National Hispanic Heritage Month: Martha Maxwell

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Martha Martinez Maxwell, a 41-year-old woman who disappeared from Fort Worth, Texas on May 10, 1992.

Her family got a letter from her saying she was leaving her husband Jeffrey, but they don’t believe the letter was genuine because she would normally have just called them. Martha also left her documents, her car and her child behind.

Prior to her disappearance, Martha had been the victim of severe abuse at Jeffrey’s hands. In 2012, he was sentenced to life in prison for the unrelated kidnapping and rape of a 62-year-old woman whom he’d held captive in a special secret compartment in his house for thirteen days.

Sadly, it’s not too hard to surmise what must have happened to Martha.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Usbaldo Hernandez

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Usbaldo Arvizu Hernandez, who disappeared from El Dorado County, California all the way back on July 1, 1969, at the age of 44.

Usbaldo, aka Waldo, wandered quite a bit: a military man and then a migrant farm worker, he often rode trains (not the passenger kind) between Arizona and California. I don’t know if he was just a free spirit or if he had to take what he could get; my boyfriend’s grandfather, who was the same age and was also Hispanic, had done the same sort of thing back in the day.

I don’t know anything about the actual circumstances of Usbaldo’s disappearance, and as he’d be 94 today, chances are that whatever did happen to him, he’s no longer alive.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Ximena and Sergio Granados

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is the disappearances of siblings Ximena Paola Granados, 1, and Sergio Paul Granados, two and a half, who went missing from Pomona, California on July 30, 2008.

The Granados kids are classified as family abductions; authorities believe they were taken by their non-custodial mother and father, possibly to Mexico. However, I can’t find any info on the parents and I don’t know if any warrants were ever issued for them.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Marco Cadenas

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Marco Antonio Cadenas, a nine-year-old biracial black/Hispanic boy who disappeared from Miami, Florida on May 11, 1994.

I should note that Marco’s family background was troubled, to say the least. I’m not sure what role, if any, his biological father played in his life, but the man was killed in a police shootout in Ohio in July 1994, two months after Marco disappeared. There was some domestic violence between Marco’s mother and his stepfather, and some drug issues with the mom.

Marco, who called his stepfather “Daddy,” left on the day of his disappearance because he was upset that his mother had hit his stepfather with a bottle. His mother went into drug rehab later that year. I don’t know where his mom and stepfather are today, or if they’re still alive, or what other family Marco has.

So where is Marco? If this was an older child, the circumstances would indicate he left on his own: he was mad at his mother, they had an argument, and she threatened to punish him. He walked out the door and never came back.

But he was nine. Could a nine-year-old, even a streetwise one, have really managed to run away and never come back? And would he have done so without so much as a pair of shoes?

If he’s still alive, and I hope he is, Marco Cadenas would be 33 years old today.

Hmm… I wonder…

So Adolfo Orozco-Razo, age 16, disappeared from North Augusta, South Carolina on February 24, 2017. He’s classified as a runaway. Then two months later on April 27, and only about seventeen miles away in Aiken, thirteen-year-old Irma Orozco-Razo disappears; she’s also listed as a runaway.

It’s hard to tell from the photos, as Adolfo’s is not of the greatest quality, but I’m guessing these two are siblings.

And in other news, I found yet another person listed as missing on the NCMEC who was found quite awhile go. I’m not sure when she was located, but she was killed in a hit-and-run accident in March.

Sigh. They haven’t removed one of the previous ones I pointed out wasn’t missing anymore; I don’t see the point of calling this in.

Showing people as they are

I try to see the “whole person” in real life; I try to be conscious of everyone’s flaws and redeeming features, whether I personally love them or loathe them. And similarly, on my missing persons profiles I try to show the whole person, show missing people as they ARE, not how others would wish them to be.

Twice recently, I got yelled at by relatives of missing people for saying on the person’s profile that they were addicted to drugs. Both people who were mad at me admitted that their missing relative was, in fact, addicted to drugs. But they didn’t want it said out loud, basically.

One person said it sounded “harsh.” Another person claimed it was “confidential” when it wasn’t; she herself had been trying to admit her brother to a residential drug rehab facility, a fact that was publicly known on the internet. They don’t admit you to residential drug rehabs just because you want a vacation. But nevertheless, she didn’t want me calling her brother an addict.

While I can understand why these people feel this way, as I’ve gotten more experience I’ve felt less and less inclined to modify profiles and remove perfectly accurate information like that just because a family member asks me to.

When I was sixteen I read an excellent novel that reminds me of this situation: The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci. (Warning: spoilers ahead!) Basically, the story is about a high-school boy who mysteriously disappears, and the aftermath and how this affects his classmates and the small town they live in. All sorts of ugly rumors are floating around, and Christopher’s mother makes public accusations of murder against multiple people.

In the end, however, it turns out that Christopher had been desperately unhappy at home because his mother was very controlling and volatile, and he’d simply run away from home because he couldn’t take it anymore. Furthermore, Christopher’s mom had KNOWN THIS all along, but didn’t want to believe it, going so far as to lie to the police and conceal evidence. She would rather believe her son had been murdered than admit, even to herself, to she hadn’t been a good mother and her son hadn’t been a normal, happy kid.

It’s always a bit of a conundrum I have to deal with, trying to tell the whole truth about a person while trying not to cause additional pain to their family members.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Brenda Ovalle

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Brenda Eli Ovalle, a sixteen-year-old runaway from Naples, Florida. She’s been missing since February 3, 2004.

It is very unusual for a teen runaway to be missing for fourteen years, but the last indication was that Brenda was safe and sound, living with family in Mexico. I hope that’s correct, and I hope if it is, she will contact the police in Florida to get herself taken off the books.