What about this headline?

Eight years ago I wrote a blog entry about potentially problematic headlines for articles about missing persons and crime victims. That is, headlines that point out info about the MP or suspect that might be seen as shaming them. I was reminded of this entry cause I just found another such headline:

Police seek missing cross-dresser from Jennings

I’m inclined to let this headline go. The fact that Eddie Johnson was a cross-dresser was news to me until I saw the article. And he was, apparently, wearing a woman’s kind of wig when he disappeared, though I can’t tell from the clothing description whether they were women’s clothes or not. The inevitable possibility is that he was the victim of a hate crime and that’s why he’s missing.

That’s all.

11 thoughts on “What about this headline?

  1. christie December 15, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    Bless him, it’s OK we need to be able to describe people, any information and articles are helpful in our searches, we need to set ourselves and opinions aside and look at the black and white of things. If in fact if he was a cross dresser, then we need to know because this is info that may help in the pursuit of finding his remains. Bad on the article for shamming him, good on him for being himself and not living in fear. XO

    • Meaghan December 15, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Well why not just say “missing man” in the headline and include the cross dresser info in the text of the article?

  2. Patrick Kerrigan December 15, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    Meaghan, I agree with your comments. I wonder how long they holding on to this infornation. I m bothered that law enforcement holding back information after a person was murdered after the case has gone cold for 10 or more years.

  3. Patrick Kerrigan December 15, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    Also, I wonder if he assumes another name wen he cross dresses. If so we need to know this so we search online under the other name. I assume this was known about in his local community.

    • Meaghan December 15, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      For what it’s worth NamUs doesn’t have any aliases listed for him.

  4. EVIE December 15, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    Wtf is going on in Jennings tho 😦

  5. Peter Henderson Jr. December 16, 2017 / 7:37 am


    While it is possible this could be a hate crime we can’t identify it as such based on this report.

    Under a more detailed report we may lean that Mr. Johnson was known to work as a prostitute which could result in foul play for a different motive.

    See John Doe # 8, found on April 4, 2011 along a stretch of beach off of Ocean County Parkway in Long Island, New York as an example.

  6. Kat December 18, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    Headlines are to get peoples attention. And to sell papers. That did. I doubt there is much more to it. Might be insensitive, but it was the truth. I’m more concerned with the fact that those phone calls and the people who made them have gone untraced as far as we know. How does this not even preliminarily qualify as a hate crime? It is a starting point, at least. I get the feeling there is way more to this case underneath.

    • Meaghan December 18, 2017 / 2:01 pm

      I’m a bit confused about the calls. So were these people using his cell phone or what?

    • Meaghan December 18, 2017 / 2:15 pm

      Of course not all murders of cross-dressers and trans and queer people are hate crimes either. I’ve got a trans murder without a body case on Charley where the victim was horrifically tortured and killed by a group of gang members, but it turned out the killers had no idea he was trans. They killed him because they thought he’d stolen from them.

  7. Patrick Kerrigan December 23, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    Again law enforcement does not reveal all that they have learned from their investigations. As a former detective at two VA hospital in Chicago bothers me, especially with cases that have been cold for 10 or more years. There was a cold murder case, in this neck of the woods, where the agency finally mentioned that the victims ring most likely was taken by the offender. This about 20 or more years after her murder. This information may have helped point to a possible suspect years earlier. However, it was finally closed through DNA.

    What I find interesting is that Cold Case Investigators have found that the offender was actually someone mentioned in the original investigation.

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