I wonder if anyone at NamUs would fix this

I can’t do it, but it would be really great, and make NamUs more user-friendly, if people would round up all the cases from each city (say, San Francisco, California) and make sure they’re listed under the city of San Francisco, California and nowhere else.

I decided, on a whim, to do San Francisco cases today. And this is what happens when I try to type “San Francisco” into the appropriate slot in the form:

sanfranc

I’m having to check all those misspelled ones and the ones in all capital letters or no capital letters see if there’s anyone listed under there. Sometimes there is, but sometimes there isn’t.

They really all ought to be listed under just “San Francisco” and nowhere else. I’m just sayin’. And other cities have the same problem. Here’s two other examples:

tampa

phoenix

Black History Month: Nicole Cearo

In honor of Black History Month I’m profiling one African-American MP every day on this blog for the month of February. Today’s case is Nicole Sherese Cearo, a 20-year-old pregnant woman who disappeared from Seattle, Washington on March 30, 2009.

Nicole’s disappearance was the subject of excellent, in-depth coverage by the podcast Under the Redline, and various people close to the case were interviewed. Unfortunately, as far as I can determine, the Under the Redline podcast is no longer extant. (Which is a shame; it was really good.) But I was able to get most of their information onto Nicole’s page.

This is one of those cases where it is manifestly obvious what happened, and well-known in the community, it’s just that the police don’t think they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. I am sorry for it; Nicole deserves justice.

Boy, I am tired of doing other people’s jobs

It’s got to the point where, when I start looking at the people on NamUs who went missing just over a year ago and can now be added to Charley, or at the runaways listed on the NCMEC (most of which are missing two years before I add them to Charley), I am initially unsure whether these people are REALLY missing or not. I would estimate 10% of the time or sometimes more, those people were found long ago and have just not been removed from the databases. A simple Google search will reveal that these people are not missing.

Given how well-funded and famous both NamUs and the NCMEC are, this is really inexcusable. I should not have to be checking on this; they should be at least reliable enough that the people they say as missing are, in fact, missing. I have written before about the real-life consequences this could lead to for the no-longer-missing person.

Honestly I don’t think it’s appropriate for NamUs to have people added that only disappeared a couple of days ago. It’s very unlikely that the NamUs database can assist in cases as recent as that, and very likely that the person will turn up one way or another, and often when that happens, for whatever reason they don’t get taken off NamUs and a year or more later they’re still on there.

I don’t know why it happens, whether it’s lack of money, lack of staff, some kind of bureaucratic tangle, just plain laziness, or what. I don’t know that much about the inner workings of NamUs or the NCMEC. I just know that this is completely unacceptable and a waste of everyone’s time and effort.

There’s nothing I can do about it, I suppose, and NamUs and the NCMEC definitely don’t listen to me, seeing as how I’ve been complaining about this issue for months. Just wanted to vent. Again.

Go home winter, you’re drunk

With the polar vortex turning the entire Midwest colder than Antarctica, I worry about the many missing people out there who may be wandering around the country homeless.

I know homeless people tend to be pretty self-reliant and lot of major cities have taken all sorts of initiatives to protect their homeless communities, but it is never going to be entirely enough. I mean, where I’m at, the wind chill is like -30 or so and I’m afraid to even take Kinsey out to pee, never mind try to spend the night outside.

I’ve already read of one case of a missing man apparently dying of hypothermia.

I wanted to mention a really good Facebook group, Missing and Homeless, which is specialized for missing and vulnerable people who are believed to possibly be somewhere among the homeless community.

Stay warm tonight, everybody.

General update on things

So the day before yesterday I discovered Dark Matters on YouTube. You can thank Caleigh Elise for most of the updates I did yesterday. Her video summaries of unsolved murders and missing persons cases and unidentified remains are in depth, well-researched and professionally done. From her research I discovered some factual errors on a few of my cases and corrected them.

Preston Winfrey, my designer, has fixed the drop-down search results on the general search (bad plugin update apparently) so the bar no longer goes blank and stops working if you scroll down. He has also improved the advanced search, fixing a bug that wouldn’t let you search multiple phrases.

Yesterday I got a shocking response from a woman whose sister was on my site. She sent me messages through email and Facebook and we spoke over Facebook messenger. She said I had no right to post about the MP, I had no permission from my family, and everything I had posted was “such baloney.”

I explained who I was and what the Charley Project is and asked what corrections needed to be made. She said the MP was reported missing by her husband; I had had it as her brother. Okay, I said, I will fix that (and did so), what else?

Well, I asked several times but she never said there was any other incorrect information, just kept yelling at me, saying their mom was very upset by seeing the casefile and it was against the law for me to write about missing persons without permission from the family. I told her this was not true.

I do not know what was bothering her, because besides that quite minor error there was absolutely nothing objectionable in the MP’s casefile, nothing that could be construed as remotely critical or judgmental or intrusive. I don’t think the woman’s anger or her mother’s distress had anything to do with me really.

I know I have written and spoken about this kind of reaction several times but it doesn’t happen often at all; most relatives who reach out to me are polite and respectful and appreciate my efforts. I got a really nice email from Morgan Nick‘s mom last month. It’s just that whenever I do get family members who claim I did something wrong or hurtful it’s upsetting to me. But some people just react differently and they are in a bad situation so I try not to take it personally.

Shrug.

I’m doing pretty well right now and everyone’s fine where I’m at: Michael, cats, dogs. Kinsey’s fifteenth birthday was earlier this week and we had her wear a party hat and gave her an Arby’s roast beef sandwich as we sang the birthday song.