MP of the week: Christina Burnett-Pitts

This week’s featured missing person is Christina Carol Burnett-Pitts. She was in her mid-twenties when she disappeared from the Poplar Bluff, Missouri area sometime between Christmastime in 1998 (which is when her family last saw her) and 2000.

She had a transient lifestyle and no fixed address, was involved with drugs including meth, and was reportedly a victim of domestic violence by her husband, who is now deceased. So the circumstances of her disappearance, while unclear, don’t look good.

She has two children who were living with her parents when she disappeared. If still alive, she’d be 46 today. I’m sure her children would like to learn what happened to her.

Thanks for all the lovely comments about my wedding pictures, they made me very happy!

Stay safe, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wedding pics just dropped!

I know you guys had asked to see some of the pics from my wedding, and they have finally arrived! Now, there are exactly 299 of them and I’m not going to post them all, but here’s some of the highlights.

Me and Dad going up the aisle:

Us all at the altar:

Michael sliding the ring on my finger:

Michael walking me down the aisle at the end:

Us leaving the church after I got rid of that scarf the priest made me wear:

Masks were required at the wedding for everyone (except the priest I guess, and also one lady in the back at the groom’s side) but once the ceremony was over and almost everyone had left the church we took some mask-less photos. So here you go:

Me and my bridesmaids:

Me alone, smiling at my bouquet:

Michael and I at the altar:

Us at the church door:

Us in silhouette so it looks romantic:

The photographer was Taylor Ford; look her up if you’re getting married in Ohio or Indiana and want her to take pictures. I think they turned out really well.

MP of the week: Byron Page

This week’s featured missing person is Byron Eric Page, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Los Angeles, California on January 29, 1992. He was last seen at the bus stop, on the way to visit a music warehouse in West Hollywood. He apparently never arrived there and never came home.

There’s little evidence in his case, but there’s no reason to believe he left of his own accord. He was an excellent student, had already been accepted at a few colleges and was looking forward to getting his driver’s license, and had no apparent problems in his life. Foul play is suspected in his case, I think from lack of anything else that makes sense.

The most recent article I could find on his disappearance was from 2010. He sounds like a fine young man.

It’s been 28 years. What happened to Byron?

Excellent article on the Jahi Turner case

I thought I’d pop in and refer readers to this awesome Los Angeles Times article on the Jahi Turner case, told from the point of view of Jahi’s mother, Tameka.

Tameka was only eighteen years old when her son went missing, and that was eighteen years ago–a lifetime. It took a long time for her to get out of denial and come to terms with the fact that her husband Tieray, her son’s caregiver, was almost certainly responsible for whatever happened to Jahi.

Now that the court case is over with and Tieray has nothing to fear due to double jeopardy rules, I wish he would just fess up to what happened to Jahi. It would at least give Tameka some peace.

I am proud that Tameka has been able to move on with her life and accomplish things after this awful event. She finished out her service in the Navy, is raising another son who’s now seventeen, and works for the University of Maryland.

I find myself wondering about the other teenage mothers of kids who have disappeared. Tanisha Watkins‘s mother was only sixteen when she disappeared. Donel Minor‘s mother was also a teenager. I don’t know what happened to the mothers. I hope they’re doing all right today.

At the beginning of this dark winter, I beg my readers to stay safe

The coronavirus is raging in my part of the world. Local hospitals have warned they’re close to becoming overwhelmed. Four of my father’s 22 students have been sick. Two of my husband’s (it still seems strange to call him that) students as well. He was not told he’d been exposed till six days after the fact. Fortunately he got tested and was negative, but if he had caught it, he could have been spreading the disease around everywhere he went for nearly a week. The lady at the management office who collects our rent has been sick. (I haven’t laid eyes on her for months; I’ve been exercising social distancing by putting the rent in the box on the office door instead.)

I am appalled that so many people are not even bothering to exercise the most basic precautions. And that, when well over a million people are dead and nearly a quarter-million of them are Americans, when the president himself has had it and his chief of staff has it now, when multiple members of Congress have had it, so many people are still convinced it’s a hoax. I can only think these people must be very misinformed.

Please, wear a mask in public. Wear it so it covers both your mouth AND your nose. Your nose is directly connected to your lungs, and if it the mask isn’t covering it you might as well not be wearing it at all. I know masks are a pain in the butt, I know they’re inconvenient and annoying and make people get acne and their glasses fog up. Wear a mask anyway.

I really don’t want more people to die. Especially you. I don’t want to add your obituary to the online coronavirus memorial I’ve been adding to since April.

I hope everyone is well and their families and friends are well. Michael and I are enjoying these first weeks of married life. We used some of the wedding gift money to buy our first marital furniture, a lovely mid-century modern dresser we snagged for a song on Facebook Marketplace after our el-cheapo pasteboard dresser literally fell apart. We’re trying to decide what we can do to celebrate the dog’s upcoming sixteenth birthday. Probably something involving chicken nuggets.

Please stay safe.

A few questions that popped into my head about the Whatley case

The presumed abductions of Faye and John Whatley in 1976 is pretty bizarre and I thought I’d blog about it cause I’ve never had a case before where the only thing that seemed to be missing from the house besides the people was a part of the house itself. The cops seem to have given up on solving the case, which is going on 45 years old.

Some questions that occurred to me as I was researching the case, and for which I found no answers in the news articles at the time.

  1. Did the Whatleys lock their doors? They seem to have lived out in the country, so perhaps they didn’t bother.
  2. Did the couple own any guns, or know how to use them? If so, was one of those guns a .22?
  3. Where was the barn in which the door was located? If it had been searched multiple times before, it was probably pretty close to their home. Was it on the Whatleys’ property? Is it possible the door could have been missed in previous searches?
  4. When the door was found, was there any blood or fingerprints or other physical evidence on it? Had it been wiped off? While 1976 forensics were quite primitive compared to today, they should have been able to detect blood and type it.
  5. Are they 100% sure it was the Whatleys’ door that turned up in that barn? I don’t know much about doors but they all pretty much look alike, and unless it was a custom-made one or something, wouldn’t it be hard to tell the Whatley’s door from a similar-looking mahogany door?
  6. This was a second marriage for John and I think for Faye also. Were there any issues within the two sides of the family? Any personal grudges, any ne’er-do-well children or grandchildren or in-laws or anything like that?
  7. Who was expected to inherit the couple’s estate once they passed? Did they have life insurance? Have they ever been declared dead, and if so, when?
  8. Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing them, but Lucas seems to have confessed to virtually every crime that was put in front him and most of his confessions turned out to be false. Is there any actual evidence to back up his statement? Is he still considered a possible suspect?

The whole thing makes no sense. How does it happen that people (and there had to be more than one person involved in this) somehow get into the house without leaving signs of a break-in, subdue or kill the Whatleys without leaving any evidence of a struggle (save the single gunshot fired from inside the house; what happened there?), remove a door from its hinges and take that too, take the Whatleys and the door away without bothering to steal anything else, and then go and put the door up in a barn loft and do god-knows-what with the Whatleys, then never make a ransom demand or anything, and keep their mouths shut about it during the ensuing years? What does anyone gain by that?

I’m not discounting Lucas entirely. He was a legit serial killer and seemed to like going around the country with his buddy Ottis Toole murdering people for no reason whatsoever. But as I said, he confessed to a lot of things he didn’t do, and this operation seems to be a bit too organized for him.

MP of the week: Stephanie Chavez

This week’s featured missing person is Stephanie Chavez, a sixteen-year-old Hispanic girl who disappeared from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on February 8, 2013. She’s listed as a runaway and may have left with a man named Alex Arroyo. I have a photo of him but no other information. They may be in Mexico.

Stephanie would be 24 years old today. It’s worth noting that she is very short, under five feet tall. Somewhere between four feet one and four feet eight. She may use the last name Arroyo, same as Alex.

I confess I’m a bit startled

I was just writing up a case for the Charley Project when I discovered that the woman in question is friends with my cousin. Facebook friends, anyway.

That’s never happened before. I’m a bit creeped out to be honest.

I don’t think I’m going to ask my cousin about it. We were never close and I haven’t even seen or spoken to this cousin in years. I doubt they know anything about the case. They may not even know this person is missing. It’s not a high profile case and it was only recently reported although the woman disappeared over a year ago.

MP of the week: Clinton Prater

This week’s featured missing person is Clinton Javon Prater, a 28-year-old man who disappeared from Natchez, Mississippi in early January 2008. The date of disappearance is given as January 10, which is the date it was reported; however, by then no one had seen him in “more than a week.”

He lived in a boarding house. When he went missing he took nothing with him, except for the medication he took for his mental illness. What the drugs were, and what his mental illness was, I don’t know.

Prater’s loved ones described him as a very quiet person with few friends, and said he would be easy to take advantage of. There’s been no sign of him in over twelve years.

Well, I’m married now

Hi all. I updated today, as I promised I would. The wedding was on Saturday and today is the first day in awhile that I haven’t felt absolutely dead on my feet. I had to spend two nights in a row sleeping on my in-laws’ couch.

I was a total bundle of nerves before and during the wedding ceremony, terrified that I’d make some ghastly error and ruin the event somehow and everyone would be mad at me. It was a Catholic ceremony and I’m an unbaptized heathen–Michael is the Catholic one–so I was not at all familiar with the rites and stuff. I would never have got through it without his whispered cues.

My dress was quite conservative in my opinion: not short, not strapless, not super tight, no see-through parts, no cleavage. But it wasn’t conservative enough for the priest, who insisted I wear a scarf over it. I spent the entire ceremony fussing with that scarf, terrified that it would slip off in front of God and everyone.

Fortunately the ceremony went well and the scarf didn’t fall off. And now Michael and I are legally bound to each other and very happy for that. We’re having fun calling each other “wife” and “husband” all the time.

I really appreciate all the kind well wishing comments from readers. I’m sure Michael and I will be very happy together for the rest of our lives. After all, we’ve been together for eighteen years already.

Once the photographer sends us our pics, I’ll put up a few, as some readers have requested.