An Athlete Murdered Young – Death of Aimee Willard

Photo courtesy of guest blogger. Check out his FB group here: Ian’s Group

June 20, 1996

Aimee Willard‘s athletic accomplishments earned her a scholarship to play lacrosse and soccer at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. It was in lacrosse that the 22-year-old tomboy particularly excelled; by her junior year, she led the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring and assists. She was designated as one of the top 25 female lacrosse players in the United States, but because of a man described as “pure evil,” she became an athlete who died young.

In the early morning hours of June 20, 1996, Aimee’s car was found abandoned along Interstate 476 near Philadelphia. That afternoon, her badly beaten body was found in the north part of the city.

Three people emerged as suspects in Aimee’s murder, but all were cleared after DNA identified the true culprit. Twenty-four years after Aimee’s murder, her killer remains on Pennsylvania’s death row, his appeals nearly exhausted.

The only mystery remaining in the murder of Aimee Willard is when will the man who took her life pay for the crime?

On June 19, eleven days after her 22nd birthday, Aimee met friends at Smokey Joe’s Tavern in Wayne, just north of Philadelphia. Conversing at the tavern for nearly three hours, the girls had a great time catching up with each other. Aimee drank only a small amount of alcohol and left the bar between 1:30-1:45 a.m. on June 20.

On the day before summer officially started, the warm Pennsylvania morning was about to be marred by a chilling crime.

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., off-duty paramedics found Aimee’s car parked along the shoulder of an Interstate 476 off-ramp. Its engine was running, the lights were on, and the radio was playing. The driver’s side door was open, and a trail of fresh bloodstains dotted the pavement. A bloody tire iron lay by the side of the car, which was later identified as Aimee’s.

Police were summoned and found more blood along the passenger side of the car and the nearby guardrail. Later that morning, they found underwear and tennis shoes at the top of the ramp, also determined to be Aimee’s. Her other clothes were never found.

That afternoon, 17 miles away in North Philadelphia, two children playing in a vacant lot discovered Aimee’s nude body. An autopsy determined she had been sexually assaulted and killed by blunt force trauma that crushed her skull. She had been killed at approximately 7:00 a.m. on June 20.

Three men became suspects in the murder of Aimee Willard. Disturbingly, two of them were in law enforcement, and the third had previously masqueraded as such. 

As police searched the ramp where Aimee’s abandoned car was found, 23-year-old Andrew Kobak approached them, saying he had been on the ramp early that morning and had seen the car. Kobak had once worked five blocks from where Aimee’s body was found. More interestingly, he had previously been arrested for impersonating a police officer.

Kobak allowed police to search his car. They found handcuffs and a flashlight similar to those used by law enforcement. A search of his home-produced police paraphernalia as well as a magazine that could be used to order police equipment. After the searches, Kobak stopped cooperating with authorities.

Police were convinced they had their man, believing he approached Aimee under the guise of a police officer. Two bona fide law enforcement officers, however, also emerged as suspects.

An off-duty Pennsylvania state trooper, who lived only a few blocks from Aimee’s home, claimed to have seen both Aimee’s car and a police officer parked in a squad car behind it. The trooper said he spoke briefly with the officer, offering his assistance. When told he was not needed, the trooper said he drove away.

All of the police officers who responded to the call of Aimee’s abandoned car, however, said no one identifying himself as a state trooper spoke to them. Furthermore, authorities determined the trooper was in a different location at the time. The trooper soon resigned from the Pennsylvania State Patrol.

One week later, a local police officer not involved in the investigation into Aimee’s murder came forward, saying he had come upon her car while the paramedics were on the scene but before the police arrived. The officer said he saw the paramedics parked behind her car and that he spoke with them. The paramedics, however, contradicted the officer’s account, saying they neither saw nor spoke with him. Like the state trooper, the police officer later admitted to lying to his fellow lawmen. He, too, resigned shortly thereafter.

Investigators had three suspects in the murder of Aimee Willard: Andrew Kobak, who pretended to be one of them, and two of their actual own; the Pennsylvania State Trooper and the local police officer. DNA tests, however, exonerated all three men.

The only connection Aimee’s killer had to law enforcement was his multiple arrests. 

In December 1997, one-and-a-half years after Aimee’s murder, semen found on her body was matched to 38-year-old Arthur Bomar, Jr.

Police were led to Bomar after nineteen-year-old Patty Jordan reported an attempted carjacking near Philadelphia. A man had tailed her after she left a local nightclub and purposely struck the back of her vehicle. He tried to get her to pull over, but she refused.

As Patty drove off, she memorized the car’s license plate number. The plate was traced to Bomar. In December 1997, one-and-a-half years after Aimee’s murder, semen found on her body was matched to 38-year-old Arthur Bomar, Jr.

Police were led to Bomar after nineteen-year-old Patty Jordan reported an attempted carjacking near Philadelphia. A man had tailed her after she left a local nightclub and purposely struck the back of her vehicle. He tried to get her to pull over, but she refused.

As Patty drove off, she memorized the car’s license plate number. The plate was traced to Bomar.

Bomar was no stranger to authorities. He had previously been convicted of several assaults on young women and the second-degree murder of a woman in Nevada in 1978. He had been sentenced to life in prison but was granted parole after serving only eleven years. The parole board evidently thought Bomar had been rehabilitated. They would soon be proven deadly wrong.

In 1990, less than a year after he was paroled, Bomar was charged with the attempted murder of a woman named Theresa Thompson; the charges were dropped after she died of a drug overdose in 1991 before the case was brought to trial. He was also believed to be connected to the rape of a Philadelphia college student, though the evidence was not sufficient to charge him.

The evidence, however, was more than sufficient to charge him with the murder of Aimee Willard.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on the evening of June 19, 1996, Philadelphia police had pulled Bomar over for a traffic infraction only six blocks from where Aimee’s car would be found in the early morning hours of June 20. Police sought to question him but could not initially locate him.

The following week, Bomar was arrested after trying to break into a woman’s apartment. As the three other men emerged as suspects, authorities turned their attention away from Bomar and did not question him then about Aimee’s murder.

After the DNA evidence linked Bomar to Aimee’s murder, his girlfriend told authorities he was at Smokey Joe’s Tavern on the evening of June 20, 1996. It is believed he noticed Aimee at the bar and followed her along Route 476 after she departed.

Due to the damage found on the front of Bomar’s car and the back of Aimee’s car, police believe he purposefully rammed the back of her car to get her to pull over. When Aimee exited her vehicle to exchange information, Bomar is believed to have struck her with the tire iron later found alongside her car.

After knocking Aimee unconscious, Bomar is believed to have taken her to north Philadelphia, where he raped her and killed her with three blows to her head from another large object. Afterward, he is believed to have run over her with his car. A burn pattern found on Aimee’s back was consistent with the oil pan on the bottom of Bomar’s Ford Escort, which was found in a junkyard with slight damage to the front bumper. Its tires matched the impressions found near Aimee’s car.

Furthermore, DNA testing showed blood found on the car’s door was Aimee’s.

In February 2003, six-and-half years after Aimee’s murder, Arthur Bomar, Jr. was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. He was also convicted of rape, assault, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse.

At his sentencing, Bomar professed he was convicted only because he is black. He then flipped his middle finger at Aimee’s mother, Gail, and told her to f**k herself. He also threatened to kill her and her two other children.

When Bomar had been arrested for breaking into the woman’s apartment a few days after Aimee’s murder in June 1996, he had a set of keys for a Honda in his pocket. Police learned he had put his Ford Escort’s license plate on the Honda. It was the license plate Patty Jordan had memorized when the car rammed her.

The plate was registered to Bomar, but the Honda belonged to 25-year-old Maria Cabuenos, another Pennsylvania woman who had been reported missing in March 1996, three months before Aimee’s murder. Maria is also believed to have been abducted on Route 476, near where Aimee’s car was found. Dried blood was found in the trunk of her Honda, and both bumpers were slightly scraped, as were the bumpers on Aimee’s car. Moreover, Aimee’s blood and hair were found in Maria’s car.

In January 1998, three months after Bomar’s conviction for Aimee’s murder, Maria Cabuenos’ remains were found in nearby Bucks County. Like Aimee, she had died of blunt force trauma.

Bomar is the prime suspect in Maria’s murder, but he is not likely to be charged because of his death sentence. 

Over 17 years after his conviction for the murder of Aimee Willard, Arthur Bomar, Jr. remains on Pennsylvania’s death row, still exhausting his appeals. In 2014, his appeal was rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. His remaining options are few, but a date has still not been set for his execution.

Bomar maintains he did not kill Aimee and still insists he was convicted only because he is black. No one of any color is supporting his claim.

Authorities continue to investigate Bomar’s possible involvement in other homicides. They believe he may be a serial killer but have not yet been able to link him to any more murders.

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, AKA “Aimee’s Law,” was introduced by then-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and was signed into law by President Clinton in 2000.

The Act encourages states to keep murderers, rapists, and child molesters behind bars longer and holds a state financially accountable if it fails to do so. In addition, it allows interstate parole violators to be jailed in their state of residence at the expense of the state where the original offense was committed. Furthermore, it permits for offenders to be jailed in another state if circumstances allow it.

A small roadside memorial on the exit ramp from Interstate 476 to southbound U.S. Route 1 marks the site where Aimee Willard’s car was found.

US Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport in the United States, established the Aimee Willard Award. Created in conjunction with Aimee’s mother, her high school coach, and the Philadelphia Women’s Lacrosse Association, the award is given each year in recognition of the outstanding collegiate athlete participating in the USWLA National Tournament.

George Mason University honors Aimee with the yearly Aimee Willard Commemorative Award, presented to the Mason student-athlete who best exemplifies the standards of quality set by Aimee: intensity, consistency of purpose, achievement, and teamwork. 


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

• Cold Case Files

• Philadelphia Inquirer

• Unsolved Mysteries

• Washington Post


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More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas. Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


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Vanished But Not Forgotten

Twenty-eight-year-old Julie Weflen was a woman working in a man’s field. She was one of the few female power operators for the Bonneville Power Administration in Spokane, Washington. Almost everyone did a double-take when they saw the petite and attractive brunette working with power equipment.


Julie’s male coworkers often teased her, but it did not bother her because she knew the “guy talk” was all in good nature. Julie was a great worker. She had the men’s respect, and they had her back. The men felt guilty that they were not there for Julie when she needed them the most.


On September 16, 1987, a transformer at Spokane’s Springhill substation was registering low nitrogen levels. Julie said she would check it out. Her supervisor, Owen Berrio, told her it was nothing urgent, but diligent Julie said it was no bother and left to fix the problem. For thirty-three years, Owen has wished he would have then gone with her.
Julie left for the plant at approximately 2:00 p.m. and signed in at the Springhill substation at 2:30 p.m. She is believed to have completed her work around 3:30 p.m.


By nightfall, however, she had not returned, nor had she contacted anyone. Two colleagues went to the station to check on her, thinking the transformer’s problem may have been greater than thought.

When Julie’s coworkers arrived at Springhill, they found the nitrogen levels had been restored to normal. They also found Julie’s truck but no sign of her.


Thirty-three years later, Julie Weflen is still missing.

When BPA officials arrived at the plant, they came upon an ominous sight. The driver-side door and back hatch to Julie’s truck were open, and her personal items were strewn on the ground. These items included her hard hat, toolbox, sunglasses, and a bottle of water.

The police were called and found telltale signs of a struggle. There were drag marks in the gravel from the truck to where a fresh tire pattern. The tire tracks did not match those of Julie’s truck.

After concluding their investigation of the scene, police believed two people had abducted Julie.

As the Springhill substation was not on Julie’s usual route, her going to the plant had been a spur-of-the-moment decision.

Investigators believe Julie’s apparent abduction was a crime of opportunity. However, they do not dismiss the possibility that someone was stalking her.

Julie grew up in Portland, Oregon, and had been married to Mike Weflen for four years. The couple resided in Deer Park, 22 miles north of Spokane. By all accounts, the pair had a great relationship.

Mike was ruled out as a suspect in Julie’s disappearance as he was painting a house fifty miles away from Spokane at the time. Julie’s ex-husband was also investigated and cleared of any involvement.

Thousands of missing person’s flyers of Julie were distributed nationwide. Her disappearance received extensive national coverage, including being profiled on “America’s Most Wanted,” “Good Morning America,” and “West 57th”.

The publicity, however, failed to produce any solid leads.

Some investigators believe Julie’s abduction may be related to the disappearances of two other area women.


On March 29, 1986, one-and-a-half years before Julie’s disappearance, 30-year-old special education teacher Deborah Swanson disappeared from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 34 miles east of Spokane, Washington.

The circumstances of Deborah’s disappearance are somewhat similar to Julie’s. Her car was found locked and abandoned along an isolated trail. Her purse was found inside her car. Police believe Deborah was kidnapped while jogging along the trail.

Deborah also knew a man who lived near the Spokane substation from which Julie was abducted. The man refused to answer any questions when police attempted to ask him about the women’s disappearances. He is also believed to have mailed a threatening letter to Mike Weflen a few months after Julie’s disappearance.

A group member told me she recalled reading that this man knew both Deborah and Julie through the Spokane Mountaineering Club.

For many years this man, whom authorities have not named, has been considered a person of interest in Julie’s disappearance. He remains a person of interest in Deborah’s disappearance, but investigators have recently implied that he has been cleared of any involvement in Julie’s case.

The disappearance of another Coeur d’Alene woman is thought to be related to Julie Weflen and Deborah Swanson’s disappearances.

On May 16, 1986, seven weeks after Deborah’s disappearance and 16 months before Julie vanished, 20-year-old Sally Stone visited her physical therapist to treat an injured knee. After failing to show up for various appointments, she was reported missing.

Sally was an exotic dancer who had recently moved to Coeur d’Alene. All of her clothing and suitcases were found undisturbed in her apartment, although her purse was missing. Three days of newspapers had accumulated on her front porch, and a sizable insurance check lay unopened in her mailbox.

Sally, like Julie and Deborah, remains missing.

Three young women disappeared from a 35-mile radius within 14 months of one another. Nothing concretely links Deborah Swanson, Sally Stone, and Julie Weflen’s disappearances, but many investigators believe the cases are connected. Authorities have no solid suspects in any of the three disappearances.

No connection has been found between the three women.

Police have ruled out two infamous serial killers of the pacific northwest as suspects in Julie’s disappearance;

Gary Ridgway, also known as “Green River Killer,” murdered at least 49 women from 1982-98, and Robert Yates, the “Spokane Killer,” who confessed in 2000 to murdering 13 Spokane women and five other Washington women from 1975-98.

In a 2007 article in the Spokesman-Review, the Spokane Sheriff’s Department said they had received a tip regarding a person of interest in Julie’s disappearance.

A department spokesman said the man, now deceased, was interviewed and failed a polygraph test.

Authorities said Julie’s locker at the Springhill substation, from where she had disappeared, had been cleaned out after her disappearance and that nothing pertinent to her presumed abduction was found.

In 2011, 24 years after Julie’s disappearance, however, employees at the Bell substation discovered that her locker there was still padlocked shut.

The items retrieved from the Bell locker were put into a storage container for investigators to search. Police have not released any information relating to the contents, and it is unlikely they revealed anything substantive to her disappearance.

Though he is now remarried and has children, Mike Weflen continues searching for answers to Julie’s disappearance.

With his current wife’s support, he keeps in contact with investigators and continues to push for publicity of Julie’s case.

Julie’s friends and family raised $80,000 as a reward for information leading to her whereabouts or remains.

The reward is still offered, as is a separate $25,000 reward offered by the Bonneville Power Administration.

Julie Ann Weflen has been missing since September 16, 1987. At the time of her disappearance, she was 28-years-old, 5’2″ tall, and weighed 100 lbs. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and both of her ears were pierced. Julie also had a scar on her back and a metal rod inserted in her spine. She enjoyed horseback riding.

Julie Weflen would today be 61-years-old. If you believe you have information relating to her disappearance, please contact the Spokane County, Washington, Sheriff’s Office at 509-477-4760.

Deborah Swanson and Sally Stone were both last seen in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 1986. Deborah disappeared on March 29; Sally on May 16.

At the time of her disappearance Deborah Jean Swanson was 30-years-old, 5’4″ inches tall, and weighed 130 lbs. She had blonde hair, green eyes, and both her ears were pierced. She worked as a special education teacher and would today be 66-years-old.

Sally Anne Stone was 21-years-old when she disappeared. At the time of her disappearance, she was 5’1″ tall and weighed 115 lbs. She had brown hair, hazel eyes, and a 5-6″ scar on her abdomen, possibly resulting from a Cesarean section. She had a tattoo on her right shoulder. It was of a parrot standing on a branch in front of a half-moon. Under the parrot is a ribbon with the word “Teko’s.” She also had another tattoo on her back.

Sally’s right knee was injured at the time of her disappearance. She worked as an exotic dancer under the stage name “Satania.” Sally Stone would today be 56-years-old.

Authorities have not found any proof that Deborah Swanson and Sally Stone’s disappearances are related to each other or the disappearance of Julie Weflen. Still, they also have not ruled out the possibility.

If you believe you have information regarding Deborah Swanson or Sally Stone’s disappearances, please contact the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Police Department 208-769-2320.


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THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:
• Charley Project
• Doe Network
• Idaho Spokesman-Review
• KXLY TC, ABC Affiliate, Spokane Washington
• Seattle Post Intelligencer
• Spokane Spokesman-Review
• Washington State Missing Persons


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More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Groomed & Trafficked – The Ashley Higgins Disappearance

ashley_standish_higgins_1Photo courtesy of The Charley Project

It’s the oldest unsolved missing person case in Orange County California. Two girls take a bus from Costa Mesa to Vegas and only one returns. What happened to Ashley Higgins and who was this mysterious older boyfriend she was going to see? Was he the man Ashley’s mother seen in the paper, the man arrested for running a prostitution ring?


Ashley Standish Higgins, 19 had recently graduated from the Newport Harbor High School and gotten an apartment in Costa Mesa, California. She shared the place with an older African American male named Lee Pippin. His name will come up later in this strange tale.

November 5, 1982, Ashley and her friend Melissa took a bus from Costa Mesa California to Las Vegas. Ashley was going out to meet her boyfriend and Melissa went along for the ride. When the two girls arrived at the Tam O Shantar hotel and met the boyfriend, Melissa got a terribly uneasy feeling. The boyfriend was a much older man and he gave Melissa the creeps. Everything about the situation worried her and she tried to convince Ashley to leave with her. Ashley refused. The last time anyone saw her she was heading down to the lobby to see a ring her boyfriend wanted to show her.

Melissa left the hotel and promised to meet up with Ashley at the bus stop on Sunday to head back to Costa Mesa together. Unfortunately, Ashley never arrived at the bus stop. Thinking she just missed her friend, Melissa headed home. Melissa was arrested immediately upon her return. While Ashley was an adult, Melissa was a 17-year-old minor on probation. She wasn’t allowed to leave the state. She would go on to get into drugs and it would be a long time before she even realized her friend was a missing person.

While Ashley was away, her roommate, Lee Pippins made several calls to Vegas. He called hotels, police, and hospitals. Why would he make so many strange calls to Vegas while his roommate was away? Strangely he also called a few select cities including Albuquerque, New Mexico. When law enforcement checked Ashley’s credit card it appeared Pippins had been using it.

What happened to Ashley Higgins? Who was this older African American man she met in Vegas? Why was her roommate making so many strange phone calls? Why was he using her credit card?

At first, law enforcement wondered if the woman wanted to disappear. It wasn’t uncommon for a 19-year-old to run away. The family refused to believe this. Why would she run away when she knew she was to inherit a large sum of money soon? Wouldn’t it make more sense to stay, collect the inheritance, and then leave?

Shortly after Ashley’s disappearance, her mother notices a newspaper article about the arrest of a man named Richard Leon Johnson. She immediately recognized him claiming she had seen him at her daughter’s apartment. Johnson was arrested for pimping and pandering. Could Johnson be Ashley’s boyfriend?

In 1978, Richard Johnson had been indicted by the El Paso County Grand Jury on pimping and pandering charges. His house and four vehicles were seized and eventually repossessed, but he somehow remained free and received probation. Disturbingly, Johnson was already on probation for pimping charges, but instead of being incarcerated he received another probation. If that isn’t disturbing to you then read on my friend. The Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph reported on April 18, 1978, that the prostitutes that were set to witness against Johnson couldn’t be located. What happened to these witnesses? Did they ever turn up? Were they murdered?

Later investigations revealed Johnson’s prostitution ring closely aligned with the cities Ashley’s roommate, Lee Pippins was calling on the weekend of November 7, 1982. Also, nearly a month after the pretty blond-headed girl went missing, her credit card was used to rent a car in Las Vegas. We all remember who had it that fateful weekend, right?

Were Pippins and Johnson grooming an innocent girl for their human trafficking ring, or were they, innocent bystanders? I hardly think they were innocent, but how could they not be tied to this case?

Everyone hoped Ashley had run away and she would appear when it was time to inherit her money, but she never came.  It was pretty obvious by this point that Ashley Higgins met with some sort of foul play.

Ashley’s brother, Andrew is a retired police officer and he’s spent nearly forty years looking for answers. He truly believes his sister has been found somewhere in the Pacific Northwest and is currently classed as a Jane Doe. If you have any information on this case, please contact the Costa Mesa Police Department at 714-754-5157.

higgins_ashley4

Distinguishing Characteristics:

  • Height: 5’2″
  • Weight: 120lbs
  • Hair: Blond
  • Eyes: Brown
  • A c-shaped scar on one knee
  • A surgical scar on chin
  • previously fractured hip from a childhood car accident
  • Front two top teeth are false

THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS.
Further Reading:

Crimewatchers

Facebook

Websleuths


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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This week’s Recommending Reading:


Human Trafficking (In the News)

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Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets

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TrafficKing: Jeffrey Epstein human trafficking case


ashley_standish_higgins_1

Double Amputee Goes Missing -Prosthetics & Wheelchair Left Behind

alsup_rebeccaPhoto courtesy of the Charley Project website

She suffered through heart troubles and received a pacemaker then shortly afterward became a double amputee due to complications. Before she could even learn to use her new prosthetics, Becky Alsup disappears. Her prosthetics and wheelchair were both left behind.


Rebecca Alsup’s story is a tragic tale from the beginning. After living through her mother’s horrific murder as a child, Becky would suffer greatly and eventually find herself bound by drug addiction. This would lead to serious heart problems. Although she was only in her early thirties, Becky had to undergo surgery to receive a pacemaker for her condition. As if this weren’t enough to deal with, the woman suffered more complications that would lead to becoming a double amputee. She would require prosthetics or a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, no one realized the trouble lurking around the corner for the poor woman.

On February 15, 2017, Becky spoke with a friend and hadn’t been heard from since. It is believed that Becky was in the Poplar Bluff area at the time of her phone call. At the time of her disappearance, Becky lived with Craig A.Wood in the Williamsville area. He claims Becky got into a white truck and drove away with someone he didn’t recognize. This has not been verified, however. Considering his drug use and criminal record, Wood’s statement cannot be taken at face value.

After all the surgeries, Becky had gone to live with her sister for a while and tried to battle her addiction problems. Unfortunately, bad influences convinced her to return to her old stomping grounds a short time before her disappearance.

Years earlier, Becky was in a relationship with another man named Cody. With him, she had two boys. They now live with their grandmother and wonder why their mother doesn’t come by anymore. How do you explain that to a child? What has happened to this poor woman? Have you seen Rebecca Alsup? Do you know anything about the mysterious white pickup? If you have any information about this case, please contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department at (573) 224-3219.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Crime Watchers

NameUs

Websleuths


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.

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A Lie, An Alias, & the Other Woman: The Sandra Bertolas Story

bertolas

On April 24, 1988, Sandra Bertolas left her family’s home in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin to confront her ex-boyfriend. Not only did he give her an alias, but he was hiding the fact he was in a long-term relationship with another woman. Frustrated, she told family members that she was going to meet him in West Allis. The 20-year-old was never seen again. Her car was found a few days later abandoned in a bowling alley parking lot.

Sandra Bertolas was pretty, spunky, and smart. She loved makeup, fashion, and was studying cosmetology at the Waukesha County Technical College. Sandra was the youngest of eight children and seemed to have everything going her way until April 1988. She attended the wedding shower of a friend earlier in the day. There, she confided to friends that her boyfriend was cheating on her. To make matters worse he had also given her a fake name.

Family members say she left home around 7 pm. Her boyfriend had called and begged her to meet with him. She finally agreed and told her family that she was going to meet him before she left. When she hadn’t returned by midnight, her father became worried and started calling the local hospitals. Perhaps she had been in an accident. Sandra always called home.

The following June, a tip came in that lead the authorities to Mount Olivet Cemetery. Search dogs were brought in and focused on a 12-foot area around a grave that had been open at the time of Sandra’s disappearance. after getting permission the authorities opened the grave and searched in hopes of finding the missing woman. She was not there.

While many families keep hoping that their missing relatives will be found alive, the Bertolas family firmly believes that their beloved Sandra is deceased. They have a grave plot reserved for her in Saint Anthony’s Cemetery right next to her father’s grave. Her father died in 2010 never knowing what happened to his sweet Sandra.

The family hopes after 30 years someone will come forward with some information that will lead to the remains of their loved one. If you have any information please contact:
Menomonee Falls Police Department
Lt. D. Mueller
262-532-8700

Agency Case Number: I88-1528

More information on this case:

Missing Thirty Years

Charley Project

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

Without a Trace

John Lee Hamilton

This week’s blog post is a guest post from fellow blogger Shurlock Holmes. More of his work can be found on the Crimeblogger1983.blogspot.com website.
By the “Consulting Detective” for the Hamilton Family:
Before I start with the entry, I want to thank Johnathan’s mom Angie for talking with me regarding her son’s case. I want to say ahead of time that I personally do not agree with many of her theories regarding her son’s disappearance. And that is ok. We both can agree to disagree. One thing I’d like to make clear is that even if we don’t agree I understand she is a mother who is in pain searching for her son. Law Enforcement should be more sympathetic to her plight. The persons named in this entry are not guilty of anything. I am simply naming the people involved to the best of my knowledge. I did try and contact Justin Edward Earls in advance. But was unable to get a hold of him. Also, I want to thank Marissa from The Vanished for making this entry a little easier. I’ll probably continue with updates to this entry whenever I have new information. So keep checking this entry if you are interested in this case.
In a recent development, Bastrop PD is checking for any connection between Jonathan’s disappearance and Centerville Texas which is located in Leon County and along Interstate 45.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Bastrop Police Department at (512) 332-8600 or (512) 332-8603

NOTE: The entire timeline of this case is open to interpretation. It’s like a puzzle. We know he left his home in Houston on the 2nd, and his car was found on the 4th in Bastrop. Bastrop Police make contact with him on the 4th. The rest is open to interpretation. I urge the readers to listen to the 2nd part of the Vanished episode. Marissa did a great job obtaining info regarding this case.

Bastrop Police Department Case Number: 2015-0560
NAMUS Case Number: 33350
Doe Network Case Number: 5173DMTX
Charley Project
The Vanished Ep-Part 1
The Vanished Ep-Part 2

JOHNATHAN LEE HAMILTON

DATE OF BIRTH: 5/28/1988
HEIGHT & WEIGHT: 6’2 210 LBS
EYE AND HAIR COLOR: BROWN
LAST SEEN: 5/4/2015 Best Buy Parking lot in BASTROP, TEXAS
WEARING: LSW denim shorts, T-Shirt “EZEKIAL” written on the front, tennis shoes (BROWN SUEDE, COLEMAN LIKE-BRAND SIZE 12.5 TO 13)
MEDICAL CONDITIONS: TYPE 1 DIABETIC, suffered from BIPOLAR DISORDER. Recently hospitalized before disappearance INSULIN DEPENDANT.
PARENTS: ANGIE SIMS-HAMILTON & MICHAEL WAYNE HAMILTON
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: After an accident in 2012, Johnathan has a scar on his right eye after facial reconstruction surgery. He also has a plate and screws in his hip.
HABITS: was known to drink alcohol, smoke Marlboro American Spirits

  • Jonathan lived with his parents in Houston, TX
  • was disabled on a fixed income
  • Completed his welding classes a few days before his disappearance
  • On the 27th & 28th of April, he was rushed by ambulance to two different hospitals suffering from complications of Diabetes. (EVENTUALLY DISCHARGED)
  • May 2, 2015: He left his home driving his father’s vehicle (2008 GMC ENVOY) His parents haven’t seen him since.
  • 2 days later the 2008 GMC Envoy was found in Bastrop. It was parked in a handicapped parking spot. (PARKING WAS DESCRIBED AS HAPHAZARDLY)
Bastrop is approximately a 2-hour drive from Houston

The white spot is where the car was parked. Second spot second row. However, it could have been the 1st spot of the second row as well. Either way, it was one of those two parking spaces.

  • The Bastrop PD was alerted to the car as well as a man who was “acting strangely” in the Best Buy parking lot
  • Officer Jason Pierson and Officer James Altgelt made contact with Johnathan. (THERE IS AN ISSUE ON HOW THEY VERIFIED HIS IDENTITY. ONE OF THE OFFICERS STATES HE DID SO VIA DRIVER’S LICENSE. WHICH COULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED. HE LEFT IT AT HOME. I BELIEVE THE OFFICER LIKELY FORGOT AND ASSUMED THAT HE VERIFIED WITH THE DL SINCE THAT IS PROB WHAT HE DOES THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME.)
  • The officers discovered the Missing Persons’ report filed by his parents and notified them by phone. The Hamiltons made the 2-hr drive to the Bastrop Police Dept.
  • While on the drive, Johnathan called his dad stating that he didn’t need to be picked up. He was going to leave the keys in the car which was out of gas.
  • The call was made from a cell phone from a good Samaritan. The good Samaritan’s name is JUSTIN EDWARD EARLS.
  • He apparently also called his ex-girlfriend. He told her that he had been robbed. Justin denies the robbery ever happened or was even mentioned.
  • Angie asked the Bastrop P.D. to detain Johnathan until they arrived, but they told him they couldn’t since he hadn’t broken any laws.
  • The Hamiltons even called a family member that lived nearby to ask him to pick up Johnathan since the police couldn’t hold him.
  • When the Hamiltons arrived they found the car parked where it was reported. One of the windows was rolled down and the car was ransacked. Papers from the glove box were scattered all over the floor. A bottle of perfume had been dumped in the passenger seat and the keys were missing. Johnathan’s insulin was in the car, but his meter was not.
  • THEY THEN PROCEEDED TO LEAVE TO GET GAS AND GET SOMETHING TO EAT. WHEREUPON THEY MEET JOHNATHAN’S DAD’S COUSIN. A KENNETH ERIC HAMILTON. ACCORDING TO THE ANGIE AND HER HUSBAND. KENNETH ADVISED THEM TO SEARCH THE WOODS TO FIND JOHNATHAN. AND IF HE WAS HIS KID HE WOULD “TAKE HIM INTO THE WOODS, TIE HIM TO A TREE, AND BEAT HIM.” (YEAH WOW, BUT PUT THAT IN CONTEXT OF HIM SAYING THAT IN REGARDS TO JOHNATHAN TAKING THE CAR FOR 2 DAYS AND SHOWING UP IN BASTROP AND NOT LEAVING THE KEYS TO THE CAR. THIS IS BEFORE HE HAD BEEN MISSING FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD.)
  • Kenneth E. Hamilton apparently took a call from the Bastrop P.D. on the 4th.
  • Kenneth Eric Hamilton (the family member that lived nearby) said he never made contact with Johnathan.
  • Later, he told the family that Johnathan wanted to purchase a new car for his dad and wanted Kenneth to take him to the dealership. (HE DIDNT HAVE THE MONEY FOR GAS LET ALONE A NEW VEHICLE) Besides this, the dealership was only across the street from Best Buy. Why would he need a ride?
  • There was a theft reported around the time of Johnathan’s visit. Nothing of value was taken, but some of these items were later found in the car Johnathan abandoned
COVERT CHEVROLET DEALERSHIP
  • The Hamiltons have had no contact with the cousin since 2015
  • Later that day the Hamiltons made contact with a few officers from Bastrop P.D. According to the Hamiltons, they felt intimidated by the officers. The officer began running checks on the Hamiltons and searched both cars. ONE OFFICER STATED “IF I WASN’T ON DUTY. I’D TELL YOU A STORY.” (?)
  • apparently sometime that day a police officer gave Johnathan a courtesy ride to Walmart to get money.

One of the routes he could’ve taken to get to the address. I know this is showing the driving route. Google’s walking route is the same, it just takes more time. (36 minutes)

  • Johnathan appeared at a residence located at 313 FARM TO MARKET 969 at around 11 pm.
  • He came upon the residents of the house and told them he came out of the Colorado River while canoeing but lost the oars. (SOME OF THE WITNESSES SAID HE WAS WET. OTHERS STATE HE WAS DRY. EVERYONE AGREES THAT JOHNATHAN WAS NOT IN HIS RIGHT STATE OF MIND)

313 FARM TO MARKET 969 AERIAL VIEW

  • After making contact with the residents he left the area with Justin Edward Earls who according to him to Walmart where he purchased a gift card, a bushel of bananas, and coffee. (IN ANOTHER VARIATION OF THE STORY HE BOUGHT HIM A BUSHEL OF BANANAS, A $25 GIFT CARD, AND A PACK OF WINSTON CIGARETTES. NOTE THAT THIS ISN’T THE BRAND HE USUALLY SMOKED.)
  • After that, Justin took him to Taco Bell where he ordered plain chicken tacos. Then after he had eaten he started acting normal again.
  • Justin and Johnathan then parted way and agreed to meet back up at a Taco Cabana. While at the taco place he called his grandma and told her he was sick and ended the call by throwing up.
  • In one variation of the story, Justin drops him back off at the Best Buy parking lot. The other has them parting ways at the Taco Cabana and agreeing to meet back up there.
  • Justin claims when he showed back up he couldn’t find Johnathan. Justin claimed he slept in his car all night hoping Johnathan would return, but he never saw Johnathan again.