Emily Lu found deceased

Earlier I had written about my college friend whose mom, Emily Lu, was missing. Well, after 50 days, Emily was found murdered in the woods less than two miles from her home. She rented out rooms in her house, and one of her tenants, Brian George Sayrs Jr., led police to the body. The cops are calling it a “brutal, vicious murder”, one which apparently occurred in her home.

No motive has been given, but my friend says her mom was having “issues” with Sayrs. Perhaps he owed her rent or something and they got into an argument. But no matter what happened there is no excuse for slaughtering an old lady.

I feel so bad for my friend and the rest of Emily’s family and friends. But I’m glad she was finally found and I won’t have to list her on the Charley Project.

About HIPAA

The other day a certain politician was asked by a reporter if she was vaccinated, and she replied that even to ask her this question was a violation of HIPAA. This resulted in HIPAA trending on Twitter for a bit, and made me think to write this blog entry explaining what the actual law means, since a lot of people have misconceptions about it and since it is an issue that occasionally pops up in the missing persons world.

The term is HIPAA, not HIPPA. It is often misspelled. It stands for “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” and was passed in 1996. What it basically means is that except in a few circumstances, your health care providers are not allowed to share your medical information with others without your permission. This is a super serious thing and a violation can mean serious consequences for the violator’s career.

Health care providers aren’t even allowed to share medical information with the police without permission from the patient, unless the police can get a court order requiring them to disclose it.

The thing that should be emphasized is that HIPAA applies ONLY to health care providers, not to anyone else. Your doctor, your nurse, your pharmacist, etc., could be punished with a large fine and/or suspension or revocation of their license to work in the field if they disclose your medical information without your consent. The patient could also sue the provider for the privacy violation. I think the violator could even face criminal charges in certain instances, though I’m not 100% sure on that.

If your best friend gets diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease and tells you and you gossip about it to others, that’s not a nice thing to do, but you would not be in violation of HIPAA unless you were also your best friend’s health care provider. If your best friend gets diagnosed with an STD and their doctor tells you about it and you gossip about it to other people, the doctor would be in violation of HIPAA, but you would not be, since you’re not the care provider in this situation.

Several times I have been accused of committing a HIPAA violation just by writing about a missing person’s medical conditions. But if I find out, one way or another, that a missing person had a certain disease and put this information on the Charley Project, that’s not against the law.

Nor is it against the law for anybody to ask anybody else about their medical information (as the reporter did with the politician). The person certainly does not have to answer the question if they don’t want to, but it’s not illegal to ask them, nor is it illegal to publish the information if it becomes available.

MP of the week: Javier Rivera

This week’s featured missing person is Javier Florenzio Rivera, a 22-year-old man who disappeared from Los Angeles, California on October 12, 1988.

He was last seen at his workplace, wearing a light gray t-shirt, black stonewashed jeans and white sneakers. He’s Hispanic, with brown eyes and brown curly, frizzy hair. I’d say his hair is probably his most distinguishing characteristic, though he also has a half-inch scar on his left arm just below the elbow.

His is one of the “few details are available” cases. If still alive, Javier would be 55 today.

Info released in Kristin Smart case

Paul Flores was charged with the murder of Kristin Smart back in April. Last week a judge unsealed court documents about the case and the information contained therein is pretty horrifying.

It looks like Paul may have been a serial rapist since as far back as the late 90s. (Kristin disappeared in 1996.) TWENTY-NINE women have accused him of “sexual misconduct” and general creepy behavior. Four of those women have said he drugged and raped them. One of them said she told Paul he was hurting her, but he wouldn’t stop and forced a ball gag into her mouth. When the police searched his home they found rape-themed pornography and homemade videos of Paul having sex with different women who appeared to be drifting in and out of consciousness.

Paul’s father, Ruben Flores, is believed to have buried Kristin’s remains under his deck, then later moved them. Police found a patch of disturbed soil there with traces of blood, though they couldn’t get DNA. A man who rented a room from Ruben said Ruben had spoken about the case and referred to Kristin as a “dirty slut.” I guess we know where Paul gets his attitude from.

Yeah, the circumstances are all starting to add up.

And I keep thinking that if the police hadn’t dropped the ball in 1996, perhaps all those women would not have been victimized by Paul Flores in his later years.

MP of the week: Angela Luttrell

This week’s featured missing person is Angela Colleen Luttrell, missing from Loxahatchee, Florida since August 15, 1993. She is white, 5’2 and 110 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes, is missing a finger joint or joints on her left hand, and has a scar on her left ring finger. She was 32 at the time and would be 60 today.

There is very little information about Angela’s disappearance, but it’s noted that she had a problem with drugs and alcohol and used a long list of alias names. I can’t find a single article on the case, either recently or from back when the disappearance happened nearly 30 years ago.

MP of the week: Tyriq Pope

This week’s featured missing person is Tyriq Jaquan Marlon Pope, a 21-year-old man who disappeared from his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 28, 2014. He traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas after he went missing and was sighted there on May 4, then vanished again. He may have been seen at the Mexican border area in Texas sometime after that. It doesn’t look like there’s been any indication of his whereabouts since that spring, however.

Tyriq’s family said he was using drugs and they were afraid he might harm himself. It is odd that this young man hasn’t resurfaced in seven years. I wonder if he was at all equipped for life in Mexico; did he speak any Spanish, for example? I also wonder about the possibility of a drug overdose.

Tyriq is described as black, 5’5 and 130 pounds. He would be 28 years old today. Both Wisconsin and Arkansas police are investigating the case.

Well, this is terrible

As everybody has probably heard already, the rape conviction against Bill Cosby was overturned and he’s been released from prison. Since it was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, I don’t think the prosecution can appeal this ruling — there’s no higher court to go to — and I don’t think they can charge him again either, at least not in that particular case. Cosby is very old, blind and in poor health anyway, and he’s not likely to live through another trial even if more charges against him.

Now, I think I understand why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled as it did. Basically it boils down to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which grants people the right to avoid self-incrimination.

As simply as I can explain it: Cosby confessed to crimes in civil court, under an agreement by a previous prosecutor that this confession would not be used against him in criminal court. That prosecutor is gone now, and it was another who prosecuted Cosby and used his civil court statement against him. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that this violated Cosby’s Fifth Amendment rights and should not have happened. The Fifth Amendment, like all Constitution rights, applies to terrible humans as well as good ones.

In other words, this was a legit legal error, and they had to give it to him because that’s how the law is supposed to be. This is not a vindication of Cosby; it does not mean he is factually innocent. But he is now LEGALLY innocent despite like 60-some women having accused him. I understand the law but I am angry and sick at heart.

I met one of Cosby’s victims at CrimeCon. She was there to give a talk, like me. We ran into each other in the speakers’ lounge and spoke as one rape victim to another. I’m sure she’s a mess right now, poor lady. I’m sure a lot of rape victims, and not just Cosby’s, are a mess today.

In other news, the elderly mother of a friend of mine from college has been missing for almost a month. I feel super bad for my friend (she’s the one who did the interview in the article). Of course she’s beside herself with worry. She asked for my help, and I provided her with referrals to some resources, but I felt a bit at loose ends myself since I don’t work with cases this “new”. (Mind you, the case is already in a rare category for having gone as long as it has; about 90% of missing persons cases are resolved within a week.)

I really hope my friend’s mom is found soon and I don’t have to put her on the Charley Project in eleven months and three days.

MP of the week: Carola Davenport

This week’s featured missing person is Carola Yvonne Davenport, a 22-year-old woman last seen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 1, 1975. She left all her clothing and her car behind and, most notably, her twin children, who were less than a year old at the time. I don’t know anything about Carola’s situation, but it’s highly unusual for the mother of a tiny baby or babies to just up and leave. Especially without the aforementioned clothes and car.

For whatever reason, she wasn’t reported missing until February 1976, by which time the case was four months’ cold. She’s black, about 5’5 and 125 pounds, with burn scars on her right hand and left arm. She also has a “fish-shaped” birthmark but the location is not noted.

Per NamUs, Carola’s son and her boyfriend at the time are both deceased now, but her daughter — only eleven months old when her mother went missing — is still alive and has submitted DNA. I wish there was more info available about this case.

MP of the week: Christopher Temple

This week’s featured missing person is Christopher Alan Temple, a 17-year-old high school senior who disappeared while camping with four friends in a campground in the woods in Bath Township, Michigan on April 22, 1990. His friends said he just walked away from the campsite in the night and never returned.

The Charley Project says the only sign ever located was one of his shoes, found about 300 yards from the campsite over a year after his disappearance. However, the Case Remains site says Christopher’s other shoe was found nearby a few weeks after the first, along with “handfuls of long, strawberry blond hair, enough to fill two 8 x 10 envelopes.” It wasn’t Christopher’s hair, which was brown.

The police initially thought it might be a runaway case, or just ran into some misadventure in the swampy woods surrounding the campsite. But it’s come out that Christopher sold weed and sometimes shorted customers, so there’s a theory that an unhappy customer went after him.

There hasn’t been much about this in the news since it happened, and it’s been over 30 years now. Christopher’s father is deceased; I’m not sure about other family members. I’m sure they’d like to know what happened to him, or at least where he is.

MP of the week: Angelia Hilbert

This week’s featured missing person is Angelia Spaulding Hilbert, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared after leaving work in Louisville, Kentucky on June 3, 1989. She was supposed to follow her parents (her in her car, them in theirs) to Owensboro, where they were moving, but never arrived there. I’m not sure at what point she became separated from her parents, but she was last seen in the area of Dry Ridge Road at about midnight.

For some reason she wasn’t reported missing until June 16; I don’t know if the police refused to accept a report before then, or what. On June 26, her car was found abandoned in a nightclub parking lot.

Some distinguishing info about Hilbert: she has a surgical scar on her back where she had metal rod inserted in her spine to correct scoliosis. Probably that rod has a unique serial number; medical devices of that kind usually do. She was pregnant at the time of her disappearance but I’m not sure how far along.

If still alive, Angelia would be in her mid-fifties today.

(Sorry forgot to put this up yesterday.)