Another one bites the dust

As I have noted many times before, the parents of missing children, at least in my observation, tend to die at tragically young ages. Here is yet another example: Rebecca Ann Klino, the mother of Branson Perry, who died of cancer earlier this month, nearly ten years after her son’s disappearance. If Branson is alive, he would be 30 years old today. Rebecca’s obituary, however, says he preceded her in death.

Rebecca Klino was only 52 years old.

I feel kind of silly now

As y’all know, I posted that notice on Charley saying I’m sick and might not be updating as much or as often. This was after a solid week without updates, something that hardly ever happens. And I am, in fact, in a great deal of pain. I had to make my five thousandth trip to ER for my five thousandth shot on Wednesday.

(“So when did your headache start?” asked the nurse.

“Five months ago. Oh, and ten days.”


I got a lot of “get well soon” emails and such, and was very touched by that.

But the fact is that I stopped taking the morphine that caused me to sleep 20 hours a day — I decided it was not worth it, that I needed to live — and just live with the pain. When it becomes unbearable I go get a shot, or gulp some higher-than-recommended number of any of the ten or so kinds of painkillers I’ve got lying around. (And ER gave me another: Fioricet. Yay.) And the fact is that due to the inclement weather, I haven’t been able to go to school or to Michael’s. (I would be at Michael’s right now, but the roads are absolutely impassable. And they actually CANCELED school today, something about as rare as a solar eclipse. My dad has worked for that school for 37 years and count the number of cancellations on his fingers.) And the fact is that working on updates is as good a distraction as any from the vise clamped to my head.

So, yeah, I’m starting to feel like an idiot, regards that notice. Though it’s still true on the face of it.

My Cleveland Clinic consult can’t come fast enough.

Help needed to bury Thomas Tillery

As has been in the news lately (and on Charley), Thomas Billy Lee Tillery, an eleven-year-old boy missing since 1994, has been identified at long last. He went missing from Oklahoma and his body was found just about 16 miles away. His parents now live in California, however, and as these two articles note, they can’t afford the $2,000 cost to have the body shipped there for burial. They are appealing for help.

UPDATE: A local funeral home in Oklahoma has offered their assistance: they’re shipping the remains to California, pro bono. Good for them!

Barbara Zakon dialogue

There’s a guy I know who wrote this great biography of a man who survived the worst Holocaust experience that I know of (and I’ve known a lot of them), only to kill himself decades later. We were talking online and I told him about Barbara Zakon who is, as far as I know, the only Holocaust survivor presently featured on the Charley Project.

My friend: Strange this missing persons business. I mean strange that people can disappear like that. Looking at Barbara Zakon’s medical condition, I see she is/was diabetic, which means she would not have survived more than a few months (assuming she is/was Type 1 diabetic) witout insulin shots. If she was Type 2, the likelihood is that a heart attack would have got her. But still strange that she could disappear like that, unless foul play comes into the equation. All missing persons are tragic, at least most, but this one, after what she went through, seems particularly tragic. I was quite moved when I read your link.

My reply: As for Barbara Zakon, what seems saddest of all to me is that she is so forgotten. The NYPD missing persons site is pathetic and rarely updated. It no longer profiles old cases like hers and, as you can see, there was little enough to begin with. Online, Barbara exists only on a few private sites like mine. Someone cared enough about her to report her missing, but it’s likely that whoever that was is dead. It’s just as likely that her actual casefile within the police department is either entirely missing or contains little more information than what I have on the Charley Project site. (You’d be surprised to find out how many of those old missing persons reports were simply lost or thrown away without being solved.) And, as you say, all for a woman who went through so much. Last night I found myself looking through Yad Vashem’s database of Shoah Victims’ Names at people named Zakon, wondering if any of them were Barbara’s relatives.

I’d love to find out I’m wrong and that someone who knew and loved Barbara is still out there looking for her. A husband, perhaps. More likely a child. I wish I had more info for her. Not even a DOB, though from her picture I’d guess she was in her fifties or early sixties when she disappeared. She’d have to have been at least that old to have survived a concentration camp.

Doug and Valerie Herrman plead not guilty to fraud

Doug and Valerie Herrman, the sorry excuses for parents of Adam Herrman (you know, the boy who supposedly ran away back in 1999 when he was 11, and his parents never reported him missing and it didn’t come out until late 2008, yeah, remember him?), have pleaded not guilty to fraud. Doug and Valerie had adopted Adam out of foster care when he was little. They collected over $50,000 in benefits such as adoption subsidies, etc., for Adam after he was no longer living in their home. Their attorney calls it a “technical violation.” Uh-huh, right. The trial is set for June.

Of course, Doug and Valerie are suspected of being guilty of far graver crimes than that. But right now, the Butler County District Attorney’s Office will take what it can get. The investigation into Adam’s disappearance has been quiet for awhile, but remains open and active.

I hope they dream about him every night.

Ahem, a brief announcement

I will no longer make updates to my casefiles that are solely height and weight alternatives provided by NamUs, unless these are substantial differences (i.e. 160 – 200 pounds, not 160 – 170 pounds). The reason being that there are so many of those alternatives in one-inch and ten-pound increments, and I suspect that whoever posts them is just trying to provide a greater range for John/Jane Doe matching purposes. Which is fine and dandy, but I’m swamped in case updates as it is.

Jana Morton article with more details about the suspect

I found this article about Jana Michelle Morton, who’s been missing two years this month. But it’s really more about the prime suspect in her disappearance, Robert Mitchell Foust. The man sounds like a monster.

I can think of a lot of questions to ask the parole or probation or whoever authorities in North Carolina. Foust was sentenced to forty years in prison for second-degree murder. He got out after serving just thirteen. Less than half. Does that sound right to you? No. But moving on, usually when people are released from custody before their sentences are up they are on some kind of parole or probation and if they get arrested again they get returned to prison. It says Foust got arrested many times for serious, violent offenses. And apparently no one cared, and he just kept getting slapped on the wrist and let out again and again.

Well, now he’s been sentenced to forty years AGAIN and they swear they really mean it this time, no, really, they’re honestly not gonna let him out till 2073. Well, they’re a little late.

Olisa Williams

I have been unable to go to my college classes these last two days because the weather, and hence the roads, have been so bad. I tried to make it yesterday, but the roads were like a skating rink. I wound up sliding into a ditch at 45 mph, missing a telephone pole by about half a foot. I’m lucky I wasn’t killed. I couldn’t get out of the ditch on my own and my brother had to come rescue me. I didn’t even go out today — the roads are a lot worse than they were yesterday. So I am staying in to write updates instead.

I noticed that the NCMEC has, in addition to adding a new (badly needed) AP to Olisa Williams‘s poster, changed her date of disappearance from February 8, 1983 to July 8, 1982. I have NO IDEA where the 1983 date came from, but back when the poster had that date the case always struck me as very suspicious. I mean: “She was taken from her father, as he slept on a park bench.” Nobody just randomly falls asleep on a park bench in Ann Arbor, Michigan in February. It is February now, and says it is presently 11 degrees in Ann Arbor — quite a typical temperature for this time of year. To fall asleep in that kind of cold is to freeze to death.

Mr. Williams’s falling asleep in on the park bench the middle of July makes a great deal more sense, though as you can see from Olisa’s casefile that’s probably not what happened either.

There’s a fair-to-middling chance that Olisa is alive today. Who knows, we could have another Carlina White story, someday. She would be thirty years old this year.

At long last. I have updated. And a ramble.

After a solid week, Charley has an update. Twenty updated cases. No added ones, no resolves — though certainly I’ve got plenty of both, they take too much energy.

By myself I reduced my morphine intake. I’m taking just one pill in the morning — 30 mgs — instead of one in the morning and one in the evening — 60 mgs. Since the pain does not bother me when I sleep, I can handle it. So far — it’s been just two days — I’ve been in a little more pain but have had a lot more energy. Hence today’s update. We shall see how things go.

I also read a collection of oral histories of old women from Montenegro today. That makes four countries covered for my around-the-world challenge in a week: Burkina Faso, Tuvalu, Moldova and Montenegro. And I’m working on Slovenia. I’m trying to find a better book for Moldova though. This was just a children’s picture book. But there isn’t a lot of choice for Moldova. Must keep looking.

As for Montenegro? Tragic place. They’ve got almost zero natural resources or arable land to begin with, so their people suffer much poverty and deprivation and always have, even now — it’s one of the poorest countries in Europe; there are places in Africa that are better off. Montenegro is also one of those geographically unlucky places: stuck smack between Italy and Austria and Turkey and Greece and so on, all those countries that are always at war with each other. Their armies have always been trampling poor Montenegro flat to get where they’re going, raping and pillaging as they pass through. The centenarians that gave the oral histories had every one lived through four or five such wars in their lives and lost sons, fathers, husbands etc. in all of them.

(Aside: on Monday I told someone — a nurse, that is, an EDUCATED person with a DEGREE — that I was reading a book about Burkina Faso and she said, “I don’t know who that is.” *facepalm*)

Lee Evans competent to stand trial

Lee Anthony Evans has been found competent to stand trial, according to this article from, oddly, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He’s charged in the “Clinton Avenue Five” murders of Randy Johnson, Michael McDowell, Melvin Pittman, Ernest Taylor and Alvin Turner, black teenagers who disappeared together in Newark, New Jersey back in 1978. Their bodies were never found and, if the prosecution theory is correct, are unfindable by now.