SMH at the ineptitude of the cops in Cory Bigsby interview

So today is (allegedly, we’ll get to that) the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of four-year-old Codi Bigsby from his father’s home in Virginia. No charges have been filed in the case, but the police zeroed in on Codi’s dad, Cory, as a suspect very quickly and he is still a suspect. They have said they think Codi disappeared earlier than his dad claimed, although I haven’t seen anything about when he was last seen by anyone outside the household. (Which consisted of Codi, Cory, and three of Cory’s other children.)

When writing up the case I was kind of appalled to see how Cory was treated during his first police interview after he reported his son missing. I was just facepalming.

Now, in my opinion Cory is not a person easy to sympathize with. He was previously arrested for domestic violence against Codi’s mom, and he admits he left his kids (the oldest of whom was only five) home alone for hours at a time because they were “a handful.” But without a doubt, his Constitutional rights were violated in that police interview and that matters.

The interview lasted between 9:30 p.m. and 4:45 a.m. That’s over seven hours, during which Cory was not, technically, under arrest. (On February 3 he was arrested, but not for anything to do with Codi’s disappearance. He was arrested for child neglect for leaving the kids home alone.) During this time, on more than TWENTY occasions Cory said he was tired and wanted to go home to sleep. The police told him “going home is not an option.”

This was a lie: Cory was in fact legally free to stop the interview and go home. But after the very first time he said he wanted to leave and the cops refused to let him go, he was basically under duress and there’s a good chance anything he said would not be permitted to be used in court.

The law asks: would a reasonable person feel like they were being detained and were not permitted to leave? And in that situation, of repeatedly asking to leave and being it’s “not an option”, I think a reasonable person would definitely feel that way. (This, incidentally, is why those “how to handle a law enforcement encounter” advice people say you should directly ask the police if you are being detained.) A statement has to be “free and voluntary” to be used in court and by this point Cory wasn’t there voluntarily anymore.

Furthermore, TWICE Cory said he wanted to see an attorney, and TWICE his request was ignored. Big no-no. Once a suspect invokes their right to counsel, the police are supposed to immediately stop the interview and not ask any more questions of the suspect until the requested attorney arrives on scene.

Now, a lot of you may be thinking “I don’t care about this person’s so-called rights, I don’t care how they were treated, they’re a child neglecter/abuser and possible murderer.” But you should care. Not only because what happened to Cory could easily happen to you, but also because this botched interrogation may (assuming his father killed him, which the police seem to think he did) prevent Codi from ever getting justice.

The law says if a suspect invokes their right to counsel and isn’t given counsel, everything they say after that cannot be used in court. The suspect could confess to the most vile criminal offenses, to being a serial killer even, and their words would not be allowed to be used against them. I have no idea what Cory told the police during his interview, but if he admitted to anything incriminating after he was refused an attorney, those admissions cannot be used against him.

These are not obscure procedural rules. This is Police Interrogation 101. I can’t even with the incompetence here.

The police have since admitted they Did A Bad, and the detective who botched the interview was “punished”… by being pulled off the case and placed on paid administrative leave. So they were punished for their terrible policing by being given a paid vacation from work.

It’s been a year and no one knows where Codi is. I hope this interrogation did not reduce our chances of finding out what happened to him.

This article talks about what went wrong in the interview; it’s a good one.

MP of the week: Samiya Haqiqi

This week’s featured missing person is Samiya Haqiqi, a 24-year-old Afghan immigrant and law student at Quinnipiac University who disappeared from Queens, New York on November 12, 1999. She is described as Asian, with black hair and brown or hazel eyes, 5’5 to 5’6 tall and 128 pounds. She went by the nickname Sammy. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, black platform boots, a baseball cap and a gold and diamond ring.

Authorities believe Samiya was killed by her boyfriend, Fahid “John” Popal, after she rejected his marriage proposal. In 2006, Fahid was sentenced to 26 years in prison for murder. His brother Farhad “Frank” Popal pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution.

Samiya’s body has never been found.

MP of the week: Bob Austin

This week’s featured missing person is Bob Perry Austin Jr., a 19-year-old man who disappeared from Jefferson, Louisiana on March 10, 1995. He was, for some reason, “fleeing” Ochsner Hospital, headed in the direction of the levee. He was never seen or heard from again.

Bob is black, 5’10 and 155 pounds, and was last seen wearing green flowered shorts and white socks. No shirt or shoes apparently. I wonder if he was a psychiatric patient who escaped.

Unfortunately that’s all the info I have for this young man. If still alive, he’d be 47 today.

MP of the week: Hattie Jackson

This week’s featured missing person is Hattie Yvonne Jackson, a six-year-old girl who disappeared from Washington D.C. on July 21, 1961. She was black, with black hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a white long-sleeved blouse, brown and white checked shorts, pink sandals and a blue ribbon in her hair.

Hattie was apparently abducted; witnesses saw two men pulling her into a car. For some reason there’s only a description and sketch for one of the men, the driver. He had approached Hattie and some other children earlier that day and offered to give them a ride, but they’d turned him down.

Unfortunately there hasn’t been anything about Hattie in the news for a very long time. I don’t know if any of her relatives are even still alive. I don’t know how seriously the police looked for her in 1961, or if any suspects in her case have ever been identified.

If she is still alive, Hattie would be about 67 years old today.

MP of the week: Edward Martin

This week’s featured missing person case is that of Edward Larnell Martin, who disappeared from Tulsa, Oklahoma sometime in July 1999 at the age of 50. The exact date of disappearance isn’t known, so I’ve got it down as July 1. Edward is black, 5’10 and 145 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. His nickname is Chicken.

Oddly enough, Edward is related by marriage to Terrence Haney, who disappeared from Tulsa in 2001. I don’t know if the disappearances are related or if the men even knew each other. There isn’t a whole lot of information available in either case.

I hope you all are well. I voted today and the election worker who checked my ID said turnout had been good, even better than in 2020.

MP of the week: Myron Traylor

This week’s featured missing person is Myron Timell Traylor, a 13-year-old boy who disappeared on the way to his grandparents’ house in Phoenix, Arizona on July 27, 1988. He and his mom were going there with a bag of laundry to wash when Myron stopped to get a drink at a store while his mom continued on ahead. He was last seen standing outside after buying a soda, carrying a bag of laundry.

Myron’s mom’s boyfriend is a possible suspect in his case. He was at the place where Myron bought his soda, and he is a violent man; he murdered two people in 2009 and is serving a 42-year prison sentence. But he has refused to be interviewed about Myron’s case so there’s not a lot to go on.

If still alive, Myron would be 48 today. He’s black and was about 5’5 or 5’6 in 1988 with a slender build, only about 110-ish pounds. He’s black and he has a half-inch scar on the right side of his head, and a lovely smile you can see in the photos.

MP of the week: Verna Richardson

This week’s featured missing person is Verna Marie Richardson, a 48-year-old grandmother who was last seen in Fort Myers, Florida on July 7, 1990. She had begun dating a guy named Alexander Smith, but broke up with him the summer she went missing and was trying to reconcile with her husband.

Smith took her from her home on the day of her disappearance, apparently against her will. Verna was last heard from when she placed a pay phone call to say Smith had kidnapped her, tied her up and beaten her. For some reason she chose to call a friend to tell them this, instead of 911. She was never heard from again and Smith later crashed her car and was arrested for drunk driving. Richardson was gone by then, but Smith still had her purse.

I think there’s a pretty strong presumption of foul play here. I wonder where Smith is now, or if he’s even still alive.

Verna had multiple health problems, including insulin-dependent diabetes, and she needed dialysis. Even if Smith didn’t kill her, she could not have survived long without needing medical assistance.

In the unlikely event she’s still alive, she’d be 80 today. She is black, pierced ears, and she’s missing her two front teeth. She’s 5’8 and at the time of her disappearance she weighed somewhere between 180 and 225 pounds.

MP of the week: Odell Vest

This week’s featured missing person is Odell Vest, a 21-year-old Native American man who was last seen at a house party in Towaoc, Colorado on July 10, 2000. Towaoc is a tiny town located on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation.

Odell is described as 5’11 and 245 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. No information about scars, tattoos, etc., is noted. If still alive, Odell would be 43 today.

Though little information is available on his disappearance, the authorities seem quite convinced he was murdered. They’ve even offered a $10k reward for information leading to a conviction.

Circumstances can be misleading

So, the now-resolved case of Desiree Thompson on the Charley Project used to start off like this:

Thompson was last seen in the 20900 block of 83rd Street in California City, California on January 7, 2012. In the early morning hours she had had a domestic violence incident with her estranged husband, Edward “Face” Gibson III, where he showed up at her door and pointed a shotgun at her.

At 10:00 a.m., Thompson’s mother tried to call her but was unable to reach her, and so came to her apartment. She found Thompson at home but very frightened, with furniture stacked against the apartment door. Thompson’s mother offered to take care of her children until Thompson could get the situation sorted.

Then later that day she disappeared, and so did her husband. It was sort of assumed, under the circumstances, that he must have kidnapped or murdered her. Certainly he sounds like a dangerous individual.

Well, the assumption was wrong. Edward Gibson may not be the nicest person, but he didn’t kill his wife. Desiree, it turns out, was the victim of a random predator who got mad at someone else and decided to take it out on her, a complete stranger whom he happened to see walking down the street minding her own business. Quite a disturbing story.

FBI publishes list of missing Native Americans

The FBI has put out this list of 170 Native American people listed as missing in New Mexico and throughout the Navajo Nation (which comprises 17.4 million acres in NE Arizona, NW New Mexico and SE Utah).

The list sometimes has pictures of the MP, although the way the PDF is formatted makes the pictures really small and not very helpful. It also has the MP’s date of birth and date of disappearance.

This list is quite helpful because it’s current and all these people are confirmed to be missing right now. Both NamUs and the New Mexico state database are absolutely terrible at removing resolved cases and I can’t really trust either source when I’m trying to verify that a person is in fact still missing. Regarding the New Mexico database, one time one missing person had like three or four separate, successive entries. He was a chronic runaway and would always turn up eventually. And he kept going missing, getting added to the NM database, not getting removed after he was found, then going missing again and getting another entry on the database. *facepalm*

I’m going to have to go down the list and start adding people to Charley, and adding dates of birth to the cases I already have.