Archive for the ‘Unsolved In Florida’ Category

AlexanderCostas

Photo of Alexander Costas who was gunned down in his own home during a home invasion.

On the night of April 28, 2000 a home invasion occurred at the Miami home of Alexander Costas and his mother, Nadia Dombrowski. The two went to bed and shortly after 12PM several unidentified men forced their way into their house and in the midst of the robbery, shot Alexander. Nadia managed to escape and contacted Police.

If you have any information regarding this case you’re urged to please contact:
Miami Dade Police Department Detective T. Romagni at (305) 471-2400 or Miami Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (471-8477).

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KarleyCollumOn July 27, 2007, the murdered bodies of Karley Collum and Terrance McCloud were discovered at McCloud’s home on Silver Lake Drive in Putnam County, Florida. Both subjects died from blunt force trauma to the head. Neighbors heard a woman’s scream coming from McCloud’s residence at about 5:00 am on Thursday July 26, 2007. The attacker may have been known to McCloud as there were no signs of forced entry.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to please contact:
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office
Detective John Merchant
386-329-0800

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jennifer-odomVICTIM: Jennifer Renee Odom
White Female, Born 8/25/1980

On Friday, February 19, 1993, Jennifer stepped off her school bus around 3 p.m., waved goodbye to friends, and started walking the short 200 yards to her home in rural Pasco County, FL. Children on the bus reported they saw a faded blue pickup truck slowly following Jennifer as she walked home. Jennifer never made it to her door.

During the next days, law enforcement equipped with police dogs and hundreds of volunteers scoured 60 square miles of rolling groves, pastures and woods surrounding the tiny Pasco town of Dade City.

On Thursday, February 25, 1993, a man and woman searching an abandoned orange grove in southeast Hernando County, FL, found Jennifer. Jennifer’s clothing, including the red sweater and Hooter’s jacket, have not been found.

Approximately two years later on Thursday, January 5, 1995, a couple hunting for scrap metal in a rural area of Hernando County discovered Jennifer’s missing book bag and clarinet case. The bag and case were found in Western Hernando County.

The suspect vehicle is a full size, older unknown model pick-up truck, blue in color.

Jennifer was last seen wearing a white zip-up “Hooters” sweat jacket with orange lettering on the left sleeve, a red long sleeve pullover sweater, possible cashmere or angora, a white turtleneck shirt, white denim pants and black lace-up style boots.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to please contact:

Det. Michael Nelson, Hernando County Sheriff’s Office
(352) 754-6830
mnelson@hernandosheriff.org
Anonymous tips can be made by e-mail to: tips@hernandosheriff.org
or by telephone (352) 797-TIPS/8477

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tim-chanthavong

Photo of Tim Chanthavong taken shortly before his 1999 death

On June 24, 1999 at approximately 8:50PM, Tim Chanthavong was murdered at 26th Ave N. & 60th St in St. Petersburg, FL. His 1994 Acura NSX was stolen & driven to 53rd Ave S. & 7th St. The car was left at Hillside Dr. S. & 6th Way.

Tim’s family is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for his death.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to please contact:
Det. C. Leedy, St. Petersburg Police Department, 727 -893-7613.

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howeIn the early morning hours of March 22, 1988, 31-year-old Kim Shrree Howe was brutally murdered. Her body was found later that morning by some local children on their way to school.

Kim’s body was found on a dirt road between Howard Street and Santa Rosa Drive in the City of Rockledge. Kim was last seen alive earlier that morning in Cocoa, just a few blocks away from where her body was found. At that time Kim made a report to a Cocoa Police Officer that she was being harassed by an unknown person in a vehicle.

Kim had moved to Cocoa about a year and a half earlier after divorcing her husband in Fort Perice. Kim was the mother of three children.

Any persons with information regarding to this case is urged to please contact:
Investigator Wayne Winkler of the Rockledge Police Department at 321-690-3988.

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Click Florida Department of Law Enforcement – Unsolved Homicides for additional unsolved cases in Florida.
  • Maurice Harris, who suffered from Lupus died protecting his home from two armed intruders Last night
  • Shot dead fighting with one of the men who tried to gain entry to his 11-year-old daughter’s room
  • Miami Police are now on a hunt to find the two unidentified suspects who are described as being ‘heavily armed’

Maurice Harris pictured here with a woman believed to be his wife - has been hailed a hero for his actions on Tuesday evening protecting his family

Maurice Harris pictured here with a woman believed to be his wife – has been hailed a hero for his actions on Tuesday evening protecting his family

Police at the scene in Miami where Maurice Harris lost his life defending his familyPolice at the scene in Miami where Maurice Harris lost his life defending his family

The grieving widow of Maurice Harris speaks to a Miami Police Officer outside her home in the aftermath of her husbands heroic actionsThe grieving widow of Maurice Harris speaks to a Miami Police Officer outside her home in the aftermath of her husbands heroic actions

The Harris residence in Miami which was attacked jut before midnight on Tuesday evening The Harris residence in Miami which was attacked jut before midnight on Tuesday evening

Click here for full article by MailOnline

 

regina_mae_armstrong

Regina Mae Armstrong

Age: 6
Sex: Female
Race: Caucasian
Missing Since:
Body Found: 06/18/85
Location: Oviedo, Orlando, Florida
Zip Code: 32762
Possible Suspect: Unknown

On the afternoon of June 18, 1985, Regina Armstrong, then 6, was playing with her 9-year-old sister and their babysitter’s chid outside their babysitter’s  Semoran Terrace apartment complex on south Semoran Boulevard in Orlando, FL, when she was kidnapped.

Armstrong_Suspect_CompositeAfter police were alerted, a massive search for Regina was immediately conducted. The little girl’s sister gave police a description of the kidnapper and police were able to have a composite sketch drawn.

The sketch depicts what the abducted may have looked like in the 80′s. He was described as a man in his 40′s  who wore a plaid shirt and old blue jeans. He had a cut on his lip and stubble on his face. He talked to the three children briefly and then left, but reappeared about 30 minutes later as the children play near the apartment mailboxes.

The man lured Regina Mae to follow him, most likely under false pretenses, and promised the other two children that he would pay them each $2 to watch a door at the nearby Beau Barton apartments where he said he and his wife lived.

 

According to Regina’s sister, the abductor had a broken lip and had an odor to him.

“He smelled oily, like he worked for a mechanic or on cars, he didn’t smell like a normal guy.” recalled Christina Worsham, Regina’s sister,  during an 2010 interview.

When Christina realized her sister wasn’t coming back, she tried to warn their baby sitter. But the woman, for some reason, wouldn’t listen to Christina’s pleas and instead locked the door. It wasn’t until nearly two hours later when the baby sitter’s boyfriend and another brother returned, that Christina finally got help.

“I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do or who to call,” Worsham said. “I was just shaken. I didn’t know if I was going to be in trouble or what was going to happen.”

Police were finally notified at 4:30 p.m. when Donna Armstrong returned to pick up her daughters.

“It was unreal. I just didn’t have any idea what was going on,” Donna Armstrong said. “It’s a day I’ll never forget.”

Many hoped for a safe return but sadly, a little over two years after the abduction a construction worker found the skull and weathered, dirty sundress Regina was last seen wearing, in a Oviedo housing development approximately 15 miles from where she was kidnapped.

The findings matched that of Regina Armstrong and what became a hopeful rescue turned into a manhunt for her killer. However, almost 28 years later and the person responsible remains unknown and Regina’s murder remains unsolved.

“The key to solving this case is finding somebody who knows something,” Detective Michael Moreschi from the Orlando Police Department said to reporters. “Either that, or [DNA] technology will finally have caught up with the crime.”

Anyone with information regarding this cold case is urged to please contact: Florida’s Crimeline – 1-800-423-8477.

DeSotoBelow is a list of unsolved murders or disappearances being handled by authorities in DeSoto County, FL. Some cases are as old as 1975 and some are as new as 2009.
If you have any information regarding these cases you’re urged to please contact: The Criminal Investigations Division of The DeSoto Co. Sheriff’s Office at (863) 993-4700. —  You can also submit an (anonymous) online tip regarding unsolved crimes in DeSoto County by clicking HERE. –
All calls can remain anonymous. If you believe, but are not sure, of a possibly suspect you’re still urged to contact police so they can look into it.

Source: DeSoto Sheriff Website

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joseph_kinvilleOn March 1, 1999, the body of 16-year-old Joseph Kinville was  discovered in a field off Robin Road in DeSoto County, Florida.

Investigators investigating the scene, along with medical examiners, believe Kinville was the victim of homicide, however, his case remains unsolved.

Very little information regarding this case is available online.

Anyone with information regarding this cold case is asked to please contact: Criminal Investigations Division of The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office – (863) 993-4700.

All calls can remain anonymous. If you’re not sure but believe you know the suspect involved, you’re still urged to contact police.

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michael_chitwoodMichael Roger Chitwood was abducted from his DeSoto County home on August 12, 1975. Two days after his abduction, his body was found in the Kissimmee River in Okeechobee County.

It is obvious that Chitwood was murdered and intentionally placed in the river but over 37 years later, his case remains cold.

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kellie-jo-krum krum_kelsiKellie Jo Krum was 21-year-old and her daughter Kelsi Krum was 8 months when they vanished from their Arcadia home in DeSoto County on August 11, 1994 at approximately 11:30PM – 12AM. Kellie’s cousin, James Dennis “Jimbo” Ford, was the last known person to have seen her alive. Kellie was planning to move in with her parents to Sebring, FL and apparently was packing the night she disappeared. Ford also told police that when he was leaving Kellie’s apartment, she was on the phone with an unknown individual. Kellie and Kelsi Krum haven’t been seen or heard from since.

Authorities say that evidence and information collected suggest suspicious circumstances.

Foul play is suspected. Keep in mind it is possible that Kellie was murdered and Kelsi was kidnapped and raised elsewhere. This is just one of my theories and no evidence suggest this.

Anyone with information regarding this cold case is urged to contact: Detective Kim Sandoval of the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office (863) 993-4700 and/or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE LOST).

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donald_manleyDonald M. Manley was 43 when he was last seen in Arcadia on September, 2001 but wasn’t reported missing until October 2, 2001. Shortly after, his car was located in a remote area in Sarasota County, Florida. Manley has never been found and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Manley is described as a Caucasian male with brown hair, blue eyes. 5’8” tall, weighing approximately 180 pounds. He would be turning 55 this year.

Very few details could be found regarding this case.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Detective Sgt. Kim Sandoval of the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office – (863)993-4700.

 

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smith_unsolvedChristopher D. Smith was found deceased in his Nocatee home in DeSoto on October 1, 2009 in what is believed to be a homicide. His case remains unsolved and family and loved ones continue to mourn his death and leave him messages on a Facebook memorial page titled In Loving Memory of Christopher Deon Smith

One of the comments on the memorial page is from a loved one who posted this past September. She says;

Well today makes 1,095 days (3yrs) since someone chose to take you from us,I misss you so much baby,no one will ever know the kind of pain I have been through,I would give ANYTHING to see you,hold you,see your smile,and talk to you one more time,It sure does not seem like it has been 3 yrs,at times seems like it was just last night,ppl always say time will heal or it gets better with time,so not sure why they tell that lie,because it does not get better,at times this day plays over and over in my mind and nothing makes it stop,your family misses you so much and your sisters,I so wish I could have been there for you baby that night,would give anything to change that,I would have given my life to save you,I just wanna see you again one day and we can catch up on everything,and Chris plz watch over your family exp aunt Rhonda she really changed so much since you passed,we all miss you and I know you an daddy and aunt wanda are cuttin up in heaven and eatin good,It is not goodbye its see you later on the other side,ma loves you and nobody in heaen is better than you kid ♥ ♥ ♥ P.S cant wait for you to tell me what happened that night

Anyone with information as to this investigation is asked to call LT Kim Sandoval of the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office at (863)993-4700.

Article published on 02/01/13 by Palm Beach Staff Writer at Palm Beach Post

02/02/13, PALM BEACH, FL — Unsolved murder of 80-year-old suburban Boynton Beach man leaves family frustrated, friends scared -

News of the assault and robbery of an 80-year-old retiree in the gated suburban Boynton Beach community of Aberdeen two weeks ago was scary.

But when Albert Honigman died in his home two days after the robbery, from blunt force trauma to the head, that fear escalated, along with frustrations from his family over the seemingly insignificant amount taken for a life.

Albert Honigman

“I just look for answers for something like this. Why would he do this for a Rolex?” said his daughter, Lauren Honigman, about the suspect who also assaulted her during the robbery.

Police so far have not made any arrests in the case.

Bernie Barnett, Honigman’s childhood friend, who lives in the nearby Valencia Reserve community, said the incident has raised fears among residents in Aberdeen and surrounding gated communities.

“It’s a very frightening experience to (have someone) live in a gated community and get murdered,” Barnett said. “It’s terrifying.”

Lauren recalled the Friday, Jan. 11 night of the crime recently from her home in New York City.

She said it seemed as if everything happened in an instant.

After she and her father spent an evening shopping, the two returned to his home in the Aberdeen subdivision between Hagen Ranch and Jog roads at about 10 p.m. They were in the garage, removing items from the car, when a man reportedly attacked them.

“I don’t know if he followed us in, I have no idea,” Lauren said last week, days after her family buried her father. “All we knew is we turned around, my father was helping me out with the packages and I turn around. (Suddenly) I’m down, my father’s down. It just happened so fast.”

What started as a burglary eventually turned into a homicide case when Albert Honigman died in his home two days later.

Now, more than two weeks since his death, family and friends are still trying to understand why Honigman and his daughter were attacked. Lauren told deputies at the time that several pieces of jewelry were taken during the robbery, including her father’s Rolex watch.

Barnett, who had known Honigman since the two grew up together in the same Long Island neighborhood, described his friend as an active tennis player who was adjusting to life as a widower after his wife, Phyllis, passed away a year-and-a half ago.

“He was a great guy, he loved Florida,” Barnett, 76, said.

Lauren said she was in the area to visit her father. She recalled being temporarily knocked unconscious that night after being struck in the eye and on the side of her face. She came to and saw the suspect still punching her father in the face.

“I don’t know what the hell he wanted,” she said. “He said to my father ‘You stay down old man because,’ he said, ‘I have a friend in the car with a gun.’ I can’t even remember my father trying to get up …

Lauren and other family members described the suspect as being a clean-shaven black male, about 6 feet tall, in his 20 or 30s with an athletic build. She said he wore tan shorts and a white shirt.

“I would never forget this guy’s face.”

Jeffrey Honigman, Lauren’s brother, who also lives in New York, said detectives told them they “feel good about catching this guy.”

“They didn’t tell me any specifics,” he said. “They didn’t want to get my hopes up, but they feel good.”

The siblings are also questioning why their father was twice released from the hospital within days after the attack.

According to sheriff’s reports, Albert Honigman was taken to Bethesda West Hospital the night of attack. He was released the following morning but returned to the hospital later that day. He returned home again after being released Jan. 13.

“They sent him home, they said the CAT scan was clean,” Lauren said. “Then they call him back, they said we found blood in the brain. Then they did another CAT scan. … The hospital should have never released him.”

After returning home for the second time, Albert Honigman went to bed that evening and never woke up.

Jeffrey Honigman remembers speaking to his father by phone a few hours before his death.

“I spoke to him at 4:30,” he said. “The next thing I know, I got a phone call from my sister (saying) dad died. My sister told me that at 6 o’clock, he decided to take a little nap, lie down for a bit. He was very tired. My sister left the room. She went in a couple of hours later to see how he was doing and that was it.”

Bethesda West Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Kronhaus said that she could not comment because of patient privacy laws.

Albert Honigman was a retired pharmaceutical salesman who became a part-time Florida resident 20 years ago. His son said he had a home on Long Island, but had been spending more time in the Aberdeen community.

Lauren said she’ll remember her father as having a caring, generous personality.

“He was such a loved man,” she said. “When he would walk into the room, you felt his presence. My father was always very positive. He was such a loved person.”

Barnett is still stunned by his friend’s death, and the circumstances surrounding it.

“It’s been a long time since someone in a gated community was murdered,” he said, “and it happened to be my best friend.”

Zimmerman at it again, according to CNN News.

A photo posted online Monday, December 3, shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Other evidence photos were released earlier this year:

A photo posted online Monday, December 3, shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Other evidence photos were released earlier this year:

(CNN) — George Zimmerman, charged in the shooting death of a 17-year-old Florida boy, is suing NBC Universal for using “the oldest form of yellow journalism” by editing an audio tape of his 911 call to make him sound racist, the lawsuit says. He is seeking “damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit” in Seminole County Circuit Court in Florida, where the lawsuit was filed Thursday.

Zimmerman, who is Hispanic and is charged with second-degree murder, is accused of fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, who was African-American. The February incident has provoked national controversy.

Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense. Attorneys for Martin’s family say the teen was shot and killed “in cold blood.”

“NBC saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so set about to create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain,” the lawsuit says.

“Because of NBC’s deceptive and exploitative manipulations, the public wrongly believes that Zimmerman ‘use(d) a racial epithet’ while describing Martin during the call to the dispatcher on that fateful night,” the suit says.

NBC Universal disputed the accusations Friday.

“There was no intent to portray Mr. Zimmerman unfairly,” the company said in a prepared statement. “We intend to vigorously defend our position in court.”

The defamation lawsuit accuses the network of sensationalizing and manipulating a potential “racial powder keg that would result in months, if not years, of topics for their failing news program, particularly the plummeting ratings for their ailing Today Show.”

The edited recordings included multiple deletions, removed intervening dialogue between Zimmerman and the dispatcher, and juxtaposed unrelated content “to make it appear that Zimmerman was a racist, and that he was racially profiling Trayvon Martin,” the lawsuit says.

NBC aired various edited versions of the 911 call on March 19, 20, 22 and 27, the suit says.

The suit accuses the network of malice, highlighting correspondent Ron Allen’s segment on “The Today Show” on March 27.

Timeline of events in case

Click here for full article  and additional photos of George Zimmerman’s injuries.

Source: CNN

Karen_KingKaren Lynn King (pictured left) is a 52-year-old woman from Canton, Georgia who is wanted by authorities for murdering her husband, 46-year-old Lyndon Baines Smith in Cherokee County 10 months ago.

Police say King as well as her two sons, 22-year-old Lyndon Ahlik Smith and 17-year-old Alonte Lyndell Smith, along with 22-year-old Robert Sylva Jr, 22-year-old Melvin Floyd and 24-year-old Will Cortez Robinson, also known as his stage name ”Scrapp Deleon,” all residents of Atlanta, Georgia, to help her murder her husband who was also the father of Lyndon and Alonte.

King and the five young men had planned and plotted what they were going to do for some time and on March 4, 2012, they put their plan into action.

Smith was unknowingly lured by his sons to a BridgeMill community in Canton  and while there, the five men attacked him. After beating him, Melvin Floyd placed his body into a 2004 Mercury Sable and drove to Alabama. During this long ride, Smith was still clinging to life in the trunk.

Floyd was stopped during a routine traffic stop and cops suspected something illegal was going on due to Floyd’s suspicious behavior. They asked him to get out of the vehicle, placed handcuffs on him, and proceeded to search his car. When they opened the trunk they discovered the badly beaten body of Smith, who was near death. Floyd was immediately arrested and Smith was rushed to the local hospital where he died shortly after.

The other four suspects, including Smith’s two sons, were all eventually arrested but Karen King, who was dubbed the ”mastermind” behind the murder, remains on the run.

According to authorities, King has ties to Miami, Florida which is the same City her son was captured in.

Karen King’s Description:

Sex: Female
Race: Black
Current Age: 52
Height: 5’3″
Weight: 149
Hair (Color, Description, Facial Hair):
Black
Eyes:
Brown
Scars and Tattoos:
Tattoo of heart on back right shoulder with the word “Harvey’s GIrl” inside. Non-specific tattoo on left breast.
Traits and Habits:
Always travels with her two pet Shih Tzu dogs named Isabella and Amari
Last Seen:
Canton , GA
Other Possible Locations:
Miami , FL
Last Known Locations:
Canton , GA
4140 Gold Mill Ridge, GA 30115
Prior Convictions:
Counterfeiting, Atlanta, GA

This case is featured on America’s Most Wanted, with the latest airing on October 12, 2012

If you have any information regarding this case you’re asked to please contact 911 or the case investigators at 770-928-0239

 

Laralee Spear, 15

Date Found: 04/25/94 (according to Deland County Police website. Although some reports say 04/26/94)

Location Found: Deerfoot Road, Deland, Florida

Laralee Spear was a fifteen year old freshman who attended Deland High School. She was described as an A-student who had many friends and was part of the cheerleading squad. Laralee enjoyed riding her bike, sing in her church choir, and playing her violin. She loved animals, especially horses and hoped to become a pediatrician. Sadly she would never have a chance to fulfill her career dream.

On the morning of April 25, 1994, Laralee had woken up early to get ready and go to school. School rang out at 3:15pm and she took the bus to get home. The bus stopped on South Spring Garden Avenue, which was only a few blocks from Laralee’s home. The teen had her own route which included walking by Deerfoot Road. She promptly disappeared somewhere between the bus-stop and her home and it didn’t take Barbara Spear, Laralee’s mother, long to call Deland Police Department and report her daughter missing. Mothers Instinct told her something was not right. She knew her daughter and knew she would never run away.

Ninety minutes after calling police, her body was spotted by a police helicopter in a secluded area behind an abandoned house on Deerfoot Road. She had been murdered by multiple gunshots.

It wasn’t the first time this vacant house was a crime-scene. About one year prior, the house had been burned down and many believe the unknown killer was familiar with the area. Laralee’s walking route was right by Deerfoot Road and it’s possible she was picked at random. It’s also possible that the killer knew her or seen the teen and knew her walking route.

The area has had a history of complaints. Cops have been called to this house before. Teenagers often use the place for drug parties, neighbors say. There’s an old railroad trestle nearby.

Several witnesses from the neighborhood informed cops that they saw a black low-rider truck speeding away from the area at about the time the girl disappeared.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at (888) 277-TIPS.

Wendy Kathleen Hudakoc

Age-progression photo of what Wendy might look like at twenty-five

Wendy Hudakoc was last seen leaving a party with an adult male on 11/15/1998 in the city of Naples.

  • Missing Since: November 15, 1998 from Naples, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: August 12, 1984
  • Age: 14
  • Height: 5’6″
  • Weight:130 lbs.
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Eye Color: Hazel
  • Race: White
  • Gender: Female

Fourteen year old Wendy Hudakoc believed that nothing really bad ever happened to her or her family.

Her stepfather, Dan Campbell, said the lack of concern about the dangers of the world, common in younger people, may have played a role in the pre-teen sneaking out of her home on Nov. 14th, 1998, to attend a party.

She never came back and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

“When kids sneak out to go to a party, the worst thing they think is going to happen is they’re going to get caught and grounded by their parents or caught by the police,” Campbell said. “They don’t think they’ll never return home.”

Almost 14 years since her disappearance, Wendy is one of two dozen children missing from Lee and Collier counties, according to the Florida Law Enforcement. Many of those are suspected runaways, a few are suspected parental abductions and the rest are categorized as “endangered.”

National Missing Children’s Day; A day set aside every year to celebrate the missing children who have been returned home, and to remember those who have not. Nearly 800,000 children are reported missing every year in the United States, an average of over 2,000 a day, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics.

Most are recovered, many after only a few hours and or only (approximately) 100 or so, are abducted or murdered by a stranger or vague acquaintance each year in the US.

“As a parent, you just have to be vigilant and take precautions, take certain measures to prevent something from happening to your children,” said Amelia Vasquez, the program director for the National Center’s Collier branch. “Parents just need to be prepared.”

Sgt. Stefan Loeffler from the Sheriff’s Office’s Special Crimes Bureau said his unit needs to remain optimistic that the children they’re looking for can be recovered and reunited with their families. He said they never give up.

“We keep on investigating the cases until we find that person,” Loeffler said. “We continually investigate, try to generate new leads.”

Included on the list of missing children in Lee and Collier counties are 6-year-old Adji Desir, who disappeared from outside his grandmother’s Immokalee home in January, and “Baby” Bryan Dos Santos-Gomez, who was abducted from his mother at knife point on Dec. 1, 2006.

Pictured;  Adji Desir (6) abducted in FL at knifepoint in 2006

Those cases made headlines, but several other children on the list did not, including 16-year-old Carmen Bautista, who authorities believe ran away from Immokalee in June 2008 with her then-2-year-old daughter Jemni Bautista, and baby Ana Maria Jimenez-Bautista. Authorities do not have photographs of any of the Bautista children, which makes finding them all the more difficult.

Herb Jones, vice president for external affairs and Internet safety for the National Center, said one in six missing children is ultimately found in part because of a photograph. He said parents cannot take their children’s safety for granted, no matter where they live.

“It can happen to anyone at any time. Small cities, big cities, medium-sized cities,” Jones said.

Authorities say the most important thing parents can do to keep their children safe is to communicate with them.

Campbell said parents should get to know their children’s friends, including their full names and a little backround information. Always ask where they’re going and to keep in touch.

The last person Wendy Hudakoc was known to be with was Ronald DePeppo, then 20, who she had met at a bowling alley. They left the party together around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 15. DePeppo said he dropped Wendy off at home.

Campbell said he and his wife, Shelley, are not optimistic Wendy will one day walk back through their door. They’ve resigned themselves to knowing she is gone.

Both Dan and Shelley Campbell are now active in with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Missing and Endangered Person Information Clearinghouse.

“We still talk about Wendy on a normal basis. It’s not taboo. We still have pictures of her up,” Dan Campbell said. “It never goes away.”

  (more…)

Pictured; Victim, Ana Maria Angel (18)

Victor Caraballo

Pictured; Victor Caraballo.

It didn’t take the jury long to find Victor Caraballo guilty on Friday, 09/29/12, for the 2002 murder Ana Maria Angel. Caraballo was sentenced to death and sent to Florida’s death row.

Caraballo alledgely confessed that he and four others kidnapped, robbed, raped and murdered Ana Maria Angel, who was 18-years-old at the time.

Ana Maria and her boyfriend, Nelson Portobanco, were returning from a stroll at Miami beach after celebrating their 4-month anniversary when Caraballo and the others shoved them into their truck. They stabbed Portobanco and dumped him on the side of the highway. Portobanco survived after faking his own death and alerted police. Ana Maria however, wasn’t as lucky. The gang took turn’s raping the young woman, who was in return crying and plea’ing with them to stop. Her plea’s fell on deaf ears as they continued to beat and rape her, eventually killing her execution style.

”For me, he was the worst. He was the head of  the group, he did the most damage to Ana Maria” Said Margarita Osorio, Ana Maria’s mother.

Ana Maria’s body was later found on the side of a road with a fatal gunshot wound in the back of her head. Investigators say her hands were held together as if she had been praying at the time of her murder.

Cold case solved as man convicted of murder 10 years after kidnapping teenager and forcing her to perform sex show with boyfriend before raping her and shooting her dead - Published 09/28/12 by Dailymail

First of five suspects go to trial for South Beach murder - Earlier report By WSVN

Testimony continues in 2002 murder trial - Earlier report published 09/24/12 by Local10