Had a great time at the Wisconsin missing persons event

Everything at last weekend’s missing persons awareness event in Wisconsin went REALLY well. Even the one thing that didn’t go well, turned out to be more good than bad.

After an uneventful trip up there on Friday, I checked myself into a very nice hotel that I could never have afforded on my own. (A certain anonymous person covered the costs.) It had all sorts of plants, and a hot tub, and an open floor plan. Saturday morning, upon arising, I met up in the lobby of the hotel with one of the other people attending the event.

We sat at a table talking and I was lamenting about my makeup. I had forgotten to bring eyebrow pencil and had to make do with eyeliner and I thought it looked terrible, and he was telling me he couldn’t tell the difference.

Meanwhile, four or five stories up, a housekeeper accidentally bumped her cart into the rail of the balcony overlooking the lobby. This caused her clipboard to slide off the cart and over the rail, where it plummeted all those floors down right onto my friend and me. It missed me by a foot or so, but my friend took a direct hit.

He’d been drinking some Starbucks coffee when this happened, holding the cup to his lips, when the clipboard smacked him right there. If his hand hadn’t been over his mouth, and that cup hadn’t been made of cardboard instead of ceramic or something, he probably would have knocked a few teeth out. As it was he just sustained a small cut, and the coffee was of course a total loss.

In response to the two guests screeching in surprise, shouting the F-word, and then one guest jumping up on the table and staring up at the balcony, management and security came running. Profuse apologies were issued. Paperwork had to be filled out and photos taken of the little knick on my friend’s hand. CYA and all. The hotel announced that both our rooms were now free.

At the event itself, later that day, there was a very good turnout. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and got to talk to some awesome people.

Victoria Lynn Prokopovitz‘s daughters were both there; her daughter Marsha organizes these events and Marsha is an absolute sweetheart.

Amber Lynn Wilde‘s family showed up as they always do. I was talking a bit to her aunt, who was really happy to see me, about Amber’s case having been covered on CrimeWatch Daily.

Some of Kenneth Plaisted‘s relatives arrived; this was the first time they’d showed up to one of these things. His daughter explained to me that, although no one has seen Plaisted since 1971, he wasn’t actually listed as a missing person until 1998 or so, which is pretty horrifying. I can understand, given the whole embezzlement thing (see his casefile I linked to), the police thinking he’d just done a runner, but waiting 27 years to declare him missing is just lazy and uncaring.

There was no balloon release. Instead, we were issued little candles, each labeled with a missing person. I got Steven F. Woelfel and Madeline Kelly Edman.

My table was right next to the table for The Unidentified, and I had a fine time speaking to Rebekah Turner (a medical examiner in training who runs that organization) and her companions. They’re really great people. After the event was over, Rebekah, her friends and I went out to dinner.

My photos and some video from the event are on the Charley Project Facebook page; for some reason I can’t figure out how to link to the individual posts/images from there. I’m sorry.

I had an uneventful trip home but I haven’t been feeling very well, physically, since my arrival home. I think it was I got a bit overextended/overexcited. I am trying to force myself back on my regular schedule and to eat a bit more.

Next week is full up

Just a word of warning: I’m going to be extremely busy all of next week and I don’t think I’ll be getting much of anything done on the website. I’ve mentioned before about a certain project I’m working on. I’ll be working on that project all next week. I can’t say anything more about it in public at this time.

And next weekend, of course, I’m going to Wisconsin. It will take pretty much an entire day just to get there. I’ll be leaving Friday. The event is Saturday, and I’m going to spend Saturday night in Green Bay and then return home on Sunday.

Boy, I am tired of doing other people’s jobs

It’s got to the point where, when I start looking at the people on NamUs who went missing just over a year ago and can now be added to Charley, or at the runaways listed on the NCMEC (most of which are missing two years before I add them to Charley), I am initially unsure whether these people are REALLY missing or not. I would estimate 10% of the time or sometimes more, those people were found long ago and have just not been removed from the databases. A simple Google search will reveal that these people are not missing.

Given how well-funded and famous both NamUs and the NCMEC are, this is really inexcusable. I should not have to be checking on this; they should be at least reliable enough that the people they say as missing are, in fact, missing. I have written before about the real-life consequences this could lead to for the no-longer-missing person.

Honestly I don’t think it’s appropriate for NamUs to have people added that only disappeared a couple of days ago. It’s very unlikely that the NamUs database can assist in cases as recent as that, and very likely that the person will turn up one way or another, and often when that happens, for whatever reason they don’t get taken off NamUs and a year or more later they’re still on there.

I don’t know why it happens, whether it’s lack of money, lack of staff, some kind of bureaucratic tangle, just plain laziness, or what. I don’t know that much about the inner workings of NamUs or the NCMEC. I just know that this is completely unacceptable and a waste of everyone’s time and effort.

There’s nothing I can do about it, I suppose, and NamUs and the NCMEC definitely don’t listen to me, seeing as how I’ve been complaining about this issue for months. Just wanted to vent. Again.

Height/weight uncertainties

I’m never too sure about a missing person’s height and weight, since most people don’t know it for sure about themselves, never mind about other people. I think a lot of times the police go off of whatever’s on the person’s driver’s license, but it’s not like the BMV measures you; they go off by what you say, and people fudge that all the time.

This came to my mind today. I had a gentleman who was on my site already, and I decided to look him up and see if he’d ever been arrested. It turned out he had been, less than a year prior to his disappearance, and the arrest record gave his height as 5’9 and weight as 154 pounds. Which is a significant difference from what NamUs said; they had him listed as 6’2 and 189 pounds.

So which is correct? And how could anyone think a 6’2 guy is 5’9, or vice versa? In these cases I try to include a range obviously, but a five-inch range is quite a difference.

It’s something to think about when you’re trying to decide whether a particular MP might be a particular UID.

Jayme Closs and other things

So I’m on a downswing, in terms of my mood. I’m bipolar. This is my life and it will never change, though the five psychiatric medications I take daily mitigate the downswings.

It’s just been kind of hard to get anything done. I will decide to do some thing or other, then I’ll find myself just sitting there staring into space as I’m trying to get myself to move. Even something as simple as picking an object up off the floor.

The Jayme Closs thing has kind of gotten to me. Of course I’m delighted that she’s been found alive. That’s not what’s getting to me; that part’s great. What’s getting to me is what some people have been saying. It’s really hard not to take that personally because of what happened to me back in the day.

(If you haven’t read that far back in my blog, what happened to me is this: in 2009, while I was on a trip to Virginia, I got lost and a stranger offered to give me directions. Instead, he took me into the woods and beat the crap out of me and raped me multiple times. Then he gave me the directions he’d promised and let me go. In the aftermath of the attack, there were a bunch of people on the comments section of this blog, and in email, who accused me of making the whole thing up for who knows what reason. It was very hurtful, obviously. After almost a year the rapist, a serial offender, was identified through DNA and he’s since been deported.)

I was just writing on here about how people can make speculations online about cases, speculations with no evidence to support them, and how this isn’t helpful and can indeed be harmful, especially if the victim or their family sees it.

And some people are doing that about Jayme Closs now. They’re outright accusing her of the murder, or at least complicity to the murder, of her own parents. And the police have said they believe her abductor acted entirely alone, and that he did not know Jayme (who, I will point out, is thirteen years old), and that he had been stalking her, and that Jayme is a victim and not a suspect.

These people think they know better than the cops, I guess. Why? Because Jayme took a selfie after her reunion with her aunt and dog. Because she was clean and looked okay in the selfie. Because she was smiling.

OF COURSE SHE WAS SMILING. She’d just been reunited with her dog and what’s left of her family, after she thought she’d never see them again, and the monster who did this to her is locked up! Why shouldn’t she smile? Why wouldn’t she have gotten herself cleaned up, showered etc.?

At what point is a crime victim “allowed” to smile and act happy and still be considered a “legitimate” victim?

One of the so-called reasons people were calling me a liar about my rape was because I didn’t act “traumatized enough” to suit them, when in fact they didn’t know the first thing about it. They were only seeing words on a screen, on my blog.

And so some people, on the basis of a “feeling” or a “hunch”, and a photograph, are making dreadful accusations against a thirteen-year-old child who saw her parents get murdered and who spent the last three months, I’m assuming, as Jake Patterson’s sex slave, thinking every day would be her last.

Frankly it makes me sick. I hope Jayme’s aunt and other caregivers make sure she does not see those accusations. I’m not seeking them out myself, but when they get posted on the Charley Project’s Facebook page I kind of have to read them, though I delete them as quickly as I can.