MP of the week: Daisy Tallman

This week’s featured missing persons case is Daisy Mae Tallman, aka Daisy Heath (she was in the process of changing it legally when she disappeared). The 29-year-old woman, a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakama Nation, disappeared from Toppenish, Washington on August 30, 1987.

Her family wasn’t concerned at first because she would sometimes leave for short periods and she was capable of surviving in the wilderness on her own. But two months later they reported her missing.

At some point, some of Daisy’s belongings were found in a remote area of the Yakama Reservation, an area that’s off-limits to non-tribal members without permission.

The police believe Daisy was murdered, but no suspects have been named in her case.

The searchable database of Washington state missing persons is back

After being down “for maintenance” since I don’t know when (last summer maybe?), the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs has finally put their searchable database of Washington missing persons back online.

It appears to be pretty much the same database as before; I’m not seeing any particular changes jumping out at me. I wish they had more pictures. Like, what’s the point of listing a person on the internet as missing when there’s no photo of them?

I noticed there were QUITE a lot of people who disappeared in mid-May 1980 and were listed as “catastrophe victims”. I thought about this for awhile, then Googled “Mount Saint Helens eruption.” Yup, mid-May 1980. I don’t think any of those people are going to be found at this point, though one never knows.

Woman is not Brittany Williams, and the Harmony Montgomery case grows worse by the day

Since June there has been a woman named Kaylynn Stevenson who has claimed to be Brittany Renee Williams, a child in the foster care system who disappeared sometime between August and November 2000. It’s a pretty awful story, starting with the fact that no one is quite sure when the HIV-positive seven-year-old was last seen. Her so-called guardian was only interested in the benefits that came with fostering.

Kaylynn had a story that sounded so bizarre it might just be credible. I wasn’t sure and decided to hold my peace until law enforcement came out with a statement. Well, they have, and based on “a robust review of medical records, adoption records, consultation with Infectious Disease physicians, dozens of interviews, and DNA analysis,” Kaylynn isn’t Brittany.

I am sorry. I wish I had better news but this is not the happy ending you’re all hoping for. It hardly ever is, you know?

Meanwhile, Harmony Montgomery‘s case seems to grow more awful every time there is news about it. It’s come out that her father, Adam Montgomery, is a suspect in the 2008 murder of a 28-year-old woman who was shot in the chest in a Lynn, Massachusetts parking lot. Adam, who was 18 at the time, has never been charged in the case and perhaps he didn’t do it, who knows.

Right now he’s sitting in jail on charges of abusing Harmony months prior to her disappearance. He bragged to relatives about how he had “bashed her around the apartment” after he asked her to look after her baby half-brother and came back to find her covering the baby’s mouth to stop its crying. Well, Adam, her doing that to the baby is your own fault; you should have known that a four- or five-year-old is not a suitable caregiver for an infant precisely because they do dumb stuff like that. It doesn’t make Harmony a bad child and she didn’t deserve to be hit, never mind “bashed around the apartment.”

Remind me again what was so unsuitable about Harmony’s mom that she couldn’t get custody or even visitation? When she’s the only reason we know Harmony is even missing in the first place.

Home again, exhausted

So I was away for a bit cause my dad to have his thyroid gland removed at a hospital several hours away from our respective homes and I went with him to help out. Everything went fine in the surgery but they made him stay overnight, basically cause he’s old. So I had to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. They don’t let you camp in the waiting room anymore cause covid.

Dad has, or had, an extremely indolent form of thyroid cancer. So minor that for the past ten years he’s left it untreated because it was not causing any issues at all so why fix it? But the cancer did eventually start messing with his thyroid hormones so they decided to yank the whole gland out, cancer and all. As it had (still) not spread, no further treatment is necessary. Just replacement thyroid hormone medicine.

I’ve got a vested interest in all this because there’s a significant chance the same thing is going to happen to me. Dad’s cancer is caused by a genetic issue and there’s a 50% chance I’ve inherited the bad gene too. And if I did, there’s a nearly 100% chance that I too will get thyroid cancer, unless I have my thyroid removed before it can get sick. In fact, as this illness usually occurs in young people, I might have it already and might have had it for years, like Dad did.

Dad’s cancer is so ridiculously wimpy and pathetic that I’m not terribly concerned about my having possibly inherited the cancer gene, but I need to have a screening done anyway.

In other news, a woman is threatening to sue me for supposedly libeling her father, which I really don’t understand because the woman and the Charley Project are pretty much in agreement as to the facts of the case. In fact I’m not 100% sure she’s even actually read the casefile cause she’s wasting her time emailing me the story, the details of which I know already, having already written them all on the Charley Project. Sigh.

You’d be surprised how often this sort of thing happens.

In the Nguyen family case there is news: they have identified Stephanie, the mom, but there’s no indication as to what happened to either of the two kids. I don’t see this as good news; in fact from my perspective it’s almost worse than finding nothing at all.

The family is still stuck in limbo, wondering if the kids were in the car when it went in, or if she did something else with them. It seems likely that they WERE in the car and are still in the river somewhere. But there’s no proof of that. The case might remain unsolved forever.

I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep or eat much of anything while I was gone. I came home to the discovery that our new kitten, Viola, had made a mess, and I was almost too tired to care, but I cleaned it up.

See y’all tomorrow.

MP of the week: Kenneth Saunders

This week’s featured missing person is Kenneth Albert Saunders, 31-year-old man who disappeared from Heidrick, Kentucky on August 5, 2015. He’s described as white, 6’1 tall and between 185 and 250 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He has some distinctive tattoos I’ve got photos of, and a scar running the length of his forearm.

Prior to his disappearance his estranged wife had asked Saunders if he was okay, and he’d answered, “At this second no, but I will be.” What he meant by that, no one knows. He wasn’t reported missing for three months.

I’m going to be away for several days. Tonight I’m going to my dad’s, and am staying to help tend to him as he has surgery tomorrow.

MP of the week: Mercedes Lodge

This week’s featured missing person is Mercedes Lodge, a 39-year-old woman who disappeared from Castro Valley, California on December 14, 1974 — close to fifty years ago. She’s described as white, with brown hair and brown eyes, and short, at 4’11 tall and 140 pounds. She may have been last seen wearing a black sweater, a green corduroy jacket, black pants and white sneakers. One notable characteristic for people attempting to make matches with Jane Does: Mercedes’s left leg is shorter than her right one.

Unfortunately I don’t know very much about the case, and don’t even have a particularly good photo of her (though I’ve seen worse). She’s considered missing under suspicious circumstances. The only other info available is that she was in Alcoholics Anonymous and attended meetings in Hayward, California.

Books of 2021

So I read exactly 200 books last year. On the evening of December 31 I realized I’d gotten up to 199 books so I grabbed a collection of quotes I had lying around on my Kindle and read that. Squeaked just over the line.

Mostly my books were about the Holocaust, true crime and history. There were only a few novels. I got really interested in the Jonestown tragedy and read six books about it, including a few by survivors, and learned it was not what I thought it had been. The Jonestown victims weren’t brainwashed cultists, more like terrified concentration camp inmates. And many of them didn’t want to drink the poison but were forced to do so.

If you want to learn more about it I particularly recommend Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman (who was one of the survivors from the airstrip) and A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres.

Some other notable titles I read last year, in no particular order:

Fred & Rose: The Full Story of Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors by Howard Sounes. It was very detailed and had some interesting insights into the relationship between Fred and Rose themselves. The 25th-anniversary afterword also had some shocking info that hadn’t been released earlier because legal stuff.

Somebody’s Mother, Somebody’s Daughter: True Stories from Victims and Survivors of the Yorkshire Ripper by Carol Ann Lee. Peter Sutcliffe’s victims are basically seen as faceless “prostitutes” in the media, but this book makes them into real people again, and debunks a lot of myths about the case. Netflix did a limited series on the case that I would recommend in conjunction with this book.

The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims by Robert Hume. He did original historical research into the victims’ lives, instead of just going back and repeating the same stuff a thousand other JTR books have said. I don’t necessarily agree with Hume’s conclusions about the victims’ lives, but I loved learning about their lives and was impressed by how much information he was able to dig up.

The Kindertransport: Contesting Memory by Jennifer Craig-Norton. Another mythbuster. The Kindertransport was an organized effort to bring about 10,000 children, mostly Jews, out of Nazi Germany to the safety of Great Britain. Most Holocaust books emphasize how grateful the children were for the opportunity and how the UK offered themselves as a sanctuary when no other country would. This book, however, gets into the weeds of what the Kindertransport kids actually experienced, and it was not all sunshine and rainbows after their arrival in the UK.

Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany, 1939-1945 by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab. I had known that Germany forced a lot of Polish people to become slave labor in German factories and on farms during World War II, and that these people were frequently mistreated, but I hadn’t realized until I read this book just HOW bad the Polish slave laborers had it.

They Went Left by Monica Hesse. One of the few novels I read this year. It’s about an eighteen-year-old Polish-Jewish girl who was just liberated from a concentration camp and is trying to find her younger brother. It was definitely a page turner and I liked the author’s use of an occasionally unreliable narrator: the girl was so traumatized by her Holocaust experience that she had a nervous breakdown and sometimes can’t tell what’s real and what’s not.

John George Haigh, the Acid-Bath Murderer: A Portrait of a Serial Killer and His Victims by Jonathan Oates. I don’t know if there was ever a full-length book written on Haigh before, but I appreciated the depth of detail in this one. I also liked how he looked into the victims’ lives also. Before I read this book I knew basically nothing about them, except their names.

Absolute Madness: A True Story of a Serial Killer, Race, and a City Divided by Catherine Pelonero. The story of a fairly obscure serial killer in Buffalo, New York, who turned out to be… not what people expected him to be. It’s kind of told in real time as the investigation progresses, so you don’t really know much more than the police do, and you follow them as they chase dead ends.

Mud Sweeter than Honey: Voices of Communist Albania by Margo Rejmer. Before reading this I knew very little about Albania and less still about what it was like there during the Communist era. This book, an oral history, was definitely enlightening. I had read quite a bit about Stalin’s Russia and knew THAT was not exactly terrific, but Stalin’s Russia was a paradise compared to Hoxha’s Albania. Hoxha’s Albania had a lot more in common with North Korea than it did the Soviet Union.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Please get vaccinated for covid. If you have already been vaccinated, please get a booster. I don’t want any of my blog readers to die on me. Whether you are vaccinated or not, please wear a mask if in a public indoor place. And not a cloth one; a single layer of cloth isn’t going to provide much protection. Surgical masks are cheap and widely available. I myself wear KN95s, which are not as cheap but provide a lot more protection.

My husband and I are doing well. We have a four-month-old kitten; we got her at the animal shelter in November. Her name is Viola and she is adorable and loves snuggles. We walked into the room where the kittens were and she flung herself against the side of her cage and SCREAMED at us until we agreed to adopt her.

Oh, and a heads-up: in mid-January I will be absent for a few days. My dad is having surgery and I have agreed to drive him to and from the hospital (it’s like three hours one way) and to take care of him after the surgery until he can see to himself.