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Johnnie Joe Herrera

missing male hispanic male oxnard 1971

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#1    bobby88

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:05 PM

Johnnie Joe Herrera
Case Classification: Missing
Missing Since: August 27, 1971
Location Last Seen: Oxnard, Ventura County, California


Physical Description
** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.

Date of Birth: February 17, 1951
Age at Time of Disappearance: 20 years old
Race: Hispanic
Gender: Male
Height at Time of Disappearance: 5'5 to 5'6
Weight at Time of Disappearance: 137 lbs
Hair Color: Black hair, a window's peak
Eye Color: Brown
Alias(s) / Nickname(s): John

Distinguishing Marks/Features: Scar on the bridge of his nose. Burn mark on the elbow area (unknown which elbow) caused by the grill of a floor heater. Black mole or beauty mark on the top of one of his feet between the big toe and the next toe.

Dentals: Available; Chipped right front tooth
Fingerprints: Not available
DNA: Available
Clothing & Personal Items
Clothing: Purple shirt, white pants.

Jewelry: Unknown

Additional Personal Items: Unknown


Circumstances of Disappearance
Herrera was last seen at a bachelor party in Oxnard, California, on August 27, 1971. He never returned home. His light blue VW Volkswagon, license ZWM775, was never recovered. There is no DMV history on the license plate.



Investigating Agency(s)
If you have any information about this case please contact;

Agency Name: Oxnard Police Department
Agency Contact Person: Lynette Fenton
Agency Phone Number: 805-385-7646
E-Mail



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Agency Case Number: 10-05446
NCIC Case Number: M598716527
NamUs Case Number: MP #7056

I've been researching this case for over a year now and even helped write this Ventura County Star article about the 40th anniversary of Johnnie's disappearance (but I was never credited Posted Image)

http://www.vcstar.co....se-still-open/

I also have an extensive thread dedicated to Johnnie's case on Websleuths. Here's the link:

http://www.websleuth...ad.php?t=111211


The following three pictures of Johnnie are (from left to right), Johnnie just before he went missing (approx. June or July of 1971), Johnnie's high school graduation photo from 1969, and Johnnie at age 14 or 15 (around 1965 or 1966)
Attached File  JJJHerrera2.jpg   6.76K   4 downloadsAttached File  missing.jpg   28.36K   5 downloadsAttached File  img_10300.jpg   149.27K   5 downloads

Any questions, feel from to post them here or PM me.


#2    Ashotep

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 12:34 AM

Since the car was never found I am wondering after murdering him if he was buried in that car like under a bunch of rocks.


#3    bobby88

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 12:53 AM

View PostHilander, on 15 August 2012 - 12:34 AM, said:

Since the car was never found I am wondering after murdering him if he was buried in that car like under a bunch of rocks.

I suppose that's possible. I've always felt that there was foul play involved and that someone at the party knows what happened. I don't think it's a coincidence that the car went missing with him and has never been found.

I found an unidentified victim from NJ in 1979 whose reconstruction looks almost exactly like Johnnie. A friend from Websleuths made the following video showing an overlay of Johnnie's photo to the photo of the reconstruction. Almost all the features line up perfectly. The question is that if it is Johnnie, how did he end up clear across the country only to be found dead eight years after he vanished?




#4    regi

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 12:10 PM

I assume the people at the party said that Herrera was going home and that he'd left alone.
The vehicle missing is very, very strange, and so it appears that Herrera could have gone off the road somewhere, and the wreck has simply never been discovered. I don't know the area, so I don't know if there's any locations where an accident could have occurred and remain undiscovered, but it sounds like the most likely scenario with what little info there is to go on.


#5    wolfknight

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 02:26 PM

There many thing that could have gone wrong in this case. Maybe he just wanted to dissapear. Maybe he drove off a cliff who knows.


#6    bobby88

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 06:43 PM

View Postwolfknight, on 15 August 2012 - 02:26 PM, said:

There many thing that could have gone wrong in this case. Maybe he just wanted to dissapear. Maybe he drove off a cliff who knows.

Pretty much everyone who knew Johnnie said he would never have voluntarily left without somehow getting in touch with his family.

Johnnie's wife Annette died in 1995, so anything she might have known about her husband's disappearance went to the grave with her.

I really find the undiscovered accident scene hard to believe. The house where the party was held was only four minutes away from Johnnie's home and the whole area was and still is a heavily-populated suburb.

There were two serial killers in southern California at that time who targeted young males. One was Randy Kraft whose first known (he is suspected in the murders of as many as 51 men) victim was found in Long Beach (not far from Oxnard) only a month after Johnnie went missing. Another serial killer was Patrick Kearney who was active from 1965 to 1977. Many of Kearney's victims were young Latino men, some were even from the Oxnard area.


#7    bobby88

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 11:21 PM

This is what Johnnie Jr. (Johnnie's son) looks like today with his wife Candace. He was ten-months-old when his father vanished and will be 42 on October 13.

Look a lot like his dad, doesn't he?Attached File  l.jpg   17.16K   7 downloads


#8    regi

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:13 PM

View Postbobby88, on 15 August 2012 - 06:43 PM, said:

Pretty much everyone who knew Johnnie said he would never have voluntarily left without somehow getting in touch with his family.

Johnnie's wife Annette died in 1995, so anything she might have known about her husband's disappearance went to the grave with her.

I really find the undiscovered accident scene hard to believe. The house where the party was held was only four minutes away from Johnnie's home and the whole area was and still is a heavily-populated suburb.

There were two serial killers in southern California at that time who targeted young males. One was Randy Kraft whose first known (he is suspected in the murders of as many as 51 men) victim was found in Long Beach (not far from Oxnard) only a month after Johnnie went missing. Another serial killer was Patrick Kearney who was active from 1965 to 1977. Many of Kearney's victims were young Latino men, some were even from the Oxnard area.

I read up on those two serial killers and Herrera doesn't fit the victimology, nor do the circumstances of his disappearance (in a vehicle, intending to head home) and then the circumstances following his disappearance don't fit, either. I'd consider Herrera a relatively low-risk victim when compared to the victims of those serial killers.

I think that interview with the brother could have been more helpful. It would be enlightening to know if the brother went to the party. I would think they would have known the same people.
It would be helpful to know when Herrera left the party, and when the possible McDonald's sighting took place.

Yes, those locations of the party, Herrera's home, and any location on Saviers Road (McDonald's) are within minutes of each other, but we don't know where Herrera might have gone, or who he might have come across that he would have gone elsewhere, willing or not.

Oxnard is within a few hours of the border, so I think it should stand as a possibility that that's where the vehicle could have been taken.
It appears possible that the scenario could have been that of a robbery/carjacking.


#9    bobby88

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:19 PM

View Postregi, on 17 August 2012 - 12:13 PM, said:

I read up on those two serial killers and Herrera doesn't fit the victimology, nor do the circumstances of his disappearance (in a vehicle, intending to head home) and then the circumstances following his disappearance don't fit, either. I'd consider Herrera a relatively low-risk victim when compared to the victims of those serial killers.

I think that interview with the brother could have been more helpful. It would be enlightening to know if the brother went to the party. I would think they would have known the same people.
It would be helpful to know when Herrera left the party, and when the possible McDonald's sighting took place.

Yes, those locations of the party, Herrera's home, and any location on Saviers Road (McDonald's) are within minutes of each other, but we don't know where Herrera might have gone, or who he might have come across that he would have gone elsewhere, willing or not.

Oxnard is within a few hours of the border, so I think it should stand as a possibility that that's where the vehicle could have been taken.
It appears possible that the scenario could have been that of a robbery/carjacking.

His brother Joe did not attend the party.

The only marriage I've been able to find in Oxnard that took place right after Johnnie's disappearance was that of José Aceves and María Herrera who were married on 9/7/71. It may have been José's party that Johnnie attended that night.

I e-mailed Detective Lynette Fenton of the Oxnard PD (the detective in charge of Johnnie's case) a few years ago and she said that the people at the party were question ed and are not considered suspects.

However, I personally don't think this necessarily clears the attendees as possible suspects. Think of how disarmingly simple it would be. All they have to do is agree on a story to tell the authorities when questioned. They all tell identical stories to the cops and with no proof, the cops have to clear them. This doesn't mean that the cops themselves don't have their suspicions about these people, but legally, they have no clear evidence of wrongdoing and must therefore dismiss them as suspects, at least for the time being.

There are two death certificates on file for Johnnie, both of which were filed in 1978. One was filed by his twin brother Joe and the other by Annette. The one by Joe lists the date of death as 8/26/71 and Johnnie's age at the time as 20. The one filed by Annette has his date of death as 8/27/78 (seven years to the day after Johnnie was last seen; seven years is also the minimum number of years a person must be missing before they can be declared legally dead) and his age as 27, which is how old he would have been in 1978. It makes no sense to me why she did that, unless she just made a mistake without knowing or there was a mistake by the judge or whoever authorized the certificate.

There also seems to be a bit of a discrepancy about the date Johnnie went missing. The date he is said to have been last seen, 8/27/71, was a Friday. However on his Namus page, the approximate time he was allegedly last seen is listed as 00:30, which is equivalent to midnight on a standard clock. So I'm wondering if the party was actually on the night of the 26th and carried over into the early morning hours of the 27th. Or the party was held on the 27th and spilled into the the early morning hours of the 28th.I have a feeling that the party was on the 26th because on the death certificate that Johnnie's brother Joe made out, Johnnie's date of death is listed as 8/26/71. This would make sense if the party was on the 26th because Joe did not go to the party with Johnnie and the last time he would have seen his brother would be as Johnnie was leaving their home to go there. It would have been the other people at the party who would have seen him at midnight.


#10    bobby88

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:23 PM

I also wondered if it was a joke or something at the party that could have gone horribly awry. Perhaps someone spiked Johnnie's drink without him knowing and he had a reaction to it and died. Or perhaps he had a "special" brownie (either knowingly or someone gave it to him without telling him that it had been laced with some drug) and died from some type of unforeseen complication.

In addidtion, how do we know the part wasn't simply a ruse to harm Johnnie in first place? :unsure:


#11    regi

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:28 PM

View Postbobby88, on 17 August 2012 - 07:23 PM, said:


In addidtion, how do we know the part wasn't simply a ruse to harm Johnnie in first place? :unsure:

Well, I'm curious as to why the brother didn't attend the party. Like I said, it seems that Johnnie and his brother (his twin, at that) surely knew at least most of the same people. Maybe the brother didn't know "the bachelor"...maybe Johnnie didn't either. Or maybe there was some other reason the brother didn't go.
Since the brother doesn't appear to have a clue about what could have even possibly happened (I would think he would have some idea) and I would think that he would know his twin brother better than anybody... that they must have been very close, then that could indicate that the perp responsible for Johnnie's disappearance was someone he didn't know well, or know long, or was indeed a total stranger.
But... it's imparative to know what Johnnie's life was like... what was going on with him... what his relationships and routines were, and all we know is that he was young, married, had a son, and went to a party.


#12    bobby88

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:31 PM

View Postregi, on 18 August 2012 - 02:28 PM, said:

Well, I'm curious as to why the brother didn't attend the party. Like I said, it seems that Johnnie and his brother (his twin, at that) surely knew at least most of the same people. Maybe the brother didn't know "the bachelor"...maybe Johnnie didn't either. Or maybe there was some other reason the brother didn't go.
Since the brother doesn't appear to have a clue about what could have even possibly happened (I would think he would have some idea) and I would think that he would know his twin brother better than anybody... that they must have been very close, then that could indicate that the perp responsible for Johnnie's disappearance was someone he didn't know well, or know long, or was indeed a total stranger.
But... it's imparative to know what Johnnie's life was like... what was going on with him... what his relationships and routines were, and all we know is that he was young, married, had a son, and went to a party.

Johnnie married Annette Evans on April 22, 1970. He was 19 and she was16 and three months pregnant at the time. Their son Johnnie Jr. was born October 13, 1970. They lived with Johnnie's parents, twin brother Joe, and younger sister Marianna at 1325 W. Juniper St. in Oxnard. Detective Fenton told me that there were "indications" that Johnnie and Annette were having financial and marital issues at the time of his disappearance and that many people thought that Johnnie only married her because he got her pregnant.

I think someone is definitely withholding something. In the VC Star article, it states that Johnnie was happy with his life at the time he vanished. However, detective Fenton told me that Johnnie and Annette were known have had problems in their marriage around the time he disappeared. Granted, they were a young couple with a baby who were living with his parents and that alone can be a recipe for chaos. But it just seemed like the article tried to go a bit out of its way to point out that Johnnie's life was happy and enjoyable when he went missing. Notice that they don't even refer to Annette by name or even call her his wife; instead they use the very non-committal term "former spouse". (Personally, I think the only reason they mentioned the son's name was because he was named after Johnnie.) While it's doubtful that Annette actually had a hand in the disappearance since she was living with Johnnie's family at the time, I do feel as though there is a lot more to their relationship than we're being led to believe. The almost purposeful omission of her name from the article even though she's been dead for years gives me the impression (and many others with whom I've discussed the case) that Johnnie's family wasn't too fond of her to the point of not really wanting to mention her name (some people can be very stubborn like that). I always whether there was a falling out with the Herreras that prompted Annette to move to Texas.


#13    regi

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for supplying that info. bobby.

I don't know what happened within the family dynamics following Johnnie's disappearance- I can't imagine living with all the mixed feelings for so long and never having any answers, but I would think that Johnnie's parents/brothers wouldn't have been pleased with Annette when at some point, she moved their grandchild and nephew far away from them, you know? If there's any negative feelings toward Annette, that could be the reason.

I can't get past the fact that no one seems to have an idea of what must have happened...or they say they don't. Surely they can reasonably rule out that Johnnie simply took off. There's no evidence of that... there's no apparent reason for that- it makes no sense whatsoever, and the longer he's been gone the more doubtful that is, so for them to say there's no evidence of foul play is stunning to me because unless Johnnie took off on his own, then there must have been foul play!
Authorities don't like to commit to one scenario, but they don't have to. I mean, it's one thing to say "We can't be certain, but it appears blah, blah, blah..." and quite another to say "I don't have an impression one way or the other"!
I doubt the investigation was thorough because they should- at the very least- lean more one way or the other.
I would expect them to form some kind of impression, and then be willing to express it because I don't think it helps an investigation not to.


#14    bobby88

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:09 AM

View Postregi, on 20 August 2012 - 01:33 PM, said:

Thanks for supplying that info. bobby.

I don't know what happened within the family dynamics following Johnnie's disappearance- I can't imagine living with all the mixed feelings for so long and never having any answers, but I would think that Johnnie's parents/brothers wouldn't have been pleased with Annette when at some point, she moved their grandchild and nephew far away from them, you know? If there's any negative feelings toward Annette, that could be the reason.

I can't get past the fact that no one seems to have an idea of what must have happened...or they say they don't. Surely they can reasonably rule out that Johnnie simply took off. There's no evidence of that... there's no apparent reason for that- it makes no sense whatsoever, and the longer he's been gone the more doubtful that is, so for them to say there's no evidence of foul play is stunning to me because unless Johnnie took off on his own, then there must have been foul play!
Authorities don't like to commit to one scenario, but they don't have to. I mean, it's one thing to say "We can't be certain, but it appears blah, blah, blah..." and quite another to say "I don't have an impression one way or the other"!
I doubt the investigation was thorough because they should- at the very least- lean more one way or the other.
I would expect them to form some kind of impression, and then be willing to express it because I don't think it helps an investigation not to.

Believe it or not, Johnnie's family waited FIVE days to report him missing to the police! The first two days make sense as Johnnie was legally an adult and therefore wouldn't be considered legally missing by authorities until he was gone for for 48 consecutive hours. But to wait three more days to look for someone who they swear up and down would never just disappear? The VC Star article stated that in the interim, the family searched Skid Row among other places. Why would they think he was there?

It wasn't even Annette or Johnnie's parents who made the missing persons report; it was the twin brother Joe. Wouldn't you think it would have been the parents since it was their house or Annette since she was the wife and legally the next of kin?


#15    regi

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 12:11 PM

Yeah, I would have thought that, but I don't know what the reason for that was.
I'd like to know how the police (at the time) viewed the delay in filing the report. I guess the family could have been giving the situation the benefit of the doubt and didn't want to involve the police, despite that it was contradictory to the notion that it was apparently against Johnnie's character/routine to just take off.
I would imagine that the family would search any place, no matter how remote the possibility. As far as skid row, they would surely have known that Johnnie would have had no means of getting by. Regardless, I think they were just looking anywhere to try to find him.
I think there could be reasonable explanations for these things that might appear odd.
In other words, I think these things could appear odd because there's a lot we don't know.
I'm curious. Where did you get the info that the brother didn't go to the party?





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