I got an invitation to attend a missing persons event in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It will be at Heritage Hill on April 26. This is part of the email I got:
My life changed almost 23 months ago when my mother, Victoria Prokopovitz, went missing from her Pittsfield Wisconsin home. Having no previous awareness of the frequency of missing persons I have become acutely aware of the difficulty families face when a loved one goes missing. Throughout this ordeal I have become a voice for others that are missing as well as a source of support for their loved ones. I have found there to not be an abundance of resources available to people in my situation which has driven my passion for bringing awareness to this growing epidemic, increasing prevention strategies to decrease the exorbitant number of missing persons and developing supportive services for families who share my current position and quest for answers. It is my goal to lessen the burden even a little in a most difficult situation.
I’ve become aware of your site after searching others that are missing, realizing you have a great database with information for families. My mom is not listed in your database, but I do see that your initial requirement as that it has be more than a year that the person is missing. If you are not able to attend this event, would you consider giving me some information that I could put out at the event? It looks like you have been at this for quite some time, and have quite an interest in the missing.
Having spoken to my father, I think I will accept this invitation. He says he’d like to go with me, to share the driving and because I’ve learned the hard way that it’s a bad idea for me to travel alone.
Timothy Scott Parry is this week’s featured missing person. He was nineteen years old when he disappeared from Cedar City, Utah on July 17, 1989, and he would be 45 today. Timothy had a lot of things wrong with him, physically and mentally. I doubt he lived long after he went missing.
[Whoops. According to my blog, I actually did him as an MP of the week three years ago. Oh, well. He gets featured again.]
So tonight was my speech before the Venedocia Lions Club. They served an excellent meal of salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, pot roast and apple crisp, then it was time for me to do my thing. I stood up and talked about missing persons for awhile, gave examples of cases the Charley Project profiles, talked about my mission of trying to make sure MPs get remembered, talked about ways the Charley Project has helped locate MPs, passed out business cards, etc. I also mentioned that kidnapping by strangers was vanishingly rare, and said the people you really had to be afraid of were the people you knew. So the best way to keep safe, I said, was don’t know anybody. Hide inside your house 24 hours a day and disown your family and friends. That got a good laugh out of my audience.
Everyone clapped enthusiastically and they seemed very pleased with my talk. There were several questions asked at the end, then I sat down, and someone else stood up to give their own talk requesting funds to support a local campground so they could have discount prices during the summer. After he spoke, we both left and the meeting continued without us.
Things obviously went better than I realized, because about an hour after I had left the clubhouse, Dad called to tell me the Lions had voted to donate to the Charley Project. This was something I was totally not expecting and certainly didn’t ask for; I only gave my talk because Dad volunteered me and because I love talking about missing persons and what I do. I was really touched!
So thank you, Venedocia Lions, for contributing to the cause. I am totally wowed and I think I might use the funds this summer to upgrade the site and drag it, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. Like, with a search function that will search by age and race and stuff. That would be nice.
This Select It Sunday was chosen by Gus, Angelica Maria Longoria‘s brother. All the databases I can find claim she disappeared from El Monte, California on November 23, 1985 (see below). She was was fifteen in 1985, but for some reason the bigger photo of her on her NCMEC poster is of her at the age of nine or ten. (I think she’s older in the inset photo.) The only reason I can think of why they might have done that is, unlike the other photos that are available, the older photo clearly shows Angelica’s chipped tooth. If Angelica’s height and weight at the time of her disappearance are accurate she was quite small for her age, only 4’8. I was taller than that at eleven years old.
In approximately 2006, Justin Jackson-Mann, a Charley Project blog reader and my good friend, wrote to law enforcement asking for information about her disappearance. He got this response:
The missing case was reported in 1999, However she was last seen in 1983 (according to our reports). The missing is now 36 yrs old. We were close to finding her in Illinois when she left her home quickly with no forwarding information and we believe that she does not want to be found.
And that’s all I have.
My Lion’s Club speech is at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. 40 hours away. When I talked to Dad today he said, “I know you’ll make me proud of you.” Great, but…pressure, people. Pressure.
The only preparation I’ve done so far is to make a list of MPs that I’ll use as kind of a sample of various types of cases that appear on Charley often: a teen runaway, a baby taken by a stranger, a family abduction, an old man with Alzheimer’s who wandered from a nursing home, a woman with mental illness who’s apparently been drifting up and down the eastern seaboard since her 1994 disappearance, a young woman who obviously met with foul play but at whose hands no one knows, etc.
“You’re the expert,” Michael said when I told him about my apprehension. “What do you want them to know?” I thought for awhile and said I wanted them to know what sort of thing the Charley Project was and what it wasn’t, and also the facts and the common misconceptions about people who are missing. “So tell them,” he said.
I want to say that I really love your MP database. It was one of the earliest searchable state databases of missing persons, and it is still the largest and in my opinion, the best. It’s a model for other states to use.
However, recently you’ve had a tendency to post new cases with the photographs cropped in really close. Too close. The December 1, 2014 disappearance of David Alderete is a good example. You can’t even see his ears, never mind things like the shape of his face or what his hair looks like.
That’s really annoying. I wish you would stop doing this.
Keep up the good work, though.
The Charley Project.
A headline I found today: 4 Years Later: Man Indicted in Case of Missing Prince George’s Woman. I thought, ooh, a MWAB case. Then: huh, she’s not on Charley. Then: dang diggity darnit, she’s not missing.
I really wish news outlets would not say “missing person” in headlines when the person in question is no longer missing. How hard would it be to substitute “Murdered” for “Missing”? It would be a more accurate headline, and the word is only one letter longer. Hrmph.
Why is the the NCMEC all the sudden profiling disappearances from 1915? I mean, I appreciate that the boy was never found and everything, but isn’t a case that old a bit beyond the scope of their operations? Are they actually going to do an age progression to 115 years? Cause that’s how old Noel Elijah Davis would be by now.
I don’t know whether to add him or not. I suppose there’s nothing in the Charley Project’s own guidelines saying I can’t, and the Dorothy Arnold case is older than that, but I’ve got thousands of cases waiting for me to put them up and more requests coming in every day and I’d rather focus on people who have a snowball’s chance of being located.
This week’s Flashback Friday case is David Arthur Stack, a rather beautiful long-haired eighteen-year-old who disappeared from Broomfield, Colorado sometime in June 1976. He was planning to hitchhike to California, possibly to visit one of his siblings; they lived in Truckee and Berkeley.
Truckee is a small town at the bend of California, with the Nevada border to the east and Lake Tahoe to the south. Google Maps says it’s a little over a thousand miles from Broomfield, a fifteen-hour drive along Interstate 80, or sixteen hours on the alternate route along Interstate 70 and Interstate 80 (the latter route does not have tolls; the former does). Berkeley is a much larger town on the other side of the state, 1,200-plus miles from Broomfield, about eighteen hours on I-80.
Obviously that leaves a very large swath of land where Stack could have met his fate (whatever that fate happened to be), assuming he really was intending to go to Berkeley or Truckee.
I know there were several serial killers of young men who were active in California during this time period. But I just don’t have enough information about Stack as a person, and about his disappearance, to speculate as to whether he met with foul play or an accident or just walked out of his life or what.