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By EWU Bob
Do you enjoy solved or unsolved true stories?
By EWU Emma
What is up, EWU Crew? Today, we are going to be covering five missing person cases across the United States that end with the victims being discovered under unusual circumstances. So, buckle up because these stories come with a twist.
Watch this in video format here: https://youtu.be/p38Pj0p1XsU
#5: Harley Dilly
Our first story revolves around the disappearance of 14-year-old Harley Dilly. Harley was your average neighborhood teenager—he would spend time with his friends, watch sports games, and fawn over the girls in his school. Harley had ADHD, high-functioning autism, and was one of the smartest kids in his grade.
Although his parents knew that Harley was smart and well-behaved, they didn’t want to raise Harley without a solid work ethic. That’s why his parents did not respond well to his “demands” for them to buy him a new cellphone after he broke his current one in December 2019. Instead, they told Harley that he would have to earn it, and until then, he would need to wait.
On Saturday, December 21, 2019, Harley’s father, Marcus Dilly, grew increasingly worried about Harley when he hadn’t been home since the day before. And even though Harley had been notorious for going out with friends and not returning home until the following morning, he had never stayed out this long before. So, around 11:50 that night, Marcus decided to call the Port Clinton Police Department and report his son missing.
As it turned out, his father was rightfully worried about Harley’s whereabouts.
According to Marcus, Harley had been out with several of his friends on Thursday night. Some of them had decided to go to a Cavs game while others just hung out, but there were inconsistencies as to where Harley had ended up in the mix.
On Friday morning, however, Harley had been at home with his mother, Heather Dilly. Heather recalls Harley complaining that he had not been feeling well and begging her to stay home from school. Harley had used this ploy dozens of times, so Heather knew better than to fall for it. She told Harley to “get to school” and stop messing around. Heather left for work shortly after the discussion and assumed that he had gone to school.
Harley did not come home from school that day, nor Saturday, which led to his father contacting the police.
Investigators quickly began asking about Harley to his friends and neighbors. All of his friends had seen him Thursday night at different times, but no one recalled hanging out with him after school on Friday. This was odd to the Dilly family and officers since that meant they essentially had no information to work off.
Around 2:30 AM on Sunday, just hours after Marcus Dilly had reported Harley missing, the local police dispatched a “be on the lookout” order for Harley. It felt as though everyone in Fort Clinton, Ohio, was holding their breath, hoping that Harley would reappear unharmed. Although, at that point, most of the Port Clinton community had started to assume the worst. Heather and Marcus began mulling over the possibility that their son had been kidnapped or brutally murdered by some stranger or—even worse—someone they knew and trusted.
Much to everyone’s surprise, that was not the case at all.
On the morning of Monday, January 13, 2020, the police had been thoroughly searching homes up and down the street the Dilly’s lived on, hoping to find some clue as to where he could have disappeared. When the detectives entered an abandoned home, only a few houses away from the Dillys, they found Harley's body. He was dead—that was evident to the officers—but what was strange was that his body was discovered stuck inside the house’s chimney.
Actual photos of the chimney where Harley was discovered.
As odd as it was to find Harley’s body inside this abandoned house’s chimney, officers were quite certain that there was no foul play involved in Harley’s death. In fact, they were rather sure that Harley himself had climbed up an antenna tower to the roof of the house and entered the chimney from there. Sometime after that, Harley must have realized that he had gotten himself stuck. The coroner who did the autopsy on Harley’s body ruled his cause of death as compressive asphyxia, indicating that the pressure of the chimney walls had slowly suffocated him.
#4: Chi Thi Lien Le
Our second story that we have in store for you today begins in Houston, Texas.
Domestic criminal offenses are more common within households than many people think. Those who are fortunate and lucky enough are sometimes able to escape from these toxic dynamics. Unfortunately, others aren’t.
Curtis Allen Holliday, a 58-year-old business mogul, was known to be a kind man in public and a monster in private. His wife, 29-year-old Chi Thi Lien Le, was often subjected to distress throughout their marriage. In November and December of 2019, Curtis received two separate charges for assaulting Chi Thi Lien Le in their Houston home.
Chi Thi Lien Le’s family were mostly unaware of the situation she had faced, which is what made her sudden disappearance so shocking and confusing.
Chi Thi Lien Le and Curtis Allen Holliday together before her disappearance.
On April 3, 2020, Chi Thi Lien Le’s family could not seem to get in touch with their daughter for a few days. They knew that she was often busy, and perhaps just unable to reach her phone, but it was extremely unlike her to not return any calls or texts. Whenever they tried to contact her husband, Curtis, he very cleverly dodged their questions. Something about Chi Thi Lien Le’s lack of communication did not sit right with her family, so they quickly reported her missing to local authorities.
In cases involving a violent spouse, in particular, it is common to question the partner of the person missing—as they may have had something to do with it. This made questioning Curtis Allen Holliday rather easy. And soon, this led to the police arresting Curtis on May 5, after he was charged with violation of bond on a protective order and continuous harm against a family member. While the police had Curtis in custody, they were able to search the properties that he was associated with. Investigators found nothing particularly interesting at the home Curtis shared with his wife, but everything changed when they began searching elsewhere.
The police conducted a search at Curtis’s business in the 5800 block of West Sam Houston Parkway North, hoping to find some potential clues as to his wife’s whereabouts. And when the officers were about to end their search, one of the investigators realized that the business had rather large commercial freezers on site.
With bated breath, investigators slowly opened one of the business freezers on the property and found the remains of Chi Thi Lien Le stuffed inside.
The freezer as pictured on news sites.
The brutal and horrific discovery was not at all what investigators had expected to find when they entered Curtis’s business property.
Chi Thi Lien Le’s case was ruled as a homicide, and her husband was later charged with her murder.
#3: San Juana Macias
The next case we have for you today is that of the disappearance of San Juana Macias in Austin, Texas. San Juana Macias was reported missing on July 5, 2019 after her family had not heard from her for several days. At the time, she had been spending a lot of her free time with her then-boyfriend Jamie Wingwood. The two had a rather normal relationship from the outside looking in: they went on dates, argued about petty things, and considered the possibilities of the future.
However, for San Juana Macias, that future would never come.
While the couple was staying in an East Austin motel room, they allegedly got into some kind of argument. The discussion became increasingly more heated, and Jamie lost his temper as it went on. He reached over and grabbed an iron the couple had brought into the hotel room and swiftly hit San Juana over the back of the head.
Having realized what he had done and knowing he would be in big trouble if San Juana ever woke up, Jamie continued to strike her repeatedly with the iron skillet. Once he was finished, he quickly gathered all of the couple’s personal belongings and rushed out of the motel room.
Once he reached his car, he sent a cryptic text to his sister, stating that he loved her and that he intended to disappear “forever” starting that day. After sending the message, Jamie took off toward Louisiana with no real plan in mind.
When San Juana Macias’ family began reaching out to Jamie’s family regarding her absence, Jamie’s sister felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She was positive at that moment that her brother had murdered San Juana and was now on the run. Investigators quickly began interviewing Jamie’s family, and from there on, they were led to believe that Jamie was their prime suspect in San Juana’s disappearance.
Jamie Wingwood after his arrest.
Officers chased 40-year-old Jamie Wingwood all the way to Louisiana. They were able to capture him and subsequently charge him with aggravated assault and tampering with evidence, as they had been unable to find San Juana’s remains anywhere.
Austin Police Department investigators were then able to interview Jamie since they had him in custody. During that interview, Jamie could not manage to lie. He confessed to killing San Juana and told detectives that he had left her body back at the Austin motel in room 219.
With this new information, officers were dispatched to the motel room right away. However, when they arrived, they found nothing out of the ordinary and—more importantly—no trace of San Juana Macias anywhere. Officers double checked the room number and began questioning employees right away. It didn’t make sense that the room had been cleaned by housekeeping, and not a single person noticed a dead body in the room. It was immediately evident to the officers that Jamie was lying to them to throw them off further.
When they returned to interrogate Jamie once more, he again denied having moved his girlfriend’s body from the scene of the crime.
Instead, he solemnly whispered to one of the detectives that the officers should “look under the mattress in the box.”
The crime scene.
A chill ran down the detective’s spine as he relayed the message to the officers at the crime scene. When authorities pulled back the mattress and stared down at the half-taken-apart box frame that had been underneath it, they were faced with the remains of San Juana Macias. The victim had been undetected in that very motel room for three days without so much as one person realizing the evidence was there, hidden in plain sight.
Jamie has now been charged with murder, punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
#2: Carlos Rios
The next story revolves around missing person Carlos Rios in Houston, Texas. Carlos was a happy-go-lucky individual who happened to have found himself under some fatal circumstances.
On March 2, 2019, Carlos’s family realized that they had not heard from him in quite some time. His parents and friends alike realized that something must have been incredibly wrong for him to not respond to any texts or calls. Especially since this was wholly uncharacteristic for Carlos, as he was arguably the best communicator in their entire family—even being merely 24 years old.
For a while, the investigation into Carlos’s disappearance appeared to have been going nowhere fast. There were no real leads, no specifics about the last place he was seen, and no cell phone pings to point investigators in the right direction. It appeared to many of Carlos’s loved ones that he had disappeared into thin air.
That is until a chilling discovery was made by accident.
In April of 2019, an unnamed man was heading to a Club Creek apartment, near Woodfair, to potentially buy it. The apartment was dirty and needed to be deep cleaned after its last tenant had left unexpectedly, but once the man arrived at the residence, he was taken aback by the worst smell he had ever experienced in his life.
The odor was so strong that when the man opened the apartment door, it nearly made him physically ill.
Neighbors around the complex had mentioned that they had noticed a few flies in the apartment windows but had not thought much of it.
The Club Creek apartment complex.
Right away, the potential buyer knew that something was terribly wrong with the state of the apartment. He contacted local law enforcement just minutes after having opened the door. When the Houston Police Department received the call, they were acutely aware of what could be waiting for them inside the Club Creek apartment. When authorities arrived on the scene, they were swept away by the horrid smell that bellowed through the hallway when they opened the apartment door. Upon searching around the unit for the foul smell’s source, the investigators were immediately led to the bedroom. Inside the bedroom, however, there was nothing.
Or so they thought.
The crime scene.
When the officers removed the mattress from its place in the room, they found a body that was completely wrapped up in bedsheets. Upon the remains’ discovery, the officers had medical examiners called to the scene almost immediately. These medical examiners were able to confirm that the man under the mattress was indeed Carlos Rios.
However, they could not quite conclude what had happened exactly.
When the police informed Carlos’s family of their findings, they were heartbroken. More than that, they were determined to find the monster who took Carlos’s life and left him in a box spring.
Carlos’s family informed the authorities that Carlos had often visited a friend by the name of Jesus Cardenas at the address Carlos’s remains were found. Immediately, officers jotted down Jesus as their number one person of interest in Carlos’s disappearance and subsequent murder. Investigators are allegedly rather positive that Jesus is responsible for Carlos’s death, but they are currently hoping to get some kind of confession out of him.
Unfortunately, Jesus Cardenas is currently nowhere to be found. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
#1: Timothy Allen Johnson
Our fifth and final story is that of the chilling disappearance of Timothy Allen Johnson.
In Spalding County, Georgia, not much goes on that makes national headlines. That is, except for the occasional human remains discovered in unexpected places. On Sunday, February 11, 2018, a man was rummaging around a property in Griffin when he came across something peculiar.
The man in question had been attempting to steal belongings from the former, closed-down Griffin Motel. This was not an uncommon occurrence as there were few security measures to keep people off the property, and the abandoned motel still held a variety of semi-valuable items.
While scouring the empty motel for anything worth grabbing, the man came across a foul smell in one of the rooms. When he peered into the room from the doorway, he expected to see human remains on the floor, as if he were entering some kind of horror film.
Instead, he saw absolutely nothing. There were no furniture pieces in the room. In fact, there were not even any boxes like in the other parts of the motel.
The smell, the man realized, was coming from within the wall of the motel room.
Terrified at what could be lurking behind the wall, covered in cheap wallpaper, the man quickly ran out from the motel and immediately called the police. When the authorities arrived on the scene, they were also baffled by where the smell was coming from and its causes.
Following the man’s assumption that there was something stuck within the wall, local firefighters helped the police bust into the wall. With flecks of old paint and pieces of drywall falling to the floor around authorities, no one could have been able to guess what happened next.
The crime scene.
Slumped between the interior parts of the wall were the remains of Timothy Allen Johnson, who had gone missing in December of 2017. There was no evidence to make officers think that there was any foul play involved at all. In fact, investigators were relatively certain that Timothy had also been trying to steal items from the property. Specifically, copper wires, since they were abundant within the motel walls and it was allegedly evident to the police that Timothy had crawled inside of the wall to gather some and wound up stuck.
Whatever his reasoning was for situating himself within the walls of an abandoned motel room, officers also believe that it had something to do with Timothy’s alleged known methamphetamine problem. He had been known by acquaintances to be rather fearless and determined to get what he wanted out of life.
As they say, curiosity killed the cat.