I gotta wonder what’s going on at Pine Ridge

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has a population only around 30,000 or so people, but it’s larger than Delaware and Rhode Island COMBINED. It’s also one of the poorest places in the entire country, with 80% unemployment and a per capita income lower than Namibia’s. As I’ve written about before, the statistics are just horribly depressing:

demographics

And the number of missing people from the reservation that are on Charley? Four. I added a new one today. Plus, NamUs has three more: Vincent Steve Little Dog and Robert Anthony Kills Enemy at Night, who disappeared together and aren’t on Charley yet cause they haven’t yet been missing a year, and Perry Ray Robinson, who isn’t on Charley yet and whose life and disappearance will probably take some considerable time to research and summarize.

So, seven missing people. That I know of. And this in a place with a small-town population. And this is not counting Larissa Lone Hill, who was FROM Pine Ridge but apparently disappeared from Rapid City, a city off reservation.

This number is likely to grow, in large part because the MMIW (missing and murdered indigenous women) epidemic has caused information to come out about previously unreported or forgotten-about missing persons and homicide victims who were Native American.

I know there must be a lot of reasons for the disappearances: the poverty, the rampant, alcoholism, the extremes of weather and terrain (that part of South Dakota is called the Badlands for a reason), etc.

But it’s still just… shocking. It’s shocking and depressing and horribly wrong and indicative of a number of very serious, systemic problems that aren’t likely to be solved anytime soon.

The people I have on Charley from Pine Ridge are:

  1. Lori Lee Jealous of Him, 13, missing since 1989
  2. Neil Little Eagle, 49, missing since 2017
  3. Delema Lou Sits Poor, 12, missing since 1974
  4. Alejandro Pilar Vasquez, 24, missing since 2015

All are Native American.

What’s going on at Pine Ridge? A lot apparently.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Stay safe people, wash your hands and for heaven’s sake, if you’re not an essential worker STAY HOME.

MP of the week: Kara Vaughn

This week’s featured missing person is Kara Enid Vaughn, a 40-year-old woman missing from Natchitoches, Louisiana since November 3, 1993. Her car, a white 1978 Honda, is missing also.

She had previously threatened to drive into the river, but searches of the river turned up nothing. The circumstances of her disappearance are unclear. If still alive, Kara would be 66 today.

MP of the week: Byron Davis

This week’s feature missing person is Byron Lee Davis, a mentally disabled 53-year-old man who went missing from Kansas City, Missouri on May 18, 1993. If still alive today, he’d be eighty years old.

I wish more information was available about his mental disability; there is a big difference between, say, someone who functions at the level of a toddler, and one who functions at the level of a twelve-year-old. Davis appears, anyway, to have been able to wander around his neighborhood alone. Unfortunately some people living in the area took advantage of him and he was sometimes the target of cruel jokes.

Foul play is suspected in his disappearance. It seems likely that one of those nasty neighbors did something to him, perhaps in a robbery attempt or in a “joke” gone horribly wrong.

MP of the week: Arisoneide Gosselin

This week’s featured missing person (I forgot to put it up yesterday, sorry) is Arisoneide Oliveira Gosselin, who disappeared from Turlock, California on May 28, 1992. She was 31. She was from Brazil and moved to the US at age 23, after she married an American.

Whether her disappearance is related to her troubled marriage I don’t know, but it seems highly likely that she met with foul play. She appears to have been a responsible person and a devoted mother, and she left all her belongings behind as well as her kid, and her husband was using drugs and in no position to take care of the child.

Anyone have any idea how to pronounce her name?

A bad photo is better than none at all (and other thoughts on recent updates)

Just added Amanda Elise Southern to Charley. The 28-year-old woman disappeared from a nightclub in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana 26 years ago. Unfortunately the only photo I could find of her is absolutely terrible, but what can you do?

Reading the articles about how her ex tried to SELL THEIR KIDS (albeit to their grandparents) after her disappearance, I was struck by how much confidentiality and privacy norms have changed in the past few decades.

I can understand publicizing the kids’ information because for awhile they were missing. (When Amanda’s parents refused to pay for custody of the children, the dad took off with them and was on the lam for over a month.) But then when in the articles talking about how they were found, there was all sorts of information about the children and what they had been through, including the fact that they were believed to have been sexually abused. That kind of thing would not be published in the newspaper today.

I hope the kids are all right. I think Amanda’s parents got custody of them after they were found with their father. It seems super unlikely that she would have just walked away, what with one of the kids having disabilities, her parents living out of state and the children’s father overseas.

Some other random thinking-out-loud stuff:

  • I am not sure that Courtney Corrinna Holden is really white. She is pretty dark-skinned and looks more likely to be Hispanic or maybe Native American. Certainly I’ve seen mistakes in this area before. She is adopted, but one article mentions that she was in touch with her biological brother, so it seems like this is something the police should know for sure. Shrug.
    In any case, her story is incredibly sad. Especially the details about her family nickname “Cinderella” and her son calling his grandmother “mom” and his uncle “dad.” The articles I read said her son even did this before Courtney went missing. I cannot imagine how sad and scared and trapped Courtney must have felt, and I doubt she’s alive today.
  • The guy Melissa Ann Jordon was last seen with is SERIOUSLY bad news. Judges see a lot of crazy stuff and I was stuck by that judge saying Mr. Nesbitt was one of the most violent and dangerous criminals she’d ever encountered in her career. The “felon in possession of a firearm” thing was something he pled down to, by the way; the original incident involved him breaking into his ex-wife’s house and holding her at gunpoint.
    Given how long his sentence is, I wonder if the authorities have ever tried to sit down with him since he was imprisoned, pointed out he doesn’t have much to lose, and asked him to tell what happened to Melissa. I’m sure he knows.
    (Melissa’s NamUs photo, btw, is a high school yearbook photo and almost ten years out of date. That’s why I didn’t use it, as I found a more current pic in Newspapers.)
  • I dunno what I would do without Facebook as a source for recent cases. Okay, I do know what I’d do, I’d put up the cases, but there would be a lot less info. The case of Melissa Rose Ann Garrett is a great example; her daughter posted a bunch of photos of her and more info about her disappearance. Sad story. The daughter seems to suspect Melissa’s boyfriend may have been involved. Anne Marie Hubbert is another case where most of the pictures and some of the other info came from Facebook; Anne’s page and her daughter’s.
  • Shakeeta Young disappeared just a few months after her nineteen-year-old son died. I found a few “RIP” posts on Facebook from some of the young man’s friends but no mention of a cause of death. I wonder if Shakeeta’s disappearance is in some way related. It’s very sad for their family, just bad luck all around there.

MP of the week: Carmen Meirino

This week’s featured missing person is Carmen Ida Meirino, a 49-year-old Philadelphia, Pennsylvania woman who disappeared on December 13, 1997. She is Hispanic, with brown hair, but it was dyed blonde at the time of her disappearance. She was last seen leaving an acquaintance’s home at midnight.

Unfortunately I can’t find anything about her case, not even in the news archives. She would be 71 today.

MP of the week: Jessica Ortiz

This week’s featured missing person — the last of the decade — in Jessica Eileen Ortiz, a 29-year-old woman who disappeared from Pueblo, Colorado on April 12, 2007. If still alive she’d be 42 today.

It’s not likely Jessica is still alive, though. She had advanced cervical cancer, something she was unaware of when she disappeared. And the man she was last seen with, her longtime boyfriend, Wade Albrow, has a long history of violence. This was probably yet another case of fatal intimate partner violence, something that appears in the Charley Project’s pages a lot.