Article about Samuel Bryan Dennis

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has published a very nice article about Samuel Bryan Dennis, a man who’s been missing from Fort Wayne for almost ten years. The case connects with me because my boyfriend lives in Fort Wayne. For the last month or so I’ve been staying mostly with him, though my permanent address remains in Ohio. I’ve driven on Broadway Street, where Sam disappeared, many times.

It doesn’t look good for Sam. My guess is he was involved in criminal activity of some kind and was killed by his partners in crime. Or he simply got into a fight with one of his roommates that turned deadly. But even though Sam was poor and had a somewhat checkered past, he doesn’t deserve to be missing and he doesn’t deserve to be dead. I really hope he turns up so his mom can stop wondering and worrying about him.

Amber Dubois missing one year

Today is the first anniversary of the disappearance of fourteen-year-old Amber Dubois. Nobody has much on her disappearance — she’s joined the ranks of kids who simply vanished into thin air. No indications of foul play, but no indications of a runaway either. No witnesses, no physical evidence, nothing at all.

The North County Times has done two anniversary articles: one about Amber’s mom and how she’s coping, and one about the rest of her family and her friends. From the sounds of it, Amber was a perfectly ordinary fourteen-year-old girl, maybe even more sheltered than most of them.

And now she’s gone. We can only hope she ran away, but it doesn’t look likely.

Blaming the boyfriend — or, me on the soapbox again

While writing up the disappearance of Kristi Cornwell, I found this sarcastic article/editorial about her disappearance and what the armchair sleuths are saying: namely, that a lot of them accuse Kristi’s boyfriend of being involved. Kristi’s boyfriend was talking to her on the cell phone while she was out for a walk, and he claims she said a car was following her, then he heard sounds of a struggle and Kristi screaming “Don’t take me!” before the line went dead.

The article I linked to says it about as well as I can — that people are saying all kinds of things, but there’s really no evidence against anyone at this point. And the police have ruled out Kristi’s boyfriend as a suspect.

I have said it on this blog many times before, and I’ll say it again: I really hate it when people who know nothing talk trash about missing people or their loved ones. It is natural, perhaps unavoidable, that you should form opinions when you read. If you read an account of a crime and think, “Ah, I bet ____ did it, I have a feeling about him,” you can hardly be blamed for your thoughts. But to gossip about it, and accuse people of committing terrible acts without any evidence — particularly on the internet, where potentially anyone could read it — is at best insensitive and at worst unconscionable.

As far as suspects go, I generally go by what the police say, because the police generally know a lot more than is printed in the media. If the police name someone as a suspect in a missing persons case, I have no problem putting that information in their Charley Project casefile — just as I have no problem saying someone was ruled out as a suspect. And if the police name a suspect and describe mountains of evidence implicating him or her (as in cases like Peter Kema, Adam Herrman, Abraham Shakespeare…), I have no problem saying on my blog that I believe that person is guilty, even if they haven’t been convicted, even if they haven’t been charged, because my opinion is supported by a lot of facts. But I think it’s horrible when, based on a “feeling” or a “hunch” or even simple statistics (in the Cornwell case, the statistic that an intimate partner is the mostly likely perpetrator in a woman’s murder) to accuse anyone.

Malicious gossip of any kind is horrible — more so, I think, when directed at family or friends of a missing person. I remember several years ago, people on a bulletin board I belong to were discussing a missing child cold case and someone said something like, “I live in the neighborhood, and I heard her mother was was in bars getting drunk all the time in the weeks after she went missing.” Very nice! Even if it’s true…is this relevant? Is this helpful? What was the point of making such a statement?