Cody Turner, missing

Michelle Joe of Yakima holds a photo of her son, Cody Turner, on Jan. 14, 2017.

4 years since her son went missing

{child_byline}TAMMY AYER

Yakima Herald-Republic


Michelle Joe never expected July 26 to become a somber anniversary. But she never imagined her child would disappear without a trace.

Her son, Cody Turner, 24, was last seen July 26, 2015, when he left his grandmother’s Yakima home, where he lived with her and his father.

Earlier that same month, another Yakima man, Chad Stotz-Gomez, also disappeared. The two knew each other, Joe said. And though people 18 and older have every right to disappear, authorities don’t think Turner walked away on his own, and neither does Joe.

Joe keeps in contact with the Yakima Police Department detective working Turner’s case. There’s nothing new, Joe said. Though Joe has heard some horrifying stories about what may have happened to her son, she won’t give up until she knows.

“There’s so many different stories,” Joe said. “Somewhere in there, there might be the truth.”

Joe is an activist and advocate for others with missing loved ones and runs a Facebook page, Yakima Scan Missing Persons. With more than 5,000 members, the page hosts many discussions about people who have gone missing in Yakima County.

More recent cases include two California men, Josiah “Jo” Hilderbrand, 25, of Piercy and Jon Cleary, 48, of Huntington Beach, who disappeared as they headed through Yakima County to a Dead & Company concert that opened June 7 at The Gorge Amphitheatre. The car they were driving was found abandoned outside Toppenish just before 10 a.m. the next day.

Alillia “Lala” Minthorn, 25, has been missing from Toppenish since May 5. And Maverick Craig, 27, of Yakima has not been seen by his family since Dec. 1.

In May there were 19 missing persons and two unidentified persons from Yakima County entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), according to the Yakima City Council proclamation that designated May as Missing Persons Awareness Month. Joe accepted the proclamation.

Those missing persons include Susan Libby Marable, who was last seen April 23, 1991, and Julie Lynn Moranda, who disappeared in late December 1990 after reportedly climbing into a small blue pickup. The two knew each other, and their cases remain open with the Yakima Police Department.

They are among more people missing from the Yakima Valley, its cities and towns and the 1.3-million-acre Yakama Nation reservation.

Joe recommends parents keep file folders with pertinent — and updated — information about each member of the family. That includes recent photographs, dental records, physical description and fingerprints made with an ink pad from a dollar store.

She encourages others with missing loved ones to keep their names in the public eye. Sharing their stories through social media and other channels may catch the eye of someone who knows what happened and could help bring them home.

“I don’t want to know who, I don’t want to know why, I don’t want to know how,” Joe said. “I just want to know where he is.”



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If you have to report a missing person, make sure you can provide:



Date of birth

Where they are missing from

Date they were last seen

Hair color

Eye color

Height Weight

Tattoos or Piercing

Distinguishing characteristics


Remember you don’t have to wait 24 hours,

48 hours, or any time at all to report someone missing.


Reach Tammy Ayer at or on Facebook.