As if I don’t have enough pending updates to do already I was looking for possible MP updates on online databases of prison inmates today. (Florida’s is particularly good.) I found one for Genevieve Munoz, an eighteen-year-old high school senior who disappeared from Biloxi, Mississippi June 1994, leaving behind a three-month-old son. In 2009, the father of her baby was convicted of killing her. He was barely eighteen years old at the time, actually slightly younger than Genevieve, but he already had two other kids by another woman.

According to his entry with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the murderer’s name is spelled Micheal, not Michael as I’d thought. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison, not fifteen as I have in Genevieve’s casefile. And…he’s up for release in 2014. After serving a whopping five years of his twenty-year sentence! He admits he either shot or stabbed that poor girl, the mother of his baby son. He supposedly threw her body away like so much trash.

I hope that “tentative release date” stays “tentative” and he does not, in fact, get paroled in 2014. Twenty years was little enough as it was. Five is a farce.

Well-established precedents

When Jennifer Marra gave me control of the MPCCN, the Charley Project’s predecessor, in December 2002, I started out adding and updating cases in pretty much the exact same way she did. And, over the years (almost a decade now…whoa) I have made very few changes to her methods. Because Jenni really knew her stuff. She was a former journalist, knew how to research and write well, and the MPCCN was the best missing persons website that was available at that time. I (and by extension, you) owe a great debt to her. I picked up the reins, but I could never have started what she did. The Charley Project would not exist without Jennifer Marra. If I had actually started my own missing persons website, it would never have gotten as big, or as good.

I have made some changes, of course. I stopped italicizing car brand names, although I still put other brand names in italics. I add many more runaways and family abduction cases than she did — that’s probably my biggest change. The idea to put up case listings organized by state, by date of disappearance and alphabetically by name was also my own innovation.

Anyway, I’m thinking of making another change: start referring to MPs by their first names, at least sometimes, like with children. I am doing updates on the Dwight Stallings case as I write this and it just seems silly to keep referring to an eleven-month-old boy as “Stallings.” I think I might just start doing that. But in a quiet way — I’m not going to spend months going back and changing all the casefiles to look that way. I don’t have the time and I don’t think it’s important enough for that. I’ll just change them a I add/update them. Whaddaya think?

(For some reason Charley isn’t loading for me right now, which is very annoying when I’m trying to update. But I suppose it’ll come back up soon enough. Lizard Hill is a very reliable host.)

Is anyone surprised at this newly released evidence?

The world’s a-buzz about the blood found in Susan Powell‘s home. Oh, and the “last will and testament” she left, saying if she appeared to have died in an accident, to look closer because it probably wasn’t one. And the fact that her son was, only weeks after her disappearance, saying “My mom’s dead.”

I found this blistering editorial from a prosecutor basically saying she would have prosecuted long ago, and she had been saying that for ages, and the investigators in the Powell case were too scared to make a move. And now an entire family is dead.

Now, for the multi-million dollar question: Who or what agency is accountable for clearly botching the investigation and indirectly causing the murders of two innocent children? What will be learned from this case that has played out in the national media since 2009? At the very least, training of our nation’s police investigators must be held to a higher standard, they must be brought up to date on all of the latest technological tools and practices to properly equip themselves to handle investigations of intimate partner violence cases.

The next victim is in her home living in fear, about to be reported missing and ultimately murdered.

Well said. Certainly we should at least use this series of tragedies as a learning experience.

I hear about people like Josh and Susan and feel very lucky I have Michael. Someone who would never hurt me, who would fight to the death to defend me. Because abusive relationships are so common; probably more women have had an abusive partner at some time than not. You never know what goes on inside the walls of people’s homes.

It’s manifestly too late to prosecute Josh Powell for his crimes. But it’s not too late to find Susan and bring her to rest next to her children. It’s not too late to stop the next spousal murder from happening.

Where are you, Susan?

Seventy years ago today

Okay, here’s my contribution to April Fool’s Day: last year’s Executed Today entry. On April 1, 1942, the Nazis wanted a certain gentleman by the name of Hersh Smolar, who was hiding in the Minsk Ghetto. He’d been in charge of the resistance movement within the ghetto and had caused some serious annoyance. So the Nazis wanted to make an example of him and were prepared to kill anyone who stood in the way of their goal.

The Judenrat, however, remembered the Biblical story of Joseph and adapted it to modern times: they made up a passport for Smolar, smeared it with blood and took it to the Gestapo. They said they must have gotten him in a random shooting because the passport had been found on a body at the cemetery — a body that was so mutilated as to be completely unrecognizable, so the Germans needn’t bother looking at it.

And the Germans ACTUALLY BOUGHT THIS. Way to go, superior Aryan race!

Hersh Smolar lived to the ripe age of 88.