Read a book about an old missing persons case

So the other night I read Pearl: Lost Girl of White Oak Mountain by Bill Yates, about the 1923 disappearance of three-year-old Pearl Turner from rural Arkansas. In spite of a widespread search and many false leads, she was never found. The book does a pretty good job telling the tale of her disappearance, and the author’s conclusions as to what happened are at the end.

Unfortunately I can’t add Pearl to Charley. I’m not sure I would anyway, given that the case is close to 100 years old and no one is investigating it anymore. (I mean, I did add the quite similar case of Hickle “Dick” Ware, but he disappeared fifteen years after Pearl did and I had a law enforcement agency for the case.) But I can’t because there are no photos of Pearl available. The little girl on the cover of the book isn’t her, only a child who strongly resembled her and was for awhile thought to be her.

I think Pearl just never had any pictures taken of her. She came from a sharecropper’s family and was one of several children. Portraits were probably an unaffordable luxury to them. (Sharecroppers were people who had no land of their own and farmed someone else’s land in exchange for a portion of the crop they produced. They were very poor.)

It’s not too bad a book anyway, especially if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited and can read it free with your subscription.

I haven’t been feeling very well. Right now my bipolar pendulum has got me in a depressive fit, and even knowing it’s just my brain not working right does not make it feel any better. I’m struggling to get much of anything done. Even standard activities of daily living.

MP of the week: Julie Englehart

This week’s featured missing person is Julie Danielle Englehart, a 47-year-old woman who disappeared with her husband, John Wade Roberts, also 47, and their daughter, 9-year-old Brooke Addison Roberts, from Hesperia, California in October 2019.

Julie called a relative on October 6 and said she’d found a job and the family was in the process of moving. She said she’d call back the next day, but never did, and no one saw or heard from her or her husband or child again. They weren’t reported missing until 2021.

That’s all the info there is to report, unfortunately. The family was just… gone.

If still alive, Julie and John would be fifty years old today and Brooke would be twelve. I hope they’re still alive.

Circumstances can be misleading

So, the now-resolved case of Desiree Thompson on the Charley Project used to start off like this:

Thompson was last seen in the 20900 block of 83rd Street in California City, California on January 7, 2012. In the early morning hours she had had a domestic violence incident with her estranged husband, Edward “Face” Gibson III, where he showed up at her door and pointed a shotgun at her.

At 10:00 a.m., Thompson’s mother tried to call her but was unable to reach her, and so came to her apartment. She found Thompson at home but very frightened, with furniture stacked against the apartment door. Thompson’s mother offered to take care of her children until Thompson could get the situation sorted.

Then later that day she disappeared, and so did her husband. It was sort of assumed, under the circumstances, that he must have kidnapped or murdered her. Certainly he sounds like a dangerous individual.

Well, the assumption was wrong. Edward Gibson may not be the nicest person, but he didn’t kill his wife. Desiree, it turns out, was the victim of a random predator who got mad at someone else and decided to take it out on her, a complete stranger whom he happened to see walking down the street minding her own business. Quite a disturbing story.

MP of the week: Darren Rogers

This week’s featured missing person is Darren Conway Rogers, a 13-year-old boy who disappeared from Modesto, California on February 27, 1973. He was last seen walking to school that day. He never arrived there.

It always depresses me when I’ve got a long-ago case of a missing child or teenager and no real details. My guess is that, given the time period and Darren’s age, the police probably assumed he was a runaway and didn’t really investigate. Even now, there’s very little information and Darren isn’t even listed on the NCMEC site.

If still alive, Darren would be turning 63 in two weeks. He was tall for his age in 1973, six feet, and had plenty of growing years left, so if he’s still alive he might be more like 6’3 or 6’4. He has blond hair and he’s partially blind in his left eye.

Darren Rogers has been missing for almost fifty years.

I hope everyone is doing well. My husband is now covid-free and I never tested positive myself. Score one for the vaccines! I have stopped sleeping on the floor of my office and returned to the marital bed.

Ancestry pictures

Last night I went on Ancestry.com and was running name after name through the system — older cases of people who disappeared in their teenage years. Found a bunch of high school yearbook photos I didn’t previously have. And I’m not done yet. Here’s the list thus far of cases with photos added:

  1. Marie Ann Blee
  2. Kellie Marie Brownlee
  3. Josephine Yvette Cogburn
  4. Joyce Irene Cogburn
  5. Phyllis Marie Corbin
  6. Perry Otto Corlew
  7. William Henry Forshee Jr.
  8. Dermot Faulkner Kelly
  9. Jeannette Rose Miller
  10. Sophia Felecita Moreno
  11. Cathy Marie Moulton
  12. Sherry Jean Pickle
  13. Marcia Estelle Remick
  14. Diane Marie Webb
  15. Mitchel Fred Weiser

I have to give credit where it’s due: I got the idea of fishing for photos on Ancestry from Carl Koppelman. He would often dig up a yearbook photo when there was a NamUs case of a missing adult that had no photo available. Even a pic of the person in their high school or college days, years before they went missing, is better than none at all.

I also happened to find some pictures of my great-grandparents and added them to Reddit.

Yesterday I got my first subreddit ban, for “using dehumanizing language.” The “dehumanizing language” was me referring to the 1920s-1930s era actor and comedian Roscoe Arbuckle by his stage name. It was supposed to be a seven-day ban but only lasted like five minutes because I messaged the moderators and pointed out the context and defended myself: I had said the word “Fatty” as an identifier and not a slur, and I didn’t think it was fair that I should get banned for this seeing as how Roscoe called himself that. The moderators saw it my way, rescinded the ban and apologized for the misunderstanding.

Now, if only Facebook mods were like that. But they can’t be, because they’re robots and not human beings. It was a Reddit modbot that automatically banned me for using Roscoe Arbuckle’s stage name, but there were humans operating that bot, humans who could be reasoned with. Facebook will remain broken for as long as robot moderators outnumber human moderators like a thousand to one. I posted on my Facebook about my Reddit ban and was afraid to even type Roscoe Arbuckle’s stage name, I was like “Look it up if you don’t know it, I don’t want to get Zucked for the zillionth time.”

Random thoughts while updating

So, on a regular basis, I encounter what I call “dead ends”: cases where I start writing up a casefile and then it turns out that, contrary to the source, the person either isn’t missing anymore or they disappeared significantly later than the date stated and haven’t been missing long enough to qualify for the Charley Project.

I encountered one of those today. The Virginia State Police database says a certain woman named Kelsey disappeared on August 8, 2021. So I wrote up a bare-bones starter casefile for Kelsey, then began looking for more info. I then found a flier for her on social media that said she disappeared in October 2021, not August.

But the flier said “according to her boyfriend”. This wording made me wonder if there was suspicion that he was involved, and perhaps no one other than him claims to have seen her between August and October. So I didn’t immediately delete the casefile but looked further. I entered her name into an arrest records database and discovered she’d been arrested on October 19, 2021. I was then satisfied that, regardless of what the Virginia State Police say, whatever happened to Kelsey happened in October and not August. I then sighed and deleted the casefile I had just made.

The date may not be the only thing wrong about her listing on the Virginia State Police missing persons page. The VSP says she has a tattoo of a heart on her cheek, but her mug shot on the arrest database (a photo taken just days before she disappeared) showed no such tattoo. Either it was a very recent tattoo or it doesn’t exist.

A case off the VSP site that I DID add today was a missing guy who, it turns out, is a Nazi. He made no effort to hide this, getting multiple swastikas tattooed on his collarbone/shoulder area and the letters “SS” on his throat where everyone can see. His personal Facebook page also has a lot of Nazi stuff on it.

I have never encountered such a person in real life and am not sure how I would behave if I did. Try to avoid them as much as possible, I guess. I remember once, back when I had a regular job working at a store, and I was a little friendly with one of my coworkers… until, while we were having lunch together in the break room, she casually dropped a racial slur into the conversation like it was nothing. I was like “Um, excuse me, what?” Then she, thinking I hadn’t heard her properly, repeated the racial slur slightly louder than before. I mumbled something like “You shouldn’t say things like that” and after that I made sure to eat my lunch alone, with a book out and my shoulders arranged in my very best “do not disturb” posture.

Not every missing person or crime victim was a nice person. I try very hard not to judge because the important thing is to find them. If I’ve added child rapists to the Charley Project I can’t very well turn my nose up at Nazis.

The Nazi guy happened to have the same first and last name as someone else already on the Charley Project. (Different middle name, thank goodness.) I wound up accidentally stumbling across more info on the case of the non-Nazi missing person while I was looking for info on the Nazi, so I updated his case too.

On the covid front: I tested myself again today to see if my husband has given it to me yet. Nope. So it’s another night sleeping on two dog beds for me.

MP of the week: Norma Cavilee

This week’s featured missing person is Norma Jane Cavilee, a 43-year-old woman last seen in Salem, Oregon on September 3, 2015. She might have taken a bus to Eugene, Oregon later that month but that hasn’t been confirmed. The police refused to accept a missing persons report for six months, because she was on parole at the time.

If she’s still alive, Norma Cavilee would be 50 today. She’s described as white with black hair going gray, blue eyes, and multiple tattoos, including two ravens on her chest and a rose a on her left breast. She was last seen wearing a necklace with a Thor’s hammer pendant; I included a photo of the pendant since it’s pretty distinctive.

I think it’s unlikely that Norma is still alive. I think she’s probably still 43. But hope springs eternal.

And in other news, my husband has covid. He only has a sore throat and a bit of a cough (so far) but I made him take a test and it came up positive. I suppose it had to happen eventually.

I don’t feel so well myself, but I’m testing negative (so far) and I’m pretty sure the reason I don’t feel good is because I’ve been isolating myself from him, sleeping on my office floor on two dog beds pushed together.