The Smith girls and their mom might be good for a “Let’s Talk About It” (which I don’t do every week because it’s hard to think of cases mysterious enough to qualify) if I had more information. I mean, a mother and two tiny babies don’t usually vanish up into thin air like that.
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.
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 Yearbook photos tend to be good quality and, even if they’re out of date, can still be quite useful.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.
Marsha Loritz notified me about the upcoming Wisconsin missing persons awareness event. I attended the events for 2015 and 2016, but unfortunately I’m going to have to pass this year for I have a prior commitment.
For my updates today I just wrote up a case with FOUR given dates of disappearance from five different sources. I’ve got November 24, 2014 (NCMEC and news article), March 1, 2015 (state database), March 12, 2015 (another news article) and May 7, 2015 (NamUs).
I’m going with the earliest date, to be on the safe side, and also because it’s the only date that was given more than once.