Is anyone else seeing shades of Mitrice Richardson in the Ebonee Spears case I posted today? Obviously Mitrice’s disappearance and death is a much more egregious example of neglect, but Ebonee made me think of her.
Out of curiosity I Googled Mitrice, and I discovered her case was in the news as recently as this past November and is still under investigation. Sigh.
Unfortunately, when it comes to mental illness, the laws are such that unless the person agrees to get medical attention, the police and medical professionals usually can’t help. Almost two years ago I had a bad reaction to some medication and started hallucinating and having delusions and babbling nonsense and what have you. Michael took me to the hospital; they shrugged their shoulders and sent me home again. That night I kept trying to walk right through his glass deck door out into the winter cold, wearing only a turtleneck and underpants. Michael called the police and they came and assessed the situation, and they said there was nothing they could do. I wasn’t suicidal, and as long as I was indoors, I didn’t qualify as a danger to myself. They told him to just make sure I didn’t leave the house. Michael had to call his parents to come and stay up all night with me and physically prevent me from leaving. If it weren’t for the three of them, I almost certainly would have wandered off and frozen to death.
The situation totally sucks. How do you toe the line between respecting people’s civil rights, and making sure that they can get help when they really need it?
I really, really hope Ebonee doesn’t turn out to have shared Mitrice’s fate. But I’m not optimistic. It’s been a year.
As several people have already told me, Kamiyah Mobley has resurfaced alive and well in the small town of Waltersboro, South Carolina. After EIGHTEEN YEARS. She is, I believe, the youngest person profiled on the Charley Project; she was abducted from the hospital in Jacksonville, Florida only hours after birth, on July 10, 1998.
It’s much like the story of Carlina White: Kamiyah was raised under the name Alexis Manigo, and thought her abductor was her mother. A couple of months ago, “Alexis” started to suspect there was more to the story, and DNA testing has just verified her true identity.
The abductor, 51-year-old Gloria Williams, has been arrested and will be extradited to Florida to face kidnapping charges. Her prior criminal offenses include welfare fraud and writing bad checks. If convicted of kidnapping, she could get a life sentence. (Carlina’s kidnapper got twelve years.) If you ask me, in cases like this, the abductor ought to have to serve AT LEAST one day for every day the child was missing.
From what little has come out so far, Kamiyah/Alexis grew up in poverty and moved around a lot across several different states. She was able to graduate high school, though. It says Williams is married, but I don’t know whether she was married to this man when Kamiyah was taken or whether he was complicit in the abduction.
I am delighted for Kamiyah’s family, though I feel very sorry for Kamiyah herself; she must feel absolutely torn to bits right now. The sheriff was quoted as saying Kamiyah/Alexis “appears to be a normal 18-year-old woman” who is “taking it as well as you can imagine.” A neighbor said, “She wasn’t an abused child or a child who got in trouble. But she grew up with a lie for 18 years.”
Maybe Carlina can offer some advice to Kamiyah. I know Elizabeth Smart reached out to Jaycee Dugard after the latter was found alive.
A few articles:
I thought I would share with you a comprehensive retelling of the famous unidentified man “Benjamin Kyle”, who is unidentified no longer, and the twelve-year search to give him back his name. Given my line of work, I’ve known about the case since the outset, but never followed it closely. This is a really good article about it. It’s really long, but it kind of has to be, as the case is so mysterious and took so long to come to a conclusion.
I wanted to share with you guys a conversation I had on the Charley Project’s Facebook page, about a mother who disappeared almost a decade ago and has turned up alive:
After getting that final response I realized I’ve become much less judgmental than I used to be about MPs who left of their own accord. I know that around ten years ago I was interviewed by a newspaper about such a case and I said it was “abominably selfish” for a person to do that. Whenever I heard about an MP who turned out to have simply walked out of their lives, leaving their family wondering what happened and if they were still alive, I used to get angry — like the other person in this conversation here. Now my response is much more tempered. I’m not sure when it changed.
I think back to my own early- to mid-adolescence, when I was suffering from horrific, untreated, mental illness. I had very intense thoughts about running away from home, traveling to a distant city, taking my own life there without any ID or anything on me, and getting buried as a Jane Doe. I do not know why this seemed like a great idea at the time. My brain was basically broken.
Mind you, I still think it’s selfish to desert your loved ones without a word, and I still tend to feel much more sorry for the left-behind family and friends than the MP who left them. But now I also tend to wonder “what was going in that person’s life that was so bad that they felt they had to take such steps?” I don’t get mad anymore, I don’t judge them. I just feel glad their family has learned their fate, and hope they all can reconcile or at least reach some level of acceptance.
I was talking about it with Michael today and I asked him if he thought my change in attitude about MPs like this woman was due to an additional decade of learning about these cases and what motivates these people to walk out, or was it just that I was once 21 and am now 31 and I’ve simply grown up. Michael said the one cannot be separated from the other, that learning new things through reading and stuff is one more part of growing up.
A Charley Project Irregular who is also a Facebook friend messaged me within fifteen minutes of the news breaking: they’ve found the body of Erica Parsons. As of this writing, very little information has been made public, but we know that Sandy Parsons, Erica’s sorry excuse for an adoptive father, lead the police to her remains. Erica’s parents never reported her missing; her older brother did, twenty months after the last time he saw her.
I’ve blogged about Erica’s case several times, the last time in 2014. You can read the details of her dreadful home life and “morally bankrupt” parents on her Charley Project casefile. She was tiny: at thirteen years old she was less than four and a half feet tall. There’s reason to believe her growth was stunted due to malnutrition.
Both Sandy Parsons and Casey Parsons, Erica’s mother, are in prison right now for fraud, because they collected benefits from the government for Erica after she was no longer in their care.
When the cops identify whoever is responsible for Erica’s disappearance and death — and I think we all have a pretty good idea who did this — I can only hope they get the book thrown at them.
So I was going through Charley’s runaway cases today, making another Make-a-List Monday for them (coming next week!) and purging cases at the same time, and I came across a certain missing girl. She was still on the NCMEC database but she’d been missing an awfully long time, so I decided to run her name through Google and see what came up. A lot of times when a runaway’s been missing for years and years like she was, they write an article about it.
I didn’t find anything about her disappearance, but lo! Someone with the right age, the right first, middle and last name (except for a spelling difference of one letter) and a striking resemblance to the runaway girl got arrested for credit card fraud just a few months ago! This was in a small town a five-hour drive from the major city where she disappeared.
I immediately called up the NCMEC. And they were like, “Um…thank you, but she’s, erm, not missing. She got recovered.”
And I was like, “So why is she still listed as missing on your website?”
So I told them about how you can find her listed on missingkids.com, and they had me read her case number off the poster, and promised to “pass it on” to the appropriate people.
This isn’t the first time this has happened, either.
[EDIT: Wow, that was quick. I just got a recovery notice for her.]
Jeffrey Scott Walkenford, aged 41, disappeared from Juneau, Alaska on May 15, 2010. Per this Alaska Dispatch News article, they’ve probably found him. Or, at least, they found human remains with some of Walkenford’s things nearby, including his clothes and his cell phone with selfies of Walkenford in it.
“The human remains have not been positively identified as being Walkenford. Positive identification is estimated to take approximately 6 months,” [Juneau Police Department] said in a Wednesday release.
The police department sent the remains to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage for analysis, but identification requires DNA testing outside of Alaska.
I’m not sure whether to pull him yet or not, then. I probably should. I mean, what are the chances that some guy who was dressed like Walkenford would die next to a pile of Walkenford’s stuff and NOT be Walkenford?