What’s going on in MP news

I took a short break from Charley, and the internet in general. I didn’t even go on my computer for like two days. And then this morning I logged on to find like 87 emails. Most of them, fortunately, didn’t merit immediate attention.

The missing-for-a-decade-but-not-reported-till-now Bryant children have an NCMEC poster now. I suppose I will add them to Charley then. They will be part of a relatively exclusive group — very few children on Charley were missing for years without anyone telling the police. Austin and Edward Bryant make two more.

There’s an article on Fred Charles Moseley, who disappeared from Canyon, Texas in 1998, at the age of seventeen. He might have been a runaway, but the circumstances of his disappearance are kind of weird, and in any case it’s highly unusual for a runaway to go without contact for this long. He would be 30 years old today.

There’s also an article on John Leonard Adams, whose case I resolved a few weeks ago. (You can find him on Resolved Cases 71.) I wrote about John before. He had schizophrenia and, like many of those so afflicted, drifted away from his family. He was identified earlier this month as a John Doe in Pennsylvania. I hadn’t heard before how he died, though. The article says his death was apparently an accident; he was hit by a train. At least it was quick, is all I can say, and at least he wasn’t murdered.

The Las Cruces Sun-News has done an article on Victor Trejo, who was 14 when he disappeared from there in 1986. He belonged to a gang and the authorities believe he probably met with foul play, but it’s possible he just ran away and is alive somewhere.

There’s an anniversary article about Taj Narbonne, who disappeared 30 years ago today. I always took somewhat more of an interest in Taj than other cases because he comes from Leominster, Massachusetts, home of the great author-god Robert Cormier. Anyway, the article has lots of new information. The police are looking really hard on his stepdad, who was abusive to Taj and definitely a violent individual, but the investigation is stymied for lack of evidence.

(Thanks to Jamie for sending me those articles.)

John Leonard Adams and schizophrenia

Jamie sent me this article about John Leonard Adams, a man who was listed on Charley until I resolved his case last month. He had been listed as missing from New Mexico since 1997. No one knows what happened over the next four years, but in October 2001 he was found dead of head trauma (accident? homicide? doesn’t say) in Pennsylvania and buried in a potter’s field as a John Doe. He was identified by fingerprints and his body has been returned to his family in Washington.

John Adams had schizophrenia and this is what lead to his disappearance. It can be somewhat controlled with medication, but a lot of schizophrenics resist taking medicine because (A) they “lack insight” in the psychiatric parlance, meaning they don’t realize they’re sick and (B) the side effects on the anti-psychotic drugs are often really terrible. John apparently couldn’t think when he was taking his meds, and there can be some bad physical side effects too, like drooling. And on top of it all, the drugs usually don’t work all that well.

There are a lot of schizophrenics listed on Charley. I did a search for the word and turned up 1,700 results. I should note, though, that back before around 1980, “schizophrenia” was often used as a catch-all term for many mental illnesses, especially those involving psychosis. There are a lot of people who were diagnosed with schizophrenia in the sixties and seventies who would today be diagnosed with depression, or a personality disorder, etc.

In any case it is a terrible illness, probably the worst mental illness you can get. People with schizophrenia have a very high rate of suicide. They often end up in jail, not because they are violent or inherently criminal but because the mental health system is broken and they can’t get help. Like, a psychotic person standing on the sidewalk yelling to the voices in his head might get arrested for disturbing the peace. It seems especially tragic when you have a gifted young person — as John Adams was — cut down by this disease in the prime of life. It usually strikes people in their teens or twenties. I have heard of people sort of “outgrowing” the illness and more or less stabilizing once they become elderly — if they live that long.

I wonder if anyone has done a study to see how many people who get reported missing have schizophrenia or some other severe mental illness. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was at five or ten times the rate in the general population.