Ah, the joys of working independently

I don’t play, or work, well with others for two reasons:

1. In real life anyway, my mannerisms come off as cold, arrogant and insensitive.
2. I have supreme difficulty standing up to people and saying no.

Which is why I’m glad that when it comes to the Charley Project, I basically work alone. I mean, that’s not as true as it used to be — I now have a small army of self-appointed volunteers who send me stuff they find, and I am supremely grateful for that — but I do all the writing and updating and all that myself. It is a heavy burden, I admit, one I complain about on a regular basis. But it also means I make my own rules.

And I do have rules, quite a lot of them actually, ones that aren’t listed on the website’s case criteria or in the FAQ. Guidelines that I generally stick to, but can bend or break as needed.

I was reminded of this today when someone sent me a message about one of my cases, saying the child in question was listed as “Endangered Missing” on the NCMEC, and I had wrongly listed him as “Non-Family Abduction” on my own site.

“I make my own classifications,” I replied.

I’m glad I can do so.

Flashback Friday: Phillip Alfred Montoya

This week’s Flashback Friday (I missed last week because of my tummy troubles) is Phillip Alfred Montoya. He was fourteen and a half when he vanished without a trace on March 29, 1974, leaving his bike behind and carrying only $2 in cash.

Early this year, someone who may have been Phillip’s brother commented on an article I read. I replied to the comment, asking the person to get in touch with me and hopefully shed more light on Phillip’s disappearance. The writer never responded, though.

Be that as it may, we know more about Phillip’s disappearance than we do about many cases of teenagers who went missing that long ago. He told friends he was going to run away, and borrowed the $2 to take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train to the end of the line. But he left his bike behind, and it was a four-mile walk to the nearest BART station. Perhaps he planned to hitchhike, or had a ride already lined up.

If Phillip did leave of his own accord back in 1974, though, it seems unlikely that he would have dropped off the face of the earth like he seems to have done. He wasn’t having any problems in his life that were serious enough for that. A lot of teenagers, boys and girls, run away on a lark or because of some insignificant problem that’s troubling them, then recognize their mistake and come back.

A lot of things could have happened in this case, but with the information I have available, my guess would be that Phillip ran away and then something happened to him a short time afterwards, and that’s why he hasn’t reached out to his family even once over nearly four decades.