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Thursday, October 31, 2013


BREAKING NEWS: Police say body found in De Soto, Kansas this week is missing man Brad Cook:

Cook, 22 from neighboring Olathe Kansas, mysteriously disappeared late in the evening of October 20th 2013, leaving behind his cellphone, wallet and a prized motorbike. He has not been seen or heard from since.

Brad Cook missing
The avid cyclist is the proud owner of a valuable Harley-Davidson, and friends and family say it's highly unlike him to have abandoned it anywhere, let alone outdoors unlocked for an extended period of time.

It's also unusual for the young man to be out of contact with them for so long.

Brad Cook, who shares a home with his sister, left their house abruptly on bike at 10:10 PM October 20th and then inexplicably vanished. 

The sister says there were no messages or texts registering on his phone which might explain where he was headed in such a hurry.

The motorcycle was later found parked near a town tavern, but surveillance video from that establishment didn't capture any images of Cook entering or exiting.

There's been no banking activity since that night either, and his family has no idea now what happened to their loved one. They say the business student wasn't depressed and that none of his guns are missing.

Adding to the puzzling disappearance, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the body discovered by a passerby in the area of 95th and Lexington in De Soto on the 29th is in fact Brad Cook. 

They insist no foul play was involved in either his death or disappearance. 

Police classified the event as an “unattended death” and withheld Cook’s identity pending an autopsy and notification of the family.

A second corpse of a young male, found the next day approximately two miles from Cook's, has not been identified yet. Police claim that particular death does seem "suspicious" and continue to investigate.

Updated from 10/29/13 & developing - bookmark for more updates.
Phone police with tips @ 913-715-5560 or 816-474-TIPS
Also visit the Bring Brad Cook Home facebook page
*Read all updates to this case in the comment section*


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Philip Chism Update: Teacher's Slaying Shrouded in Secrecy

In the brutal slaying of teacher Colleen Ritzer, the mystery grows over teen-killer Philip Chism's motive, and the real reason a judge has ordered court documents and search warrants in his case sealed.

As the 14-year-old Chism sits in jail, held without bond and facing adult charges for murdering his math teacher Colleen Ritzer this October, a battle is shaping up between the criminal justice system and the press regarding full access and disclosure.

The matter is already vague enough because, thus far, the teenager has not offered detectives any explanation for the gruesome killing, although he has admitted to it.

Indeed, many of Chism's incriminating movements that day were captured on school cameras, evidence which also serves to corroborate his grisly confession.

But some of those images, together with search warrants and other legal documents the press would like to review for their coverage of the case, are now being hidden from public view -- either recently sealed or subject to gag orders.

This week, exasperated by that media shutout, some major news outlets have mounted a challenge to being deliberately left in the dark about the Colleen Ritzer homicide investigation and her murderous young pupil.

They insist people need to know all the facts and that the contents of such a government record, no matter how sensitive or disturbing, should always be open for scrutiny.

The success of their legal bid to unseal those criminal records is not assured, however, since regardless of whether the accused is a minor or not, Philip Chism isn't the first high-profile defendant whose otherwise tenuous right to a fair trial has been protected in this way by the courts.

Even Colorado theater killer James Holmes, who police caught red-handed and red-haired within only moments of his perpetrating the largest mass slaying in American history, and who likewise confessed on the spot, was granted similarly sweeping protections.

And it took months if not years for all of those to finally be lifted, with some facts never being completely revealed.

Like Holmes, Chism too initially pleaded not guilty and, apart from that now-seemingly indefensible pleading, there are other defense concerns that the court may be addressing by pulling the curtains closed on probing reporters.

After all, the murder of 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer is still fresh; the investigation into it complex and ongoing; and the likelihood that she wasn't her killer's first victim a theory that also has to be thoroughly explored.

Therefore nothing, not even the possibility of an accomplice, can be ruled out yet.

Judiciously balancing the rights of everyone involved in a sensational case like this one, whilst ensuring 'Due Process' for the defendant, is not simple or easy: The victim, the accused, the witnesses -- dead or alive all of these individuals must be guaranteed justice -- which often requires a great degree of secrecy.

op-ed by Eponymous Rox, for Killing Killers

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ridiculed Saudis Enforce 'No Woman May Drive' Ban

Amid worldwide scorn, Saudi kingdom officials detain and fine women drivers protesting the 'No Woman May Drive' ban:

Year after year auto fatality statistics prove the same thing: Women are better drivers than men -- the sole reason that insurance rates are far cheaper for females than for males, especially in the case of young men.

Notwithstanding that undeniable reality, in the backward nation of Saudi Arabia, it is against the law for women to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle, anywhere, anytime. 

Indeed, females of all ages who even venture alone outdoors on foot, face the very real risk of harassment and assault. Particularly if they're not 'covered' when in public, either by a male chaperone or a veil.

This weekend, in protest of such institutionalized misogyny, an organized caravan of women-driven vehicles took to the streets, the oppressed once more hoping to lift the 'no woman may drive' law designed to keep the female populace prisoner in their own land.

In that reasonable mission they've also received a little assistance from native-born artist and activist, Hisham Fageeh, whose satirical music video "No Woman No Drive" (sung to the late Bob Marley's 'No Woman No Cry' reggae hit) has gone viral.

Click link or above to hear and share his hilarious jab at a country which stubbornly remains the only place in the world where the roadways are devoid of women. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Philip Chism, killer of Colleen Ritzer, was her student

New student Philip Chism, teen killer of beloved teacher Colleen Ritzer, has been charged as an adult and held without bail in her brutal after-school slaying.

Authorities are actively investigating the possibility that the young man may have had a crush on his teacher, and fatally attacked her in revenge when she spurned his advances.

According to police, Chism, who is just 14-years-old but stands well over 6-feet tall, was captured on video following an unsuspecting Ritzer into a second-floor bathroom at Danvers high school in Massachusetts, where he brutally assaulted and murdered the popular young math instructor. 

Colleen Ritzer slain by student Philip Chism

He then wheeled her bloody body out of the building in a trash receptacle, dumped it in the adjacent woods, and went to see a Woody Allen movie.

The towering youth, who'd just moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee this spring, was apprehended on the side of a highway not long thereafter. 

On Wednesday Philip Chism appeared handcuffed but unemotional during his court arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty.

Today, the Danvers school system is closed again while that stricken community mourns the tragic and senseless death of one of its most inspiring young faculty members.

Police continue to investigate her vicious murder and the 'oddly quiet' juvenile killer's motive, if any.

Rest in peace, Colleen Ritzer.


Philip Chism search warrant

In hunt for Abigail Hernandez "No tip too small" FBI says

The FBI's lead investigators in the search for Abigail Hernandez say it's looking "less and less likely" that the New Hampshire teen simply ran away.

The athletic 15-year-old from North Conway, NH has been missing since October 9th when she sent her last text at around 3 PM to a friend while walking home from school.

Since that afternoon there's been no activity on her cellphone or social media accounts either, a troubling indicator in the case of a girl who is said to be very active online, especially with her Facebook page.

"She has gone totally dark from a very robust social media presence," FBI agent Kieran Ramsey reports. "We have no idea where she is right now."

Regardless of the trail growing cold, however, state and federal officials insist that the search for Abigail Hernandez is still very much underway, even though, so far, they have no solid leads to act upon.

Agent-in-charge Ramsey also expressed a degree of frustration with what he perceives may be reticence on the part of some people to provide investigators with more tips. 

"Nothing is too small" he assured the public yesterday, emphasizing he'd rather get duplicate tips phoned in than nothing at all.

And those need not be about the specific moment the child vanished either, he added. 

Information about Hernandez and her relationships and activities prior to disappearing is equally being sought, since this could provide more insight to the events that led up to her vanishing. 

With October coming to a close and cold weather fast bearing down on the northland, there is an undeniable sense of urgency in the hunt for Hernandez who the authorities do consider to be endangered.

The teen track star joins a growing list of similar disappearances in the region, some of which, like Celina Cass, age 11, ended in homicide and a body-dump, or, as with the missing-person cases of Heide Wilbur, Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray, remain unsolved to this day.

The prospect of a serial predator freely roaming such a vast and mountainous territory  targeting young females to victimize has both citizens and law enforcement alike on edge.

Abby Hernandez went missing in broad daylight at the side of the busy North-South highway, just two miles from her residence and an even shorter distance from her high school. 

Police ask that anyone with knowledge of this missing child's current whereabouts -- or any info whatsoever -- immediately contact 1-800-CALL-FBI. A $20,000 reward is also being offered as an incentive.

You can view Abby's missing-person poster and find other important details here, and learn more about her and the scenic area she lives in right here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chicago Police Won't Search for Missing Student Jermal Hawkins

University student Jermal Hawkins has been mysteriously missing from his Chicago neighborhood for over a week now, but Chicago police say he's a grown man and refuse to search for him.

Hawkins disappeared without a trace after texting a family member at the public library. From there he was en route to the barber shop to get a haircut, he informed her, but he never made it to his appointment.

Jermal Hawkins with his mother.

The 19-year-old has not been seen nor heard from since.

In June of 2013 college student Austin Hudson-LaPore, 20, similarly vanished in thin air after abruptly leaving his dorm room to view an impending gale.

Chicago police launched an immediate search for the youth, despite knowing beforehand that Hudson-LaPore was an avid storm-chaser and had gone on foot to the rocky shores of Lake Michigan ill prepared for bad weather.

His battered body was recovered from those turbulent waters seven days later.

It's not clear why the Chicago Police Department is making an exception in Jermal Hawkins' case, since this young man's disappearance is far more suspicious and completely out of character.

Jermal Hawkins is described as a 6-foot-2 African American male weighing approximately 245 pounds, with dark hair and brown eyes. It is not known what he was wearing on the day he went missing.

Anyone with information about this missing person is asked to call the Area South Special Victims Section at (312) 747-8274. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Was Madeleine McCann the victim of a robbery gone amok?

Apart from the brutal rape, bludgeoning and strangulation of child model JonBenét Ramsey, no case has quite captured the public's attention and concern than that of long-missing toddler Madeleine McCann.

The blonde 4-year-old is believed to have been abducted from her Portugal hotel room in 2007, but just who those kidnappers might have been and their actual motive remains an unsolved mystery.

Now authorities have reinvigorated the worldwide search for 'Maddy' and some theorize that her abduction may have been related to a string of robberies in the resort neighborhood where the McCann family was vacationing.

It's possible that young Madeleine McCann could have unwittingly seen or even interrupted a burglary in progress, detectives working the case anew are actively speculating. 

If so, the girl would have been especially vulnerable to the consequences of such a discovery because she and her two infant siblings were left alone that evening while Mr. and Mrs. McCann were dining at a nearby restaurant. 

The McCanns -- frequently the target of suspicion and scorn themselves -- welcome the new theories and interest in the case, having never given up hunting for their daughter and for the criminals who took her away from them.

Investigators have also released new sketches of the potential perp/s involved in Madeleine McCann's disappearance, whilst revising the timeline closer to the precise hour Mrs. McCann found her daughter gone without a trace.

They're refocusing their inquiry mainly on a Caucasian male between 20 and 40 years of age.

The unidentified individual was observed in the area by another tourist from Ireland who said he and his family members noticed a man carrying a blonde-haired child around 10 PM, the same time Maddy's mother was about to return to the hotel to check on her small children.

According to that eyewitness, Martin Smith, 64, the girl he saw being carried from the premises was wearing pajamas and did not appear distressed.

The above information, however, is not all that *new* in reality, having been in the hands of the Portuguese police for almost the entire time Maddy McCann was declared missing.

Smith further claims that the Portuguese police deliberately disregarded his reports because they were fixating instead on a different suspect who later proved to be the wrong man.

With an investigation into the baffling abduction of Madeleine McCann revitalized this week, over 1000 fresh tips have already been phoned in or e-mailed, with two separate people providing the exact same name of the thus far unknown male sought for questioning.

Could a break in this cold case finally be only days away now?


Missing in New Hampshire since October 9th, Abigail Hernandez turned 15 over the Columbus Day holiday weekend...

Investigators say the North Conway, New Hampshire teenager finished school on that afternoon and walked her normal route homeward, but then mysteriously disappeared from her residence shortly thereafter.

A tri-state multi-agency task force equipped with K-9s and helicopters has been searching woods, lakes, rivers and highways for five straight days now, without luck. They even set up roadblocks and were seen handing out fliers to tourists who flock by the thousands to scenic New Hampshire this time of year to take in the spectacular fall foliage.

Police say over 200 tips have also been investigated, some of which came from as far away as Texas, and still there is nothing solid to go on. They believe the last anyone may have heard from Abigail Hernandez was via cellphone approximately four hours after her strange disappearance.
MISSING: Abigail HernandezThat call was said to have been transmitted a couple miles from the girl's house near the resort town of  Cranmore Mountain.

In all, nearly 5000 acres have been scoured in a desperate search which has turned up the skeletal remains of a missing person from 2006, but which has produced little else of substance in the Hernandez case.

Abigail Hernandez is described as a light-skinned female, about five-foot four-inches tall and weighing 118 pounds. The bright, athletic 15-year-old has long dark hair with dark eyes and is of Hispanic descent. She was last seen wearing black stretch pants, tall brown boots and a light colored sweater with a yellow pattern and flecks.

Local law enforcement agencies and the FBI ask that anyone who sees the missing child or who may know of her current whereabouts phone them at (603) 356-5717 or 1-800-CALL-FBI.

A Facebook page has also been launched to aid in the hunt for this endangered individual.

UPDATE: 10/16/2013: Officials have retracted earlier statements concerning a call placed on the missing teen's cellphone in the area of the Cranmore Mountain ski resort the day she disappeared. That location is less than two miles from the Hernandez residence and accessible by foot, but investigators now say "No such call was ever made." 

In 2011 the badly beaten body of Krista Dittmeyer was retrieved from a pond on Cranmore Mountain. Three male friends were accused of the young mother's murder and pleaded guilty before trial. 

However, over 80 percent of criminal cases are actually plea-bargained in the United States, whether or not the accused are in fact innocent. As well, a number of other young females have vanished from this remote New Hampshire region in the years before the brutal killing of Dittmeyer, and since.

UPDATE: 12/8/13: FBI confirms that missing teen recently sighted "online" also sent her mother a letter just two weeks after vanishing -- read full coverage of these late breaking developments HERE.