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.