Charles “Chase” Merritt Charged With 4 Counts of Murder in the Deaths of McStay Family (Joseph, Summer & Their Two Children Gianni and Joseph) (VIDEO)


57 year old Charles “Chase” Merritt was arrested Wednesday, November 5th  in Chatsworth, California and charged in the murders of the McStay family. Merrit was charged with 4 counts of murder in the deaths of  Joseph and Summer McStay and their two small children,  4 year old Gianni and 3 year old Joseph. Merritt was a business partner of Joseph McStay’s. According to the LA Times, Merritt had a prior criminal history.  He appeared in court Friday but his arraignment was postponed until Wednesday, there was no bail was set. According to Sheriff John McMahon of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office, the cause of death of the McStay family was “blunt force trauma” and that the murders took place inside the McSaty residence in Fall Brook.

The McStay family went missing on February 2, 2010. Their remains were discovered by motorcyclist in a shallow grave between Quarry Road near Highway 15 in the Mojave desert outside Victorville, CA in November 2013.


Charles “Chase” Merritt is charged with four counts of murder in the deaths of Joseph and Summer McStay and their two small boys, San Bernardino County, California, District Attorney Michael Ramos told reporters at a news conference.

Merritt, 57, was arrested Wednesday without incident in Chatsworth, California, Detective Chris Fisher said.

Police say they believe the family died of “blunt force trauma” inside their home north of San Diego, but they declined to discuss specifics of the deaths or a motive.

Merritt, who was a business partner of Joseph McStay’s, appeared in court Friday but his arraignment was postponed until Wednesday. No bail was set.

Detectives Arrest Charles Ray Merritt in Connection with the McStay Family Murders

For more information, read updates, others opinions and analysis, and to provide your own, go to Scared Monkeys Missing Persons and Crime Forum: McStay Family of 4 missing in So California-Missing since 2/04/10.

Robert Cooke, father of Missing Rachel Cooke, Has Passed Away

Sad, sad news to report …

Robert Cooke, the father of missing Rachel Cooke, has passed away after battling a long-term illness. Robert Cooke died Wednesday in Austin, Texas, he was only 59. His daughter Rachel Cooke went missing in January 2002, near her Georgetown home when she went out for a jog near her parents’ home but never returned.  Mr. Cooke never stopped looking for his beloved daughter Rachel. Robert kept a fathers promise to his daughter until the end. On a personal note, I met Robert Cooke when searching for Natalee Holloway in Aruba and in fact we were roommates. We spent many nights talking and he told me about his daughters disappearance and I could hear in his words his love, dedication and desire to never give up the fight to find Rachel. What a nice, nice man. I will never forget our talks, sharing your personal insights of a father and giving me an understanding of what real strengths and dedication truly is. God bless you Robert Cooke, and may the peace of the Lord be with you.

Robert Cooke became very active in missing persons’ causes. He held women’s self-defense classes all over Central Texas, and Cooke helped search for many missing people.

“On the day Rachel disappeared, Robert [Cooke] made a promise to her that he would never stop looking for her, and he kept that promise,” according to his obituary. | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Father of missing teen, Rachel Cooke, passes away.

 On January 10, 2002, 19-year-old Rachel Cooke was visiting her family while on break from college.

She was running in the Northlake subdivision, northwest of Georgetown, and last seen between 11 and 11:30 in the morning, along Neches Trail, just 200 yards away from her parents’ home.

Her father, Robert, passed away at 7 a.m. after fighting an illness for several months.

“The fact that Robert was not able to die knowing what happened to Rachel is very upsetting to us,” said Elaine.

Hettenhausen says the family is waiting for the right tip they knows is out there.

Rachel Cooke

Funeral arrangements are below:

Visitation – Friday, November 7, from 4-7pm at Cook-Walden Capital Parks, 14501 N. IH 35, Pflugerville, TX

Services – Saturday, November 8 @1pm at Faith Lutheran Church, 4010 Williams Drive, Georgetown

Robert has asked that those who attend wear blue or red because they are “bright colors.”

In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Robert with a donation to a missing person organization. These are dear to his heart: The CUE Center for Missing Person, PO Box 12714, Wilmington, NC, 28405 – Project Jason, PO Box 59054, Renton, WA or

There is still a $50,000 reward for reliable information leading to the return or location of Rachel Cooke or to the identity of any person involved in her disappearance. If you have any information, please call Williamson County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-253-7867, or visit

Posted November 6, 2014 by
Deceased, Missing Persons | 2 comments

Remains Found of Missing Fox Exec Gavin Smith in Palmdale, CA … Gavin Smith Missing Since 5/1/12

Lt. Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office confirmedearly Thursday that the remains found in Palmdale, California have been positively identified as Fox movie executive Gavin Smith. The remains were found by hikers in a rural area of Palmdale on October 26. Gavin Smith has been missing since May 1, 2012, when he was last seen between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday leaving a friend’s house in Oak Park, CA. On March 15, 2014 the LA County Sheriff’s Department found the Mercedes-Benz registered to Gavin Smith at a Simi Valley storage facility. The storage facility was linked to John Creech who is currently in-custody at Men’s Central Jail on an unrelated narcotics conviction. Smith had a relationship with Creech’s wife.


Two and a half years after he disappeared, the body of missing Fox executive Gavin Smith has been found, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

The remains were discovered on Oct. 26 by hikers in a rural area of Palmdale, according to Nicole Nishida with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

They were later positively identified as the 57-year-old husband and father.

The autopsy results were not finalized and the cause of death had not been determined, Nishida said.

Mexican Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his Wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda Arrested in Case of Missing 43 Students

Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda were arrested Tuesday morning at a house they had rented in Mexico City’s Iztapalapa neighborhood. The couple is believed to have ordered an attack that killed six people and left 43 students missing in September.  The question still remains following the arrest, where are the 43 students who haven’t been seen being taken away by officers after the deadly attack by police in Iguala on September 26?

Federal police seized Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, in a raid before dawn in Iztapalapa, a working-class neighborhood of the capital. It was a steep fall from their reign of wealth and power as the mayor and first lady of Iguala, a town in southern Guerrero state where the students from a teachers’ college went missing Sept. 26, allegedly at the hands of police and a drug cartel.

A Mexican mayor characterized as a “probable mastermind” in the mass abduction of 43 students has been taken into custody as authorities have tracked down a top target who eluded them for weeks — even if they still haven’t managed to locate the missing.

Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda — dubbed “the imperial couple” by local media for how they presided over their southern Mexican city — were detained early Tuesday morning at a house they had rented in Mexico City’s Iztapalapa neighborhood. They did not resist arrest, authorities said.

The couple had been staying in a house that appeared to be abandoned, and investigators first got suspicious when they saw a woman repeatedly entering and leaving the building, Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam told reporters. That woman, Noemí Berumen Rodríguez, was arrested alongside the mayor and his wife. Authorities accused her of concealing the couple.

Their capture, which Mexican Federal Police spokesman Jose Ramon Salinas reported on his Twitter account, signals a major milestone in the high-profile case.

22 Year Old Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Missing Since 11/2/14 in Philadelphia, PA … Abducted In the City’s Germantown Section Sunday Night Caught on VIDEO (Update: Missing Philadelphia Woman found in Maryland)(Update: Delven Barnes Arrested)

22 year old  Carlesha Freeland-Gaither is missing after her apparent abduction that was caught on surveillance video. Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was last seen around 9:40 p.m. Sunday, November 2, 2014 in the 100 block of West Coulter Street in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Freeland-Gaither is described as a black female, five feet, three inches tall, 125 pounds with brown eyes. Police say she has braided hair and has a tattoo on her lower back, and was last seen wearing a light blue jean jacket, a gray and white sweater, carrying a black backpack.


Police in Philadelphia have released dramatic video of a suspect apparently abducting a woman in the city’s Germantown section Sunday night.

Twenty-two-year-old Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was last seen around 9:40 p.m. Sunday in the 100 block of West Coulter Street, reports CBS Philly. A witness said the woman was yelling for help as a man forced her into a dark-colored sedan.

Surveillance video released Monday by Philadelphia police shows a man driving down a street, parking his car and walking a short distance out of the camera’s view, back towards the direction from which he came. He’s then seen apparently chasing a woman across the street before grabbing her and forcing her down the block and into the car.

UPDATE I: Surveillance Video Shows Struggle as Woman Abducted Off Germantown Street.

Freeland-Gaither tries to break free as the man works to open the rear driver’s side door on a 2000 model dark gray metallic Ford Taurus with missing inspection stickers. They both tumble onto the sidewalk, but the woman is unable to get away.

She’s thrown into the back of the car and the vehicle rocks back-and-forth for about 30 seconds before it pulls away. During that time, police said the woman broke out the both rear windows of the car trying to escape.

Another car can be seen driving up the street as the struggle takes place, but eventually backs out of the street.

A witness told NBC10 he walked past the woman shortly before hearing her scream. He then ran back to find her being forced into the sedan.

UPDATE II: $15,000 reward offered in the search for Carlesha Freeland-Gaither.

There is now a $15,000 reward offered in the search for Carlesha Freeland-Gaither.

The Fraternal Order of Police put an additional $5,000 Tuesday saying if an arrest is made today, they will pay up immediately.

Philadelphia Police have launched a full-scale investigation into the abduction on West Coulter Street in Germantown.

“Just let my daughter go. Whatever it takes, I don’t care. Just let her go,” father Carl Freeland said.

UPDATE III: Missing Woman, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Found Safe in Maryland.

Authorities have found the woman abducted in Philadelphia alive in Maryland, and they have arrested a man in connection with the investigation, police and the FBI announced Wednesday evening.

FBI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge Ed Hanko announced at 7 p.m. Wednesday that a tip to their Richmond office led investigators to identify an individual and his car, which they tracked to the 7200 block of Waterloo Road in Jessup.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives went to the location, which was a shopping center parking lot, and said agents immediately recognized the car as the one for which they’d been looking.

“It did have the right rear window kicked out of it, which was similar to the information that we received from the Philadelphia Police Department,” said ATF agent Timothy Jones.

UPDATE IV: Delvin Barnes Arrested and will be charged with Federal kidnapping.

“Tonight, the FBI and Philadelphia Police Department have great news that Carlesha Freeland has been rescued, her abductor has been arrested in Maryland,” Special Agent Hanko said.

The suspect is identified as 37-year-old Delvin Barnes.

Barnes is currently being held on a warrant based out of Charles City County, Virginia sheriff’s office for attempted capital murder, assault, malicious injury with acid, explosive, or fire.

Hanko says he will then be charged federally with crimes in Philadelphia

Anyone with information is asked to call the Philadelphia Police. Tipsters in Philadelphia should call 911, and those outside of the city should call 215-686-TIPS.

18 Year Old Lena Donabedian Missing Since 10/27/14 in Tujunga, CA (Update: Found in Palmdale Safe, Returned to Parents)

18 year old Lena Donabedian has been missing since Monday, October 27, 2014 in Tujunga, CA.  Lena Donabedian was last seen leaving her high school around 2 pm on Monday and getting into a light colored, 4-door, car with two Latino men. Lena has brown hair and brown eyes, 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs about 135 pounds and was last seen wearing khaki colored pants.

Lena Donabedian

The teen’s family said Donabedian was last seen around 2 p.m. on Monday after leaving her high school in the 10600 block of Plainview Avenue in Tujunga.

Witnesses said she got into a light colored, 4-door, sedan. Two Latinos were also reportedly in the car.

The missing girl has brown hair and brown eyes. Donabedian is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds. She was last seen wearing khaki colored pants.

UPDATE I: LAPD searches for missing Tujunga teen last seen Monday.

Donabedian’s mother, Sosi, said she was very concerned for her daughter’s safety. She has never run away and is very close with her family, she said.

“She’s with us most of the time, weekends and after school,” she said. “She hardly goes out with friends.”

Donabedian recently met a guy “in secret” online via Instagram — whom she told friends was her new boyfriend — and the two would chat online at night, said family friend Michael DeWitte of Valley Village. Her friends recognized him from photos he posted online as the passenger in the vehicle of the car that she entered after school on Monday, DeWitte said.

“All of a sudden on Monday, he shows up as a passenger in this car,” DeWitte said. “She tells her friends, ‘I’ll be gone for a little bit and then I’ll be home,’ and that was the last we heard from her.”

While Donabedian got into the car voluntarily, DeWitte and her family fear she is being held against her will.

Anyone who has seen Donabedian or has information on her whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Carlton of LAPD’s Missing Persons Unit at (213) 996-1800.

UPDATE II: Found Safe in Palmdale, Returned to Parents.

Donabedian told sheriff’s deputies Saturday that she went with two friends who were going to visit family members in Palmdale and that they dropped her off at her boyfriend’s house in the same city, said Sgt. Anthony Gunn, who was acting as watch sergeant for the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Palmdale station on Sunday morning. She told deputies that “she attempted to contact her mom on Wednesday using her boyfriend’s phone” but “she was unable to contact her” for reasons that were unclear to Gunn, he said.

Donabedian called her mother on Saturday night “because she wanted to go home” and met her parents at the sheriff’s station, Gunn said.

Donabedian, who was interviewed by two different deputies, did not allege any foul play, he said.

Family friend Michael DeWitte said Lena was happy to be reunited with her family.

“The entire family was extremely relieved and extremely happy to see her,” he said early Sunday. “She’s doing well.”

Posted November 2, 2014 by
Found Safe, Missing Persons | one comment

Two Students From Capistrano Valley High School Jess Garces and Christian Colon Missing Since 10/29/14 in Mission Viejo, CA

Two students, 14 year old Jess Garces and 14 year old Christian Colon, from Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, CA have been missing since Wednesday, October 29, 2014.  Authorities believe the two might be on bikes,  one dark brown and gray and the other cobalt blue. The two are likely also in helmets, one red the other blue. The two teens both left their cell phones behind.

Garces is female, 5 feet 1 inches tall with a medium build. She has brown and shoulder length wavy hair. She has a freckle on her chin and has a medium build.

Colon is male, about 5 feet 7 inches tall with brown eyes and dark brown hair. He has a thin/lean build and wears black eye glasses.

Authorities believe the two might be on bikes — one dark brown and gray and the other cobalt blue. The two are likely also in helmets, one red the other blue.

Officials said both teens left their cell phones behind. They were last seen Wednesday.

Jess Garces_Christian Colon_missing

If you have seen the teens or know of their whereabouts, you’re asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

10 Year Old Alexandra Greenwall Missing Since 10/30/14 in Rio Rancho, NM (Update: FBI & National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Join Search)(Update: Alexandra Greenwall Returned Home Safely)

10 year old Alexandra Greenwall has been missing since Thursday, October 30, 2014 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Alexandra was last seen at her home in the neighborhood of Western Hills and Idaho Creek. when her parents tucked her into bed Wednesday night around 10:00. However, when they awoke, she was gone. Hmm … Greenwall’s family says it appears she changed out of her pajamas in the middle of the night, stuffed a set of clothes into her backpack and took off through the family’s back door. Just curious, how would they know that?

Alexandra Greenwall’s mother believes that her daughter may be on her way to her dad’s house in Madrid or may be wandering the neighborhood.


Alexandra Greenwall is a 10-year-old white female, light complexion, freckles and long dark hair. According to information from the police, she was possibly wearing pink tennis shoes but no other clothing description is available.


Missing – Alexandra Greenwall

Alexandra Greenwall’s mom says she put 10-year-old Alexandra to bed at around 10:00 Wednesday night and that was the last time she saw her. Greenwall’s family says it appears she changed out of her pajamas in the middle of the night, stuffed a set of clothes into her backpack and took off through the family’s back door.

Her mom says she may have run away because she was mad at them for punishing her. She says just Wednesday they took away some of her stuffed animals because she wasn’t behaving.

She believes Greenwall may be on her way to her dad’s house in Madrid or may be wandering the neighborhood. Rio Rancho police have been searching all day for her, looking in neighbor’s backyards and homes and showing everyone that passes through the neighborhood her picture.

“Horrified and just at a loss I have no idea what to think I just want to hope for the best and hope that she’s hiding somewhere and that she’s ok and I just hope to god that nobody has taken her,” Greenwall’s mother Katherine Allen said.

UPDATE I: FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Join the Search for Missing Alexandra Greenwall.

The mother told the station the girl may have run away because she was mad because she had been punished. The mother told the station she believes Alexandra may be wandering the neighborhood or on the way to her father’s house in Madrid, New Mexico, about 60 miles away from her home in Rio Rancho.

The FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are now involved in the case.

Greenwall’s mother Katherine Allen told the station she was “horrified and just at a loss.”

“I have no idea what to think I just want to hope for the best and hope that she’s hiding somewhere and that she’s okay and I just hope to god that nobody has taken her,” Allen said.

UPDATE II: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Alexandra Greenwall_NCMEC

UPDATE III: Missing Rio Rancho girl returns home safely.

Alexandra Greenwall has returned home safely.

Rio Rancho Police said the 10-year-old girl returned to her home Saturday evening around 7 p.m.

It’s unclear at this time where she went. Officers will conduct an interview with Greenwall to determine here whereabouts during her disappearance.

If anyone has any information regarding Alexandra Greenwall’s whereabouts, please call call 505-891-7226.

22 Year Old Chelsea Bruck Missing Since 10/26/14 from Halloween Party in Frenchtown Township, MI

22 year old Chelsea Bruck has been missing since late Saturday – early Sunday morning, October 25-26, 2014 in Frenchtown Township, Michigan. Chelsea Bruck was last seen Saturday night/Sunday morning at a Halloween party on Post Road in Newport that she attended with co-workers and got a ride with there with them as she does not have a driver’s license. Bruck was last seen wearing a “Poison Ivy” costume. The missing girl’s sister, Kassandra,  said there could have been as many as 800 people in attendance at the Halloween party where Chelsea was last seen. She was first reported missing Monday morning.

FACEBOOK: Help Find Chelsea Bruck.

Chelsea Bruck_missing

Missing – Chelsea Bruck, Click HERE for VIDEO

Chelsea Bruck’s family hasn’t heard from her since Saturday night when she left for a Halloween Party on Post Road in Frenchtown Township.

Bruck was last seen wearing a “Poison Ivy” costume consisting of black pants and a leaf-covered top.

“The big concern is she doesn’t drive. Friends left and we don’t know how she got home, who she was left with, what time she left. Her friends had her phone, had her bag, so she doesn’t have that for us to contact her. But she obviously hasn’t borrowed anyone else’s phone to post on her Facebook or to call,” Leannda Bruck said.

Family members and police have been searching by foot, ATV and by air throughout the area.

UPDATE I: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office released a composite sketch of a man they want to talk to.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office released a composite sketch of a man they want to talk to about Bruck’s disappearance. Investigators said a witness reported seeing Bruck around 3 a.m. Sunday with the man.

He is described as white with medium length dark hair, a thin mustache, and had facial hair. He was wearing a plain black hooded sweatshirt with no visible logo and black framed eyeglasses.

Chelsea Bruck_POI sketch

UPDATE II: Sketch released in case of missing Monroe Co. woman.

A close family friend tells NBC24 that they and authorities plan to pursue new leads Wednesday as tips have started to come in regarding Chelsea Bruck’s disappearance.

On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of tips were submitted after a sketch was released of a man seen by a witness with the 22-year-old at a Halloween party in Newport on Saturday night.

The Maybee, Michigan native was seen with him heading towards a location where vehicles from the party were parked. The witness reported seeing the pair, in the area around Post Road, at around 3:00 a.m. Sunday.

Bruck is not believed to have been seen or heard from by anyone else since that time and was reported missing on Monday.

Chelsea Bruck_missing2

Pic – Monroe, MI County Sherrif’s Office – Facebook)

UPDATE I: Police searching for party security guards for questioning about missing Monroe woman.

Monroe police are searching for two men in connection to the disappearance of Chelsea Bruck after a Halloween party last week.

Police are searching for the security guards that were hired for the party, shown in the image above, to ask them questions about the party. The men are not suspects in the search, but police want to find out more about what went on during the party.

UPDATE II: Sister of missing Michigan woman hopeful in search since disappearance at crowded Halloween party.

‘We just know we’re going to find her,’ Kassandra Bruck, 24, told the Daily News of her missing sister, Chelsea Bruck, who vanished from a Halloween bash at a rural property in Monroe County, Michigan early Oct. 25. Her sister was last seen dressed as Poison Ivy at the costume party that swarmed with at least 600 people.


Posted October 29, 2014 by
Halloween, Missing Persons | one comment

53 Year Old Paul Kitterman Missing Since 10/23/14 from Sports Authority Field in Denver, CO (Found Safe in Pueblo, CO)


53 year old Paul Kitterman has been missing since Thursday night, October 23, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Kitterman was attending the Denver Broncos game last Thursday with his son Jarod, and two friends. According to accounts, Paul and Jarod had seats in the south bleachers that were separated from Bakke and her boyfriend. They met back up at halftime. They stated that they would all meet up after the game was over. Paul Kitterman never returned to his seat after halftime and has not been seen or heard from since.

Paul Kitterman is described as a white male with brown hair and hazel eyes, weighing about 190 pounds. At the game, he wore a dark-colored hoodie and a Broncos cap.

Missing – Paul Kitterman


Click HERE to watch VIDEO


That was the last they heard from Paul. Jarod said he never came back to his seat. After the game, she says they scoured the stadium and called security and police, in addition to jails and hospitals in the area.

Bakke said Kitterman, who is not a “technology guy,” did not bring his cell phone, and did not have credit cards. Bakke said he was carrying about $50 cash.

“He’s absolutely nowhere to be found,” Bakke said. “It’s been the longest, [most] miserable three days of our lives.”

Bakke said Kitterman does not have medical problems and hasn’t had any issues with drugs or other dangerous activity in the past.

“This is just so not characteristic of Paul,” she said. “Paul is one of the most loyal, responsible people you’ll ever meet in your life. He would never, ever just leave you hanging, and especially his son. He would never leave Jarod.”

Bakke said they’ve continued to call hospitals and have been handing out fliers, but they’ve exhausted all of their resources.

Anyone with information about Kitterman’s whereabouts should call Denver Police at 720-913-2000.

UPDATE I: Missing Broncos fan found safe 100 miles away in Pueblo, Co.

The man who went missing during a Broncos game last week was located in Pueblo and is safe, according to Denver police.

He was found Tuesday more than 100 miles from where he went missing. Pueblo Police said that Kitterman was found just before 6:30 p.m. in a K-Mart parking lot off of north Elizabeth Street.

Police told 9NEWS a family friend had called 911 saying that they picked him up at a Salvation Army and took him to a Rodeway Inn in Pueblo. Officers immediately went to the motel to try and find him but he was not there.

Posted October 27, 2014 by
Found Safe, Missing Persons, NFL | no comments

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