Giovanni Gonzalez trial stalls again

Two years after five-year-old Giovanni Gonzalez disappeared during a visit with his father Ernesto, two years after Ernesto was charged with child endangerment, one year and ten months after Ernesto told a news reporter he had murdered his son, one year and nine months after the child endangerment charge was dropped and Ernesto was charged with parental kidnapping and misleading the police instead: the trial has been postponed yet again. They are still waiting on some DNA report out of Texas, it seems.

I feel so sorry for Giovanni’s mother, Daisy Colon. She did everything right. Although she and Ernesto had separated years before, she wanted her son to have a father in his life. She even attended counseling sessions with Ernesto so they could both be better parents. And then he did something — God only knows what — to that little boy, who was only five and had never hurt anyone. The article I linked to says Daisy has attended every court proceeding on the case. Somehow, she’s managed to not throttle Ernesto yet.

I really hope Giovanni is alive. More to the point, I hope Ernesto tells the truth about what he did to him. This is Sam and Lindsey Porter all over again.

Occupying army loses Iraqi child

I just found this incredibly sad article about an eleven-year-old Iraqi boy named Memmon al-Maliki who was injured in a munitions blast in April 2003. His parents gave him to the care of the British authorities, who promised to take him to a field hospital and take care of him. They never saw him again and no one seems to know what happened to him. The Brits say he was transferred to an American hospital in Kuwait, but the Americans say they don’t have him now and maybe never did.

It sounds like the child may simply have died as the result of his injuries, but if so, in whose custody did he die and where is his body?

I never wanted to go to war in the first place. This is just another failure from the so-called liberation of Iraq.

Hurricane Katrina missing

Someone asked me to do a blog post on the people missing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, since it’s been five years now since the disaster.

I didn’t even realize people were still missing from that. I knew that for a few weeks or months there were gobs of people missing, separated from their families, and the NCMEC etc were swamped trying to keep track of them all. But I had no idea that some have still not been found: like this guy, a priest named Arthur Ginart, last seen at his church, St. Nicholas of Myra, in Lake Catherine, Louisiana. He was offered a way out but he refused to leave the church. From the article:

In Louisiana, 135 are, like Ginart, still officially categorized as missing (the Mississippi number stands at just three). But who died where and when is still a mystery in many cases.

By contrast, nearly every victim is accounted for after the 2001 suicide attacks on the World Trade Center. Workers sifted through tons of wreckage for traces of human tissue and bone against which DNA samples — extracted from toothbrushes, combs, clothing — were compared.

Some of those same techniques were used in Katrina’s aftermath. But the two disasters were very different. While debris from the Twin Towers was largely confined to Lower Manhattan, Katrina’s havoc was spread across three states and over more than 500 miles of coastline.

I have heard it suggested that the authorities didn’t try hard enough to look for Katrina victims or identify the bodies due to racial or class prejudice, since most of the people from that area are black and poor. I don’t know enough about that to form an opinion on it. But the article does have a point about the other differences between Katrina and WTC.

The Houston Chronicle has also done an article on the legacy of Katrina and the fact that no one even knows how many lives the storm claimed. According to them, no one even knows how many are still missing: “[T]he list of 135 missing persons released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in August 2006 has never been updated.” The article mentions Roy Clark, a presumed Katrina victim who’s listed on the NCMEC — the only one thus profiled, as far as I know.

I don’t know whether Katrina missings fall under the Charley Project’s scope or not. I’ve done individual people or very small groups missing as a result of disasters, so I suppose Katrina missing people ought to qualify too. I just don’t have any listed.