The temperature had just dipped below 60°F when fourteen-year-old Christina Williams took her dog Greg for a walk at 7:30 p.m. on June 12, 1998. When Greg returned home alone, trailing his leash at 8:20 p.m. Christina’s mother Alice immediately knew that something was wrong.
Christina and her family lived on the old Ft. Ord Army Base in Seaside, California. She was a petite 5’2” middle school girl with long black hair and brown almond shaped eyes. Christina had flawless white teeth that lit up a room whenever she flashed her perfect smile.
The FBI classified Christina’s disappearance as a stranger abduction. This allowed law enforcement to devote the full power of their investigative resource to her case. They quickly focused upon two Latino men, one slim and the other heavyset, sort of an evil Laurel and Hardy, as the primary suspects. They had been seen driving in Christina’s sparsely populated neighborhood in an older Mercury Monarch. One witness saw a “frightened” Christina in the car with the two men at approximately 7:45 p.m. Upon receiving a call from Christina’s father Michael, the KlaasKids Foundation organized community searches in cooperation with the Seaside Police Department. Celebrities like Clint Eastwood and Mariah Carey appeared in Public Service Announcements for Christina.
I spent very difficult days with Christina’s father Michael. He was an introverted Meteorologist for the U.S. Army who felt more comfortable in front of a computer than he did at the search center. As a result, Michael Williams was a pioneer in creating one of the first family based sites on behalf of his missing daughter. Michael and his wife Alice, a Philippine native, had raised their two daughters overseas and had only recently moved to the United States. Alice told me that she felt safe in America and that she wanted her daughters to take advantage of the American dream.
Despite the best efforts of all involved, months passed without a significant lead in the case. Finally, on January 12, 1999 an ecological surveyor discovered human remains on the former Fort Ord Army Base, about three miles away from Christina’s home. The identity of the remains was not confirmed for several days.
A few hours after learning that the remains had been positively identified as Christina, her mother turned toward a television camera and in her grief and anguish screamed, “You know who you are.” Unfortunately, we still do not know who they are.
Frank Harper and his seventeen and twelve-year-old sons belonged to a community theater group in Gilroy, CA. On October 2, 1999 after the Saturday night performance of Oliver, they attended a cast party near Masten Avenue in Gilroy, CA. After plenty of good food and ping pong they decided to drive home to San Jose late in the evening.
They were driving East on Fitzgerald Avenue and had just crossed over Santa Teresa Blvd., when Frank saw a flash of light off to his left in the middle of a field. It was a car dome light. About 40-yards away a car door had opened and Frank saw a person slide out of the back door, upside down, legs flaying, onto the ground.
Frank swung his van around and aimed the headlights toward what he first suspected was a domestic quarrel. Instead, he saw a woman running as fast as she could in his direction. He drove toward her into the field. Frank and his sons could see that she was struggling to run because her arms were at her side pulling up her pants. By the time she reached Frank he could see that she was a young girl, no more than fifteen-years-old.
He rolled down his window and could hear her screaming, “Help me! Help me, I’ve been raped!” Frank told her to get into his van NOW. He assured her that she was safe as she repeated frantically over and over, “I have been raped by three older men.”
As the older, rather beat-up car sped away, Frank’s immediate reaction was to get the license number. Once the girl assured him that she did not require immediate medical attention he floored the accelerator, took off after the rapists, and got on their tail in a high speed pursuit. He put on his high beams, shouted the license plate and told his sons, “If you remember only one thing in your life, remember this license plate number.”
The other car stopped and Frank had to slam on his breaks to avoid a rear end collision. It was very late at night, 55°F with clear skies and the moon was in the last quarter. Frank’s immediate reaction was, “Oh my God! We’re in trouble now.” He didn’t know if they had guns or not. After a brief standoff the other car sped up and raced away.
Frank returned to the cast party where his seventeen-year-old son jumped out of the van to call 911. Several of the parents who were still at the party tried to console the young girl. Teresa, who had just been gang raped by three vicious predators was a petite fifteen-years-old, 5’2” girl with long black hair and big brown eyes. Teresa had been waiting at a bus stop when a car with three men pulled up and dragged her into the car. They drove to Masten Avenue and raped her. She was wearing a nice sweatshirt and stylish jeans. She had a crucifix hanging around her neck.
The police arrived and took Teresa to the hospital. Frank and his sons made their statements and accompanied the police back to the crime scene. Frank wondered what he could have done differently. For a fleeting moment he wished that he had a gun so that he could have blasted the scumbags back into the hell from which they had ascended. But Frank is not that kind of man.
Instead, Frank drove his children home, went to bed and struggled to fall asleep. He couldn’t help but think about Teresa and how she would have to relive this experience for the rest of her life. I think that Teresa had put her life at risk when she escaped her tormentors and that they would have killed her had Frank not been there to rescue her.
The next day Frank and his boys returned to the theater for another performance of Oliver. That was when he found out that the perverts had all been apprehended and charged with rape. All three of them remain in prison to this day.
It was 56°F and raining outside when Sierra LaMar disappeared after leaving her home on Paquita Espana Ct. Morgan Hill, CA shortly after 7:00 a.m. She has not been seen since. Morgan Hill is approximately 60 miles from Fort Ord, CA where Christina Williams was kidnapped and murdered, and 13.6 miles from the location where Teresa was kidnapped and raped. Sierra LaMar is a petite fifteen-years-old with long black hair and big brown eyes.