Native American Heritage Month: Tom John

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 Tom John, a 59-year-old Yupik man who disappeared from his tiny Alaskan village, Newtok, on March 26, 2017.

When I was researching John’s case, I discovered that Newtok itself is disappearing. It’s right on the ocean, and due to climate change, water levels are rising, and the permafrost is no longer permanently frozen, which is causing the land to sink. Newtok is being reclaimed by the sea and will probably be gone entirely in the next decade or so. The entire village will have to evacuate or they will all drown.

This is a problem many Alaskan villages are facing, or will face in the near future. Al Jazeera actually did a half-hour documentary about Newtok and other villages with this issue, titled When the Water Took the Land. Unfortunately, the villagers are kind of screwed, because moving the village elsewhere is going to cost millions of dollars, which they don’t have, and there’s no government program set up to help climate refugees.

Tom John himself, as a village administrator, was interviewed for this documentary (in 2015, about a year and a half prior to his disappearance) and said he thought the new village the Newtok residents planned to build would probably take about twenty years to get fully operational. And they don’t have that kind of time.

In this documentary they talk about how, because the sea ice is melting, the ocean has become much rougher and more dangerous than it used to be. Waves are bigger and stronger. Storms are more intense and destructive.

It got me back to thinking about Tom John’s disappearance. He went out seal hunting and never came back. They found a seal carcass and his snow machine, but no sign of John or his kayak.

Obviously he met with some mishap at sea, and I had to wonder if it was because his task was made all that much more difficult by the rougher ocean and the lack of sea ice. (The fact that he was operating a new kayak he was unfamiliar with cannot have helped.) Tom John’s disappearance may have been indirectly caused by climate change.

Hmm… I wonder…

So Adolfo Orozco-Razo, age 16, disappeared from North Augusta, South Carolina on February 24, 2017. He’s classified as a runaway. Then two months later on April 27, and only about seventeen miles away in Aiken, thirteen-year-old Irma Orozco-Razo disappears; she’s also listed as a runaway.

It’s hard to tell from the photos, as Adolfo’s is not of the greatest quality, but I’m guessing these two are siblings.

And in other news, I found yet another person listed as missing on the NCMEC who was found quite awhile go. I’m not sure when she was located, but she was killed in a hit-and-run accident in March.

Sigh. They haven’t removed one of the previous ones I pointed out wasn’t missing anymore; I don’t see the point of calling this in.

I think I might have set a record for “smallest part of a person recovered”

I found out the other day that they discovered an itty bitty piece of Richard William Moss‘s body: a single vertebra (one of the sections of your spine) not far from where his car turned up a little over a year ago.

I think this is the smallest partial remains recovered where I resolved a case. I have a case up where they found a woman’s finger, but you can easily live without that.

Frankly I’m surprised they found even that much of Moss. He accidentally ran his car off a cliff in coastal California known as the Devil’s Slide in May 2017, but the accident wasn’t witnessed and no one realized what had happened until July. The rest of him has presumably been claimed by the ocean.

Moss isn’t the only person on Charley who met his end at the Devil’s Slide. In 1945, a 14-year-old girl named Thora Chamberlain was murdered and thrown off there. They never found her body, only her socks, wedged in the cliff face. Her murderer was identified, confessed and was executed.

Does anyone know when this woman disappeared?

So both NamUs and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office give Chelsey Coe’s disappearance as July 1, 2017. I found this article her mom reported her missing in July after last hearing from her in June, but then this article saying she was last seen in August and her mom last heard from her in “June or July.”

If Chelsey disappeared in June, I can post her now, and I’ll be able to post her either now or soon if she disappeared in July. But if she went missing in August this case will have to wait at least another month.

Since she was last known to be living with some man whom I gather is a suspect in her case (they did search his yard with ground-penetrating radar after all), perhaps no one knows precisely when she went missing.

Help?

Pride Month: Thomas Pittman

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 Thomas Clyde Pittman, a 55-year-old gay man who disappeared from Huntington, Texas on May 18, 2017. One year, one month and five days ago.

Pittman’s case is one of those all-too-common ones where he seems to have vanished into thin air. All his belongings were left behind, including his car, and he had been planning to move into his dying mother’s home to help care for her so it seems unlikely he would have walked away.

(This is what happens when you don’t preschedule posts. I’m sorry for the missed postings. I will do better.)

Thinking aloud about some of yesterday’s cases

I will add cases of MPs who are also wanted for some crime or other on a case-by-case basis. Loutonia Alexander has a warrant for his arrest for failure to appear in court on a minor weed charge, and it seems unlikely he’s been hiding since 2006 just because of that.

Sometimes I am a bit leery. Pricella Williams is, for example, listed on the FDLE database as a missing person, so I added her. But I’m pretty sure she’s not so much “missing” as “on the run.” If you Google her name — and make sure to search for Pricella, not Priscilla — the results are, shall we say, interesting. And the cops were seeking to have her designated a habitual offender, meaning she was facing some serious prison time.

Nevertheless, she is listed as a missing person with FDLE, and so I put her up on Charley. It’s entirely on the cards that she hung out with some bad people and something bad happened to her.

I found this PDF of Indiana missing persons and wound up adding dates of birth to loads of cases yesterday. I didn’t note this on the updates page cause that was too insignificant an update in my opinion. I did discover, based off those DOBs, that several of the listed ages on these people’s NamUs page are wrong.

I Googled names from the PDF, trying to get photos of these people so I could add them to Charley. I added several from Fort Wayne, where I live. Ryan Baughman‘s case struck me as pretty sad. On his Facebook page you can see he has two young kids. In his final post, six weeks before his disappearance, he wrote:

baughman

I can certainly understand why Ryan’s family believes he may have ODed or may have met with foul play. The reference to Hells Angels is worrying, though I’m not sure if he literally meant he was involved with them.

I wish I could find a Facebook page for Derrell Sims. I looked but didn’t see one. I really would like some more photos of them because they were apparently taken before he got the face tattoo. Personal Facebook pages of people are great sources of photos, and also tattoos — they often post photos of them, like “Hey, new ink, check it out.”

*Facepalm* *Headdesk*

Yeah, it just came to my attention that little La’Shyra Dotson, who disappeared one year and one week ago from Columbus, Ohio at the age of ELEVEN, is classified as a runaway by the NCMEC.

WHY? Why is a kid who had barely reached the double-digit years, and who has been missing for a full year, been written off as a runaway?

Even if she did run away, the chances that she’s been trafficked or is living in some other similarly horrid situation are very high. That poor girl.

I’ve gone and added her on to Charley. It’s the only thing I can do.