People who disappeared on Robert Cormier’s birthday

Presenting…people who disappeared on the birthday of my great literary idol, Robert Cormier. In addition to being a terrific writer, he was also the kindest man I ever knew, and at one time basically the only responsible adult who was involved in my life. He was born on January 17, 1925 and died on November 2, 2000.

Andrew Lee Muns, age 24, the Philippines, 1968 (he was an American soldier sailor)
Richard William Griener, age 13, Illinois, 1972
Alexander Robert Masters, age 55, California, 1977
Elisabeth Martinson, age 21, California, 1982
Barbara Jean Pauley Hunt, age 21, Virginia, 1985
Sandra Nevarez, age 41, California, 1995
Daniel Bradley Carver, age 15, California, 1997
Peggy Anne Sweeten, age 41, Oklahoma, 1998
James Arthur Thomas Jr., age 25, New York, 2000
Barbara Holmes, age 41, Missouri, 2001
Douglas Perry Plummer, age 20, Utah, 2001
Alexandra Marie Flores, age 4, California, 2002
John Nelo Sansone, age 35, North Carolina, 2004
Christopher Gale, age 40, California, 2005
Darlene Ann Wallace, age 35, Colorado, 2005
Nataly Grace Aguilar, age 5, North Carolina, 2010

People who disappeared on my birthday

I’m in a list-making mood tonight. So…presenting: people who disappeared on my birthday, October 5.

Colleen Vanita Simpson, age 14, Iowa, 1975
Daniel A. Naylor, age 14, California, 1982
Babette Nadine Alberti, age 23, Louisiana, 1983
Michelle Doherty Thomas, age 17, Texas, 1985 (my birthDATE!)
James Jamison, age 75, Iowa, 1987
Amanda Marie Rivera, age 14, California, 1990
Zeta D. Gordon, age 43, Kansas, 1992
Barry Paul Duncan, age 38, Arizona, 1994
Kenneth W. Harker, age 34, Iowa, 1996
Ronald W. Farrell, age 62, California, 1999
Andrea Michelle Reyes, age 1, Connecticut, 1999
Tristen Alan Myers, age 4, North Carolina, 2000
Eric M. Apatiki, age 21, Alaska, 2004
Janita Gay Sites, age 60, Nevada, 2005
Christie L. Wilson, age 27, California, 2005
Uvala Moises Anaya, age 64, Colorado, 2007
Eric Lawrence Brown, age 23, Arizona, 2009

Charley Project mentioned in a news article again

This happens on a semi-regular basis and it’s not such a big deal anymore, but it always pleases me nevertheless. Particularly when the article doesn’t incorrectly refer to my site as “an organization” or say it “solves” or “tries to solve” MP cases or claims my site profiles “missing children.” This happens more often than not and it’s completely untrue, and a glance at my FAQ page, or for that matter the second sentence at the very top of the frontpage (“It does not actively investigate cases; it is merely a publicity vehicle…”) would show this, but good journalism, if it ever existed in the first place, seems to be long dead. (Lookin’ at you, Fox News.) One person does not an organization make, my site profiles people of all ages, and I’ve never attempted to solve a case. I’m not interested even in trying to match MPs with unidentified bodies. I only catalog missing people’s cases in hopes that this will help other people do the solving. For me, the important thing is the story.

I think I’ve said this before: I view Charley as a memorial website as much as anything. Many of the people listed on my website are dead. Many of them will never be found. But they existed once and had people who loved them, and I want everyone to know that and to know as much as possible about who they once were. That’s why I put in things like where the MP went to college, how many kids they had, what their hobbies were, even if those things have no bearing on how they went missing. I think it shows that they are/were a person with hopes and dreams and a favorite flavor of ice cream and all that, not just a name and photo on a poster.

But I digress. Charley has been quoted, and linked to, in this Concord, New Hampshire Patch article about Judith Ann Chartier, an attractive seventeen-year-old brunette who disappeared from Chelmsford, Massachusetts thirty years ago this June:

According to the Charley Project, the U.S. Secret Service was investigating a man named James Mitchell DeBardeleben for counterfeiting when they discovered he may have been connected to a number of murders. The U.S. Secret Service searched DeBardeleben’s car and found a map of the Chelmsford region where Chartier disappeared, and a receipt for a motel dated June 4, 1982 – the night before Judy disappeared. According to the Charley Project, however, “the leads never panned out.”

The reporter interviewed Judy’s brother Joe, and the article provides some more information about her disappearance. She was apparently going through a bit of a rebellious phase and hanging out with the wrong crowd, and had possibly gotten into criminal activity — Joe thinks she was being used as a drug mule, perhaps without her knowledge. He believes his sister was murdered but still hopes her case can be solved. He said she wouldn’t have run away, and if she had she wouldn’t have gone for this long without getting in touch with her family. She was very close to Joe and to their mother. Joe and Judy’s parents are both dead now, and no other siblings are mentioned.

I had a reasonable amount of info about Judy Chartier before, but I hadn’t found any news articles or anything about her in a long time. I haven’t updated her case in two years (if you don’t already know, you can look at the very bottom of a casefile to find out when I updated last and what was the update), and the last update was just a new AP. I’m glad I can put up this additional information now.

Update on my life

For y’all who are curious as to how I am doing. In a word, excellent:

I am feeling remarkably cheerful at the moment, better than I have in a long time. I’m making great progress in my psychotherapy and have had a few heart-to-heart talks with my dad, saying things that I ought to have said a long time ago. I’ve stopped brooding so much over problems I’ve had in the past and bad things that have happened to me. I’m learning more social skills. Michael and I are getting along well. And my head almost never hurts anymore, which is worth as much as all the aforementioned things put together. I don’t know if the Cleveland Clinic worked some kind of magic and cured me (which they said they could not do) or whether the headache just ran out of gas or what. I don’t even care, as long as it stays gone.

I don’t feel depressed at all anymore. I think it’s mostly the medication, especially the Depakote I started taking in June. I turned out I have a mild form of bipolar which had been undiagnosed for years. The result was that every week or two, for a few hours or a few days, I’d plunge into suicidal despair for no apparent reason (sometimes I’d just burst out screaming and crying in public, saying I wanted to die, unable to stop myself; it was very embarrassing), then come out of it just as inexplicably, and then go around talking too fast and being way too enthusiastic about random things and generally creeping people out. I had just tried to deal with it and figured it was depression, or maybe just part of my personality. But then I started taking the Depakote and, almost instantly, all that went away. I’m so glad. The mood swings were exhausting to me and my loved ones. Michael said he never knew what person I would be when he came home from work at night. I still take two anti-depressants though, cause depression has always been my primary problem. That’s why I say I have “depression/bipolar.”

I’ve been reading less, only about half as much as last year. This bothers me a bit, since there are so many good books out there that I want to finish. (Number of books on current to-read list: 697.) But I think it’s actually a sign of progress. The primary reason for my reading so much was to distract myself from severe pain, depression or personal problems. I’d leap frantically from book to book to book to book as if they were boulders above a terrible lethal rapids I was trying to cross. Now, I don’t read as much because I don’t need to distract myself anymore. I have fewer problems and have developed better coping skills.

I’ve also just started my college classes again, chasing after that ever-elusive degree, after giving my studies a break for almost a year due to my health problems. This makes Michael and my parents happy.

Terry Rouse’s cousin charged with his murder

Craig Lester Thrift, the cousin of Terry Eugene Rouse, has been charged with his murder. Terry disappeared from Waycross, Georgia in May 1991, when he was 24. The two men, in addition to being kin, were coworkers and best friends.

Thrift had apparently been a suspect since the beginning, but the cops never found enough evidence to charge him until now. Terry’s body hasn’t been found, though. During the investigation, the police searched Thrift’s house and found pot and guns, which resulted in charges against him. Several witnesses said he’d told them he’d shot Terry to death.

More on Dwight Stallings

I wrote about Dwight Stallings on Sunday. The eleven-month-old has been missing for over a year and the cops just found out about it, and his mom, Tanisha Edwards (the last person known to have cared for him, now in jail on unrelated charges), has not been terribly helpful in locating him. It’s an all too familiar story. Well, I found this article with more details on the case.

According to new information from the Sheriff’s Department, Edwards’ accounts have included the following: That the baby grew sick and died at an unknown hospital; that the baby was with relatives she wouldn’t identify; that the baby was with black Muslim women she didn’t identify; and that the baby was taken by two men dressed in black.

[…]

Among her conflicting statements to detectives, Edwards has said she had no way of contacting the people who she gave her son to and that she kept communication minimal to protect herself, according to the Sheriff’s Department. She said two women had been calling her cell phone with updates on the child until December, when they stopped contact.

Sure. Whatever, Tanisha. It’s your own grave you’re digging.

UPDATE: He is now on NCMEC.

Anniversary article on Taj Narbonne case

Nine-year-old Taj Narbonne disappeared from Leominster, Massachusetts (my idol Robert Cormier’s hometown, incidentally) thirty-one years ago on March 31. I’ve had a lot of contradictory information on this disappearance, but the primary suspect is his then-stepfather, who was violent and seemed to detest the child. His stepfather is now in a state mental hospital. Recently the cops found some photos that resembled Taj, but the FBI said they weren’t a match.

I found this article about the ongoing investigation into Taj’s disappearance. The article needs a bit of editing: they say “After pouring over reports and accounts of what happened that night, Aubuchon said a few things struck him that lead to Dean being a person of interest” and then go on about Dean, without saying he was Clarence Dean, Taj’s stepfather. They also fail to identify “Annette” as Annette Dean, Taj’s mom.

Springtime, when the crazies come out of their dens

An email today, which I quote in its entirety:

So let’s recap. While the overpaid police union SCUM were throwing pot and sex parties on someone else’s property in accordance with their “liberaltarianism politics” (used as an excuse) and harassing
(for example “the panty raid” where I got stuck with the ticket even though the accuser didn’t show up and the “fleeing and eluding” where I somehow managed to collect a signed ticket (two weeks after the other one and seconds before I decided to take the great $2500 legal advice of “Get out of town )and then make a magical “escape” from the entire Whitehall PA Police Department)
the ONE supervising PERSON who spoke out against the “skinnydipping” at Camp Good News whose pedophile and porno addicted doctors and Camp Directors later contacted Robert Wood and wrote his trailer trash sermons for him (just before the Sara Wood Kidnapping), Camp Director Chuck DeVita was spending as many as 20 years groping pre-adolescent boys AND working as a teacher in Upstate NY …AND Ernie Milnes (later convicted as a Tier 3 Sex Offender) had free roam of the countryside.

I don’t suppose the general public will ever see the news because the most important “thing” is that the overpaid, inbred, lazy stupid racist pig animal police union scum don’t get publicly (and widely) “reformed”.

Oh-kay. *backs away slowly*

Read Missing 411 book

This book was not what I expected. David Paulides recorded many cases I had never heard of, some of them going back a century or more. Some of those people are not listed with law enforcement or on missing persons databases anywhere. Many of his stories were remarkably creepy and made me want to never go anywhere near a national park again. I mean, I’ve gone on hiking trips in national parks in both the U.S. and Canada and nothing terrible happened, but…dang.

What was creepy about the book was not so much the stories about people who disappeared forever — after all, I read and write about missing people every day — but about people, mostly children, who disappeared and then were found in places where they should not, could not, be. Mind you, many of the adult disappearances were creepy too, but it was the children that struck me: small children and toddlers vanishing from campsites, etc., and turning up far outside the search grid, miles away and thousands of feet uphill. In one case, a kid turned up twelve miles away, nineteen hours after he disappeared, with numerous fences and creeks and two mountains between him and the place he’d disappeared from. Many adults could not have walked that far over that kind of terrain in that amount of time. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. This boy was two.

The children were often naked or semi-naked when found (but none of their missing clothes were ever located) and sometimes they were covered in scratches but sometimes they didn’t have a scratch on them. If they were dead the cause of death was generally given as exposure, dehydration etc. If they were alive they were often in remarkably good shape for the time they’d been missing and either couldn’t remember any of it, or told some very strange stories.

Obviously, it would be difficult if not impossible for a two-year-old or whatever to walk for miles and climb thousands of feet up steep mountainsides in rugged wilderness areas. It also defies logic: lost children tend to travel downhill, that being the path of least resistance, and if they’re old enough they also realize civilization is likely to be in that direction. Furthermore, if by some miracle a child was able to travel that far undetected, you’d think they would have considerable scratches, scrapes etc. on them. This was often not the case. Some of the children were barefoot when they disappeared and barefoot when they were located, but their feet were in good condition, not like you’d expect from someone who’d walked all that way in the woods or mountains or desert. The implication is that these children were carried to wherever they were found.

Undoubtedly some of these cases, both deaths and disappearances, must be foul play, abductions. In fact, both Thomas Bowman and Bruce Kremen, two of the people profiled in the book, are presumed victims of the serial killer Mack Ray Edwards, a fact Paulides fails to mention (an odd omission on his part, IMHO). It’s equally likely that at least a few of the disappearances and deaths are suicides. But certainly those theories cannot explain all of them.

When Paulides wrote about Michelle Vanek, an adult woman who vanished without a trace during a mountain climbing trip (and whose disappearance is much creepier than I realized), he carefully discusses and then rules out foul play at the hands of her climbing partner, natural causes, or even the idea that she’s still on the mountain somewhere — he says tracker dogs couldn’t pick up a scent, the mountain had no trees and it was “saturated with searchers” as well as helicopters. No one ever found a trace of her, not even one of her ski poles. Paulides concludes, “Something catastrophic happened to Michelle Vanek, something that none of us could have probably survived.” I’m in agreement there…but what was the “catastrophe” that happened?

The book is sold by the North American Bigfoot Search website and the author has written books about Bigfoot, so I figured he would implicate Bigfoot in some of the disappearances. Although he never actually says “Bigfoot” he does imply it on several occasions. Bigfoot or some other unknown wild creature. (He discusses known wild creatures, bears and stuff, but says their behavior would not lead to these kind of events.) Or something else, something paranormal, evil — something that seems to be hunting people. And, if everything he writes in this book is accurate, I can’t say he’s wrong.

Equally disturbing is the National Park Service’s attitude about people missing on their land. They do not keep adequate records of disappearances and don’t even have any list of all the people that vanished and are still missing from their parks. Paulides claims they blocked most of his efforts to research his book and told him they’d do the research themselves, if he paid them $37k $35k. He also believes they’re too quick to write off an MP as dead — perhaps, he says, it’s so they can close the case and forget about it. And if a person turns up, even under bizarre circumstances (like the two-year-old marathoner I mentioned above), there is no further investigation. The two-year-old was pretty much dusted off and handed back to his parents.

I understand the NPS is not a law enforcement agency, but their refusal to even keep a list of people who have gone missing seems quite negligent. I understand they don’t want to scare people away from visiting the parks, but they ought to be equally concerned about visitor safety.

This book has given me a lot to think about. And it will be a rich source for Charley updates, since he writes about scores of my cases.