MP of the week: Ginger Sutherland

This week’s featured missing person is Ginger Anne Sutherland, who disappeared on June 16, 1988, less than a week after her twentieth birthday. She was in Fresno,Texas and may have been en route to Panama City, Florida — a distance of over 650 miles. Beyond that, hers is a “few details” case and foul play is possible.

I can’t find anything more about this case online than what I’ve already got up. Shame. Surely Ginger has got to have a family out there somewhere, maybe even kids — she’s got two girls’ names tattooed on her arm.

MP of the week: Andrew Brown

This week’s featured missing person is Andrew Lee Brown. I have almost zilch on his case, which is really sad when you consider that he was only 18 months old when he disappeared. It was on July 24, 1987 in Colquitt, Georgia, a small town and county seat of Miller County, in the southwestern part of the state.

I have never been able to find anything about Andrew in news archives. Of course a name like “Andrew Brown” doesn’t exactly help matters. For what it’s worth, the NCMEC classifies his case as a non-family abduction.

If Andrew is still alive, he would be 31 today.

Select It Sunday: Leon Moncer

This week’s Select It Sunday case was chosen by Julie W.: it’s her father, Leon Arthur Moncer, who disappeared from Bellaire, Ohio at the age of 21. It was February 18, 1982 — 35 years ago yesterday.

Leon’s case has a number of odd aspects to it — some indications of foul play, but also indications that he may have just left on his own. He has been declared legally dead, but his family still hopes for answers.

(And can I have some more Select It Sunday suggestions? I’m running dry.)

Flashback Friday: Eva West

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Eva Susan West, a 28-year-old who disappeared from Oklahoma City on June 14, 1985. After her disappearance made the news, Eva’s mom got a call from someone saying she was all right, but this was never confirmed and her mom never actually spoke to the caller. The police don’t think Eva is all right, and they think drugs could be a factor.

A stray thought

I was going over some old cases and NCMEC cases and stuff (and phoned in a tip to their hotline; I found a missing kid’s equally missing mother on Facebook) and noticed that on Amber Crum‘s casefile I’d written,

In 1986, investigators checked the fingerprints of a girl who was abandoned in California that same year. The girl matched Amber’s general physical description and was about the right age. Their fingerprints did not match, however.

I wonder, now, if that abandoned little girl was Denise Beaudin‘s child, Dawn/Lisa? Dawn was about the same age as Amber would have been, and she was abandoned in California in 1986.

I suppose I’ll probably never know. But it seems moderately likely.

Flashback Friday: Darron Glass

For Flashback Friday I’ve got Darron Glass, a ten-year-old who disappeared from his Atlanta foster home on September 14, 1980. He’s presumed to be a victim of the Atlanta Child Killer, the only one whose body was never found.

I don’t know much about the Atlanta Child Murders, but I do know that some people don’t believe Wayne Williams, the prime suspect who’s in prison for two of the killings, is guilty. According to this commenter on my blog, it’s possible Darron Glass was found deceased long ago and his body was misidentified as one of the other victims.

Yates girls found safe after 31 1/2 years

This has been all over the news so chances are you’ve heard it already: one of my oldest family abductions, the 1985 case of ten-month-old Kelly Ann Yates and her big sister, 3-year-old Kimberly Ann Yates, has been solved. The girls, who are of course now adults, turned up alive and well in Texas.

I haven’t removed their casefiles yet; you can still read them for now. This article from the Providence Journal also provides a really good grounding in the case.

And I want to address an issue that has come up time and time again in family abduction cases, particularly cases where the children were taken by their mothers: the assumption so many people make that the abductor must have been “saving” the children from an unfit and/or abusive parent.

Several of the news articles (such as this one) have brought up the fact that, before Elaine Yates took the children and vanished, there was a domestic argument between herself and Russell, and he struck her. However, if you check out my casefiles for the girls, I include the information that, according to Russell, he only kicked his wife in self-defense after she attacked him first and struck him several times.

I’ve had people being like “How do you know that’s really true” and “How do you know that’s the ONLY incident, maybe there was more.”

I don’t know. That’s the thing. But just because I don’t know does not mean I am going to assume, based on a single incident that did not result in charges and that may have been self-defense, that Russell was an abusive husband and father.

What is DEFINITELY true is that Elaine committed a serious crime and put Russell through a lot of pain and grief for the past 30+ years. Elaine’s offense is much worse than Russell’s offense, which was basically simple assault.

Elaine will get a chance to tell her side of the story in time, but until then, I am a bit sickened by how some people people are automatically giving her the benefit of doubt. People don’t generally do this for most other crimes. Someone commented on my Facebook page about this case saying “some people do this [kidnap their own children] for a good reason.” Well, sometimes people who rob banks do it for a good reason — perhaps they have seven children and no food in the kitchen and they’re behind on the mortgage and about to be turned out of house and home into the frozen cold, and they really, really need the money. But nobody makes such remarks in response to news stories about bank robbery.

I cannot speak specifically on the Yates case because I don’t have all the facts. What I can say is this: in most family abduction cases, the abducting parent is not trying to protect the child or give it a better home. Most abducting parents take their children in order to spite the other parent. They hate their ex and want to hurt them in the worst way possible, by taking away the most precious thing in their lives.

Furthermore, parental abduction is child abuse. Most of the victims are lied to, told that the left-behind parent is dead or doesn’t want them anymore. In many cases the children are shifted from pillar to post, forced to live a lie, use false names, etc. Many times they don’t have access to education or health care while they’re missing, aren’t allowed to have friends, aren’t allowed to live a normal childhood.

I hope Kelly and Kimberly Yates prove willing to at least give their father a chance to get to know them again. That’s most important. I think it’s also important, though, that they follow through with prosecuting Elaine. I don’t think people should be allowed to get away with this sort of thing. The fact that it’s been thirty years does not lessen the gravity of what she did.