Why I look at so many pictures

I was writing up a case today and I discovered NamUs had the wrong information about the MP’s tattoos. This often happens when people are just going off by what they remember the tattoos looked like or said, without using photographs to verify.

Fortunately in this case the MP had a Facebook page with loads of public photos of himself and he liked to post photos where he was wearing practically nothing but his ink and (sometimes) boxer shorts. In fact I think he was doing sex work, or at least used to, unless the screenshots he put up of Backpage ads for his services were a joke. Unfortunately most of the tattoos blended with his dark skin and it was hard to tell from the photos what they were supposed to be.

So far I’ve put the clearest three images I could find on his casefile and hope someone will recognize the tattoos. I’ve got two super clear images where you can clearly tell what the tattoo is, and one faded design that has me scratching my head. There were more tattoos than that but most of them looked like just blurs in the pics.

This kind of thing matters a lot, at least to me, because I know of at least one Charley Project case where the guy was identified because I’d posted a picture of his tattoo (cropped from a photo he’d put on social media) and somebody recognized the tattoo. I don’t want someone to spend unnecessary years on a John Doe list because I was lazy.

It was pointed out to me that, as I’ve had this awful fatigue lately, lasting for like a month now, and as my husband has had the same, that we might have gotten covid. I’m getting tested tomorrow. If I’m positive we’re going to assume he has it too. Wish us luck.

[UPDATE: I found MP’s second Facebook page with much better quality pics! Yay!]

MP of the week: Andria Bailey

So this week’s featured missing person is Andria Ann Bailey, missing from Spanaway, Washington. Exactly WHEN she went missing isn’t clear; it was sometime in either 1978 or 1979. She would have been anywhere between 15 and 17 at the time.

At the time of her disappearance, Andria was living with her grandma and her parents were living in Germany. She wasn’t reported missing until October 29, 1989, which is nine or ten years after she was last seen.

(I want to add here that her family’s failure to report her missing is not necessarily an indication that they didn’t care about her. Back in the 1970s, law enforcement routinely refused to accept missing persons reports for teenagers, who were automatically presumed to be runaways. It’s entirely possible her family tried to file a report back then and couldn’t, or they did file one and it was misplaced or destroyed by the police and they had to file another. Or perhaps her family also thought she had run away and would return home on her own.)

Very little information is available in Andria’s case, if you couldn’t tell already. Given that she was in King County, I have to wonder about the Green River Killer, Gary Leon Ridgway. I’m not sure he was operating that early but I’m convinced he had more victims than he admits to.

Andria was born on September 27, 1963. If she’s still alive she’d be 58 today. She was about 5’5 and 110 pounds at the time of her disappearance, with brown hair, brown eyes and a two-inch brown birthmark in the middle of her back.

As for me… I’m here. Still struggling to get out of bed, dealing with some pretty awful fatigue. This is actually the first day in what seems like ages that I woke up 1) before noon and 2) not completely exhausted. I don’t know what’s going on, maybe it’s the change of seasons or something. I am trying my best.

MP of the week: Edward Fonder

This week’s featured missing person is Edward F. Fonder III, an 80-year-old man who disappeared from Springfield, Pennsylvania on August 25, 1993. He is described as white, with gray (formerly brown) hair and blue or green eyes. He had a full beard and has had a double hip replacement. He was last seen wearing a plaid shirt, gray pants, black shoes and a blue and gold NRA baseball cap.

This is one of those cases where what probably happened and who did it is plain to see. But Edward was never found and no charges were filed in his case due to lack of evidence. The suspect, Edward’s daughter Mary, went on to murder someone else and has since died in prison.

It seems like Edward’s body has got to be in the local area somewhere, but after nearly thirty years who knows if it will ever be found. In the extremely unlikely event that he’s still alive, he’d be 108 today.

So many watery graves

Due in part to the activites of Adventures with a Purpose (and they are awesome, check them out and give them money or something), it seems like there have been quite a few missing persons are turning up inside their cars inside lakes and rivers lately. I have many cases to resolve.

Most recently we’ve got, in no particular order:

  1. Miriam Ruth Hemphill, 84, missing from Oak Ridge, Tennessee since July 22, 2005. Her vehicle was found in Melton Hill Lake with human remains inside.
  2. Samantha Jean Hopper, 19, and her unborn baby, and her 1-year-old daughter, Courtney Esther Danielle Holt., missing from Russellville, Arkansas since September 11, 1998. Their car was found in eight feet of water in Pope County, Arkansas, although the news articles I’ve found haven’t said which specific body of water.
  3. Judith Ann Chartier, 17, missing from Chelmsford, Massachusetts since June 5, 1982. This was a surprise, as everyone had suspected foul play in her case. But it turned out she’d (probably accidentally) driven her car into the Concord River in Billerica, Massachusetts. The remains inside have already been identified as hers.
  4. Van Thay “Stephanie” Nguyen, 26, and her two children, 4-year-old Kristina Thay Nguyen and 3-year-old John Thai Nguyen, missing from Cincinnati, Ohio since April 18, 2002. Their vehicle was found in the Ohio River in October, something which isn’t terribly shocking since Stephanie had threatened to drive into the river and they were last seen near a boat ramp.
  5. Brian E. Goff, 64, and his 55-year-old girlfriend Joni E. Davis, missing from St. Clairsville, Ohio since June 10, 2018. Their car was found in the Ohio River with two bodies inside, still seat-belted in.

In these cases where multiple people were involved, I am not sure what to do at this point. Like, we can safely assume that the human remains inside Miriam Hemphill’s car are Miriam’s. But when people disappear like this and years or decades later it turns out they drove into water, sometimes not every person can be recovered. Like, it’s entirely possible that the remains found in the Nguyen’s car belong to just one or two of them, and the river took the other person.

Of course in such a case the individuals not found in or near the vehicle would be presumed dead as well, but the Charley Project usually keeps the case up until remains are found, regardless of what the circumstances indicate.

I’ll start sorting it out tomorrow I guess.

Something happened

Yeah, so I was absent for a bit. I was super depressed and spent a lot of time sleeping. A lot of it was my pets dying one after another like that but there was more to it.

So my husband, as I’ve mentioned a few times, was teaching math at a residential school for children with severe emotional/behavioral problems. He taught there for a couple of years, up until June this year.

In June a former student made a false accusation of abuse against Michael, even contacting me over social media to gloat about it. Laugh emojis and all.

This led to him quitting his job. It was a “last straw” sort of thing: it was a high stress job, he risked his life teaching in-person through the entire pandemic, he’d had chairs thrown at him, he wasn’t paid well, and now a girl is making up stories about him and even contacting his wife? The heck with this job.

Since June, when this all happened, we have been waiting for the child protection people to investigate the girl’s allegation and render a verdict. Well, they finally have: unsubstantiated. Meaning Michael is found not guilty. Which is what we expected.

The girl was, apparently, not happy when she found out CPS didn’t believe her, because she went on a bit of a rampage. She repeatedly tried to contact both Michael and me through Facebook, Instagram and email. Although we blocked her immediately, she had multiple accounts she used to harass us. She threatened to destroy my reputation and destroy the Charley Project, in spite of the fact that I’ve done nothing to her and the Charley Project is a good thing that my husband has very little involvement with.

Then she posted a bunch of faked screenshots on Michael’s and my own social media accounts, trying to “expose” us for a crime that never occurred. She also contacted some Facebook friends of mine with the screenshots, and posted some on the Charley Project’s Facebook page (which I deleted). I had to call my entire family and tell them what was going on in case she got to them too.

She seems to have given up for now but I have a feeling she might come back. We’ve filed a harassment report with the police and are looking into getting a restraining order.

Anyway. It was an awful time and I was afraid she would come to our house, afraid her lies would be believed, afraid of a lot of things. On top of Kinsey and Carmen passing away it kind of hit me like a freight train.

So I’ve decided that, if this disturbed child does start tantruming and making allegations again, I wanted to get what actually happened out in the open.

I’m very sorry for causing people to worry. I just couldn’t do anything for awhile, could barely get out of bed.

Barring anything else awful happening, expect things to resume as normal on Monday. Probably not Sunday because I was out all day today and I’m exhausted and will probably sleep in the morning and have some plans for the evening.

MP of the week: Clara Grunst

Sorry this is late, yesterday I kind of forgot what day it was.

This week’s featured missing person is Clara Marie Grunst, a 21-year-old woman who was last heard from on October 9, 1984. She was planning to hitchhike from Joplin, Missouri to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Joplin is given as the place of her disappearance.

She was sighted in Joplin, getting into a truck driven by a Milwaukee driver, on October 8. On October 9 she made a call and said she was in Pittsburg, Kansas. No one ever saw or heard from her again.

Clara is described as white, 5’3 to 5’6 tall and 118 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She wore glasses, her ears were pierced, and she had a red birthmark on her navel and a tattoo of the name “Jeff” on her left forearm. She also had scoliosis, a deformity of the spine, though I’m not sure if this would have been noticeable in life. She was last seen wearing a white shirt with a floral waistbant, reddish-brown pants, blue sneakers, a Timex watch with a blue band, and a silver ring.

Back in 2011 her family said they’d be holding a memorial service for her. Per Whereabouts Still Unknown, Clara’s mom died a few years ago. Her siblings are still alive and hope she’ll be found someday.

It never rains but it pours

So as I noted in the previous entry, last week on Tuesday my dog Kinsey was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure and we made the decision to let her go on Friday. We took a few days to spoil her and prepare ourselves.

It was like Kinsey understood what the vet was saying, cause after we took her home on Tuesday she got very sick very fast. She had been pretty crotchety before but suddenly she couldn’t walk at all without help, often couldn’t even stand up on her own without a push from me.

I stayed up for 48 hours straight in her last days because she kept trying to walk places, getting stuck and becoming extremely distressed. I don’t know if she was in pain but she was frustrated and confused.

So on Friday we cooked a steak for Kinsey and after that the vet came over. It was very hard to say goodbye to her but Michael and I were 120% sure it was the right thing for Kinsey. It would have been cruel to make her wait any longer. She would have been 17 in a few weeks.

During this time I noticed Carmen, one of our two cats, was acting grumpy and distant and was off her food. Initially we thought she was just stressed cause of the situation. But this morning, on further reflection, I decided she probably had a urinary tract infection and so I took her to the vet’s.

The vet confirmed a UTI but also noticed some other alarming things and did some tests and x-rays. It turned out Carmen’s kidneys and liver were failing and she had a mass on her abdomen that was probably cancer. The vet pretty much said there was nothing to be done.

I called Michael and he came over and Carmen went peacefully to sleep with us holding her. She was only twelve.

Two of our three beloved pets are gone in just a few days. Both of them often kept me company while I worked on cases.

I still plan to resume updates etc tomorrow. No point just sitting around wallowing in grief.

It’ll feel so strange, working in my office with just one cat hanging around.

Everyone has been so supportive and I want to thank all of you. I love you guys more than you know.

Not sure if there will be any updates till the weekend

I got some terrible news today. I had noticed some alarming signs in my dog Kinsey and took her to the vet this morning to see what was going on. The vet says her kidneys are giving out; her creatinine level is sky-high. She’s lost ten pounds since her senior wellness visit in July (she weighed about 60 pounds then, so this is a really huge loss) and the vet reckons it’s because she feels really awful and not much like eating her kibble. Though she still begs for people food.

My husband and I have decided to say goodbye to her on Friday. I know this is the right decision for Kinsey: she’s old, she’s tired, she’s sick and she’s not going to get better. But we are absolutely broken-hearted about it. She is such a great dog and has really been a blessing to me in particular; having her depending on me has often helped me when I’m feeling really depressed and useless.

Until Friday we are going to love her and spoil her like never before. Fluffle her ears, scritch her chest, snuggles, and all the people food and puppy treats she wants to eat. We’re going to make her a nice steak. And just before her final car ride, we’re going to give her chocolate.

Kinsey would have been seventeen in November. I know since she’s been with us she’s had a very good life, much better than before. I know she knows we love her. But saying goodbye is so hard.

So I might go quiet for a few days.

MP of the week: Darla McCormick

This week’s featured missing person is Darla Kay McCormick, a 44-year-old woman last seen in Carlsbad, New Mexico on October 2, 2008. She’s described as white, with brown or red hair and brown eyes, about 5’5 tall and 205 pounds. She was last seen wearing black pants and black boots; I don’t know what sort of top she had on.

Darla was an employee at the Eddy County Detention Center. At 2:30 a.m. the day of her disappearance, she left work without permission before her shift was over, apparently upset. Since her car, work uniform and other belongings were found at home, she’s believed to have made it back there. At 8:00 a.m., she had brief email and phone contact with her family. That’s the last time anyone heard from her.

The circumstances of her disappearance are unclear and I can’t find any articles about it from after 2008.

If still alive, Darla McCormick would be 57 today.