MP event in Arizona in November

Stuart Somershoe, a detective with the Phoenix Police Department, sent me a flier about an upcoming missing/unidentified persons event planned for November 5. It will be held at Arizona State University, West Campus, which is in Glendale at the edge of Phoenix, bordering Glendale.

flier.jpg

Det. Somershoe says:

We have had nine (!) resolutions from last year’s event. We opened/re-opened 22 new cases at the event and collected 41 DNA samples. We have had 3 “cold” DNA hits, connecting missing person cases with unidentified remains where previously no association had been made.

We want families to come to this year’s event. Investigators will be on hand to open new missing person reports (no matter how old) and also to collect identifiers like DNA, dental records, and photographs for existing cases.

It doesn’t matter how long the person has been missing (our oldest case from last year’s event was from 1965).

He asked me to spread the info around on social media. I ask that those of my readers who have their own social media accounts do the same.

Fannye Bryant

I came across a mention of a very old MWAB case in an article about an already-existing Charley Project case today: Fannye Bryant, an elderly woman who disappeared from Freehold (I think), New Jersey on July 19, 1976. Various accounts give different ages for her, but according to her Social Security Death Index listing, she was 68. Her former foster son, 22-year-old Jesse Goodwyn, confessed to her murder a few days later and was convicted, but Mrs. Bryant’s body was never found. This court appeals document from 2008, denying him parole, is a good summary of the case.

I’ve found plenty of details about the murder, and I found Mrs. Bryant’s date of birth, but I can’t find a picture or any physical description of her. Which means no casefile.

If any of you could turn up a photograph of her, I would very much appreciate it.

That is all.

What the heck?

I was in the process of drawing up a Make-a-List Monday when I went and checked the NamUs entry for Timothy Scott Parry, and on the “physical” section of his NamUs page, it says he had “Cro-Magnon eyebrows.”

Who on earth put that in? Maybe it’s just me, but I find that pretty offensive, especially given that Timothy was physically and mentally disabled. I would be offended if I was a family member or friend of Timothy’s. His eyebrows don’t even look that strange to me in the pictures, just a bit thicker than usual.

I doubt whoever put that into NamUs was trying to upset anyone. This other picture, included in the NamUs profile, is a scanned copy of a paper flier for Timothy, and it says “Cro-Magnon eyebrows.” My guess is that whoever entered the info into NamUs just copied it without thinking. But I think it should be rephrased.

It reminds me of another MP case profiled on another website, not NamUs, where it said the female MP had a “tramp stamp.” That’s a derogatory term for a tattoo on a woman’s lower back. The term, in addition to being offensive, could also be confusing for people, perhaps non-English speakers, who don’t know what a “tramp stamp” means. They should have just said she had a tattoo on her lower back. With Timothy, they could say he has a protruding brow ridge or something that doesn’t sound like they’re making fun of him.

(If you’re wondering, btw, why I sometimes talk on this blog about issues I think NamUs should fix, it’s not to make them look bad. I think NamUs is a great resource, as evidenced by how often I use it for Charley Project research. Rather, it’s because some of the people who volunteer for it don’t like me and have made this abundantly clear, and I’m afraid they wouldn’t listen to me if I emailed them privately about the issue.)

Is anyone else having this problem or is it just me?

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s MP database has always been sorely lacking in photos, but in the past week or so, I’ve noticed that in the very few cases where the listing DOES have a photo, I can’t see it anymore. It shows up as a broken image. Like, right now Carla Roberson’s listing, which you can see for yourself here, looks like this to me:

carlaroberson

Clearly this is a serious problem, because sometimes the FDLE database is the only source I have for photos of certain MPs. Is anyone else having this problem?

I use Google Chrome for my browser, if that helps.

Oh-kay, this is a bit weird

One of my Charley Project irregulars has been sending me a load of useful stuff lately I haven’t even gotten to yet (I’m not ignoring you, I promise!) and a few days ago I got a strange one: proof that Hilary Harmon Stagg Jr., currently listed on both Charley and Doe as having disappeared at age 16 on some unspecified date in the spring of 1970, was alive and well as late as 1972. She sent me his senior yearbook picture as proof. Websleuths says Hilary disappeared in November 1977, a full seven years after the date I have listed as of this writing. He would have been 23 then.

What…? How on earth did the wires get crossed that badly?

Anyway, I thought I’d let y’all know.

NamUs question

I have a question about NamUs that I’ve wondered about for a long time and I wonder if someone who reads this blog can answer for me:

When you search for something on NamUs — say, the first name “Sharon” — and come up with a list of results, and click on one of the cases on the list, it has two numbers at the end of the URL. One, I think, is the actual case number, which never seems to change. Sharon Kay Leinart (missing from Tennessee since 2013), for example, has the number 20176. But after that case number is a / symbol and another number. Like, I just searched for the first name “Sharon” and clicked on Sharon Leinart’s case among the results, and it lists the second number as 22. So her entire URL (as I write this; I’ll get to that in a moment) is https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/22.

It seems to make no difference what the second number is: if you change that number to 23, or 21, or 1985, the MP you come up with is still Sharon Leinart. And if you remove the second number altogether, it also makes no difference: the URLs https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176 or https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/ still produce Sharon Leinart and no other person.

The second number also seems to be different every time I search. I have learned to remove the second number when I bookmark NamUs cases for my “to add” folder, because otherwise, https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/23 and https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/22 or https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176/anyothernumber come up as separate bookmarks when they all point to the same MP. My bookmark for Sharon Leinart is therefore https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/20176.

My questions

  1. What does that second number mean?
  2. Why does it change every time you perform a search for that person?
  3. Why is there at all, since it’s not necessary for people to see the casefile?

This is not a big deal, it’s just a curiosity of mine. Can anyone familiar with the workings of the NamUs database, or computer databases in general, enlighten me?

A new rule

As longtime readers of this blog and Charley’s Facebook page know, although I do moderate comments I’m pretty permissive about what can be posted. I allow people to criticize me and my methods, for example, even if they’re rude about it. I’ve even allowed plenty of nasty personal attacks towards me to stay on my blog. Fortunately I haven’t had any  of those lately.

Really, the only type of comments that will definitely not get approved, or will get removed if they got automatically approved by WordPress, are ones with a whole bunch of cuss words on them, and ones that are really, really vicious towards the MP. As far as personal attacks directed towards people other than me, like towards other commenters for example, those are be decided on a case-by-case basis.  But I am probably more likely to remove them than otherwise.

(I will sometimes also remove comments months or years after the fact, or indeed an entire blog entry or entries, if a relative of the MP or a police officer requests it. But that’s another story.)

However, something came up today for the first time that I want to address: I will not allow any discussion about possible paranormal explanations for a disappearance (i.e. aliens, ghosts, etc). I won’t allow any discussion of things like the “Illuminati” either. Probably blaming “Satanists” would also merit deletion, unless there’s some actual evidence to support this theory. (Samuel Ray Rawls would be a rare example where such discussion on that topic might be warranted.)

I think such discussions as these are not helpful to an MP case and they have a strong propensity to get off-topic quickly, like people just debating whether aliens etc. exist in general. There are many places online where it’s appropriate to discuss those topics, but those places do not include the Charley Project’s blog or Facebook page or Twitter account.

Charley Project travels

Next month and the month after that I will be representing the Charley Project at two missing persons events: Wisconsin’s second annual missing persons awareness event in Green Bay on April 24 (I went last year, you might recall), and the fifth annual National Missing Children’s Day Commemoration in Tumwater, Washington on May 15. I’ll get a chance to meet the families of the missing, and meet new people and explain what I do.

I’m going to Wisconsin by myself. Dad can’t go due to work obligations and the other person I asked also couldn’t go. So it’ll be just me. I’ll drive — it’s about seven hours. Traveling alone is a bit riskier for me than it is for other people, but this will just be an overnight trip so I think I’ll manage fine.

Michael will be accompanying me to Washington state. Of course we’ll be flying. I haven’t flown anywhere since 2009. I’ve also never been west of the Mississippi before.

And herein lies the reason for this entry: although I am definitely going to both of these events (barring unforeseen circumstances like appendicitis or something), it’s going to be expensive, particularly the Washington trip.

If any of you can find it in your hearts (and bank accounts) to donate a bit to Charley’s PayPal account to defray the cost of gas, hotels, etc., I would be extremely grateful.

A polite suggestion

Loads of people are putting MP material on Facebook now. There are pages for individual missing persons (often put up by their families) and for missing persons from a particular city or state.

This is a great resource, but I have an idea of how to make it better: label the photographs with the MP’s name. If there are multiple people in the photo, point out which one is the MP, like “Joseph Smith with his brother. Joseph is on the right.” There have been several instances where I come across a good photograph of an MP, but there are others in the photo, and I can’t always tell which one is my MP and I don’t want to risk posting a picture of someone else, so I just don’t post it at all.

I was just looking at a Facebook page for missing people in a particular state. It had a trove of photographs, but as far as I could tell they weren’t labeled. I have no idea who some of those people were. Without their names, I don’t even have any place to start to begin my research and I certainly can’t post them on Charley.