I'm feeling quite a bit better compared to last week and just in time too: on Monday my dearly beloved favorite author and mentor Robert Cormier's widow, Connie, passed away at the age of 90. I never got to go to his funeral so I am going to go to hers, to honor them both.
I met Connie in 2008 (only a month or so before I started this blog actually) and she invited me to their house and gave me a tour and showed me his office, which she'd kept pretty much how he'd left it since his death eight years earlier. Of course her husband had told her about me. We sat on her couch and talked for a few hours. She gave me homemade brownies; I gave her a potted plant. She was very kind to me and later told her daughter she'd enjoyed meeting me.
The viewing is Thursday afternoon/evening and the funeral is Friday. I hope to attend both. I will be leaving tomorrow to drive out to Massachusetts. There was a friend I thought I could stay with but that fell through so I've put my name in for an Airbnb reservation, a private bedroom in a house owned by a couple who sound like lovely people and have high ratings.
Yesterday a TV producer contacted me by email, saying he was looking to start a show about homicide victims’ loved ones “chasing after justice,” and asked if I could refer him to any loved ones. Today another TV producer emailed me asking if he could call, and so I gave him my number, and he called, and told me he wanted to start a show about recent-ish (within the past 10-15 years) unsolved disappearance/murder cases. It would be a form of reality television where the show would bring in an experienced PI to solve them.
These two shows may be one and the same. I’m not sure. In both cases I referred the producers elsewhere.
Anyway, when I was speaking to the producer on the phone today and he was making his pitch he said something like, “We aren’t talking about victims who were involved with drugs or prostitution or anything like that, we’re not doing those people.”
I bit back an inclination to snap at him. He is, after all, just the messenger.
This week’s featured MP is Anna Francis Leatherwood, one of my older cases. She’s been missing for over 50 years. Anna disappeared from Sevierville in eastern Tennessee on May 20, 1966, at the age of 45. For reasons that should be obvious from the casefile, her husband is the prime suspect in her disappearance and presumed murder.
In the past week two different family members of MPs have contacted me asking to correct errors on the MPs’ respective casefiles.
One of them emailed me saying:
The profile mentions that [MP’s] sons were raised by [MP’s] parents. Actually, while [MP’s parents] had custody of the boys for the year after [MP’s] disappearance, my husband and I adopted and raised them. They joined our natural family of five (one daughter and two sons) on August 10, 1996. I am [MP’s] first cousin and her will named me as guardian for her children. My husband’s name is XXXXX. The boys are now grown and doing well.
I corrected the information and told her it sounded like MP’s kids were lucky to have her and I was glad they were doing well after having suffered such a terrible loss early in life.
The other found my personal Facebook account and told me one of the two photos I had for her son wasn’t of him. (Color me surprised; that photo was on his CDOJ page for years.) And, she said, if I didn’t remove the wrong photo immediately she would “be forced to take further action.”
Oh-kay then. I did of course remove the photo. I don’t want wrong info on my site and all she had to do was, like MP’s cousin above, explain that it was in error and politely ask for me to fix it. I was slightly flabbergasted.
I asked my friend Wendy the Minister why people behaved that way (like the second person I mean) and she said, “Because they’re so used to being ignored. They’re used to people not caring, so they learn that they have to threaten people if they want anything done.”
That’s probably true. And very sad.
This week’s featured missing person is Lavorn Frye, a twenty-year-old man who disappeared from Blytheville, Arkansas on September 30, 1991. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything more to report on his case.
I have another Executed Today entry that ran today: Sheyna Gram and the Jews of Preiļi. Preiļi being a small Latvian town whose Jewish population was almost entirely wiped out on this day in 1941. Sheyna Gram was a sixteen-year-old girl who kept a diary from the day of the German invasion of the Soviet Union until her death.
Unfortunately I’m really not doing very well at the moment. The last week or so has kicked my butt and I’m barely functioning. I’m sorry.
Although the Longreads article still hasn’t come out, another one has that I don’t think I’d mentioned: on Broadly, which is like a sub-magazine or something of Vice. Presenting: