RIP, Arthur

So I was going through missing persons Facebook groups this afternoon and to my shock spotted an old poster for a guy I used to know. He went missing in 2018.

We had “met” online in the late 1990s, when we connected randomly on AOL Instant Messenger, a chat program. I met a lot of people on there, including some I’m still friends with today. Both of us were in our teens, him a few years older than me. We were never super close but did talk regularly on AOL Instant Messenger for years. He was a good guy.

Over the years we drifted out of touch, talking less and less often. I think we last spoke sometime around 2006 or so. He seemed pretty content with his life the last time we spoke.

I had had no idea he had gone missing. He’s not missing anymore though. I looked him up and discovered he had only been missing for three months before they found his body. Suicide.

I felt pretty sad about it, though over a decade had passed since we had talked last and I don’t know what he was dealing with when he took his life. I really wish it hadn’t come to this.

MP of the week: Byron Davis

This week’s feature missing person is Byron Lee Davis, a mentally disabled 53-year-old man who went missing from Kansas City, Missouri on May 18, 1993. If still alive today, he’d be eighty years old.

I wish more information was available about his mental disability; there is a big difference between, say, someone who functions at the level of a toddler, and one who functions at the level of a twelve-year-old. Davis appears, anyway, to have been able to wander around his neighborhood alone. Unfortunately some people living in the area took advantage of him and he was sometimes the target of cruel jokes.

Foul play is suspected in his disappearance. It seems likely that one of those nasty neighbors did something to him, perhaps in a robbery attempt or in a “joke” gone horribly wrong.

Wondering if they’re still missing

I was going through an archived 1972 issue of the Philadelphia Daily News that has an article about missing persons cold cases in the city. Almost all of them are people I have never heard of and I inevitably wonder if they are still missing.

Beverly Sharpman is still missing, as is Dorothy Forstein (though she’s not on Charley). Lydia Zayas had been missing for five years by the time the article ran. Minnie Seeds had been missing for seventeen years, William Molan for six years, and Domenick Caruso for ten years, and I have no idea whether any of them have been found.

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This is kind of horrifying to me

I read many of articles from different publications about the drowning deaths of brothers Ayden Leroy Cecil and Anthony Joseph Tullius, and I really can’t understand why their parents were charged with anything.

When I saw the headlines that said things like “Toddlers drowned while parents slept”, I thought perhaps maybe the parents were passed out under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or didn’t begin to look for the kids for hours, or something like that. I mean, there HAD to be more to the story, right?

I can only go by what’s been reported and I can’t find any more to the story.

On that tragic night they set up camp at a designated campsite near the river, and everyone went to bed. Dad zipped the tent and tightened the top zipper. Mom took one Xanax before bed, as her prescription said she should. Dad was exhausted after a long week of work. They went to sleep. And sometime during the night the boys unzipped the bottom zipper of the tent (which Dad had forgotten to tighten) and wandered into the river.

This is all terrible and I’m sure any parent in that situation would be full of what-ifs and should-haves and blaming themselves for a very long time, if not the rest of their days on earth, but I don’t see how this rises to the level of a crime.

At their first trial the children’s mother, Kasey, would insinuate her husband, their stepfather Richard, may have killed them on purpose. This is because, although Kasey thought she’d removed Ayden’s shoes before bed and he couldn’t put them on by himself, when his body was found he was wearing the shoes. I think it’s more likely that Kasey simply forgot to remove the shoes (she’d put them on over his sleeper so he could run around and play during the evening). If Richard were planning on tossing the boys in the river it doesn’t make any sense for him to have put their shoes on.

I myself nearly drowned as a five-year-old and a police officer had to pound life back into my chest after they pulled me out of Lake Michigan. This is because my mom, who was on lifeguard duty, decided to help the other adults pull a boat ashore and was distracted for a few minutes. Obviously she should not have done that, but the idea that a parent would be charged with a crime in such a situation is appalling to me.

As this story was reported I can’t understand why the Kleins were even charged, never mind convicted, in their children’s drowning deaths. Was something left out or was this the overzealous prosecution is appears to have been?

MP of the week: Stephanie Griffin

This week’s featured missing person is Stephanie Regina Griffin, a 24-year-old woman who disappeared from Tampa, Florida on September 28, 1989. She might have been seen at a local bus stop at Christmas that year, but that was never confirmed and there’s been no sign of her since.

I don’t have very much on this case and unfortunately the only two available photos of her are somewhat out of date; they’re from the early eighties, when Stephanie was in high school.

If still alive, she would be 55 today.

Happy announcement

Michael and I have gotten engaged.

We love each other very much and would have married long ago, except if we had, I’d have lost my medical insurance, and his job didn’t provide insurance for spouses and families of employees. #Merica

Well, last week his job announced they were getting better insurance: it covers more, costs less, and covers spouses (including domestic partners) and children (including adult children) of employees.

So now we will marry. Michael got down on bended knee in front of hundreds of people at the Egyptian Room at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, just after the awesome guys from the Small Town Murder podcast finished their event for the night, because that’s what we’re like. We have set a tentative date for October.

I know nothing much will change (we have been together for 18 years, and lived together for around 10) but this has made us both so happy. I’ve been walking around smiling all the time and humming love songs.

MP of the week: Jonathan Franklin

This week’s featured missing person is Jonathan Chase Franklin, a 25-year-old man who disappeared from Eureka, Missouri on May 31, 2013.

The circumstances suggest he drowned: he was last seen wearing a swimsuit, at a beach on the Missouri River. I never found any news articles about him, though.