Arkadiy Tashman missing almost five years

As this Village Voice blog entry notes, seventeen-year-old Arkadiy Tashman will be missing for five years on January 26. He is missing under rather unusual circumstances: he was last seen leaving a friend’s home at 2:45 a.m., and never made it back to his own home on Staten Island. Later that day, his parents found a note in his bedroom that said, “Sorry about his. No wake, no funeral.”

But Arkadiy’s body, if he killed himself, has never been found, and as far as I know there aren’t any real indications that he was suicidal prior to his disappearance. His girlfriend said he had considered suicide before, but nearly everyone does at some point in their lives, and there’s no word on just how far that consideration went. Of course, plenty of people kill themselves without displaying any warning signs beforehand. But where in New York City could you kill yourself without your body ever being found?

Arkadiy doesn’t fit the profile of a runaway, either. He didn’t come from a troubled home and he had no history of running away. He was a high school junior at the time of his disappearance, but I’m not sure how good a student he was. I read somewhere that he had to repeat a year due to excessive absences. (It might be worth noting that he stayed at his friend’s house till nearly three in the morning on a school night.) He is originally from Russia and emigrated to the US at age eleven. His older sister set up a blog about his disappearance, but it hasn’t been updated in over a year.

Perhaps, like in the case of Richard Massey, his body has been found and remains unidentified. I certainly hope not. I hope Arkadiy is still alive and I hope he gets in touch with his family soon. I have no no clue what happened to him, but it doesn’t look good.

Oh, brother

Now Martha Jean Lambert‘s brother David, who confessed to killing his sister back in 1985, has joined his mother in denial: his confession, he says, was a lie. David said the cops were anxious to close the case and he only told them what he wanted to hear, and he has no idea what really happened to Martha.

The cops are having none of this, of course. They believe David’s confession, and so do I. Maybe it didn’t happen like he says, but I’m quite sure David caused Martha’s death. If David lied, why did he retract his statement only now, four months after he first made the confession? It can’t be because he was afraid of his mom, because he made the confession on tape in her presence, and at that time she appeared to believe him.

Another article says this isn’t the first time David has said he was responsible for Martha’s death. Back in 2000 he said he buried her in a coquina mine, but the cops couldn’t find anything there. Hmm.

I don’t doubt that David is an attention-seeker. He should stop jerking everyone around.

Richard Massey’s family suing the city of New York

I once had a young British man named Richard Massey profiled on Charley. He was in his twenties and working as a computer programmer in New York City when he disappeared in December 2002, after suffering an apparent nervous breakdown. His family filed a missing persons report with the NYPD and sent them all of his particulars, and searched for him for five long years. But Massey’s body was pulled out of the Hudson River just four months after he vanished. The cops don’t know the cause or manner of his death, and it looks like they didn’t even attempt to identify him. Just buried him as a John Doe, and there he rested until a private detective hired by the Massey family found out about the body on his own. Massey has been re-interred in Doncaster, England.

Now, Massey’s family has filed a lawsuit accusing the NYPD, the city medical examiner and the city in general of negligence for failure to investigate his disappearance and failure to identify him sooner. They’re seeking unspecified damages. As the article and Gaelle’s blog Unsolved in the News notes, this is far from the first time the NYPD has screwed up in this manner.

I hope the Massey case and resulting lawsuit results in changes around New York with the way bodies are identified. In some cases it looks like they didn’t even try.

Yesterday I read a book about disappearances in Alaska (which is such a severe place that it basically eats people on a regular basis). There was a quote in there from another source:

If you know your husband or father or brother is dead, you can bear the loss. But if you picture him year in year out dying by inches on some desert island or wandering with lost memory on some distant shore, a bitter anguish haunts you night and day.

From this cause I have seen aged men die; gay young wives grow old and grim; mothers weep their hearts out until the grave relieves their despair; and both sisters and brothers turn cold shoulders to a happy world in the awful thrall of a never-ending hope.

This about perfectly sums up the devastation a missing person wreaks on their family. The Massey family’s anguish could have been over a lot faster if those in charge had only done their jobs.