This week’s featured missing person is Hattie Yvonne Jackson, a six-year-old girl who disappeared from Washington D.C. on July 21, 1961. She was black, with black hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a white long-sleeved blouse, brown and white checked shorts, pink sandals and a blue ribbon in her hair.
Hattie was apparently abducted; witnesses saw two men pulling her into a car. For some reason there’s only a description and sketch for one of the men, the driver. He had approached Hattie and some other children earlier that day and offered to give them a ride, but they’d turned him down.
Unfortunately there hasn’t been anything about Hattie in the news for a very long time. I don’t know if any of her relatives are even still alive. I don’t know how seriously the police looked for her in 1961, or if any suspects in her case have ever been identified.
If she is still alive, Hattie would be about 67 years old today.
So yesterday I was looking for cases on NamUs and found a 1979 one where the missing man was said to be wearing a “blue barracuda” at the time he disappeared.
I was very confused because as far as I knew, a barracuda was a species of fish and nothing else. I wondered if they actually meant a balaclava, a type of ski mask.
I googled it and discovered Barracuda is a clothing company, but they make all kinds of clothes and I don’t think the company existed in 1979.
I called my mom, who was a grown woman in 1979, and asked if she had any idea what it could be. She did not, but told me a Barracuda is also a type of car. This was an interesting factoid but not very useful information.
I shrugged and posted the question to social media. In the meantime, I posted the case but omitted the barracuda from the clothing description.
Social media provided several answers (I learned that Barracuda is a name for an email screening software) but the only one that made any sense was from someone who asked their father and was told that sometimes back in those days, denim jackets were referred to as barracudas.
This is a pretty good example of why police reports shouldn’t use slang terms or regionalisms. Because people outside that particular time and place may have NO IDEA what they are.