I mean that quite literally. This blog turns five in a little over a month.
This week’s Select It Sunday was chosen by a user named mion. Brittney Nicole Wood, a nineteen-year-old girl from Mobile, Alabama, vanished without a trace on May 31, 2012 — almost a year and a half ago. She left behind a young daughter.
What makes this case memorable — and very, very sad — are the troubles within her family. Brittney was last seen in the company of her uncle, Donald Holland, who was under investigation for sex crimes. The next day, Holland committed suicide. Over the next two months several family members were charged with various sexual offenses. Specifically, these were “charges including rape, sodomy, enticing a child into a building or dwelling, sexual abuse of a child less than 12, and production of obscene matter of a person under 17.”
(I list some of the suspects on Brittney’s Charley Project profile, but I hadn’t realized her own mother had also faced charges. Ah well, gotta update then. Chessie Wood allegedly molested a 10-year-old several years ago.)
And it’s not over yet: in fact, the cops arrested another suspect, this one female, less than a week ago.
The obvious theory is that Brittney was planning to go the cops with what she knew about the incest within her family — and there is some evidence that this was the case — and Donald Holland killed her and then took his own life. Brittney’s mother, Chessie, believes this. If that’s correct, her body is probably somewhere in the local area, since Donald was found dead only about 40 hours after Brittney was last seen.
In the many-tentacled monster that is this sex crimes case, I’m afraid Brittney, and her disappearance, may be getting lost in the shuffle. I hope people will think of her and not blame her for what her family’s apparently done.
Someone emailed me this article about Patrick Collins, a physiology student who disappeared from Charlottesville, Virginia in 1985 and turned up in New York. He wasn’t identified until recently. I had mentioned his recovery on this blog. It looks like this was a NamUs identification.
Although we will never know 100%, from the looks of it, it would seem he took his own life. This after he traveled 600 miles from home for no apparent reason. There was no note, but Patrick had recently gotten a bad grade on an exam, and his dog got hit by a car and his beloved girlfriend had broken up with him.
Recently, Michael purchased a copy of Cracked.com‘s new book The De-Textbook. The book says most suicides are motivated by some relatively minor thing and the victim would have likely changed their mind if they’d waited for a day or a week or an hour. The book called it a “fart of the soul.” I’ve read extensively on the theory and practice of suicide and the De-Textbook‘s conclusion is basically correct, though I’d never seen it worded that way. What happens is that a person — who, usually, already suffers from depression to begin with — develops tunnel vision, and they can’t see any solutions to their problems, or any good things in their life.
Patrick had so much going for him. He had a family who adored him, and was a graduate student at a very respected school and was on his way to a good career. Instead he chose to die, alone, far away from those who loved him. I don’t blame him. I only wish he’d asked for help.
There’s a website about Patrick Collins’s disappearance, with primary sources, here.