Time Magazine article about evaporated people

Last fall I blogged about a book I read about people in Japan who walk out of their lives and never come back. It’s called “evaporating.” It’s very common, said the book, common enough that there are businesses specifically made for these people, to help them flee.

The story did strike me as kind of surreal and TIME Magazine has published an article about it saying the same:

It was captivating. But early inquiries revealed that many in Japan doubted the veracity of Mauger’s reporting. “Most of us who saw [the story] found it unbelievable,” says Charles McJilton, a longtime expatriate resident of Japan… Parts of Mauger’s book are “fantasy at best,” McJilton tells TIME.

Later on:

A cultural prevalence of vanishing…is not reflected in the country’s official statistics. Japan’s National Police Agency registered around 82,000 missing persons in 2015 and noted that some 80,000 had been found by the end of the year. Only 23,000 of them had remained missing for more than a week and about 4,100 of them turned out to be dead. In Britain, which has about half the population of Japan, more than 300,000 calls were made to police in 2015 to report a missing person.

The Missing Persons Search Support Association of Japan (MPS), a non-profit set up to provide support to the families of the evaporated, argues that official numbers reflect under-reporting and are way too low. “The actual, unregistered number is estimated at several times 100,000,” claims the organization’s website.

The aforementioned businesses actually do exist, and are described in the article. TIME interviewed the owner of one such business. She charges

between ¥50,000 ($450) and ¥300,000 ($2,600) depending on the amount of possessions somebody wants to flee with, how far they’re going, and whether the move needs to happen under the cover of darkness. Taking along children, or evading debt collectors, can push prices higher.

Anyway, check out the article. It’s really cool.

Sigh… my old friend Contradictory Sources reappears

Tonight in my updates, for Emmanuel Cornelius Quarles, the various sources I found were giving his age as anywhere from 24 to 28 and claiming he was last seen in either a red car or a white truck. I think the vehicle discrepancy may be related to the unconfirmed sighting after he left Pendleton but I’m not sure. I’d love to get his actual date of birth from somewhere. NamUs said he was 26 to 27 years old, and I picked 27, because of the age of his older son, who was eight years old when he disappeared. Though it is by no means unheard of or even terribly uncommon for 24-year-old to have an eight-year-old child. Who knows? Not me.

Meanwhile, for Cynthia Ramirez Rico, her NamUs page says she disappeared on June 30, 1987, but the Abilene Crime Stoppers page listed the year as 1983. That issue was settled when I looked at the “investigating agency” section on NamUs and it said her case got entered into the computer on February 23, 1987 — that is, before her alleged date of disappearance. 1983 it was, then. But her age was a bigger mystery, because Crime Stoppers said she was 20 but NamUs said she was 25 to 26. Even given the date discrepancy that didn’t make sense. However, both NamUs and Crime Stoppers give her current age as 53, which would make her year of birth 1963 or 1964. To this end I decided to list her age as 20, because that would make sense with the 1983 year of disappearance.

Cynthia Rico disappeared from a group home for mentally disabled adults. It’s likely that she lived there, meaning it’s likely she was mentally disabled, but because I don’t know that for sure, I didn’t say she was. I just explained about the group home and left readers to draw their own conclusions.

Going through the FDLE database again

I’m going through the FDLE database (which has a new location btw) again, trying to find pictures for MPs which have none. Some of these MPs aren’t listed ANYWHERE except the FDLE, not even NamUs, and I aim to change that.

As I’ve said before, I’ve gotten pretty creative in finding sources for pictures. Today I’ll be posting at least one case where I got the MP’s pics off his own Facebook profile. There’s no news on this guy, he’s not in any other database — “few details are available” — but I’ve got pictures for him so up he goes.

It actually makes me really happy when I’m able to add a case that isn’t listed on any other major database. It’s providing valuable, even vital exposure for that MP’s case, and other people and databases can then take my information and use it as necessary.

Okay, this is weird

I go through the CDOJ missing persons database at least once a week, looking for new and updated cases. I’m going through it now and finding a LOT of cases have been added since last time. I’ve seen over 20 so far, and I’ve only looked under “voluntarily missing adults.”

Furthermore, many of the names and faces look strangely familiar: as if they’d been on the database before and had been removed. In fact, I KNOW that some of them have been; some of those names are of MPs who were later found dead, and are in Charley’s resolved cases section. Now they’re back on CDOJ.

I don’t see a pattern in terms of the law enforcement agency, but most of the “new” cases stem from the years 2009 to 2011.

I’m inclined to think that someone on CDOJ has made a big mistake and somehow put a bunch of outdated, resolved cases back in the system. I hope they fix this soon because it does no good for anyone.

A word about a certain “search and rescue service”

I posted about this on the Charley Project’s Facebook page yesterday, and I thought I’d blog about it too, because frankly it really makes me mad.

In yesterday’s updates I added one Dennis Frank Svoboda, who disappeared in 1996. He’s presumed drowned in a fishing accident. While researching his case I found several articles about International K-9 Search and Rescue Services, which is apparently the only for-profit SAR service in the world. It charges $200 an hour.

It turns out this SAR service is pretty shady. A lot of legitimate SAR services and law enforcement agencies won’t have anything to do with it. In an interview, the founder said it’s because people are jealous of his success, something I find unlikely. He also said his SAR dogs have a 97% success rate and other SAR dogs have only a 20% success rate.

I found a mention of Svoboda on the “drownings” section of its website:

96-668-024(C) 01-25-96 Cowlitz Co. Drowning X (2). Dennis Svoboda and Larry Mansur. Two missing fisherman. Missing X 4 days. Searched their favorite fishing holes. Very cold outside. Snowing in hills. Winds from West 0-5 MPH. Air temp..35f. Water 42F. One found by Valorie in 40 feet of water and one found in 60 feet of water. Grief therapy 1 hour with family after debriefing. (Note) Bodies were moved from their location. One by the current the other by water boat traffic-tug boat towing a barge.

Uh, no. Larry Mansur’s body was missing for months, not four days, before it turned up. And Svoboda is still missing. He’s on NamUs and on the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Department MP page and now he’s on Charley too.

I posted a comment on the SAR service’s Facebook page, on a post they made boasting of their “successes” (Svoboda was on the list); I said Svoboda had never been found. My comment got deleted.

It’s pretty disturbing. Stay away from these folks.