Still thinking about that reddit thread

I’m still mulling that reddit thread I mentioned over in my mind. I didn’t bookmark it and I wish I had; I’d like to be able to read it again.

One of the posters on the thread basically compared what I do to both stalking and doxxing. He/she said it was as if I selected some random unsuspecting member of the public and took a bunch of pictures of them and posted the pictures and info about their workplace and where they live on the internet. If I remember right, this was the same poster who made that erroneous statement about being able to tell whether a kid is missing or not by whether or not they’re viewable on the NCMEC site.

What my critics don’t seem to get is that the information is already out there for the whole world to see; all I do is make it slightly easier to find by putting it all in one place. All of it is a matter of public record. And I don’t dig very deep to find it. About 90% everything on Charley can be found by any person, simply by Googling the MP’s name, or looking them up in the relevant state missing persons database, or searching for their name in a newspaper archive site, or some combination thereof. I’m hardly hacking into private computer databases or breaking into people’s homes to read their secret diaries.

Furthermore, if a relative of an MP asks me to take something down, usually I do it. Not too long ago, I had a case where the MP was HIV-positive. I had gotten that information in the usual way, so it was floating around on the internet and not just on the Charley Project either. It was accurate information, but the MP’s sister asked me to take it off the casefile. And so I did. But if you decided to wade through the information that’s online about that particular person, you would discover her HIV status on your own.

If, for example, the police or the MP’s family talk to the press about, say, their medical information, I’m not breaking any legal or moral rules by adding that to the casefile. The HIPAA act only prohibits health care workers from sharing an individual’s medical information; it doesn’t prohibit other people from sharing it. It is not a violation of privacy to republish information that has already been shared in the press.

There’s a certain person who has accused me of violating her privacy by writing about her case. The thing is, though, she and others in her family have approached the media to talk about it. They’ve been on TV, they’ve been in print media, possibly radio too, I don’t know. Apparently, in her mind, writing about her is only violating her privacy if you don’t write what she wants you to write. But if you write what she says happened, without questioning her story, or criticizing her or her family, that’s okay.

I’ve written about my own mental illness and other problems in my life on this blog. Some people have had things to say about it that I don’t like, but they aren’t violating my privacy. I chose to make the information public and I have to take the consequences. I’m okay with that.

I don’t know. I suppose I can’t please everyone. I know I have more supporters than otherwise.

I’ve been pretty happy lately, zipping along with the updates in a way I haven’t done in a long time. Life is good.

The Klein kids

I had meant to put the Klein boys up on Charley today: Daniel, David and Kenneth, missing for over 60 years now. It must have been a stupendous case at the time. I mean, three little boys, brothers, vanishing into thin air like that. I bet there was plenty of news coverage if I were to start digging in online archives and, perhaps, my local library’s microfilm collection. Maybe the case has a few mentions or even whole chapters in books concerning 20th-century Minneapolis history.

Slight problem, though: none of the boys have a law enforcement contact listed for them. I would assume the Minneapolis PD is investigating, but I don’t know that for sure. Indeed, I don’t know if any LE is investigating at all. I’ve put up old cases without LE contact before, for historical interest, but I think they were all older than this one.

MP of the week: Patricia Anne Osborn

This week’s featured missing person is Patricia Osborn, a teenager who disappeared from Seattle, Washington in 1983. As many of you may have guessed just from reading the last sentence, she’s considered a probable Green River Killer victim. I’ve got six other possibles listed on Charley.

Restricted and resolved posts

I mentioned this in an aside earlier, but I thought I would explain the NCMEC’s “restricted” cases, at least as far as I can understand them.

I was reading a reddit thread today and in some recent posts, they were talking about the Charley Project and someone said all you have to do to see if a child is missing is to put their name into the NCMEC search engine so why did I bother to put up recovery notices for the NCMEC children I had on my site?

Well, part of the reason is: no, you can’t actually tell for sure if the kid was recovered, just because their name is no longer viewable in the NCMEC database. They have a thing called “restricted” which means the child is still missing but the NCMEC wants their posters pulled out of public view. Now, there can be a lot of reasons for them to want that. I’m not going to question the organization’s motives or judge them for it. It’s just that my rule is “the person is listed as missing until they find him/her living, or the body.”

Sometimes a case is only listed as “restricted” for a little while before it goes back up. Sometimes it takes years before it goes back up. Sometimes it stays gone forever, even if the child is still missing. To say nothing of the many missing children that never make it into the NCMEC database to begin with. So looking a child up in their search is not a very reliable indicator as to whether they’re missing or not.

Also, there’s a second thing related to my resolved pages that I’ve been asked repeatedly about. In fact, some people who don’t know the truth have been making wildly incorrect statements about this matter, which is why I want to set the record straight. And it is this:

If a person disappears, and is subsequently found (living or dead, it doesn’t matter) and this is listed on Charley’s resolved page, and that formerly missing person or a relative of that formerly missing person or the relevant police department contacts me and asks me to remove the resolved notice, I will do it readily and without asking questions. Since I store every email I get, I can provide proof of this. The only time when I would refuse to remove the notice is if it was a family abduction case and the abducting relative is telling me to do it.

That is all I have to say about that.

A favor to ask of you all

While researching for case write-ups today I came across the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Missing Persons Pinterest Board. The board provided me with information on three cases that, as far as I know, can’t be gotten elsewhere.

If anyone knows of any other police departments’ missing persons Pinterest boards, I would love to hear about it. Just searching Pinterest for “missing persons” didn’t get me anywhere.

Make-a-List Monday: GED earners

This list is for MPs who have a GED, short for general education development. For the uninitiated, the GED is a series of tests you can take to get your high school equivalency if you dropped out of high school or got expelled or something.

In theory, if you pass all the exams and get your GED certification, it’s the same as having a high school diploma. You can, for example, enroll in two-year colleges and some four-year colleges with just a GED. However, Wikipedia says “The GED certification itself (i.e., without further post-secondary education or training) does not create the same labor market opportunities available to traditional high school graduates.” And according to this site, opportunities are also extremely limited if GED holders want to enlist in the military, unless they get some college credit first.

So stay in school, kids.

  1. Lucely Aramburo
  2. Adam Brundage
  3. Kristen Elizabeth Charbonneau
  4. Steven Alexander Clark
  5. Adrianne Gilliam
  6. Jael Tiara Hamblen*
  7. Bilial Lamir Hammette
  8. Wendy Lynn Huggy
  9. Avi Keys
  10. Gene Wesley Lyle
  11. Rebekah Rachel Miller

*It doesn’t say so on her Charley casefile, but Jael got a GED before she went missing.

Select It Sunday: Benjamin McLaurin-Johnson

Selected by Annie of For the Lost fame, this week’s case is Benjamin McLaurin-Johnson, who disappeared from San Francisco, California on January 13, 1995, when he was a year old.

That is literally just about all I know about the case. A baby, for crying out loud. “Last seen in the company of his babysitter.” No photo of the child, just an AP (though, granted, a regular photo would be useless). NamUs and NCMEC, can you be any less specific?

I can only hope that some news turns up soon. Or better yet, the kid himself, happy and healthy and 20 years old.

Flashback Friday: Gerald Montrio

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Gerald Montrio, who vanished from Plymouth, Massachusetts on September 9, 1957. He disappeared together with his friend Bobby Rasmussen, but I don’t have a photo or any stats for Bobby other than his age — thirteen. Gerald was fifteen.

To all appearances, the boys drowned: their clothes were found by the harbor. But Gerald and Bobby’s sisters think there’s a chance they faked their deaths and ran away to escape a troubled home life.

If he’s still alive, Gerald would be 73 today.

(Appropos of nothing: I got a book out of the  library called Strange Red Cow: And Other Curious Classified Ads from the Past, by Sara Bader. When I took it off the shelf it fell open to a page about ads parents placed regarding missing children, and specifically the Charley Ross case. Strange coincidence.)