MP of the week: Rene Perez

This week’s featured missing person is Rene Perez Jr., who disappeared with his mom, Cecilia Elizabeth Newball, from Los Angeles in 1994. Rene was six years old; Cecilia was thirty-two.

Cecilia’s husband of one year, Alfredo (who is not Rene’s father) claims Cecilia and Rene simply left one day and never came back. Cecilia left a goodbye-card and her wedding and engagement rings, and Alfredo got a typewritten letter a few days later. The letter said Cecilia (who is originally from El Salvador) was moving to Honduras with a guy named Arturo.

However, foul play is suspected in their cases. Cecilia was eight months pregnant, and women don’t usually pick that time to make major life changes or travel internationally. Furthermore, all of her and Rene’s belongings were left behind, including Cecilia’s car, their clothes and Rene’s glasses.

Some general questions that occur to me with the info that’s available:

  1. Did Cecilia and Rene’s passports disappear with them? Did Rene even have a passport?
  2. Was there any record of either of them leaving the United States?
  3. Did Cecilia even know how to type? Did she usually type her letters?
  4. Did Alfredo own a typewriter? If so, did the police check and see if it had been used to write that letter?
  5. Was Rene’s father a presence in their lives, and has he been ruled out as a suspect?
  6. Does Alfredo have a criminal record or a history of violence towards women?

If he’s still alive, Rene would now be 30 years old. I think he’s probably still six. And I don’t think his younger sibling was ever born.

Guest column

A week and a half ago, after the Cosby verdict was rendered, I read some absolutely vile stuff in the Facebook comments of articles on the subject. A lot of people calling his victims whores and liars and gold-diggers and saying if there was any truth to the allegations they would have come forward immediately and not waited. I called Dad and told him that if anybody said such things to him, he should tell them about the horrible things people said about me after I was raped.

Long-time readers of this blog will know the story: on June 16, 2009, I was on vacation in Virginia when I got lost and a stranger offered to walk me back to my friend’s place where I was staying and instead he took me out into the woods and beat me and choked me and raped me.

I blogged about it a few days later and was almost immediately attacked by jerks saying I was a liar. For the next month or so, as I was struggling to come to terms with what happened, I was also having to deal with the aforementioned jerks posting crap in the comments section of my blog. You read my entries in this category.

So I told Dad this, and he suggested I write a letter to the editor about it. I had previously written to the Lima News about gun control. So I thought Dad’s idea was a good one and I wrote another letter and sent it to them last Monday.

It turns out this letter was about twice as long as letters to the editor should be, but they wanted to print it anyway — as a “guest column” rather than a letter to the editor. The guy I spoke to on the phone was very nice. He said he was sorry such an awful thing had happened to me, and that guest columnists usually have their picture printed but given the subject matter if I didn’t want my picture in the paper he would understand.

Naturally I said a picture would be okay. The letter was published on their website last night, and in this morning’s paper. My dad is very proud. You can read it at this link or check out a picture of the newspaper below:


Nothing much else has happened. Today I am playing driver, errand girl and nursemaid to Michael, who has had an extraction and a filling at the dentist’s. In a bit I’ll be running out to get his prescription at the pharmacy and also pudding and jello for him to eat tonight. Gotta be a good house-girlfriend, as I’m not much good for anything else.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Mohammed Alghannam

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Mohammed Abdulmohsen Alghannam, also known as Mo, who disappeared from New Orleans on March 28, 2015, at the age of 25.

Mo is from Saudi Arabia and was in New Orleans on a student visa at the time of his disappearance, studying mechanical engineering at UT-San Antonio. I think he disappeared over spring break.

It was spring, anyway, and he was taking a break: he went to New Orleans with his uncle and stayed three nights at a hotel there, presumably doing touristy things during the day. Mo was supposed to take a bus back to San Antonio, but it’s not clear whether he ever did. He was just gone.

His loved ones created a Facebook page for him, but it’s almost entirely in Arabic, and the last post on it was in June 2015. There hasn’t been any news about him in years.

I have no idea what happened here, but here’s to hoping that Mo decided to drop out of sight so he wouldn’t have to return to Saudi Arabia. He apparently wasn’t doing too well in school, and he would hardly be the first temporary visitor to the U.S. who decided to make his stay permanent.