I’ve got someone writing to me asking if I can add an MP who vanished from a military base in Okinawa, Japan. I’ve never encountered this issue before.
I’ve put an unofficial moratorium on posting cases of Americans who go missing abroad, but I realize that US military bases, as well as embassies, count as American soil wherever they’re at. But, regardless of what international law says, wherever this young woman is, it’s likely to be somewhere in Japan. And given the very, very long list of US cases I’ve got waiting to be posted, I just…don’t want to do this one.
What do y’all think?
Armenia is a small nation in the south Caucasus region, basically right in the doorway between Europe and Asia, with a population of three million and change. I don’t know much about it, other than that they are more or less perpetually in a state of war with their neighbor Azerbaijan. I read once that, in proportion to the population, Armenia has more PhDs than any other country in the world. Anyway, there’s enough Armenian-Americans on Charley to make a (short) list of them.
- Atinui Kevorkian
- Gregory James Kuljian
- Irma Mkrtchyan
- Martin Pogosian
- Alexander Haig Tafralian
[ADDENDUM: When I said I didn’t know much about Armenia, I meant modern Armenia, not the Armenia of a century ago, whose people underwent a dreadful ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Turks. That I do know something about, having read a few memoirs by survivors.]
This week’s featured missing person is Katheryne Mary Lugo, a beautiful little curly-haired four-year-old girl who vanished in 1994. Katheryne’s mother, Frances Moya, was pregnant at the time, and planned to break up with the unborn baby’s father, Misbah Kazi. She came home from work one day and Kazi told her he’d taken Katheryne and wouldn’t return her unless Frances gave him custody of their unborn child. Kazi was subsequently charged with kidnapping, but got acquitted for some reason. He’s in prison now for trying to kill another woman. He’s never revealed what happened to Katheryne.
If she is alive, Katheryne would be 26 years old next month.
Kojiro Asakura, a property assessor who slaughtered an entire family — mom, dad and three children under the age of ten — cause they wouldn’t move out of the house he bought. The sole survivor was the oldest child, who was away at camp. He committed his crime in 1983 but wasn’t executed until 2001. I guess it’s quite similar to the case of John Gilman from two weeks ago, except in Gilman’s case, the family he killed were living in their house legally.
Fun fact: in Japan, people on death row aren’t informed in advance of their execution date. They find out in the morning when the guard comes to their cell to say, “Today you die.” Their families aren’t informed either, until afterwards, when they get a call to come get the body. Seems kinda cruel and unusual to me.
I’ve got a story out of China: Chairman Mao’s wife, Yang Kaihui, who was executed by Mao’s enemies because they couldn’t get to him.
During my UTI-induced sabbatical, the following things happened:
As about twelve thousand people informed me by email, Chioma Gray has been found. At age fifteen she ran away to Mexico with her boyfriend, Andrew Tafoya, who’d already been convicted of statutory rape in her case. The case was classified as an abduction. Well, recently Chioma called home, then flew back and reunited with her loved ones after five years. She married Tafoya while they were in Mexico, his lawyer says.
There’s been some new activity in the Jill Troia case. Police have long suspected a presumed serial killer named David Parker Ray in her case and are looking for her body again. Jill was 22 when she disappeared from New Mexico in 1995.
Police have launched a new search for the body of Jessica O’Grady. She was 19, a college freshman and pregnant when she disappeared from Nebraska in 2006. Her boyfriend, Christopher Edwards, was later convicted of her murder. The cops are looking under Christopher’s father’s back patio.
I found this interesting article about people in Japan who are missing because of the tsunami. If they haven’t been found alive by now, chances are they’re dead and will never BE found. The Japanese government is taking steps to have such people be declared dead much earlier than usual, like the US did in the 9-11 attacks.
And I found yet another article about kids being kidnapped in China. It’s a long one, but very interesting and enlightening. It’s a very sad situation over there.
Nepal, a tiny county between India and China (home to one half of Mount Everest), had a civil war the last decade. Probably not many Americans know about it; probably a significant minority have never even HEARD of Nepal. But it, like its neighbor country Bhutan, has fascinated me for a long time now and I’d love to visit (not to climb Everest, though).
Anyway, I found some articles addressing the missing person problem in Nepal. Loads of people disappeared during the civil war and many still have not been found. All the headlines say “hundreds” are missing but that doesn’t explain the opening paragraph of one article:
Almost five years after the end of the decade-long insurgency in Nepal in which almost 14,000 people were killed, the status of more than 13,000 other people who went missing during that period is still unknown.
Um, 13,000 is not “hundreds.” Someone needs to check their math. Or maybe they meant to say 1300, in which case they need to check their typing.
Nepal: Families losing hope of meeting missing kin (Hindustan Times)
Hundreds still missing in Nepal after the end of its civil war in 2006 (World Tribune)
Five years after war, hundreds still missing in Nepal (Daiji World)
I know of a nonprofit organization, Next Generation Nepal, which works to reunite victims of human trafficking with their families. I read the founder’s memoir, Little Princes, and it was excellent. He was inspired to start the organization after he spent some time volunteering at a Nepalese orphanage and discovered that few, if any, of the children were actually orphans. They were in fact victims of trafficking and had families who were alive and trying to find them.
I found this article out of Spokane, Washington about three young refugees from Bhutan who have been missing since June 11: Krishna P. Dhakal, age 17, Krisha Lal Dital, age 21, and Dilli Ram Bhattarai, age 28. They were last seen together at a park after playing soccer. Krishna Dhakal and Dilli Bhattarai are cousins; Krishna Dital is a friend.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, they spent many years in refugee camps in Nepal and then moved to the United States two years ago. Krishna Dakal was a student at Lewis and Clark High School. I found clothing and vehicle descriptions here, and here’s a nice big picture of all three of them.
I’ve had a bit of a fascination with Bhutan ever since I had to do a report on the country in the sixth grade. (And there are just four degrees of separation between me and their current king: I knew a girl at college who knew a girl who went to Oxford with him.) I would love to visit there someday — hopefully after the current “ethnic tensions” and “political unrest” (such mild-sounding euphemisms for such nasty things!) subside.
I really hope these young men are alive and haven’t run into any trouble. The fact that all three disappeared together may be a good sign. I hope they contact their families soon.
I found this excellent, if brief Times of India article about missing kids in India. Of course children run away or get kidnapped there same as anywhere else, and India is such a huge place, with so many people, and so poor, that it’s even more difficult to find them than it is in more developed countries.
In India as in China, there’s a lot of human trafficking with kids being forced into slave labor making tchotchkes at five cents an hour for export abroad. I read a novel, Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth, about a child who was forced into a situation like that.