I asked the lady who complained about my race classifications to give examples of ones she thought were in error. As I expected, we will have to agree to disagree. One man, for instance, whom I and law enforcement had listed as white, who is blond and blue-eyed (though the pic is not of good quality so it’s hard to tell what he looked like), she said should be listed as Hispanic. Presumably because his name sounds kind of Spanish. I wrote back explaining that I was not going to change the races from the official record (law enforcement databases, etc) just because she thought I ought to.
A seventeen-year-old Maine girl, Kourtney Thibeault, who was last heard from late Wednesday night and reported missing Thursday morning, was found trapped inside her wrecked SUV in a steep ravine today, Friday. She’d lost control of the car when she swerved to hit a deer, and reportedly has a broken pelvis, a broken leg and a broken jaw. A police officer who was looking for noticed a tree had been damaged, and had a close look around the area and found her. Kudos to him!
I consider this to be a minor miracle. Kourtney’s injuries don’t sound life-threatening, but Maine in late November is COLD. With her being pretty much immobile, I’m surprised she didn’t freeze to death before she was located.
Much as I find Ohio’s flatness to be dull, dull, dull, I’m glad I don’t have any steep ravines to get caught in or cliffs to drive off of or anything. A year or two ago I was driving 55 mph on a country road and hit a patch of black ice and next thing I knew I was thirty feet off the road in the middle of a plowed-up cornfield, facing the wrong direction and wondering how I got there. I remember reflecting that a plowed-up cornfield is about the perfect place to run off the road, except an empty parking lot maybe. There’s nothing to hit. With some effort I got my car back on the road and straight to the local car wash to get rid of the mud plastering the sides, and presto, good as new.
Over the past week or so I’ve gotten several emails from people who are under the impression that I’m the police, or connected to the police, and offering tips and stuff that they should have submitted to the police. This happens once in awhile but I seem to have got a lot lately.
Then I got an email from a woman who shared private information about an old missing child case, then when I replied with my thoughts on this information, she basically jumped all over me because I guess she thought I was an organization actively trying to solve cases. (Got me mixed up with the Vidoq Society?) She said “I’m not interested in ‘discussing’ this case as a matter of interest” and I “clearly hadn’t read all the available material” about the missing child. So she’s wasted her time and mine, and she’s acting as if this is my fault and I’m wrong for taking an interest in the case and writing about it online. I felt like writing back “clearly, you haven’t read all the available material on my site, such as the FAQ page” but I decided to take the high ground and not reply to her at all.
And then there’s the email I got a few months ago where someone asked how often the Charley Project was updated. Gee…maybe you should look at the “updates” page?
…as well as ten miscellaneous updated cases and six resolved cases. This is my biggest update ever. Since there was minimal info on most of the new Missouri cases, it didn’t take long to write them up. And since I didn’t want my backlog of new cases to double, I decided to do them all in one fell swoop.
The Missouri Highway Patrol, which lists missing people from that state, has added quite a lot of missing adults to their listings. Unfortunately most of them don’t have posters and some don’t even have pictures. I will have to post a lot of bare-bones casefiles for these people, but it’s better than nothing. Maybe posters for them will be added soon.
I found more info on Aleacia Stancil, a nine-month-old baby who disappeared in 1994, about which I knew nothing. According to the Phoenix Police Department (which spells her name “Alecia”), Aleacia’s mother, Toni, gave her to another woman known only as Dee and never saw either of them again. Toni didn’t report Aleacia missing for three months. She died in late 1995.
From what little I know, it sounds like another Caylee Anthony or Ke’Shaun Vanderhorst. I wish I knew more, though. Like, what was the arrangement between Toni and this woman, and what reason did Toni give for not reporting the disappearance for so long? I haven’t been able to find out anything about Toni — no obituary, nothing in the Social Security Death Index either. Perhaps her legal first name wasn’t Toni but Antoinette or something. I haven’t been able to find any articles or anything about Aleacia’s disappearance, either. It’s such a shame, when you think about all the attention Caylee received.
I suppose there’s reason to hope Aleacia is alive today, assuming Toni was telling the truth. We may never know.
I just got a rather snotty email from someone claiming I mistakenly list a bunch of people as Caucasian when in fact they’re from a lot of races. She quotes from Wikipedia’s definition of “Caucasian” and finishes by saying, “Also, as a caucasian myself, I find it insulting to have other races referred to as Caucasian, just as an Arab may find it insulting to be listed as an African or an Asian as a Russian.” But she doesn’t provide any examples of mistakes I’ve made.
I’m seriously tempted to just ignore this.
However it does raise some important issues. Race is basically a societal construct and quite fluid and open to interpretation. (I read once about a black couple who wanted to adopt a black baby, but they were mistakenly given a white baby instead. No one noticed. She was just dark enough to pass, and it wasn’t until she grew up and researched her parentage that she found out.) My boyfriend, for example, identifies himself as Hispanic. He’s only half Hispanic, though. His father’s side of the family are Mexicans, most of them light-skinned; his mother’s side are Welsh. As you can see in the picture I posted earlier, he looks quite white. Though in the summer he tans beautifully and looks Hispanic. One of my nicknames for him is Miguel. Incidentally, his last name is not Spanish or Mexican and doesn’t exist in any language as far as I know. What happened was when Michael’s ancestors crossed the border, the immigration people couldn’t understand them or something and wrote down what they thought they heard. Michael doesn’t even know what his original family name was.
A lot of times when it comes to missing people, from the photos race isn’t obviously apparent. When I went through all the casefiles and started adding each person’s race, I often had to look it up to see what it was, and sometimes the answers surprised me — a person who appeared to be white turned out to be listed as black, or whatever. Arabs are, I think, technically Caucasian, but for identification they’re kind of in a class of their own. Same thing with Hispanics. East Indians I try to list separately from Asians, because someone from Sri Lanka tends to look much different than someone from China. Native Americans are another problem. I believe that to be legally Native American, you only have to have 1/64th Native American blood. But, say, if a person was only 1/64th black and 63/64th white, anybody would say they were white. Yet people of Native American ancestry are generally proud of it and identify themselves as Native American.
About six weeks ago, a woman contacted me about a missing boy on my website. It was classified as a family abduction and she was listed as the abductor. She politely explained that she did, in fact, have custody of the boy, and he was getting a lot of flack at school and stuff about being listed as an abducted child online, and could I please remove his casefile? After verifying her statements, I complied.
Well, over the next month (last time last week) she sent me increasingly irate emails (bold print, capital letters, etc) demanding I remove her son from my website. I tried to explain I already had, but she seemed deaf to my explanations.
Finally, yesterday she clarified herself and I found out what all the fuss was about: she thinks for some reason that I run the 411 Gina site. Her son is still listed as missing on there. WTF? I have nothing to do with that site. I don’t even know the person who runs it. You’d think the @charleyproject.org in my email address might be some indication of which site I am actually in charge of.
So I have informed her that she is yelling at the wrong person, and I hope that takes care of the problem.
Wanda Barzee, Brian David Mitchell’s accomplice in the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, pleaded guilty today. She got fifteen years in prison. She’s already spent the last five years in a mental hospital. It’s only recently that they decide to forcibly medicate her and she became competent enough to stand trial. As to whether Mitchell will is up for grabs — the courts say he can’t be forcibly medicated.
Barzee apologized to Elizabeth and her family for the suffering she caused them, which is only proper. I feel a little sorry for her. She seems like a pathetic, weak woman. But that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be punished for her actions.
Today I scanned a portrait photo of myself and my boyfriend, taken for his family’s church bulletin in late September. Presenting me and Michael! (I thought about just posting it on here, but that would mess up the current “no pictures” status of this blog. Plus it’s a pretty big image.)
So now I have a recent photo for Mom to give to the cops if I should ever disappear myself. I know it’s unlikely, but of course it has occurred to me. The last time I had my picture taken was in January 2008, back when my hair was still long.