Red herrings

In yesterday’s update I put up a quite mysterious case.

When the missing man’s car was located over a week after he went missing, there were no obvious indications of foul play such as bloodstains. (The car was never processed for evidence, so perhaps non-obvious indications were missed.) There was, however, something very odd: in the dirt on the back windshield was written the words “HELP ME HE IS NEAR.”

Obviously people were abuzz about this. A photo of the writing was published online, and I dutifully added it to the casefile I was putting together.

The MP’s family made comparisons between the windshield writing and known samples of the MP’s handwriting. Reading about this, I told my husband about it and we debated on whether comparing finger-on-dirt writing to pen-on-paper writing was a pointless endeavor or not. (I thought finger-writing was likely to be so dissimilar from pen-writing that there was no point in trying to compare the two. My husband disagreed.)

But then I read further on the case and it seems that after the story about the creepy message on the abandoned car hit the news, a group of young people contacted police and sheepishly admitted to having written the creepy message themselves. They’d seen the filthy car sitting there and, being on a bit of a lark and having no idea it was a missing person’s vehicle (he hadn’t been reported missing yet), wrote the words and went on their way and thought nothing of it till they saw the papers.

The message had nothing to do with his disappearance at all.

I deleted the writing photo from the casefile I was making. It didn’t seem relevant enough to include anymore. I did, of course, talk about the writing in the case summary and explained that it was a prank.

I’m glad the people who did it came forward. Else people would have probably debated and speculated about the message until the end of time, like they do.

The writing is not the only peculiar thing about this case and from what I read I have no idea what happened to the missing man. It could conceivably have been just about anything.