This week’s featured missing person is Jerome David Robinson, a 21-year-old black man who disappeared from Tunis, Texas three days after Christmas in 2001. He’d won a lot of money gambling at a bar, the Team Club, and had some of his winnings already, and that night he went there to collect the rest.
It looks like he never emerged from the bar alive, but his body has never been found and no charges have been filed against anyone in his case.
Thought I’d give a shout-out to this article, where they talk about some of the reasons people choose to walk out of their lives. The information was obtained through interviews with Australian people who had done this and then returned. The article notes that
Nearly all missing persons (97%) return within two weeks, which causes these cases to be seen, by both the public and police, as simple search operations. Viewing missing persons in this way ignores the underlying issues that trigger disappearances, making prevention strategies more difficult to put in place.
Most of the people who were interviewed said they left during “periods of distress or poor mental health, as well as in response to trauma in their families.” Half of them returned of their own accord and half were found by the police. Support services ought to be provided when they get back, but rarely are.
I invite all Charley Project blog readers to also read this article about the 2019 disappearance of Angela Green from Prairie Village, Kansas. It’s a pretty interesting story to say the least. And it stinks. Badly. I’m sure the police are every bit as suspicious as I am but it seems like there’s not a lot of evidence; it’s as much about what ISN’T there as what is.
I feel deeply sorry for Angela’s daughter; she’s in a bad position right now and through no fault of her own. I really hope she gets answers soon.
This week’s featured missing person is Sarah Ashley Hill, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared from Stuart, Virginia on June 6, 2018. After her disappearance, her car was found abandoned in a store parking lot. She had some substance abuse issues and lived a somewhat transient life.
There was actually an article published about Sarah’s case the other day but it didn’t have much in the way of new info, just that they did another search in late July. If still alive she’d be 35 today.
This week’s featured missing person is Stratis Elias Elmore, a nineteen-year-old young man of Greek and Hispanic descent who disappeared from Roseville, California on October 19, 2017.
It’s unclear whether his disappearance was a suicide, or a faked suicide. He was facing criminal charges at the time of his disappearance and he had a record, and the police think he might just have done a runner, but his mom thinks he might be dead. In any case, three years is a long time for a teenager to drop completely under the radar.
It’s been five days since I updated last. I feel incredibly guilty at about that.
The pandemic and the ongoing collapse of society has really got me down. Every day I add obituaries for COVID-19 victims to online memorial forums, and it seems like way too many of them are young people. Every day I see people posting moronic stuff online calling it all a hoax or saying the survival rate is 99.5% or saying it’s no worse than the flu or saying masks are unsafe to wear, and I get extremely angry.
Last night we had two friends over for our weekly Social Distancing Circle Dinner (they both work with Michael so we figure whatever they’re exposed to, so are we). I was feeling so hopeless about the state of the world that I started crying and saying everything sucks and there is no way out of it for us. Michael and our friends applied immediate treatment to my despair, in the form of a series of funny animal clips on YouTube. I did feel a little better, for awhile anyway.
My friends have politely suggested I take a mental health break from obsessively following all the COVID-19 news and obsessively adding names of the dead to the memorial forums. I suppose they’re right.
I’ll try to get myself together tomorrow and put something up on Charley. And remind myself of how fortunate I am to have what I have.
This week’s featured missing person is Amber Elizabeth Cates, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Maury County, Tennessee on April 11, 2004. She’d had a bit of a chaotic life and had spent time in foster care, and was living with her older half-sister at the time of her disappearance.
She disappeared after going out with a male friend, who said he left her with another friend, who said he dropped her off and never saw her again.
Initially she was thought to be a runaway due to her age and background, but she’s been missing now for as long as she was alive beforehand, with nothing on her driving record, Social Security number, anything. It doesn’t look good.
And here it is.
It’s not much, and there aren’t photographs of most of the people, but I hope they can build on it.
That is all.
So forget everything I said a little bit ago. Turns out the “device for detecting DNA in soil” is a lot of hooey.
Had it NOT been a lot of hooey, it WOULD have been a game-changer, and I’m afraid I got so excited about the possibility that I didn’t actually bother to investigate what this thing consisted of.
This is me right now:
Gina Hall’s sister clearly believes in it, and posted a comment (at the bottom of this page that I linked to before) defending Dr. Vass and saying he found Gina. But now I wonder if that scrap of bone that they found and said was Gina’s was ever actually scientifically confirmed to be hers. Based on what I’ve read about this device, it probably was not.
And I’d already resolved her case and everything.
So, I found out today that Dr. Arpad Vass, a forensic archaeologist I’d heard of, has invented a nifty little widget that detects buried human DNA.
I have no idea how much it works, but it’s already proven its effectiveness: they found Gina Renee Hall‘s DNA in EIGHT PLACES along a river valley FORTY YEARS after her disappearance, as well as a piece of Gina’s bone (making her Charley Project case resolvable, which I have done), as well as DNA from someone else entirely: Angela Mae Rader, a girl who disappeared with her friend Tammy Lynn Akers in 1977. The girls (who were fourteen at the time) have been missing even longer than Gina.
Rather than thinking this means the guy who killed Gina (whose identity is known; he’s Stephen Epperly and he’s serving life in prison for her murder) must have also killed Angela, I think it’s more likely that both girls’ bodies coincidentally ended up somewhere in the same river valley and probably the same body of water. (DNA from Tammy was not found, but it seems likely that she’s somewhere in the same river valley.)
I haven’t resolved Angela’s case, since they only found DNA, not an actual body or even a piece of bone like with Gina. But I’m hopeful that her and Tammy’s cases can still be resolved, even after 43 years.
Dr. Vass’s invention could wind up leading to answers in a LOT of missing persons cases. This is really exciting.