Site’s down at the moment

So a viewer reported seeing a blank screen when they tried to go to the Charley Project. It worked fine for me last night but I’m getting a blank screen now also, on both phone and computer.

The Charley Project is run via WordPress and when I tried to go to the WordPress dashboard that’s not working either, which leads me to think this is on WordPress’s end. If it’s not resolved by later today I’ll start banging on people’s (metaphorical) doors about it and see if I can get something done.

No, Jane McDonald-Crone was almost certainly not found alive on the streets of Mexico the other day

I was seeing and hearing about a lot of chatter on social media yesterday about a homeless American woman who was found on the streets of Monterrey, Mexico, and called herself Jane McDonald, and was supposedly Jane McDonald-Crone, who disappeared in 1993. Almost immediately something seemed “off” about the story, though, and when I searched for information OFF social media, I couldn’t find anything.

Jane McDonald-Crone was a 34 year old divorced mother of two who went for a night out back in 1993, never returned and was never seen again. If still alive she’d be 62 today.

I think what happened is people jumping to conclusions. It sounds like, because this woman was calling herself Jane McDonald and bore some resemblance to the missing Jane McDonald-Crone, people thought it might be her and notified law enforcement. And then the story snowballed and the possible identification being reported to law enforcement suddenly became being confirmed by law enforcement.

I think the actual confirmation of identity would take some time, because the fingerprints, etc, if the authorities even have Jane McDonald-Crone’s prints, would be in possession of American authorities and would have to be officially requested by the Mexicans and then sent down there and compared against the homeless lady’s prints. I’m not sure if that’s even been done yet; it sounds like the homeless woman dropped out of sight again before the authorities could speak to her and I don’t know if she’s resurfaced. What I do know is that, per Missing Persons of America, Jane McDonald-Crone’s own children had not heard anything about their mother’s supposed recovery in Mexico.

So, as of the moment, Jane McDonald-Crone is unfortunately still missing.

I wanted to drop a recommendation for y’all

So this podcast series, “Through the Cracks: The Untold Story of Mbuyisa Makhubo” came out in 2016, but I didn’t discover it until a few days ago. I really wanted to tell everyone because it’s an awesome series, four episodes, great journalism, very thorough, telling a fascinating story about a missing person.

Mbuyisa Makhubo was a very ordinary teenage boy living in Soweto, South Africa in the 1970s when he became world-famous by accident. Basically, what happened was that a 1976 youth protest against the brutal apartheid regime got out of hand and the police opened fire on the crowd, killing a twelve-year-old boy named Hector Pieterson (and a lot of other people). Mbuyisa was the one who picked up Hector after he was shot and carried him to a nearby car — a photojournalist’s — to take him to the hospital. The journalist’s photos of Mbuyisa, running with a dying Hector in his arms and Hector’s screaming, hysterical sister running next to him, were displayed in newspapers across the world. You might have seen the images yourself; they’re still famous.

The result was that Mbuyisa (who hadn’t even been attending the protest, he just happened to live on that street) became a target of South African security forces. Afraid for his life, he had to flee the country. He got a scholarship to attend a school in Nigeria, but couldn’t adjust, began deteriorating physically and mentally, and ended up on drugs and living on the streets of Lagos. Sometime in 1978, he disappeared, and his family in South Africa never heard from him again.

Then he may have resurfaced, thirty years later, alive and well in a Canadian jail. Or maybe he didn’t.

From there the story just keeps getting stranger and stranger and more and more complicated. I don’t want to say anything more for fear of spoiling things, but I wound up listening to the whole podcast in one streak, ruminating on it for hours and puzzling it over with my friends afterwards.

So yeah, listen to it.

MP of the week: Sarah Murray

This week’s featured missing person is Sarah Lee Murray, a 14-year-old girl who disappeared from Kenbridge, Virginia on February 18, 1997. She had been living with a relative at the time of her disappearance; her mother had died a year and a half earlier. The police, at the time, thought Sarah had run away, and perhaps she did. But it’s been over 20 years, almost 25, and that’s a long time for someone to be under the radar. There is little evidence to support any theory.

If still alive, Sarah (also known as Susana) would be 38 years old today.