Deadly Power Premiered ‘Lackland Military Scandal’ on Oxygen: Virginia Messick Recounts Experience in Air Force Basic Training (July 23, 2018)

When 19-year-old Virginia joined the U.S. Air Force, a superior officer’s sexual abuse turned her lifelong dream into a daily nightmare. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

When Sergeant Walker began harassing Virginia, his powerful military rank kept her from speaking out against his appalling behavior. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Sergeant Walker isolated Virginia and assaulted her in an Air Force dorm room. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Virginia fought for justice not just for herself, but also for nine other victims who suffered Walker’s abuse. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Virginia experienced PTSD from the sexual abuse she suffered at Lackland Air Force Base. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Virginia explains the extreme intensity of Air Force basic training. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Colonel Don Christensen left the Air Force after 23 years to dedicate his career to eradicating sexual assault in the military. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Related Links:
Deadly Power: Preview – An Air Force Academy Nightmare (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Preview – The Abuse Escalates (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Preview – Trapped By A Predator (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Preview – Virginia’s Day In Court (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Bonus Clip – Virginia’s Lasting Trauma (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Bonus Clip – Surviving Basic Training (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Bonus Clip – Fighting For Change (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (June 2018)

June 2018

Missing:
Disappeared: Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter, and Sherrill Levitt are ‘The Springfield Three’ who Vanished from Levitt’s Missouri Home on June 7, 1992
Friends, family of missing UMass nursing student Maura Murray hope funds will lead to answers

Cold Cases:
Family wants justice for Army vet found shot to death in driveway
Authorities Have Cracked a Bizarre Cold Case That Could Have Ties to the Zodiac Killer
48 Hours Premiered ’48 Hours Cold Case: Who Killed Amy Gellert?’ on CBS (June 17, 2017)

Fugitives:
Reward Offered for Armed & Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2017)

Continue reading

48 Hours NCIS Premiered ‘Trail of Fire’ on CBS: Holley Wimunc, Domestic Violence, and the Holley Lynn James Act (June 26, 2018)


Friends searching for a missing Army nurse find her apartment smoldering and no sign of their friend. Can NCIS agents find her? -Trail of Fire, 48 Hours NCIS


The apartment of a missing Army nurse was found smoldering. This was the season finale of “48 Hours: NCIS” and producer Jonathan Leach joined CBS News to discuss the episode. -Trail of Fire, 48 Hours NCIS

Holley Lynn James Wimunc 2

Lt. Holley Lynn James, US Army

Fort Bragg Army nurse, Lt Holley (Lynn James) Wimunc, 24, was murdered by her Marine husband John Wimunc on July 9, 2008 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. After Holley didn’t show up to work, her friends went looking for her. They found her apartment had been set on fire but Holley was nowhere to be found. Three days later authorities discovered Holley’s mutilated remains in a shallow grave outside of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her body had been chopped up with an axe and burned repeatedly in an effort to try and destroy evidence. John Wimunc also started her apartment on fire in an effort to hide evidence with no regard for any of the nineteen other families in the apartment building. Holley’s father Jesse James shared that she planned on divorcing John Wimunc after putting up with the domestic abuse for over seven months. It would be the day after she told John that she was leaving him that she would go missing. Marine Cpl. John Wimunc, 23, was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. An accomplice, Lance Cpl. Kyle Alden, 22, was charged with being an accessory after the fact of a felony, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. John Wimunc plead guilty to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison. Kyle Alden plead guilty and was sentenced to 44 to 62 months in prison. Jesse James worked with Representative Bruce Braley on legislation that would improve conditions for both domestic violence and sexual assault victims in the military. The Holley Lynn James Act (H.R. 1517) was introduced to the 112th Congress in 2011 but did not pass.

“I didn’t know much about domestic violence. But the thought that he would murder Holley is a thought that never occurred to me. I wish it had occurred to me. I wish for one moment I would have thought maybe he’ll kill Holley or murder Holley. My reaction would have been so different. I didn’t know about domestic violence.” -Jesse James (Holley’s father)

MJFA Link:
Army Nurse Lt. Holley Lynn James Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce; John Wimunc Plead Guilty, Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 9, 2008)
History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (January 28, 2009)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (2017)

Editor’s Note: If you would like to watch the full episode of ‘Trail of Fire,’ please visit the CBS All Access website, visit the 48 Hours website, or download the 48 Hours app for iPad. The most recent episodes are unlocked on the 48 Hours website and app. If you would like to watch past episodes on the 48 Hours app, it cost’s $4.99 a year. There’s programming dating back to 2005 on the 48 Hours app, including some classics, to feed your true crime addiction.  


Authorities in North Carolina have charged the husband of a Fort Bragg Army nurse with murder after the woman’s remains were found in a brush fire three days after she went missing. -AP (July 14, 2008)


The husband of an Army nurse who worked in the maternity ward at Fort Bragg’s hospital was charged Monday with murder in her death, a day after her body was discovered by authorities. -AP (July 14, 2008)


Rep. Bruce Braley introduces the Holley Lynn James Act — a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of Rep. Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service.


Domestic Violence: Holley Wimunc

Related Links:
Obituary: Lt Holley Lynn James
Second Missing Ft. Bragg Soldier Is Divorcing Husband
Evidence to be preserved in case of slain Army nurse
Authorities suspect charred remains could be Fort Bragg nurse
Fort Bragg nurse sought protection from Marine husband after gun incident
Apartment complex denies access to slain soldier’s family
Slain soldier’s brother retrieves belongings from apartment
Autopsy: Army nurse was shot, buried
Funeral set for Army nurse Holley Wimunc
Vigil planned for slain Army nurse
Fort Bragg hosts memorial service for slain nurse
Wimunc’s father: Daughter ‘never met a stranger’
Family, attorney: Marine charged in wife’s death is innocent
Marine’s parents: Claims of violence against wife ‘unfounded’
Husband, 2nd man arrested in slaying of Bragg-based soldier
2 Marines charged in nurse’s death due in NC court
Marine charged in wife’s death
Marine charged in death of Army nurse wife
Husband charged with murdering soldier wife
Missing Nurse’s Marine Husband Charged With Murder
Dead Army nurse’s husband charged with murder
Camp Lejeune husband charged with the murder of his Fort Bragg wife
Soldier’s Husband Charged With Murder
Marines appear in court in Army nurse’s death
Marines charged in slaying appear in court
Marines indicted in Army nurse’s slaying
Death penalty sought in Army nurse’s slaying
NC to seek death penalty in killing of Army wife from Dubuque
Wimunc Faces Death Penalty
Plea deal reached in Marine murder case
Camp Lejeune Marine pleads guilty to killing wife
Second Marine pleads guilty in Army nurse’s death
Marine Pleads Guilty in Army Wife’s Murder
Slain Army nurse’s dad in war against domestic violence
Death on the Home Front
The Fort Bragg Murders
U.S. Military Is Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ ‘Suicides’
When a Military Nurse Fails to Show Up for Work, Worried Friends Rush to Her Apartment Only to Find her Home Burned & Their Friend Missing
Did a Missing Army Nurse Fall Prey to a Serial Killer Targeting Military Women?
Fort Bragg soldier Holley Wimunc’s 2008 murder featured on CBS’ ’48 Hours: NCIS’
Fort Bragg soldier Holley Wimunc’s 2008 murder featured on CBS’ ’48 Hours: NCIS’
History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (January 28, 2009)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners (2017)

Video Links:
AP Top Stories: Holley Wimunc
Dead Army Nurse’s Husband Charged With Murder
Marine Charged in Army Wife’s Death
Holley James we miss you
Domestic Violence in the Military Part 1 | CBS News
Domestic Violence in the Military Part 2 | CBS News
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act
Domestic Violence: Holley Wimunc
Did a missing Army nurse fall prey to a serial killer targeting military women?
“48 Hours: NCIS” sneak peek: Trail of Fire
“48 Hours: NCIS: Trail of Fire” preview

Extraordinary Claims Should Require Extraordinary Evidence (June 26, 2018)

National GuardGuest Post by Liz Ullman:

Enrique Costas comes from four generations of dignified and recognized military service. His grandfather’s name is in the history books as one of the first soldiers to join the Puerto Rico National Guard to serve the United States. His father defended this country for 32 years, earning an Air Medal for heroism in Vietnam; his nephew will be commissioned as an officer in the next week and will be going on active duty.

Costas enlisted in the Puerto Rico National Guard in 1988. In 1999 he volunteered to be assigned as a Recruiter, earning top awards and commendations throughout his almost 14 years as the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention (RR) Command office in San Juan. He was also selected and participated for seven years in the Puerto Rico National Guard Honor Guard, the team responsible for carrying our Nation’s and Army Colors in the highest of the Government’s activities and celebrations.

He was responsible for achieving monthly production for the three main tenets of the Guard recruiting office: Recruiting, Retention and Attrition Management • Staff resourcing for two Army battalions covering 13 cities • Supervising and mentoring up to 10 recruiting and retention non-commissioned officers.

Costas was a champion in mission accomplishment with the highest integrity and ethics. His walls are filled awards and photos with the Guard’s top-ranking officers, including General Clyde A. Vaughn, who personally commended Costas for his service and integrity. Costas retired in 2014 after Honorably serving our Nation for over 26 years.

The biggest mistake Costas made in his career was simply being on duty during the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program also known as G-RAP, a cash incentive opportunity for civilian soldiers to bring in new recruits. With no direction from Washington D.C.’s Strength Maintenance Division, General Vaughn’s recruiters were supposed to intuit the 60 changes in the G-RAP rules over a seven-year period, while also working to fill the dwindling ranks of Guard troops.

Just before dawn, on an early October morning in 2015, Costas’s home was stormed by six Federal agents and two State police officers, in full tactical gear. Costas thought his family was under attack, and it was – by the Government he had served. Costas was arrested and taken to a Federal Courthouse where he was charged with “crimes” dating back almost ten years, during the days of G-RAP.

Costas is one of hundreds of General Vaughn’s recruiters who have been held responsible for not knowing the G-RAP rules that were never sent to them. And not just held responsible — charged with criminal intent to commit fraud against the Government. General Vaughn, who created and administered G-RAP, and who was administratively sanctioned for poor management, is enjoying full retirement in Virginia and Arizona.

Costas is going to prison.

The government’s “evidence” against Costas and other recruiters does not even meet the standard of circumstantial. In his case, the government admitted during trial to having no actual evidence, but only a “reasonable inference” that a crime could have been committed.

As a recruiter, Costas could not and did not participate in G-RAP. There were no Army regulations that governed G-RAP because the program was run by a private Alabama-based contractor called Docupak. Docupak was essentially incentivized to run a sloppy program, earning a 17% markup on every new enlistment, on top of their contract fees and administrative expenses. This lack of training stands in sharp contrast to how the Army usually operates, with manuals and rules on almost every action and procedure.

The one rule that the prosecution seized on to brand soldiers and veterans as felons regarded the relationship between the Recruiting Officer and the Docupak civilian contractors known as Recruiting Assistants (RAs). When G-RAP began, those contractors were regarded as assistants to the Recruiting Officers. The Recruiting Officers might use the RAs to give that extra push to a potential applicant considering enlisting. The Recruiting Officers were encouraged to ask the RAs to attend recruiting events and help with the finding of potential candidates. The original program outline stated that the Recruiting Officer would provide specifics for each possible enlistment to the RA, including legal name, birth date and social security number. That information was used by Docupak to verify enlistments and process payments to their RA contractors. In later descriptions of G-RAP, the social security number would go from the new recruit to the RA contractor, bypassing the Recruiting Officer, which not a single RA contractor reports ever seeing or any evidence has ever been produced by Docupak that verifies it.

This procedural change has resulted in hundred of indictments and scores of convictions for identity theft and wire fraud. Soldiers and veterans are in prison. Costas, sadly, is on his way.

After the government filed more than 50 felonies against Costas, his defense team could not overcome the wrath of the United States and he was convicted by a jury who felt that with so many felonies filed, Costas certainly had to have done something wrong.

He did not. G-RAP was a tangle of mismanagement; the soldiers who were on duty during its tenure are paying the price of administrative failures by their command. In an internal investigation done by the Puerto Rico National Guard pertaining to G-RAP in 2012, the Investigating Officer admitted that “Recruiters had no formal training on how G-RAP operated.”

Costas and his family had their hearts broken when the prosecution opened with statements calling him a “cheater, stealer and a liar.” He said these words, “pierced the core of his soul.”

Presumption of Innocence or even the “benefit of the doubt” was never given. In the end the Government spent an estimated $100,000 prosecuting Costas and the jury found Costas guilty on three charges amounting to $3,000. Although never having a criminal record and an impeccable military career, the judge sentenced Costas to prison. In the end “reasonable inference” and circumstantial evidence weighed more than 26 years of honorable service willing to sacrifice life and limb.

Recently the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th District reversed and vacated a conviction of an accused soldier involving G-RAP and determined, that the “Government did not retain a revisionary interest in the funds and that it did not exercise supervision or control over the funds”. This decision cannot be applied to Costas unless the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st District, the Supreme Court, or Congress rules on it.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
― Carl Sagan

The claims were extraordinary. The evidence was missing. And yet, a United States military hero and veteran has been sacrificed.

We respectfully request that Congress or the White House appoint a commission to review the G-RAP investigation, to identify Soldiers that have been unjustly stigmatized by it, and to recommend suitable cases for clemency and pardon.

Related Links:
Stop G-RAP Injustice | Facebook
The Conspiracy Behind the G-RAP War on American Soldiers (March 30, 2016)
If You Look at the Dollars, Guard Recruiting Assistance Program Investigations Make No Sense (July 12, 2016)
Top Ten Problems with the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) Investigations (December 15, 2016)
An Open Letter to Congress Regarding the Investigations of the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (June 5, 2017)

48 Hours NCIS Premiered ‘Deadly Lies’ on CBS: Justin Huff, The Catfisher & Cooper Jackson (June 19, 2018)


“48 Hours: NCIS” takes you inside the real-life investigation of a marine, Justin Huff, who mysteriously disappeared. “48 Hours” Senior Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky joined CBSN to discuss the episode. -CBS News


Preview: Did a duplicitous online love affair between two people who never met lead to an innocent Marine being murdered? -Deadly Lies, 48 Hours

Marine Corporal Justin Lee Huff, 23, of Camp Pendleton, California passed away January 2, 2006 in Currituck County, North Carolina. Justin was attending the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Initially, fellow Marines at Dam Neck Annex of Oceana Naval Air Station and his family considered his absence a disappearance because this wasn’t like Justin. But the US Marine Corps considered it an unauthorized absence and NCIS was tasked with investigating the suspicious circumstances. And during the course of their investigation, they would learn that Navy sailor Cooper Jackson was involved and that this wasn’t a disappearance, it was a murder. Jackson was also attending the Intelligence Training Center and he admitted to impersonating a NCIS officer in an attempt to lure Justin Huff and ultimately kill him. The reason: Jackson’s internet girlfriend (who he had never met in person) told him she had sex with a Marine and Jackson insisted it was rape because she was too intoxicated to consent. Jackson wanted revenge for a rape that turned out to be a rape hoax. As it turns out, Cooper Jackson’s girlfriend “Samantha” went along with the fake rape simply to agree with him, not realizing he had sinister plans.

Cooper Jackson admitted he impersonated a NCIS officer so he could handcuff Justin and trick him into going for a ride with him. Jackson told NCIS agents he confronted Justin about the rape and after Justin denied it, he slit his throat. Jackson basically picked a Marine, any Marine, to exact his vengeance. He told NCIS agents where Justin’s body was and where he disposed of the murder weapon and handcuffs used to subdue Justin. NCIS found Justin and recovered the instruments of murder from the river where Cooper said he tossed them. Jackson was charged with kidnapping and murder in a death penalty trial. Jackson froze when he finally laid eyes on “Samantha” in the courtroom. Cooper Jackson couldn’t even look at her and apologized to the court for his actions. Jackson was found guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Samantha on the other hand wouldn’t spend a single day in jail. The investigators discovered she did not ask Cooper Jackson to kill Justin Huff but Justin’s fellow Marines feel differently. They say she may not have done anything criminally wrong but her actions lead to Justin’s death. Huff’s Marine brothers, who served two tours overseas with him, said if everybody was like Huff, this world would be a better place.

Editor’s Note: If you would like to watch the full episode of ‘Deadly Lies,’ please visit the CBS All Access website, visit the 48 Hours website, or download the 48 Hours app for iPad. The most recent episodes are unlocked on the 48 Hours website and app. If you would like to watch past episodes on the 48 Hours app, it cost’s $4.99 a year. There’s programming dating back to 2005 on the 48 Hours app, including some classics, to feed your true crime addiction.  

Related Links:
Fallen Heroes Project: Justin Huff
Marine from Indiana killed in N.C.
Marine remembered by peers from all walks of life
Sailor, 22, Charged In Death Of Marine
Boones Mill sailor charged in slaying of Marine
Woman’s fake rape story led to Marine’s killing, prosecutors say
Sailor Fell for a Lie and Killed a Marine
Sailor Kills Marine After Lie About Rape
Sailor kills Marine after lie about rape
Sailor admits killing Camp Pendleton Marine
Virginia: Sailor Pleads Guilty to Killing Marine
Sailor pleads guilty to killing Marine, is spared death penalty
Sailor Pleads Guilty to Killing Marine He Mistakenly Thought Was Rapist
Murdered Marine’s family, friends testify in sailor’s sentencing
Virginia sailor to face capital charges in Marine’s death
Sailor who was duped gets life for Marine’s slaying
Woman says she ”feels bad” that her deceit led to Marine’s killing
Brought together by grief
The Search for a Marine who Failed to Show up for Roll Call Launches NCIS Agents into a World of Calls and Texts, A Relationship Built on Lies, and an Ill-Fated Case of Mistaken Identity in “48 Hours: NCIS: Deadly Lies”
Cases they can’t forget: Local attorney details case of murdered Marine in exclusive interview
Catfishing Relationship Between Strangers Leads to the Murder of an Innocent Marine
“48 Hours: NCIS”: How a catfishing relationship between strangers led to the homicide of an harmless Marine
“48 Hours: NCIS”: Investigating the mysterious disappearance of a marine (msn.com)
“48 Hours: NCIS”: Investigating the mysterious disappearance of a marine (YouTube)
“48 Hours: NCIS” sneak peek: Deadly Lies

Killeen Daily Herald: ‘Former platoon sergeant was on leave during the [Fort Hood] rollover accident, yet found at fault’ (June 2, 2018)

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“The whole thing was hard to process. I was angry, I was pissed off, and I didn’t know how they were going to charge me,” Caroline Blaze said. “All I knew was I was being charged and I was literally done with the Army.”

Blaze said she received a local general reprimand that stayed in her records for a year around the same time she was being processed for a medical retirement. She said she was never notified or saw the recommendation for her punishment and to this day she doesn’t know what was written about her.

Blaze said she even became suicidal and had a suicide attempt several months after receiving the reprimand.

“It was a bad time and a hard time. To say that I was at fault for these soldiers lives like I caused their death.”

Read more from he Killeen Daily Herald here.

Honoring:
Spc. Christine Faith Armstrong, 27, of Twentynine Palms, California
Pfc. Brandon Austin Banner, 22, of Milton, Florida
Staff Sgt. Miguel Angel Colonvazquez, 38, of Brooklyn, New York
Pvt. Isaac Lee Deleon, 19, of San Angelo, Texas
Pfc. Zachery Nathaniel Fuller, 23, of Palmetto, Florida
Pvt. Eddy Raelaurin Gates, 20, of Dunn, North Carolina
Pvt. Tysheena Lynette James, 21, of Jersey City, New Jersey
Spc. Yingming Sun, 25, of Monterey Park, California
Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey, 21, of Valparaiso, Indiana

Related Links:
On This Day, Eight Soldiers & One West Point Cadet Died in a Flash Flood Training Accident at Fort Hood in Texas (June 2, 2016)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
Military Policy & Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, & Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
75 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 7 Overseas Deaths, 3 Non Combat; 68 Stateside Deaths, 34 ‘Suicides’, 1 Unsolved Homicide (2018)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

2016:
Army: Warning issued before 9 died in June Fort Hood floodwaters
Torrential rains flood Texas, US soldiers killed
Fort Hood Was Closing Roads When Truck Overturned
Fort Hood Officials Were Closing Roads As Truck Overturned
Fort Hood deaths in flooding raises questions about training
Fatal Fort Hood accident raises questions about training
Fatal Fort Hood accident raises questions about training
Fatal Fort Hood accident in Texas raises questions about training
Army launches two investigations into Fort Hood truck accident that killed 9

2017:
‘Apathetic Safety Mentality’ Cited in Fort Hood Wreck That Killed 9
‘Apathetic Safety Mentality’ Cited In Fort Hood Wreck That Killed 9
Safety ‘Apathy’ Blamed in Accident at Texas’ Ft. Hood That Killed 9 US Soldiers
Report: Fort Hood truck crash blamed on driver
NCO blamed for accident that killed nine soldiers at Fort Hood
Army blames staff sergeant for fatal Fort Hood truck accident
Fort Hood truck crash that killed 9 blamed on staff sergeant
‘They never should have been out there’: Fort Hood soldier’s father struggles to understand deadly disaster
Widow disputes investigation results blaming husband for Fort Hood accident
Army report on fatal Fort Hood training largely redacted
Fort Hood: Anniversary of deaths of 9 soldiers passes quietly

2018:
Families remember the 9 who died in 2016 training accident
Reports still raise questions about Fort Hood accident two years later
Former platoon sergeant was on leave during the rollover accident, yet found at fault
Survivor of 2016 Fort Hood training accident recalls flood
Survivor of 2016 Fort Hood training accident recalls flood
2 years later: Survivor of fatal Fort Hood water training accident speaks out

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (May 2018)

May 2018

Missing:
Family pleads for missing soldier battling PTSD to come home
Vets group calls for ‘CAMO Alert’
What really happened to Middlebrook’s Sgt. Gene Shultz?
Missing: Michael VanZandt (Hermosa Beach Police Department – 310-318-0308)
Missing in Hermosa Beach: What happened to Mike VanZandt?
He Left to Go to the Bathroom and Never Came Back: Where is Michael Vanzandt?
Missing: Trevor Nichols (US Army), New York
Soldier receives orders to Fort Riley, goes AWOL
Disappeared: Air Force Veteran Michael Vanzandt Vanishes During a Night Out with Friends in Hermosa Beach, California (March 5, 2016)
Jean-Marc Faubert has been missing since the early morning of Friday, May 25th

Cold Cases:
Georgia Marine’s murder in Belize remains unsolved one year later
No arrests made 3 years after soldier’s murder
New Hampshire unsolved case file: David and Deborah Carreau
Warwick murder case still unsolved, reward offered 5 years later
Cold Case: Army Spc. Darlene Krashoc Sexually Assaulted, Murdered, and Dumped in Parking Lot in Colorado Springs; CID Offers $10,000 Reward (1987)

Fugitives:
Reward Offered for Armed & Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2017)

Petitions:
Presidential Pardon Petition | Free Lt. Clint Lorance
Fire Iron River, Michigan City Manager David Thayer For Firing Police Chief Laura Frizzo!

Continue reading

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (April 2018)

April 2018

Missing:
Patrick F. Carnes, Nevada (2011) | Missing Veterans
Mother Joins Search for Navy Officer Son Who Vanished on Way to Submarine Based in Connecticut
Federal agencies get involved with search for missing Martinsville man

Cold Cases:
Air Force Col. Philip Shue Died in an Apparent Car Accident, But Autopsy Revealed Much More; Texas Judge Ruled Cause of Death as Homicide (April 16, 2003)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Neighborhood in Killeen, Texas (April 17, 2017)

Reward Offered:
$11K offered in hunt for Marine accused of killing detective’s daughter
Former Marine wanted for murder believed to be in Mexico, manhunt underway
Authorities ask for public’s help in locating ex-Marine fugitive

Petitions:
Advocate for review and reform of injustice in the Military

Announcements:
Veterans legal clinic scheduled in Killeen
Save Our Heroes Sends Letter of Concern to Joint Regional Correctional Facility Leavenworth, Re Violation of the United Nations Human Rights Commission

Legislation:
This Gunnery Sergeant’s job destroyed his body to the point of retirement
Diagnosed With Leukemia, This Officer Was One Year From Retirement

Continue reading

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Bring My Baby Home’ on Investigation Discovery: Maritza Beato Rentz & Paul Rentz (February 7, 2018)

Preview: A four-week-old girl is kidnapped, leaving her mother in anguish and police scrambling to find her. As days go by with no sign of the baby or demands for ransom, sergeants Joe Kenda and Robert Sapp fear she’s been sold on the black market or worse. -Homicide Hunter, Investigation Discovery

On February 19, 1988, 5 week old Rachel Ann White was abducted from her grandmother’s Colorado Springs, Colorado home. Detective Joe Kenda met Robert Sapp of the Colorado Springs PD Juvenile Crimes Unit at Evelyn Reed’s house. Evelyn explained that she was taking care of Rachel for her daughter Cora Abbott and was interviewing potential baby sitter candidates. One of the potential candidates was a hispanic woman by the name of Sharon Sanchez. Evelyn was interviewing Sharon when the phone rang and Evelyn asked ‘Sharon’ to hold Rachel while she went into the other room to answer it. When Evelyn returned, Sharon and Rachel were gone and when she ran outdoors to see if she could stop her, Sharon was driving away in a light colored vehicle with Texas plates.

Investigators were not sure where to go with the investigation because Sharon Sanchez was an alias but they worked on the case around the clock and used the media to reach out to the public. Then they got a phone call from an Air Force Major. The Major informed Kenda that he had an Air Force officer, Captain Paul Rentz, working for him who said his wife had a baby and this was suspicious because Paul never said anything about his wife being pregnant. The Major and his wife stopped by Captain Rentz’s home to give the baby a proper Air Force welcome and to congratulate them. But his wife Maritza made excuses and was reluctant to let them in the house to see the baby; she eventually relented. After visiting the baby and leaving their home, the Major’s wife said it was not a newborn baby and she definitely wasn’t 3 days old. Then they saw the news that a baby was kidnapped and called the police right away. Kenda and Sapp didn’t hesitate to investigate this promising tip.

Kenda and Sapp went straight to the Rentz’s home. When they arrived at the home, the first thing they spotted was a small silver car with Texas plates that matched the description of the vehicle they were looking for. Kenda and Sapp questioned Maritza Rentz and asked her where she had the baby, who was the doctor, and where was the birth certificate. When Maritza produced a birth certificate, the birth certificate lead one to believe the baby was two days old. Kenda and Sapp knew this wasn’t a real birth certificate because they both had children. They demanded to see the baby. Maritza retrieved the child and she was a perfect match to the composite drawing. They also observed this was not a newborn and they knew immediately it was Rachel White. Captain Rentz appeared to be dumbfounded that the baby wasn’t his. Kenda and Sapp notified Cora Abbott that they found her baby.

Kenda said that when Cora was reunited with her daughter, the daughter she never thought she would see again, it was a very touching moment. Maritza Rentz was charged with kidnapping and Paul Rentz was questioned. He told investigators that Maritza didn’t have sex with him throughout the ‘pregnancy’ because she said it was harmful to the child. She also wouldn’t let him see her body. He admitted that things were rocky. Paul Rentz’ culpability was definitely in question because investigators couldn’t imagine that he didn’t know. But Maritza confirmed Paul didn’t know. She told investigators that she was pregnant but lost her baby and didn’t have the heart to tell Paul. She said she put pillows under her clothes so it appeared she was pregnant. She said she couldn’t see any other way and hoped the baby would help the relationship. When it was time for the baby to be born, Maritza said she was faced with a choice: come clean to her husband or find a baby.

Maritza read the newspaper ads and the difficulty she ran into was that most of the kids were too old. And then she found Cora Abbott’s ad looking for someone to watch her infant while she was at work. Maritza created a false identity, responded to the ad, and visited Evelyn Reed’s home for the interview. She admitted she almost didn’t follow through with the abduction but when the phone rang, the opportunity presented itself and she took it. When she returned home, she called Paul and told him she just got back from the hospital where she had the baby. Paul didn’t question any of it. Kenda reminded the viewer that being stupid isn’t against the law and believing your wife is not a criminal act. He admitted it was difficult to prosecute Paul Rentz because they didn’t have enough evidence to prove anything against him. As a result, he was found not guilty. Maritza pleaded guilty to second degree kidnapping but the judge didn’t give her any jail time. Instead, she claimed mental insanity and was confined to an institution for one year. The happy ending is that Rachel was found against all odds and she is thriving as a young woman.

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Baby Recovered Four Days After Kidnapping
Woman Alledgedly Abducted Infant to Aid Marriage
Timeline of Maritza Beato
Baby Snatcher | TV Movie (1992)
Baby Snatcher Movie (true crime movie)
Infant Snatcher – The Narrative That Motivated the Movie Starring Veronica Hamel
Baby Snatcher – True Narrative That Stimulated the video Glaring Veronica Hamel
‘Baby Snatcher’ true story of Maritza Beato aka Maritza Rentz
Movie Based on the Case of Cuban American Maritza Beato
Bring My Baby Home | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Bring My Baby Home | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (YouTube)
Cora Abbott with daughters Brittany and Rachael Ann White/Below Kidnapper Maritza Beato Rentz