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
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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.

Select It Sunday: Erica Baker

Chosen by Tara H., this case is Erica Nicole Baker, a nine-year-old who disappeared from Kettering, Ohio on February 7, 1999. Kettering is a suburb of Dayton, and about an hour and a half south of the hamlet where I grew up.

Erica went out to walk her aunt’s dog and never returned. The dog was found running around unaccompanied with its leash still attached, and eventually got picked up by Animal Control, but there was no sign of Erica.

She has been missing for 18 years, but we pretty much know what happened: Christian Gabriel was convicted of evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse after he confessed to running over Erica with a van, panicking and then disposing of her body. There are two other suspects who were thought to have been in the van at the time, but one of them died and the grand jury declined to indict the other one. Gabriel, who has since been released from prison, has retracted his confession and nobody knows where Erica’s body is.

Flashback Friday: Natasha Shanes

This week’s FF case is Natasha Marie Shanes, a six-year-old girl who was apparently abducted from her mother’s Jackson, Michigan home on May 8, 1985.

Although they never identified the abductor or found any bloodstains or the like, I’m pretty confident Natasha died around the time she was taken, because of her medical problems. She had a seizure disorder and needed medication for that. She was also slightly intellectually disabled and she had scoliosis, though to what degree I don’t know.

In the very unlikely event that Natasha is alive, she’d be 38 today.

Some behind-the-scenes updates

Yeah, I’m sorry I’ve been kind of absent this month so far. I think I might have mentioned I’m taking some different medicine, cause my old medicine made me gain 40 pounds. This new medicine seems to work, as far as moods go, and I don’t think I’ve gained any more weight, but it’s interfering with my sleeping a lot. It seems like I can’t sleep more than four hours at a time. And four hours plus four hours does not eight hours make. I’ve been really tired and draggy and unable to accomplish much even when I’m awake.

Anyway, I am getting some stuff done today. I have:

Middle Name and Date of Birth Added

  1. Linda Lou Bean
  2. Nanette Evette Thomas
  3. Jacob Lewis Tipton

Date of Birth Added

  1. John Howard Friebely
  2. Adrian Genti Gokaj
  3. Pamela Diane Ingle
  4. Napoleon M. Ray
  5. Joe Saxton
  6. Chad Allen Scudder
  7. Lori Dee Wilson

Pictures Added

  1. David Antonio Cambray
  2. Maria Ann Monrean
  3. Kathy Pereira

AP Updated

  1. Amanda Alexandra Adlai
  2. Brittney Ann Beers
  3. David Michael Borer
  4. Bryan Keith Fisher
  5. Kyron Richard Horman
  6. Ayesha Faheem Khan
  7. Fatima Faheem Khan
  8. Sindy Jazmin Perez-Aguilar
  9. Jasmine Anne Marie Sajedi
  10. Stevey Howard Sommerville
  11. Vivian Aileen Trout
  12. Anna Christian Waters

Strike that, reverse it: murder-without-a-body cases

It has been brought to my attention that Walter Shannon Stevenson, whose case I resolved yesterday, has not been found after all. This article, from which I got the original information, has issued a retraction. A suspect, Jeffrey May, has been charged with his murder, but Walter’s case is currently a no-body homicide.

I hope the body turns up soon. In the meantime, I’ll remove the resolved notice and put up Walter’s casefile again with the next update (probably today).

And speaking of murder-without-a-body cases, it looks like the only indicted suspect in Katherine and Sheila Lyon‘s 1975 disappearances is about to plead guilty. Some articles:

This isn’t the end of the story — there’s another suspect who is also believed to have been involved — but it might be the beginning of the end.

As of this writing, the Corpus Delicti section of Charley — my three lists of murder-without-a-body cases currently on the website — has approximately 615 names. (I saw “approximately” because a few names are on more than one list due to multiple defendants and multiple outcomes. I wish I could find the outcomes for more of those cases on List Three, which surely must have been resolved by now.)

For more details about murder-without-a-body cases, I highly recommend you check out Tad DiBiase’s website (particularly this PDF) and book.