A few edits/additions

I have updated my “About the Administrator” page on Charley with a more detailed account of my life and an up-to-date description of my interests. My pet rats, for example, have all crossed the rainbow bridge, but Michael and I have two wonderful cats now. I included a link to the blog entry that explains my weird education — no, unlike what certain people have said, I have a diploma and not a GED, thank you very much.

I also added the Christmas Eve pic I posted on here, with me holding that ridiculously adorable puppy. I really like that picture and I really like my new cut and color (although the pink is getting a little bit lighter with each hair wash, sigh). I also really like that sweater I’m wearing; it’s my favorite. I got it off Etsy in 2014, using a gift card someone gave me for my birthday. The price was $20.24 including shipping, which is an awesome deal given that it’s 100% cashmere and looked as if it had never been worn, but then I looked up the brand when it arrived and discovered cashmere sweaters from that company retail for as much as $750! But anyway…

I have also updated the “Site History” page with bits about the Facebook and Twitter accounts. (I decided to list their dates of creation as the times when they were created by other people, not the times when I took over the running of them.) And I removed the bits about the links page and the disclaimer page since those no longer exist.

I haven’t heard from Jennifer Marra in like, ten years. Sometimes I wonder if maybe she reads this blog. Facebook, at one point, had her as one of the “people you may know” and suggested I friend her, but I didn’t. Jennifer and I may have parted ways, probably forever, but she was one of the most profound influences of my life and I personally owe her a great deal, as do many other people. I think of her every day and I always make sure to mention her to reporters and stuff when they ask me about how I got into missing people and how and why I founded the Charley Project. Wherever she is, I hope she’s well and happy.

“Illiterate”

Occasionally I have MPs on my site, adults, where it’s noted that they’re illiterate. I always note this information when I find it. If the person is mentally disabled (and they usually are), I note it in the “medical conditions” like this: “John Doe is mentally disabled; he is illiterate and has the capabilities of a ten-year-old” or suchlike.

Sometimes — as in a case I’m writing up now — it’s just noted that the person is illiterate and doesn’t say why. Usually, even if it isn’t said, the person is mentally disabled. (I’m pretty sure that’s the case here. It’s noted that he “may be in need of medical attention” and takes medication, and more tellingly, although this guy is in his 50s, his NamUs page says the “youth and family crimes unit” should be contacted about his case.) But you can’t assume that. Perhaps — especially with elderly people who were born in like the 1920s — they never went to school. Perhaps they have normal intelligence but a severe learning disability such as dyslexia.

In cases where the MP is said to be illiterate but there’s nothing about a mental disability or any medical thing that would cause their illiteracy, I put it in the “details of disappearance.” I wonder if “distinguishing characteristics” might be more appropriate though. Thoughts?

I highly doubt this guy weighs 509 pounds

The Cleveland PD didn’t have a photo for Kalvin Alfred Lamar Boyd in their listing for him on their site, as you can see:

kalvinboyd

But I found a photo here. And you know what? It seems really unlikely that he actually weighs 509 pounds. In fact, he appears to be on the skinny side; I wonder if they really meant to write 109 pounds. If he was 5’6 and weighed over 500 pounds, he’d look like a sumo wrestler.

Since I can’t find his weight listed anywhere else, I’m just going to leave that bit blank on his Charley Project page.

Cogeadr?

I’m looking at the Cleveland Police Department website and they’ve got this missing guy with schizophrenia and it says he’s taking “cogeadr.”

That’s not a real medication; clearly the word has been misspelled. I have no idea what the correct word is; I tried Googling it and came up with zilch.

I called my own psychiatric clinic to ask and they’re not sure. The secretary said she’d pass the info on to the nurse to look up. Considering how that nurse NEVER calls me back when I have actual medical complaints (like “this new medication you put me on is making me walk like a drunk person, is that normal and will it go away?”), I have a feeling I’m not going to get a call back.

Muttergrumble.

The way I do things

When I wake up in the morning — or whenever it is that I wake up to start my day — and get on the computer, one of the first things I do after checking my email is check Google News for new articles about missing persons cases. I share the articles on the Charley Project’s Facebook page, and the ones that are of use to me, I bookmark for future use. Once I’m done combing through the news, I usually go back and have a look at the articles I bookmarked and see what I can do with them for the day’s updates.

As I’ve said over and over, what I do is try to put all the available information in one place, so people researching missing persons can go to one spot and find everything, rather than having to read like 20 different articles. But that means it’s ME having to read 20 different articles. I’m a very good, very fast reader, obviously, but if you’re just looking at my cases from the outside you’ve got no idea how much time it can take.

Take the case of Diamond Bynum and her nephew King Walker, for example. I added them on Sunday. The case summary is a short one: their “circumstances of disappearance” section is a mere 161 words long. But to get those 161 words, and the photos and the physical/clothing/medical information, I had to consult six different sources — an MP database, a Facebook page and four news publications — and read, perhaps, ten articles, and sort of boil it all down in my head.

And that was just for two cases — or more like one and a half cases, since the circumstances of disappearance were identical for both. I added eight cases to the Charley Project that day, and updated one. And that was just the daily grind, as it were. There’s a lot of other stuff involved: constantly checking other MP databases for cases to add, purging my outdated cases, trying (and failing) to keep up with my email, maintaining the social media stuff, etc. Also occasionally just plugging name after name into Google or whatever and see if I can get a fish on the line.

I am not complaining. Running this website is something I deeply enjoy, and it’s something uniquely suited to my talents and life circumstances. I’m just trying to say, it’s not exactly easy and it’s not something to undertake lightly. I’m sure many people would have a hard time staying committed. I know I do. From time to time I’ve thought about quitting, but that would be a logistical nightmare and I know I’d deeply regret it.

But I think to myself: that logistical nightmare could happen anyway, even if I didn’t choose to quit. I mean, I was lucky to walk away relatively unscathed after that car wreck six weeks ago. What if I’d been seriously injured, brain-damaged, killed? What then? Who would take care of things? No one, that’s who. There’d be nothing to do but pull the whole thing down, and no one to do it but my nearest and dearest.

I am warming up to the idea of having other people help write cases for Charley. I know the site has really grown too big for me to manage on my own. But I remain apprehensive. One of the many things I am concerned about is the possibility that some well-meaning, talented individuals will volunteer themselves and then change their minds when they realize just what this sort of thing entails.

I’m just thinking aloud right now.