To coin a cliche, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar

Two and a half years years ago I mentioned on this blog a woman who was in jail for kidnapping her preschool-age kid (who was still missing, and the mother refused to disclose any information about its whereabouts). The child was on Charley. Specifically, my aforementioned blog entry talked about the mother’s lawyer, who contacted me and threatened to sue me for libel/defamation/whatever, because I had stated on my website what he himself admitted his client had done: namely, take and hide her child in contravention of the family court order. I laughed him off of course — either he didn’t know the law or he assumed I didn’t — and he never contacted me again.

The mother had accused the little kid’s father of abusing the child, and said she had no choice but to take her away, to protect her. A lot of abducting parents make those kinds of claims. As far as I was concerned, the kid was missing and needed to be found, and the mother had broken the law. I didn’t know whether the father was a child abuser or not; it’s not for me to figure those things out. But, I thought, since Mom had openly violated a court order, the burden of proof was on her to show she had been forced to do what she did. That’s what’s known as an affirmative defense.

Anyway, the kid was eventually found and I listed it on my resolved page and forgot about it. This all happened, (a rough guesstimate) like five years ago.

Well, Mom wrote to me earlier this week and asked me to remove any and all mentions of her child’s name from my site. She said she had been able to prove the father had in fact abused the kid, and the father had admitted as such in court while under oath. She said she had custody of the kid, who was going by a different name now, and she didn’t want her child to have reminders of the past on the internet for other people to maybe find out.

I was a bit wowed by her email. In situations like this, when people write me asking me to remove names or other information, they are often very rude and hostile and accusatory. But this mother sounded quite sane, and she was very polite. I decided to honor her request, in large part because she had asked me nicely.

So I removed the kid’s name and wrote back to the woman saying I had done so. I added the usual caveats of “it’s not going to disappear from Google right away” and “if it looks like the name is still on my website, reload the page and it should disappear.” She wrote back thanking me for doing as she asked and taking her child’s feelings and welfare into account, and she added that she admired the work I was doing for the cause of missing people in general.

I wish other people would behave as this correspondent did. I am not out to ruin anyone’s life or reputation, and I like to make people happy, and I can certainly be reasoned with, if only people would bother to try.

14 thoughts on “To coin a cliche, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar

  1. Jose August 24, 2013 / 2:21 pm

    Has there ever been Family Abduction cases on Charley, that both the parent and child are found as victims of homicide?

    • Meaghan August 24, 2013 / 2:24 pm

      Not that I recall. Sarah Skiba’s case was originally thought to be a family abduction, but they think now that she and her father were murdered. But they’re still missing. That’s the closest I can think of to what you’re describing.

      • forthelost August 24, 2013 / 9:42 pm

        There’s also James and Ptah Diamond. It was treated as a family abduction for about ten seconds.

  2. Princess Shantae August 24, 2013 / 4:43 pm

    I don’t remember if this was ever on your site or not and it wasn’t a homicide, I don’t think. But there was a case where a father took his son to Syria? Turkey? ANd there was some kind of gas explosion at the apartment where they were living and they both died, maybe along with some other people. I don’t remember much about it as you can see. I keep thinking the little boy’s name was Adam?

    • Meaghan August 24, 2013 / 8:25 pm

      It wasn’t a homicide, it was an accident. The kid’s name was Adam Jordan Haseeb. I think it was Syria that Dad took him to.

      • forthelost August 24, 2013 / 9:42 pm

        Yeah, it was Syria.

  3. Kat August 24, 2013 / 6:44 pm

    Isn’t the Chance Lee Wackerhagen case kind of a maybe on that? The stepmom was dead and the husband and boy were missing but no one really knows if it was an abduction or not?

    • Lia August 25, 2013 / 10:57 am

      There’s a lot of debate on that case. Some think Dub (the dad) committed the crime, took off with Chance, and then killed himself and Chance later on. Others think they went underground. I tend towards the first theory, myself.

  4. Holly August 24, 2013 / 9:46 pm

    There is a family that went missing back in the 60s or late 50s. A husband, wife, and their children who went to go find Christmas decorations such as pine and stuff. They disappeared and I believe 2 of the 4 members of the family were found deceased. Their names escapes me (getting a bad memory in my old age), but the others have not been found and it believed they were victims of a homicide. It is believed their station wagon was pushed off of a cliff and they had been murdered. Does this one sound familiar to anyone?

    • forthelost August 24, 2013 / 10:32 pm

      Kenneth, Barbara, and Barbie Martin.

      • Holly August 24, 2013 / 11:56 pm

        Yes. Thank you. Once again, you have remembered what I

    • Audrey August 30, 2013 / 12:49 am

      This also sounds like Reagan and Richard Uden (and their mother) to me? Not exactly the case you described (going to meet the ex-husband in 1980), but the boys and their mom disappeared, and their station wagon was found pushed into a canyon. The mom’s blood was found in the car.

  5. Princess Shantae August 25, 2013 / 8:29 am

    I thought the belief was they’d had a car accident?
    I remember this one b/c of how weird it is that the parents were Barbara and Ken, like Barbie and Ken. Of course Barbie and Ken weren’t invented when they were born but its still funny.

  6. amy August 25, 2013 / 9:43 pm

    With the Martins, the supposition is that their car is in the river near the Dalles and that the younger girls bodies were thrown from the wreckage and that the remains of Mr/Mrs Martin and Barbie are still down there. I don’t think that constitutes a family abduction- they were just out for a ride.

    Meaghan, as always, you handled this well.

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