Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

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Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by geassicka on Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:29 pm

My cousin Sheila Swanson was murdered in Newport, Oregon back in 1992 along with her friend Melissa Sanders. They had gone camping with Melissa's family. Apparently the two girls had wondered off on their own one night. Melissa's parents assumed they were out getting into trouble so when they didn't return they just headed back to their home in Sweet Home, Oregon which is an hour and a half east. My Aunt was expecting them to be gone for 5 days and on that fifth day she called Melissa's parents asking where Sheila was. That is when they told her that the girls never came home with them.
My Aunt knew something wasn't right and called police. Days had already gone by with her daughter missing. It was about 5 months later that they found both of the girls bodies in a wooded area.

There are two other sets of murders that they think are linked. That of Kelly Disney, last seen 1984. Skull found 10 years later 1994. Jennifer Esson and Kara Leas last seen January 28th 1995 and bodies found Feb 15, 1995.

There was a new DA elected a few years back and he reopened these cases. I contacted the detective assigned to the case and he told me that the most evidence was with Esson and Leas. Therefor that is where there focus lies. However, that focus is little. Due to budgets and staff he has binders upon binders full and one person volunteering once a week on the case. I asked for a police report but he very kindly recommended I not get it. If I really wanted it though he would be willing to give it to me.

There was rumor of Joel Courtney being linked to these murders. He is the man convicted of killing the beautiful Brooke Willberger, a college student taken from an apartment parking lot in broad day light in Corvallis, Oregon.



Any and all help would be soo greatly appreciated. I have no idea where to begin with this, yet I so desperately want to help find justice for Sheila and our family.

Thank you all for everything.

Here are some links to these cases that can give a bit more information:
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/01/da_reopens_1995_killings_of_2.htmlhttp://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=7103702&page=1


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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by KariBear on Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:10 pm

Wait, this girls parents just went home? How old were these girls when they went missing?

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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by Piper on Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:17 pm

Hi geassicka! I'm glad you posted the information about your cousin. I'm very sorry for your family's loss. Like KariBear, I'd like to know their ages and why the family just left them there. How did they expect them to get home?
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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by FystyAngel on Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:05 pm

Here are articles that I have found....

Murdered girls’ cases getting fresh look
Police hope that advances in DNA technology will reveal more clues in the five slayings
By Winston Ross

The Register-Guard
Appeared in print: Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009, page B1

NEWPORT The last time Floyd Esson saw his 16-year-old daughter, she was heading to her mom’s house to spend the night. That was 14 years ago.

Two weeks later, Jennifer Esson’s body turned up along with her friend of the same age, Kara Leas, in a wooded area north of Newport. Both had been strangled. Their murders were never solved.

“I cried like a goddamned baby for six months,” Floyd Esson said. “I could hardly work. She was a daddy’s girl.”

More than a decade later, Oregon State Police detectives have reopened the investigation into Leas and Esson’s disappearance, plus the unsolved murders of three other girls: Sheila Swanson, 19, and Melissa Sanders, 17, who vanished during a camping trip at Beverly Beach State Park in 1992; and Kelly Disney, 17, last seen walking along U.S. Route 20 east of Newport on March 9, 1984. The request to reopen the cases came from Lincoln County’s new district attorney, Rob Bovett.

It’s possible there’s a link between the five cases, said Detective Chris Ashenfelter, with the Oregon State Police. But the only connection between the girls at this point is that they were all young, they all disappeared from the same county and they were all found in a wooded area. Police haven’t reviewed the cases since 2000.

What investigators don’t know is whether there’s any commonality between the way the girls died, however. Sanders and Swanson were discovered five months after they disappeared, and their bodies were too badly decomposed to determine a cause of death. Disney’s remains showed up in an abandoned vehicle in a wooded area near Big Creek reservoir, east of Newport, a full decade after she disappeared. Only a skull was found.

Investigators are hoping new technologies could help them track the killers, whether the cases are related or not. Police had DNA analysis available in the 1990s but it wasn’t as sensitive, Ashenfelter said.

Also, a database of DNA information from a national register of convicted felons is now available. Investigators have resubmitted evidence gathered from the cold case to labs. Once new DNA is extracted, it will be compared with the registry, in search of a match.

Ashenfelter is handling Esson and Leas’ disappearance, which will receive the primary focus as they occurred most recently.

The detective said he doesn’t intend to get new samples from everybody police interviewed after the bodies were found, but there remain some persons of interest from the case that could be tested. He’s also seeking new tips from the public, in the hope that a guilty conscience has worn on someone, or a source who might have felt endangered before now has less to worry about.

“Sometimes people just need to get things off their chest, and it takes time,” Ashenfelter said. “I’m hoping somebody will come forward.”

Since Tuesday, detectives have gotten about 20 tips, Ashenfelter said, and five different agencies are now pursuing those leads.

Floyd Esson is looking for closure. His daughter was brilliant, he said. She helped her mother with the college courses she was taking and was a talented guitarist.

“I think she wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. “They killed her friend and then killed Jenny to keep her from saying anything.”

According to police, Leas told her brother the night she disappeared to call the police if she wasn’t back in an hour and a half.

Esson visits his daughter’s grave once a month, he said, haunted by what he doesn’t know about how she died.

“Did she sit and watch her girlfriend get murdered before she was choked to death, or did she get killed first? That keeps you awake nights,” he said. “I can’t help but think of what a waste it was she had to lose her life. I wonder how she would have turned out.”

Winston Ross can be reached at (541) 902-9030.

TIP LINE

Anyone with information about the disappearances of Kelly Disney, Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders, Jennifer Esson or Kara Leas is urged to call (800) 452-7888.

http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/6796459-41/story.csp


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Is there a serial killer on the Ore. coast?

By Thom Jensen KATU News and KATU.com StaffPublished: Mar 16, 2009 at 11:29 PM PDT Last Updated: Mar 17, 2010 at 4:10 PM PDT


NEWPORT, Ore. - They all have one thing in common - young girls, walking alone or in pairs along a coastal highway, who vanished.

"I'll break down and bawl like a baby at times just thinking about it," said Floyd Esson (pictured at right), whose youngest daughter was murdered back in 1995.

Jennifer Esson was just 15 years old when she disappeared along Highway 101 near Moolack Beach, north of Newport.

"They took my little girl from me and to me, that's a wound that will never heal," said Esson.

He isn't sure who "they" is and neither are detectives from the Oregon State Police Major Crimes Unit and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department.

We went with them to look at the 14-year-old crime scene - up an old logging road northeast of Moolack Beach. That's where Jennifer Esson's body was discovered, two weeks after her disappearance, lying right next to her friend, 16-year-old Kara Leas. Both had been strangled and their bodies had been covered with brush.



Crime scene photos never before seen publicly show one of the first clues investigators found at the scene - a girl's shoe and aerial photographs of the area where the bodies were found - in a new clear cut.



Lincoln County District Attorney Rob Bovett is taking a fresh look at the double murder, along with three other homicides that could be linked by a common killer or killers.

"That's why I had all five homicides reopened," he said. "Because of the potential of a connection."

Three years before the murders of Jennifer Esson and Kara Leas, in May of 1992, two other girls vanished. They too had disappeared along Highway 101 north of Newport. The girls were last seen making a call from a pay phone booth while their families camped at Beverly Beach State Park.

Four months later, in October of 1992, hunters found the bodies of 17-year-old Melissa Sanders and 19-year-old Sheila Swanson off of Highway 20.



The bodies were found just a few miles from where another girl had disappeared eight years earlier. Kelly Disney, 17, was last seen walking east along Highway 20 in March, 1984. Her mother talked to KATU in 1994, 10 years after the disappearance, and just days after the story aired, someone found Kelly Disney's skull near a reservoir north of Newport.



Now, a team of murder detectives hopes the killer, killers or someone who knows who they are will finally step forward and give all of the families some answers. They want peace and closure for families who have been tormented by these girls' murders.

"What haunted me most is did she have to sit there and have to watch her girlfriend get strangled first, knowing it was going to happen to her?" said Floyd Esson.

http://www.katu.com/news/specialreports/41351642.html

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DA reopens 1995 killings of 2 teens at Newport
Published: Saturday, January 24, 2009, 6:08 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 30, 2009, 5:33 PM




NEWPORT -- In the wee hours of a dark, rainy January morning in 1995, two teenage girls left a friend's house in north Newport and set out for home in the center of town. They never arrived. Two and a half weeks later, loggers spotted the bodies of Jennifer Esson, 15, and Kara Leas, 16, in a forest north of town. The girls had been strangled.

This Wednesday marks 14 years since the pair disappeared.

Now, Rob Bovett, Lincoln County's new district attorney, has reopened the case, hopeful that recent advances in DNA analysis will provide new clues and lead police to the killer.

It may also answer a question that has haunted police officers for years: Was there a serial killer at work in this popular tourist town?

"Every one of us has wondered exactly that same thing," said Steve Hebner, a retired Oregon State Police detective. "If we are lucky enough to find who is responsible for Esson and Leas, I am not going to be at all surprised to find that person is responsible for the others."

Hebner has wondered whether that person might be Joel Courtney, accused of killing Brooke Wilberger, a Brigham Young University student who disappeared from a Corvallis parking lot in 2004. "If we are fortunate enough to come up with a DNA profile, we sure as hell are going to run his DNA," Hebner said.

Since 1984, there have been six unsolved homicides of women here. Police believe one, that of a 36-year-old woman last seen hitchhiking on U.S. 101, is too dissimilar to link to the others. But the three other cases bear similarities, two of them remarkably so.

In two cases, there were two victims, both teenage girls. In both, the girls were last seen north of town near U.S. 101, late at night or very early in the morning, and all four were found in heavily wooded areas. A fifth teen was also last seen walking alone late at night.

Investigators say their best chance for solving any of the crimes lies in the evidence found on Esson and Leas because it is the most recent crime and the victims were found the soonest after they were killed.

"DNA is going to make or break us," said Hebner, who shared his knowledge of the case with Oregon State Police Detectives Chris Ashenfelter and Andy Kenyon, newly assigned to the case.

"I have been waiting for 14 years for the technology to do this," Hebner said. "We finally have a shot. The difference in technology is the difference of looking at the heavens through an Earth-based telescope and now looking at the heavens through the Hubble Space Telescope. It's night-and-day difference."

Kelly Disney, 17, was the first to disappear. She was last seen walking east on U.S. 20 about 1 a.m. March 9, 1984. For 10 years, no one knew what had become of her. Then, on July 23, 1994, a short time after a news story was published about the puzzling case, police were called to an abandoned car at Big Creek Reservoir at the north end of Newport. Inside, they found Disney's skull.

In 1992, Melissa Sanders, 17, and Sheila Swanson, 19, both of Sweet Home, went to Beverly Beach State Park -- about two miles north of Newport -- with Sanders' family for a weeklong camping trip. But after only one night, the two disappeared. They were last seen about 11 p.m. May 3 at a Beverly Beach grocery pay phone on U.S. 101.

On Oct. 10, hunters found their bodies 20 miles east of Newport near Eddyville about 50 feet from a logging road in thick brush. The bodies were too badly decomposed for the medical examiner to determine the cause of death.

Three years later, between 12:45 and 1:30 on a Saturday morning in January, Esson and Leas left their friend's house on Northwest 56th Street, where they had been watching videos with Esson's boyfriend, Sam Williams. As they prepared to leave, police say, Leas asked Williams whether she could call him and said if he didn't hear from her in an hour and a half to call the police. The girls were never heard from again.

On Feb. 15, Hebner was at his desk at the state police office about a mile from where the teens were last seen when two loggers walked in to say they'd found a body in the brush above Moolack Beach, about a mile away.

Hebner and several other officers went to the site.

"I had binoculars," he said. "I could see a human hand sticking out."

The girls were found, one on top of the other, covered with limbs, brush and other debris. An autopsy revealed they'd died from traumatic asphyxiation by strangulation.

In addition to resubmitting evidence to the crime lab for new analysis, the state police have set up a tip line, which they hope will prompt new information.

"Aside from technology, one of the things that also changes is guilt and conscience," Bovett said. "People might be willing to talk about things they weren't willing to talk about before."

Hebner is hopeful investigators will finally be able to solve at least the most recent crime.

"I cannot drive past Moolack Beach. ... I still see things in my head," he said. "I am not an emotional guy, but I have shed tears about this."

Police ask anyone who knows anything about the crimes to call 800-452-7888.

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/01/da_reopens_1995_killings_of_2.html

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Help Solve the Murders of Teenage Girls in Oregon
April 27, 2009


Kelly Disney, 17, was the first girl in a presumed series of five teenage girls to disappear under suspicious and similar circumstances. She apparently vanished on March 9, 1984, and was last seen alive on U.S. Highway 20, east of Newport along Oregon's scenic coast. Her skull was found 10 years later, in 1994, inside an abandoned vehicle near Big Creek Reservoir, a popular fishing area east of Newport. Kelly's cause of death has never been determined.

On May 3, 1992, Melissa Sanders, 17, and Sheila Swanson, 19, disappeared from the area of Beverly Beach State Park, where they had been camping. They had last been seen making a call from a pay telephone booth. Their bodies were found five months later, on October 10, 1992, by hunters in a wooded area near Eddyville, Oregon. As in the case of Kelly Disney, a cause of death for the two girls has not been determined.

Jennifer Esson and Kara Leas, both 16, were last seen at approximately 1 a.m. on January 28, 1995, walking along NW 56th Street toward Highway 101, also known as the Coast Highway, in an area near Moolack Beach. They had left from a friend's home on the north side of Newport, where they had spent much of the evening just hanging out and watching movies. They were believed to have been hitchhiking to another residence located near downtown Newport when they disappeared. According to Esson's father, the girls were initially planning to have a relative drive them to their next destination, but they decided to walk instead. Never seen alive again, their bodies were found by loggers weeks later in a wooded area, covered up with brush. Oregon authorities later determined that both girls had been strangled.

The most common elements in the cases appear to be the fact that they all involved young girls who disappeared while either walking alone or in pairs in the vicinity of the Central Oregon coast, either in or near Newport. Earlier this year, Lincoln County District Attorney Rob Bovett decided that the cases needed to be looked at again, and he called the past and present members of the Lincoln County Major Crime Team together to review the cases again.

"They haven't been looked at for a long time," Bovett said. "It was time to do a new, fresh look. We brought together the old major crime team from the mid-nineties, together with the current major crime team. There were about thirty people in the room."

Among the many things that investigators looked at during the review was the current state of DNA technology.

"Some of the crime lab technology has been massively upgraded," Bovett said. "We were doing DNA testing twenty years ago, but the advanced DNA technology that we have today eclipses what we had even a decade ago."

Bovett said that as a result of such advancements in DNA and crime lab technology, some of the evidence that had been collected during the original investigations had been resubmitted to the Oregon State Police crime lab for another look.

"That was the first exciting piece," Bovett said. "We can analyze some things now that we couldn't analyze back then, at a microscopic level. There are additional crime lab tests that can be run now that couldn't be run then."


Bovett also said that the passage of time was another reason to take a fresh look at these cold cases.

"Time passed, and relationships among and between people change," he said. "Some people might be willing to say things now that they weren't willing to say back then. And there's always the possibility that over time, guilt and conscience has caught up with people that know something they didn't (initially) disclose."

Support from the victims' families over the years has helped investigators, and the fact that the Oregon State Police (OSP) has taken a more active job in the case has also helped. OSP has recently assigned two detectives to the case from their Springfield office.

"OSP has been incredibly helpful in stepping up to the plate and working with us," Bovett said. "I think because they see a possibility of resolving it."

According to Bovett, the similarities between the cases have, in part, caused investigators to consider the possibility that a single killer may be responsible for the five murders. One Oregon reader, a relative of victim Shiela Swanson's, suggested that authorities check out the DNA of serial killer Darren Dee O'Neall. O'Neall, the subject of my 1995 book Blind Rage, was recently transferred from the Washington State Penitentiary, where he was serving a sentence for the murder of Robin Smith, to Oregon to serve time for crimes for which he was convicted of committing in that state. Although admittedly a long shot, hopefully it is one that Oregon law enforcement will follow up on.

"I don't know that we can say that we even think it's the work of a serial killer," Bovett said. "We don't have any direct evidence of a connection yet. The only thing that connects them is the basic facts - we've got teenage girls disappearing in the middle of the night."

Bovett indicated that investigators were focusing on the cases of Esson and Leas, which were the most recent murders and which, he says, have the best physical evidence with which to work.

In the meantime, relatives of the murdered girls are still suffering and looking for answers to what happened to their loved ones.

"I just want to know what happened," said Floyd Esson, father of victim Jennifer Esson. "And see the guy who did it get punished."

Esson, however, does not believe his daughter was killed by a serial killer.

"She was terribly naïve," he said. "The thought that somebody would want to hurt her wouldn't even cross her mind...I think she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time...it was like a kick in the gut. I fell to pieces. I lost it…what haunted me most is did she have to sit there and have to watch her girlfriend get strangled first, knowing it was going to happen to her?"

How much time do investigators plan to spend looking into these cold cases?

"It really depends on the tips and the leads and probably, most importantly, the DNA analysis when we get it back," Bovett said. "It's not like CSI, where things get resolved in a day. If one thing leads to another...it could take awhile, or, things could pop up almost immediately. So that's very unpredictable."

In the meantime, a toll-free tip line has been activated and anyone with any information about these crimes, no matter how trivial that information might seem, is urged to call 1-800-452-7888 to report it.

http://blogs.discovery.com/bizarre/2009/04/help-solve-the-murders-of-teenage-girls-in-oregon.html#more

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Coastal Killer
Date Published 03.23.09


The newly elected District Attorney recently announced his office is reopening the cases, but for Newport, Oregon locals the questions surrounding the unsolved murders of five teenage girls, and the haunting suspicion they’re the work of one man, never went away.

Newport, with a population of only 10,000, is an idyllic tourist town on Oregon’s central coast. The state’s tallest lighthouse oversees a landscape filled with unspoiled beaches and rocky cliffs. Crab pots and clam shovels are sold at the area’s many tackle shops.

But lurking amid the deep woods and the dunes by the Pacific is a dark history: an 11 year period between 1984 and 1995 when teenage girls disappeared late at night and later turned up dead.

Kelly Disney, 17, was the first to disappear. Disney was last seen walking east on Highway 20 around 1:00 a.m. on March 9, 1984. She vanished without leaving a single clue or trace behind; 10 years later, on July 23, 1994, her skull was found in an abandoned car near Big Creek Reservoir, just outside Newport. No clear cause of death could be determined.

In the intervening years between Disney’s disappearance and the discovery of her skull, another disappearance marred the quiet seaside town --- this time two girls at one time.

Sheila Swanson, 19, and Melissa Sanders, 17, had joined Sanders’ family for a week long camping trip at Beverly Beach State Park, about two miles north of Newport. The girls left their tent in the early morning hours of May 3, 1992 and were last seen around 1:00 a.m. talking on a grocery pay phone on U.S. 101.

Five months later, on October 10, hunters discovered the girls’ bodies in a heavily wooded area 20 miles east of Newport. They were too badly decomposed to accurately determine the cause of death.

An eerie repeat occurred three years later. Jennifer Esson and Kara Leas, both 16, left a friend’s house in north Newport around 1:00 a.m. on January 28, 1995. It was dark and rainy, but the girls had decided to walk home anyway. They were last seen walking on Northwest 56th Street toward Highway 101.

Two and a half weeks later, loggers came upon their bodies about a mile from where the girls disappeared. They were found on top of one another, both strangled and covered with brush and other debris.

The five deaths bear striking similarities. The victims were all teenage girls who went missing late at night or early in the morning. In two instances, there were two victims, and in both those cases the girls were last seen north of town near U.S. 101. The victims were all found in outdoor locations, four of them in heavily wooded areas frequented by loggers and hunters.

Suspect?

I’ve never been to Newport, but the name of the town rang a bell with me. I couldn’t figure out why.

When I think of Oregon and missing teenage girls, I immediately think of the Brooke Wilberger case, but I knew that occurred in Corvallis, a college town about an hour and a half south of Portland.

At the time of her disappearance on the morning of May 24, 2004, Brooke, 19, a devout Mormon, was on summer break from Brigham Young University. She was washing lampposts in the Corvallis apartment complex managed by her sister and brother-in-law when she vanished. Her sandals and a pail of sudsy water were left behind. There were no witnesses to her abduction.

Investigators pursued a few false leads until six months later, when a University of New Mexico student who strongly resembled Brooke was kidnapped and raped before escaping her attacker. The victim was able to identify her assailant as Joel Patrick Courtney, an Oregon native whom police eventually linked to Wilberger’s disappearance and murder.

Courtney, 42, was born in Beaverton, Oregon, outside Portland. He left school in 1984, and the following year was charged with attempted rape and first-degree sex abuse.

In the years before his arrest for Wilberger’s murder Courtney traveled extensively across the country, racking up arrests and battling drug and alcohol problems.

After the arrest, Oregon prosecutors and the FBI took the unusual step of publicly announcing their belief that Courtney is a potential serial killer.

The FBI issued a press release detailing the various places Courtney has lived and the correlating time periods. They say he’s inclined to abduct white females, 15 to 25 years of age, with blond hair and blue eyes, in an outside setting.

None of this would be particularly noteworthy except for the fact that I suddenly recalled why Newport rang a bell.

On the day he abducted Brooke Wilberger, Joel Courtney was passing through Corvallis on his way to face a DUI charge. His destination? Newport.

Courtney had been arrested for drunk driving in Newport the previous January. While it’s not known exactly what he was doing in the area, investigative sources confirm Courtney was familiar with Newport; he’s definitely on their radar.

The Newport girls certainly fit Courtney’s victim type. His attack pattern also fits, as he was a predatory driver who trolled for victims during long drives. While his most recent victims were abducted during the day, that could reflect a lifestyle change --- as a younger man he likely didn’t have the day job and wife and kids that would make nighttime trolling difficult.

Courtney is currently in jail in Oregon; his trial is scheduled to begin next February.

In the meantime, in Newport, investigators are pinning their hopes on breakthrough DNA technology. They’re reexamining evidence, particularly in the Esson and Leas case, the most recent crime and the one where the victims were found relatively soon after they were killed.

They hope to discover a DNA profile, and a match, that will finally answer the question: who killed Newport’s five teenage girls?

http://truecrimediary.com/index.cfm?page=cases&id=89

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Unsolved Cases

Lincoln County District Attorney Rob Bovett has reopened five unsolved homicide cases from 1984, 1992, and 1995. All of the victims were teenage females.

At the request of Mr. Bovett, the Lincoln County Major Crime Team met in early January, 2009 together with members of the Lincoln County Major Crime Team as it existed in 1995. The cases were reopened and reviewed. It was determined that primary focus would initially be placed on the last two homicides, which occurred in 1995. It was also determined that some of the evidence from the cases would be resubmitted to the State Crime Lab for analysis using new technologies.

A special toll-free tip line has been set up: 1-800-452-7888. Anyone with information about any of these unsolved homicides is encouraged to call that number.

The Lincoln County Major Crime Team includes investigators from the Lincoln City Police Department, the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the Newport Police Department, the Oregon State Police, the Toledo Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Brief Chronology

Kelly Disney, 17, was last seen walking on Highway 20 East of Newport on March 9, 1984 at approximately 1:00 a.m. On July 23, 1994, a skull, later determined to be that of Kelly Disney, was discovered in an abandoned vehicle in a wooded are near Big Creek Reservoir.

Sheila Swanson, 19, and Melissa Sanders, 17, were last seen near Beverly Beach State Park on May 3, 1992 at approximately 1:00 a.m. On October 10, 1992, the bodies of Sheila Swanson and Melissa Sanders were discovered in a wooded area near Eddyville.

Jennifer Esson, 16, and Kara Leas, 16, were last seen walking on NW 56th Street in Newport, walking toward Highway 101 on January 28, 1995 at approximately 1:00 a.m. On February 15, 1995 the bodies of Jennifer Esson and Kara Leas were discovered in a wooded area North of Newport.

Persons with information about any of these homicides are encouraged to call the Newport Police Department Detectives at 541-574-3348 or the toll-free tip line at 1-800-452-7888.

Newport Police Department - (541)-574-3348

http://thecityofnewport.net/dept/npd/unsolved.asp

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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by KariBear on Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:11 pm

Great job getting all this info Fysty!! I hope these families get the closure they deserve.

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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by geassicka on Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:15 pm

Thank you so much for your interest and time. It means a lot to me.
My cousin Sheila was 19 and her friend Melissa was 17. I was only 6 years old when Sheila went missing but I remember it like yesterday. However, most of my facts are from my Mom.
Apparently, Melissa's parents thought the girls were out getting into trouble or that they had phoned a friend from a pay phone near by and caught a ride home with someone they knew. It is obviously very strange that Melissa's parents were so...care free about it. I should look deeper into that.
My Aunt and Uncle were never the same after that and they passed away a few years back. Her brother is in prison for armed robbery (a crime he committed after her murder). It tore the family apart.
Do you guys think I should go ahead and get the full police report?

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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by Producer on Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:42 pm

Hi geassicka - I'm a producer on a national cable show, and I'd like to talk to you about your cousin's case. Feel free to PM me if you like. Thank you.

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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by CuriousPortlander on Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:19 pm


U.S., Canadian authorities link dead Oregon inmate to murders in 1995 near Newport

September 24, 2012 at 8:46 PM, updated September 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

A man who died in an Oregon prison six years ago has been linked to the slayings of two teens whose bodies were found north of Newport in 1995.

The link emerged when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police discovered DNA implicating Bobby Jack Fowler in the 1974 killing of 16-year-old Colleen MacMillen in northern British Columbia.

...Detectives haven't linked Fowler's DNA to Esson and Leas, but they recently submitted additional evidence for testing. They are continuing to analyze evidence with tools that were not available when the crimes were committed, Bovett said.

There is also solid circumstantial evidence. Detectives know Fowler was in the area weeks before the girls went missing and several months afterward.

They also are looking at Fowler in connection with the killings of Melissa Sanders, 17, and Sheila Swanson 19, both of Sweet Home. Their bodies were discovered near Eddyville after they went missing in 1992.

...He died in May 2006 of lung cancer, Bovett said.

Read more:  http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/09/us_canadian_authorities_link_d.html
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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by CuriousPortlander on Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:20 pm

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Mellisa sanders and sheila swanson case

Post by Angeleyes1205 on Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:01 pm

Does anyone know what the girls were wearing when the dissapeared? Did either of them have some kind of blue t shirt does this have any meaning to anyone that knew melissa

Melsan
BRN 2631
95 222. Im not positive if the BRN part is correct it could be numbers instead of a B

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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

Post by Angeleyes1205 on Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:17 pm

The Melsan i know stands for her name.

I called the police department i believe it was the sweet home something and i told the woman that they charged the wrong man. She treated me as if i was crazy transferred me to a detectives voicemail i left a message telling them that i had a shirt i believe melissa wrote on and inside the shirt were some items and a single strand of long brown hair. I never received a return phone call. I am very very sorry for your loss and although i know the murderer is already deceased i just wanted the familys to know the truth because i know i would want to know. Or i should say what i feel is the truth. I guess thats why no one will listen to me they all believe im crazy when i tell them melissa is following me plus many many more of them. But when im holding her shirt in my hand with dna in it i feel its at leadt worth looking in to.

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Re: Sheila Swanson, Melissa Sanders -- Found Deceased 1992

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