The disappearance of little Jeremiah Oliver has got me thinking about all the other children out there who disappeared under similar circumstances — i.e. their disappearances were not reported for weeks or months or years, and there’s a good chance it was their own parents or guardians that harmed them. I thought I’d list their names again, and the lengths of time that passed in between time of disappearance and MP report.
Logan Bowman — 20 days
Austin Eugene Bryant — 8 years
Edward Dylan Bryant — 10 years
Adam Joseph Herrman — 9 years
James. P. Higham III — 28 days
Peter J. Kema Jr. — 3-4 months
Garnell Monroe Moore — 2 years
Erica Parsons — 1 year
Michelle Kelly Pulsifer — 32 years
Qua’mere Sincere Rogers — 8 months
Rene Alberto Romero — not sure, something less than 4 years
Dwight Stallings — 6 weeks
Aarone Thompson — 1 year, maybe?
Brittany Renee Williams — 2 years
Rilya Shenise Wilson 1 year
Patricia Wood — 11 years
I’m sure there are more. It’s just these are the only ones I can think of at present.
I’ll repeat what I said on this blog almost five years ago:
When you think about it, it could be shockingly easy to conceal your child’s disappearance, particularly with very young children who aren’t old enough to be enrolled in school (or who, like Garnell Moore, were never registered for school even when they got old enough). Families move away and lose touch. Kids are sent to live with relatives and aren’t seen anymore. If it was a single parent with one child and not much of an extended family, or if two parents collaborated and kept it a secret among themselves, and they kept their story straight, the lie could hold indefinitely. I read a book once about a scheme where parents would send their more troublesome teenage offspring to a rural “boarding school,” when in fact they were knowingly sending them to a facility that killed them and hid their bodies.
It seems to me that the main problem we have to deal with here (besides abusive and/or abetting family members) is a lack of community, a lack of neighbors looking out for neighbors, or extended family looking out for extended family. To give you an example of a case that DIDN’T turn into one of the kinds of disappearances listed above, I refer you to my Executed Today article about William Showers, who slaughtered his two grandsons after telling everyone they were getting adopted by a family in Texas. Who knows, Showers could have gotten away with murder had the neighbors not noticed that his story didn’t add up. They went to the cops within a few days, who launched a search for the boys and found their bodies.
Now, I’m not going to say that everything was rosy back in Ye Olden Times and people looked out for each other. In those days it was probably just as easy to conceal a child’s disappearance and it probably happened just as often, if not more so. But if more people paid attention to what was going on around them, instead of saying “it’s not my business” or simply not caring, maybe the disappearances on my list would have been reported sooner or maybe they wouldn’t have happened in the first place.
If nothing else, we need to learn some kind of lesson from the stories of the children listed above. This kind of thing should never happen at all.