*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.

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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.

While we’re all waiting, check this out

Site still largely AWOL, not functioning consistently enough for me to get any work done, and I am going mad from boredom.

My host had warned me there would be “service interruptions” this week because “we are upgrading our server hardware and software to significantly improve server response, resiliency and performance.” But I had not realized it would be this bad.

But in the meantime, I invite you to check out this in-depth news feature on toddler Ramona Brown’s 1984 disappearance. The circumstances remind me of the Ricky “Jeannie” Bryant case.

It’s in three parts:

  1. The Fire
  2. The Investigation
  3. The Possibilities

The things that people say

Since I can’t work on Charley today — the site keeps going down, then coming back up, then going down again, making it impossible to get anything done — I thought I’d blog about something that has been bothering me for awhile.

I rarely pay attention to Facebook chatter about missing persons, because for the most part I don’t consider such chatter to be reliable enough to use as a source in my casefiles. I have literally never joined a Facebook groups discussing  some specific case or other, for example.

But awhile back, as in months ago, I happened to be viewing the chatter on such a group for an entirely different reason and saw a post that really made me angry.

I’m not going to say who the missing person was, other than that it was a female child who has been missing for many years. No one has ever been charged in the case. The parents maintain that she was abducted from their home, but many people believe the parents themselves were somehow involved. For the purposes of this blog entry that’s all you need to know.

Some Facebook poster on a group about the case made reference to the fact that, several years after the child’s disappearance, the parents took their remaining children and moved out of state. The poster said something like, “Isn’t this a tacit admission of guilt? Why would they move unless they were sure she wasn’t coming back? Don’t innocent people refuse to EVER move, and stay in the same house forever, hoping their child will return?”

Now, I don’t know whether the parents in this case are guilty or innocent, and for the purposes of the point I’m trying to make, it doesn’t really matter. It just really makes me mad that people would judge them based on the fact that they moved away.

It’s not like anyone ever gives you a rule book on “How to Behave If Your Child Is Kidnapped.” You don’t know how you’re going to act in that situation until it happens to you.

It reminds me of how, after I was raped, certain asshats who read this blog were convinced that I must be making up the story because I didn’t act traumatized enough for them.

Never mind that they only had, like, 1% of the information — they weren’t there, they didn’t know me, all they saw were the words I typed into my blog. But they were publicly calling me a liar and a fraud and making all sorts of judgments about me when they didn’t know anything about it. And not one of them has ever apologized for it.

Yes, it’s true that some parents refuse to move away after their child disappears. I know of one case where not only did a missing girl’s mother refuse to move away, she started sleeping on her living room couch and kept it up for years, because she wanted to be sure she’d hear the knock on the front door if her daughter came home in the middle of the night. (That woman did eventually move, but only because her apartment building was being torn down and she had no choice. She still lives in the neighborhood.)

And it’s also true that some families DO move after their child is taken — in fact, I’ve heard of families that moved specifically because they wanted to get away from all the memories, wanted to get on with their lives, and felt unable to do so while still living at the same address. I’ve known of families who not only left the state but left the COUNTRY.

More to the point, in this particular case, the missing child was an infant. There’s no way she would remember her parents or her home address or phone number or anything like that, even if she was alive and became aware she had been kidnapped and wanted to reach out to her family.

And so they moved. And someone on Facebook was calling them murderers because of it.

Just…think about what you say, people. Try to remember that everything you put online can be read by others, that the very people you’re speculating about can find your musings and read them, that words hurt.

I forgot to say

Awhile back, Megan Elizabeth Garner‘s mom contacted me on Facebook. As I had practically nothing on Megan’s disappearance, I was happy to hear from her.

Sadly, Megan’s mom didn’t have much to tell me. She said the police have dutifully followed leads in Megan’s disappearance for the past couple of decades, but never developed a suspect or a theory of the crime or anything.

Megan’s parents were separated when she disappeared, I guess, and Megan lived with her mom. The family was so poor they didn’t even have a phone when Megan went missing.

It’s a sad story. No telling what might have happened if there had been more publicity in this case at the time.

As for working on the site, I finished W today and I’m working on E. I anticipate finishing E today. So I’ve got cases A-D and U-Z finished, and quite a lot of others besides.