SMH at the ineptitude of the cops in Cory Bigsby interview

So today is (allegedly, we’ll get to that) the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of four-year-old Codi Bigsby from his father’s home in Virginia. No charges have been filed in the case, but the police zeroed in on Codi’s dad, Cory, as a suspect very quickly and he is still a suspect. They have said they think Codi disappeared earlier than his dad claimed, although I haven’t seen anything about when he was last seen by anyone outside the household. (Which consisted of Codi, Cory, and three of Cory’s other children.)

When writing up the case I was kind of appalled to see how Cory was treated during his first police interview after he reported his son missing. I was just facepalming.

Now, in my opinion Cory is not a person easy to sympathize with. He was previously arrested for domestic violence against Codi’s mom, and he admits he left his kids (the oldest of whom was only five) home alone for hours at a time because they were “a handful.” But without a doubt, his Constitutional rights were violated in that police interview and that matters.

The interview lasted between 9:30 p.m. and 4:45 a.m. That’s over seven hours, during which Cory was not, technically, under arrest. (On February 3 he was arrested, but not for anything to do with Codi’s disappearance. He was arrested for child neglect for leaving the kids home alone.) During this time, on more than TWENTY occasions Cory said he was tired and wanted to go home to sleep. The police told him “going home is not an option.”

This was a lie: Cory was in fact legally free to stop the interview and go home. But after the very first time he said he wanted to leave and the cops refused to let him go, he was basically under duress and there’s a good chance anything he said would not be permitted to be used in court.

The law asks: would a reasonable person feel like they were being detained and were not permitted to leave? And in that situation, of repeatedly asking to leave and being it’s “not an option”, I think a reasonable person would definitely feel that way. (This, incidentally, is why those “how to handle a law enforcement encounter” advice people say you should directly ask the police if you are being detained.) A statement has to be “free and voluntary” to be used in court and by this point Cory wasn’t there voluntarily anymore.

Furthermore, TWICE Cory said he wanted to see an attorney, and TWICE his request was ignored. Big no-no. Once a suspect invokes their right to counsel, the police are supposed to immediately stop the interview and not ask any more questions of the suspect until the requested attorney arrives on scene.

Now, a lot of you may be thinking “I don’t care about this person’s so-called rights, I don’t care how they were treated, they’re a child neglecter/abuser and possible murderer.” But you should care. Not only because what happened to Cory could easily happen to you, but also because this botched interrogation may (assuming his father killed him, which the police seem to think he did) prevent Codi from ever getting justice.

The law says if a suspect invokes their right to counsel and isn’t given counsel, everything they say after that cannot be used in court. The suspect could confess to the most vile criminal offenses, to being a serial killer even, and their words would not be allowed to be used against them. I have no idea what Cory told the police during his interview, but if he admitted to anything incriminating after he was refused an attorney, those admissions cannot be used against him.

These are not obscure procedural rules. This is Police Interrogation 101. I can’t even with the incompetence here.

The police have since admitted they Did A Bad, and the detective who botched the interview was “punished”… by being pulled off the case and placed on paid administrative leave. So they were punished for their terrible policing by being given a paid vacation from work.

It’s been a year and no one knows where Codi is. I hope this interrogation did not reduce our chances of finding out what happened to him.

This article talks about what went wrong in the interview; it’s a good one.

Bits and pieces of things as I update

I make a lot of typos on the Charley Project, in particular leaving out words by accident. I’m sure you’ve all noticed. I don’t mind when people point them out to me, because that gives me an opportunity to fix the mistake.

It is kind of embarrassing though, when a news article quotes from the Charley Project and has to put in a typo correction in the quote. As happened today. *facepalm* Don’t worry, when I saw what I’d done wrong I immediately logged into the dashboard and added the missing words.

I am adding a case today where I found the missing teen girl’s Facebook page, and it had been updated multiple times after she went missing. Although not recently, at least as far as I can see; if you’re not “Facebook friends” with a person, what you can view on their profile is limited.

Just from the pictures I would have guessed the poor kid is being trafficked: the photos were very sexy and revealing, and none of the photos showed her face. Her face was always either cropped from the picture or covered with something, either that or she was looking away from the camera. The girl’s NamUs page confirmed my suspicion that this is a presumed case of sex trafficking. I called the NCMEC to tell them about the Facebook page, in case they didn’t know.

Michael Sewell‘s disappearance reminds me a lot of the Sodder childrens’ case. My guess is Michael died in the fire like his two friends. That cabin sounds like a serious fire hazard: made of railroad ties (which are of course wooden, and often coated with flammable creosote to keep the wood from rotting), with a wood-burning stove and a kerosene lantern, and with no windows and only the one door. It’s enough to give a fire marshal the vapors.

Articles report that they only found a few bones, and identified the dead boys based on their class rings. It’s not like they had DNA testing in 1971. The police, re-investigating the case in 2022, are going to exhume Michael’s friends’ remains to see if they didn’t accidentally bury some pieces of Michael in those coffins.

I added a case the other day of a missing twelve-year-old boy (he’d now be fourteen) who “may be in the company of an adult male.” When I was doing my research for the write-up I found some Facebook comments identifying the adult male in question by name, with a picture of him, and saying who the man is in relation to the missing boy.

But I can’t really rely on social media gossip for something like that, lest the Facebook comments are incorrect. If I did post the info and it’s wrong, it could muck up the investigation and I could potentially get sued into oblivion by the man in question for wrongfully accusing him of kidnapping a child. So on Charley it just says “adult male.”

But if I found those Facebook comments, you, dear reader, probably can too. I’m just saying.

I’ll be out of Facebook Jail in a week. Here’s some more news.

From California:

  • They’re still looking for Khrystyna Carreno, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Bakersfield in November 2020. (The article spells her name “Khrystina” but the NCMEC and CDOJ spell it “Khrystyna” so I’m going to go with that.) I don’t have her on Charley but figure I should add her. Twelve is very young, obviously, and she’s been missing for a year and a half now. I hope she’s alive and hasn’t been trafficked. Here’s Khrystyna’s NCMEC poster.

From Florida:

From Georgia:

  • They have finally identified the little boy whose corpse was found outside Atlanta over 20 years ago. His name was William DaShawn Hamilton and he was six years old when he was murdered. William was never reported missing. His mother, Teresa Ann Bailey Black, has been charged with felony murder, cruelty to children, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another.

From Michigan:

  • They’re still looking for Kathy Sue Wilcox, a 15-year-old girl last seen in Otsego in 1972. She got into an argument with her parents over an older boy she was dating, stomped out angrily and was never seen again. Kathy would be 65 today. Kathy’s sister does not believe she ran away, and made reference to a “significant antisocial person who was in [Kathy’s] life,” whom she thinks could have been involved.

From Minnesota:

  • Remains found in Rosemount in 2014 have been identified as James Everett, a New York man who was not listed as missing. They do not know the cause or manner of death, but they believe Everett died sometime in the autumn months of 2013. I wonder if he died of exposure; Minnesota can get very cold, and I doubt a “decommissioned railroad utility shed” would have heat or insulation.

From New Hampshire:

  • They’re still looking for 15-year-old Shirley Ann “Tippy” McBride, last seen in Concord in 1984. Although there haven’t been any new developments, the article talks about the case in great detail.
  • They’re still looking for Maura Murray, and are searching an unspecified “area in the towns of Landaff and Easton.” This search isn’t based on any new info, though, they’re just shooting in the dark.

From New York:

  • They’re trying to find Judith Threlkeld, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared from Chautauqua County in 1976. She was last seen walking home from the library. I added the case to Charley yesterday.

From North Dakota:

  • Check out this awesome in-depth three-part series on the 1996 disappearances of Sandra Mary Jacobson and her son, John Henry Jacobson: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 (this last part is paywalled, but I was invested enough to fork over two bucks for a subscription). Very mysterious case. I feel terrible for Sandra’s older son, Spencer: he lost his mom and half-brother, literally, and later on his father was murdered, and neither of these cases have been solved. A few years after the murder of Spencer’s father, Spencer’s wife died tragically young at 24, from strep throat of all things, leaving him a young widower with three kids. Poor Spencer has had enough bad luck to last a lifetime.

From Ohio:

  • They’re still looking for Charles King Blanche, a 39-year-old man who disappeared from his Youngstown group home in 1991. Blanche’s cousin says he was a very talented musician who was recruited to tour in Europe in a marching band, but his life kind of cratered after he developed an unspecified severe mental illness. An all-too-common story on the Charley Project.

From Texas:

  • It’s being reported that sometimes when Texan foster kids run away, the agencies just wash their hands of them and end their guardianship over them. This sounds terrible, but given how often foster agencies fail their wards, and given as it’s Texas where they can’t even keep the lights on, I’m not entirely surprised.
  • Using genetic genealogy, they have identified a Jane Doe whose partial remains were found south of Midland in 2013. The victim was Sylvia Nicole Smith, who disappeared in 2000 at the age of sixteen. The case is being investigated as homicide.

From Virginia

  • Cory Bigsby, the father of four-year-old Codi Bigsby, has been indicted on thirty counts, the majority of them child neglect charges. Codi has been missing since January. None of the indictments are related to his disappearance; they’re connected to Cory’s allegedly terrible parenting from prior to Codi’s disappearance. Codi has not been missing long enough to go up on Charley, so here’s his NCMEC poster, and here’s another poster for him.

From Washington state:

  • There are forty known Native American people listed as missing from the Yakima area. And here’s a list of all the Native Americans listed as missing from the entire state.

From Washington DC:

  • They’re still looking for Relisha Tenau Rudd, an eight-year-old girl who disappeared from a Dickensian homeless shelter in 2014. I’ve blogged about Relisha several times, as recently as earlier this week when they put up a new AP for her. If still alive, Relisha would now be 16. Here’s another detailed article about her case, with links to the earlier series of articles the Washington Post did about it.

And in general:

  • Although they don’t drop kids from the guardianship rolls when they disappear, in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Illinois, most missing foster kids who resurface are not screened to see if they were trafficked during the time they were gone. The article says Texas actually has a better record in this regard, with over 80% of missing-and-then-located foster kids being screened. But the number should ideally be 100%.
  • My husband has persuaded me to finally turn the Charley Project into an official registered nonprofit organization. Right now we’re saving up the money to pay a lawyer to file the paperwork to do this though it’s going to be awhile at this rate; money is super tight right now. If the Charley Project is a registered nonprofit, all donations will become tax-deductible and also the organization could become the recipient of grants. I’d use the grants to travel to more missing persons events, and pay the subscription fees for more databases to use in researching cases, and maybe hire an editor or something.

MP of the week: Rachel Anderson

This week’s featured missing person is actually a triple disappearance, or maybe a quadruple one depending on your point of view. Rachel Marie Anderson was last seen in Fulton, Mississippi on April 11, 2000, at the same time her brothers, Cameron and Kyle Anderson, and mother, Lesley Allen, also went missing.

Rachel was 13 at the time, Cameron was 12 and Kyle was 9. I don’t know Lesley’s age or description, though I do have some photos of her. Lesley was not reported missing.

Supposedly the family just vanished one day, leaving behind Lesley’s two older children, who both have mental disabilities. There’s been no sign of them since. In 22 years. No school or medical records transfers, no activity on any of their Social Security numbers, etc.

I think something terrible must have happened to them, but I have no idea what.

Rachel would be 36 today and her brothers would be 34 and 31. All the children are white, blonde and blue-eyed. Rachel has a strawberry birthmark on the left side of her face, Cameron wears glasses, and Kyle has a scar on his upper lip.

It’s a bizarre case and I wish it had gotten more attention.

Since I’m in Facebook Jail again, here’s the news

Facebook didn’t like a meme I posted — despite the fact that it’s elsewhere on Facebook — and gave me 30 days in jail. But then they changed their minds and decided the meme is okay after all, but forgot to remove my 30-day sentence. Shrug. It is what it is. Facebook is broken.

In California:

  • The biological parents of Classic and Cincere Pettus, later known as Orson and Orrin West, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of California, alleging the state wrongfully removed the Pettus boys from a safe home and placed them with the people who have since been charged with their murders.

In Massachusetts:

In Michigan:

In Minnesota:

  • There’s a new podcast about the disappearance of Joshua Cheney Guimond, a St. John’s University student who disappeared from the university’s Collegeville, Minnesota campus in 2002.

In New Hampshire:

  • They’re still looking for Harmony Montgomery, and her father Adam’s lawyers have asked for police body cam footage of his arrest. Adam is charged with abusing Harmony prior to her disappearance, and with failure to report her missing. A little over a week ago the police searched Harmony’s old apartment and removed items, including a refrigerator. My guess would be they’re checking anything large enough to conceal a five-year-old child’s body.

In New York:

  • On this coming Saturday, the New York City Medical Examiner is holding an event to publicize missing persons in NYC. At the event, the ME’s office will accept “will accept any voluntarily shared information, like photos and DNA samples to help identify missing people.”

In South Carolina:

  • They interviewed the lead investigator in Shelton John Sanders‘s disappearance and presumed murder, asking him why they were unable to get convictions in that case. The investigator still thinks the suspect in guilty.
  • They have identified remains found at a recycling plant as Duncan Gordon, a missing man. He was last seen sitting on top of a shredding machine, and “a substance that looked like ground up flesh” was later found in that machine. Sounds awful; I hope it was quick. I’m predicting Gordon’s family files a lawsuit and OSHA hands out fines for this.

In Virginia:

In Washington state:

  • Othram has identified two more unidentified bodies: they are Blaine Has Tricks, who disappeared in 1977, and Alice Lou Williams, who disappeared in 1981. I know with Alice they got some help from the Charley Project; I know because the guy who owns Othram told me so.

In Canada:

  • They’re still looking for Vernon George Martin, who disappeared in 2009 after a fire at the airport hangar he co-owned. He could be missing or he could be on the run, as he’s wanted for sex offenses.

In New Zealand:

In the UK:

  • The father of Claudia Lawrence, who disappeared in 2009, died in February, and in his will he left £10,000 to a charity for missing persons.
  • They found Michael Anthony Lynch, a man who had been missing for 20 years. It appears he drove his car into Lough Erne, near Corradillar Quay, in Northern Ireland.

MP of the week: Tavish Sutton

This week’s featured missing person is Tavish Sutton, missing from Atlanta, Georgia since March 9, 1993. He was abducted from a hospital at the age of one month (less one day), while admitted for minor surgery. There are two possible suspects in the case, neither of whom have been identified.

There’s an excellent chance he’s alive and well out there and doesn’t know who he is or that he’s missing. But there are no actual photographs of him, and I have no idea how accurate the age-progression done in 2010 is.

One thing that might be used to identify Tavish (who would now be 29 years old) is a quarter-inch surgical scar on his buttock.

(Sorry this is a day late. Been sick.)

MP of the week: Solomon Rose

This week’s featured missing person is Solomon Gomile Rose III, a three-and-a-half-year-old boy who disappeared from a Baltimore, Maryland shopping center on April 1, 1972. His mother took him and a seven-year-old cousin with her to the shopping center, and Solomon disappeared when his mom left the kids unattended while she was cashing a check. He was never seen again.

Solomon’s nickname is Poon. He was last seen wearing a dark brown fake fur coat, a navy blue turtleneck, blue and white checkered pants and tan shoes. If still alive, he’d be 53 today.

I wonder what his cousin has to say about it all. She probably remembers the incident. I wonder if she remembers anything that could be useful in finding him.

Another day, another child abuse death

Wrote up the James Hutchinson case today and boy am I angry on his behalf. And on behalf of his siblings. James’s suffering is over. But his older siblings (I do not know their names or sex, only ages, seven and nine when this occurred) will have to deal with the consequences of their childhoods for the rest of their lives.

I was just sitting there imagining what it must have been like. To sit there in that nature preserve, in the dark and in the cold, with their dead brother’s body wondering if their mom was ever going to come back.

Which she did, after thirty or forty minutes. But that time must have taken an eternity for those children. They were old enough to know they had been abandoned. Old enough to know there was something very wrong with their brother, maybe even old enough to know he was dead.

And poor James. Clinging to that car door handle. He just wanted to be with his mom and couldn’t understand why she was doing this to him.

Frankly, I don’t understand why she did this to him. She even admitted that it had occurred to her to just drop the kids off at a fire station. As elementary schoolers they wouldn’t have been protected under Ohio’s safe haven law (which only applies to newborns under 72 hours old) but the firefighters definitely wouldn’t have hog-tied the kids, or abandoned them in a nature preserve in the middle of the night, or run over and killed any of them.

And all this, just to keep the love of a man who was married to someone else and pretty much an all-around turd. Really?

I really hope the surviving children are being looked after by someone who actually cares about them. And that they’re getting a lot of therapy. They’re going to need it. I just worry that the kids might grow up bouncing around in foster care and become adults of the same caliber as their mother.

Home again, exhausted

So I was away for a bit cause my dad to have his thyroid gland removed at a hospital several hours away from our respective homes and I went with him to help out. Everything went fine in the surgery but they made him stay overnight, basically cause he’s old. So I had to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. They don’t let you camp in the waiting room anymore cause covid.

Dad has, or had, an extremely indolent form of thyroid cancer. So minor that for the past ten years he’s left it untreated because it was not causing any issues at all so why fix it? But the cancer did eventually start messing with his thyroid hormones so they decided to yank the whole gland out, cancer and all. As it had (still) not spread, no further treatment is necessary. Just replacement thyroid hormone medicine.

I’ve got a vested interest in all this because there’s a significant chance the same thing is going to happen to me. Dad’s cancer is caused by a genetic issue and there’s a 50% chance I’ve inherited the bad gene too. And if I did, there’s a nearly 100% chance that I too will get thyroid cancer, unless I have my thyroid removed before it can get sick. In fact, as this illness usually occurs in young people, I might have it already and might have had it for years, like Dad did.

Dad’s cancer is so ridiculously wimpy and pathetic that I’m not terribly concerned about my having possibly inherited the cancer gene, but I need to have a screening done anyway.

In other news, a woman is threatening to sue me for supposedly libeling her father, which I really don’t understand because the woman and the Charley Project are pretty much in agreement as to the facts of the case. In fact I’m not 100% sure she’s even actually read the casefile cause she’s wasting her time emailing me the story, the details of which I know already, having already written them all on the Charley Project. Sigh.

You’d be surprised how often this sort of thing happens.

In the Nguyen family case there is news: they have identified Stephanie, the mom, but there’s no indication as to what happened to either of the two kids. I don’t see this as good news; in fact from my perspective it’s almost worse than finding nothing at all.

The family is still stuck in limbo, wondering if the kids were in the car when it went in, or if she did something else with them. It seems likely that they WERE in the car and are still in the river somewhere. But there’s no proof of that. The case might remain unsolved forever.

I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep or eat much of anything while I was gone. I came home to the discovery that our new kitten, Viola, had made a mess, and I was almost too tired to care, but I cleaned it up.

See y’all tomorrow.