Awesome two-part series on Gary Mathias and his four missing friends

Two years ago I blogged about the 1978 disappearance of Gary Dale Mathis and the mysterious deaths of his four friends, who went missing with him from Oroville in Yuba County, California. The comments on that entry are, I think, well worth a read.

I’m happy to announce that the Sacramento Bee has done a really good two-parter on the case.

Part one is titled: Out in the Cold: Four mentally disabled men died in woods. But what happened to the fifth? Part two is Were 4 mentally disabled men set up to die in the California woods?

The articles provide a lot more background information than I had had previously, regarding the disabilities all the men dealt with, and Mathias’s criminal history.

Most people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are not dangerous to anyone but themselves, but Mathias was a violent man with a history of attacks on both men and women. This probably had more to do with his drug abuse problem than his mental illness. It’s not clear to me whether Mathis was ever violent when he WASN’T under the influence of some illicit drug or other. But both mental illness and violence ran in his family.

The articles posit the theory, put forth by the families of the dead men and by others, that Mathias was in some way responsible for the situation that lead to their deaths. Certainly that’s possible.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone is ever going to find out what happened, and I don’t see any reason to believe Mathias is still alive. But it is an intriguing mystery.

More on Randi Boothe-Wilson

This article has some more on the disappearance and identification of Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, which I blogged about the other day. Included in the article is a color photo of Boothe-Wilson. It looks like she was light-skinned and had straight hair, which might explain why the body, when it was found, was thought to be a white woman.

They got the DNA sample from “a stamp from a letter purportedly sent by Boothe-Wilson.” That’s clever. Sometimes investigators have to get creative. I read about another article today that was accomplished by fingerprints, and they got the prints, not from an arrest or military record, but from a pawnshop. When you pawn something you have to give a fingerprint.

(The stamp thing wouldn’t work for me. I loathe the taste of them and I buy stamps with sticky backs, or I use a wet sponge to dampen them.)

So it looks like Randi really did send that goodbye letter. It says the cause and manner of death is unknown, as of course is how she made her way to North Carolina. Such a strange case.

Florida Jane Doe identified as Randi Boothe-Wilson

Per this article, a woman who was found in a wooded area in Jacksonville, Florida North Carolina [sorry I am dumb] in December 1995 has been identified as Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, missing since October 1994.

I’m pretty surprised by this. The image of the unidentified woman shows what appears to be a white person with light brown hair. Randi was black. She also didn’t disappear anywhere near Jacksonville; she went missing from New York City, something like 1000 570 miles up the coast.

The photos I have of Randi are black and white though, and not in the best quality, so it’s hard to tell what she looked like. And she left some goodbye notes, so perhaps she left New York voluntarily, traveled to Florida North Carolina and met her end there.

I’m glad her family will finally get SOME answers, anyway, although the identification seems to ask a lot more questions.

More Jayme Closs thoughts

The most frightening thing about the abduction of Jayme Closs, and the murder of her parents, is that it seems like there was basically nothing that could have been done to prevent it.

The perpetrator had no arrest record. He had basically no connection to anyone in the Closs family, wasn’t talking to them online or anything. Almost all the time, an abductor/murderer has SOME connection to his victim. Like, Brian David Mitchell first saw Elizabeth Smart when Elizabeth’s dad took pity on the poor homeless dude and hired him to do some work around the house.

The Closses never met Jake Patterson before that horrible day the parents were murdered and Jayme was taken.

All Jayme did was get off the school bus, and that was where it all started. Her abduction is much like the abduction of Shasta Groene and the murder of her family. Joseph Duncan, a known sex offender with no connection to the Groene family, saw Shasta playing in her front yard and decided he had to have her at any cost. If you ask me, Jake Patterson was a Joseph Duncan in the making.

What can we, as a society, do to stop such horrific and horrifically random crimes? Basically nothing.

You can’t keep your kids in isolation. They have to learn to live in the world and to do that they have to go out in society.

Jayme is alive and with people who love her, and the man who did this will never see the light of day again. It can only get better from here. But this is going to affect her, and her family and friends, in all sorts of ways. I hope they all get the help they need to recover.

Jayme Closs and other things

So I’m on a downswing, in terms of my mood. I’m bipolar. This is my life and it will never change, though the five psychiatric medications I take daily mitigate the downswings.

It’s just been kind of hard to get anything done. I will decide to do some thing or other, then I’ll find myself just sitting there staring into space as I’m trying to get myself to move. Even something as simple as picking an object up off the floor.

The Jayme Closs thing has kind of gotten to me. Of course I’m delighted that she’s been found alive. That’s not what’s getting to me; that part’s great. What’s getting to me is what some people have been saying. It’s really hard not to take that personally because of what happened to me back in the day.

(If you haven’t read that far back in my blog, what happened to me is this: in 2009, while I was on a trip to Virginia, I got lost and a stranger offered to give me directions. Instead, he took me into the woods and beat the crap out of me and raped me multiple times. Then he gave me the directions he’d promised and let me go. In the aftermath of the attack, there were a bunch of people on the comments section of this blog, and in email, who accused me of making the whole thing up for who knows what reason. It was very hurtful, obviously. After almost a year the rapist, a serial offender, was identified through DNA and he’s since been deported.)

I was just writing on here about how people can make speculations online about cases, speculations with no evidence to support them, and how this isn’t helpful and can indeed be harmful, especially if the victim or their family sees it.

And some people are doing that about Jayme Closs now. They’re outright accusing her of the murder, or at least complicity to the murder, of her own parents. And the police have said they believe her abductor acted entirely alone, and that he did not know Jayme (who, I will point out, is thirteen years old), and that he had been stalking her, and that Jayme is a victim and not a suspect.

These people think they know better than the cops, I guess. Why? Because Jayme took a selfie after her reunion with her aunt and dog. Because she was clean and looked okay in the selfie. Because she was smiling.

OF COURSE SHE WAS SMILING. She’d just been reunited with her dog and what’s left of her family, after she thought she’d never see them again, and the monster who did this to her is locked up! Why shouldn’t she smile? Why wouldn’t she have gotten herself cleaned up, showered etc.?

At what point is a crime victim “allowed” to smile and act happy and still be considered a “legitimate” victim?

One of the so-called reasons people were calling me a liar about my rape was because I didn’t act “traumatized enough” to suit them, when in fact they didn’t know the first thing about it. They were only seeing words on a screen, on my blog.

And so some people, on the basis of a “feeling” or a “hunch”, and a photograph, are making dreadful accusations against a thirteen-year-old child who saw her parents get murdered and who spent the last three months, I’m assuming, as Jake Patterson’s sex slave, thinking every day would be her last.

Frankly it makes me sick. I hope Jayme’s aunt and other caregivers make sure she does not see those accusations. I’m not seeking them out myself, but when they get posted on the Charley Project’s Facebook page I kind of have to read them, though I delete them as quickly as I can.

At last

I have finished the entire backlog of resolved cases. Normal updates should resume tomorrow or maybe the next day.

I had forgotten how crazy some of the resolves were. This was quite the trip down memory lane.

Also, the house has a lovely new vinyl wood-look floor. Michael and his friend hammered down the trim today. Now we just have to put all the furniture back.

Got back to early 2013

I’ve put up everything through the Resolved89 list, which dates back to early 2013-ish. I tend not to recognize the names but I do recognize the photos of people. It seems the stories of recoveries are as varied as the stories of disappearances.

I want to emphasize that I am NOT going to keep those resolved cases updated. By which I mean, what I put down in the resolved notice is whatever I know at the time, usually right after the person has been found or identified, and I don’t plan on updating that to reflect things like autopsy results, arrests and so on. I’ve got enough on my plate as is.

The back of my right shoulder has pretty well seized up from all this typing and repetitive motions: copy, paste, copy, paste. I’m trying to stretch it out as best I can, and I have applied extra strength Tiger Balm and taken Meloxicam, which is the strongest stuff I have nowadays. I miss the days when, eight or ten years ago, you could go to the doctor and they could give you something for pain that would actually work.

Michael’s parents were over today as they usually are on Saturdays, and they gave me a birthday cake and a card. Shopping for presents with them was kind of problematic last year, so I asked them just to pay my dry cleaning bill instead, and they did. The cost was about the same as they would have spent on my gift.

My psychiatrist had prescribed a new medication last month to help deal with my anxiety, and I think it’s finally started working. I managed to survive lunch with Michael and his parents without even one episode of rocking or hyperventilating, and I don’t think I’ve managed that in years.