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 rpeort 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.

Where There Is Evil

I wanted to drop a book recommendation: Sandra Brown’s memoir Where There Is Evil. Sandra’s dad, Alexander Gartshore, is the prime suspect in the notorious 1957 disappearance of Moira Anderson. It’s one of the most notorious child disappearances in Scottish history.

Sandra is the one who turned him in after he made suspicious comments about Moira’s disappearance to her in 1992. She was already somewhat aware by then what sort of man her father was, and when she investigated his background she learned he molested numerous young girls, including all her girl cousins. She already knew he molested her friends when she was little, because he wasn’t very discreet about it and would do it right in front of her. She was too young to know what she was looking at, at the time.

Mind you, Sandra shouldn’t have had to turn in her dad. The police should have been onto him from the start. Alex Gartshore was, at the time of eleven-year-old Moira’s disappearance, out on bond awaiting trial for the rape of his children’s thirteen-year-old babysitter. Furthermore, Alex was a bus driver on the job on the night Moira disappeared, and Moira was last seen (as far as anyone knows) at a bus stop.

The fact that the police did not investigate him, didn’t so much as interview him one time, is suggestive of either corruption, or incompetence so extreme it might as well be corruption. The only thing Sandra can think of is that her dad belonged to a certain social club whose local membership was 90% cops, and so they covered for him.

Others covered for him as well. Sandra found out, post 1992, that her grandfather had suspected his son in Moira’s case and gone so far as to search various places associated with Alexander, ripping up floorboards even, trying to find Moira’s body. But he never went to the police with his suspicions. Or if he did, they were not noted down in the file due to the previously mentioned corruption/incompetence.

And when Sandra told her family she thought Alex had killed Moira Anderson and she was going to police, many of them were not exactly thrilled about it and some of them got extremely angry at her. Not because they thought Alex was innocent really — they all knew what sort of man he was, like I said he wasn’t discreet — but because of being embarrassed and not wanting the public to connect Alex with them. It was a small town, you see, and Alex and his relatives were the only people in it with his highly distinct surname.

The book is about Sandra’s childhood with such a father, then the 1992 revelation and search for answers and justice. It is well worth a read.

MP of the week: Mayra Sandoval

This week’s featured missing person (so sorry it’s late, been failing at life lately) is Mayra Erisuria Sandoval, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Sarasota, Florida on January 10, 2006. She was seeing getting off the school bus, but didn’t attend school that afternoon and never returned home. A week later she called home and said she was okay and still in the US, but didn’t say where she was or who was with her.

This may be a case where the missing person has actually gotten in touch with family but the police have not been notified of this. It happens sometimes that families of missing people sometimes lose contact with law enforcement. It seems more likely in this instance because after Mayra went missing, it came out that her family was living in the US illegally and they were asked to leave go back to Mexico. If they did go back, perhaps Mayra (who is also believed to be in Mexico) contacted them.

Her case is classified as a runaway by all agencies including the Charley Project, but when it comes to a preteen child and a “male acquaintance who is in his twenties” it seems like abduction would be more appropriate. I don’t think anyone who convinces as twelve-year-old to run away from home has their best interest at heart. If she was in fact lured from her home by this “male acquaintance”, they may no longer be together. Sixteen years is a long time.

If still alive, Mayra would be 29 years old today. She’s Hispanic, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. She was 5’1 and 130 pounds in 2006 but she’s probably grown since then. She was last seen wearing a light blue and beige sweatshirt with the word “Micky” on the front, blue jeans, white sneakers and a light blue backpack.

Harmony Montgomery report

Thought y’all would like to have a look at this report the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate about Harmony Montgomery‘s life up until she was placed with her dad, basically trying to figure out if child protection authorities failed her (they did) and in what way.

I only just started it myself but I can tell it’s going to be informative and infuriating.

I’ve been battling a horrible sinus infection for a week but I’m back on my feet now. Will be updating today.

MP of the week: Tiffany Westford

This week’s featured missing person is Tiffany Susan Westford, a 2-year-old girl who was abducted by her non-custodial mother, Marie Catherine Dominique, from Amityville, New York on November 13, 1993. This is one of the Charley Project’s older family abduction cases.

Tiffany and her mother are both black, and I think they are of Haitian descent, given that Marie speaks Haitian Creole and they could be living in a Haitian-American community if they haven’t left the country altogether. Tiffany has a two- or three-inch scar below her navel and may use one of several alias last names. Marie may also use any of a number of alisas. She’s described as 5’3 – 5’4 and 130 – 140 pounds. She worked as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) though I suppose her license would have expired by now.

Tiffany would now be 30 years old, and her abductor would be 57. There’s a good chance Tiffany has no idea she’s a missing child, and given the passage of time I think it’s unlikely that Marie would face any charges if they were located.

Woman is not Brittany Williams, and the Harmony Montgomery case grows worse by the day

Since June there has been a woman named Kaylynn Stevenson who has claimed to be Brittany Renee Williams, a child in the foster care system who disappeared sometime between August and November 2000. It’s a pretty awful story, starting with the fact that no one is quite sure when the HIV-positive seven-year-old was last seen. Her so-called guardian was only interested in the benefits that came with fostering.

Kaylynn had a story that sounded so bizarre it might just be credible. I wasn’t sure and decided to hold my peace until law enforcement came out with a statement. Well, they have, and based on “a robust review of medical records, adoption records, consultation with Infectious Disease physicians, dozens of interviews, and DNA analysis,” Kaylynn isn’t Brittany.

I am sorry. I wish I had better news but this is not the happy ending you’re all hoping for. It hardly ever is, you know?

Meanwhile, Harmony Montgomery‘s case seems to grow more awful every time there is news about it. It’s come out that her father, Adam Montgomery, is a suspect in the 2008 murder of a 28-year-old woman who was shot in the chest in a Lynn, Massachusetts parking lot. Adam, who was 18 at the time, has never been charged in the case and perhaps he didn’t do it, who knows.

Right now he’s sitting in jail on charges of abusing Harmony months prior to her disappearance. He bragged to relatives about how he had “bashed her around the apartment” after he asked her to look after her baby half-brother and came back to find her covering the baby’s mouth to stop its crying. Well, Adam, her doing that to the baby is your own fault; you should have known that a four- or five-year-old is not a suitable caregiver for an infant precisely because they do dumb stuff like that. It doesn’t make Harmony a bad child and she didn’t deserve to be hit, never mind “bashed around the apartment.”

Remind me again what was so unsuitable about Harmony’s mom that she couldn’t get custody or even visitation? When she’s the only reason we know Harmony is even missing in the first place.

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.

MP of the week: Celina Mays

This week’s featured missing person is Celina Janette Mays, who was last seen in Willingboro, New Jersey on December 16, 1996. She was twelve and a half years old, and nine months pregnant; the baby was due on the 29th. She’s biracial, with black hair, brown eyes and eyebrows that tend to grow together. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’0 and 120 pounds, but she might have grown since then.

It appears that she sneaked out of the house in the night, with the intention of returning; she’d left behind all her things, including her purse and prenatal vitamins. There’s speculation that she’d gone out to meet with the father of her baby, but the problem is no one except Celina knew who the father was. She didn’t even tell her obstetrician.

Celina’s father, CJ, was threatening to have paternity tests done to determine the identity of the father, and whomever it was could obviously have faced serious criminal charges.

When a child as young as Celina becomes pregnant, one tends to suspect incest (or at least I do). Per this article, the father of Celina’s baby could not have been CJ, as he’d had a vasectomy. But there were rumors implicating one of Celina’s cousins.

I don’t think she lived long after leaving her house that night. It seems like, if she had run away, she would have resurfaced at age 18, if only to collect the inheritance due her from her mother’s life insurance. (Celina’s mom had died a few years earlier.)

But if Celina is still alive, she would be 37 today, and her baby would be about to turn 25.

So many watery graves

Due in part to the activites of Adventures with a Purpose (and they are awesome, check them out and give them money or something), it seems like there have been quite a few missing persons are turning up inside their cars inside lakes and rivers lately. I have many cases to resolve.

Most recently we’ve got, in no particular order:

  1. Miriam Ruth Hemphill, 84, missing from Oak Ridge, Tennessee since July 22, 2005. Her vehicle was found in Melton Hill Lake with human remains inside.
  2. Samantha Jean Hopper, 19, and her unborn baby, and her 1-year-old daughter, Courtney Esther Danielle Holt., missing from Russellville, Arkansas since September 11, 1998. Their car was found in eight feet of water in Pope County, Arkansas, although the news articles I’ve found haven’t said which specific body of water.
  3. Judith Ann Chartier, 17, missing from Chelmsford, Massachusetts since June 5, 1982. This was a surprise, as everyone had suspected foul play in her case. But it turned out she’d (probably accidentally) driven her car into the Concord River in Billerica, Massachusetts. The remains inside have already been identified as hers.
  4. Van Thay “Stephanie” Nguyen, 26, and her two children, 4-year-old Kristina Thay Nguyen and 3-year-old John Thai Nguyen, missing from Cincinnati, Ohio since April 18, 2002. Their vehicle was found in the Ohio River in October, something which isn’t terribly shocking since Stephanie had threatened to drive into the river and they were last seen near a boat ramp.
  5. Brian E. Goff, 64, and his 55-year-old girlfriend Joni E. Davis, missing from St. Clairsville, Ohio since June 10, 2018. Their car was found in the Ohio River with two bodies inside, still seat-belted in.

In these cases where multiple people were involved, I am not sure what to do at this point. Like, we can safely assume that the human remains inside Miriam Hemphill’s car are Miriam’s. But when people disappear like this and years or decades later it turns out they drove into water, sometimes not every person can be recovered. Like, it’s entirely possible that the remains found in the Nguyen’s car belong to just one or two of them, and the river took the other person.

Of course in such a case the individuals not found in or near the vehicle would be presumed dead as well, but the Charley Project usually keeps the case up until remains are found, regardless of what the circumstances indicate.

I’ll start sorting it out tomorrow I guess.