Happy belated Independence Day (and griping, and missing persons news)

I hope everyone had a good Fourth of July weekend. Mine was kind of terrible. We had a tiny party, four guests (Michael’s parents and two of his coworkers), and I wound up spending a lot of time hiding in the bedroom because I was so stressed by it all. And I was feeling like a failure in general, and wondering how I was going to pull off an entire wedding in October if I was freaking out from anxiety over four guests in my own house.

Of course, who knows if there will even BE a proper wedding in October the way COVID-19 is blazing through this country. I might wind up having to have a Zoom wedding ceremony because of the stupid government not listening to experts and not doing its job to contain the pandemic, and stupid people refusing to wear masks in public because mah rights and mah freedum. We could have been on par with Europe right now as far as flattening the curve goes, but nooooo, people have to be idiots.

(Of course I realize that my wedding is a very small thing in the grand scheme of things, and there are a lot of people out there who are suffering more than me as a result of COVID-19. That doesn’t make me any less angry.)

So some news from the missing persons world:

  1. Later this year, once Americans are allowed to travel to the EU again (assuming that ever happens), a private investigator, a former FBI agent and Annie McCarrick‘s uncle are going to Ireland to make another stab at solving Annie’s 1993 disappearance. (She is on the Charley Project because she was an American, though she disappeared on Irish soil.) They have a new theory about what happened, and have a suspect in mind. I don’t think it’s the same suspect the gardai (Irish police) have had their eye on. Neither person has been publicly identified.
    The gardai think a former IRA member may have killed Annie. He sounds like a nasty character and allegedly raped a twelve-year-old girl, and possibly other victims, and the IRA sent him out of the country so he wouldn’t get prosecuted. He went to the US; I’m not sure where he is now.
    I have wondered before why on earth the IRA would have assisted this man. To begin with, the twelve-year-old he allegedly raped was the daughter of another IRA member. And, though I don’t know much about the IRA, I know they had broad support among the ordinary people of Ireland, and it seems like that wouldn’t be the case if they routinely did things like try to help their child-rapist members escape prosecution. If any of you guys can provide some enlightenment on this, I’d appreciate it if you posted in the comments.
  2. They’ve created a park in Albuquerque, New Mexico in memory of the twelve victims of the still-unsolved West Mesa murders. I’ll say their names again: Jamie Caterina Barela, age 15; her 25-year-old cousin Evelyn JesusMaria Salazar; Monica Diana Candelaria, 21; Victoria Ann Chavez, 24; Virginia Cloven, 22; Syllannia, Terene Edwards, 15; Cinnamon Elks, 31; Doreen Marquez, 27; Julie Nieto, 23; Veronica Romero, 28; Michelle Valdez, 22; and Michelle’s unborn baby. All of the women, except Veronica, were on the Charley Project.
    There are quite a few young women still missing from Albuquerque, and some of them fit the same profile as the women whose bodies were found on the Mesa. I’ve got Nina Brenda Herron, Vanessa Reed, Christine Julian, Leah Rachelle Peebles, Anna Love Vigil and Shawntell Monique Waites, and possibly others.
  3. According to a private investigator, the authorities have a suspect in the 2001 disappearances of of ten-year-old Tionda Z. Bradley and her three-year-old sister, Diamond Yvette Bradley. (The girls disappeared 19 years ago today.) The article says there’s a solid circumstantial case against the suspect (who hasn’t been publicly identified) but prosecutors want some physical evidence, preferably a body, to bolster their case before they file charges against the person.

Oh, and although this isn’t strictly missing persons related, I highly recommend y’all check out this article about the woman who invented the rape kit. Hers was a fascinating and tragic story.

MP of the week: Charles Lawson

This week’s featured missing person (which I didn’t change yesterday because I’ve been lazy and depressed) is Charles Jonathan Lawson, a 32-year-old man who disappeared from Tampa, Florida on February 12, 1988. He may spell his middle name “Johnathan” or just use the middle name John.

Unfortunately I don’t have any other details on this case, other than that he was last seen at his residence.

I hope everyone is in good health. Fortunately the number of positive coronavirus cases in my area and in the areas where my parents live have been pretty low, but I don’t expect it to stay that way, especially as Indiana has one of the lowest rates of public mask-wearing in the entire country.

Oh, and check out this article about Sean Wayne Evans‘s May 1984 disappearance, because it has some quotes from me. I was interviewed for it, like, months ago and didn’t even remember the interview until the article popped up in the news.

NCMEC search becomes slightly less terrible, and more news

I first complained about the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s search engine back in 2013, and things got even worse with later versions of it. However, when I checked today, they’d made yet another version, which is slightly better than the last. Like, you can now search based on how old the child was when they disappeared. That’s kind of nice, I guess.

You still don’t have the ability to search by category, which they axed in 2013. As far as I can tell it’s because the NCMEC decided to phase out categories. They did this because when people saw “Family Abduction” or “Runaway” they just automatically tuned it out. I can understand the logic of the NCMEC’s thinking there.

I added Duke Flores‘s case today. It’s pretty awful. Probably not as bad as Noah McIntosh‘s (I blogged about his case in March), but it’s still pretty bad.

The whole story about Duke’s murder being prompted by his attempt he was trying to kill his infant cousin looks a little sketchy at first glance. However, both women gave the police the same account of the alleged attempted murder, and I wonder if Duke, who had autism, was just unable to deal with the baby’s crying. Most people with autism (including me) are very sensitive to noises.

They tried to cover up his disappearance by saying they’d taken Duke to a psychiatric hospital. If he was indeed trying to kill his cousin, this would have been a perfectly appropriate action to take. Certainly much more appropriate than strangling him.

We’ll never know if he really tried to smother the baby or not; the only two people alive to tell the story aren’t exactly credible witnesses. But no matter what he did there’s no excuse for murdering a six-year-old child with a disability.

The thing about his mom and aunt taking the other kids along while they disposed of his body is horrifying. Though the alternative would have been leaving them alone at home, and they were both really little. Hopefully too little to remember this later.

I hope these women get what’s coming to them. They are probably not very popular in jail; most of the women prisoners are mothers too.

Significant advances made in Corey Edkin’s case

Corey James Edkin was two years old when he disappeared from New Columbia, Pennsylvania on October 12, 1986. If still alive, he’d be 36 today.

His mom, Debbie S. Derr aka Debbie Mowrey, said she went to a nearby store shortly after midnight, leaving her roommate, her roommate’s two kids, Corey, and his sister asleep in the house. When she returned half an hour later, Corey was gone and the door was open. No one else in the house recalled having heard or seen anything unusual.

The case is still unsolved, but the police have said they’ve made “significant progress” in the case:

Tpr. Brian Watkins, the lead investigator in the Edkin case, said that investigators have made “significant advances in the Corey Edkin missing persons case” and “the individuals who caused this tragedy will be brought to justice.” […]

Troopers said they do not believe that the child walked away from the home, nor that he was abducted by any other person, according to a press release.

Watkins said that criminal investigators were recently able to make significant advances. Watkins said individuals with information on the case and advances in forensic technology have helped investigators piece together what may have happened to the child.

So the police aren’t saying much, but it’s easy to read between the lines here, isn’t it?

Another horrific child abuse murder

I don’t usually feel many emotions about the cases I put up — I’m kind of closed off from that — but child abuse cases really get to me sometimes. I added the case of Noah Thomas McIntosh today and the details are just horrific. The things that poor child went through in the months and years before his death. The apathy of social services. The stuff his dad bought after his disappearance, presumably to dispose of his body.

I don’t like kids myself, but I really don’t get people mistreating them. If Noah’s dad was so tired of him and his toileting accidents (which were not in any way Noah’s fault), why keep him at all? Noah’s grandfather loved him, and tried to save him. I bet he would have taken him, if Bryce had given up custody.

It doesn’t help that the kid looks so darn adorable in all the pictures, like a little doll. That smile, those teeth growing in.

And his sister… I didn’t include it in the casefile, she was occasionally forced to help her father torture her brother, by holding him down in the bathtub for example. And she may have been in the apartment when her brother was murdered, even if she didn’t actually see it happen. I really hope that girl is being looked after by someone who cares about her. And that she’s getting therapy.

As far as I know, the police are still hoping to find Noah’s body. Though looking at all the stuff his dad got, there may not be much of a body left to find.

I really hope Bryce just decides to plead guilty and be done with it. If he cares at all about his daughter (who will probably have to testify), he won’t put her through a trial. But then again, he DID torture and murder an eight-year-old, his own flesh and blood, which strongly suggests he doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

Wondering if they’re still missing

I was going through an archived 1972 issue of the Philadelphia Daily News that has an article about missing persons cold cases in the city. Almost all of them are people I have never heard of and I inevitably wonder if they are still missing.

Beverly Sharpman is still missing, as is Dorothy Forstein (though she’s not on Charley). Lydia Zayas had been missing for five years by the time the article ran. Minnie Seeds had been missing for seventeen years, William Molan for six years, and Domenick Caruso for ten years, and I have no idea whether any of them have been found.

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This is kind of horrifying to me

I read many of articles from different publications about the drowning deaths of brothers Ayden Leroy Cecil and Anthony Joseph Tullius, and I really can’t understand why their parents were charged with anything.

When I saw the headlines that said things like “Toddlers drowned while parents slept”, I thought perhaps maybe the parents were passed out under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or didn’t begin to look for the kids for hours, or something like that. I mean, there HAD to be more to the story, right?

I can only go by what’s been reported and I can’t find any more to the story.

On that tragic night they set up camp at a designated campsite near the river, and everyone went to bed. Dad zipped the tent and tightened the top zipper. Mom took one Xanax before bed, as her prescription said she should. Dad was exhausted after a long week of work. They went to sleep. And sometime during the night the boys unzipped the bottom zipper of the tent (which Dad had forgotten to tighten) and wandered into the river.

This is all terrible and I’m sure any parent in that situation would be full of what-ifs and should-haves and blaming themselves for a very long time, if not the rest of their days on earth, but I don’t see how this rises to the level of a crime.

At their first trial the children’s mother, Kasey, would insinuate her husband, their stepfather Richard, may have killed them on purpose. This is because, although Kasey thought she’d removed Ayden’s shoes before bed and he couldn’t put them on by himself, when his body was found he was wearing the shoes. I think it’s more likely that Kasey simply forgot to remove the shoes (she’d put them on over his sleeper so he could run around and play during the evening). If Richard were planning on tossing the boys in the river it doesn’t make any sense for him to have put their shoes on.

I myself nearly drowned as a five-year-old and a police officer had to pound life back into my chest after they pulled me out of Lake Michigan. This is because my mom, who was on lifeguard duty, decided to help the other adults pull a boat ashore and was distracted for a few minutes. Obviously she should not have done that, but the idea that a parent would be charged with a crime in such a situation is appalling to me.

As this story was reported I can’t understand why the Kleins were even charged, never mind convicted, in their children’s drowning deaths. Was something left out or was this the overzealous prosecution is appears to have been?

Okay, Paul Fronczak definitely HAS been located

Last weekend I had posted about how there was a report that Paul Fronczak, an infant kidnapped from a Chicago hospital the day after he was born in 1964, had been found, but the paucity of information and the fact that only one news outlet was reporting this made me suspicious of the report’s veracity.

However, today a little additional news came out, with a quote from the FBI verifying the info. Very little information is available, just that Paul is alive, lives somewhere in rural Michigan, and does not want to go public at this time. I’m sure he’s shocked.

I hope more information will become available in time. Who knows, maybe the abductor is still alive and could be prosecuted.

Has the real Paul Fronczak been found? I’m uncertain.

So earlier this week there was an article on from a Las Vegas news outlet saying Paul Fronczak, the one that was stolen from the hospital as a newborn in 1964, has been located and is living in Michigan. The article promised more information later.

(The case is incredibly complicated and I recommend you check out Paul’s casefile on Charley. In a nutshell:

Paul was stolen from a Chicago hospital on April 27, 1964, just 36 hours after birth, by a woman who has posed as a nurse and has never been identified. In late 1965 an abandoned toddler was found wandering around a Newark, New Jersey store and was thought to be Paul Fronczak. There was no DNA testing available at the time to prove this definitively, but baby Paul’s parents accepted him as theirs and raised him.

In 2012, however, a DNA test established that this man was NOT actually the biological child of Mr. and Mrs. Fronczak. Not-Paul, as I call him, enlisted help from a genetic genealogist, and in 2015 he was identified. He and his twin sister were born into an abusive family, and shortly after they turned two, both twins disappeared and their three siblings were warned to never speak of them again. Their disappearances were never reported.

Not-Paul has published a book about all this, titled The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me. I own a copy on Kindle but haven’t read it yet.)

Getting back to the report that the real Paul has been found… well, it’s been several days and there’s no further information released. Furthermore, that article I linked to above is the ONLY article I can find that talks about this alleged recovery. You’d think this would be explosive news that would make headlines all over the world, but nope.

Even if the actual Paul didn’t want his identity released, you’d think there’d still be something printed like “Paul now lives in a small town in Michigan and works as a Blank. He began having doubts about his origins because Reasons. His presumed abductor raised him as her own son and is now deceased. He would like his privacy respected at this time.” SOMETHING.

I’m beginning to wonder if this “recovery” was a hoax. Though, for what it’s worth, baby Paul isn’t listed on the NCMEC site anymore.

I really don’t know; the whole thing is very puzzling to me. Any ideas?

Native American Heritage Month: Delema Sits Poor

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 Delema Lou Sits Poor, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared in 1974 from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She’s of Oglala Sioux heritage and her nickname in 1974 was Babe.

Pine Ridge is one of the poorest places in the entire U.S. and has numerous other socioeconomic problems. To quote from Wikipedia:

The population of Pine Ridge suffer health conditions, including high mortality rates, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, malnutrition and diabetes, among others. Reservation access to health care is limited compared to urban areas, and it is not sufficient. Unemployment on the reservation hovers between 80% and 85%, and 49% of the population live below the federal poverty level. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewage systems; and many use wood stoves to heat their homes, depleting limited wood resources.

The exact date of Delema’s disappearance is no longer known with just uncertainty, just sometime in February that year. She reportedly disappeared while walking “on a back road Oglala to Manderson” in subzero temperatures. You might wonder how they know the temperature at the time she disappeared but not the date, but my guess that just about EVERY day in February in Pine Ridge, North Dakota is subzero.

According to Google Maps, there are two routes you can drive between Manderson and Oglala; one is shorter in distance, 23.5 miles, but takes an hour, and the 40.2 mile roundabout way is shorter to drive. Either one is a VERY significant distance for a child to walk in subzero temperatures. Why was she out that day? Was she running away from something, or to something?

It’s extremely sad that a twelve-year-old girl’s disappearance seems to have been forgotten about by the authorities, but it doesn’t surprise me all that much. The situation of missing and murdered indigenous women has only recently become a topic attracting national attention.