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.

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Black History Month: Emmanuel Kalief Birts

February is Black History Month. I got the idea to use the month to showcase some of the African-American MPs on the Charley Project. I thought maybe I should focus on the cases that didn’t get a lot of media attention, but that would be practically all of them — black missing people, and black crime victims in general, really tend to get ignored by the mainstream media.

Anyway, this blog is going to profile one missing black person per day for the entire month of February. The first is little Emmanuel Kalief Birts, who was abducted from his mother’s Dallas, Texas home on September 14, 1989, at the age of just five weeks.

The woman who took him claimed to be a social worker named Debra Manning and she was nothing if not brazen: she actually visited Emmanuel’s house and spoke with his family a total of FOUR TIMES.

The first time was on September 12, when she told them Emmanuel needed to be tested for HIV. “Manning” returned on September 13 with a letter, supposedly from the Child Welfare Department, that authorized her to take the baby away for testing. His mom, Kisha, wanted to go along, so “Manning” made an excuse and said she’d be back the next day. The next day she showed up, but didn’t have a car seat, so she said she’d go and get one. She came back with the car seat, whisked Emmanuel away and never returned.

The case made the local papers in Dallas, but quickly dropped out of the public eye, and I haven’t found anything in the news since 1990. He did eventually get added to NamUs, but only in 2014, and he wasn’t put on the NCMEC until sometime after that.

Both of Emmanuel’s parents have since tested negative for HIV. There’s no reason to believe he isn’t still alive out there, perhaps even still in Dallas, living his life with no idea he’s a missing person. He would now be 28 years old.

Wasn’t expecting this

I got an NCMEC message in my email saying Aleacia Di’onne Stancil has been found alive. This comes as a most unexpected surprise. Frankly, I had not expected her to be found at all, never mind found alive. The police were outright admitting they had no idea where to look for her.

The NCMEC, of course, offers no details, and as of this writing, there’s nothing in the news. I’d love to know the circumstances under which Aleacia, who would now be 23 years old, was located, and what sort of woman she’s become. I’m hoping she was properly raised and is in college or something like that. It seems like the odds are against her growing into a functional young adult, but we can hope, right?

I’ve got a case, one of my “foul play is suspected but few details are available” cases, involving a toddler who disappeared in the eighties. A relative emailed me to say the child’s mother sold it for drugs. I don’t doubt this information, but I wasn’t able to confirm it with any official source so it’s not in the casefile, just in my head. In a way I hope that kid WAS sold for drugs, because if it was, maybe it’s still alive.

I often wonder about the little babies on my site who disappeared ages ago and are presumed to be still alive — I wonder what they’re like now. Alexis Manigo/Kamiyah Mobley and Nejra Nance/Carlina White seem to have turned out all right in spite of being raised by their abductors. Aleacia’s mother struggled with drug addiction and was murdered a year after her daughter disappeared; it’s entirely on the cards that whoever raised Aleacia was able to provide a more stable home environment than she could have gotten from her biological family. But the circumstances of Aleacia’s disappearance aren’t that clear and I’m not sure if she was, in fact, abducted.

I hope there’s something in the news soon. I’m happy to learn this baby lived to grow into a woman.

 

Let’s talk about it: Zaylee Fryar

Zaylee Grace Fryar would have turned seven years old in January, assuming she’s still alive. She’s been missing from Millersville, Tennessee since the age of three and a half months.

Late in the evening May 1, 2011, Zaylee’s mom, Shauna Fryar, took her out, supposedly to go to the store, but probably to buy drugs. Shauna can’t have planned to stay out long, because she left everything behind, including Zaylee’s diaper bag — I’m given to understand that’s a kind of essential item when you’re dealing with an infant. In any case, mother and daughter never returned.

(I need to insert a word here about Shauna’s domestic situation: she was married and the mother of eight children, but most of them, including Zaylee, weren’t her husband’s. They both saw other people and were on more of a friendship basis with each other. Shauna’s husband was at the hospital when Zaylee was born, and invited them to crash at his place as they were homeless. Zaylee’s biological father was in jail at the time Shauna and Zaylee disappeared.)

Five days later, Shauna’s body was pulled out of the Cumberland River in Nashville, less than twenty miles south of Millersville. For a very long time the cops had nothing to say about her death, the cause, anything. It wasn’t until 2015 that they finally disclosed she’d been the victim of a homicide and they thought she’d been killed in Millersville and dumped in Nashville. They also said they had suspects. They haven’t said anything more since then.

So what happened to Zaylee? No one appears to know.

Usually, in circumstances like these, the women are killed FOR their babies. Andre Bryant‘s is a good example of that; two women lured his mom away with him, killed her and vanished with the baby. In homicides where the woman just happens to have her baby with her, the killers tend to either leave alive it at the crime scene or abandon it alive somewhere. (I’ve got a couple of cases where women have disappeared and their babies turned up abandoned: Norma Morales, Kimberly Palmer, etc. I tend to assume if that happens there’s a very good chance the woman is dead.) Rarely do they also kill the baby; I mean, it’s not like it would be able to testify against them in court.

Shauna’s drug habit and the circumstances of her disappearance would seem to indicate her murder was probably drug-related, but I have no idea whether there’s any actual evidence to support this because, like I said, the police haven’t said much. It’s possible Shauna was killed for an entirely different reason. But even if it was a drug-related homicide, that doesn’t mean Zaylee isn’t still out there, perhaps having been sold for drugs. I mean, she was adorable, and healthy infants do have some street value.

Sadly, I think it’s also possible she could have been put in the Cumberland River with her mother. Three-month-old girls tend to weigh only 12 to 14 pounds. A body that size would be easy to miss.

So what do you think happened to Zaylee? Is it likely that she’s still alive? Let’s talk about it.

In honor of Kamiyah Mobley’s case being solved…

Here’s a list of others like her, who were abducted by strangers as babies and may very well be still alive out there not knowing who they are. I’m including cases of children 3 and under where non-family abduction is either the only explanation or is more likely than not, and it’s also more likely than not that the abductor(s) intended to either raise the child or give/sell it to someone who would. I’m not counting cases where it could be a non-family abduction but I have virtually no evidence available to say what happened.

  1. Christopher Enoch Abeyta, who would be 31
  2. Sabrina Paige Aisenberg, who would be 19
  3. Emmanuel Kalief Birts, who would be 27
  4. David Ezell Blockett, who would be 36
  5. Andre Terrance Bryant, who would be 27
  6. Christopher Milton Dansby, who would be 29
  7. Bryan Dos Santos-Gomes, who would be 10
  8. Paul Joseph Fronczak, who would be 52
  9. Elizabeth Dorothy Funchess, who would be 40
  10. Elizabeth Ann Gill, who would be 54
  11. Raymond Lamar Green, who would be 38
  12. Sausha Latine Henson, who would be 15
  13. Melissa Suzanne Highsmith, who would be 47
  14. Shaina Ashly Kirkpatrick, who would be 17
  15. Alexandra Marie McIntire, who would be 23
  16. Donel Jacoby Minor, who would be 32
  17. Vivian Paola Montanez Castellanos, who would be 30
  18. Mary Agnes Moroney*, who would be 88
  19. Saure Blizhaid Sanchez Vega, who would be 23
  20. Marlene Santana, who would be 31
  21. Aleacia Di’onne Stancil, who would be 22
  22. Tavish Sutton, who would be 23
  23. Angel Torres-Irizarry, who would be 41
  24. Jacqueline Vasquez, who would be 16
  25. Shane Anthony Walker, who would be 29
  26. April Nicole Williams, who would be 33

*Okay, Mary Moroney’s probably dead now just because of the passage of time, but there’s no reason to believe she didn’t live to adulthood.

Honorable mentions: Tiffani Claudette Wise, 2, and her half-sister Brandi Jondell Summers, 5, who would now be 41 and 45 respectively. It looks like the girls were taken by Brandi’s dad, Roy, but the case is, ah, a bit complicated, not a simple family abduction, and it’s likely they were raised by others. Brandi had cystic fibrosis, a very serious condition that is life-shortening even now and was much less treatable in 1977, and so she may be dead. But I haven’t seen any evidence that either of the children were murdered.