And then this happened the other day

So yesterday I got a call from a very confused man who worked in the Internal Affairs Bureau at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Texas.

You see, the HCSO has a section on their website devoted to missing persons. It has eleven pages of people listed, but due to some apparent errors in the code, you could only see the first page. There’s buttons at the bottom to click to page two, three etc, but they didn’t work. When you clicked, nothing happened.

I found a drop-down menu on the HCSO site labeled “contact us” and underneath that, a link to “online complaints.” So I filled in the complaint form explaining the problem and sent it in. And then the next day IAB called.

It turns out the complaint form is meant for filing complaints of police misconduct.

The poor guy didn’t understand at first what I was complaining about, and was asking if I’d like an officer to come to my house to discuss the problem. I was like “It’s probably just a typo, and also I live in Indiana.” But I was able to get my point across. He said he’d sent a note to IT asking them to correct the issue.

And lo, it has been fixed! You can now view eleven pages of missing people from Harris County, cases dating back to 2003.

Interesting article from the BBC about why and how people disappear

Thought I’d share this BBC article, which was prompted by the police locating a man who disappeared in 2015. They found him alive and well, living in the woods near a town called Wisbech in the Fens. The man, an immigrant to the UK who was originally from Lithuania, had apparently gone missing on purpose because he was being “exploited” which in this context I think means enslaved.

For the article the BBC interviewed, among other people, a University of Glasgow professor who is “an expert in the geography of missing people.” From the article:

Most missing people, she said, disappeared for a day or two. Cases of long-term missing people were far less common.

Smartphones, social media, CCTV and bank cards can now document our every move, making it more difficult to escape.

But in her study of 40 missing people, many were “very aware” of the locations of CCTV cameras and avoided travelling by bus or train where their image might be caught on camera.

“It surprised us how, in the midst of a crisis and when big emotions are happening, these people managed to navigate such things,” said Prof Parr.

“People are incredibly resourceful.”

Prof Parr said many of those who had disappeared kept moving while missing.

Far more rare, she said, were cases of people “making home”, whether in a deserted building or in woodland, for example.

Because this isn’t suspicious or anything…

I invite all Charley Project blog readers to also read this article about the 2019 disappearance of Angela Green from Prairie Village, Kansas. It’s a pretty interesting story to say the least. And it stinks. Badly. I’m sure the police are every bit as suspicious as I am but it seems like there’s not a lot of evidence; it’s as much about what ISN’T there as what is.

I feel deeply sorry for Angela’s daughter; she’s in a bad position right now and through no fault of her own. I really hope she gets answers soon.

I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly sheepish I feel right now

So forget everything I said a little bit ago. Turns out the “device for detecting DNA in soil” is a lot of hooey.

Had it NOT been a lot of hooey, it WOULD have been a game-changer, and I’m afraid I got so excited about the possibility that I didn’t actually bother to investigate what this thing consisted of.

This is me right now:

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Gina Hall’s sister clearly believes in it, and posted a comment (at the bottom of this page that I linked to before) defending Dr. Vass and saying he found Gina. But now I wonder if that scrap of bone that they found and said was Gina’s was ever actually scientifically confirmed to be hers. Based on what I’ve read about this device, it probably was not.

And I’d already resolved her case and everything.

MP of the week: Anna Cornelia Morris

This week’s feature missing person is Anna Cornelia Morris, a 64-year-old woman who disappeared from Columbia, South Carolina on May 29, 2011. She was last seen walking away from the home she shared with her daughter.

Morris had Alzheimer’s Disease and it’s possible her disappearance is related to that, but it’s unclear how far her condition had progressed. There’s “a bit forgetful” Alzheimer’s and then there’s “completely nonverbal and unable to recall their identity” Alzheimer’s. She was sometimes afraid of being left alone but it doesn’t say why she felt unsafe. She would sometimes go over to her sister’s home several miles away for company. This leads me to believe she was still functioning fairly well, if she could remember the route and so on.

If Anna is still alive, it’s possible she’s homeless and may not remember who she is. She would be in her seventies today, if still alive. I haven’t been able to find any news about her case in recent years, and I doubt she lived long after she was last seen.

MP of the week: Monica Jackson

This week’s featured missing person is Monica Denise Jackson, a Savannah, Georgia woman who disappeared on February 23, 2014, at the age of 45. For unclear reasons, she wasn’t reported missing until 2015.

Monica may use the first name Sharon, or the nicknames Moni and Strawberry. She has a gap between her two front teeth and a scar on her face, and both ears are pierced, her left one four times. She does have an arrest record minor offenses and was, at least as of 2013, involved in the sex trade.

I don’t know much about the details of her disappearance. I can only hope she is still alive.

MP of the week: Andray Smith. And some updated APs/new pictures

This week’s featured missing person case is Andray Lamont Smith, a 25-year-old black man who disappeared from Warren, Ohio on July 1, 1994. He has a tattoo of a six-pointed star (aka a Star of David) on his right arm, his ears are pierced and he has an appendectomy scar.

Unfortunately that’s all the info I have on him, and it’s hard to even tell what he looked like; not only is his photo poor quality, but it shows him wearing big glasses. If still alive, Andray Smith would be about 50 today.

I’ve updated the age-progression pics for Monica Cassandra Carrasco, Launa Renee Merritt, Alexis S. Patterson and Kathryn Sholly Seefeldt. Acacia Nicole Duvall and Jon Pierre Duvall‘s abductor, their non-custodial father Tyree, has a new photo added to their casefiles. Bekime Elshani, Bianca Elaine Lebron, Chaloe Alonza Long, Doreen Ann Marfeo and Francillon Pierre have additional photos added to their casefiles too.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone. Michael and I are still well and still social distancing.

I’m back!

Yeah, the household bank accounts got hacked, meaning we had to get new accounts and new ATM cards and everything. As a result, payment to our internet service provider got delayed and they cut us off. We were living in the barren wasteland of “no computer and no streaming video”, forced to rely on our cell phones for wifi sustenance.

But service has been restored now and I’m getting back to work.

A bad photo is better than none at all (and other thoughts on recent updates)

Just added Amanda Elise Southern to Charley. The 28-year-old woman disappeared from a nightclub in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana 26 years ago. Unfortunately the only photo I could find of her is absolutely terrible, but what can you do?

Reading the articles about how her ex tried to SELL THEIR KIDS (albeit to their grandparents) after her disappearance, I was struck by how much confidentiality and privacy norms have changed in the past few decades.

I can understand publicizing the kids’ information because for awhile they were missing. (When Amanda’s parents refused to pay for custody of the children, the dad took off with them and was on the lam for over a month.) But then when in the articles talking about how they were found, there was all sorts of information about the children and what they had been through, including the fact that they were believed to have been sexually abused. That kind of thing would not be published in the newspaper today.

I hope the kids are all right. I think Amanda’s parents got custody of them after they were found with their father. It seems super unlikely that she would have just walked away, what with one of the kids having disabilities, her parents living out of state and the children’s father overseas.

Some other random thinking-out-loud stuff:

  • I am not sure that Courtney Corrinna Holden is really white. She is pretty dark-skinned and looks more likely to be Hispanic or maybe Native American. Certainly I’ve seen mistakes in this area before. She is adopted, but one article mentions that she was in touch with her biological brother, so it seems like this is something the police should know for sure. Shrug.
    In any case, her story is incredibly sad. Especially the details about her family nickname “Cinderella” and her son calling his grandmother “mom” and his uncle “dad.” The articles I read said her son even did this before Courtney went missing. I cannot imagine how sad and scared and trapped Courtney must have felt, and I doubt she’s alive today.
  • The guy Melissa Ann Jordon was last seen with is SERIOUSLY bad news. Judges see a lot of crazy stuff and I was stuck by that judge saying Mr. Nesbitt was one of the most violent and dangerous criminals she’d ever encountered in her career. The “felon in possession of a firearm” thing was something he pled down to, by the way; the original incident involved him breaking into his ex-wife’s house and holding her at gunpoint.
    Given how long his sentence is, I wonder if the authorities have ever tried to sit down with him since he was imprisoned, pointed out he doesn’t have much to lose, and asked him to tell what happened to Melissa. I’m sure he knows.
    (Melissa’s NamUs photo, btw, is a high school yearbook photo and almost ten years out of date. That’s why I didn’t use it, as I found a more current pic in Newspapers.)
  • I dunno what I would do without Facebook as a source for recent cases. Okay, I do know what I’d do, I’d put up the cases, but there would be a lot less info. The case of Melissa Rose Ann Garrett is a great example; her daughter posted a bunch of photos of her and more info about her disappearance. Sad story. The daughter seems to suspect Melissa’s boyfriend may have been involved. Anne Marie Hubbert is another case where most of the pictures and some of the other info came from Facebook; Anne’s page and her daughter’s.
  • Shakeeta Young disappeared just a few months after her nineteen-year-old son died. I found a few “RIP” posts on Facebook from some of the young man’s friends but no mention of a cause of death. I wonder if Shakeeta’s disappearance is in some way related. It’s very sad for their family, just bad luck all around there.