A few observations

A friend of mine, not someone involved in the world of MP cases and true crime, sent me an email today to ask if I knew anything about a woman who had disappeared from her area the other day. I replied saying I didn’t really follow cases that recent, but I had Googled the missing woman and reported what I’d found. I added,

Right now the California Department of Justice’s database is classifying her as “voluntary missing,” something her family is taking issue with. I wish I could talk to them and explain that, as far as I can tell, CDOJ classifies missing persons cases pretty much at random. They’ve got a teenager listed as a “runaway juvenile” when she was witnessed jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Yeah, I don’t pay too much attention to CDOJ’s “voluntary missing adult” stuff. I make up my own mind, provided I have information to work with.

Some other MP news today made me think of cases where there is a great deal of suspicion against the missing child’s parents, or the missing adult’s significant other, but not a lot of evidence pointing towards any theory.

I have researched and written about enough MP cases that I think I’m entitled to make this general observation: When the public, and perhaps the police also, have a person of interest in mind like parents or a spouse or whatever, someone close to the MP, a good indicator is to look at the person’s behavior after the disappearance. Let’s say it’s a child and there’s suspicion that the parents did it. From what I have seen, people who are innocent try to keep the case in the public eye, give interviews, put up posters, etc., even at great personal cost to themselves. They want the MP found and if they have to get crucified in the media for that to happen, that’s what they’ll do. Guilty people, on the other hand, tend to hide, desperately hoping the police and the media will shut up and go away.

9 thoughts on “A few observations

  1. Peter Henderson Jr. November 13, 2016 / 7:14 am

    Meaghan, I agree 100% with your observation.

    The family and close friends of the missing ask the police to give them polygraph tests. The parents of Brianna Maitland camped out in the local Vermont State Police office demanding one be given to them.

    The adoptive parents of Erica Parsons on the other hand never reported her missing and invented excuses for her absence.

    • Meaghan November 13, 2016 / 10:46 am

      I am also thinking about Madeline McCann’s parents. I know a lot of people feel they killed her, but her parents have been very, very active in trying to keep her name in the news and make sure people don’t forget about her. I don’t know very much about Madeline’s case because I don’t really follow cases outside the Charley Project’s scope — no time — but that behavior seems very inconsistent with guilt to me.

      • Peter Henderson Jr. November 15, 2016 / 8:23 am


        Let’s look past a famous missing person and look at the social media trouble/abuses Abigail Hernandez, 14, who vanished from Conway, New Hampshire and her family had to endure.

        The public called her every name in the book. Spread every unfounded malicious rumor they could about her and her family – and insisted they were fact.

        I don’t think one single internet troll offered an apology after the facts were know.

        If interested, Abigail’s story from start to finish.
        https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202199866857428&l=ca8f1addb4 .

      • Meaghan November 15, 2016 / 9:41 am

        People are always saying dreadful things online. I’ve seen a lot of examples of people saying malicious things about the families of MPs or about the MPs themselves. I’ve seen even more examples of people saying hurtful things in public forums that, perhaps, they don’t realize are hurtful. Like, they kind of forget it’s a public forum and everyone can read their posts, and start talking as if in a private conversation, and say things that MPs’ loved ones should never hear.

        A good example of the latter is something I saw on a forum about Margaret Haddican-McEnroe. The posters said Margaret might use the name Sherwood Haley. I saw somebody comment online saying something like, “Why was she using an alias name? Is it possible she had some kind of double life, maybe she was a prostitute or something?”

        Uh, no. The reason Margaret sometimes went by Sherwood Haley was because she was adopted and Sherwood Haley was her birth name. I can understand THINKING that sort of thing, or even mentioning it when discussing the case with people in private, but I thought it was a dreadful thing to say on a public forum. I try my best to remember to keep my mouth shut and not make irresponsible speculations.

  2. Brian Lockett November 13, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    I browsed around the CDOJ MP website earlier. It would seem that it would be a good place to look if you’re looking for a LIST of people that went missing (generally from CA).

    The classification (i.e. “runaway,” “voluntary missing,” etc) of the MP didn’t bug me. What bugged me was the utter lack of details. In many cases, the place they disappeared from isn’t even mentioned. I guess you can assume that they went missing from somewhere in the listed police department’s jurisdiction.

    The most detailed (by a long shot) profile I came across there was Michaela Joy Garecht, which amounted to two sentences.
    “Michaela Joy Garecht was last seen the morning of November 19, 1988, as she and a girlfriend rode their scooters to a neighborhood grocery store. Michaela was pulled into a vehicle by a male suspect in the parking lot and the vehicle sped off.” And it has a sketch or her purported abductor.

    • Meaghan November 13, 2016 / 1:36 pm

      Yeah, when I post cases using them as a source, unless I have other information (and often I don’t), I have to guess where they disappeared from based on which LE is investigating.

      And that’s not always accurate. Daniel Gallardo, for example, disappeared from Truckee, but his CDOJ page just says Barstow police are investigating his case. Which they are, because that was his permanent address, but he disappeared from Truckee which is a SEVEN HOUR DRIVE north of Barstow.

  3. michael w. November 13, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    hey everyone, there is a new report tomorrow on Lisa Irwin, which is probably one of the most famous missing persons cases from this decade. It’s on a new show called “People Magazine Investigates”. It airs on the Investigation Discovery network tomorrow.

  4. michael w. November 16, 2016 / 12:12 am

    Oh Lord. There’s been some alarming examples.

    One was Dan Rassier, neighbor of the Wetterlings. I never, ever, ever believed that guy was guilty. And yet, every once in a while, I’d check in on Websleuths and there would be people stating that he must be guilty because…wait for it…he lived next door (or was it across the street)? People offer simplistic solutions like that all the time. It’s like they never take into consideration that there are perverts and evil people out there who will do anything to satisfy their sick fantasies, some which entail going out of their way to abduct children. Never mind that Rassier looked nothing like the composite sketches, had no criminal history and was a model employee at his job — a schoolteacher, and all that. Then when we learned that, lo and behold, Rassier was not guilty, and these morons think a simple and quick one-sentence apology is enough to undo years of hurtful, baseless allegations. Unbelievable. They actually tried to get that thread removed. Not locked or shut down, but entirely removed because they were embarrassed by what they said. And they should be. Poor Dan Rassier. I always felt bad for that guy. LE practically manhandles his elderly parents, took things from his house (that they still haven’t returned) and was called a child murderer by people who knew doodly squat about the case.

    Another one is the Baskin children, who were on CP for a time. For decades, we only had one side of the story. That their maternal grandparents: The Maples, were “evil” people and the worst scum because they “kidnapped” their grandchildren after making “phony” accusations of child sexual abuse in regards to the children’s father and his father. Everyone just assumed the Baskin parents were right and the Maples were wrong. Then, around the turn of the decade, everyone was found (well, Sandra Maple was dead by that point). Everyone was expecting a big reunion between the “kids” (now adults) and their parents. Except that didn’t happen. Because, as it turns out, the abuse allegations were legit. Bobby Baskin, who now goes by Jon Bunting, recently broke his silence on the manner on an online forum and was utterly lambasted for it by trolls such as “everybodylovesrs” and “dynoguy88”, saying things like he must have been brainwashed and there’s no way what he is remembering is accurate, and he said lots of sick things to me in a private message and this, that and the other. Keep in mind these posters weren’t there and have no knowledge of the case outside of a television clip about it. They haven’t lived the experiences and pretend they know everything about it. Unfortunately, they still retain their posting privileges, though I think the moderator did warn one of them and edit one of their posts.

    I’m always amazed by people who act like they are experts on subjects they know next to nothing about.

    • Meaghan November 16, 2016 / 10:20 am

      I know from experience that it’s terrible to be the victim of abuse and not be believed.

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