Found family abduction mom’s website

I just discovered the website of Deana Hebert, mother of Bianca Lozano. Bianca’s one of Charley’s older family abduction cases: she was abducted by her father from Baytwon, Texas in 1995, when she wasn’t even two, and presumably taken to Mexico. Her parents were in the middle of a contentious divorce at the time. Wherever she is today, Bianca is now nineteen years old.

Bianca’s mom filed a lawsuit against the baby’s father’s family, accusing them of aiding and abetting his abduction — and it looks like they did do that. She said the suit wasn’t about money but about trying to force them to reveal where Bianca was. In any case, it failed.

It’s a good site and I’ll use it as a source to update her casefile. Deana Hebert has waited a long time. I don’t understand why people can be so selfish and vindictive as to kidnap a child just to get back at their ex. I hope Bianca finds her mom on Facebook or something and they reconnect. Wherever she is today, she’s nineteen now and a legal adult.

More sneaked-in updates (probably the last)

I’ve put up a few more case updates that aren’t announced on the main updates page. As was always the case before, it’s only new pictures: Theresa Bolden, Athena Curry, Dianna Hammonds (she has two) and Dorothy Herbert.

Given as it is now December 31, this will probably be the last set.

Kenyan MPs

I was writing up the case of a missing Kenyan-American guy, Eugene Bush Wekesa, when I stumbled across the website Kenya Missing and Unidentified Persons, or KMUPS. They also have a Twitter account. I thought I’d give KMUPS a shout-out here, since little is said about missing people from outside the US, Canada or Great Britain. Thanks for getting the word out, KMUPS!

Some days…

Once I had a godawful job working night shift at a store. On one particular night, I was supposed to haul a pallet of frozen meat from the stockroom to the freezer. Normally, when you have to pull something that heavy, you’re supposed to have someone behind to help by pushing, but I didn’t have a pusher for some reason. Just me and this pallet stacked high with box after box of steaks. It was all the same thing and they had the weight listed on the side of each box, so as I pulled I was able to calculate in my head just how heavy the load was. This many boxes wide times this many deep times this many pounds each. I forget the exact number but it was something around a ton, against my 110-odd pounds. Needless to say it was very difficult to put one foot in front of the other.

I inched forward, step by straining step, and kept going until I finally reached the entrance to the freezer, then I turned the pallet around and started to push it inside. There the floor dipped a bit because there was a drain, and you had to push it out of that and in through the freezer door. And I discovered I could not do it. The slope was only an inch or so but the pallet was so heavy and it was all I could do just to move it along straight. I had nothing left to give and though I threw my entire weight against the thing it was actually moving backwards. I had to leave the pallet and go get someone to help because that one obstacle, the little hollow where the drain was, had rendered my already difficult task impossible.

Since then I’ve thought of that moment often. There are a lot of times when I feel like I’m carrying so much around inside my head that one more thing and the whole structure will collapse.

Something y’all could help with

Round about nine months ago I decided to start referring to missing children on Charley by their first names instead of their last names in their casefiles. Since then I’ve been going back and making the necessary alterations in all the casefiles, but there are a lot of them.

I think I’ve got most of them now, but I’m sure there are some cases left that I have yet to change. If any of you have absolutely nothing else to do and feel like chipping in, you could email me a list of ones I’ve missed.

Unusual email from the other day

I got an email from someone who said she was a big fan, had been reading Charley for years, and asked why I hadn’t updated in so long, was I okay, etc. Understandably puzzled, I wrote back asking if she had not seen the big notice plastered across the top of the updates page.

It turned out she hadn’t, no. She never went to the updates page, you see. She only looked at the frontpage for the missing person of the week, and at the resolved section.

*scratches head* To each their own, I guess.

Anyway, I reassured her I’d be back in January.

ET entry out of Japan

Kojiro Asakura, a property assessor who slaughtered an entire family — mom, dad and three children under the age of ten — cause they wouldn’t move out of the house he bought. The sole survivor was the oldest child, who was away at camp. He committed his crime in 1983 but wasn’t executed until 2001. I guess it’s quite similar to the case of John Gilman from two weeks ago, except in Gilman’s case, the family he killed were living in their house legally.

Fun fact: in Japan, people on death row aren’t informed in advance of their execution date. They find out in the morning when the guard comes to their cell to say, “Today you die.” Their families aren’t informed either, until afterwards, when they get a call to come get the body. Seems kinda cruel and unusual to me.

A history lesson, or: The 500-year-old case of a missing royal

I hadn’t realized until now that they never found King Richard III of England’s body after his gory death at the Battle of Bosworth Field — though it’s something I ought to have known, since I did know historians were fighting over just how deformed he was, a question that could be settled easily if we had his remains.

Well, it appears we have them now. Archaeologists found the skeleton of a man with a twisted spine and a nasty wound in the skull buried at a car park in Leicester, beneath the floor of a 500-year-old church:

[Archaeologists] Foxhall and Appleby point out that they have nothing but circumstantial evidence – but say it is “very, very strong circumstantial evidence”.

“We have a grown man, buried in a position of great honour near the altar in the church but without much in the way of ceremony, with a twisted spine and a terrible battle injury – he didn’t get that walking home drunk from the pub,” says Appleby.

The Telegraph has published a report, albeit unconfirmed, that DNA has proven the remains were Richard III’s and he will buried with the ceremony befitting a king, possibly at Leicester Cathedral. Though the official announcement hasn’t been made yet, if this guy ISN’T Richard I’d be very surprised.

This is a very exciting find for history buffs like me, comparable to when they found the bodies of the missing Anastasia and Alexei Romanov after 90 years. Except Richard’s been gone for a lot longer — since the 1400s.

I admit I don’t know an awful lot about the guy. I do know he’s a very controversial figure in English history. He was definitely a usurper and had his nephews, the rightful heirs to the throne, declared illegitimate and locked up in the Tower of London. Richard III was appointed their Lord Protector after the death of their father, but it seems he didn’t do a good job protecting them: the two boys, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, vanished mysteriously around 1483 and were presumed murdered. A lot of people believe it was on Richard’s orders. He certainly had a great deal to gain from their deaths, and I think it’s telling that when, in his lifetime, when people accused him of being a child murderer, he didn’t produce the Princes alive to prove them wrong. If he was truly innocent, that seems like the most logical thing he could have done.

But there’s no conclusive evidence one way or another. Royal pretenders kept popping up for quite some time, claiming to be one or the other of the missing boys. In the 1670s they found the bodies of two boys about the right age buried in the Tower, but I don’t think it was ever officially confirmed that they were the Princes.

Anyway, Richard III has been hated ever since and the image most people have of him is an evil, deformed hunchbacked man. His reign lasted only two years before he was killed in battle, his naked body slung on the back of a horse and carried ignominiously away. I’ve read that he was an able administrator and had other talents, and might have redeemed himself somewhat if his reign had been longer and given people a chance to forget about the whole Princes in the Tower thing. There are a couple of historical groups that are trying to rehabilitate his reputation. These societies argue, among other things, that the Princes in the Tower were probably killed by Richard’s successor, Henry VII (who married the Princes’ sister Elizabeth), or Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham.

Assuming he did killed the Princes (and I think he probably did), Richard III was hardly the first or the last person who would slaughter his way through the line of succession in order to assume the throne. Cleopatra, for example, had her half-sister Arsinoë murdered because she got in the way, and Arsinoë may have been as young as 15 at the time.

So, well, finding Richard III’s body is an archaeologist’s wet dream and it’s quite a Christmas present for me as well. Carry on.