National Hispanic Heritage Month: Agustin Zeferino

(I had pre-written cases for September 30 and October 1, using the app on my phone. I didn’t realize until very late on October 1 that neither of them went up, and in fact they seem to have vanished. I need to stop using that app to try to write entries; it never seems to work well. I am trying to reconstruct the entries from memory.)

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 Agustin Zeferino, who disappeared from Santa Barbara County, California on August 11, 2014. He was a farm worker, probably a migrant.

Zeferino’s case is kind of unusual and scary because he was undergoing treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis at the time of his disappearance, and he was supposed to take medication for up to two years.

Although he was asymptomatic and not contagious at the time of his disappearance, since he disappeared he’s obviously stopped the treatments and he would have become contagious again and started developing symptoms again. As Zeferino’s disease is a threat to public health, a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Without treatment, about there’s about a 50-50 chance that tuberculosis will kill you, unless you’re HIV positive that is, in which case it’s extremely lethal. The illness kills slowly; untreated, about one-third of patients die within two years and another third within five years. The person is ambulatory for most of that time — I think Edgar Allen Poe’s wife went dancing the same night her TB finally killed her — and spreading it everywhere they go.

I really really hope Zeferino is okay and just moved on, and that he has resumed his treatments wherever he is now, perhaps in another country. Because if he didn’t resume his treatment, he’s probably dead now, and he’s probably made other people sick.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Tymayrra Ayala

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 Tymayrra Patricia Marie Ayala, who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on August 28, 2017, at the age of fifteen.

She is classified as a runaway. Her Facebook page was active until at least February 2018, several months after her disappearance, though I can only see the profile photos. It looks like she has an arrest record, as several of the available pics of her appear to be mug shots.

Tymayrra is 18 now. I hope she gets in touch with her family, or at least the authorities, soon.

NY Times article about child porn

Wanted to recommend this article the New York Times has just put out: The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong? It begins: Last year, tech companies reported over 45 million online photos and videos of children being sexually abused — more than double what they found the previous year.

Some takeaways, for those who can’t read the article cause of the paywall or whatever:

  1. In 1998, there were about 3,000 reports of child porn online. By 2008, there were 100,000 reports annually. By 2014, there were one million. In 2018, there were 18.4 million.
  2. The Justice Department is tasked with keeping ahead of the child porn issue but hasn’t been doing its job properly.
  3. Part of the problem is funding. Consistently, Congress has only been providing the Justice Department about half the funds they promised, and this year 20% of what WAS provided got taken away again and re-allocated to (surprise!) immigration enforcement.
  4. The NCMEC is also supposed to work on this problem but it has serious shortcomings, including its reliance “in large measure on 20-year-old technology.”
  5. Tech companies are aware that people are using their platforms (such as Snapchat, etc) to distribute child porn, but the tech companies only act when such images are reported to them. They don’t look for the images themselves. The NYT compares it to someone who knows they have a pest problem, and it scares them, so they just don’t turn on the lights and pretend the roaches aren’t there.
  6. A lot of the information on tech platforms that could lead to the identity of the children and the perpetrators in child porn images gets deleted before law enforcement is able to access it.
  7. We’re f****ed.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Manuel Camacho

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 Manuel Alberto Camacho, a 25-year-old man who disappeared from Bakersfield, California on April 9, 2010.

I don’t have any information on his disappearance, unfortunately, but he does have some distinctive tattoos, including a pretty large design on the crown of his head, and large script writing of some kind on the side of his neck. Wish I could read the writing.

If still alive, Camacho is be 35 now.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Yessenia Suarez, and Thalia and Elijah Otto

[Yeah, so this was supposed to go up yesterday but somehow it didn’t. I am putting it up now. My apologies.]

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 three cases: Yessenia Ivette Suarez, age 38, and her children, nine-year-old Thala Ivette Otto and eight-year-old Michael Elijah Otto, who was addressed by his middle name. They were last seen alive in Deltona, Floria on October 22, 2013.

We know what happened in this case, but this woman and children’s bodies have never been found. Luis Toledo, Yessenia’s husband and the children’s stepfather, murdered them in a horrific act of violence, then coerced a neighbor into helping him clean up the crime scene. After his arrest he tried to blame that same neighbor for the murders, but that didn’t go anywhere. For some reason, he was spared the death penalty when he was convicted.

It’s such a tragic story and such a waste. You might read it and think “if only Yessenia had pressed charges against him for the fight they had earlier that day” or “if only Yessenia had spent the night at her mom’s like she’d initially planned” and so on. But the real “if only” should be “if only Luis Toledo hadn’t done these awful things.”

In hearing stories about domestic violence people often ask why women stay. The real question ought to be why the men are so violent to them. Some people talk about anger management issues or whatever, but these men often have no problem controlling their anger in the workplace, with their friends, etc. It is a deliberate choice that they take it out on their wives and girlfriends.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Gustavo Machado

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 Gustavo Machado, a 44-year-old biracial black/Hispanic man.

Machado suffers from severe mental illness and was a patient at the now-defunct Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains, New Jersey when he initially disappeared in 1992. He was 33 years old. He resurfaced in Paterson, New Jersey on November 13, 2003, where I guess he was arrested; the photo taken of him at that time looks like a mug shot. He hasn’t been seen since.

Machado has a lot of tattoos, including several of writing in Spanish. If he’s still alive he’d be 60 years old and, probably, still living underground.

Maggie Cruz found alive and well

Yesterday I wrote about how the police were looking into the possibility that “Beth Doe”, a young pregnant woman who was murdered, dismembered and dumped in a Pennsylvania river in 1976, might be runaway foster child Maggie Cruz.

Well, that possibility has been ruled out, as Madeline “Maggie” Cruz has been found alive and well and has spoken to the police.

I’m glad she’s all right, but that leaves the cops back to square one where Beth Doe is concerned. I wonder if she was killed by her husband — murder of pregnant women by the father of the baby is heartbreakingly common — and that’s why she was never reported missing.