(no longer) Missing FBI agent

Stephen Ivens’s wife contacted me and asked me to help publicize her husband’s case. A 35-year-old FBI Special Agent and father of one, he’s been missing since May 10. So obviously, I can’t put him on Charley. But I can blog about him.

His loved ones have set up a website and Facebook page about his disappearance. There’s a listing of news articles. Dogs tracked his scent to the Verdugo Mountains, but searches there have turned up nothing. He was reportedly depressed, armed and suicidal at the time of his disappearance.

I really hope he’s alive and just lying low somewhere.

It seems Mr. Ivens was found deceased two days ago. It makes me wish I had replied to his wife’s email right away — not that it would have made any difference. I get so many emails it often takes days before I can answer them.

I feel sorry for his wife and child. His son is only a toddler and probably won’t even remember his dad later on.

Well, that was stupid

I just found a Facebook page for Samatha Clonch, whose 1999 disappearance is one of those “shrug, I have no idea what happened here” cases I mentioned in my previous entry. The Facebook contained very little info other than that she was in eighth grade at the time. But the posters’ comments were distressing: a lot of them had been Samatha’s classmates and they had had NO IDEA she was missing all this time. When she vanished from their midst they assumed she moved or something and nobody bothered to tell them otherwise.

*headdesk*

Even if the police did think Samatha had run off to Mexico (and they did think that, at first anyway), you’d think they’d have taken the trouble to interview her classmates to see if anybody knew anything. But it appears not. And now almost 13 years have passed.

“Endangered missing”

The NCMEC has a number of cases of tweens and teens that are not classified as runaways, but there’s no evidence of abduction either — in fact, in some cases the missing child clearly did run away. Or some cases are classified as non-family abduction when I can’t find any reason for this. Some cases get changed from abduction to endangered missing later on. I don’t know if any get changed the other way around.

I’m not sure who determines the classifications there. A lot of times it seems like missing teens are automatically classed as runaways unless there’s evidence to the contrary. But not all of them. Lately I’ve been seeing cases where a person previously listed as a runaway — someone who’s only been missing a couple of years, not a couple of decades — gets reclassified as endangered missing. And I don’t know why. I’ve been told they have to reclassify runaways or take them off the database altogether once they reach a certain age, but there are people listed as runaways on there who are in their fifties.

Obviously they know more about these cases than I do, but the NCMEC makes mistakes too. Some NCMEC classifications are just plain wrong; they had Curtis Huntzinger, for instance, listed as a runaway long after it became obvious he met with foul play and even after the killer pleaded guilty to manslaughter. (His body has since been found.) Rochelle Battle is listed as endangered missing, and a man (not a member of her family, but a near-stranger) has been convicted of her murder. Allison Bayliss, also classified as endangered missing, would be better in the lost/injured missing category; she jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Several children who are presumed to have drowned and gotten missing from accidents, etc., are listed as endangered missing rather than lost/injured missing.

The NCMEC works in mysterious ways, I guess.

For myself, I class a case according to the circumstances, if I know them; otherwise I rely on the source. That’s one of the biggest advantages of working on my own: I can make up my own mind. Whoever uploads these cases onto the NCMEC site has to follow the organization’s rules, whatever they happen to be. I have been told that the NCMEC is required to put on their posters whatever details are in the NCIC database as far as names, etc., even if they know for a fact that the info is wrong. Horrors.

Anyway, a (probably incomplete) list of these ambiguous cases where there simply doesn’t seem to be much evidence one way or another. I’ve decided to list only cases from the 90s and more recently, because for others, the very long passage of the time may be significant for why they aren’t listed as runaways. Also, cases where I have at least a modicum of information. This is of course an entirely subjective list but here goes:

Brian Andrewin, 16
Yeritza Aponte-Soto, 17
Stephen Austin, 17
Stephen Beard, 14
Wilda Benoit, 14
Kristina Bishop, 13
William Brooks, 17
Lakiesha Buckner, 16
Samatha Clonch, 13
Thomas Darnell, 17
Lillian Estrada, 16
Jesse Florez, 14
Crystal Haag, 14
Leanne Hausberg, 14
Racheal Hayson, 14
Jose Henriquez-Diaz, 13
Lakisha Jones, 15
Watson Jones, 17
Tami Kowalchuk, 17
Christina Lewis, 16
Erika Limon, 16
Patricia Loya, 15
Patrick Wayne Mello, 13
Yamaira Vivian Montes-Gonzalez, 14
Sarah Murray, 14
Cengiz Nuray, 17
Crystal Ortega, 13, and her sister Misty, 15
Anastasiya Ovetsky, 16
Lydia Perkins, 14
Justin Richardson, 13
Amanda Rivera, 14
Cristina Ruiz-Rodriguez, 13
Eric Salguero Franco, 11
Paul Sanders, 16
Robert Smith, 16
Fred Wright, 13

And some kids classified as runaways on NCMEC where the cases have me scratching my head, though I haven’t found any evidence they DIDN’T run away:
Jorge Acosta, 12 (His age. Not even a teenager but he’s managed to remain gone for this long.)
Genelle Bradford, 17 (If she had waited two friggin’ weeks she would have been 18 and home free. Plus I found an article about her disappearance saying she was a good student, well-adjusted, etc., and her family and friends are baffled as to why she would run away.)
Jason Dennis, 17 (Dad was a kiddie-raper and at the time of Jason’s disappearance, an arrest was imminent. The cops don’t think that’s related but I wonder. Kid’s been missing for a decade.)
Jerome Morris, 14 (Missing now for longer than he was alive before. Wonder why he’s still listed as a runaway.)
Brandy Noble, 15 (NCMEC says runaway but Texas DPS had her under “endangered – foul play possible.”)
Stevey Sommerville, 14 (Like Jerome, he’s been missing since 1990. Not too long ago the NCMEC put another photo on his poster. But it was only there, it seems, for about ten minutes.)
Elyssa Vasquez, 12 (Again: twelve. She has not been gone as long as Jorge, but it’s been almost a decade now.)