When a missing person goes missing again

So a woman disappeared, and she was missing long enough to get posted on the Charley Project, so I posted her. I’ll call this woman Yvette. Then recently Yvette got arrested on some minor charges in another state. So I listed her case as resolved, explaining about the arrest etc.

I heard from Yvette’s sister-in-law. Apparently, she vanished again immediately after she got out of jail. and the family was frantic with worry. Could I relist the case?

I wasn’t sure what to do in this case. Presumably Yvette’s missing persons report had been closed when she was arrested; even if she has since been re-listed as missing with the police (and I wasn’t sure if she had been or not), didn’t her arrest kind of restart the clock? Like, wasn’t she now missing for a week instead of over a year, in which case she’d be ineligible for the Charley Project? It seemed that way to me but I wasn’t sure I had the heart to tell the relative I wouldn’t re-list Yvette’s case.

I decided to first settle the issue of whether Yvette’s is currently listed as missing with any law enforcement agency. I wrote back to ask the sister-in-law this. My email bounced. I can’t get in touch with her. Fooey.

It’s a very sad situation for the family. But I don’t know, if I were the police, whether I’d accept a second missing persons report. Yvette clearly does not want to be found.

Facebook is a broken system and I hate it, part III

I had written about Facebook woes last winter, here and here. Well, now my account has been permanently disabled. The last straw, for them, was a meme I posted two. years. ago. (And it didn’t violate community standards, then or now.)

They aren’t even letting me download all my info like they’re supposed to. This is an account I’ve had since like 2004. I’ve had it since back in the days when you had to be a college student to get an account.

I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s just the stupid moderation bots, as I discussed in the previous entries linked above, who don’t understand the difference between a historical meme educating someone about World War II, and a pro-Nazi meme.

I kind of knew this was coming. The same thing has been happening to a lot of people for a long time.

No, it’s not really possible to just make a new account. No, I can’t contact customer service. Facebook doesn’t really have customer service.

This is really quite catastrophic. Leaving aside the social consequences of suddenly being cut off from all my happy online friendships (and I miss them all horribly)… I need Facebook to run the Charley Project. SO MUCH missing persons stuff is on Facebook. This is a critical source of information, almost as big for me as something like Google is, that I’m suddenly cut off from. Without an account I can’t even search Facebook for anything.

[EDIT: And to all the people suggesting I simply make a new account, I’ve tried. It can’t be done. I’ve tried different names, email addresses, phone numbers. I’ve tried using a VPN to hide my IP address. I can’t start a new account; they all get suspended immediately.]

People’s judgmental attitude in internet comments sometimes drives me mad

I often interact with the people who comment on stuff I post on the Charley Project’s Facebook page; I consider it my duty, as the admin of that page, to do so, and also I usually enjoy discussing things with them. We are, after all, talking about items of mutual interest. But sometimes people just… argh.

I put up an article recently written about the Bianca Noel Piper case (the article was of the “we’re still looking for” variety, nothing new), and immediately a bunch of commenters started saying awful things about her mother for making her go on that walk back to their house so she could chill out and deal with her anger. One of them even accused the mother of “abandoning” Bianca.

Well, here are the facts:

  1. The walk was about a mile. That’s not very far. It may seem like a long way since everyone is accustomed to driving these days, but a person Bianca’s size and age can walk a mile in ten or fifteen minutes.
  2. It was a rural area, not a big city.
  3. Bianca’s mother cooperated fully with the investigation and is not a suspect in her case.
  4. Bianca’s mother, by making her go for a walk, was following the advice of Bianca’s therapist, and they had tried the walking treatment before and it had been helpful. Loads of people go for a walk alone to cool down when they’re angry, and it’s a commonly recommended method of anger management.

I’m sure Bianca’s mother has regretted what she did every day of her life in the past sixteen years. But I do not think she did anything wrong here. She was following medical advice and the advice given sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I think Bianca was just very unlucky. And certainly casting judgment on her mom at this late date is not going to help at all.

Bianca was tall for her age, and heavy. I think that in the evening light, from a distance, she would have looked more like a woman than a child. My guess is some predator driving by saw her walking alone and grabbed her. Wrong place, wrong time.

I also grew up in a rural area and in the late nineties, as a young girl Bianca’s age, or younger, would often wander around by myself on foot or bicycle, sometimes traveling up to fifteen miles from home. It did me no harm and in fact I benefited from it. I got exercise and fresh air and learned how to amuse myself. It bothers me a lot that so much judgment is heaped on parents these days that it seems like they are expected to swaddle their youngsters in cottonwool until they graduate high school — and then people wonder why young college-age adults have no idea how to take care of themselves.

More technical problems, albeit of a different variety

Suddenly I find myself unable to access charleyproject.org on my desktop computer (good old Orville). I can access the site on my phone, but ONLY if my phone is using the cell phone data package for internet rather than my WiFi connection. If I try to access the site when my phone is on WiFi, no dice, the connection times out.

No desktop computer access to my site = no updates. Sorry, folks. This is very frustrating to me as there’s a lot of stuff I wanted to put up today.

I am uncertain what the problem is but have shot my host an email to ask if they somehow accidentally blocked my IP address or something. Beyond that I have no clue and will just have to wait until Michael gets home, see if he has any ideas. (I can’t access the site from his home office computer either.)

This really makes me nervous because a long time ago, probably 20 years ago in fact, I had a personal website and developed the same problem: I suddenly could not access it from my home PC, only from school computers. I never was able to fix it, and wound up having to abandon the website entirely.

Site’s down at the moment

So a viewer reported seeing a blank screen when they tried to go to the Charley Project. It worked fine for me last night but I’m getting a blank screen now also, on both phone and computer.

The Charley Project is run via WordPress and when I tried to go to the WordPress dashboard that’s not working either, which leads me to think this is on WordPress’s end. If it’s not resolved by later today I’ll start banging on people’s (metaphorical) doors about it and see if I can get something done.

Writing up, then discarding, a case

Wound up discarding a case I was writing up to add to Charley, although the man is still listed as a missing person on NamUs and the Florida state database. I had very little information to start with, but then I found his mom’s Facebook page and she had written many posts about his death and how sad she was about it.

It was a “few details are available” case so I didn’t know whether he’d been found deceased, or whether she just assumed he must be. His mom is the kind who has all her social media posts public, and she posted often, so it was taking awhile. Finally I went to posts from the month the son disappeared and started working up from there, as that seemed like it would be more efficient.

Eventually I found it. The mom wrote that they found a man’s body wearing a belt that his brother had hand-made and given him as a gift. The body has apparently not been officially identified (my guess is they’re waiting on DNA, which can take forever), but it seems extremely unlikely that it’s anyone other than this missing guy. I’m not going to bother listing a person where the identification is basically pending; I don’t see the point.

It’s interesting the stuff that you can find out about a person on social media, things a lot of people don’t even realize you can find out. I recently got a message from a woman who was like “where did you get all those photos of my missing sister, only family had those.” I had to explain that if someone puts a photo on Facebook and tags it with User X’s account, anyone can find it just by searching Facebook for that account. Even if the photo is not posted by User X’s account, even if User X never saw the photo themselves, a complete stranger like me can find it and its association with User X. All those pics that person thought were private, and could only be seen by family, weren’t really. I told her all this and she was like “…oh.”

I am legit wondering if I’m ever going to get out of Facebook Jail

Remember how I said Facebook had said they would let me out of jail on January 23 but this was their third date change and I doubted it was going to happen? Well, it didn’t. They changed the date. Now it’s February 8. And remember, I should have been out in December.

This is obviously some kind of glitch, one that might get fixed in an instant by some customer service person. Except Facebook doesn’t have customer service. So I am still locked out of the Charley Project’s Facebook page.

I’m trying not to get all upset about it because there’s nothing I can do. This isn’t even a huge honking social media catastrophe, by Facebook standards. There are people I’ve read about who have run businesses through Facebook, investing gobs of money, only to lose said businesses overnight when Facebook canceled their accounts without warning. And they have no more recourse than I do.