Missing in the South

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-mwcx3-117f272

Hey y’all and welcome to Southern Macabre! A true crime, missing person, and paranormal podcast and blog set in the south. Today is the first episode of Missing Person Monday and I decided to choose one person from each southern state to tell you about.

Some are people who left their homes and vanished, while others may just send a chill up your spine. One is actually a dangerous wanted fugitive!

Photos of the missing will be on the Southern Macabre Podcast and Blog Facebook page. You will find the transcript for this episode along with the police department you should reach if you recognize anyone from today’s episode on the blog.

 

The first missing person I want to talk about vanished 37 years ago from Greenville, Alabama. Her name was Sherry Lynn Marler and she was only twelve years old that day when she and her step-dad, Raymond Stringfellow, went to the bank and he gave her $1 to grab a soda from the gas station across the street. This was 1984 so a drink was less than a dollar, for those too young to know that.

Her step-dad maintained his innocence until he passed away in 2003, he was inside the bank so he had a solid alibi.

Since 1984, people have reported seeing Sherry with a man in his fifties who was about 5’8” with a weathered looking face. Like someone who spends their whole life working outdoors. She was seen in Conley, Georgia, and New Orleans.

Sherry was white with brown hair and brown eyes.

Greenville PD (334) 382-3107

Agency Case # 8415816

 

Esterlyne Delmas was twenty-three years old when she walked away from her home in Immokalee, Florida on August 3, 2013. She didn’t take her keys, purse, or ID so it is assumed she didn’t intend to be gone long. She was never seen or heard from again.

Esterlyne had moved to Florida from Haiti years before, but there’s not a lot of information about her or her disappearance. She is listed as African American/Latino. She was 5’1” and had black-brown hair and brown eyes.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office (239) 252-0080

Case # 13-18797

 

42 year old Matilde Hernandez Gonzalez went missing from Powder Springs, Georgia on October 11, 2019. According to WSB-TV 2 there are “suspicious circumstances” related to her disappearance.

Matilde was Latina, 4’11” tall, and weighed about 130 pounds. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and her eyebrows are tattooed.

Paulding County Sheriff’s Office (770) 443-3010

Case # 20191043402

 

This story is different from the last three. Austin Douglas Gamez (not Gomez) left with his friend, Teressa McCoy on December 27, 2017 to look at a house. They lived in Louisville, Kentucky.

At 7pm the couple’s rented black GMC Yukon was found in a part’s store parking lot with Teressa’s body inside. She was still wearing her seatbelt, but had been shot.

Larry Sauer was arrested in December 2019 for Teressa’s murder and Austin’s presumed murder. He killed the couple at his home and then dumped the truck with Teressa inside afterwards.

Police found evidence through warrants, witness statements, phone records, and audio recordings identifying Sauer’s involvement in both murders. Austin’s remains were never located.

Police found half a pound of methamphetamines and some drug paraphernalia inside Sauer’s home when they arrested him.

Charges were dropped two months later because of a misread DNA analysis report, but he was charged with complicity to murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Austin’s family would like his body found so they can give him a proper burial. He was white/Latino, 5’11”-6’1”, 170-185 pounds, and he had a rosary tattoo on his chest and many tattoos on his arms.

Louisville Metro PD (502) 574-7111

Case # 80-17-104905

 

(Gee-ang Thai Than Phan) If I mispronounce this man’s name I apologize, I tried to look up the pronunciation. Giang Thai Than Phan was visiting Louisiana on a business trip from Texas when he disappeared. He stopped at La Carreta Mexican Restaurant in Hammond, Louisiana to have lunch with a long-time friend who lived in the area. He left at 1:30pm for New Orleans.

Giang was supposed to meet his business partner at 3:30pm in Golden Meadow, but never showed up. His business partner texted him at four and he replied that he was running late from a business meeting in New Orleans. New Orleans is about forty-five minutes from Hammond and an hour and a half from Golden Meadow.

There’s a lot that can happen in an hour and a half, especially in a big city like New Orleans.

Giang was from Dallas, Texas and his business was called HerbaLife. He was Asian, 5’6”, between 155 and 180 pounds, and has a tribal band tattoo around his right bicep. He was last seen April 8, 2011.

Golden Meadow (985) 475-5213

Case # 21M-040911-1351-03

 

Moises Jose Figueredo worked at Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi in 1999. He failed to report for duty on January 19, 1999. His wife, Deborah, said that she hadn’t seen him since January 15th and when he left he took a small amount of money and clothes with him.

He is listed as a wanted fugitive with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He was an Air Traffic Controller/Resource Management Specialist with the Air Force. He is being investigated for Flight to Avoid Prosecution for Rape/Forced Sodomy/brandishing pistol.

He would be about 43 years old today. He’s Latino, 5’9”, about 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. If you see him, consider him armed and dangerous. Call your local law enforcement immediately!

 

Rossana Miliani traveled from Miami, Florida to Cherokee, North Carolina on vacation in December 2005. She was 29 years old at that time. She suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. She was last seen at noon at the Ramada Inn in Cherokee on December 7, 2005.

She spoke of hiking the Appalachian Trail and spoke to her father that day. She then went to Bryson City, North Carolina where she rented a small storage unit. She has not been seen since.

In 2009, a store clerk saw an article about Rossana and remembered selling her a backpack around the time she disappeared. She remembered seeing a man appearing to be in his sixties with her and she appeared nervous.

The National Park Killer, Gary Michael Hilton, resembles the sketch a private investigator made and may be involved. However, he has not been officially linked to the case. If you want to hear more about Hilton and his other victims, come back on January 27th.

Rossana was white, 5’8” tall, and around 220 pounds. She had brown curly hair and brown eyes.

Broward County Sheriff’s Office (954) 764-HELP

Case # LS05-12-00300

 

Thomas Manuel Dias was 36 years old when he went missing on May 11, 2019. He was last seen near the Sand Bucket Motel on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He and some friends were riding their bikes from Wilmington, North Carolina to New Orleans and stopped for the night.

They were on their way to New Orleans when Tommy got separated and he hasn’t been seen since. He was riding a black Giant brand bike and wearing a grey tight tank top and dark-colored shorts with green stripes on the sides.

Tommy and his friends had to be in excellent shape to complete this bike trip. It was 976 miles one way and would have taken them three and a half days if they didn’t stop. If they stopped and got a hotel every eight hours you’re talking ten days on a bike to reach New Orleans. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m impressed anyone would even attempt a trip like that.

Tommy was a white male, about 5’9” tall, and 160 pounds. He has sandy blonde hair that he usually wears in a ponytail that almost reaches his back. His eyes are brown. He has a piercing above his right eye and his ears are gauged.

Myrtle Beach PD (843) 918-1382

Case # 19-014041

 

I’m going to admit that I cheated on this one and chose Sevier County, Tennessee because I’m familiar with it and I know of a couple of cases there. However, Ms. Theresa M. McMullin was not one of them.

Ms. Theresa’s home in Sevierville burned to the ground on September 12, 2010 and no human remains were found. Law enforcement thinks that something may have happened to her before the fire was started. Foul play is suspected.  Her car was still in the driveway and her son, who lived nearby, has not seen her since and has since left the area.

She was white, about 5’2” tall, 88-100 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Sevier County Sheriff’s Department (865) 453-4668

Case # 2010-28786

 

Deanna Michelle Merryfield was thirteen years old when she stayed up late with her grandmother on July 21, 1990 in Killeen, Texas. After her grandmother went to bed, Deanna snuck out of her home to visit her twin sister who was living with an uncle in Oak Springs Trailer Park on Dimple Street. It was two and a half miles away.

Her sister says she showed up at the trailer park around 3:30am, riding in a brown or bronze four-door vehicle with two men. Deanna knocked on the trailer window to wake her sister and they talked for a while until their conversation woke their uncle. Then she got back in the car and she has never been seen or heard from again.

Killeen PD (254) 501-8860

Case # 07-005102

 

It was really hard for me not to look for a missing person’s case around where I grew up, but since the first episode came from Spotsylvania County, Virginia I decided to look farther away. Wytheville is 243 miles southwest of Spotsy, so not even close.

At 8pm on March 10, 2008, Israel Ray Smith finished his shift at Radio Shack in Wytheville and went to his brother’s house. His supervisor said he behaved normally and said, “See you tomorrow,” but he didn’t call or show up for his next shift.

Israel spoke to his mother two or three times a week, but when she went to his apartment March 11th and 12th, he didn’t answer the door. She left notes for him to call her on his door.

His family became concerned when they didn’t hear from him on the 13th, his brother’s birthday. His mother, his brother and his brother’s girlfriend went to his apartment in the late evening and he still didn’t answer the door. His mother spoke to a neighbor, who said they hadn’t seen him.

A day later, his mom went back to his apartment and noticed his green 1992 Ford Explorer had not been moved in several days. She tried the SUV’s doors and they were unlocked. Inside was a clean basket of laundry. She tried his apartment door, which was also unlocked, but Israel wasn’t home.

Israel’s mother called police who said they had been there earlier because his employer had requested a welfare check. Police had found the front door slightly ajar and his SUV was unlocked with his keys inside. Inside the apartment, the lights and TV were on, his game controller was plugged in and lying on the ground, and his keys were on the coffee table. There were no signs of a struggle or forced entry. None of his things were missing and there weren’t any indications that he had planned to leave for an extended period of time.

Israel had only been working at Radio Shack since September 2007, but was already considered an ideal employee. He never missed a day of work and he called if he was running late. It was also uncharacteristic of him not to lock his doors and put his things back where they were supposed to be.

Israel had a seven-year-old son who he spent time with every weekend. He and the boy’s mother were never married and had ended their relationship years before his disappearance.

He hasn’t used his cellphone or bank account. He also hasn’t logged into his MySpace. Authorities say there’s no hard evidence of foul play in his case, but they don’t think he left on his own. His mother says he would never have left his family or abandoned his son. She fears something has happened to him.

He was white, 5’8” tall, 160 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Wytheville PD (276) 223-3300

Case # 2008-004374

 

Find me on Facebook, Twitter, the blog, or email me at Aeryn@Southern-Macabre.com!

 

Credits

Missing Persons Case: Sherry Lynn Marler | by The M Files | Medium

Esterlyne Delmas – The Charley Project

Authorities need help finding Georgia woman missing since 2019 – WSB-TV Channel 2 – Atlanta (wsbtv.com)

Austin Douglas Gamez – The Charley Project

Giang Thai Than Phan – The Charley Project

Moises Jose Figueredo – Missing Veterans

Rossana Miliani – The Charley Project

(8) Help Find Missing – Thomas Manuel Dias | Facebook

Deanna Michelle Merryfield – The Charley Project

Israel Ray Smith – The Charley Project

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