Five (sorta) missing people in the wreckage of a crashed plane

So, if a plane crashes and they find the crash site but are unable to recover the bodies for whatever reason, I don’t usually consider those people to be missing, even by my quite generous definition. After all, their fate and the location of their remains is known.

But today, I added five people whose case fit those parameters: plane crash, wreckage found. I decided I could just about wedge the case within the Charley Project’s case requirements because, after the crash site was initially located, it vanished again. It moved.

I doubt that happens all that often, but this was in Alaska, the Land That Eats People.

A small plane carrying four Polish tourists and their pilot was on an aerial tour of Denali National Park when it hit the side of the mountain. This was at 11,000-foot elevation, on an unstable field of ice and snow. When park rangers found the site a few days later, the plane was embedded in snow right on the side of a cliff, as you can see in the photo accompanying this article. The fact that it’s gone now is not terribly surprising: shifting/melting ice and snow, wind, etc.

So anyway, the victims are now up on my site: the pilot, Craig Layson, from Michigan, and the four passengers: Janusz Intek, Maria Libacka, Kazimierz Miernik and Robert Sieniawski, all of them Poles. Rest In Peace. The mountain is their grave.

The Facebook gods smile upon me again

So a week or so ago the Charley Project’s Facebook page inexplicably tanked and all the sudden no one was seeing the posts, no one was liking or sharing or commenting on any of my posts. Now, equally inexplicably, the page’s reach has returned to normal. Shrug. I am glad of it, anyway.

I have no idea how online algorithms and analytics and whatnot work. Sometimes I wish I did. I was reading about the guy behind the hugely popular Twitter account that rates dogs, and he makes a six-figure annual income just from that account, like from selling ad space and merch. Which isn’t to say he isn’t doing anything. He pays very close attention to the analytics and, out of hundreds of dog pictures submitted for consideration every day, he selects the one he thinks will get the most likes and shares, and then after posting a tweet he keeps an eye on it for like fifteen minutes and if it’s not getting an acceptable number of likes and shares, he deletes it and tries again with another dog, another tweet.

So anyway. The most popular story on Charley’s Facebook at present is this one about Shawn Hornbeck’s family. Sadly, Shawn’s stepfather has passed away from cancer at only 57. He had help raise Shawn from infancy and Shawn and his siblings thought of him as their father. Another really popular story is this one, about a Chinese man who was found alive and well, eighteen years after his abduction at the age of three.

The story I would recommend, which hasn’t gotten much attention since I posted it during the time Facebook was ignoring me: this one. The headline basically says it all: “A Girl, 15, Reported a Sexual Assault, Then the Detective Abused Her, Too.”

I’m sure he had other victims as well.

Some things

  1. Michael was released from the hospital today, having dumped 25 pounds of fluid that was backed up around his heart. (No wonder he was having trouble breathing.) He will have to make some dietary and lifestyle changes and take some medications and maybe ease up on working so many hours, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
  2. June 16 was the tenth anniversary of the rape. And I… forgot about this entirely. It wasn’t until like two days later that suddenly that fact popped into my head. For me, that’s recovery.
  3. I’m thinking of making a new category of missing persons listed on the Charley Project: migrants who disappeared while trying to cross the border illegally through the desert. Most of them are kind of assumed to have died out there, but a lot of times there’s no hard evidence of that.
    I would like some feedback from Charley Project users: should I make this new category for the migrants, or should I just keep putting them in “endangered missing” or “lost/injured missing” like I’ve been doing? (Part of the reason I was thinking of making a category just for them is because I’ve never made up my mind whether they should be in endangered missing or lost/injured missing.)
    I’d like it if you put your about this opinion in the comments.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Kianna and Gunnar Berg

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is actually two cases, the missing siblings Kianna Joanna Berg and Gunnar David Berg.

The children, who are half white, half Japanese, were abducted by their mother, Naoko Numakami, from their Fairfax, Virginia home and taken to her native Japan. They were eight and nine years old at the time.

Naoko told Kianna and Gunnar’s father that she was just taking the kids to Japan for a vacation, but once in that country she refused to return them. He hasn’t seen them since.

Unfortunately for the kids’ father, it’s probably going to stay that way. I don’t know if there are ANY cases where the Japanese government actually agreed to return an internationally abducted child. I don’t think family courts, as such, really exist there.

Both kids are now over eighteen and could choose to go back to the US on their own if they like, but my guess is that like many family abduction victims, they’ve been alienated against their left-behind father.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Augustine Moreno

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 Augustine Moreno, a 35-year-old man who disappeared after crossing from Mexico into the U.S. on May 20, 2000. I’m not sure why he went to the U.S.; whether it was just a day trip or if he intended to stay there or what.

Moreno has schizophrenia, and sometime after he went missing his brother got a call from someone saying Moreno was in Stockton, California (that’s around five hundred miles north of border). There’s been no indication of his whereabouts since.

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.

This is from December, but I didn’t see it till now

I wanted to blog about this story because it’s so awesome — a girl who vanished at the age of TWELVE has turned up alive and well eight years later — and at the same time, extremely sad.

The headline: Juárez girl found after missing for 8 years.

From the article:

[Viridiana] Santillan had been reported missing by her mother on March 2, 2010, officials said.

The girl’s mother at the time told authorities that she had last seen her 12-year-old daughter when she left home in late July 2009, the attorney general’s office said.

The mother said that she took eight months to report that her daughter was missing because the young girl would sporadically run away and always returned, but that this time she didn’t come back, officials said.

After she was located, Santillan told Morelos state investigators that she ran away from a hostile and abusive environment at home in Juárez, officials said.

That’s absolutely horrific, that a twelve-year-old girl had it so bad at home that she had to run away and never come back. And Viridiana’s story about a bad home environment is borne out by the fact that her mom didn’t report her missing for the better part of a year. Remember, she was only twelve.

Fortunately, although life on the run was initially very hard for her, it sounds like she’s in a much better place now:

Santillan told investigators that she spent several days as a vagrant in the streets of Juárez before ending up in a shelter with the help of a government social assistance program, known as DIF…

Santillan later got the opportunity to study in [Cuernavaca] and ended up staying in that old colonial city located south of Mexico City, officials said.

Santillan told investigators that she wants to remain in Cuernavaca and has no plans to return to Juárez, officials said.

I hope she has a good life from now on.