Thinking aloud about this case

So a case I added yesterday, Niija Council, is a “few details” case, but I had plenty of photos, including pics of her tattoos, from Niija’s Facebook page. (She also put a photo of herself on a page called Team Bisexual. Maybe I could profile Niija for Pride Month in June.)

The thing is, Niija has posts on her Facebook from AFTER her official date of disappearance, September 1.

I don’t know whether September 1 was the date she was last physically seen by anyone, or if they just mean she was last seen sometime in September, or what. On September 11 she made four posts:

niijafacebook

Later in the month she changed her profile picture multiple times, the last time on September 23. The comments on her September 16 profile picture change indicate people were pretty worried about her:

niijafacebook2

So I dunno what was going on there. It’s a struggle to piece what exactly happened from what I’ve got to work with. I hope Niija is alive and well somewhere.

Incidentally, I wish I could read the words tattooed on her neck and chest. I posted pictures of them on her casefile but I can’t tell what they say. Here’s larger photos below (the neck picture is from before she added the stars and squiggles) if you want to help me out:

niijanecktattoo

niijachesttattoo

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Here’s a question for you

As you ought to know, I often use pictures of an MP that come from their own Facebook, MySpace, and other social media accounts. Those accounts are a great resource for photos.

But here’s my question: what do I do if all the pictures of the MP have obviously been Facetuned? Because obviously that can change the appearance of a person a lot.

Thank you, Facebook peeps!

As anyone who looks at the Charley Project knows, I try to include as many photos of an MP as possible, and pictures of their tattoos as well, if I can get them.

Occasionally I’ve had to reach out to the crowd on the Charley Project’s Facebook page to ask about photos of an MPs’ tattoos. What happens is I’ll be looking at photos of the person (often on their own personal Facebook page) and see a tattoo but I can’t figure out what it’s supposed to be, or what the words are supposed to say. It doesn’t help that all that I know about tattoos is from watching episodes of Ink Master.

That happened again with this guy. The published info about his disappearance mentioned the “Zoey” tattoo, but the photos on his own Facebook page showed he had others.

I couldn’t figure out what that thing on his chest was supposed to be — I guessed “a stylized snake” or “a fancy ribbon” or suggested it might be something “tribal.” Within seconds, Facebookers responded: it was the astrological sign for Leo, except in reverse, since it was taken with a mirror. (I don’t know anything about astrology either.)

I also was pretty unclear on what the words on his left arm were — it looked like “Joy Meeu” to me. Facebookers answered me immediately and said “Self Made” was much more probable.

Thanks, Facebookers! You contributed invaluable information to William’s casefile. In fact, it was someone on Facebook who verified for me that William was still missing in the first place. I wasn’t 100% sure since the only real source of information was a Facebook page about his disappearance, and it hadn’t been updated since July.

And on another note, I really wish someone would add this guy on NamUs or something. He’s only listed with United Legacy¬†and I can’t find any articles about him or anything. He apparently left of his own accord. but that doesn’t mean he stayed gone of his own accord.

About Pride Month…

People really like this Black History Month thing I’m doing and I plan to do it again next year. I’d also like to do similar things for Native American History Month, Hispanic History Month, etc. (Note to self: find out when those are.)

Some people have suggested I do the same thing for Gay Pride Month, which is in June. I’d love to, but there is a logistical problem: I don’t usually know if an MP on Charley is LGBTQ.

I stopped specifically mentioning people’s gayness in the profiles after I got an email from some guy’s sister screaming at me for bringing it up when it had nothing to do with his disappearance.

Obviously in some cases it would be easy to tell by reading the circumstances of disappearance, but for finding such people in a keyword search I’m not sure what to do.

Anyway, what I mean to say is, can any of you throw the names of some LGBTQ Charley Project cases my way for possible coverage on this blog during Pride Month?

The things that people say

Since I can’t work on Charley today — the site keeps going down, then coming back up, then going down again, making it impossible to get anything done — I thought I’d blog about something that has been bothering me for awhile.

I rarely pay attention to Facebook chatter about missing persons, because for the most part I don’t consider such chatter to be reliable enough to use as a source in my casefiles. I have literally never joined a Facebook groups discussing¬† some specific case or other, for example.

But awhile back, as in months ago, I happened to be viewing the chatter on such a group for an entirely different reason and saw a post that really made me angry.

I’m not going to say who the missing person was, other than that it was a female child who has been missing for many years. No one has ever been charged in the case. The parents maintain that she was abducted from their home, but many people believe the parents themselves were somehow involved. For the purposes of this blog entry that’s all you need to know.

Some Facebook poster on a group about the case made reference to the fact that, several years after the child’s disappearance, the parents took their remaining children and moved out of state. The poster said something like, “Isn’t this a tacit admission of guilt? Why would they move unless they were sure she wasn’t coming back? Don’t innocent people refuse to EVER move, and stay in the same house forever, hoping their child will return?”

Now, I don’t know whether the parents in this case are guilty or innocent, and for the purposes of the point I’m trying to make, it doesn’t really matter. It just really makes me mad that people would judge them based on the fact that they moved away.

It’s not like anyone ever gives you a rule book on “How to Behave If Your Child Is Kidnapped.” You don’t know how you’re going to act in that situation until it happens to you.

It reminds me of how, after I was raped, certain asshats who read this blog were convinced that I must be making up the story because I didn’t act traumatized enough for them.

Never mind that they only had, like, 1% of the information — they weren’t there, they didn’t know me, all they saw were the words I typed into my blog. But they were publicly calling me a liar and a fraud and making all sorts of judgments about me when they didn’t know anything about it. And not one of them has ever apologized for it.

Yes, it’s true that some parents refuse to move away after their child disappears. I know of one case where not only did a missing girl’s mother refuse to move away, she started sleeping on her living room couch and kept it up for years, because she wanted to be sure she’d hear the knock on the front door if her daughter came home in the middle of the night. (That woman did eventually move, but only because her apartment building was being torn down and she had no choice. She still lives in the neighborhood.)

And it’s also true that some families DO move after their child is taken — in fact, I’ve heard of families that moved specifically because they wanted to get away from all the memories, wanted to get on with their lives, and felt unable to do so while still living at the same address. I’ve known of families who not only left the state but left the COUNTRY.

More to the point, in this particular case, the missing child was an infant. There’s no way she would remember her parents or her home address or phone number or anything like that, even if she was alive and became aware she had been kidnapped and wanted to reach out to her family.

And so they moved. And someone on Facebook was calling them murderers because of it.

Just…think about what you say, people. Try to remember that everything you put online can be read by others, that the very people you’re speculating about can find your musings and read them, that words hurt.

So the crazies were howling at the moon last night

I got approached, via the private message on the Charley Project’s Facebook page, by a young man who said he thought he was a certain child who had disappeared from Florida. I advised him to contact the NCMEC and gave them their tip line number. He claimed the NCMEC were “corrupt” and trying to cover up the disappearance of another child, a girl, who had disappeared from that same county in Florida a few years after the missing boy did.

He said the girl’s parents were trying to help cover up her disappearance too, and that the police knew all about it and weren’t doing anything because they wanted to avoid a lawsuit.

I told him I was unable to assist him and then he accused me of being paid by the girl’s parents to help cover up her disappearance!

crazyconvo

Oh-kay…

He also found a two-year-old blog post of mine that had been shared on Charley’s Facebook page, which mentioned the missing girl, and posted a photograph of a young woman whom he claims is her. Whoever that young woman is, I didn’t want her photo on Charley’s Facebook page, but I couldn’t figure out how to delete his comments so I had to delete the entire post from the Facebook page. Fortunately the only comments on it were his.

Facebook is so useful

I’ve lately found Facebook incredibly useful for missing persons related things lately. These days I’ll always check to see if the MP either had their own Facebook page, or has one set up for them to publicize their disappearance. Mostly it’s useful for finding photographs, but I often find other information too.

Tonight I was taking advantage of a burst of energy to write up cases for the next update. I had a bit of a conundrum with the first one I wrote up: NamUs said his middle name was “Donte” and the FDLE database said it was “Dante.” He’d been missing since 2002 so clearly he hadn’t been on Facebook, but I looked to see if his family had set up a page for him. Turns out they had. There’s not much on it, but I found out that NamUs and FDLE are both wrote and his middle name is “Dant’e.”

So there’s that, anyway. A middle name isn’t a whole lot, but I’d certainly not want to post incorrect info, and before I found the Facebook page it was basically a toss-up between “Dante” and “Donte.”