Adam Herrman’s adoptive father dies

I have written a great deal about the mysterious disappearance of Adam Herrman over the years, but this is my first entry on the subject since 2014. A recap:

Adam was adopted out of foster care by Doug and Valerie Herrman, when he was two years old. He “ran away” from Towanda, Kansas sometime in the late spring or early summer of 1999,  when he was ten or eleven years old. Doug and Valerie never reported him missing; his adoptive sister did, until 2008.

Subsequent investigation showed that Adam’s so-called parents had abused him prior to his disappearance, and after he went missing they told several different stories to family members to explain his absence. They also continued to claim him as a dependent on their taxes and collect subsidies for his care, both of which are illegal.

(A lesson for the uninitiated: Foster parents are paid a little — not nearly enough — to cover their expenses in caring for the kids. If you adopt a foster child, especially a special needs child, in many states they continue to pay you until they turns 18 or for as long as they live with you. A foster kid doesn’t necessarily need to have health problems to be considered “special needs.” The term also applies to older children, non-white children, members of a sibling group or any other type of kid who is considered difficult to place. Adam was a member of a sibling group, and even at two years old, he might have been considered an older child.)

Authorities have found no evidence that Adam is still alive and they’re pretty sure he was murdered by the Herrmans, but due to lack of evidence they were only able to get them for felony theft, regarding the subsidies they accepted after he was no longer living with them.

Anyway, fast forward to the present day: Doug Herrman has died of natural causes at the age of 61. This article says it was complications of a blood clot.

This is bad. With both of them alive, there was always the possibility that one might flip and testify against the other. Now, if Valerie is ever charged with Adam’s murder — and witnesses stated she was the more abusive parent and Doug sometimes even tried to protect him — she can blame Doug for the whole thing and claim she has no idea what happened or where Adam is. And on top of that, given that Valerie is also in poor health, it looks entirely possible that she too could die before this case is resolved.

But then again, they were able to convict Aarone Thompson‘s father of murder even after Aarone’s stepmother and co-abuser, Shely Lowe, died. So who knows.

NamUs question

I have a question about NamUs that I’ve wondered about for a long time and I wonder if someone who reads this blog can answer for me:

When you search for something on NamUs — say, the first name “Sharon” — and come up with a list of results, and click on one of the cases on the list, it has two numbers at the end of the URL. One, I think, is the actual case number, which never seems to change. Sharon Kay Leinart (missing from Tennessee since 2013), for example, has the number 20176. But after that case number is a / symbol and another number. Like, I just searched for the first name “Sharon” and clicked on Sharon Leinart’s case among the results, and it lists the second number as 22. So her entire URL (as I write this; I’ll get to that in a moment) is https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/22.

It seems to make no difference what the second number is: if you change that number to 23, or 21, or 1985, the MP you come up with is still Sharon Leinart. And if you remove the second number altogether, it also makes no difference: the URLs https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176 or https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/ still produce Sharon Leinart and no other person.

The second number also seems to be different every time I search. I have learned to remove the second number when I bookmark NamUs cases for my “to add” folder, because otherwise, https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/23 and https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/22 or https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/anyothernumber come up as separate bookmarks when they all point to the same MP. My bookmark for Sharon Leinart is therefore https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176.

My questions

  1. What does that second number mean?
  2. Why does it change every time you perform a search for that person?
  3. Why is there at all, since it’s not necessary for people to see the casefile?

This is not a big deal, it’s just a curiosity of mine. Can anyone familiar with the workings of the NamUs database, or computer databases in general, enlighten me?

A clarification

On the Charley Project’s Facebook page they recently asked me to upload a photo, so I did. It’s the photo that’s on the left side of the Charley Project’s banner. After I did so, some people said they had no idea who was in that picture and had always wondered. Well, just to clear things up:

The photo is of Charley Ross, the long-lost little boy whom the Charley Project was named after. (See Wikipedia for his story.) It’s the only photograph ever taken of him, and he was two years old at the time; he was four when he disappeared. After his abduction, his family had an artist draw another picture of him as he appeared at age four. It was probably the first age-progression picture ever done of a missing person. The AP photo is on the right side of the Charley Project banner.