Ten years

Per WordPress, yesterday is the tenth anniversary of the day I started blogging.

Certainly a lot has happened since then! I began as a mere infant of 23, and the Charley Project was less than half its current size. I am now 33, aka a Real Adult, and the Charley Project numbers almost 13,000 lost souls.

As far as how I’ve changed since I’ve started, besides the usual maturity that comes with getting older, I’ve noticed I am also a lot less judgmental and less emotional in general about the cases I write about. Like, if a missing child’s family refuses to talk to the media, I used to be all like “what is wrong with them, that doesn’t sound right at all, were they maybe involved?” And now I’m like, “That is their right. I’m not them and cannot conceive of what they’re going through.” I’m a lot less inclined to speculate about cases as well. The more I learn, the less I feel I really know.

I have some stuff in the works about this site which is very exciting but which I can’t elaborate on yet.

I would like to be able to make a living off what I do (the whole working-for-free thing cannot continue indefinitely) but that hasn’t happened yet.

Native American Heritage Month: Justina Kunayak

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Justina Mabel Kunayak, a 45-year-old woman who who disappeared from Nome, Alaska on November 18, 1990.

I don’t know much about Justina’s disappearance, but her casefile includes the following notice:

Approximately 20 members of Alaska’s Native American community have vanished or died under questionable circumstances in the Nome area since the 1960s. Authorities opened a probe into their deaths and disappearances, but they do not believe a serial predator was involved.

Every one of the eight Charley Project missing persons from Nome are Native American, and the following have that same notice: Donald Adams, Nathan Anungazuk and Eric M. Apatiki.

I found a Justina Kunayak Jr. mentioned in a article from January 2017; perhaps the missing Justina’s daughter. Justina Jr., at the time of the article’s publication anyway, managed a hotel in Anchorage.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Brenda Ovalle

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Brenda Eli Ovalle, a sixteen-year-old runaway from Naples, Florida. She’s been missing since February 3, 2004.

It is very unusual for a teen runaway to be missing for fourteen years, but the last indication was that Brenda was safe and sound, living with family in Mexico. I hope that’s correct, and I hope if it is, she will contact the police in Florida to get herself taken off the books.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Yohannes Arronte-Valdez

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Yohannes A. Arronte-Valdez, a 28-year-old man who disappeared from Miami, Florida on October 15, 2008. He has a scar on his head.

And…that’s all I’ve got on him, unfortunately. One of those “few details are available” cases.

Pride Month: Luther Boyt

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Luther O. Boyt, a 59-year-old gay man who disappeared from Kansas City, Missouri on November 26, 2000.

He was in the process of moving at the time; he had sold his house and, the day before his disappearance, had moved almost all his furniture to his new apartment.

He disappeared sometime after 2:30 a.m., after having a couple of drinks at a local bar. His car turned up locked and abandoned at a park.

Pride Month: Tirrel Santiago

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Tirrel Santiago, a sixteen-year-old who disappeared from Brooklyn, New York on August 20, 2005.

It’s noted that Tirrel “may dress in women’s clothes.” I have very little information on his disappearance, so I don’t know if he’s transgender or gay or just gender-nonconforming. The photos show someone who could be either male or female.

He was last seen at 306 Rodney Street, which is in the Williamsburg neighborhood. Google Street View shows a church at that address, specifically St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. It seems unlikely that Tirrel was attending religious services — August 20, 2005 was a Saturday — but perhaps there was some other event at the church that day.

I wish I knew more. Tirrel must have parents, siblings, friends, people who care about him, and it’s been almost thirteen years.