Due to this month’s blue funk/computer death problems, I missed two times where I was supposed to change my missing person of the week. But I have changed it today: Helga Charlet Smith, age 57, missing from Ellenton, Florida since Christmas Eve 2010. I only added her case back in December. I prefer to use cases I haven’t updated recently as my MP of the week (although my guidelines say anything I haven’t updated in three months is fair game). But Helga’s stepdaughter contacted me on Facebook and requested I profile her, so I obliged.
I’ve got nothing on her, alas. Her stepdaughter had some additional info, but not much.
Tammi Smith, who tried to illegally adopt seven-month-old Gabriel Johnson who’s been missing two and a half years, has been convicted of forgery and conspiracy to commit custodial interference in his case. (This was a few days ago but I just caught it; like I said, I’m behind.) She lied on a court document about Gabriel’s paternity because she knew the baby’s father, Logan McQueary, would not agree to the adoption. Smith faces up to three and three-quarters years in prison.
The big fish, however, is Gabriel’s mother Elizabeth Johnson, who is the last person known to have seen him and who had repeatedly threatened to kill him. She confessed his murder to a police officer but I think it got thrown out of evidence. Elizabeth is awaiting trial for custodial interference, kidnapping and child abuse.
Missing boy’s would-be adoptive mom convicted
Tammi Smith convicted in Baby Gabriel case
Tammi Smith convicted on multiple counts related to Baby Gabriel case
I have done almost no updates this month and I am sorry. A large part of the problem is this new computer. I had my bookmarks backed up of course but for some reason I cannot find the most recent backup and am having to suffice with older ones. Which means going through and deleting all the bookmarks I no longer need. And something went wrong in the Google Chrome installation, where the bookmarks didn’t work; I would delete a bookmark, but it wouldn’t show unless I closed the bookmarks folder and opened it again. I solved this by un-installing and re-installing Chrome. But there remains the problem of trying to sort out which bookmarks are current and which are not.
Apropos of nothing: I had a conversation about my website with a woman today who had the usual attitude of “if you marry a Middle Eastern man he will take your kids to some godforsaken sandy country and you will never see them again.” I told her that if there is any particular nationality American would-be parents should be aware of, it is the Japanese. Mexico is by far the biggest abduction destination, probably because of our proximity to it and the large number of Mexican immigrants, but at least you have a chance to get your kid back from there. Japan, last I checked, hasn’t even signed the Hague Treaty, and does not recognize the custodial rights of fathers.
After more than two weeks, I’ve finally updated again. Fifteen updated cases and five new ones, squeaked in just twenty minutes before midnight. I would have had time to add more new cases if it weren’t for Sky Metalwala, whose casefile took a longer time to write all by itself than an entire day’s updates usually do. (And who does his mother think she’s fooling, with that ludicrous story of hers?)
I have like a zillion resolved cases but didn’t have time to do those today. Next time. (I would say “tomorrow” but don’t want to push my luck.)
To the surprise of no one, Steve Powell, father-in-law of the missing Susan, has been found guilty of thirteen counts of voyeurism. In spite of defense attempts to create reasonable doubt, one juror said the prosecution “just presented a better case.”
Powell is scheduled to be sentenced June 15. He faces a maximum of five years in prison for each of the 14 counts.
Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said his office will seek an exceptional sentence based on the large number of convictions (14). If the judge allows that, Powell faces a sentence of up to 10 years.
It is not clear whether Powell could serve consecutive sentences for each count, which could amount to a 70 year sentence. This is his first criminal conviction.
Steve Powell’s legal troubles may not be over
Jury finds Steven Powell guilty on all voyeurism counts
Steven Powell guilty on 14 counts of voyeurism
Susan Powell looms over Wash. voyeurism conviction
Steven Powell’s daughter defends family on website, video
Susan Powell Home Videos Show Her With Josh, Steven Powell Before Disappearance
Steve Powell Convicted of 14 Counts Voyeurism but Still Won’t Speak on Disappearance of his Daughter-in-law
I really did plan to update Tuesday, but stuff intervened.
I’ve been feeling really down lately, for a lot of reasons, many of which I can do nothing about. Again I quote from Emil Dorian’s diary:
The fatigue I’ve gathered year after year and stored inside now heaves a muted cry of helplessness. Nothing but fatigue, rounding my shoulders, heavier than ever on this late autumn day with a useless sun, a world of unforgiving disasters. So many struggles and tragedies, so much sorrow and egotism in this dark, in this rotting century of hate.
This too shall pass, however.
Years ago I read a young adult novel called Swallowing Stones. The novel was okay, nothing special, but contained a really awesome metaphor: the protagonist had been a lifeguard at a swimming pond one summer, and there was a girl who was diving for stones in the pond, putting them in her mouth so she could use both arms to swim. And she wound up choking on a stone and dying. The protagonist had to bring her body up to the surface. He later wondered: Why didn’t she just swallow the stone? It would have hurt but she would have lived.
I’ve had a lot of stones to swallow lately. I’m trying to stop them getting bigger and choking me.
*wanders off to take a nap or something*
I spent last week, and the week before that, sulking. Then the computer went up in smoke and I got a new one and had to set it up and everything. (Oh, and play the old Oregon Trail game that I just rediscovered.) But I promise you, I will update today. And get back on to regular updates again. Pinky swear.
And, in the meantime, some international MP news:
They’ve opened up a mobster’s tomb looking for the remains of Emanuela Orlandi, a teenager who was kidnapped from the Vatican City in 1981. (The mobster was killed in 1990.) Her disappearance is all spooky and mysterious: “Various theories have tied the presumed kidnapping to intrigue involving the Italian secret services, organized crime, even the attempt to assassinate John Paul II — or possibly all three.” Though what organized crime, the Italian secret service, etc., would want with a fifteen-year-old girl is a mystery to me.
A dumbass travel agency used a photo of Madeleine McCann in an ad. Of course her parents are appalled and everyone else wonders how these people could be so tasteless. More to the point, I wonder why on earth the ad people thought this would be appealing to potential customers. “Go to Europe! Visit beautiful resorts where children get kidnapped!”
They found Gerald Twibey, a man who disappeared from a British mental hospital in 1985. Actually, they found him back in 1985 in the River Colne, but he’s been unidentified all this time and lying in a pauper’s grave. Now (although the DNA tests were inconclusive) they’re pretty sure the dead body is Gerald, sure enough to return the remains to his family. Some funeral home did the service for no charge. Nice of them.
A body found in Fox Lake in
Ontario Nova Scotia, Canada has been identified as Ray Peter O’Connell, a 32-year-old who had been missing for almost eight years. The cause of death hasn’t been determined but it isn’t being treated as suspicious.
I got an email that just said: “this is not true about [one of my missing people].” That’s all.
The subject line was “Schelly” and I can’t figure where that came from. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the case the writer is referring to — the MP’s name isn’t Schelly and no one by that name is mentioned in the casefile. And the writer is apparently some guy named Joseph.
Um, what’s not true? Would you mind elaborating, kind sir? I can’t fix a mistake if you don’t tell me what it is.
As I have groused about before, it seems like nobody ever reads my FAQ and I get a lot of emails from people who have the wrong idea about me and what the Charley Project is and what it does. This is a waste of their time and mine.
An idea has occurred to me: maybe, I could put my contact email address on the FAQ page, at the BOTTOM of the page, and nowhere else on the website. Perhaps this would get people to actually learn a little about the Charley Project before they sent me their misinformed messages.
Or perhaps they would wind up just quickly scrolling to the bottom of the page, get my contact info and not read the rest.
My laptop fried today. Literally. The battery had been refusing to hold a charge these past few days, and the plug was loose inside its socket, and I was trying to tape it into place because the computer wouldn’t work otherwise — there was 0% battery, and the plug kept coming undone if you so much as breathed on it, and then the computer would turn off. I went away to get more tape and came back and the computer had turned off again and there was a puff of blue smoke (or, perhaps, the soul, going up to Computer Heaven).
I took it to Best Buy and they said the motherboard was dead but the hard drive was okay. The computer was almost three years old — I got it in late May 2009, just before my ill-fated trip to Washington DC — and I figure it just died of old age. I got a new laptop. Michael will help me transfer stuff off my old hard drive tomorrow.