Brilliant, just brilliant

This from Patch in Columbia, South Carolina a few days ago: “Sharon Denise Henderson, now 38, has been missing from Richland County for a few years.”

Got a picture, a date of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color.

And…no date of disappearance.

What am I supposed to do with with this?

I left a comment: “I would be helpful if you said exactly when Ms. Henderson disappeared. I’m just sayin’. Not even a year is listed.”

Neither, I noticed just now, is a law enforcement contact.

*facepalm*

For the first time in a long time…

…there’s something in the news about the unsolved disappearance of four-year-old Rosa Marie “Rosita” Camacho and the murder of her mother, Rosa Delgado, who was found dismembered in a lake and not identified for two years. The prime suspect in the case is Julio Camacho, who is Rosa’s ex-boyfriend and Rosita’s father. And, disgustingly, he was a cop, one who abused his position to sexually exploit women.

Julio was convicted of two counts of rape and imprisoned, but he’s never been charged in Rosa’s death or Rosita’s disappearance. He’s gotten out of prison now, lives in Virginia and is registered as a sex offender. The article I linked to (which provides a great deal more info about the case than I’d previously known) notes that he had to pay $188 a week for Rosita’s support. And he was already paying support for two children from a previous marriage, and in 1993 he was determined to be the father of still another woman’s child and ordered to pay an additional $600 a month.

I realize that there’s inflation and $188 or whatever was worth more in 1993 than it is now, but it’s such a piddling amount of money to (probably) commit two murders over.

Reminds me of Jay-Quan Mosley, whose so-called father killed him and his mom over a good deal less: $40 a week. $2,000 a year. A month’s rent for a substantial percentage of the population. A¬†semester’s tuition at community college. Not the price of a decent used car. What the heck is wrong with some people?

Rosita Camacho would be 20 years old this June…if she’s alive.

MPs with famous relatives, and MPs who were famous themselves

I have decided that henceforth Monday shall be Make-A-List Monday. I will endeavor to come up with at least one list of Charley Project MPs on this blog every Monday. We’ll see if I can keep it up.

This first list — understandably short — is probably incomplete; it’s kind of hard to find search terms that will apply in cases like these. MPs with famous relatives:
Mark Skinner Clarke‘s dad was in Congress but I’m not sure which house or for what state.
Lesley Anne Herring‘s sister is an actress who’s been in a lot of famous TV shows.
Gregory Downes Howells‘s wife was an actress and playwright and he too was involved in the show business, mostly directing his wife’s performances, but she was more famous than he was.
Viola Brown Martin‘s daughter was an American Idol semi-finalist.
Cora Christmas McGuirk‘s son Martell Webster, only a toddler when she disappeared, became a basketball player for the Portland Trailblazers.
Harry Weldon Kees was a minor Beat poet who also did short films and scores for other people’s films.
Marizela C. Perez‘s cousin, Michelle Malkin, is a noted journalist, author and conservative political commentator.
Connie Smith‘s grandfather was the governor of Wyoming.
Shamari D. Taylor‘s father was a member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives during the 1990s.
Lewis Barrett Welch Jr. was also a Beat poet in the sixties and had a roman √† clef role in Jack Kerouac’s Big Welch, though he didn’t get as famous as he could have because of his mental problems. Like Kees’s disappearance, his case is a presumed suicide.

Honorable mentions:
Amalia Monserrat Marquez was a disciple of the now-deceased cult leader Carlos Castaneda and posed as his niece.
Laureen Ann Rahn‘s mother’s boyfriend (I don’t know his name) was a professional tennis player.
Theodore Mark Stover worked as a dog trainer for a lot of famous people including three professional sports players and the guy who founded Starbuck’s.

MPs who were famous (or semi-famous) before they disappeared:
Edward Ryan Makua Hanai Aikau was legendary in Hawaii for his lifeguarding and surfing abilities as well as his activities in native Hawaiian culture.
Nicholas Joseph Begich and Thomas Hale Boggs Sr. were both in Congress; Begich was the sole voice for Alaska in the House of Representatives, and Boggs, from Louisiana, was House Majority Leader.
Victor Marquis Cooper and Corey Domanic Smith were professional football players who disappeared with a third man; Cooper played for the Oakland Raiders and Smith for the Detroit Lions.
Piotr Drabik was a noted scientist and “minor celebrity” in Poland, where he came from.
Andrew Cardoza Fluegelman was the editor of two major computer magazines, he created a computer communications program and he held the copyright to the term “freeware.”
George Jarrett Helm Jr. was a popular musician and political activist.
Joshua Johnathan Korvin competed nationally as a professional snowboarder.
Tammy Lynn Leppert was a model and actress who’d started to claw her way up and might have become something big had fate not intervened. Well, I guess she did still become something big — her disappearance is a quite well-known mystery, at least online — but it’s not the kind of fame anyone would wish for.
Rolf Neslund was locally famous for destroying the West Seattle Bridge two years before disappeared.
Christopher Ryan Smith was a professional waterboarder before an injury ended his career. (I’m assuming they mean some kind of sport, not the Guantanamo torture thing.)
Jean Elizabeth Spangler, much like Tammy Leppert, was building up a career as an actress and model when she disappeared.

Stuff I wish NamUs would do

I admit I was highly skeptical of the worth of NamUs at first (see my first blog entry about it, from over four years ago). But I quickly warmed up to it and it has become an incredibly valuable resource for my updates, not to mention for all the other people out there looking for missing persons. It is, to my knowledge, the only online missing persons database larger than my own (in terms of number of cases). Probably there are more cases on Charley that have NamUs as one of the sources than otherwise. And it has contributed to identifying many, many people who would have otherwise rested in potters’ fields, their families wondering about them, forever.

However, I am not a huge all-out fan of NamUs like some people are. I have actually gotten hate-mail before because I criticized NamUs. One person accused me of being out for my own glory and being no better than those so-called psychics who exploit the families of MPs and take money for their “predictions,” which left me a bit flabbergasted. I replied explaining I had changed my mind since I wrote the critical entry, and included several quotes from my blog where I praised NamUs; the emailer never answered. Another person suggested I dissolve the entire Charley Project and put it all onto NamUs and just just contribute to NamUs henceforth instead of running my own site. Uh, no.

NamUs is great but there’s room for improvement. I think their database is rather clunky and not as user-friendly as it could be. I don’t expect anyone there to listen to me, but it’s my blog, darn it, so I’m going to spout off and tell them what I wish they would change. This is related to the MP casefiles only, since I never look at the UID ones:

1. Put dates of birth back in public view. They used to be visible (albeit in a not-very-obvious place), but NamUs started hiding them years ago and I don’t know why. I see no reason why DOBs shouldn’t be publicly available; they are on most sites.
2. Make the content more uniform. Many cases are written in a very businesslike, impersonal sort of manner; others leave much to be desired in the way of spelling, grammar and tone. It’s sometimes difficult with stuff like tattoos as well — I find myself uncertain if the tattoo is of a thing or a word meaning that particular thing. Standardization would help a great deal.
3. When you notify subscibers of updates in the casefiles, refer to the MP by name as well as by case number. It humanizes the MP.
4. In your update emails, include also the cases that have been added, not just the ones that have been updated and the MPs that have been located.
5. Also, in said update emails, if a case is removed from public viewing for some reason but the person hasn’t actually been found, say that.
6. Include a separate listing for cases were partial remains have been located. It’s very annoying for me to be halfway through writing up a new case only to discover that the MP’s skull has been found and only the rest of the body is missing. In that case, forget about finding them alive and forget about listing them on Charley and most other missing persons sites.
7. Some information on NamUs is only available for viewing by people who can prove they are law enforcement. (Such as DOBs, apparently; see above.) Which is fine. But in that case LE should have their own updates subscription thingy. A lot of times I get an update notice saying “photo added” or whatever, and I go there only to discover that the photo isn’t visible to me cause I’m only a member of the public and not LE. (I’m assuming most of those photos are stuff like fingerprint cards or X-ray images and not actual snapshots of the MP.) Meanwhile, information that isn’t supposed to be available for public viewing, and isn’t visible when you look at a NamUs casefile (like medical conditions), is visible in NamUs update emails because they always say what they changed. Like Drugs of abuse changed from “” to “marijuana, methamphetamine.” I think that kind of defeats the purpose of not letting the general public know about certain sensitive information.
8. When notices go out that an MP is located, it would be helpful to say just when they were found, and if they were alive or dead. Like, the other day NamUs said a guy got found and I listed him as resolved. He was a severely disabled man who required constant supervision, and I think it more than likely that he was found deceased, but I couldn’t find any articles about him so I simply don’t know.
9. Instead of saying a person is 60 inches tall or whatever, say they’re five feet tall. Or at least give both forms of measurement. I know I’m not the only person who occasionally miscalculates trying to convert the height from inches to feet and change. Including metric measurements might also be helpful, but I’m an American so I don’t take much notice of that.

Another pet peeve of mine that isn’t really NamUs’s fault so much as the people who add cases: I guess they’re trying to make sure they don’t miss any possible UID matches, but so many cases include a range of three inches in height and a range of anywhere from 10 to as much as 30 pounds in weight, which frustrates me. I get my height and weight checked every time I got to the doctor. Last time, which was in mid-March (a sinus infection), I was exactly 128.2 pounds, and 5’6.8 inches tall in shoes. So guys, if I ever disappear, I am five feet six inches tall, not 5’5 – 5’7, and 130 pounds, not 125 – 130 pounds or 120 – 140 pounds. In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t even deal with weight ranges of less than ten pounds, and just settle on one or the other because I figure it makes no practical difference. But that’s just me.

Carry on.

*waits for the NamUs-defending haterz to start sending me hysterical emails again*

Anyone know what happened with this case?

There was a big hullabaloo when Karen Kamsch was reported missing in 2007 — over thirty years after her disappearance at age fourteen or so on some long-since-forgotten date in 1976. She was having some problems and had moved in with her grandmother, and just dropped out of sight one day, leaving behind all her belongings, including her coat, though it was wintertime. Although Karen was smart and a former straight-A student who had skipped a grade, before her disappearance she’d been getting into trouble with school and had run away from home several times.

Grandma said she reported Karen missing at the time, but when her brother checked on the status of her case three decades later there was no report on file. That doesn’t mean that no report was filed — thirty years gives a long time for report to get accidentally lost or destroyed. I’m guessing that even if a report was filed, little or no investigation was done at the time; until relatively recently, the cops wrote almost all missing teenagers off as runaways, and Karen’s behavior problems would have been held against her in that regard. Anyway, the police had to start things from scratch in 2007 and obviously, they had a lot of catching-up to do. Karen’s grandmother, for example, who was obviously a very important witness, appears to have died in 1999.

The length of time since Karen’s disappearance didn’t stop the police from narrowing in on an unnamed person of interest, someone close to Karen — maybe a relative, though they didn’t specify — and removing a lot of possible evidence from her house. The cops believed Karen had been murdered. There were articles saying the evidence was being tested, etc., and that the case was still considered solvable and charges were not out of the question.

And then…nothing.

That was five and a half years ago.

What happened to Karen Kamsch? What happened to the new investigation? Is all that evidence still sitting in a box in some lab waiting to get tested, or what?

Do any of my blog readers know?

I wish this as an April Fool’s joke

Someone wrote me to say they knew where a certain missing woman (a MWAB case actually)’s body was. They knew this, they said, because “I’ve been to heaven and back, literally.” Presumably they met the MP in heaven and she confided in this complete stranger as to where her earthly remains were hidden. But my correspondent couldn’t get either the police or the MP’s family to listen to her, so she thought I might be of some help.

And my answer is no. I can’t and won’t be of any help. In fact, I’m not even going to tell her “No.” I’m just going to delete her email and hope she never writes me again. So my answer shall be “…”

It’s April Fool’s Day

And I’ll repeat last year’s tale of my favorite historical “prank”: Hersh Smolar, Jewish-Communist resistance leader in the Minsk Ghetto, faked his own death on this day 71 years ago to escape the Nazis. This plan would not have worked had the Nazis not been complete morons. This “a bloodstained identity card is good enough for us, we don’t need to see the body” business would not pass muster in a movie or a novel, but it worked flawlessly in real life.

WTG, Master Aryan Race. Snort.