A bad photo is better than none at all (and other thoughts on recent updates)

Just added Amanda Elise Southern to Charley. The 28-year-old woman disappeared from a nightclub in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana 26 years ago. Unfortunately the only photo I could find of her is absolutely terrible, but what can you do?

Reading the articles about how her ex tried to SELL THEIR KIDS (albeit to their grandparents) after her disappearance, I was struck by how much confidentiality and privacy norms have changed in the past few decades.

I can understand publicizing the kids’ information because for awhile they were missing. (When Amanda’s parents refused to pay for custody of the children, the dad took off with them and was on the lam for over a month.) But then when in the articles talking about how they were found, there was all sorts of information about the children and what they had been through, including the fact that they were believed to have been sexually abused. That kind of thing would not be published in the newspaper today.

I hope the kids are all right. I think Amanda’s parents got custody of them after they were found with their father. It seems super unlikely that she would have just walked away, what with one of the kids having disabilities, her parents living out of state and the children’s father overseas.

Some other random thinking-out-loud stuff:

  • I am not sure that Courtney Corrinna Holden is really white. She is pretty dark-skinned and looks more likely to be Hispanic or maybe Native American. Certainly I’ve seen mistakes in this area before. She is adopted, but one article mentions that she was in touch with her biological brother, so it seems like this is something the police should know for sure. Shrug.
    In any case, her story is incredibly sad. Especially the details about her family nickname “Cinderella” and her son calling his grandmother “mom” and his uncle “dad.” The articles I read said her son even did this before Courtney went missing. I cannot imagine how sad and scared and trapped Courtney must have felt, and I doubt she’s alive today.
  • The guy Melissa Ann Jordon was last seen with is SERIOUSLY bad news. Judges see a lot of crazy stuff and I was stuck by that judge saying Mr. Nesbitt was one of the most violent and dangerous criminals she’d ever encountered in her career. The “felon in possession of a firearm” thing was something he pled down to, by the way; the original incident involved him breaking into his ex-wife’s house and holding her at gunpoint.
    Given how long his sentence is, I wonder if the authorities have ever tried to sit down with him since he was imprisoned, pointed out he doesn’t have much to lose, and asked him to tell what happened to Melissa. I’m sure he knows.
    (Melissa’s NamUs photo, btw, is a high school yearbook photo and almost ten years out of date. That’s why I didn’t use it, as I found a more current pic in Newspapers.)
  • I dunno what I would do without Facebook as a source for recent cases. Okay, I do know what I’d do, I’d put up the cases, but there would be a lot less info. The case of Melissa Rose Ann Garrett is a great example; her daughter posted a bunch of photos of her and more info about her disappearance. Sad story. The daughter seems to suspect Melissa’s boyfriend may have been involved. Anne Marie Hubbert is another case where most of the pictures and some of the other info came from Facebook; Anne’s page and her daughter’s.
  • Shakeeta Young disappeared just a few months after her nineteen-year-old son died. I found a few “RIP” posts on Facebook from some of the young man’s friends but no mention of a cause of death. I wonder if Shakeeta’s disappearance is in some way related. It’s very sad for their family, just bad luck all around there.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Victor Ramirez

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Victor Mora Saul Ramirez, who disappeared from Huntington Park, California on January 3, 2012, at the age of twenty.

Ramirez may use the first name Saul, or the last name Mora. He may be driving a 1993 Chrysler Concorde with the California license plate number 3CTX681. If still alive, he’d be 28 today. I don’t have anything else on him.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Nora Aguayo-Flores

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Nora Aguayo-Flores, a black/Hispanic woman who disappeared from Pasadena, Texas on May 26, 2012. She was 28 years old, and if still alive would be 36 today.

Unfortunately I don’t know much about the circumstances of Nora’s disappearance. I do have some information on her many tattoos, including photos of three of them.

MP of the week: Charles Dart

This week’s featured missing person is Charles Christopher Dart, a fifty-year-old disabled veteran who disappeared from Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 25, 2012. The car he was driving turned up inoperable and abandoned in Florida. Dart apparently rented another vehicle afterwards, and never returned it.

There’s been no indication of his or the rented car’s whereabouts since then, and Dart hasn’t used his VA benefits either.

Black History Month: Tyran Reed

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 Tyran Jamal Reed, a 24-year-old man who disappeared from Fort Worth,Texas on October 28, 2012. He was last seen getting into a Chevy Suburban with an unidentified man.

As in KaRhonda Stringfellow’s case, this is one where I have almost no info on Tyran’s disappearance, but a little info on his life before then. It’s a pretty good bet that Tyran is the father of these twin boys, both also named Tyran Reed, who were either stillborn or died in the first hours of life in 2010. The obituary mournfully notes the survivors as “Mother, Victoria Jordan and Tyran Jamal Reed Sr.; other relatives; and the friends we never made.”

That obituary, and several prior arrests, are the only traces I can find of Tyran Reed. I wonder if he might be unidentified in some other part of Texas or the U.S. He has several distinctive tattoos.

Native American Heritage Month: Harlan Dennis

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Harlan James Dennis, a 42-year-old who disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona on February 14, 2012. I do not know his tribal info.

Harlan was last seen at his mother’s home in the early morning hours. Although he was transient, he did keep in touch with his family. None of them have heard from him in over six years.

Native American Heritage Month: Gene Cloud

In honor of Native American Heritage Month I’m featuring a Native American missing person for every day in the month of November. Today’s missing person is Gene Jacob Cloud Jr., a 20-year-old member of the Ho-Chunk Tribe who disappeared from Jackson County in west central Wisconsin on January 25, 2012.

When I went to the Wisconsin Missing Persons Awareness event in 2015, Gene’s family was there, dressed in their traditional tribal regalia and jewelry. I don’t think they showed up in later years, though.

So Gene got the borrowed car he was driving stuck in a ditch, and when a police officer offered to help him, he ran away, possibly because he had a few outstanding warrants for his arrest on minor charges. He was never seen again.

Searchers subsequently tracked his footprints for three miles through deep snow, and then search dogs traced his scent back to the road, where the trail stopped, suggesting Gene got into a vehicle. His family doesn’t think he left voluntarily, because his girlfriend was pregnant with their child and Gene was trying to become more responsible, such as by going back to school.

I have to wonder if he just didn’t get too far from civilization when he ran from the police that day, and got into trouble. The weather in Wisconsin in the winter is brutal, and it doesn’t look like he was properly dressed to be running miles through the snow.

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Keyla Contreras

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month I’m featuring a Hispanic missing person every day from September 15 to October 15. Today’s case is Keyla Contreras, a biracial Hispanic and African-American eighteen-year-old who disappeared from Manhattan on January 13, 2012.

Keyla’s case is concerning because she’s deaf and mute — meaning she can’t speak intelligibly and only communicates with sign language. Obviously that makes her extremely vulnerable. She left her home in the Spanish Harlem area at 7:00 a.m., perhaps to go to work or school, and vanished.

Unfortunately I know very little about her disappearance. Even the Whereabouts Still Unknown blog, known for its wonderful research, couldn’t find much on her.

MP of the week: Latrice Armstead

This week’s featured missing person is Latrice Shay Armstead, a 38-year-old woman who disappeared from Memphis, Tennessee on July 28, 2012. A few days later, her car was found abandoned and burned in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

It seems likely that Armstead’s estranged husband was behind her disappearance. They were in the process of a divorce and she had a restraining order against him, but he was seen twice with her on the day she disappeared.

Pride Month: Dashad “Sage” Smith

In honor of Pride Month I’m featuring a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer missing person every day for the month of June. Today’s case is Dashad Laquinn Smith, who not long before her disappearance had started using a new name, Sage. Sage was last seen in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 20, 2012, just weeks before her twentieth birthday.

It took me awhile to figure out Sage’s identity. The original articles about her said she sometimes dressed as a woman but specifically said she wasn’t trans. However, this feature article explains that Sage, who had previously identified as a gay man, had started identifying as a transgender woman. So here we are.

Sage’s life wasn’t easy.  It isn’t easy for most trans people, particularly trans women of color. She spent time in foster care in childhood after her mom was deemed unfit. Her apartment was paid for by the state because of the foster care thing, but she was working minimum wage jobs and barely getting by. She was studying cosmetology and dreamed of better things.

Not that much is known about Sage’s disappearance, because the person of interest in her case, Erik McFadden, the last person known to have seen her, went on a runner and hasn’t popped back up yet in five and a half years. Hmm…

It doesn’t look good. McFadden isn’t the only person of interest — some of Sage’s other acquaintances seem sketchy — but you have to wonder what is compelling him to stay out of sight for this long. And meanwhile, Sage has a loving family who misses her very much.