The way I do things

When I wake up in the morning — or whenever it is that I wake up to start my day — and get on the computer, one of the first things I do after checking my email is check Google News for new articles about missing persons cases. I share the articles on the Charley Project’s Facebook page, and the ones that are of use to me, I bookmark for future use. Once I’m done combing through the news, I usually go back and have a look at the articles I bookmarked and see what I can do with them for the day’s updates.

As I’ve said over and over, what I do is try to put all the available information in one place, so people researching missing persons can go to one spot and find everything, rather than having to read like 20 different articles. But that means it’s ME having to read 20 different articles. I’m a very good, very fast reader, obviously, but if you’re just looking at my cases from the outside you’ve got no idea how much time it can take.

Take the case of Diamond Bynum and her nephew King Walker, for example. I added them on Sunday. The case summary is a short one: their “circumstances of disappearance” section is a mere 161 words long. But to get those 161 words, and the photos and the physical/clothing/medical information, I had to consult six different sources — an MP database, a Facebook page and four news publications — and read, perhaps, ten articles, and sort of boil it all down in my head.

And that was just for two cases — or more like one and a half cases, since the circumstances of disappearance were identical for both. I added eight cases to the Charley Project that day, and updated one. And that was just the daily grind, as it were. There’s a lot of other stuff involved: constantly checking other MP databases for cases to add, purging my outdated cases, trying (and failing) to keep up with my email, maintaining the social media stuff, etc. Also occasionally just plugging name after name into Google or whatever and see if I can get a fish on the line.

I am not complaining. Running this website is something I deeply enjoy, and it’s something uniquely suited to my talents and life circumstances. I’m just trying to say, it’s not exactly easy and it’s not something to undertake lightly. I’m sure many people would have a hard time staying committed. I know I do. From time to time I’ve thought about quitting, but that would be a logistical nightmare and I know I’d deeply regret it.

But I think to myself: that logistical nightmare could happen anyway, even if I didn’t choose to quit. I mean, I was lucky to walk away relatively unscathed after that car wreck six weeks ago. What if I’d been seriously injured, brain-damaged, killed? What then? Who would take care of things? No one, that’s who. There’d be nothing to do but pull the whole thing down, and no one to do it but my nearest and dearest.

I am warming up to the idea of having other people help write cases for Charley. I know the site has really grown too big for me to manage on my own. But I remain apprehensive. One of the many things I am concerned about is the possibility that some well-meaning, talented individuals will volunteer themselves and then change their minds when they realize just what this sort of thing entails.

I’m just thinking aloud right now.

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22 thoughts on “The way I do things

  1. Natalie November 15, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    It’s really interesting to hear how you work, charley takes dedication. You do a wonderful and worthwhile job. Thankyou

      • Kat November 15, 2016 / 6:07 pm

        She can’t, all the time, which is why her regulars here post updates and links and all that jazz so while it might not get in the file right away, those that frequent here and care know. So, thanks! Hadn’t seen this one myself.

  2. Kat November 15, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    I’d be more concerned about people taking over, which comes with the inevitable infighting and such. As long as you know who to trust you should be good! Charley will always be your baby.

    • Meaghan November 16, 2016 / 9:46 am

      Yeah, that is a major concern for me as well. The precedents aren’t good.

      • Kat November 16, 2016 / 3:24 pm

        I know it. Most “regulars” as you call them seem to be really good, knowledgeable people. But……….this is your baby, and I worry that you might lose control way more than you want to. Glass half empty I guess. On the other hand, people to help sift through updates, make minor corrections (spelling, grammar, etc.) and so on would help you out tons. IDK. At the end, it is up to you. How are you doing with the new meds? I assume ok or you wouldn’t be posting. Hope all is alright.

      • Meaghan November 16, 2016 / 8:08 pm

        Well, I’m still anxious and miserable, but physically there’s been no change, and that’s good.

        This medicine is supposed to help with anxiety, depression AND chronic pain, and it’s prescribed for lower back pain in particular. Back in October I had to go to ER for vomiting and HORRIBLE lower back pain and my back has not been right since. I’m wearing lidocaine patches a lot — and somehow my doctor convinced my insurance to cover them, which is good cause they cost $8. If I don’t wear one, I’m likely to visibly wince and gasp in pain whenever I have to sit down or bend over.

        When I saw Dr. Bruno he witnessed the whole wincing and gasping and he asked what was wrong and I said my lower back hurt, right at my waistline, and it had been like this for weeks and I didn’t know why. He said no more about it but I wonder if he prescribed that particular drug in part because of the pain issue.

        I’m starting physical therapy tomorrow.

    • michael w. November 15, 2016 / 11:45 pm

      oh wow, pictures too. how interesting.

  3. TB November 16, 2016 / 5:28 am

    Meaghan, I commend you for your ability to laser-focus on a case and get through the dozen or more articles needed to create even a 161 word entry. In this example, the Diamond and King case(s), I likely would have run down every rabbit hole I found in each of the articles you read to get to your summary. It might have derailed me for days. (Heck, I still can’t get past the supposition that a person with the mental age of a six year old was allowed to take a toddler on an otherwise unsupervised trip down the street).

    That skill you have is terrific and obviously beneficial to the MPs and their families, and to the armchair investigators like myself.

    If you do decide at some point to involve others in putting together entries for Charley, I would love to help. I know I just mentioned my issue with wanting to maybe research a little too much, but I would make up for that with some relevant experience that I do have. Let me know if you do consider this in the future. And thank you again for all of the work you do.

    • Meaghan November 16, 2016 / 9:43 am

      I don’t know if they were exactly “allowed” to do it. Grandma went down for a nap and when she woke up, Diamond and King were gone. I don’t know if anyone actually saw them walking around the neighborhood or it’s just assumed.

      The disappearances seem very strange to me; I really don’t have the foggiest idea what happened there. It’s like they walked into a void. Gary is a very rough town, high crime rate, lots of poverty. Apparently the city has been thoroughly searched, abandoned buildings checked and so on, and there’s no sign of them.

      I suppose abduction is a possibility, but I don’t know who would be interested in a toddler AND a grown woman at the same time. You’d think if both of them were taken, one or the other would get dropped off somewhere, alive or dead. Because of her size Diamond would have been difficult to just grab off the street, but given her mental capacity it might have been easy to lure her into a vehicle.

      I suppose it’s possible that they could still be alive — I don’t think Diamond’s medications are life-sustaining ones — but if they are someone’s got to be taking care of them.

      • TB November 17, 2016 / 6:26 pm

        I thought the same about her size, she wouldn’t be easy to grab. And it also stands out enough that if she were found as a living unidentified person (like in a hospital) I think they’d have an easier time narrowing down the search of MPs.

        Off topic, if you ever find your insurance won’t cover lidocaine patches, if you have a relative who has had shingles, they’re always covered. So maybe not totally legal, but you could obtain them through such a patient. Also if you (hopefully not) have to do another med switch again, and haven’t yet been prescribed elavil, I have found it very helpful for nerve pain and anxiety with no side effects other than drowsiness (I take it at night). It is old school and inexpensive. Just a thought. I wish you luck with the meds and symptoms.

      • Meaghan November 17, 2016 / 6:49 pm

        Unfortunately, I don’t have any living relatives with shingles. I found out about lidocaine patches because my grandmother used them for her shingles. When she died my mother inherited all her medications. We fought over the two precious boxes of lidocaine patches, but they’re all gone now and would have expired anyway.

        Dr. Bruno didn’t prescribe Elavil, but the drug he did prescribe is supposed to help with chronic pain, lower back pain in particular. I wonder if that’s part of the reason he prescribed it — when I saw him at his office he noticed I was in pain and I told him my lower back had been hurting for weeks. Here’s to hoping this drug works. If it doesn’t I’ll ask him about Elavil.

        I started physical therapy for my back today. I hope that works too.

  4. Stephanie Jay November 16, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    OT: I haven’t seen Elizabeth Laguna Salgado yet on Charley. She’s been missing since April 16, 2015 from Provo, Utah. I feel terrible because she’s hardly received any press and there’s no knowing what’s happened to her.

    • Julie November 16, 2016 / 2:36 pm

      I’m finding her referred to as both Elizabeth Elena Salgado and Elizabeth Elena Laguna-Salgado in articles about her disappearance.

  5. J. Leon November 17, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    I wasn’t really planning to weigh in on whether you should bring in contributors or not but if you decide to I hope for the sake of all you do that you vet them thoroughly beforehand and make sure they’re totally “bought in” to your way of doing things. Infighting is not something you want among people with the password to your website. Been there, done that. No thanks; I’ll pass on a return trip. And it’s not a trip YOU want to make the first time.

    And now for what I REALLY wanted to talk about today-your updates to the cases of Christine Rusch (http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/r/rusch_christine.html) and Theresa Brown (http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/b/brown_theresa.html). I mention only these two and not the one for fellow victim Joan Butler because her update didn’t refer to the recovery of Richard Grissom’s car. It was picked up in Grandview, MISSOURI, not Kansas. Lenexa and Grandview are both Kansas City suburbs; Lenexa is on the Kansas side in Johnson County, south of Wyandotte County and KCK, while Grandview, in Jackson County, abuts KCMO to the south. Don’t feel bad; I imagine this happens often when you deal with a metro area bisected by a state line.

    Not that a minor correction like this will help these poor young women now, but it’s likely too bad Grissom didn’t take them into Missouri before he did away with them-and left evidence to that effect. The threat of a death sentence-Missouri had it in ’89 but Kansas didn’t yet-just MIGHT have encouraged him to give up the location of the bodies in exchange for what he ended up with anyway-three hots and a cot from here on out.

    And although it likely won’t help Iva Foss now either, I am gratified you finally fixed that car description in her casefile. Sorry-couldn’t help looking again.

    • Meaghan November 18, 2016 / 11:54 am

      Thanks for the correction; I’ll fix it.

  6. David November 18, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    You do great work. It is tough to keep this up I imagine. Look on the bright side. You can set your own hours and go an vacation/take days off anytime you want!

  7. Christy December 8, 2016 / 10:33 pm

    You could put a list of people you’re wanting to update and ask people for submissions. That way, you would not lose control, and people like me would write things and submit them for you to publish or not, up to you.

    • Christy December 8, 2016 / 10:34 pm

      and by “update” I actually meant, “create entries for”

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