An increase in traffic this year

I just checked Charley’s visitor statistics and noticed that, for the year 2015 so far, visitors have been averaging over 9,000 a day. In none of the months of 2014 did the number of visitors get as high as that; they were in the seven to eight thousand range. I had over ten thousand daily visitors for ten out of eleven days in the middle of this month.

The most often viewed cases this month don’t surprise me. Three are connected to the Robert Durst thing, and two of the others have been in the news lately.

Cracked writes about located MPs

Their article: “5 People Who Vanished Mysteriously (And Appeared Awesomely).” I’ve heard of a few of these cases before, but not all of them.

It has been suggested that I write an article for Cracked about the Charley Project, maybe for one of those “here’s what it’s like to have this kind of job” articles. I wish to state categorically that I will never do this. Much as I would love the exposure, I just don’t see how much humor can be mined from the running of the Charley Project, and I think it would be insensitive to the loved ones of the missing.

A clarification about my education

Some people have, in the past and recently, written me asking me just what I meant when I said, on Charley’s “About Meaghan” page, that I graduated from high school without having taken a single class there. Some people are under the impression that I got a GED or something. But it’s actually a lot more complicated than that.

I grew up attending a third-rate rural school that wasn’t even attached to a particular town; it just absorbed students from various tiny towns in the county. By eighth grade I had developed serious academic and social problems. I was bullied a lot by other kids and by one teacher in particular, who if you ask me should never have been allowed to teach. I recall that he once flew into a rage during class and screamed obscenities at another student before chucking her out. The bullying from kids was very unpleasant and relentless, and I simply had no idea how to fight back. I still don’t. Anyway, by the end of eighth grade I was flunking all my classes and coming home crying every second day. I made it clear that I was not going to go back to school after the summer vacation and my parents were like, “Okay.” In retrospect, dropping out was the best on a list of bad options.

I spent a year moping around the house saying very little to anyone except Robert Cormier, to whom I confided a great deal (rather more than I should have). Then Dad got the bright idea to have me start auditing classes at the Ohio State University’s Lima campus where he works. This was reasonably successful. I was, at least, getting intellectual stimulation, I performed reasonably well in my classes, the other students mostly regarded me as a curiosity and nobody bothered me. I met Michael while we both were attending classes there. (We were in a class together and got into an argument before class started, about the death penalty I think, and he decided I was a smart person worth getting to know. I decided he was a jerk and I was never going to speak to him again. The rest is history.)

When I was sixteen, before what would have been my senior year in high school, Dad got an even more brilliant idea: I would re-enroll at the aforementioned third-rate school district. Then I would immediately enroll in their Academy Program, where you could take college classes for both high school and college credit at OSU-Lima, and the school district would pay for your tuition and books. This had never been done before, I think in the entire state of Ohio, I mean a homeschooled student enrolling in the Academy Program. And it was never done again, at least not at my district: after I did it they changed the rules so students had to be enrolled for a minimum of one year before they could sign up for the Academy Program.

So I spent my last year of “high school” doing much the same thing as before, except that now I had an actual GPA. I was anxious to get the heck out of dodge though, and applied at four different colleges, three of which accepted me. The closest one was three hours away. At the end of the academic year my parents more or less forced me to attend my high school graduation ceremony. They wanted to see their daughter walk down the aisle; I wanted nothing to do with it. They won; I went.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I was able to graduate high school without having taken any classes there.

Like I said, it’s complicated.

Hmmm….

I was going through the NCMEC runaway listings when I came across the cases of Travis Henneghan (who is listed on Charley) and Timothy Henneghan (who is not, but probably soon will be). The boys are not noticeably alike in appearance, other than that they are both black and tall for their ages. But I wonder if they could be related. They have the same not-very-common surname and lived within fifteen miles of each other. They both may be in Washington D.C. While investigating this hunch I found an obituary for another guy named Henneghan who died in D.C. and it’s mentioned he is survived by nephews named Travis and Timothy.

I suppose I’ll probably never know.

Make-a-List Monday: “Disabled” or “dependent adult” persons

A list of people who are classified as dependent adults or disabled, where the reason for such classification isn’t provided.

  1. Jolee Baker
  2. Robert Anthony Biela
  3. Bethany Lynn Bull
  4. William F. Calvin
  5. Raven Joy Campbell
  6. Michael J. Chouinard
  7. Felicia Dishelle Coleman
  8. Willard Dabney
  9. Lillian Eileen Demaris
  10. Stephen Eding
  11. Charles R. Elmquist
  12. Martin Encinas
  13. Daniel Elijah Esses
  14. John Gilbert Farfan
  15. Rodolfo Alalberto Garcia
  16. Marcus Hernandez Gonzales
  17. Maria Elaine Gutierrez
  18. Cheree Cathleen Hankins
  19. Clinton Heins
  20. William Henderson
  21. Sabrina Yvonne Hill
  22. Theodore Anthony Hoerstman
  23. Karl Hogenson
  24. Selina M. Hoheusle
  25. David Charles Holmes
  26. Edward William Krautkramer
  27. Nick Marich
  28. Mark Allen Merritt
  29. Andrew Phillip McElwaine
  30. Lee Darwood Minner Jr.
  31. Arturo Montes-Araujo
  32. Morris Morehead
  33. James W. Morse
  34. Jorjanna Murray
  35. Fairy Elaine Olmstead
  36. Luis Orosco
  37. Juan Padilla
  38. Amalia Perez
  39. Edward A. Ratynski Jr.
  40. Dennis Paul Samstag
  41. Yung Ning Soo
  42. Dale Webster Strassburger
  43. Beulah Tucker
  44. Lon D. Turner
  45. Sandra S. Vanderhoef
  46. Carl Vikstrom
  47. Richard Benjamin Villacana
  48. Mary Louise Walker
  49. Billy Wellman
  50. Chao Xiong

Tania Murrell’s brother has died

Per this article: Tania Marie Murrell‘s brother, John, has passed away. The 37-year-old, it says, “had battled drug addictions through most of his adult life.” He was living in a halfway house when he took an overdose of methadone and was taken to the hospital. He convinced a friend to sneak him out so he could make it back to the halfway house by curfew time. They found him dead in his bed the next morning.

Obviously it’s very sad. Drug and alcohol addiction is caused by a lot of complex factors, both genetic and environmental, but I’m sure the disappearance of his sister when he was a child was a great trauma. It may not have caused his later problems but it certainly didn’t help. He was the one who was supposed to have walked home from school with Tania that day. She went the other way instead, and never came back.

I happened to speak once to a psychologist who, I think as part of his PhD, studied one particular family who had lost a boy when he was a child — literally lost, the boy was kidnapped and is listed on Charley. (I’m not going to identify the psychologist or the boy because I don’t want to upset anyone or get anyone in trouble. I’m not sure it was appropriate for the person to have confided this knowledge to me.) Anyway, the psychologist told me the boy came from a very large family and, in spite of having had a good upbringing with loving working-class parents, the kids were all pretty troubled and several of them became addicted to drugs and alcohol later in life.

John and Tania’s sister has her brother’s ashes and hopes to scatter them at Niagara Falls. If only she knew where Tania was.

Select It Sunday: Claude Shelton

Selected by Sarah. Like this week’s Flashback Friday, this is actually a double selection because Claude disappeared with his wife, Martha “Sue” Shelton. On May 21, 1971, they tucked their three kids into bed in their Corbin, Kentucky home, drove away in the family car (which I have pics of) and were never heard from again.

I wonder if this wasn’t an accident of some kind. I tend to suspect that when a person or persons vanish with their car and neither car nor human(s) are ever found, and there’s no evidence of foul play but no evidence that they left on their own either. I checked out pictures of the local area on Google’s image search and there are some mountains and rivers that might be able to hide a car and occupants. It looks like a kind of pretty place, actually.

For the Shelton family, it’s been nearly 44 years. As we have learned from the cases of Dana Null/Harry Atchison and others, it’s possible for such accidental deaths to be resolved even many decades after the fact.

Flashback Friday: Pamela Mayfield

This week’s Flashback Friday is Pamela Mayfield, a five-year-old girl who disappeared with her six-year-old brother, Michael. They were last seen on January 10, 1985 walking to Betsy Ross Elementary School in Houston, Texas; they were kindergarten students there. Both kids look adorable in their pictures; Pamela in particular looks like a doll. Unfortunately I don’t know much about their disappearances and the police haven’t said much, other than that they think it was a relative or family acquaintance who took them.

Michael and Pamela would both be in their thirties today.