MP of the week: Darren Hillis

This week’s featured missing person is Darren Bruce Hills, a 14-year-old boy who disappeared while walking to school in Norfolk, Virginia in 1973.  If still alive, he’d be 59 today.

I don’t know anything much about the case, unfortunately. He has a Facebook page but it doesn’t really say much. This article suggests he was a victim of the serial killer Dean Corll, but I don’t know if anything came of that suggestion.

Native American Heritage Month: Betty Claw

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Betty Ann Claw, a 49-year-old woman who disappeared from Farmington, New Mexico in 1996. November 28, Thanksgiving Day, was the last day anyone in her family saw her. I don’t know her tribal information.

For some reason, Betty Claw is not listed on the New Mexico state missing persons database. Her case got some media attention early this year when local outlets published articles appealing for information, but there isn’t a whole lot out there.

If still alive, Betty Claw would be in her seventies now.

Native American Heritage Month: Gene Cloud

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Gene Jacob Cloud Jr., a 20-year-old member of the Ho-Chunk Tribe who disappeared from Jackson County in west central Wisconsin on January 25, 2012.

When I went to the Wisconsin Missing Persons Awareness event in 2015, Gene’s family was there, dressed in their traditional tribal regalia and jewelry. I don’t think they showed up in later years, though.

So Gene got the borrowed car he was driving stuck in a ditch, and when a police officer offered to help him, he ran away, possibly because he had a few outstanding warrants for his arrest on minor charges. He was never seen again.

Searchers subsequently tracked his footprints for three miles through deep snow, and then search dogs traced his scent back to the road, where the trail stopped, suggesting Gene got into a vehicle. His family doesn’t think he left voluntarily, because his girlfriend was pregnant with their child and Gene was trying to become more responsible, such as by going back to school.

I have to wonder if he just didn’t get too far from civilization when he ran from the police that day, and got into trouble. The weather in Wisconsin in the winter is brutal, and it doesn’t look like he was properly dressed to be running miles through the snow.

Native American Heritage Month: Sheila St. Clair

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Sheila St. Clair, 48, who disappeared from Duluth, Minnesota on August 20, 2015. I do not know her tribal information.

She was planning to travel from Duluth to the White Earth Reservation, and may have tried to hitch a ride there. In any case she never arrived and was never seen again.

There was some media attention this past September, after the third anniversary of her disappearance. This article notes that her disappearance is “extremely suspect.”

Well, this is a bit odd

I found out that Maribel Oquendo-Carrero‘s dad, said to be possibly her abductor when she disappeared in 1982, is still around and his whereabouts are unknown and he gets arrested sometimes. Petty stuff. He was arrested at least three times this year. He’s 80 years old.

So where is Maribel? I have no idea. The Facebook page I found for her includes a scrap of some article about her disappearance, but it’s not enough to tell me anything, and I have yet to find the whole article anywhere.

Native American Heritage Month: Tom John

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Tom John, a 59-year-old Yupik man who disappeared from his tiny Alaskan village, Newtok, on March 26, 2017.

When I was researching John’s case, I discovered that Newtok itself is disappearing. It’s right on the ocean, and due to climate change, water levels are rising, and the permafrost is no longer permanently frozen, which is causing the land to sink. Newtok is being reclaimed by the sea and will probably be gone entirely in the next decade or so. The entire village will have to evacuate or they will all drown.

This is a problem many Alaskan villages are facing, or will face in the near future. Al Jazeera actually did a half-hour documentary about Newtok and other villages with this issue, titled When the Water Took the Land. Unfortunately, the villagers are kind of screwed, because moving the village elsewhere is going to cost millions of dollars, which they don’t have, and there’s no government program set up to help climate refugees.

Tom John himself, as a village administrator, was interviewed for this documentary (in 2015, about a year and a half prior to his disappearance) and said he thought the new village the Newtok residents planned to build would probably take about twenty years to get fully operational. And they don’t have that kind of time.

In this documentary they talk about how, because the sea ice is melting, the ocean has become much rougher and more dangerous than it used to be. Waves are bigger and stronger. Storms are more intense and destructive.

It got me back to thinking about Tom John’s disappearance. He went out seal hunting and never came back. They found a seal carcass and his snow machine, but no sign of John or his kayak.

Obviously he met with some mishap at sea, and I had to wonder if it was because his task was made all that much more difficult by the rougher ocean and the lack of sea ice. (The fact that he was operating a new kayak he was unfamiliar with cannot have helped.) Tom John’s disappearance may have been indirectly caused by climate change.

Native American Heritage Month: Shrie Rowland

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Shrie Marie Rowland, a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Saratoga Springs, Utah on July 2, 2004. She is classified as a runaway.

I found some obituaries for members of Shrie’s family and deduced that she is of Native American (Sioux) and Puerto Rican descent. I wonder if she really did run away; it’s very uncommon for a runaway to be missing for as long as that.