Following an investigation into his wife’s disappearance, a Boone County man is facing murder charges after a grisly discovery. Andrew Wilhoite has been taken into custody on charges of murder, booked in the Boone County Jail.
On Friday, March 25, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department initiated a welfare check at the home of Elizabeth Wilhoite, Andrew’s wife, following a report from a coworker saying that she failed to show up to work. Tragically, the missing person search rapidly became a homicide investigation, which led to the Boone County Sheriff’s office calling an audible with regards to the investigating agency. “When our investigators realized this could be a possible homicide investigation, we wanted to do discuss the best way to move forward with the investigation since the mother of Andrew Wilhoite is a County Councilwoman, another county elected official,” said Sheriff Mike Nielsen. “To avoid any conflict of interest, it was decided to contact the Indiana State Police and ask them to lead the investigation and we would assist them.”
The investigation lead to Indiana State Police concluding that Elizabeth Wilhoite was the victim of a homicide at the hands of her husband, Andrew Wilhoite. Allegedly, Wilhoite struck his wife in the head with a “blunt object,” then put her body in his vehicle and drove to a nearby creek where he disposed of her in the creek. Elizabeth’s body was found partially submerged in the water and recovered from the creek.
“This is another prime example of working with our law enforcement partners to solve a horrendous crime,” said Sheriff Nelson. “I cannot be prouder of our Investigations team, Crime Scene Investigations team, the entire Sheriff’s Office staff, the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office and the Indiana State Police Investigators. Please keep all families and first responders in your thoughts and prayers.”
The search for a missing Indiana woman has gone national this week. Authorities in Johns Creek, Georgia have joined the search for missing Carmel resident Ciera Breland, following reports that she may have been in Johns Creek a week before she was reported missing. Ciera has been described as five feet tall, 120lbs, with blonde hair, and was last seen wearing a black top with purple shorts. Despite the fact that she was allegedly last seen in Hamilton County, family members have reported that they had not seen her after she returned from that trip to Georgia.
When she was originally reported missing, the alert indicated that Ciera Breland was last seen on February 25, 2022 in the 14400 block of Baldwin Lane, near the intersection of Ditch Road and 146th St. However, family members later said that Ciera was in Johns Creek the week prior to her disappearance, and no one had seen her since she allegedly returned from the peach state.
According to the Johns Creek Police, Ciera’s husband, Xavier Breland Jr., 37, has been named a person of interest in her disappearance, but has not bee charged in connection with the case. He’s been arrested in Hamilton County, Indiana on an unrelated charge connected to Coweta County in Georgia. He’s currently awaiting extradition to Georgia.
In speaking to Ciera’s family, WishTV was able to ascertain that her loved ones were concerned about her relationship with Breland Jr. Ciera moved to Indiana after marrying Breland Jr. “After she moved there, it just all went downhill and stuff started happening and then she disappeared. She wasn’t communicating with everyone like she used to and it was kind of like he was brainwashing her,” said Luke Locklair, Ciera’s cousin.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Ciera Breland is asked to call the Carmel Police Department at 317-571-2580 or Corporal Rozier with the Johns Creek Police Department at 678-372-8046.
After weeks of piecing together the last moments of the life of Gabby Petito, her family and her supporters finally have a crucial answer in her case. A Wyoming coroner disclosed on Tuesday that after examining Gabby’s remains—located on September 19 in the Bridger-Teton National Forest—that Gabby had died as a direct result of strangulation. The Teton County Coroner, Dr. Brent Blue, had previously ruled her death as a homicide with the manner of homicide undetermined. No further details have been released at this time. The Petito cause of death likely comes as little comfort to the country at large, which is currently in the grips of a wide-scale man-hunt for Gabby’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who has been named a person of interest in her murder.
The Petito cause of death is just one more piece in composing the 1000-piece puzzle of Gabby’s last days. Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were on a cross-country trip in a repurposed Ford Transit van, documenting their travels and experiences through social media. Before Gabby fell completely out of contact with her family in late August, her family was unable to determine if the scant few text messages they received were even authored by Gabby. Even more disturbing, Brian Laundrie returned to his home in North Port, Florida alone on September 1, 2021. Gabby wasn’t reported missing until her family finally filed a missing person report on September 11, 2021. However, when authorities went to question Brian Laundrie on his knowledge of Gabby’s whereabouts, his parents shielded him from police. Not long after that, Brian Laundrie was nowhere to be found, leaving even more questions about what his exact role was in the Petito cause of death. He told his family on September 14 that he was going out for a hike and has not been seen since.
In addition to determining cause of death, Blue was also able to determine that Gabby’s remains had been in the wilderness for approximately 3-4 weeks before she was found by authorities, placing her time of death in mid to late August. While Laundrie has only been named a ‘person of interest’ by law enforcement, there is still a warrant out for his arrest after authorities determined Laundrie used Gabby’s debit card without her permission. While the internet has speculated highly about the relationship dynamic between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, one of the only hard pieces of evidence available to the public is a police body-cam video that captured the aftermath of an argument between them following a report to 911 that a man in Utah had witnessed Laundrie slap Gabby. When the responding officer pulled the Ford Transit over with Gabby in the passenger seat, the couple was separated for the evening to avoid domestic violence charges.
While the search for Brian Laundrie continues throughout the United States—even with the help of Dog the Bounty Hunter—missing person experts like Thomas Lauth suspect that Brian had evaded police through a combination of survival knowledge and help from third parties, “I have never thought he would stay in Florida very long,” Lauth said. “I believe he had some outside resources available to him early on, but those outside resources have likely cut him off because he’s a fugitive…He’s been a savvy traveler for many years. When I say ‘savvy,’ he’s able to live off the land and he knows how to travel alone and lightly.”
When a drone enthusiast set out to capture the Palm Bay scenery from above, little did he know that he was about to be plunged into a twelve-year-old missing person case. Dan Osterhout had flown his drone above the Bayside Lakes neighborhood in Palm Bay, central Florida, many times before. However, within his drone’s destined route on Thursday 27th May, unusually dry weather had triggered a unique set of circumstances that would yield unexpected results in the drone flight.
The water level of a nearby retention pond was lower than ever, and the water was particularly clear. As Osterhout examined his captured footage of the depths below, he realized that he could see a vehicle submerged in the water, and he quickly reported it to the authorities. The silver 2002 Ford Mustang in question was connected to a 2009 missing person case that had long gone cold.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Philippe Desir
Philippe Desir vanished from Palm Bay on February 7th, 2009, just around the corner from the pond in question. In a disappearance shrouded in mystery, Police Lieutenant Chris Imel shared that “his wife reported him missing during the middle of the night.” He reported that Desir’s wife had said that “he just got up and left the house and that was pretty much the end of it.” The missing man was 38 years old at the time when he vanished, and would be 50 years old today.
The Missing Endangered Persons Alert issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement described Desir as an African-American male, last seen wearing a red shirt and blue jeans. With no indication of suspicious circumstances and no trail to follow, the case of Desir’s disappearance soon went cold. Fast forward to 2021, following Osterhout’s discovery, it was Desir’s distinctive 2002 silver Ford Mustang that would signal the connection between the 2009 case and the tragic discovery of human remains within the Palm Bay pond.
Arrival of the Underwater Recovery Team
Upon investigation, members of the Palm Bay Police Underwater Recovery Team were able to locate the metallic two-door Mustang seen by the drone that would later be confirmed as registered to Desir. The car was found upside-down, with the windows rolled down. Its tires were reportedly mangled, and the windshield damaged, leading to speculation as to how the vehicle may have arrived in its submerged state.
After the recovery team slowly pulled the sediment-filled vehicle from the water, investigators confirmed that skeletal remains were found within it—including an intact skull. While it may seem logical to conclude that the remains are that of Philippe Desir, absolute certainty will remain out of reach until the medical examiner’s investigation is finalized.
Possible Closure on A Long-Unsolved Case
Speaking to Florida Today about the Philippe Desir missing person case, Police Lieutenant Jeff Spears of the Palm Bay Police Department explained, “this was a cold case. But it’s one of those situations where we do what we do. We always follow up on missing person cases every year to validate that the person is still missing.”
Following these most recent developments, Lieutenant Imel is reported to have added, “at this point, there does not appear to be any indication of foul play, but yet again it is still under investigation. As far as suicide goes, that is something else that is under investigation.”
There has been no media mention of Desir’s friends and family over the course of recent coverage but, whenever a person’s disappearance remains unexplained, there is likely to be those who carry the burden of not knowing what happened to their loved one. While it is true that the sad loss of a life—far too young—has been revealed under the strangest of circumstances, there may be some small comfort to find in answers to those questions that remained unresolved for so many years.
In Chicago, Illinois, the search is still underway for a missing United Airlines executive who went disappeared on August 6, 2020. Jake Cefolia, 49, is the senior vice president of United Airlines worldwide sales. He was last seen on August 6 before plans to go for a run in his neighborhood. Even after twenty days missing, police have declared they still have no leads in his disappearance.
After he was reported missing on August 8, a search campaign was immediately launched to find the airline executive, including law enforcement, citizen volunteers, and a Facebook group that continues to grow every day. As of August 24, Elmhurst Police Chief, Michael Ruth, informed the press that authorities had yet to find any reason to suspect foul play in Cefolia’s disappearance. One of the scant clues in Cefolia’s disappearance was his abandoned vehicle. After two days of searching, the vehicle was finally located in a Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve parking lot.
Law enforcement circled resources, including over 100 volunteers and K-9 dog units to search the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. Chief David Peterson of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County told ABC7 Chicago said that they knew Cefolia commonly ran a 10-mile loop in the preserve, “We don’t know for sure he’s still at the forest preserve, but at this point there’s been no contact with family or friends.” The area law enforcement have been searching for the missing United Airlines executive spans 2,500 acres, and required additional deployment of foot patrol, K-9 units, drones, boats, and all-terrain vehicles. “We are hoping to find him. Every time our phone is ringing, I’m wondering, is this the call where we find him.” Peterson told ABC7. In addition to his car, the Elmhurst Police also had a chance to review surveillance footage from a gas station nearby after Cefolia was seen at his home the day he went missing. Chief Michael Ruth pointed out that although the footage is low-quality, Jake Cefolia’s manner of dress was not consistent with a person who was going on a run.
His employer also took notice when Cefolia did not report for work on August 7, and has released a statement pertaining to the missing United Airlines executive, “Our friend and colleague, Jake Cefolia, SVP of Worldwide Sales, was last seen Thursday evening, August 6th. We are concerned about his well-being and have been in touch with Jake’s family over the last couple of days to offer them our support. At the request of the family, we won’t be releasing any additional details at this time.”
Independently of law enforcement, Jake Celfolia’s family has organized their own search efforts, including a Facebook page with over 1000 members where people can compare information and intelligence on their own searches. The police report on Cefolia’s disappearance states that he “had been stressed out lately” due to work pressures, and that his ex-wife had told police her former husband had sometimes fantasized about “going off the grid.” There were also reports that Cefolia might have been feeling despondent recently due to a breakup with a girlfriend.
In a recent article published by CrimeOnline, journalist Ellen Killoran reported that prior to the onset of Cefolia’s missing person case, the missing United Airlines executive was the subject of a criminal probe. Chief Ruth was unable to provide further details, but stated that “a criminal investigation was underway” prior to Cefolia’s disappearance. It should be noted that Cefolia has not been charged with any crimes, and that there are no warrants for his arrest. “We would like to find him and reunite him with his family, and [continue with] the other aspect that we have going on.”
An arrest has been made in the disappearance of Colorado missing boy Gannon Stauch.
Letecia “Tecia” Stauch has been arrested on first-degree murder charges in the disappearance of her stepson Gannon Stauch. It has been nearly five weeks since Gannon was reported missing.
According to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at a press conference, the arrest occurred on the morning of March 2, 2020, in Horry County, South Carolina. El Paso County Sheriff’s Office detectives, FBI agents, and members of the El Paso County 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office made the arrest of Letecia Stauch without incident.
Letecia will be held without bail in the Horry County Jail on the charges of Murder in the First Degree of a Child Under Twelve, Child Abuse Resulting in Death, a charge of Tampering with a Deceased Body, and Tampering with Physical Evidence. She is currently awaiting extradition back to El Paso County, Colorado.
Gannon, 11, was reported missing by Letecia Stauch on January 27, 2020, claiming Gannon had gone to a friend’s home in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood and failed to come home.
Initially, authorities called Gannon a runaway when they first asked the public to help find the little boy. But the sheriff’s office announced January 30 that Gannon was considered a missing endangered child because of his age, the time he had been gone, and his reliance on medication.
The search that was supposed to take place last Friday in the area of Highway 105 and Highway 83 was postponed and authorities announced a major development in the investigation that would be released during the press conference held at noon.
During the press conference, investigators said they believe Gannon is no longer alive and they have yet to locate him. They reiterated search efforts to locate Gannon’s remains would continue.
“Today I got the worst news and the best news,” said Gannon’s biological mother Landen Hiott had been holding out hope her son was still alive. “Obviously we know what the worst news is. The best news is that justice will be served. And I’ll make sure that justice is served because my boy did not deserve any of this that happened.”
Authorities said the affidavit has been sealed and remains tight-lipped on the evidence that led them to arrest Letecia.
“Just hold on to questions until we know that this person, this stepmom that I even trusted, that she will pay 100 percent for this heinous thing she done,” said Landen. “And I know that’s what will be done.”
Al Stauch, Gannon’s father did not speak at the press conference, but a sheriff’s department spokesperson held back tears as her voice cracked while reading Al’s statement.
“The person who committed this heinous horrible crime is the one that I gave more to than anyone else on this planet and that is a burden that I will carry with me for a very long time,” Al said.
He writes that his heart stopped on the day that Gannon was born on September 29, 2008, coming way too early and weighing only one pound six ounces–and again on March 2, 2020, when he learned his little boy would never be coming home.
“I’d been looking forward to his teenage years, and the fun we had ahead of us as he became a young man,” Al said. “My little boy is not coming home. We will never play Nintendo again. No more Taco Tuesdays. No more smooth looking haircuts. No more “Big Bubba” for my Lana. And no more G Man for the world.”
“While we have not yet found Gannon, information has been developed that is helping us narrow our search, said Lieutenant Mitch Mihalko of the sheriff’s office.
Since Gannon vanished, crews have been scouring dozens of acres of southern Douglas County, in search of the missing boy’s body.
“As you can see from the arrest sadly, we do not believe Gannon is alive. Our work is just beginning, and you will continue to see many law enforcement officials in El Paso County over the coming weeks and possibly months as we continue our relentless pursuit of justice for Gannon and his family.”
Prior to the arrest, Letecia had been obsessively posting on various social media sites, professing her innocence and offering explanations as to what happened to Gannon, even developing a timeline she posted on Facebook.
Letecia claimed she was harassed online and should be offered an apology from everyone who suspected she could have ever hurt her stepson.
However, Gannon’s family has continuously urged the public to call in with any information to contact law enforcement so that they may be able to give Gannon a proper burial.
“I know where my son’s at without a shadow of a doubt, said Landen. “I want to leave this earth knowing justice was served for my boy.”
Prosecutors and the sheriff’s office are still asking for information from the public to help bring their promise for justice to fruition.
“One, we still want to bring Gannon home so that he can have a proper burial and his family can get the closure they need,” said Deputy District Attorney Michael Allen. “But we also want to hold the person we are charging, Letecia Stauch accountable for what she did.”
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Gannon Stauch, please call the El Paso County Sheriff at 719-520-6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org