Today I added twelve (as of this writing) cases from the U.S. Virgin Islands, working off this list of cases that came out in November. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find enough photographs and information to make casefiles for each of the names on that list.
Most of the people missing from the USVI are persons of color, which makes sense because the general population of the territory is mostly black and Hispanic.
I think it’s telling that the most famous missing persons cases from there–Hannah Upp, Sarm Heslop and Lucy Schuhmann–are all white women and none of them are originally from the USVI. Hannah moved there a few years prior to her disappearance to take a teaching job, and Sarm and Lucy were both tourists. There are quite a few islanders missing but very little press about those cases. Missing White Woman Syndrome strikes again.
I haven’t added Sarm to the Charley Project yet. I expect I’ll get to her tomorrow or something. Hannah I added in 2019. It’s likely she had another dissociative fugue state and went to the water like she had always done, and this time her luck ran out and she drowned. Why she moved to the USVI, when she knew she’d had repeated episodes of losing herself and turning up in water, is a mystery to me. If I were her I would have moved to someplace very far away from any body of water larger than a puddle.
A few years ago I actually spoke to one of Hannah’s island acquaintances on the phone and I asked her if it was possible for a person to go missing without a trace and without leaving the islands, since they’re so tiny. She said it was extremely possible due to the thick jungle terrain. She told me a story about a sheep or something that went missing and how its body was found months later; it had been lying unburied within yards of its home the entire time but nobody had found it before because of how thick the vegetation is there.