Fall 2015, Volume 19

Fiction by David Long

The Missing Woman

Melinda D’Alessandro was reported missing on January 27 after she failed to pick up her children from a Bryant Springs elementary school.  Sunny Lee Christian was last seen May 18 walking away from her Stone Mill Road home following an argument with her husband, Richard.  Patricia C. Johnsrud, 39, disappeared under murky circumstances early Monday morning.  Angela Vasquez left a party in Brooklyn at approximately 2 a.m. on March 1.  She lives only four blocks away, but never made it homeThe missing woman has now been identified as Larissa St. Cyr.  The missing woman is Kasey Ann Bryce of Vicksburg.  Diana Dominic, 40.  Ashley Proctor, 20.  She was last seen in the company of a mystery man she apparently met at Chubby’s.  Police are requesting anyone who took photographs at the nightclub Friday night to come forward.  Marsha punched in for work around 5 p.m., donned her blue uniform, and chatted with other after-hours employees.  She was last spotted by security cameras two hours later.  The missing woman is 5 feet tall and weighs about 110 pounds, has blue eyes and shoulder-length brown hair with bangs.  She was wearing a black mid-length, belted trench coat, dark pants and black-sequined flat shoes.  She wore white gym shoes and had paint spatterings on her clothing.  Her hair was in a ponytail softly pulled back.  The family reports that Candace has a noticeable chicken pox scar on her forehead.  She has dimples on both cheeks.  The missing woman has a rose tattoo with the names Kit and Jaycee on her right shoulder.  The missing woman has a tattoo of tribal art on her lower back.  On one ankle is a Chinese character meaning “faith.”  The missing woman is an apprentice mechanic at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  She works part-time at the Fort Spencer Mercantile.  Maria is a financial analyst with Edward D. Jones and Company.  According to a close friend, Danielle worked for an escort service briefly but quit, in part because of safety concerns.  Suzanne had just finished her junior year at FSU, Panama City.  The missing woman is unlikely to have left the area without notifying family or co-workers.  Her family was surprised she had not rung her sister to wish her a happy birthday.  It was totally out of character, they said.  This is not her normal behavior.  She doted on her two kids and was as dependable as the sunrise, friends say.  She is a bubbly, well-liked girl.  A happy and caring person.  A good-hearted soul with an infectious smile.  “I know her,” said Danny Briggs.  “She’s clean and sober and has dedicated her life to God.”  The missing woman's parents, Charlotte and Gene Wilfong, made an impassioned appeal for information during an emotional news conference.  "Return my sister," cried Oscar Campos, the heartsick brother of Andrea Campos, outside the family's Tallahassee home.  Family and friends have organized rallies, and distributed flyers with photos of the 22-year-old Cal State Chico student.  A $25,000 reward is offered for information leading to her safe return.  “We've all just been racking our brains trying to come up with information that might help police," said a spokesman for the Crockers.  A prayer vigil was held in Petaluma last evening.  Loved ones, feeling lost themselves, gathered in Champaign Friday night to keep the spotlight on Kristy's disappearance.  Friends say not knowing is the hardest part.  Searchers are still hoping to find the missing woman alive, but conceded that with each passing day the statistics do not support that theory.  Investigators have no clues as to Kendra’s whereabouts.  "It's like looking for a needle in a haystack," Detective Rinaldi said.  There’s no concrete evidence in this baffling case.  There’s been no activity on any of the missing woman’s bank accounts.  A Pierce County man seen talking with Rachel at the Java Jive has been interviewed and cleared of involvement.  Law enforcement officials from several counties conducted an intensive search of the farmstead in rural Tuscola County.  A helicopter joined the effort Wednesday morning.  Sitting in pickups on a road overlooking Ronald and Regina Beck’s property Wednesday afternoon, family members watched solemnly as law enforcement officials searched a pond and wooded area.  Police continued the arduous task of sifting through thousands of tons of garbage at the Spurgin County landfill.  The missing woman’s SUV was winched from the river early this morning.  Her car was found wrecked in a culvert off Ferris Avenue in DeKalb.  A Forchette County sheriff's deputy spotted the Dodge Neon on State Highway 22.  Julio F. Mendoza, Ms. Nuñez’s ex-boyfriend, was seen driving her Ford Mustang Friday and fled from police when they tried to pull him over.  Her black Lexus was found on Saturday in a gravel pit near an auto salvage yard operated by Sanford Wilkes.  In a telephone interview Wilkes told a Union Leader reporter that he has “no idea” what happened to free-lance photographer Amanda Hayden.  “That’s the honest to God truth. I just wish they’d find her, so we’d know what really happened.”  Foul play has not yet been ruled out.  The missing woman's boyfriend has a history of violence.  A restraining order is in effect against Sanderson, according to court records.  Petrenko had filed a protective order against her live-in boyfriend in September.  The couple reportedly broke up two weeks ago because Jukubiak‘s fiancé was cheating on her.  Investigators want to talk to Sheehan’s boyfriend, who just last month was charged in a violent attack at her apartment.  The missing woman's husband was said to be “extremely controlling.”  While authorities have not identified Garth Dunwoody as a suspect in his wife's disappearance, they have acknowledged that there was at least one instance of violence in the couple's history.  The couple allegedly had a history of domestic abuse that was never reported to police.  “When he was not drinking, Josh was a very nice person,'' said Bennett’s mother-in-law.  Officials are calling Burton a person of interest.  Robillard, who is married, has refused to cooperate with detectives.  Investigators have arrested Jarrod Anders, of Prentice County, in connection with Tiffany’s disappearance.  He is the missing woman's ex-boyfriend, and biological father of her eldest child.  The body of the missing woman was found on Friday after a second search of the Krause Sawmill property on Bonner Flats Road.  Preliminary results of the autopsy indicate the cause of death was blunt force trauma.  After hours of searching with probes and shovels, investigators found the precise site of Lynette French’s body by spotting a rusty can of Deep Woods Off insect spray.  The missing woman was found embedded in a snowbank in the median of I-95 just north of Waterville, Maine.  Gary R. Wulsin, 24, was booked into the Uniontown Jail on a complaint of first-degree murder about 3:15 a.m. Thursday after leading deputies to Marci Lynn Mayfield’s body.  Perry Robertson was getting ready to cast a line for bass this morning on Lake Fenton when he spotted a young woman’s body floating in the water.  “It was face down,” he said.  “She was completely nude.”  A state lands surveyor discovered a young woman’s badly decomposed body in a shallow grave while re-mapping a remote corner of the township.  The missing woman’s skeletal remains were found yesterday near Turtle Lake by a family riding 4-wheelers.  The body of the Nashville mother of five was discovered inside a hotel bed frame.  After Kirschner failed to pay her bills, the motel rented out the room to other guests.  The remains were discovered Tuesday in a chemical-waste barrel retrieved from a pond in the wildlife reserve.  The skeletal remains of the missing woman were located by police bloodhounds late today.  The arms and legs of the unidentified victim had been cut off and removed from the scene.  Bone fragments and teeth from the missing woman were found beneath a junked car at the wrecking yard.  County Coroner Davis McGee was subsequently able to identify Lampson using dental records.  Donovan’s parents believe the broken bones make it clear that their daughter suffered a terribly violent death.  Ribbons and flyers still surround the missing woman’s neighborhood.  "It's incredibly painful," Sarah Hayden said Thursday, which would have been her sister's 30th birthday.  “It’s very very hard,” she said.  “I can’t sleep at night.  I can't get over it.  I'll never get over it.”  Blumberg’s mother wept as she spoke over the phone.  “We were holding out hope,” Bird Woman said. “When the detective called at 1:30 in the morning, I was hoping she was in his car and he was bringing her home.”  The Nguyen family is devastated.  Brown said the revelation brings some closure after more than three years of questions, but not enough.  It’s been a tortuous process for Maki’s oldest daughter.  “Something like that shouldn't happen to any human being,” Cameron’s father said.


[*note:  The language in this piece is drawn exclusively from news sources; all names, locations, and other identifying details have been altered.]





BIO: David Long was born in Boston, and spent many years in Northwest Montana, before relocating to Tacoma, Washington. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, GQ, Granta, Story, and many anthologies, including the O. Henry and Pushcart Prize volumes.  His third collection of stories, Blue Spruce (1997), was given the Lowenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In the 1970s, he was a student of Richard Hugo and William Kittredge at the University of Montana.

His novels include The Falling Boy (1997), The Daughters of Simon Lamoreaux (2000), and The Inhabited World (2006). He is at work on a book of essays on sentence craft [Dangerous Sentences], a book of short fiction [Bonfire], and a new novel.  He is married and has two grown sons.