Taking a short break

I’m taking a few days off, for several reasons:

1. I am spending some precious time with my boyfriend whom I don’t see enough of these days.
2. I have 13 check-outs from the library, most of them quite thick.
3. I’ve fallen into insomnia again with sticky eyes and sodden brain, and it’s difficult to get much done.
4. I am doing a bit of original, non missing person related historical research for the edification of my brain.

When I think about all the updates I have to do, I feel like Winston Smith did in 1984 during that really rough period at his job. Assignments were shooting out of the pneumatic tube onto his desk by the dozens, and his first task every day was to gather up the pile of them, clear off his desk and try to sort them out. Sometimes I really don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.

George Leniart’s rape victim testifies at Pennington murder trial

The prosecution in George Leniart’s trial for the murder of April Pennington rested today, after the judge permitted one of Leniart’s prior rape victims to testify. Usually the jury isn’t allowed to hear about previous crimes a defendant committed, but the assault on this woman was very similar to the way the prosecution thinks he killed April, so an exception was made because it was a “common scheme.”

I think the victim’s testimony may clinch this case. Let us see the similarities:

1. April and this woman (let’s just call her Jane Doe) were close in age — April was 15, and Jane Doe was 13.
2. Both of them were small and thin.
3. In both cases, they were introduced to Leniart by Patrick “PJ” Allain, one of the major witnesses against Leniart and himself a nasty slimeball.
4. Allain was Jane Doe’s boyfriend, and he says he and April had a sexual relationship, though he claims they weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend.
5. April met up with Leniart and Allain on the night of her (alleged) murder. Jane Doe was supposed to meet Allain that night, but he never showed up so she hung around with Leniart, drinking beer with him, until she tried to leave and then he attacked her.
6. Jane Doe was choked during the rape. The prosecution say Leniart strangled April.
7. After the rape, Leniart threatened to kill Jane Doe if she ran away. The fact that she ran away anyway may have saved her life. No one has seen April since May 29, 1996.

Yeah. Sounds like a “common scheme” to me.

Leniart was awaiting trial for Jane Doe’s rape when April disappeared. He subsequently served a lousy four years in prison for the rape, and went on to sexually assault a teenage boy in 2007. He was still in prison for that when he was charged with April’s homicide.

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Charley Project visitors slowly increasing

I had a look at my stats and noticed a significant increase from last year. The average number of visits per day last March was 2,642. This month so far, the average has been 3,607 — that’s close to a thousand more per day. It’s not a steady increase — some months, for no reason I can determine, get a couple hundred more visits per day than other months. November, for example, got 3,881 visits today, but in December it dropped down to 3,229 per day, then climbed up to 3,690 a day for the month of January.

There was a big spike in visits in August, when Jaycee Dugard got found — the average that month was 9,463 a day, but that was because during the last four days of the month, tens of thousands of people curious about Jaycee were looking for info about her on Charley. One of those days I had about 90,000 visits.

(Let me note here that “visits” is not the same as “hits.” Correct me if I am mistaken, but I think a “visit” is one unique person visiting the website, and a “hit” is each page they visit. Like, if a person goes to Charley and looks at ten pages, that’s one visit and ten hits.)

And to think, five years ago I remember how happy I was when my daily visitor count broke 100! Considering this isn’t porn and I don’t advertise anyway, I think I’m doing pretty well. I wonder how Charley compares with other similar sites? I can’t find a Doe Network stat counter. NAMPN has one, but it claims only about 300 visits a day, which seems suspiciously low to me.

Before they went missing (again)

Today I’m going to post an old case of a woman who went missing from a mental hospital in the nineties. The NamUs file mentions her foot was “partially amputated,” whatever the heck that means. Well, when I put her name into my newspaper archives I found some articles about her from a few years before she went missing. She mooned (!) a train and got hit. She wasn’t seriously harmed compared to most people who get run over by trains, but they did have to amputate some of her toes. That is a lot clearer than “partially amputated foot,” and so that detail is going in her casefile.

Of course, this kind of behavior explains her court-ordered committal to a mental hospital, much more than any simple diagnosis ever could. Can we say “danger to self and others”?

Lindsey Baum’s mom facing serious financial problems

I just read this article saying missing ten-year-old Lindsey Baum‘s mother, Melissa, is broke with no signs of that changing. Melissa apparently hasn’t worked since Lindsey disappeared last June. She took some months of unpaid leave, then asked to return to work, but only part time. She got fired instead, and applied for unemployment. She got some compensation, but now for some reason the state wants most of it back.

Meanwhile, Melissa can’t afford the rent and she and her son, Lindsey’s brother, have moved out of their former home and in with relatives. She says she can’t return to work full time because she still needs to search for Lindsey, and also her son has Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

Melissa says the system just isn’t designed to help parents whose children are missing.

“It’s a situation that I have no control over. But at the same time, it’s not something they have precedence for. They have to go by the laws,” she said.

I have often read of parents of missing children taking substantial time off work, years sometimes, both to help with the search and because their nerves are shattered. Melissa says as much: “I was not even conscious for the first two or three weeks even. I was pretty well medicated,” she said. But everyone must eat, and bills must be paid, whether your kid is missing or not. Plus, left-behind parents want to do things like hire private detectives, and that costs money too. I wouldn’t be surprised if many families of the missing fall into financial ruin as a result.

As I noted in the comments section of an earlier entry, Jaycee Dugard’s family is broke too, and living on charity. Apparently she was paid little or nothing for the few media appearances she made, and the state will only give her $2,000 compensation.

Cherrie Mahan case lends hope to others?

I saw this news headline and a two-page article with much the same headline: that the disappearance of Cherrie Mahan twenty-five years ago today “lent hope” or “lends hope” to others.

I cannot fathom what it is about Cherrie’s case that inspires hope. The girl has been missing for twenty-five years. The police have no leads, no suspects, nothing to indicate her whereabouts or fate, even though she was missed within minutes with a good vehicle description besides. It’s been a quarter of a century and the cops are nowhere closer to solving the case than they were the day she disappeared. What’s hopeful about that?

Dee Dee Moore charged with Abraham Shakespeare’s murder

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Dee Dee Moore has FINALLY been charged with Abraham Shakespeare’s murder. Ten months after he disappeared, four months after his disappearance was reported, almost a month after his body turned up under a concrete slab on Moore’s boyfriend’s property. It’s a fair guess that others were involved in this as well, but so far Moore’s the only one facing charges.

The more I hear about this case the sadder it seems to become. Shakespeare sounds like an unpretentious, genuinely nice man. Too nice to keep his money. Too nice to live. A lot of people tried to help him by recommending accountants and financial advisers, but Shakespeare was barely literate (one article says he didn’t even know how many zeroes were in a thousand) and he was intimidated by finance people and tried to avoid them. But I think even a more educated person would easily get in over his head, with that kind of money and those kinds of people circling him like sharks anxious for a piece.

Now Shakespeare’s older son is in counseling, the other is only a baby and will never know his father. And his mother, Elizabeth Walker, is now saying she has to forgive Dee Dee Moore because it’s what God wants, and in any case she will never get her son back.

Good luck on that, Mrs. Walker.


About.com Crime and Punishment
The Lakeland Ledger
MyFox Tampa Bay
The Lakeland Ledger again

Jaycee Dugard diary entries

I’m a little late — like ten days late — but I just found a People magazine article about Jaycee Dugard’s diary that she kept in captivity. From the little that has been released, it shows (unsurprisingly) that she remained under extreme strain even more than a decade after she was taken. The prosecution hopes to get a restraining order prohibiting the Garridos or their lawyers from contacting Jaycee and her daughters. Jaycee is receiving therapy, and the latter article link says she’s trying to distance herself from Garrido by, for instance, choosing new names for her children to replace the ones Garrido picked. This would have the added benefit of making the children less easy to identify. There can’t be that many kids out there named Starlit Dugard or Starlit Garrido.

It’s really the children I feel the most sorry for. They knew no other life before the sham was exposed, and Garrido, monster that he is, is their father and they must have a lot of conflicting feelings about him. It sounds like Jaycee has a good, supportive, sensible family and support network. I only hope all three young women are able to rise above this and somehow lead normal lives.

The NY Times has the court filing linked here.

At last I have something to report

Last fall I gave my rapist a name. I felt like I had to call him something, and “the guy who raped me” and “the beast” and so on was getting a bit old. In the movie L. A. Confidential, one character’s father was a cop who was killed in the line of duty, and the killer was never caught. His son referred to the killer as “Rollo Tomasi” just to give him some personality. This actually turned out to be an important plot element in the movie. I named my rapist Rollo also. (He had given me a name when I met him, but it’s no more likely to be his real name than “Rollo” is.)


I called the cops in Virginia the other day. I hadn’t spoken to Det. Austin since August, but he recognized my voice right away. He had extremely glad tidings: namely, that they have a suspect and his DNA is in the lab awaiting comparison with what they took from me. I didn’t even know they’d gotten any DNA off of me, in fact I kind of doubted it. But they did, and in a few months (lab results tend to take forever) we’ll know whether they have Rollo or not.

And even if they don’t have Rollo quite yet, they will get him. The cops have by no means forgotten me — in fact, Austin said my file was sitting on his desk right in front of him when I called. That DNA has got to match up with somebody sometime, and DNA evidence is well nigh irrefutable. I probably wouldn’t even have to testify — though I’m determined to do so regardless. I am looking forward to the day I can see Rollo sitting in the defendant’s dock looking all pitiful while the judge tells him he’s got five years to life times five and will never see the light of day again.

Until then…nothing to do but wait. And anticipation makes revenge all the sweeter, yes?