Texas mother murdered after using classifieds app, even after doing all the right things

Texas mother murdered after using classifieds app, even after doing all the right things
April Vancleave

33-year-old April Vancleave of Arlington, Texas, was shot and killed near her home after trying to sell some items on a craigslist-like app. April was trying to sell some jewelry through an app called 5miles, in order to make some money so she could buy a Christmas present for her 6-year-old daughter. Ms. Vancleave even did all the right things that one should do when selling an item online through a classifieds app or site.

When she went to meet the buyer in public no one showed up to meet with her, so her husband dropped her off at home and he returned to work. Police say that two men followed her to her apartment complex, robbed her, and shot her. The suspects are still at large and a $10,000 reward is being issued for information leading to their capture.

Here is surveillance video from the Arlington Police.

Anyone who recognizes the men seen in the video or has information about the incident that left Vancleave dead is asked to contact Arlington police at 817-459-5735.

Anonymous tips can also be made by calling Crime Stoppers at 817-469-8477.

April’s family has also set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for her funeral expenses.

This is not an indictment against 5miles. It seems like a decent app with user profiles, which is more than craigslist can say however, as this story shows, you can take all the necessary precautions when dealing with online classifieds and still risk being the victim of a crime. While this story is a rare case, it still speaks volumes as to the dangers adherent when dealing with strangers and money online.

I’ll post more details as they become available and as time allows.

(Thanks to Lady Gray for the editorial assist.)

Ore. suspect wanted to kidnap and kill Backpage prostitute

Ore. suspect wanted to kidnap and kill Backpage prostitute

34-year-old Jamin L. Harris of Oregon, was arrested yesterday in Richland, Washington, for allegedly firing off a rifle round in a local motel. The reason Harris fired off the shot was to allegedly intimidate the 26-year-old prostitute he got from Backpage into going to the Bend, Oregon area with him. Harris is said to have gotten into a dispute with the victim over payment, but was intent on kidnapping the woman then killing her once they got near Bend. He sounds like either a serial killer in the making, or a serial killer who’s been lucky up until now.

Those who are proponents of prostitution like to claim that websites like Backpage make it safer for women to engage in sex work. My opinion is that Backpage has the opposite effect. It literally delivers the victim for any potential predator or killer right to their door. If anything Backpage just makes it easier for these cretins to find victims.

Georgia murder linked to craigslist

Georgia murder linked to craigslist

38-year-old Jamal Hodge of Union City, Georgia, was shot and killed in the nearby city of College Park on November 5th. Police are now saying that his death may have had something to do with an item that he was selling on craigslist. It’s currently unknown what Mr. Hodge was trying to sell, but whatever it was, it seemed important enough for someone to kill for it. A witness has said that two men walked over to Mr. Hodge’s truck and shot him dead. According to the unofficial Craigslist Killing blog, this would make Mr. Hodge victim #106, if this is indeed a craigslist killing.

One thing that struck me about this story was that the Fox 5 Atlanta article mentioned that Mr. Hodge was not only a good man by all accounts, but that he was a martial arts expert as well. When I briefly trained in the martial arts, I saw some masters of it do some amazing things. Unfortunately, even that skill can’t always protect you. With craigslist being as dangerous as it already is, I wouldn’t want my worst enemy using it.

My thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Mr. Hodge’s family and community that he seemed to be an integral part of.

Georgia murder linked to craigslist
Jamal Hodge

The suspects are still at large.

Atlanta Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.

The investigation is ongoing. If you have any information about this case, please call police at 404-577-TIPS (8477)

Craigslist killing in SC leaves one dead, three arrested

Craigslist killing in SC leaves one dead, three arrested

On October 10th, 22-year-old Branden Boyd was shot and killed during a craigslist transaction involving a cell phone in Calhoun County, South Carolina. Charged with his murder are brothers Chavasse Michael Smith, 19, and Hasani Dion Smith, 17, and 20-year-old Darian Washington.

During the transaction a shootout began between the Smith Brothers and Boyd. Washington has been charged with being an accessory after the fact.

Police say that the Smith Brothers contacted Boyd, who was selling the phone on craigslist, and planned to rob him.

Michigan craigslist killing leaves father of two dead

Michigan craigslist killing leaves father of two dead

49-year-old Todd Terry, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, was recently shot and killed after responding to a craigslist ad in nearby Inkster. The article and corresponding video doesn’t specify what the ad was for, but since the article makes reference to the fact that Mr. Terry liked to restore bicycles and mopeds It was more than likely for one of those. Tragically there was no moped or bike to be bought as Mr. Terry’s family have indicated that he was killed just for the money he was carrying.

A suspect by the name of Tremayne Alexander has been charged with Mr. Terry’s murder and is allegedly responsible for two other similar crimes in the area.

Todd Terry’s widow is urging others to forgo craigslist…

“They’re creating something that’s not in existence for you to come and bring what? $100? $50? With the plans to kill you. So I tell people to run from it. Don’t even look at it. Don’t even open it up. I wish Craigslist was shut down,” Yvette Terry said.

As I’ve said in the past, due to craigslist’s low threshold of entry, anyone can post an ad saying just about anything they want. This lack of oversight by craigslist has not only led to numerous scams and robberies, but has also led to a multitude of rapes and murders. Craigslist has become nothing but a trap, luring in an overabundance of victims.

Mr. Terry also left behind two sons ages 16 and 13, and the family has set up a GoFundMe account. By all accounts Mr. Terry was a great man. Please donate if you can.

Suspect in father’s KC craigslist killing captured

Suspect in KC father's craigslist killing captured
Fazon K. Swinton

I originally posted about the murder of 39-year-old father Jake Brantner here. Brantner was shot and killed in Kansas City while trying to sell a gun to a buyer from craigslist. His alleged killer was captured earlier this month and is said to be 18-year-old Fazon K. Swinton.

Swinton allegedly grabbed the gun without paying and ran off when both men produced guns and fired at each other. Brantner was gunned down in front of his 10-year-old daughter while Swinton later took himself to the hospital after being struck by a bullet from Brantner’s gun.

As I mentioned before, craigslist forbids firearms to be sold on their site but without any kind of moderation their ban doesn’t really mean a whole lot.

Suspect arrested in Backpage killing of SC man

Michael Saheem Spears
Michael Saheem Spears

Backpage murders don’t seem to get the same media attention as ‘craigslist killings’. Maybe it’s because of the lack of alliteration. Backpage bloodshed doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it. I’m only half-kidding too. However, I will give each of these stories the attention they deserve to show that Backpage, while not only the online haven of prostitution and human trafficking, is also just as dangerous as craigslist if not more so.

22-year-old Michael Saheem Spears of Aiken, South Carolina, has been charged in the murder of 62-year-old Jesse Sanders of Whitmire, S.C. Sanders is said to have responded to an ad for an escort that is said to have featured Spears, however Spears was said to be only interested in robbery. Sanders was shot multiple times and his body was dumped on the side of a highway.

The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at 803-321-2211, www.newberrycountysheriff.com, or Crime Stoppers of the Midlands at 888-CRIMESC.

No one really uses Backpage for sofas or used cars, it is mainly used for criminal activity and Backpage is making millions of dollars from it. Sadly, Mr. Sanders was only worth a few bucks as far as Backpage is concerned.

Father murdered in KC craigslist killing

Jake Brantner
Jake Brantner

39-year-old Jake Brantner of Lee’s Summit, Missouri was murdered recently in Kansas City. Brantner was believed to be meeting a potential craigslist buyer that he was said to be selling his gun to. Instead witnesses say that Brantner was shot to death while still in his car in front of his 10-year-old daughter.

Craigslist officially does not allow firearms to be sold through their website however since they do no moderating whatsoever it obviously happens anyway.

As of this time Jake Brantner’s killer is still walking free.

If you have any information or saw anything call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

Police are currently looking for a blue Ford Five Hundred with a sunroof.

One suspect dead, another wanted in craigslist home invasion

craigslistbanner

It seems that even the bad guys aren’t safe on craigslist anymore solidifying its wild west comparison.

In Littleton, Colorado, one suspect is dead and another is on the run after a home invasion gone wrong. A man had advertised something for sale on craigslist and two men showed up at his house and tied him up. They tired stealing the man’s cars but the man freed himself, retrieved his own gun and shot one of the suspects that was trying to steal his SUV. The other suspect got away in a gold 90’s Ford Mustang. The Mustang has been retrieved but the suspect is still at large.

The Sheriff’s Office is still searching for a Hispanic male in his forties. Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office tip line at 303-271-5612 or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

So far no charges have been filed against the homeowner.

UPDATE: According to a Facebook post by another local man this may not have been the first time the home invaders tried robbing someone in their gold Mustang.

UPDATE 2/4/2016: The man who was killed is reported to be 38-year-old David M. Martinez.

The second suspect has been identified as 54-year-old David Ernest Mascarenas and he has been arrested.

UPDATE 2/18/2016: No charges will be filed against the homeowner.

Long con turns to craigslist killing in Oklahoma

Kathryn Lynn Hicks
Kathryn Lynn Hicks

44-year-old Kathryn Lynn Hicks is accused of shooting and killing 59-year-old Michael Ray Beach of Cordell, Oklahoma, sometime in late November. Mr. Beach met his alleged killer back in June through the craigslist personals after his wife had passed away in 2014. During their relationship Hicks had moved in with the victim and allegedly had him change his will and bank account to include her. Beach had her removed from the premises after he believed he tried to kill him.

From NewsOK

“Beach later told Perkins that Hicks had given him a milkshake that night and it tasted gritty. Beach had told several people that he thought Hicks had tried to kill him,” OSBI Special Agent Dannie Sanders wrote in the affidavit.

Beach did have to go to the hospital shortly after that incident.

Thinking that she was still in Beach’s will Hicks is said to have shot and killed Beach in his own home. She reportedly claims that she did not kill him but found his body then claimed that there were two men in the house who assaulted her and left. They must have planted evidence on her because police found a bullet in her purse which matches the type of gun allegedly used to kill Beach. Not to mention this was all for naught as Mr. Beach had Hicks removed from his will and other documents prior to his murder.

I would indeed classify this as a craigslist killing. Hicks appears to be a grifter in my opinion and was using craigslist to find a victim and it also appears that murder was always the end game to get to Beach’s money. Also this shows what kind of criminal element uses craigslist to their advantage. It has become much too unsafe to use for anything in my opinion.