moralespataki.jpgIt wasn’t just another Tuesday morning for the owner of Carolina Cleaners in Charlotte, N.C. No — it was 7 a.m. and they were looking at a body in a bag by a Dumpster. The person who found the body was doing a morning garbage run and they noticed that the bag in question was too large, and that it had been placed by the Dumpster sometime the night before.
Must have been like waking to a day scripted by David Lynch. This whole story might be Lynchian, but for the fact it’s real.
The body belonged to Alexandria Salem, age 46. Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities believe Salem was murdered by her daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend. So they have murder warrants out now for Leslie Michelle Morales, age 21, and her boyfriend, Daniel Francis Pataki — he’s 22 years old.
The Charlotte authorities say they think Salem was murdered at a Motel 6 prior to her body being dumped. They have interviewed a number of guests there as well as residents at a nearby pair of apartment buildings.
Everyone in this tale of woe apparently had a MySpace profile:
* Daniel Pataki
* Leslie Michelle Morales (she goes by “Lisa”)
* Alexandria Salem
Pataki’s last log-in was on 9/9/08. His headline read, “I love my baby and there is not a thing anybody can do to change that even the slightest bit. Im in love, and I always will be!” His profile photo showed him and Leslie Morales in “gangsta” get-up, wearing do-rags and shades. The photo was probably a tongue-in-cheek attempt to look hard, however — Pataki’s profile seemed to speak of an inward-looking guy who liked to read and write.
Under “About Me,” he wrote the following:

People have so many views of me. Some of you may hate me, and some of you may like me. I really don’t care if you hate me, because I can live without hate. But like me or love me, your always welcome. So yeah, I’m an asshole to some, an angel to others, but mostly just in between. I would say more, but then where’s the fun part of messaging :) Anyways, need to contact me privately or something or need my actual response, catch me on AIM at shyguywriter. Don’t let the name fool you though, I’m far from shy. Anyways, im out of school, looking for work so I can live out my life…

Pataki also kept his MySpace blog updated through 2007. One of his more interesting posts was made on April 9, 2007. It read as follows:

Hey people. Never thought that this would have happened to me, but it did. I am out of a home. I am officially homeless in 12 hours. Pretty much, my gf and me are getting kicked out because 1, there is not enough room here. 2, my dad’s girlfriend is a bitch and doesnt want us around anymore. So anyways, were out on the streets tomorrow. Its gonna be hard, but I have a fighting spirit and were not gonna stay on the streets for long. So people, I need you to do something for me. Pray for our safety, and that we are going to make it. We need all the help we can use right now.

Over a month later, Leslie “Lisa” Morales posted a comment on that entry, using a private MySpace profile. Morales wrote, in part, “well aint that some shit, i am in the same exact situation with my bf […] but you have to just suck it up and deal with it sometimes, bcuz i know that if you guys stick together and never let go…..if you do that then i know that you guys can get through anything….. […] just hang in there and just keep on loving each other and take care of urselfs and everything will be ok…….i promise you that…”
On her public page, apparently created while she was living in East Palo Alto, CA with Pataki, Leslie Morales had the following headline: “I AM WHO I AM, LIKE IT OR NOT, I DONT CARE:)” In the portion of the profile asking who her “heroes” were, Morales posted, “MY MOTHER AND MY FIANCE:) I LOVE YOU BAYBAY:) YOU 2 MAMA:)”
alexsalem.jpgAlexandria “Alex” Salem was Leslie’s 2nd “top” friend. Mother and daughter had a partial running communication going on via MySpace comments, the most substantive being comments left by Morales on her mother’s profile. Did the provide insight into the reality of this mother-daughter relationship? Perhaps. One thing was clear — Morales didn’t like living in East Palo Alto. She left this comment for her mother on May 22, 2008: “i am in the process of getting the hell out of this place […] i hate it here. but anywho i am going to call you next thursday that is coming up soon.”
Later the same day, Morales sounded like a million other twenty-somethings in over their heads and ready to regress for a bit. She wrote:

hey momma, we need your help. we recently bought a car because we were tired of walking everywhere in the heat and figured it could help us move our stuff on the trip. But, we are scared that the car will break down on us in the middle of the US. So we dont know what to do. Whether to sell the car or try to get our money back (500$) or just risk it. please help and please reply soon.

It seems like Alexandria Salem tried to get in touch with her daughter. Morales left this open letter to her mother on May 24:

hey momma,
i am so sorry that i didnt call you back like i said i would but the family wouldnt let me use there phone. but i promise you that i am doing my best to figure out something about this trip and how we are going to do it. i promise you that i will keep in touch and i will keep you posted about everything.
i have to go for now but i will talk to you later. i love you and please dont worry, everything will be ok.
i love you!!! c~ya

There are thousands of miles between East Palo Alto and Charlotte, NC. Seems like there must have been a few thousand more between the daughter who called her mother one of her heroes and addressed her in such a loving (if pleading) manner and the daughter who now stands accused of murder.
The suspects, Leslie “Lisa” Morales and Daniel Pataki, are said to be driving a red Chevy Cobalt, North Carolina tag #XKY-6459. If you see the vehicle in question call 911 immediately. If you have information about this case, call 704-432-TIPS.
[WCNC.com, link 1 and link 2. See also: Charlotte Observer.]

***UPDATE***
According to the Mountain View Voice, Brittany Ann Brown has “returned home on her own.” The Mountain View PD will investigate to see if Brittany was the victim of a crime.
Original Post
brittanyannbrown.jpgBrittany Ann Brown, age 18, has been described as bubbly and extroverted. Perhaps to a fault. Brittany might just talk to anyone, and can be very trusting of others.
The pretty, blond teen may have been too trusting. She vanished over the weekend, after leaving Club Monte Carlo, a nightspot in Mountain View, CA [club’s MySpace page — in Spanish]. Brittany may have left with two strangers: a heavyset, 5’4″ white woman with medium-length blond hair; and a twenty-something fair-skinned latino or caucasian male between 5’11” and 6’2″. The couple was reportedly driving a white, 2-door Saturn.
The last time anyone saw Brittany for sure was 3:15 a.m. Saturday morning, at Club Monte Carlo. She’d attended special “18 and over” nights at the club before. Brittany would sometimes even help stamp hands as people entered the club.
A club employee took Brittany and the mysterious couple to the Saturn, which was parked a few blocks from the establishment. Brittany had a change of clothes and a bag and her departure with the pair was voluntary. They might have been heading towards the East Bay area of San Francisco.
When Monday morning rolled around and Brittany was due to show up at her job with the City of Mountain View’s Parks and Recreation Department, she was a no-show. Police told San Francisco-area media that this was “out-of-character” for the teen. They said that the search for Brittany, at this point, “could turn into a criminal investigation,” and cops assigned to the case are “following up anything they can.”
Brittany Ann Brown is 5’7″ and weighs around 130 lbs. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. When last seen on Saturday morning, she was wearing party clothes — either a black dress or a leopard-print top with a miniskirt.
If you have info that might help find Brittany Ann Brown, call 650-902-6344. Based on a SF Bay Area Craigslist post about the disappearance (not linked because Craigslist has been known to pull posts that draw too much traffic), you may also call 650-867-6419 or 650-996-0177. If you have any tips about this disappearance for the True Crime Report, just e-mail me here.
[cbs5.com and MercuryNews.com.]
Below: Google Street View of Club Monte Carlo’s Castro St. location in Mountain View.

View Larger Map


Video via BlackTubeChannel on YouTube.
So, you drag a kid onto the subway and you ride a while. Just relaxing, standing there, you and the boy.
Then at some point you decide the child needs to sit with a dude nearby, because you’ve got a project in mind.
Your project? Take that hammer you’ve got tucked away in the backpack, beside the sippy-cup and the graham crackers, perhaps, and beat the ever-loving snot out of some innocent dude sleeping in a seat beside you.
The man attacked in the video above, the sleeping dude who received the rudest of rude awakenings, is DeWayne Taylor, age 20. Speaking to a Philadelphia Fox affiliate, Taylor said he was hit by the hammer in his head, neck and hand. “I got seven staples in my head, six stitches in the back of my neck and a broken finger,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s attacker, who has allegedly been identified and will soon be arrested, apparently yelled something about Allah as he whaled on the victim.
Remarkably, none of the passengers who witnessed the attack on Taylor did anything to help him. They didn’t call 911. I’d think you might want to go ahead and consider snitching on a crazy dude who shouts about Allah while he batters some innocent guy with a hammer, but what do I know?
I know that the next time I ride the train or subway for anything, I damn sure won’t be taking a nap.
[MyFoxPhilly.com]

hannahupp2.jpgAccording to a message sent to the Facebook group devoted to finding missing NYC middle school teacher Hannah Emily Upp, Hannah may still be alive.
The e-mail was sent to members of the group tonight by Hannah’s brother, Dan “Wally” Upp. Dan wrote:

Hannah has been seen, and she is alive! There is still a lot of things we don’t know, but here is what we can say so far.
“There’s been a confirmed report that she has recently been seen alive in midtown NYC. We are ready to welcome Hannah back, with no questions asked. If anyone sees her, call 911 immediately.”
We’re not quite out of the woods yet, but this is obviously an incredible sign of hope. Please continue your vigilance and get this word out!
Hallelujah!

It’s a good time to remind anyone reading this that missing persons cases don’t always involve a criminal act, but they are of interest to people who follow crime stories, in part because of the mystery.
Dan’s e-mail opens up the possibility that Hannah may have, for lack of a better term, “freaked out” about her job and the beginning of the new school year. Perhaps she had no idea as to how she should handle her situation, and emotionally, she imploded.
Whatever the case, if Hannah comes home more or less okay and was missing of her own volition, her disappearance will then be a personal matter for her and her family to deal with.
Dan Upp sent me an e-mail today explaining why Hannah’s friends and family are trying to be careful and balance the information they give to the public about the missing 23-year-old. “[We] are trying to be very careful with how much of Hannah’s personal information we release to the world, out of concern for her safety,” he wrote. Later, in the same e-mail, Dan clarified some of his and his familys’ worries: “[To] keep from discouraging other sickos out there, we are being! careful about what we freely disclose to a mass audience […] I just want to say that there are still going to be questions that I am not going to answer for the sake of Hannah’s safety.”
I don’t know how the new sighting of this missing woman was “verified,” but the caution expressed by her brother in his e-mail to me tells me this midtown sighting is cause for hope. That can only be a good thing.

isimeus.jpg

i rather be misconstruted [sic] than be under conclusions
u aren’t the least of my ruins…
— from “Chaous [sic]and Confusion,” a poem by Irma Simeus.

A wig, a hairbrush, a sandal. A dead woman inside a Honda.
Saturday, West Palm Beach, FL, and the cops come to check out an abandoned car in the housing complex on Elmhurst Road. Inside the car they find Irma Simeus, age 22. Near the car they find the wig, the hairbrush, and the sandal.
Irma’s family says the car and the other items were hers.
They also tell the media they don’t know who would kill Irma, a single mother to 4-year-old Javon. Irma’s sister tells a local TV station that Irma had no enemies, but they are “gonna run through it to see if there are people she perhaps rubbed shoulders with the wrong way…”

When i close my eyes I can still see your smile
and i can still feel the times
where your advice would console me.
Apart of me feels like maybe you not leaving me lonely
because these memories carry me.
They talk to me and I feel them all so suddenly.
Sometimes I still feel like you are here with me.
— from “Memories that keep me sane,” by Irma Simeus.

Irma Simeus just completed college. She studied to be a medical assistant. One of her profiles on a poetry site, “intensedtherapy,” provided a succinct self-description: “I write my emotions pure and simple and i capture my emotions thru my words. I have been writing since i was about 11 or 12 and haven’t stopped ever since.”
Irma’s family says she loved to create. Not just write, but sing. Poems found online, attached to an e-mail address that also brings up Irma’s MySpace profile in a search of that site, read like lyrics.

And i can’t believe i fell for your lies
but than usually i am the one who puts on the disguise.
And the phony way that you used to care for me wasn’t nothing but a phase
because i am moving on to financial success
while you let your financial assets go down to waste.
— from “Standing Ovasion [sic]” by Irma Simeus.

Some of Irma’s poems appeared to be intensely personal. One, “My Angelic Demon,” was remarkable for the anger it showed. Reading Irma’s verse it was hard to not wonder if the poem was connected to some real and perhaps even potentially dangerous events in her personal life. A portion of the poem:

Damn revenge is a bitch.
Honestly I never thought about lyin to you
but shit you thought i was pregnant so what else could i do?
Too bad you never knew I was the one who turned your metro off too.
The same chick that accessed all your passcodes
and did things you never thought i would boo.
I found out about the side bitch so I did what the fuck that i had to do.
Laughing to myself thinking about how I also was the master behind the office calls too
Shit it wasn’t my fault that I got people in places that will lie for me too.
But my favorite part is sending the fake letter you thought
was from my Doctor’s Office you fool.
You think you got An Std but karmas a mother ain’t it boo?
i would actually tell you that now you are a fool
just like the child you think that you fathered from me too.
The best part of it all is i know it’s all a lie
But You think it’s the truth.

If Irma Simeus was addressing a real ex in that poem, I imagine the police may want to speak with him.
The following is from the Palm Beach Post article about Irma’s murder:

Detectives have yet to specify how Simeus was killed but are calling the death a homicide. Anyone who was in the Elmhurst Road area, west of Haverhill Road, on Friday night or early Saturday morning can call the sheriff’s Violent Crimes Division at (561) 688-4000 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS (8477).

Maybe, if someone has reason to call those numbers above with answers to this mystery, we’ll find out why the wig, the brush, and the sandal trailed up to that blood-spattered Honda at the end of that road. Find out if Irma’s “Angelic Demon” had the scales fall from his eyes and decided it was time for his own brand of revenge.
[WPTV.com and the Palm Beach Post. Additional link: article written by Irma Simeus for Helium.com.]

isimeus.jpg

i rather be misconstruted [sic] than be under conclusions
u aren’t the least of my ruins…
— from “Chaous [sic]and Confusion,” a poem by Irma Simeus.

A wig, a hairbrush, a sandal. A dead woman inside a Honda.
Saturday, West Palm Beach, FL, and the cops come to check out an abandoned car in the housing complex on Elmhurst Road. Inside the car they find Irma Simeus, age 22. Near the car they find the wig, the hairbrush, and the sandal.
Irma’s family says the car and the other items were hers.
They also tell the media they don’t know who would kill Irma, a single mother to 4-year-old Javon. Irma’s sister tells a local TV station that Irma had no enemies, but they are “gonna run through it to see if there are people she perhaps rubbed shoulders with the wrong way…”

When i close my eyes I can still see your smile
and i can still feel the times
where your advice would console me.
Apart of me feels like maybe you not leaving me lonely
because these memories carry me.
They talk to me and I feel them all so suddenly.
Sometimes I still feel like you are here with me.
— from “Memories that keep me sane,” by Irma Simeus.

Irma Simeus just completed college. She studied to be a medical assistant. One of her profiles on a poetry site, “intensedtherapy,” provided a succinct self-description: “I write my emotions pure and simple and i capture my emotions thru my words. I have been writing since i was about 11 or 12 and haven’t stopped ever since.”
Irma’s family says she loved to create. Not just write, but sing. Poems found online, attached to an e-mail address that also brings up Irma’s MySpace profile in a search of that site, read like lyrics.

And i can’t believe i fell for your lies
but than usually i am the one who puts on the disguise.
And the phony way that you used to care for me wasn’t nothing but a phase
because i am moving on to financial success
while you let your financial assets go down to waste.
— from “Standing Ovasion [sic]” by Irma Simeus.

Some of Irma’s poems appeared to be intensely personal. One, “My Angelic Demon,” was remarkable for the anger it showed. Reading Irma’s verse it was hard to not wonder if the poem was connected to some real and perhaps even potentially dangerous events in her personal life. A portion of the poem:

Damn revenge is a bitch.
Honestly I never thought about lyin to you
but shit you thought i was pregnant so what else could i do?
Too bad you never knew I was the one who turned your metro off too.
The same chick that accessed all your passcodes
and did things you never thought i would boo.
I found out about the side bitch so I did what the fuck that i had to do.
Laughing to myself thinking about how I also was the master behind the office calls too
Shit it wasn’t my fault that I got people in places that will lie for me too.
But my favorite part is sending the fake letter you thought
was from my Doctor’s Office you fool.
You think you got An Std but karmas a mother ain’t it boo?
i would actually tell you that now you are a fool
just like the child you think that you fathered from me too.
The best part of it all is i know it’s all a lie
But You think it’s the truth.

If Irma Simeus was addressing a real ex in that poem, I imagine the police may want to speak with him.
The following is from the Palm Beach Post article about Irma’s murder:

Detectives have yet to specify how Simeus was killed but are calling the death a homicide. Anyone who was in the Elmhurst Road area, west of Haverhill Road, on Friday night or early Saturday morning can call the sheriff’s Violent Crimes Division at (561) 688-4000 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS (8477).

Maybe, if someone has reason to call those numbers above with answers to this mystery, we’ll find out why the wig, the brush, and the sandal trailed up to that blood-spattered Honda at the end of that road. Find out if Irma’s “Angelic Demon” had the scales fall from his eyes and decided it was time for his own brand of revenge.
[WPTV.com and the Palm Beach Post. Additional link: article written by Irma Simeus for Helium.com.]


WABC story about the disappearance of Hannah Emily Upp.
Please be sure to read the update at the bottom of this post.
Earlier tonight, Arielle Schechter sent an interesting e-mail out to members of the Facebook group devoted to finding missing NYC middle school teacher Hannah Emily Upp. Someone claims they’ve seen Hannah since she vanished on August 29, 2008. Arielle’s e-mail:

I just received a call from a man who says he was with Hannah on Monday. He said that he met her in Green Point at about 5:00am on Monday, and they went to Coney Island together, and he left her there at about 9:00pm. He said that her hair is shorter than in her picture. The police are investigating his claim.
– Arielle

The New York Daily News reported Friday that Hannah may have been having more trouble adjusting to her life as a grad student and teacher than anyone knew. From the paper: “One source said Upp – an NYC Teaching Fellow who was about to get her own classroom – skipped work the day before she disappeared.”
The same source stated that while other teachers were prepping their classrooms on August 28 in anticipation of the first day of school, Hannah withdrew forty bucks from an ATM and took herself to a movie at a theater in Times Square.
However, the Daily News went on to say that “education sources” told them Hannah did go to school that day. The same article quoted Hannah Wood, one of the admins of the Facebook group, saying that Hannah Upp was “more frustrated than unhappy.”
That statement is similar to some things Arielle Schechter said in our conversation yesterday. Hannah’s first year of school wasn’t all that different from the first year of teaching for many educators; it’s frequently a trial by fire.
I hope the lead alluded to in Arielle’s e-mail is real, but you cover enough of these cases, it’s hard to scoot your cynicism aside. High-profile stories frequently invite the delusional or attention-starved. Still — it’s better to hope than not.
UPDATE
I’m afraid my cynicism was founded. Hannah Wood sent out another message to the Hannah Upp Facebook group shortly after this entry was first published. It read, in part:

We are so sad to report that, unfortunately, the tip we received has turned out to be of no use. We sincerely apologize that the message went out before we, and the police, were all fully aware of what was happening.
In the coming days, we should brace ourselves for more messages like this, from people who are more concerned with creating problems than with solving the mystery of Hannah’s disappearance.
Though this is undoubtedly painful and brutally disappointing for all of us, we are committed to maintaining this Facebook group and to a sustained publicity campaign. If, for every ten false messages, we receive even one valid and useful piece of information, we feel it would be worth it…

Wood went on to recommend that anyone contacted by someone claiming to have seen Hannah not engage the tipster, but direct them to call the 30th Precinct. She noted — correctly, I think — that a tipster with “Hannah’s best interests at heart […] will do so.”
I alluded to this in a post I wrote Saturday evening about the disappearance of Orlando toddler Caylee Anthony — the more high profile cases like this become, the more it is likely that some raging assholes will come out of the woodwork.


WABC story about the disappearance of Hannah Emily Upp.
Please be sure to read the update at the bottom of this post.
Earlier tonight, Arielle Schechter sent an interesting e-mail out to members of the Facebook group devoted to finding missing NYC middle school teacher Hannah Emily Upp. Someone claims they’ve seen Hannah since she vanished on August 29, 2008. Arielle’s e-mail:

I just received a call from a man who says he was with Hannah on Monday. He said that he met her in Green Point at about 5:00am on Monday, and they went to Coney Island together, and he left her there at about 9:00pm. He said that her hair is shorter than in her picture. The police are investigating his claim.
– Arielle

The New York Daily News reported Friday that Hannah may have been having more trouble adjusting to her life as a grad student and teacher than anyone knew. From the paper: “One source said Upp – an NYC Teaching Fellow who was about to get her own classroom – skipped work the day before she disappeared.”
The same source stated that while other teachers were prepping their classrooms on August 28 in anticipation of the first day of school, Hannah withdrew forty bucks from an ATM and took herself to a movie at a theater in Times Square.
However, the Daily News went on to say that “education sources” told them Hannah did go to school that day. The same article quoted Hannah Wood, one of the admins of the Facebook group, saying that Hannah Upp was “more frustrated than unhappy.”
That statement is similar to some things Arielle Schechter said in our conversation yesterday. Hannah’s first year of school wasn’t all that different from the first year of teaching for many educators; it’s frequently a trial by fire.
I hope the lead alluded to in Arielle’s e-mail is real, but you cover enough of these cases, it’s hard to scoot your cynicism aside. High-profile stories frequently invite the delusional or attention-starved. Still — it’s better to hope than not.
UPDATE
I’m afraid my cynicism was founded. Hannah Wood sent out another message to the Hannah Upp Facebook group shortly after this entry was first published. It read, in part:

We are so sad to report that, unfortunately, the tip we received has turned out to be of no use. We sincerely apologize that the message went out before we, and the police, were all fully aware of what was happening.
In the coming days, we should brace ourselves for more messages like this, from people who are more concerned with creating problems than with solving the mystery of Hannah’s disappearance.
Though this is undoubtedly painful and brutally disappointing for all of us, we are committed to maintaining this Facebook group and to a sustained publicity campaign. If, for every ten false messages, we receive even one valid and useful piece of information, we feel it would be worth it…

Wood went on to recommend that anyone contacted by someone claiming to have seen Hannah not engage the tipster, but direct them to call the 30th Precinct. She noted — correctly, I think — that a tipster with “Hannah’s best interests at heart […] will do so.”
I alluded to this in a post I wrote Saturday evening about the disappearance of Orlando toddler Caylee Anthony — the more high profile cases like this become, the more it is likely that some raging assholes will come out of the woodwork.

Police in Harris County, TX say 38-year-old Dannette R. Gillespie waited in the car while her daughter — all of 15 years old — and Vanessa Anne Ocampo robbed and killed bar owner Eugene Palma.
dgillespie.jpgFor their efforts, the teens and Ms. Gillespie pulled in a whopping $15. Fifteen bucks and charges of capital murder.
Reports out of Houston, TX say it all went down on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Gillespie, her daughter and Ms. Ocampo were on the lookout for someone to rob. They ended up in the bar owned by the Eugene Palma, age 75, Gene’s Better Times bar. The trio hung around until Mr. Palma headed home in Cadillac convertible. Police reports say they didn’t know Mr. Palma — I’d say the Caddy was probably all the bait they needed.
During police interrogation, Vanessa Ocampo told the cops that once the group followed Palma home, Dannette Gillespie doled out knives and told the girls to go rob the elderly man.
So Ocampo, along with Gillespie’s daughter (not named in the press because she’s a juvenile) exited the car and ran up to Palma’s garage. The girls allegedly stabbed the bar owner a number of times and took the only money he had on him, enough to put 4.5 gallons of gas in the car, at best.
Eugene Palma was found dead, face-down in his driveway, on Thursday morning.
A palm print on Palma’s caddy led the cops to Gillespie and the girls. Gillespie and her daughter were arrested in Houston. Vanessa Ocampo was picked up in San Antonio.
[Chron.com – Houston Chronicle]

Police in Harris County, TX say 38-year-old Dannette R. Gillespie waited in the car while her daughter — all of 15 years old — and Vanessa Anne Ocampo robbed and killed bar owner Eugene Palma.
dgillespie.jpgFor their efforts, the teens and Ms. Gillespie pulled in a whopping $15. Fifteen bucks and charges of capital murder.
Reports out of Houston, TX say it all went down on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Gillespie, her daughter and Ms. Ocampo were on the lookout for someone to rob. They ended up in the bar owned by the Eugene Palma, age 75, Gene’s Better Times bar. The trio hung around until Mr. Palma headed home in Cadillac convertible. Police reports say they didn’t know Mr. Palma — I’d say the Caddy was probably all the bait they needed.
During police interrogation, Vanessa Ocampo told the cops that once the group followed Palma home, Dannette Gillespie doled out knives and told the girls to go rob the elderly man.
So Ocampo, along with Gillespie’s daughter (not named in the press because she’s a juvenile) exited the car and ran up to Palma’s garage. The girls allegedly stabbed the bar owner a number of times and took the only money he had on him, enough to put 4.5 gallons of gas in the car, at best.
Eugene Palma was found dead, face-down in his driveway, on Thursday morning.
A palm print on Palma’s caddy led the cops to Gillespie and the girls. Gillespie and her daughter were arrested in Houston. Vanessa Ocampo was picked up in San Antonio.
[Chron.com – Houston Chronicle]