Article still stuck in editorial limbo, sigh

I emailed Jeremy, the Longreads reporter, to ask where my article was as I thought it would have been out by now. He had thought so too. This is what he said:

Hey Meaghan, good to hear from you! I’m still waiting for the editor to finish her first pass. (I’ve learned that if an editor says she’ll get back to me next week, she actually means in two to three weeks.) I still anticipate an August publication date though. I’m excited to see the piece go up—and nervous, of course, since I hope you’ll like it.

I’ll keep you posted once I know more. In fact, I’ll probably check in with the editor on Monday just to see how things are going on her end.

*muttergrumbles, champs bit*

Sigh, there are things people should know

I read a really long article that was recently published about a nearly twenty-year-old case of a missing child and learned a lot about her case that I hadn’t previously known. Not so much the details of disappearance, mind. There isn’t much: she just vanished into thin air basically, there are no leads and no suspects, and if anyone saw anything they’re not talking.

What I learned was some crucial physical/medical information. Such as the following:

  1. She had a malfunctioning bladder and, at the age of eight, still had to wear Pull-Ups (disposable, absorbent underpants which are normally worn by toddlers in the toilet training stage).
  2. Her kidneys didn’t work right either and she’d had to have surgery on them at least once. (I spoke to a relative on Facebook and she told me more details about this, saying the right kidney was underdeveloped from birth.)
  3. One of her kneecaps was out of place and she had to wear a leg brace as a result. (The relative I spoke to confirmed she was still wearing the leg brace when she disappeared.)
  4. Because of her state of health, the police don’t think she would have survived to adulthood without continuing medical treatment.

But what I want to know is: where was this information before now? The girl is listed on both the NCMEC and NamUs and neither source says doodly squat about any of this. In fact it never came out at all before now, as far as I can determine.

If you ask me, it should have. This is pretty important information. I mean, if they find a body somewhere, an eight-year-old girl wearing Pull-Ups, that would be a huge thing right away. And if they find skeletal remains with no clothes or anything left, there’s that thing with the kneecap.

People need to KNOW these things. They shouldn’t have to wait almost 20 years for this information to come out.

Yeah, so it seems everyone hates the possible new background

Yeah, only 23% of the people liked the new background idea and those that didn’t like it seemed to really hate it. I liked reading the comments — especially the “pug that’s on drugs” one, that made me giggle a little.

What no one seems to realize is my current background image is a row of actual pictures of MPs from the Charley Project, except made black and white and then super pale and then with a cloud filter placed over them. I didn’t want the faces to be recognizable, but it seems I went a bit further than intended and they’re not even recognizable as faces.

Website background

From time to time, people have complained that the background on the Charley Project’s website (which isn’t on the casefiles but is on every other page) is a tad bit busy and makes the text hard to read.

Towards the end of fixing this problem, I have put together a prototype of a more readable version of the site. I didn’t change much: I just inverted the colors of the background image (making the light colors dark and vice versa), changed the main text color from black to white, and make the dark green headline text a lighter apple-green so it was more visible against a dark background. The top headline banner remained the same, because the drawings of Charley Ross on each side looked a bit creepy when the dark outlines were changed to light.

You can see my new template idea here. I used the Charley Project’s FAQ page.

So what do y’all think? Should I implement this as-is? Do you want some other change made? Or are you happy with things as they are right now?

Yay, NCMEC added an old runaway case!

NamUs has the case of Tebble Anita Garrett, with a reasonable amount of detail — tattoo description, several aliases, was pregnant — but there was (and is, as of this writing) no photo on the casefile. In January I was able to get a photo of her from Newspapers.com and so I added her to Charley, but the photo was a few years out of date — Tebble, it seems, had been a chronic runaway, and the photo I had was from an article about one of her disappearances two or three years prior to 1988.

But yay, the NCMEC has just put up a poster for her! With another photo, presumably more recent!

(And the poster, I note, has a different listed date and place of Tebble’s disappearance than NamUs does. Sometimes NamUs gives the date a person was reported missing as the date of disappearance — they’re hardly the only source that does that either. Given Tebble’s status as a chronic runaway, it’s possible her family didn’t report her missing for six weeks because they expected her to return on her own. Or it’s possible they didn’t report her missing at first, then couldn’t quite remember when she was last seen. Or it’s possible she disappeared from Easley, South Carolina on September 7, then was sighted in Pickens, South Carolina on October 18. The cities are only seven to ten miles apart, after all.)

Anyway. I’m so happy they added her. Tebble’s been missing for almost thirty years now and I really LOVE IT when the NCMEC adds new-old cases. It makes my day, actually. Especially new-old cases I haven’t heard of before. Recently they did Henrietta Geck Cruz Avila, and I was able to get some additional info from the Newspapers.com archive (I LOVE THAT ARCHIVE, thanks for paying for the subscription, you-know-who-you-are) about her case. It reminds me a bit of Beverly Sharpman‘s.

Anyway. Thanks, NCMEC.

MP of the week: Patricia Santos

(Yeah, I know, I’ve been a total slacker lately. For some reason my back has been hurting me a lot sitting on my computer chair. But I feel better today and hope, God willing, to return to work tomorrow. A lot of MP stuff has happened. As usual.)

This week’s featured MP is Patricia Santos, who disappeared from Worcester, Massachusetts on May 20, 2009. She had a history of drug addiction, but had been clean for two years when she disappeared and had a job at a women’s recovery program. It seems likely that her ex-boyfriend knows more about her case than he says — domestic violence rears its ugly head again.