Monday, May 29, 2017

Mystery Monday: The 9-11 Disappearances

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



If you ask Americans to name the darkest days in our nation's history, one day would definitely be toward the top of most lists:



As the nation sat glued to its TV screens, though, two people disappeared...and haven't been seen since. Michele Harris lived nearly four hours from Ground Zero in a rural town called Owega, New York.



She was a married mother of four, but she was in the process of going through a divorce. Her husband, Calvin, did not want the divorce despite the fact that they both had been unfaithful during their marriage.



On September 11, 2001, Michele worked her evening shift at Lefty's, a now-closed restaurant in Waverly, New York. She reportedly left work at 9:30 pm and was never seen again. The next day, her van was found on the shoulder of the road near the entrance to her driveway. The keys were still in the ignition.



Calvin has done his best to cast his late wife in a negative light, saying she was drinking and possibly using cocaine prior to her disappearance, despite there being no evidence of this. He also painted her as sexually promiscuous, trying to pin her disappearance on another man. But despite being twice convicted of her murder, Calvin is a free man, since both convictions have been overturned. Michele's disappearance remains unsolved.

Unlike Michele, Sneha Philip disappeared in New York City. The Indian-American physician was last seen on September 10, 2001, which was her day off. That morning, she spoke to her mom, saying she wanted to visit Windows on the World at the top of Building One at the World Trade Center. A friend was planning to get married there.



She left her apartment to go shopping at around 5:15 pm. Two hours later, a security camera at the Century 21 department store captured video of her shopping. She hasn't been seen since.



Sneha's husband, Ronald Lieberman, arrived home between 11 and 11:30 pm to find the apartment empty. He assumed she was spending the night with her brother or cousin, which was something she sometimes did when he was working late. He did not report her missing until the next day and by then, she was among a long list of people who were missing in New York City.



Sneha's husband believes she spent the evening with family and died while walking back to the apartment the next morning, since they lived near the World Trade Center. He also thinks she may have run into the disaster area to help, since she was a doctor. She may also have chosen to visit Windows on the World that morning for breakfast, where she became one of many victims. 



Others believe she may have chosen to escape her life. She'd recently filed a complaint against a coworker she believed touched her inappropriately. Law enforcement didn't believe her and when she refused to recant her accusation, they filed charges for a false complaint against her. Some also say she was involved substance abuse, although the family denies this and there are no indications of it.



Their disappearances may have been eclipsed in news media coverage by the events of September 11th, but both Michele and Sneha have captivated true crime fans in the years since. We may never know what really happened to either of them, but it's important to keep their stories in the media in case someone knows something.

What do you think happened to Michele and Sneha?

32 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh Stephanie - I've no idea ... but it was certainly not a good day to disappear, or was it a good day to be a murderer - Michele was probably murdered, while Sneha was caught up in the 9/11 disaster ... that's what I'd 'guess' ... oh dear so sad - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate to say it because his convictions haven't stuck, but I think there's a lot of evidence Michele's husband did it. It's just hard to get the evidence in place for some of these cases. Sneha is still such a mystery to me...

      Delete
  2. It is very sad that their disappearance has been eclipsed by 9/11 because that may have hampered their cases. The first girl....I think her estranged husband did kill her from what little I know. Just because he went through 2 trials doesn't mean anything. His actions and what he says about the mother of his children speaks volumes. I think it is sad that he disparages her reputation when she has no ability to protect her reputation. As for the doctor, she was probably a victim of 9/11 and it's a shame that some people have never been found.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you about Michele. And sadly, he'll be one of many people who will get away with murder and be allowed to live the rest of his life. Unless he kills again. Hopefully he won't.

      Delete
  3. If Sneha's husband thought she was strdong enough to run into danger to help others then I doubt she was weak enough to run away from her troubles. More than likely she was caught up in the mayhem of that terrible day. As for Michele...my gut feeling is that they need to look further into Calvin's activities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think you guys are right about Sneha rushing in to help others. It's the only thing that makes sense.

      Delete
  4. I agree with only slightly confused. Both sound like strong ladies that lost their lives through actions of others. Sad that so many go missing with little attention.

    Happy Memorial Day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is surprising how many people disappear each day. Many are part of the homeless population or living high-risk lifestyles involving drugs or prostitution (or both).

      Delete
  5. I agree with Brigit, it's too bad their cases were eclipsed by 9/11, and with Mason on how they seemed to have lost their lives through the actions of others. It's unfortunate how one event can eclipse another, leaving any consequential events lost and nearly forgotten as these two apparently have been.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are other cases I've heard of, as well, where something big happened soon after and their story was just wiped off the news. Sad. But true crime shows, sites, and podcasts can help keep their stories alive at least a little.

      Delete
  6. I think Michele's husband might have done it, very cleverly. She disappeaed so suddenly it looks well planned and he certainly had a motive for doing it.

    Regarding Sneha, it must have been an accident and she might well have got caught up with the 9/11 tragedy.

    OMG . . . That day was even more tragic than we thought . . what an evil day it was. I remember it well and a friend and I looked at events in sheer disbelieve that any human could do such a thing and was it all real?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The # of lives impacted by 9-11 is enormous. Yet it's hard to get into the individual stories when there are SO many tragedies. It becomes overwhelming.

      Delete
  7. I agree with Birgit. Both cases are sad and isn't the husband always the first suspect? Assuming your wife is spending the night elsewhere, you do not call to confirm?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Husbands/boyfriends always come up first. With Michele it gets a little more complicated because she'd started dating...but I still think the husband looks most suspicious. Especially with her car being found near the turn into her driveway!

      Delete
  8. The nasty husband who was convicted twice--my money is on him. A morning visit to the top of the tower--since that is where she said she wanted to visit--is possibly what happened to the other poor woman. She sounded like a strong woman. It is always so hard when people don't know for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the husband makes me angry. It's a very popular Dateline episode--mostly because it's recycled with an update every time he's convicted, I think! But he just seems icky to me.

      Delete
  9. Hi, Stephanie - I echo the sentiments of so many of your readers. So sad for those who go missing, especially which such little attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it seems the list of missing is never-ending.

      Delete
  10. I'm sad for both ladies. I hate that the husband of Michele made such a negative picture of her. We never know the truth, but it's unfair as she can't tell her side of the story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, she's not here to defend herself, which is sad.

      Delete
  11. One thing about both these women who mysteriously disappeared, is that their characters were maligned unfairly, which has nothing to do with them being gone. Families and true friends would want closure without all the extra negativity being slung their way. Crazy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's actually interesting...after someone goes missing, the family tends to want to paint a pretty picture. But often the solution to the mystery lies in the TRUTH of all of the things they were involved in. However, someone being missing also often leads the suspects to assassinate the victim's character to save themselves. So it's hard to get at what the actual truth is!

      Delete
  12. These stories are so sad. I would think the husbands and/or family members would be so sad, even if their lives were rocky, that they'd do whatever they could to help solve the mystery. When they don't, that makes them look guilty to me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think delayed and slow reactions could indicate a lie or wrongful intent. It makes most sense to believe they were the culprits, but I doubt we will ever find out. Unsolved mysteries are so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Many people disappear every day, unfortunately. It's just a coincidence that these happened on a day remembered for a much larger event.

    Michelle Harris' husband probably killed her. Just because the conviction was overturned doesn't mean he didn't do it. In fact, that means they determined that he did it, but his lawyers just found some loophole to get it thrown out.

    ...

    Actually I just looked it up and apparently he just went through his FOURTH trial last year. This time he was acquitted (the third was declared a mistrial). Either there is really strong reason to believe that he's innocent, or he has INCREDIBLE lawyers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm going to guess both are dead. I'd say Michele was murdered. There's a good chance Sneha died in the 9/11 tragedy.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh how sad! What tragedies, both. Something certainly seems fishy for the first one, and I can definitely see the second woman trying to help during the attacks.

    ReplyDelete
  17. If someone wanted to disappear, then 9/11/2001 (unfortunately) would have been the perfect day to do it. It would be nice if these ladies were safe somewhere else, but it seems more likely that Michele was murdered and Sneha died in or around the WTC. Sad stories both.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm sure there's a lot of stories like this that get overlooked due to bigger events.

    ReplyDelete
  19. How sad and how frightening for the victims.

    Hope you have a great weekend, Steph.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for keeping their stories alive! Hopefully one day, we will know the truth!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've heard a couple stories like this...some basically saying they used the cover of the tragedy to flee their lives and reinvent themselves. It's kind of amazing. I can only hope this was the case that they didn't meet their end on that terrible day.

    ReplyDelete