Massive pet peeve here

I really hate it when I find people listed as missing on government sites who have already been found. Particularly if they were found quite a long time ago, long past the time when the “I just haven’t gotten around to removing it yet” excuse reaches its expiration date.

Now, sometimes I don’t find out that one of my Charley Project MPs was located until months (or more) after the fact. (More than once I’ve been enlightened by the no-longer-missing person themselves.) It’s quite embarrassing for me when this happens. But oversights like that on my part are understandable: I am one person, working on her own, and a civilian at that, with no access to any kind of government databases and stuff like the NCIC.

I was thinking in particular of a woman I put up just the other day, who had disappeared in 2010. I couldn’t find any press on the case but there was a page for her in the state database so I used that information. If you can’t rely on official state or federal databases, what can you rely on? I put her case up…and got an email from someone directing me to this woman’s obituary. No word as to when she was found, but she died of natural causes early this year. 2013, I mean. My guess would be that she was missing for only a matter of days. Nothing I could do but take it off again. If she hadn’t died in January and got an obituary, I would never have known she’d been found at all.

There is no excuse for that kind of thing. None. The fact that this person is still listed as missing is going to be confusing and misleading for people trying to identify bodies, and so on. And she took up a slot on that day’s Charley Project updates that could have gone to any of the other hundreds of MPs that I haven’t posted yet.

This isn’t a problem with just one particular state or another. I’ve seen it happen with a lot of state databases. I know government employees, including whoever is actually sitting behind the computer running those databases, are often overworked and underpaid, but it seems to me that if they can find time to add new cases, they should be able to find time to remove resolved ones too.

*end of rant*

15 thoughts on “Massive pet peeve here

  1. Peter Henderson Jr. April 14, 2013 / 8:14 am

    I agree Meaghan. I remember one young woman who was still listed as missing for at least six months after her remains were found. On top of that it was a well publicized case, so “sorry we missed that one” does not seem to cover it.

    My pet peeve is when reports are so vastly different. For instance this morning I was looking at Dorothy Geneva Freeman. On Doe and Charley she is listed as being 44 years old and missing since October 29 1988 from Ravalli County, Montana. The source listed is the Montana Department of Justice

    To make matters worse other state government reports posted on various websites list January 1, 2006 as Dorothy’s last date of contact.

    On NamUs she is now listed as being 26 and missing since September 7, 1970 from Hamilton, Ravalli County, Montana. Although the last place she was seen alive was in Missoula.

    This is my pet peeve because it frequently means Jane and John Doe’s remain so for decades simply because of the inaccurate information. Nobody is going to try to match up a young adult women found in the ‘70’s, to mid ‘80’s, with someone listed as being 44 and missing long after the remains were found.

    How does this happen? I think it happens when historical cases are closed or lost then reopened many years later. The mistake that is made is listing the person missing on the date a new case file is opened or a old one reopened — not the day the person was last seen alive.

    Even a few day off can make all the difference. If your so inclined you can read about one such case here.

    Finding Paula

    • Meaghan April 14, 2013 / 8:38 am

      Yeah, I totally know what you mean. Those mistakes about timing drive me nuts too. I mean, with Heidi Balch there was a reasonable explanation for the six-year date of disappearance error — that sighting (which turned out to be false) in 1995. But a lot of times it’s just sloppy work.

      On some sites, particularly with like local LE listing “missing persons of Whatever County” or something, when they list the MP’s age they mean his age now, not his age when he disappeared. Which is another good reason to include DOBs when profiling MPs. I know that with NamUs, a few times I’ll list a case from them where I can’t find the date of birth, and later when I learn the DOB, it turns out the age given on the NamUs profile was wrong, sometimes by several years. I think in some of those cases it’s because whoever’s entering them is going by “age right now” as opposed to “age back then.”

      Ah well. Pobody’s nerfect, but people should strive for perfection anyway. Like the old joke about the mathematician and the engineer who were told they could take turns advancing halfway across the room to a beautiful woman. The math guy said it was pointless to try cause they’d never reach her, and the engineer said, “Maybe so, but you can get close enough.”

  2. Kristy Gault April 14, 2013 / 10:47 am

    I do the same thing. One time I had an unidentified female that was skeletal on my website that washed up out of the ocean in California and I found this in old newspaper archives from the 70s. I looked and looked and could not find that they identified her. I emailed the police agency there, no reply. I put it up on my website and got an email two years later from someone in her family that she had been identified in the 90s. I was very flustered.

  3. Justin April 14, 2013 / 2:26 pm

    I’ve contacted LE in California more than once about missing persons who were on the CDOJ website and found out they had been recovered, but no one from the LE agency got around to telling the CDOJ, so it was left up on the CDOJ website.

    PS: is the missing person you are talking about Loretta Dunn Guthrie?

    • Meaghan April 15, 2013 / 2:29 am

      Yes indeedy it was.

  4. Peter Henderson Jr. April 14, 2013 / 3:16 pm

    Its off topic, and a bit of a drift, but last week Meaghan was criticized for making up stories at worst, posting information that upset others at best. I held my tongue for a day. Then because the wack-a-do kept posting; not only insulting Meaghan but anyone else she did not agree with, I could not holds back.

    Anyhow, for the record, I feel all established information is important, even if some reports do not put that person in the best light.

    That online confrontation led me to post some personal memories. Again is you are interested, “A Hopeless Hope. For all the girls who lost their way”

    • Meaghan April 15, 2013 / 5:23 am

      I am not the kind of person who normally responds to criticism with “You, too” but… the Doe Network used to have one casefile where they said point-blank, I quote, “She was a prostitute and a stripper.” And “she” was a fourteen-year-old girl. True or otherwise, tell me that’s not upsetting to her family!

      I went back and checked just now to see if they still say that, and they’ve changed it to “She was known to associate with prostitutes and strippers.”

      • Justin April 16, 2013 / 11:37 pm

        Emma Lorene Vaughn, right? She must have looked very mature for her age to be able to get hired as a stripper.

  5. whereaboutsstillunknown April 14, 2013 / 3:21 pm

    I was reading an article from Connecticut about how they were trying to streamline the MP info. They said in the article that NamUs has several cases listed that have actually been resolved and Codis has several cases that are not on NamUs, etc. It was disheartening. I never saw an update as to whether or not they fixed it.

  6. Peter Henderson Jr. April 14, 2013 / 5:02 pm

    Interesting link; whereabouts-still-unknown.

    I have lived in Connecticut for most of my life.

    Until recently, with the exception of the Hartford Police facebook online missing person reports, and the recent New Haven Register articles; missing in Connecticut, most of the time means being forgotten.

    The renewed interest may have been started with the skull of a female found in Vernon, Ct. a few weeks ago.

    Reports vary. Some suggest she could have been one of three children/teens missing in that location long ago.

    Others say she could have been in her 30’s. I tracked down at least 18 cases if she was in her twenties/thirties. Only three have a bit of information about them, and only two have photos.

    • whereaboutsstillunknown April 14, 2013 / 6:29 pm

      Yeah, it kind of makes the Connecticut section of NamUs seem less credible to me. Every time I look at a case there, I wonder if they are one of the ones who have already been found. I’m sure there are plenty of us who would gladly volunteer to take this task off their hands, if we were given the resources to do it.

  7. Jeannee April 15, 2013 / 3:02 am

    Its not just you this happens to! How many times on my Facebook feed do I have a friend list an mp for us to pray for … I do some research … honey, they are FOUND! The internet and ‘this modern age’ are truly two-edged swords …

  8. Diana hernandez April 26, 2015 / 8:01 am

    Was Scott walkenford of Juneau ak ever found.

    • Meaghan April 26, 2015 / 8:17 am

      Not that I know of.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s