Sigh… my old friend Contradictory Sources reappears

Tonight in my updates, for Emmanuel Cornelius Quarles, the various sources I found were giving his age as anywhere from 24 to 28 and claiming he was last seen in either a red car or a white truck. I think the vehicle discrepancy may be related to the unconfirmed sighting after he left Pendleton but I’m not sure. I’d love to get his actual date of birth from somewhere. NamUs said he was 26 to 27 years old, and I picked 27, because of the age of his older son, who was eight years old when he disappeared. Though it is by no means unheard of or even terribly uncommon for 24-year-old to have an eight-year-old child. Who knows? Not me.

Meanwhile, for Cynthia Ramirez Rico, her NamUs page says she disappeared on June 30, 1987, but the Abilene Crime Stoppers page listed the year as 1983. That issue was settled when I looked at the “investigating agency” section on NamUs and it said her case got entered into the computer on February 23, 1987 — that is, before her alleged date of disappearance. 1983 it was, then. But her age was a bigger mystery, because Crime Stoppers said she was 20 but NamUs said she was 25 to 26. Even given the date discrepancy that didn’t make sense. However, both NamUs and Crime Stoppers give her current age as 53, which would make her year of birth 1963 or 1964. To this end I decided to list her age as 20, because that would make sense with the 1983 year of disappearance.

Cynthia Rico disappeared from a group home for mentally disabled adults. It’s likely that she lived there, meaning it’s likely she was mentally disabled, but because I don’t know that for sure, I didn’t say she was. I just explained about the group home and left readers to draw their own conclusions.

Yes, I am aware the Charley Project hasn’t been running very well

I know the database has been pretty patchy the last several days and continues to be so. I enclose an email I got from my host about it:

There appears to be a new botnet that sprung up on Friday which has been causing periodic periods of high load on all servers.

The data center has been diligently working to block the offending machines, but the problem appears to be resurfacing multiple times per day.

This unfortunately has the effect of putting a high load on the servers, and then they cannot service normal customer traffic.

We do not have an ETA as to when the problem will be resolved, but will update you when we know more.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you or your clients.

I don’t understand what this email means exactly, but Lizard Hill is usually quite reliable and I’m sure it’ll get itself straightened around.

Going through the FDLE database again

I’m going through the FDLE database (which has a new location btw) again, trying to find pictures for MPs which have none. Some of these MPs aren’t listed ANYWHERE except the FDLE, not even NamUs, and I aim to change that.

As I’ve said before, I’ve gotten pretty creative in finding sources for pictures. Today I’ll be posting at least one case where I got the MP’s pics off his own Facebook profile. There’s no news on this guy, he’s not in any other database — “few details are available” — but I’ve got pictures for him so up he goes.

It actually makes me really happy when I’m able to add a case that isn’t listed on any other major database. It’s providing valuable, even vital exposure for that MP’s case, and other people and databases can then take my information and use it as necessary.

Alternative sources of pictures

Today I’d like to share a couple of places I can find photographs of MPs when none exist in any of the obvious spots (i.e. the NamUs database, CDOJ, NCMEC, etc). This is very important to me because I cannot post a case on the Charley Project unless there’s a picture to go with it.

Here’s a few extra sources you can use:

  • Ancestry.com, I am given to understand, sometimes has high school yearbooks available. Ancestry requires a subscription; I don’t have one, because Carl Koppelman does and he regularly sends me whatever yearbook photos he can find. Also, in a pinch, I can access Ancestry.com for free at the library. Yearbook photos tend to be good quality and, even if they’re out of date, can still be quite useful. I’m 31, for example, and still recognizably the same person I was when I was in high school.
  • Newspapers.com is a newspaper archive service. Unlike Newslibrary, which only provides the text of articles, Newspapers.com has entire scans of the newspaper pages, which includes pictures too — almost always in black and white, and sometimes not the greatest quality, but better than nothing. For my February 26 updates I hit the jackpot when I found a 1990 feature article in a Florida newspaper about local disappearances, that had photos of a dozen or so MPs — several of whom are still missing. Newspapers.com is also a subscription service, costing a somewhat steep $140 a year (and you can’t pay by the month, dangit). Fortunately mine was paid for by a sponsor. (You know who you are! Thanks so much!) I think it’s a much better bargain than Newslibrary, because Newslibrary charges by the article and you can view an unlimited number of articles with your Newspapers.com account. I use both services.
  • State prison databases. Florida’s is a great one. Most, maybe all states have an online database of inmates. Many of those databases contain photos of the inmates, released inmates are often included, particularly ones who are still on parole/probation. For my March 1 update, I had a Florida case off NamUs that had no photo, but I had a hunch and looked up the guy in the Florida state corrections database and he was there — he was released from prison several months before he disappeared, after doing three years on a drug charge. To make sure that it’s the right person, I make sure the info all lines up: stuff like date of birth, tattoos, etc. Similarly, if the MP is a registered sex offender, sex offender databases will provide photos — and information about where the MP has lived in the past.
  • Facebook. Almost everyone has a Facebook account nowadays, and many of them like plastering it with photos of themselves. And even if the person didn’t have a personal account because they disappeared too long ago or because they just don’t like Facebook, family and friends of MPs often set up Facebook accounts to publicize their disappearances. I get SO MANY photos from those.
  • YouTube. Many kind souls have made videos to publicize unsolved MP cases, or in memorial of the MPs, and if you’re willing to invest the time it takes to watch those videos, you may find pictures that aren’t present elsewhere. This video for Jeremiah George Huger is a great example of that: a whole bunch of pictures are present in the vid, obviously family snaps, and I have no idea where they came from. Jeremiah was an adorable kid.