Ohio case reminds region of its missing children

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

As Cleveland, Ohio, families welcome home decade-lost daughters this week, north Mississippi families still ache and wonder the fate of at least nine children.
Their names and brief circumstances can be found on the roll of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – six boys and three girls.
Some were kidnapped by other family members.
Others went missing for unexplained reasons, listed as “endangered” missing or runaway.
Two sets of brothers are among them.
Kyle Nicholas James Anderson and Cameron Jeffery Anderson should be 22 and 25, respectively. They’ve been missing from Fulton since April 11, 2000.
The NCMEC poster with their age-progressed photographs states they may be in the company of their mother and a sister, and they may have traveled out of state.
The FBI keeps a similar list of missing or kidnapped children and adults, who today include 64 men, women and children. None are from Mississippi, and it notes the recovery of two of the three Ohio women earlier this week from a private home where they were held and abused at least a decade.
Thursday, the chief suspect in their kidnappings was charged in state court and held on $8 million bond.
Taken from Pontotoc last year, three young brothers will mark their one-year “missing” anniversary May 30.
Alexis, Jose and Diego Pachecano are believed to have been taken to Mexico by their father, Tomas Pachecano.
A felony warrant for kidnapping was issued against him on June 6, 2012.
The boys were ages 2, 7 and 8 at the time of the reported kidnapping.
Lee County’s most notorious, and only, missing child on the national list is Leigh Marie Occhi, who disappeared from her Tupelo home on Aug. 27, 1992, when she was 13.
Her disappearance is classified as a “non-family abduction.” She should be 33 now, and her age progressed poster photo shows a hazel-eyed young woman with shoulder-length blonde hair smiling.
“Foul play is suspected,” her poster notes.
Last year on the 20th anniversary of her disappearance, authorities said they are no closer to solving what happened to Occhi. No suspect was ever named in the case, though her stepfather drew some attention at one point. Multiple people involved in the case implicated an area man as a potential suspect.
Madeline Teresa “Midge” Ponds of Columbus went missing when she was 17. She should be 44 with a March 11 birthday.
Ponds, with bright red hair and green eyes, was working at PJ’s One-Stop on Highway 82 East in November 1986. A customer found the store unattended.
An investigation revealed some $600 missing from the store and Ponds’ belongings left behind. She was wearing an orange and blue sweater, blue jeans and high-top tennis shoes.
Anna Kristine Fenkner is described as an “endangered runaway” from Olive Branch.
The blonde teen went missing in 2011 and should be 16 now. She may be with a male companion, NCMEC reports.
The region’s oldest missing child, now 52, is Jerry Lee Armstrong of Hernando.
Missing since Dec. 23, 1977, when he was 17, the youth was last seen driving a white Pontiac Le Mans.
Six other Mississippi youths are on the NCMEC missing list – four girls and two boys. Two are from Woodville, and others were last seen in Pascagoula, Petal, Flowood and Jackson.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com