MP of the week: Harry March Jr.

This week’s featured missing person is Harry Stanley March Jr., a 76-year-old man last seen in Sultan, Washington on October 7, 1997. He went out to pick mushrooms and never came back, and it took a couple of days before he was reported missing and a search was launched.

It seems probable that March met with some kind of mishap in the woods that caused his death, or maybe just had a medical emergency during his excursion and died of natural causes, but his body has never been found. If still alive he’d be over 100 by now.

Now, I’ve got a nagging backache and the Angel Overstreet case has me wanting to go out and commit some minor violations of a certain person’s Constitutional right against self-incrimination, so I think I’ll just sign off for the rest of the day and watch a cute veterinary or zoo show on Disney Plus. Seeya later.

I hate having to use mug shots

On the Charley Project’s Twitter account I tweet two cases a day, one male missing person, one female. These tweets are pre-scheduled and go up automatically, and for the past few years they’ve always been accompanied by a photo of the MP.

If there’s a choice of photos, and the photos are all of basically equal quality, I choose the one that I think makes the MP look best. If the photos are of varying qualities, I pick the best quality photo: a clear image taken close up and in good lighting, making it easy to tell what the MP looked like.

Sometimes, too many times, the literal only photos I can find, or the only ones of decent quality, are obvious mug shots. They are obviously better than no photos or really poor quality photos when it comes to identifying someone, and I even once made a blog post defending my use of mug shots and even arguing that they were more useful than candid photos or portraits. But all the same I hate having to use them.

I mean, to me, a photo is a photo. But it seems like the general public, they see something about a missing person and they see a mug shot of that missing person and immediately their empathy switches off. They stop caring about the case and assume the MP must have been a bad person or something. When the general public is just going off a mug shot, they don’t even know why the MP got arrested or what really happened. When even if the MP was not a perfect person they don’t deserve to be kidnapped or murdered and their families don’t deserve the torment and grief.

I especially hate it when the MP whose mug shots I have to use is a person of color. The reason it bothers me is I know it’s a common complaint in the black community that whenever the mainstream news media talks about an ordinary black person, they will use unflattering photos, including mug shots if those are available, and that the mainstream news media does not do this when talking about white people. (For example, it was some time before the news media started using blonde, blue-eyed rapist Brock Turner‘s mug shots after his arrest and eventual conviction for rape. They initially used other photos of him.) I do not wish to be accused of racism.

I do know that at least some police departments have become aware of the issue of using mug shots in their missing persons press releases. At least, they’re aware they are being criticized for it.

I know this because recently I saw a police department post about a missing (white) person and the woman looked a bit rough in the pic, with dark circles under her eyes like she hadn’t slept in many days. I don’t know 100% if the photo was a mug shot but I think it was. In the text of their post about this missing woman, the police department said this was the most recent photo of her and the family had approved of its use. Like they knew they were going to be called out.

This all came up today in my head when I was updating a case where there are a decent number of photos but none are good quality and some have filters. Except for one photo. And it’s a mug shot. And she’s a black woman. It was also used in the investigating police department’s post on Facebook about the missing woman, and people in the comments were complaining about its use, for the reasons I mentioned above. But all the other photos I’ve ever seen of this person are all either heavily filtered or poor quality, and aren’t very good for identification.

Unless I find a decent candid photo or portrait, the mug shot will have to be the photo I select, if I ever tweet about this case.

Inconsistent and minimal reportage strikes again

So I saw this article about Dale Pearl Smith‘s disappearance and it does not really provide any more info than I had before, other than the mention of Westmoreland Road. I have updated Dale’s case with that bit.

The thing is, though… it says she was last seen on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1987. But I looked it up and Mother’s Day was on May 10 that year.

There is no explanation for the discrepancy. Was it a typo? Or maybe there was a scheduling issue and Dale and her daughter decided to meet for Mother’s Day the day after instead of the day of? I have no idea.

I’ve got her disappearance down as May 10 but there’s a good chance it’s May 11. I have no clue.

If anyone who knows something about the case, such as one of Dale’s relatives, finds this blog I’d love to have this matter cleared up so I will know I have the correct date.

MP of the week: Mayra Sandoval

This week’s featured missing person (so sorry it’s late, been failing at life lately) is Mayra Erisuria Sandoval, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Sarasota, Florida on January 10, 2006. She was seeing getting off the school bus, but didn’t attend school that afternoon and never returned home. A week later she called home and said she was okay and still in the US, but didn’t say where she was or who was with her.

This may be a case where the missing person has actually gotten in touch with family but the police have not been notified of this. It happens sometimes that families of missing people sometimes lose contact with law enforcement. It seems more likely in this instance because after Mayra went missing, it came out that her family was living in the US illegally and they were asked to leave go back to Mexico. If they did go back, perhaps Mayra (who is also believed to be in Mexico) contacted them.

Her case is classified as a runaway by all agencies including the Charley Project, but when it comes to a preteen child and a “male acquaintance who is in his twenties” it seems like abduction would be more appropriate. I don’t think anyone who convinces as twelve-year-old to run away from home has their best interest at heart. If she was in fact lured from her home by this “male acquaintance”, they may no longer be together. Sixteen years is a long time.

If still alive, Mayra would be 29 years old today. She’s Hispanic, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. She was 5’1 and 130 pounds in 2006 but she’s probably grown since then. She was last seen wearing a light blue and beige sweatshirt with the word “Micky” on the front, blue jeans, white sneakers and a light blue backpack.

Harmony Montgomery report

Thought y’all would like to have a look at this report the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate about Harmony Montgomery‘s life up until she was placed with her dad, basically trying to figure out if child protection authorities failed her (they did) and in what way.

I only just started it myself but I can tell it’s going to be informative and infuriating.

I’ve been battling a horrible sinus infection for a week but I’m back on my feet now. Will be updating today.

MP of the week: Clayton McCarter

This week’s featured missing person is Clayton Lynn McCarter, a 15-year-old boy who disappeared from the Potter Children’s Home in Bowling Green, Kentucky on January 15, 2014. He and another resident of the facility, 13-year-old Rodney Michael “Mikey” Scott, reportedly ran away together and haven’t been seen since.

Although the boys did apparently leave on their own and are still listed as runaways, there is significant reason to be concerned here: both boys left without any shoes, and Clayton has ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder, and is also mentally disabled with the capacity of a five-year-old. These were quite vulnerable boys. Less is known about Rodney, but Clayton’s disabilities make it unlikely that he could have survived on his own for even a week or two, never mind eight years and counting.

Clayton is white, 5’11 and 160 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes and a pierced left ear, though he wasn’t wearing an earring at the time of his disappearance. Rodney, also white, is 5’4 and 110 to 120 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes. He has a small birthmark on his forehead. Clayton was last seen wearing a t-shirt over a collared shirt, pajama pants and socks. Rodney was wearing a black jacket and socks; I’ve got no info on his pants.

Wisconsin missing persons awareness 2022, and social media troubles

I had serious troubles with Facebook last year and the year before that, as documented on this blog. Unfortunately the problem hasn’t gone away, and will persist for as long as Facebook has almost 100% robot moderation.

A lot of my problems before because Facebook’s modbots basically decided I was a Nazi, since I was sharing a lot of memes and articles and such about the Holocaust and World War II. Because there’s definitely no other reason someone might be sharing this material, nope, I must be a Nazi. When any actual human reading my posts would have recognized them as educational content, the modbots just saw red flags all over the place.

Now I’m in Facebook Jail again, which means no posting about the Wisconsin missing persons event on the Charley Project’s Facebook page until I’m out.

What happened this time was that I saw this article on Facebook’s news feed. And I thought it was an interesting story so clicked the button to share the article on my personal Facebook page. Just the link to the article, no accompanying commentary at all. And boom, instant Facebook Jail for “violating community standards on drugs.” For a link to a mainstream media news article that was on Facebook’s own newsfeed.

This particular incident pretty much fits the legal definition of entrapment, but what can you do? I mean, I’ve appealed their decision but robots handle most of the appeals so…

The Wisconsin event was absolutely lovely as usual. I took some pictures and video footage which I will post when they let me out of Facebook Jail.

There were like seven or eight dogs there, all search and rescue dogs I think, including a Clumber Spaniel which is quite a rare breed. Riken, a Dutch Shepherd and S&R dog owned by my friend Rachel, was so enthusiastic about greeting me that she actually jumped up on my table.

I talked to loads of people. Attendees had an “event bingo” sheet of stuff to do at the event and one of the things was “visit the Charley Project table and find out who Charley is.” One woman who was there with her children, listened to me tell Charley’s story and then pointed out to her kids that his story is a great example of why they should stay away from strangers. (You know the axiom “don’t take candy from strangers”? That was cause of Charley. He got lured away from home by two strange men who offered him candy.)

Rose Marie Bly’s family was there this year. I don’t remember seeing them at previous events. Rose has been missing since 2009. And Rose’s niece, Summer Wells, disappeared last June. Lightning struck twice in that family.

Anyway we had a nice discussion about the garbage way missing people’s families are often treated by the general public, especially online. It seems like people say all kinds of awful things about crime victims in general and their families, but it gets even worse when it’s a child who disappears and their parents are being discussed.

I told Rose/Summer’s family that seems like missing kids’ parents can’t do anything right. If they don’t go on TV about it, they didn’t care about the child and probably were the perpetrator of the child’s disappearance. If they go on TV to beg for their child’s safe return and are reasonably calm about it during their segment, they were TOO calm and probably were the perpetrator of the child’s disappearance. If they go on TV and beg and they are sobbing hysterically, they’re faking it and relishing in the attention and were probably the perpetrator. You get the picture.

I remember reading about one high profile child abduction where, like three days after the child’s disappearance, her mom (who had been too worried to eat until that point) finally had a sandwich so she wouldn’t collapse from hunger. She was photographed eating and criticized for having the gall to sit there and EAT A SANDWICH while her poor baby is MISSING, what a cold and uncaring mother, how could she?!

Sigh.

So I think I hit it off with Rose/Summer’s family. I hope I don’t have to add Summer to the Charley Project but I expect I probably will.

I also spoke to Amber Wilde’s family, briefly (they said as far as they know there’s been no recent progress in her case), and to a group of Native American motorcycle riders who had helped search for Gene Cloud (whose family attended the event several years ago, dressed in the ceremonial regalia of the Ho-Chunk Tribe to which they belonged, but haven’t been back since).

I asked the Native bikers if they thought Pacific Islanders should count as indigenous under the MMIW (missing and murdered indigenous women) movement, which focuses on Native Americans. This came up recently when I tweeted about a missing woman from Hawaii who was of Native Hawaiian ancestry and I wasn’t sure if I should use the #MMIW hashtag or if it would upset people. The Native bikers, however, believed missing and murdered Pacific Islanders ought to be included in the movement, since they are indigenous too.

The speeches at the event were very moving. The police who investigated Victoria Prokopovitz’s case talked about the case and how finally her killer was prosecuted in a murder-without-a-body case, and there was no going into great detail about what went down. What I mean is, this isn’t the kind of event true crime fans necessarily flock to, it was more just about providing support for missing people’s families and trying to get answers.

I had a great time. I always do. My husband, who was accompanying me for the first time, says he too had a good time.

MP of the week: Sasha Bishop

This week’s featured missing person is Sasha Marrie Bishop, a 37-year-old Hispanic woman who disappeared from Bakersfield, California on May 9, 2015, leaving three children.

Sasha is described as 5’2 and 120 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She has a couple tattoors, including stars on the side of her face and a full sleeve on her right arm.

The house where Sasha was last seen was “frequented by transients”, whatever that means. One neighbor believed the residents were squatting. Joe Ray McBath was shot to death in that house less than a month after Sasha was last seen. His murder remains unsolved. The police have said they don’t think Sasha’s disappearance and the murder are connected, but did say they were seeking Sasha to interview as a possible witness.

If still alive, Sasha would be 44 today.