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*

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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.

Mariam Makhniashvili’s funeral

The funeral for Mariam Makhniashvili has taken place — a public ceremony on Friday, and a private one yesterday. Although she wasn’t a Charley Project case because she disappeared in Canada, I did follow it to a certain extent and blogged about her in my March 11 entry “Final Leaps.”

Mariam’s disappearance (now presumed to be a suicide, although not officially ruled as such) tore her family apart. Literally. Some months after she vanished, her father, Vakhtang, snapped under the pressure of it all and stabbed a guy whom he accused of being involved in Mariam’s disappearance. A sympathetic couple, strangers to the Makhniashvili family, bailed Vakhtang out of jail. He later stabbed one of them too. Of course this violent behavior lead to speculation that Vakhtang had also harmed his daughter. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to six years in prison. He isn’t dead, of course, but at least until he gets out of prison the family has to all intents been reduced by half: now it’s just Mariam’s younger brother, George Makhniashvili, and their mother, Lela Tabidze.

Vakhtang has reportedly behaved well in prison, but he was not allowed leave from prison to attend his daughter’s funeral. The decision was “partially based on Mr. Makhniashvili’s court-ordered psychiatric assessment.” He has a “delusional disorder” and I guess they think he’s (still) dangerous.

I can understand the authorities not wanting to take a risk with Vakhtang, but it’s still a shame that he couldn’t attend. The Makhniashvilis are immigrants from the Republic of Georgia and I don’t think they have any relatives in Ontario. They had been living in Canada for only three months. Mariam was shy, had no friends, spoke no English, and had attended school for all of four days by the time of her disappearance. Of course some of the teachers and students from her school showed up at the funeral and said nice things — the principal called Mariam “a wonderful student, a person who was highly introspective and highly sensitive and very intuitive” — but let’s face it, they didn’t know her.

In a sense, every grieving person is alone in their sorrow, but Lela Tabidze and George Makhniashvili must feel especially alone, surrounded by all these kind well-wishers, but no one who actually knew Mariam and could share memories of her childhood, her personality, all that she was.

Open for discussion

This five-page article: Are child porn laws unfair? Viewers’ sentences can be worse than molesters’

I want to hear your views on this matter! Tell me in the comments section. Discuss this among yourselves for my entertainment.

SEMI GROSS CONFESSION AND A RATHER DISTURBING IDEA AHEAD: DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T GO FOR THAT SORT OF THING. BUT THEN WHY ARE YOUR READING THIS BLOG?

Here’s another, related topic for discussion:

When I was thirteen or fourteen or so, my dad had just got a scanner, and one afternoon I was alone at home and I got a little silly and actually scanned my private parts just to see what it would look like. (The answer: absolutely nothing like a woman’s private parts.) I do not possess the jpg file anymore, but suppose I did? You could make a good case that such an image constituted child pornography. If I did still have the image, would it make sense for the state to prosecute me for possessing child pornography of myself?

I think this is an issue that will come up in court sooner or later. I can’t have been the first minor to take naughty pictures of herself. Suppose a man was arrested for possession of nude, sexually suggestive photographs of a boy (probably in his teens, but definitely underage). Should he get acquitted if he is able to prove that the images are of himself, taken by him in the mirror or something, long ago?

What do y’all think?

END OF DISGUSTING CONFESSION AND DISTURBING IDEA. WE NOW RESUME ABNORMAL PROGRAMMING.

The very sad case of little Dwight Stallings

Alas, another not-reported-for-ages missing child: Dwight Stallings, age 11 months, whom I will probably be adding to Charley tomorrow. He was last seen in April of last year and it wasn’t until now that the police listed him as missing.

Little Dwight’s mother, Tanisha Edwards, lead a “transient lifestyle” and had “regular contacts” with both the police and Child Protective Services. Her mother had custody of two of her other children. Relatives last saw Dwight sometime in April 2011. Four times between April and August, CPS attempted to check on his welfare, but each time they went to Tanisha’s apartment she wasn’t home. She kept having her “contacts” with the police and at no time did they ever see a little boy with her.

For some reason CPS didn’t tell the police that Dwight had dropped out of sight. Maybe it was confidentiality laws, I don’t know. But this month, CPS did get a court order to make Tanisha produce Dwight so they could verify that she was okay. The police went to her apartment to serve the papers and found her under the influence, which gave them the excuse to arrest her for probation violation. There was no sign of Dwight anywhere and Tanisha has given many stories that contradict each other and are “literally all over the map.”

The cops are “aggressively seeking his whereabouts.” But they seem to have no idea where this baby is. He’d be almost two years old now, if he’s alive.

Qua’mere Rogers. Peter Kema. Adam Herrman. Edward Bryant and Austin Bryant. Brittany Williams. Rilya Wilson. Aarone Thompson. Rene Romero. Etc etc etc. So many children. So many. And now one more. How many children in the US are missing right now, but nobody knows about them, because nobody bothered to report it?

Investigators are hoping against hope that Dwight is alive. He could be, I guess. He might be living somewhere under another name. Tanisha could have given him away, or sold him. (Frankly, he’s probably better off without her in any case.) But already the police are like “there’s a good chance he’s dead” and “this could turn into a homicide investigation.”

Articles:
KCRA 3
CBS Sacramento
ABC News 10
Fox 40

Grab your torches and pitchforks, everybody. I’ve had enough of everything.

Article about MPs from Alaska: and, my take on each of them

I found this three-page article about missing persons in Alaska. It talks about MPs in general, and in particular Scott and Amy Fandel, Megan Emerick and John Wipert. There are presently 78 missing persons profiled on Alaska’s Department of Safety website. Most of those are on Charley too. The woman from Alaska who was in the I-Match program with me, I asked her about Alaskan disappearances and she said people there vanish all the time. Not only are the climate and terrain rather rough (to say the least), but there are high rates of crime, alcohol and depression.

The Fandel children are probably the most famous missing persons case in Alaskan history. There’s been speculation that Amy’s biological father, Roger, had something to do with it. Roger wasn’t Scott’s father, but he had raised him since Scott was two years old. He and the children’s mother were in the process of a divorce, I guess; Roger had left Margaret in January 1978 and moved to Arizona. He was considered a suspect for years, but the police don’t seem to think he was involved anymore. I’m not sure if he is still alive.

My own theory is that the children were victims of a random or semi-random predator. Perhaps a pedophile saw Amy at the restaurant that evening and decided he wanted to hurt her. He could have followed the family back to their house, then lay in wait until the children were alone. Scott might have gotten in the way and been injured or killed in the abduction attempt, or perhaps he was the abductor’s target instead of Amy. From the photo, and his size — less than five feet tall — it seems like he would have looked younger than his age. It’s just a hypothesis, but it seems to make as much sense as anything else.

Megan Emerick is a bit of a tough call. The police think she could have been a victim of Robert Hansen, a serial killer who murdered at least 17 young women and was sentenced to 461 years in prison for his crimes. But, although he confessed to the 17 homicides, he said he didn’t have anything to do with Megan’s disappearance. Also, I don’t know if the cops have any actual evidence against him for Megan, other than the fact that she fits the profile. I’m a bit leery of just assuming a missing person was killed by a serial killer just because the MP fit the profile and the killer was operating in that area at the time. As was pointed out in my comments section, for decades the police thought Katherine Merry Devine had been killed by Ted Bundy, although he always denied it. DNA testing eventually proved she was murdered by William E. Cosden.

Megan COULD have been one of Robert Hansen’s victims. She could also have run away, although that doesn’t make much sense; not only did she leave all her stuff behind, but she was already living away from home by the time of her disappearance, living in student housing at a tech school. So it’s not like she would have had to run away to escape curfews or some other form of parental oppression. It also seems unlikely that Alaska ate her, as it tends to do with hikers, mountain climbers etc. on a regular basis. Seward, the town she disappeared from, is in southern Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula, and it’s relatively settled. Hardly a tropical paradise, but it’s not some teeny fishing village about the Arctic Circle, a hundred miles north of anywhere. And for what it’s worth, Megan also disappeared in midsummer. So…I am out of ideas.

As for John Wipert, the cause of his disappearance is pretty obvious: he was taking care of someone else’s lodge all by himself in the summer of 2009, and at some point in June he left, taking two horses and leaving a note saying he was going to “check the cabin” and be back “tomorrow night.” Problem was, there wasn’t any cabin, or much of anything, within a day’s ride of the lodge. Wipert left all his clothes behind, and left the lodge unattended. The remaining horse had nearly died of starvation and dehydration by the time the owner showed up in July. There was rotting food on the counter and in the sink, and some odd vandalism. The usual extensive search turned up no sign of man or beasts. The authorities had a very cold trail; Wipert had been missing for about three weeks or maybe longer before his disappearance was even noticed.

Authorities don’t seem to think Wipert stole the horses and made off somewhere, at least not deliberately. One theory is that he kind of went crazy from the isolation (living for months in that kind of isolation will try anyone’s soul) and left the lodge for reasons only he could understand. There were some indications that he didn’t plan on being gone long. Possibly he was trying to get to Canada; the border was about 35 miles away. Since he didn’t have his clothes, wasn’t familiar with the area and probably didn’t have any survival skills or equipment, chances are he didn’t last long.