Thoughts on updates of 3/18

Done 26 updates for today — so far. It’s only ten a.m. I’ve been working since around midnight and enjoying every minute of it.

I found a decent amount of information on baby Matthew Crocker‘s 1983 abduction. If there had been an Amber Alert back then, perhaps he would have been found.

The abductor claimed she had two children who died shortly after birth, which could go a long way towards explaining why she took Matthew. I’m not sure if the car was ever located. Anyway, the night there was a party at the house, and the adults all got drunk — except, perhaps, this “Kathy Johnson” person — and after everyone passed out she made off with the baby.

Chances are he’s alive and doesn’t know he’s missing. That concave chest is a good identifier. I wonder if there’s a guy out there, 35 out there, who isn’t sure who he is, who’s got a bit of a dent in his chest.

Keith Fleming‘s disappearance strikes me as so sad. That silky hair and those dark earnest eyes. Just a good-looking boy growing up into a young man. Having fun surfing, riding his bike, his first hit of weed, his first girlfriend — he gave her her first kiss the very night he disappeared.

I wonder if McRae really was involved, though. I mean, that would make the most sense, yes. But he knew Charles Collingwood and Kipling Hess; police were never able to prove he knew Keith, except perhaps by sight. And McRae’s wife said he told her he’d killed Charles and Kipling, but she didn’t say anything about Keith.

So, monster though McRae may have been, I’m not 100% sure he was the monster responsible for Keith’s disappearance. Though whatever happened to Keith must have been bad.

So was is whatever it was that happened to Andrew Dudley. NO ONE is going to literally run away while their Thanksgiving dinner is literally cooking in the kitchen.

Lloyd Gilsdorf‘s mom believed he was set up to be murdered. I think if that was the case it had to have been someone he knew. This was a pretty elaborate scheme if the aim was just to lure him to New Orleans so someone could kill him. Robbery couldn’t have been a motive; he was divorced, unemployed and broke.

I tried to be all professional-like when describing the circumstances of Rebecca Powell‘s death, but…wow. It filled me with some pretty unpleasant mental images, and that’s just reading the sanitized newspaper version. No wonder the trial testimony made a juror throw up.

I can’t say I think highly of any of the three men in that story. They all sounded like absolute scum, including the roommate who didn’t find out what happened till the next day but kept his mouth shut and pitched in to destroy evidence.

It doesn’t really seem fair that Fleming could have gotten a death sentence when his friend (who, by his own admission, witnessed the crime, didn’t report it, and helped clean up the scene and hide the body) got off scot-free, but of course without that friend’s testimony there would have been no case.

And that contractor in the Dock Thompson case sounds totally shady. I was surprised when I looked him up in the Florida DOC database and didn’t find him anywhere — I would have figured he’d have ended up in prison for SOMETHING after 1989, but he didn’t, at least not in Florida.

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Well, spit and slime

Yeah, so a mistrial has been declared in the Jahi Turner case. The jury could not reach a verdict — they deadlocked at ten (for acquittal) to two (for conviction of second-degree murder).

This irks me to no end. I cannot understand how this happened. Of course, I wasn’t there, I didn’t see the trial, so there’s no way for me to know. Circumstantial cases are always difficult, as are murder-without-a-body cases, and this was both.

A mistrial is never a good thing for anyone involved in a murder case. For the state, it means having to spend money and manpower and resources to do the whole thing over again. For the defendant, it’s more time — often years — stuck in limbo, and often in jail, as the case awaits its conclusion. For the family of the victim, it’s more time without closure, without justice, in another kind of limbo.

If he was still alive, Jahi would now be eighteen years old. A young man, in his final term of high school, about to graduate and go out into the world. But I’m quite sure his life ended at two.

I hope they try the case again and do a better job of it this time.

*Facepalm* *Headdesk*

Yeah, it just came to my attention that little La’Shyra Dotson, who disappeared one year and one week ago from Columbus, Ohio at the age of ELEVEN, is classified as a runaway by the NCMEC.

WHY? Why is a kid who had barely reached the double-digit years, and who has been missing for a full year, been written off as a runaway?

Even if she did run away, the chances that she’s been trafficked or is living in some other similarly horrid situation are very high. That poor girl.

I’ve gone and added her on to Charley. It’s the only thing I can do.

Recommended Reading III

So I found this two-and-a-half-year-old blog about the 1978 disappearance of Christopher William Vigil, a nine-year-old whom I assumed had simply gotten lost while hiking with his family in the Poudre Canyon in Colorado.

Having looked at this blog, however, Chris’s case is starting to look more and more like an abduction. I have dutifully updated his casefile with info from the blog, but invite readers to have a look at the source, which has more details.

Four year anniversary of Myra Lewis’s disappearance

As the Clarion-Ledger pointed out in this article, today it’s been four years since toddler Myra Lewis disappeared from outside her Camden, Mississippi home. If still alive, she’d be six years old, probably in kindergarten by now.

I blogged about Myra’s case last year. I still wonder if she simply wandered away and perhaps drowned, but there was a pretty extensive search and they presumably checked the local ponds. I hope she’s still alive.

Black History Month: Tageana Griffith

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Tageana Elizabeth Griffith, who was abducted by her non-custodial mother from Niagara Falls, New York on June 13, 2010, at the age of five. She is now 13 years old.

Tageana was born in Jamaica, but lived in the U.S. at the time of her disappearance. Her parents had joint custody. The court confiscated Tageana’s passport after her mother, Patricia, took her to Jamaica for a “vacation” without permission. Pretty much right after the passport was returned, Patricia took Tageana back to Jamaica again and this time came back without her.

(Incidentally, most major airlines in the U.S. now have a rule that if a minor child is traveling out of the country with only one parent, not both of them, this parent has to produced signed and notarized permission for the trip from the other parent, or proof that they have full custody rights, in order to fly. That’s to prevent stuff like Tageana’s abduction from happening.)

Patricia was sentenced to 18 months for parental abduction. The authorities believe Tageana is living with her maternal grandmother in Jamaica, but they can’t find them. Meanwhile her father has been looking for her for almost eight years now. All he’s got are some pics of her taken on her tenth birthday, five years after she was kidnapped.

Black History Month: Jaquilla Scales

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Jaquilla Evonne Scales, a four-year-old girl who disappeared from her family’s Wichita, Kansas home during the early morning hours of September 5, 2001.

There hasn’t been a great deal of press about Jaquilla’s disappearance. It doesn’t help that she was born to a teen mother in a poor African-American family, but I think whatever media attention her disappearance would have gotten was eclipsed by the terrorist attack on September 11.

I was fifteen years old, and I was on vacation in New England when 9-11 happened. I remember, flying home just a few days later (my mom and I had the plane practically to ourselves), hoping to find out more about Jaquilla’s case when I got home. I never did find out much.

It’s entirely possible that she was abducted — there were no signs of forced entry, but there was a door to the house that didn’t lock. I wish there had been more media attention when she disappeared; she might have been recovered if there had been.