Two resolves: one happy, one not

These two girls are still on the Charley Project, but not for long; next time I update (probably tonight) I’m taking them off.

Katiana Rose Resovich, a seven-year-old girl, was abducted by her mother from Antioch, California back in August 2001. She and her mother, Robin, were located a few days ago when they flew into Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. from Madrid, Spain. Customs officials realized Robin was wanted for kidnapping and placed her under arrest:

“Parental kidnapping is a serious offense that deprives a person of their parental rights. Regardless of the circumstances in this arrest warrant, Mrs. Resovich is a wanted person and Customs and Border Protection officers are duty bound to return fugitives to justice when we encounter them at our nation’s ports of entry,” said Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington.

Katiana is now 18 years old. No word as to whether she will be reunited with her searching father. Since she’s now an adult, they can’t force her to meet him, and family abductors often alienate the child against the searching parent so, by the time the kid is found, he or she doesn’t want anything to do with the searching parent.

Unlike with Katiana, the location of Nancy Jo Scamurra is little cause for celebration. The fourteen-year-old girl was last seen when she left her Amherst, New York home angry after she got into an argument with one of her brothers. This was way back in July 1984. Less than two weeks later, her torso was found by fishermen in Lake Ontario in Oswego County, New York. (You can see a 1984 article about finding here.) The head, arms and legs were never located. Obviously the condition of the remains made it very difficult to identify the body; the police could only determine that it was a white female under 40, and 5’6 or shorter.

But the authorities didn’t give up. DNA technology (which has, needless to say, proven to be such a blessing for families of the missing and crime victims) finally identified the body as Nancy this month. It proved too late for Nancy’s mother, who died years ago after a protracted battle with cancer, still hoping her daughter would turn up. Her four older brothers and her father are still alive, and her father still lives in the house where Nancy lived when she vanished. None of them have made any statements in the press.

Now the quest is on to determine who determine who murdered, decapitated and dismembered this poor girl and dumped her body in the lake like it was trash. R.I.P., Nancy. I hope they can bury you next to your mother.

The False Margaret

Another ET entry from me: The False Margaret, a 14th-century pretender to the Norwegian throne. We don’t know what her real name was, or what time of the year she did. Just the year of her death, 1301, and the fact that she pretended to be the long-dead Maid of Norway all grown up.

She was burned at the stake.

The site still has the stupid “malware detected” warning. Ignore it. Executed Today has been malware-free for like a week at least.

Hans Reiser loses civil suit in his wife’s death

Back in 2006, there was the quite scandalous disappearance of Nina Reiser, a beautiful Russian woman in California who vanished while in the middle of a nasty divorce from her husband Hans, a wealthy computer programmer who invented the ReiserFS file system. Hans was eventually convicted of first-degree murder (he got 25 years to life in prison), although he insisted she a conniving witch who had walked out on their kids and out of pure spite was deliberately trying to frame him for murder. There was a lot of mud-slinging and he accused her of abusing their children, etc. The authorities believe he murdered her while the kids were in the house, and their son might have unknowingly witnessed the body disposal. This article has a photo of Nina with the children.

Hans seriously did not do any favors for himself at the criminal trial. He irritated everyone. He’s apparently some kind of genius where computers are concerned, but as far as people go, the guy’s is just plain dumb. As one article put it, he delivered the “geek defense” and proceeded to slowly incriminate himself over the course of 11 days of testimony.

After the murder conviction, in 2008, Hans made a deal with prosecutors where, in exchange for reducing his conviction to second-degree murder (15 years to life in prison), he lead the authorities to Nina’s body. He said he strangled her during an argument. (Her resolved notice is on this page.) Even then, Hans was claiming Nina had abused their son and only went so far as to suggest that what he did MIGHT have been wrong.

Nina’s mother in Russia took custody of Hans and Nina’s two children, Rory and Niorlene, who are now 12 and 11 respectively. On their behalf, she sued Hans for wrongful death. When the suit went to trial this summer, Hans claimed he murdered Nina because she was abusing their kids and might have killed them:

He claims his wife was abusing the kids, that she had Factitious disorder by proxy – often referred to as Munchausen syndrome by proxy – where a caregiver harms or even kills someone they are in charge of in order to gain sympathy and attention. During the 2008 trial, Reiser alluded to that as well, accusing his wife of having the disease when she wanted to get their son surgery for severe hearing loss.

[…]

In his papers, he accuses the courts, the prison system, county children’s services, his trial attorneys and others of conspiring against him, during his murder trial and now in the civil case.

“There are extensive legal grounds under multiple arguments for defending an innocent child when the state will not, at the cost of a non-innocent party’s life,” Hans Reiser wrote.

I don’t know why Hans took this to trial, seeing as how he’d already pleaded guilty to killing Nina. Perhaps he knew he would lose and just wanted to take the opportunity to drag Nina’s name through the mud again. Perhaps he is just so clueless and such a narcissist that he thought, even after all that’s happened, he could somehow pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Well, it didn’t work: Hans has just been ordered to pay his kids $60 million.

This is even more than the plaintiffs had asked for: they requested $10 million in actual damages for each kid, an another $5 million in punitive damages — that is, $25 million altogether. The jury more than doubled it! From the article:

Reiser recited a litany of maladies he said his wife had, including a chemical imbalance caused by an increase in oxytocin and Munchausen by proxy syndrome, in which a parent makes up illnesses in children in order to gain sympathy from others. He also compared himself to Moses killing a slave master and hiding the body in the sand.

Authorities have said there was no evidence Nina Reiser had the disorder or had abused her children.

From the above quote, and the below one, it seems Hans hasn’t changed a bit since his murder trial four years ago.

Reiser did little to garner sympathy from jurors, especially the women on the panel who “quite frankly were like, ‘Screw you,’ ” as Reiser made clear his hatred for his wife.

Smith said that Rory and Niorline “were horribly damaged by this” and that the jury wanted to “make darn sure that the children were well taken care of, that they would have the psychological help that they needed for the rest of their life.”

This is probably going to be a purely symbolic verdict, because Hans claims, anyway, that he’s broke. Even if he does have some hidden assets — and he might — I doubt they add up to $60 million. Fortunately the kids are still in Russia and didn’t have to testify in the lawsuit or be present for the hearing. No amount of money, not even $60 million, will make up for what their father did to them and to their mother.

There was testimony about how the kids are doing now: about “as well as can be expected” I guess. They still live with their grandma in Russia and they’ve been in therapy. Hans, who acted as his own attorney (and remember, a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client), asked the witness, Ellen Doren, Nina’s best friend, about the children’s lives, how they were doing at school and stuff. The judge told him this was totally off topic and Hans got all teary-eyed and said he had no information about his children. Well, stuff it, Hans, that’s your own fault.

In spite of Hans’s plea bargain, I’m quite sure he’ll never be released. Parole boards are reluctant to release convicted murderers from prison in any case, and with the stuff Hans has been saying about Nina and the harm he is still inflicting on his children, and his obvious lack of remorse, he’s not ever going to convince anyone he’s rehabilitated.

Also: check out this editorial praising the Reiser children’s attorney, who acted pro bono in his case. The editorial very aptly describes Hans as “socially completely tone-deaf.”

Whew! *wipes forehead*

I got a notice saying my domain registration had expired. I had to hop to it and take care of this immediately because if I didn’t, I’m quite sure someone else would have bought the domain out from under me and charged me a fortune to get it back. There are companies that buy domain names for just that purpose. Someone bought annrule.com for example and offered to sell it Ann Rule for $1,000, but she declined and her website is authorannrule.com, which can also be reached by typing in annrules.com. I know somebody has bought charleyproject.com and charlieproject.com.

Anyway, I renewed my registration for five years, so I won’t have to worry about it for awhile.

Helen Karapadis declared dead

Another Australian MP case: Helen Karapadis, who was ten when she vanished from the town of Marrickville in 1988, has been declared dead.

There was some speculation that Helen might have run away due to her home life:

Anne Martin, a teacher who formed a “close relationship” with Helen’s older sister Maria after the disappearance, told the inquest she heard disturbing allegations of abuse.

“(Maria) told me their father was fiercely violent at times towards them … they were both very afraid of (him),” she said.

Maria, who was 12 at the time her sister vanished, and who committed suicide when aged 18, claimed Helen was “preparing to run away and had wrapped her Christmas presents early”, Ms Martin said.

Not only did Helen have problems at home, she reportedly also had to deal with predators in the local neighborhood, according to this article:

Maria had also told [Ms. Martin] that two boys in the complex, one named Johnny, had raped Helen.

But Maria had also said Helen was preparing to run away and had disappeared at the same time Johnny left the housing estate.

Ms Martin said she had failed to convince Maria to make a formal statement about her allegations.

But if Helen did run away, I have a hard time believing she could have remained out of sight for very long, never mind 24 years. She was only ten after all.

Photo of van may help crack 37-year-old disappearance

According to ABC Australia, they’ve got a photo of a fawn-colored 1969 Holden HK panel van that they think might help find a 12-year-old boy, Terry James Floyd, who disappeared from Victoria. He was last seen getting into the van. The police didn’t find out about this for months, by which time the van’s owner had painted it orange. It wasn’t until now that his brother found a picture of the van in its original color, and passed it on to the cops.

Terry, then 12, vanished from Maryborough, Victoria on June 28, 1975. He has since been declared dead. There’s a Facebook page for him here.

“Couple allegedly traded truck for baby”

From this link: Jamie and Jeremy Brown have been charged with human trafficking after they allegedly swapped their pickup truck for Heather Kaminskey’s newborn boy back in January. They took good care of the child, it says. Kaminskey is also facing charges but is still at large. “She reportedly followed the baby-for-truck trade with a truck-for-meth transaction.”

You know, I think the baby was probably better off with Browns anyway. Why not let them keep him and just deal with the baby-selling drug-using mom? I think she is the greater criminal.

Coroner’s jury investigating unusual New Zealand disappearance

Seven years after the disappearance of Iraena Asher from Piha, New Zealand, she has been declared dead and a three-day inquest has been set up to try and figure out what happened to her. Iraena, a 25-year-old college student and part-time model (she was certainly beautiful enough) “was last seen standing naked under a streetlight during a blustery storm. Her case created an uproar when it was revealed police sent a taxi to respond to her 111 call rather than police officers.”

Iraena had bipolar disorder and her boyfriend said she’d been acting weird, “like a zombie”, prior to her disappearance. She’d been on lithium, a mood stabilizer commonly used to treat bipolar disorder (I myself take Depakote) but hadn’t been taking it as directed: “She told [her boyfriend] she missed a couple of her lithium pills. To make up, she’d take extra.” And even she was taking it as she should, stress in her life could cause an episode anyway.

(Sad but so typical: with mental illness of any kind, even if you take your meds as directed you can still struggle and have episodes. It often takes months, years, even decades to get your medicine right. Sometimes they never get it right. In the four months after I finally started getting serious treatment for my depression, I followed all my doctor’s instructions but I had to be hospitalized three times and had some other serious episodes where I could have been hospitalized. In the three years that followed, my medication helped greatly but I still had episodes of extreme depression and suicidality, several times a month and lasting perhaps a few days or a week at a time, and just accepted it as something I would have to deal with forever. It wasn’t until over a year ago that I was finally diagnosed with mild bipolar disorder and started taking Depakote. And let me tell you, the difference is stupendous. Great Headache Crisis and all, I haven’t had a black day since then. But it took almost three years to get it right, and that was with good medical help and supervision and a very cooperative patient. But anyway…)

According to one witness, the night Iraena vanished she became giddy and irrational: changing out of her pajamas into a dressy skirt, “like something you would wear to a fashion show not the beach,” she began crying but refused to say what was wrong. Then she ran out into the thunderstorm and got soaked. They gave her some dry clothes, but she wouldn’t keep them on and instead wore a duvet (my WordWeb program says that’s Brit-speak for a quilt) or “occasionally dancing naked around the room.” The guy she was with said she was acting “seductive” but when Iraena called the emergency phone number, she said she was being pressured for sex and was scared. The cops thought it was not an emergency and she was just wanted a free ride home. As noted above, they sent a taxi instead of a police car. It didn’t matter: Iraena walked out of the house before the taxi arrived and vanished into space.

As with Shannan, the police believe Iraena probably died in an accident. Quoting from this article:

“At the time of her disappearance it is believed Iraena Asher was suffering from a manic bi-polar episode,” officer in charge Detective Senior Sergeant John Sutton told the inquest.

“She wandered into the surf at Piha beach and drowned. In my view this is the most probable explanation.”

[…]

[After she left the house] Asher was taken in by a Piha couple when they discovered her in distress on the road but later panicked and ran away. Police say given her state, they should have acted… She was last seen wandering naked toward the Piha surf.

About the “Piha couple,” they testified as well:

Asher was last seen naked, under a streetlight by Zachary Nixon and his girlfriend Simone Ross. They hid and watched her “address” the streetlight, Sutton told the court. She then appeared to kneel down, and kiss the ground, before turning towards the beach.

“They followed her. The last they saw her as she moved toward the beam of the last streetlight near the beach. They were astonished she seemed to disappear into the darkness,” Moore said.

They think she either walked into the ocean intentionally or, more likely, was dragged out into the water by a wave or something. Iraena was apparently a really good swimmer and surfer who knew how to deal with riptides, but these were quite dangerous conditions. There’s no evidence to support any other theories in her disappearance, and I agree that this seems to be the most plausible explanation. Most people who drown in the ocean wash up on shore, but some bodies are swept out to sea.

This case totally sounds just like Shannan Gilbert‘s disappearance and death. Shannan freaked out in the middle of the night for some reason and called 911, and they only sent one police officer who took his sweet time cause they thought the call was not an emergency. Shannan ran outside and vanished without a trace, only to turn up in a nearby swamp more than a year and a half later. The police think it was probably an accident (understandable), the family is saying murder (also understandable) and the media are still speculating about how she died and why and who’s to blame. Like Iraena, Shannan was bipolar and apparently having a breakdown at the time of her disappearance.

A very sad story.