.S. go by a standard that is, if the child is under 10-12 and if they think there there is foul play suspected, they them put the child on their missing persons list and/or NCIC. Sadly, in some cases, foul play is not found till there is a thorough investigation or the child has been missing for a lengthy amount of time. And if we are talking about a runaway, although they may be put on the list, getting the police to thoroughly investigate that is very slim. Not just for Texas, but all over the U.S. Police go by stats and the statistics show that the majority of teens eventually come home. So, unless there is foul play known, nothing more than cursory information is taken.In the “Missing, but who searches? article, “…whether the department would involve state and national agencies depends on the circumstances. In most local cases, the child or person is found right away. He said the last missing child the department had was found within 24 hours. However, if not found in a short time, Dorner said the information would be entered into the various computer systems and while the news media might not be notified right away, he would certainly put out a press release. “The more eyes out there the better.”In the article, Parents, authorities won’t help find children, “…Sgt. Jim White, and several other deputies, [said] that since Nopp was classified a runaway, the department did not have the money to look into her case.
List of Missing in Texas So, after several weeks of research, a list of people missing in Montgomery County and Liberty County Texas was created, as shown below. Whether there is something nefarious going on or pure coincidence requires even more research and study.Over a 33-year span, the list shows ages ranging from 12-70, all races and both sexes. The first person missing was in 1979, then 1983, 1986 and so on, but once they went missing they remained missing.What I have found is that there is small similarities. There was a group of seven teens that have gone missing from Montgomery County since 2008 and six of them were on foot. I noted that most people missing were from the towns of Spring and Conroe. But the most interesting is that the majorities were walking when they disappeared.Were these people offered a ride and picked up by someone and were “spirited away?” And if we are to assume that all of these people or even half of them are dead, where are they buried? Could they all be in the same place, like Sam Houston National Park?
Unless, one or more of these people are found, we will never know, and I can guarantee you that the list will continue to grow. Note: 2/4/13 – Contrary to what I believed when I wrote this story, there has been no more reported missing people in those two counties since early 2012. I do not know if this is because someone who may be responsible is now in jail or what. POSTSCRIPT: In late 2014 another missing and in 2015 two more missing have been added to the list.
Many have asked if this could possible be a serial killer. Brandon Lavergne: You may be interested in reading this story that shows a connection to Montgomery County and nearby Harris County: Will more victims be found connected to the alleged killer of Mickey Shunick?Israel Keyes: Keyes was in North Texas in 2012 where police said he spent Feb. 12-16 driving around Azle, Aledo and Cleburne in a rented car. “He made a number of statements to us that made us think that he did something in Texas,” said Goeden, part of the Alaska-based federal task force investigating Keyes’ crimes. Keyes had said he also visited the Post Oak cemetery near Glen Rose. His mother and sisters attended a fundamentalist church in East Texas, and Keyes said he was often visiting them. Keyes was arrested March 13, 2012, by the Texas Highway Patrol in the parking lot of the Cotton Patch restaurant in Lufkin after he had again used Samatha Koenig‘s debit card, which he had previously used in New Mexico and Arizona. Keyes committed suicide in an Alaskan jail in 2013. Read more about Israel Keys here.
How to use the list Compare this list with the numbers on the map above, and you have a real understanding of how many missing people that are clustered around one area. Also, each name has several links from where information was obtained. The most recent missing people are at the end of the list, so when you look at the map, numbers 40 and descending will show you the most recent cases. Also, a reader brought this information to my attention regarding Spring, Texas: ” Spring is an UN-incorporated area of both Montgomery and Harris counties. It is a very large area that includes any and everything between the cites of Houston, Tomball, Conroe and Humble.” Allie Lowitzer from Spring is actually Harris county, but she is included in the Missing Texas Forty list. ALSO, there are several that are on the list that went missing from a nearby county and are on here either because they lived in Montgomery or Liberty counties or was known to be there before they went missing.
Also, please check out the notes after the list to see some more pertinent information.
NamUs MP # 137662.
NamUs MP # 13437
NamUs MP # 8548
Darrell Cade was found in the woods at the mont co airport a few years ago shot to death.
It has been brought to our attention that there are two Pinehurst, one near Conroe in Montgomery County and the other Pinehurst (used to be Pinehurst Heights) is in Orange County near Beaumont. I ran the address and it shows that this Pinehurst is the one near Beaumont, which would be Orange County. So Eulan disappeared from Orange County, not Montgomery County. Hodgkinson was last seen at his mother’s house in the 3800 block of Pheasant Street on September 11, 1988. Hodgkinson was a welder, had came in that afternoon to shower, then headed out to pick up a part for a grinder that needed to be painted. His mother knew he was planning to come back soon, because he left his welding equipment out, something he never did for long periods of time. Hodgkinson told her not to worry about making him anything for supper, because he would eat while he was out. According to reports, Hodgkinson left his mother’s Pinehurst home to visit with his employer and give him the status on a welding job in progress. He disappeared after leaving his boss’ home. His vehicle, a 1988 Dodge Dakota pickup truck, was found abandoned two days later on a dead-end dirt road in a wooded area off of FM 1130, on an old oil field road that led to a soybean field in rural Orange County. The vehicle was locked and the keys were missing. A camera, semiautomatic rifle, a military style rifle (AR15), and a large stereo player were missing from the truck. His jack had been taken out of the cab and thrown in the back of the truck. The truck and its tires were new, and there was no reason for him to have the tire jack out. Four days later, his father walked into the Pinehurst Police Department to report that his son was missing. Intensive searches were conducted by police, deputies, friends, families and civic organizations. Foul play is possible.
NamUs MP # 100337.
When her sister came home at around 03.00, to the apartment she’d shared with Lorraine, she wasn’t there. In the kitchen, the sister saw grocery bags on the floor and a turkey defrosting in the sink. The answer machine was blinking, and when the sister played the message, she was confused. The caller said it was Lorraine, but it didn’t sound like her, saying she had met someone and was going to Mexico for a few days. Her sister knew Lorraine would not have left, especially on Thanksgiving. When Lorraine didn’t show up by Thanksgiving evening, her sister called police, and Harris County Precinct 4 Constables responded and took the report.At some point, the case was transferred to the Harris County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Division, and the records have been lost.
Foul play is possible.
NamUs MP # 8649
NamUs MP # 10867
NamUs MP # 10875
Jane McDonald-Crone left her home near Magnolia, Texas for her job at Baker-Hughes Tool Company in Houston, Texas the morning of November 12, 1993.
On November 12, 1993, Crone reportedly visited the City Limits Club, Willie’s Night Life Club, and Twigs Club in northwest Harris County. On November 15, 1993, Crone’s husband reported her as a Missing Person. Crone’s 1982 blue Ford Mustang, with Texas license number FXY-01G was found November 16, 1993, in southwest Montgomery County, Texas, a few miles from her home. A work crew in the area reported seeing the car at this location on November 13, 1993, at about 7:00.
Her purse and identification were not found in the car and there were no signs of violence, although the textbooks she used at her community college classes were there. Crone was attending North Harris County College, in Tomball, Texas at the time of her disappearance.
Foul play is suspected.
Tina was reported missing when her mother learned later in the day that she was not with her boyfriend. Foul play is suspected.
The next day Michelle’s mother reported her missing to local authorities in Montgomery County, Texas. Michelle had reportedly quarreled with her mother about shopping plans. Michelle has had no prior history of running away and no trouble with the law or school. She was a good student academically. Michelle’s parents are divorced and, prior to her disappearance, she was looking forward to spending the Christmas holidays with her father in Kingsville, Texas. The family including another daughter moved to the Spring area near the Woodlands from Louisiana in September.Michelle may have a sleeping bag, a handmade patchwork quilt, $20 in cash and her orange Tabby cat with her. She may have left the state. The girl’s mother first thought Michelle might have spent the night with another girl. Foul play is suspected in Michelle’s disappearance. Michelle has a birthmark on the palm of her hand.
17. 05-17-2002: Sandra Koepke, w/f, 38 y/o. Conroe, Montgomery County, TX
A buddy of Rodney’s had picked him up at the family’s home and taken him to Brookhollow Apartments for his buddy’s birthday celebration. What he knows about what happened next is based on the friend’s account and what police have uncovered.“His buddy and girlfriend were arguing so Rodney said he would leave, and left on foot. He made a couple of phone calls including one to his girlfriend. He made a couple more phone calls after that but the battery on his phone was going down,” said his father. The last of the calls he made pinged, or connected, off a cell phone tower on Wells Road off Plum Grove Road. After that, no calls were made from the cell phone and no one ever heard from Rodney again. “Everything was going good and then Rodney disappeared. It’s not like him to be gone and not in contact with us,” said Rodney Sr. “That’s where his trail ends.” The “not knowing” is the worst part of it all for the Stokley family.
NamUs MP # 20355
Texas Equusearch says she was found, although no specifics on when. http://texasequusearch.org/2008/05/found-safe-amber-gallagher-15-yrs-the-woodlands-tx-052308/
08/20/12 — The body of Virgilio Kison was positively identified.
Virgilo Kison walked away from nursing home unattended. MP suffers from multiple medical conditions to include Parkinson’s / Schizophrenia and Dementia. He has not been located and remains missing. Investigators believe that Kison was last seen walking north from FM 1314 on the south bound service road of US 59 on Sunday, August 21, 2011 at approximately 7:00 PM not far from the Pine Shadow Retreat Nursing Home.
40. 02/15/2012 Mark Larry Rhineburger, 39, from Crosby, Texas Liberty County was last seen at the Shell gas station on FM2w100, Indian Shores subdivision on February 15, 2012 around 5:30 a.m.Mark was driving a 2005, white 4-door Chevy pickup with a crew cab. His truck was found on February 15, near County road 2148 in Liberty County near Romayor, Texas. It was out of gas.Mark is 5’10” tall, 170 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.(New information has come out about this case on March 22, 2012. Click here to read.
After this article original ran, more people have come up missing although number 38 and 39 has been found. The number is now 42, with the addition of Westley Moore #47, the count is now 43.
41. 03/08/2012 Dennis Rogers, 54, from Plum Grove, Texas Liberty County was last seen going for a walk in the woods near his home on CR 347 South. He called 911 and told them that he had gone too far and was lost. The authorities reported on March 13 that the case was now criminal and would not elaborate any further.
|Bradley Keith Clark|
42. Found – 03/13/2012 Bradley Keith Clark, 32, was last seen mid February in 20704 Pin Oak New Caney, Texas in Montgomery County. Bradley is 6 ft tall, 160 pounds with brown hair, blue eyes. He has tattoos of his children’s names. UPDATE: Montgomery County Police Reporter “MISSING PERSON UPDATE: Bradley Keith Clark has been found!”
43. Found – 03/07/2012 MaKayla Taber, 14, Missing from Spring Texas Montgomery County. Considered a run away – Heidi Search Center
45. 8/1/2012Marva Sheppard, 28, (B/F) UPDATE: 3/15/13 – I have received calls that Marva has been found, but she is still on the Texas Clearinghouse as missing. A call and an email I made to the Conroe Police Dept. for clarification on her status were never responded to. Area Last Seen: Conroe Montgomery County Notes: Marva was last seen enroute to Houston to look for employment. Her white 2004 Pontiac Grand Am was recovered abandoned. Conroe police stated that Marva was no longer missing on 2/14/13.
46. 6/27/2012 – Jennifer Poindexter, 15, UPDATE: Jennifer has been removed the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, although she is still showing up as missing on the Montgomery County Texas crimestoppers website.
Area Last Seen: Spring Montgomery County Notes: Jenny has pierced ears and multiple tattoos; stars on her left hand, “CESAR” on her left thigh and “Hector” on her right ankle. She has a small build and was last seen wearing a pink sleeveless shirt with denim shorts and flip flop shoes. Jenny is possibly in the company of her 17 year old juvenile boyfriend in the Houston, Texas area. 9/22/12 – “Jennifer Poindexter has been recovered.
47. 6/9/13 – Westley Moore, 32, (W/M) Westley Allen Moore, 32, has been missing from Liberty County Texas since June 9th, 2013.Authorities searched for him near the pipeline area near the 6800 block of Outlaw Bend where Polk County, Hardin County and Liberty County all merge together and specifically Hardin County where Mr. Moore was last seen.
Joy Upham, 65 was last seen on December 28, 2013 in the area of East Davis and Loop 336 East in Conroe, Texas, according to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Joy was last seen wearing black pants, a black jacket and brown boots.
James Buckner, 57 went missing from Montgomery, Texas on July 9, 2014. He was last seen wearing a white 2003, Chevy Silverado 2500 4-door pickup truck with Texas plates 3OHYD9. – UPDATE 8/13/14 – James’ remains were found in a wooded area near a deserted golf course in Livingston.FOUND –
50. 4/28/14 – FOUND Christopher Maes, 23, from Hardin, Texas has been missing since Aug. 28. He was last seen leaving his parents’ home in the area of CR 2367 on August 28, 2014. Human remains thought to be those of Christopher, have been found by members of the Texas EquuSearch team in Dec. 2014. However, positive identification of the remains must still be confirmed by law enforcement investigators and medical authorities.
51. 11/19/14– FOUND Brian Orolin, 42, was last seen in The Woodlands part of Spring, Texas on November 19th 2014. According to Texas EquuSearch “Brian is a military veteran that suffers from PTSD, and is disabled from a traumatic brain injury he suffered during his last tour of military duty.” Remains found behind house in Dec. 15 and positively identified in Feb. 2016.
52. 3/21/15 – Danielle Sleeper, 32, was last seen at home in Magnolia, Texas in Montgomery County. She was on foot and has her purse and phone with her.
53. 5/25/15 – Clint Miller, 26, from Moss Bluff, Tx, located in Liberty County. He has not been seen since his home burned down.
NaMus # 34041
54. 9/24/15 – Ryan Tucker, 30, from Conroe, Tx, located in Montgomery County. Conroe Police are asking for assistance in locating Ryan Tucker, a 30 year old white male who suffers from Asperger Syndrome and seizures. Ryan is approximately 5-10 and weighs 200 pounds, last seen wearing a blue Nike shirt and blue jeans (same shirt pictured in photo). Anyone with information is asked to contact Conroe PD at (936)522-3200.
55. 6/12/12 – Melba Sue Lyons, 61, from Cleveland, Texas in Libery County was last seen the night of June 12, 2012. Her family said that Lyons taken from her Shepherd home by ambulance to Kingwood Medical Center. But hours later, she was gone, leaving the hospital unsupervised. A video shows Lyons leaving the hospital through a side door and running across the parking lot.
56. 10/27/16 – Donna Kay Cloud, 19, from Splendora, Texas (Montgomery County) Oct. 27, 2016. Said she was meeting a date at the Texas Roadhouse in Kingwood. She has not been seen since.
57. 7/25/16 – Andra Bradshaw, 70, of north Liberty County, last spoke to a relative by phone on July 1, but has not been seen or heard from since. When investigators visited her home south of Cleveland at #53 CR3280 and found a television and lamp were on. There were large holes in the floors and walls, and doors were unsecured. Investigators located bone fragments around the residence and have sent them to a Beaumont lab to determine if they are human or animal.
58.4/19/17 – Donald James Phillips, 54, Willis, Texas (Montgomery County) April 19, 2017. Last seen by his boss. Car was found in the Sam Houston National Forest on April 20, but sat until May before it was realized it belong to Donald. The rangers believe the car was burglarized as his belongings were missing.
60. Stephanie Melissa Castillo Ramirez, Texas Clearinghouse Case Number R1609010, Missing Since 9/19/2016, Montgomery County (as of 5/31/17 still missing)
61. FOUND Yamilex Alanis Texas MP Clearinghouse, Missing since 3/5/2017, Case Number R1703002 (as of 5/31/17 no file found) Assume she was found.
63. Jeremy Sirkel, 24, is from Cleveland (Liberty County) but reported missing from San Jacinto County.
Related Information:Since this story ran, I have been receiving information from readers that have found information about law enforcement databases in other counties and cities, so I have and will continue to add that information into this article, as it comes in.Note: The Clearing House for the Texas Dept of Public Safety, which acts as a liaison between the Texas Dept of Public Safety (Government) and people, contacted us and asked us to let every one know that anyone can call and get their help:“We are here to help all families of missing persons and provide assistance to law enforcement whenever asked. We act as a liaison between families and law enforcement. Not every person that is reported missing is listed on our site. We do not use a set criteria to put someone on our website. If a family wants someone to be listed all they need to do is call. We are here to help. Our website is www.txdps.state.tx.us/mpch. You can also reach us at 512-424-5074.”Their criteria for being listed is on their website here. Note: Contact from a family member or law-enforcement officer can get the missing person’s photograph posted on the Texas Dept. of Public Safety Website – If you have a family member missing from the Montgomery or Liberty Counties, please contact them and have them have them add your MP’s photo.
Do you think there is a lot of people missing from your city or county. Let us know about it.