People’s judgmental attitude in internet comments sometimes drives me mad

I often interact with the people who comment on stuff I post on the Charley Project’s Facebook page; I consider it my duty, as the admin of that page, to do so, and also I usually enjoy discussing things with them. We are, after all, talking about items of mutual interest. But sometimes people just… argh.

I put up an article recently written about the Bianca Noel Piper case (the article was of the “we’re still looking for” variety, nothing new), and immediately a bunch of commenters started saying awful things about her mother for making her go on that walk back to their house so she could chill out and deal with her anger. One of them even accused the mother of “abandoning” Bianca.

Well, here are the facts:

  1. The walk was about a mile. That’s not very far. It may seem like a long way since everyone is accustomed to driving these days, but a person Bianca’s size and age can walk a mile in ten or fifteen minutes.
  2. It was a rural area, not a big city.
  3. Bianca’s mother cooperated fully with the investigation and is not a suspect in her case.
  4. Bianca’s mother, by making her go for a walk, was following the advice of Bianca’s therapist, and they had tried the walking treatment before and it had been helpful. Loads of people go for a walk alone to cool down when they’re angry, and it’s a commonly recommended method of anger management.

I’m sure Bianca’s mother has regretted what she did every day of her life in the past sixteen years. But I do not think she did anything wrong here. She was following medical advice and the advice given sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I think Bianca was just very unlucky. And certainly casting judgment on her mom at this late date is not going to help at all.

Bianca was tall for her age, and heavy. I think that in the evening light, from a distance, she would have looked more like a woman than a child. My guess is some predator driving by saw her walking alone and grabbed her. Wrong place, wrong time.

I also grew up in a rural area and in the late nineties, as a young girl Bianca’s age, or younger, would often wander around by myself on foot or bicycle, sometimes traveling up to fifteen miles from home. It did me no harm and in fact I benefited from it. I got exercise and fresh air and learned how to amuse myself. It bothers me a lot that so much judgment is heaped on parents these days that it seems like they are expected to swaddle their youngsters in cottonwool until they graduate high school — and then people wonder why young college-age adults have no idea how to take care of themselves.

Twelve-year-old missing for four months is classified as a runaway, and other stories

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Mine was pretty good. Very quiet of course, cause of covid.

In California: the body of Barbara Thomas, a 69-year-old woman who disappeared hiking in the Mojave Desert in 2019, has been found in the desert near Essex.

In Louisiana: they’re still looking for David Claude Yeager, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Shreveport in 1971, and there’s little indication as to what happened to him. His cousin has created a Facebook page for him.

In Missouri: they’re still looking for Cheryl Anne Scherer, a 19-year-old girl who disappeared from Scott City in 1979. The article doesn’t have a lot in terms of information, just focuses on her family’s pain and grief.

In New York: they’re still looking for Jaylen Griffin, a 12-year-old boy who disappeared under unclear circumstances from Buffalo in August. The police have this preteen listed as a runaway.

In Ohio: they’re still looking for Mary Jane Vangilder, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared from Willard in 1945. They’re going to check some Jane Does and see if any of them are her.

In Pennsylvania: Justo Smoker, who had previously been charged with Linda Stoltzfoos’s kidnapping, has been charged with her murder as well. Linda, an 18-year-old Amish girl, disappeared while walking home from church in Lancaster County back in June. She has never been found. Smoker was arrested on the kidnapping charges in July.

In Texas: they’re still looking for Patty Inez Brightwell Vaughan, a 32-year-old woman who disappeared from La Vernia on Christmas Day, 1996. She went missing after an argument with her estranged husband, who is the prime suspect in her case, but he has never been charged.

In Virginia: they’re still looking for two people missing from the Richmond area: Stephanie Collette Wallace, a 45-year-old woman who went missing from Richmond in 2005, and Robert Lee Hourihan, a 33-year-old man who disappeared from Palmyra in 2011. They also are hoping to identify a white or Hispanic man whose skeletal remains were found near a vacant apartment in Highland Springs in 2014.

In Australia: they’re still looking for Russell Hill and Carol Clay, who disappeared while on a camping trip in the Wonnangatta Valley in eastern Victoria back in May. They are believed to have been murdered.

In Canada: they’re still looking for Melanie Ethier, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house in her small Ontario town in 1996. Melanie’s birthday is on Christmas Day.

Article Dump III

The Washington Post has done a three-part feature, called Indifferent Justice, on the serial killer Samuel Little. He is confirmed to have had over fifty victims, including former Charley Project missing person Mary Gertrude Brosley, and claims he’s killed as many as ninety-three. Part One: The Perfect Victim. Part Two: Through the Cracks. Part Three: Still Unsolved.

Discover Magazine has done this article that isn’t about missing persons may be of interest to y’all: What Explains the Decline of Serial Killers? Me, I have noticed a rise in mass murders in the past few decades and wonder if perhaps some of the people who might have been serial killers have decided to become mass murderers instead. Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2014, comes to mind as the sort of person who could have turned into a serial killer if he hadn’t taken the mass murder route instead.

Dateline is now honoring seven years of doing their Missing in America thing. 156 of the people featured on Missing in America are still missing.

From California: Woman Missing Out of Arcata since January; Mother and Law Enforcement Seek Information. The woman is named Jennifer Lynn Dulin and was last seen January 10.

Also from California: Missing Pico Rivera Woman Carolina Martinez Found After 5 Months. She was found alive (I think), but no other info is available.

From Colorado: Glenwood Springs teen Daniela Trejo-Noyola reported missing since September. She is 16 and was last seen on September 8. She will be 17 soon.

From Florida: Brevard County deputies search for missing woman last seen more than 1 year ago. Tara Coppola was last seen in West Melbourne on September 12, 2019.

From Iowa: Person of interest in missing-girl case set for trial on unrelated charges. The missing girl in question is Breasia Terrell missing from Davenport since July 10. She was ten at the time and would be eleven now, if still alive.

From Missouri: Missouri woman desperate to find mother Echo Lloyd who has been missing since Mother’s Day. Echo has been missing since May.

From North Carolina: Fayetteville police looking for woman missing since September. Heather Nichole Holmes was last seen on September 28.

From Ohio: Youngstown police seek info on man they just found out has been missing since 1969. The man is named Frank Cerimele and he was 21 years old when he went missing.

From Pennsylvania: Family & Friends Of Missing 22-Year-Old Tonee Turner Hold Silent Walk. She disappeared from the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh on December 30, 2019.

From South Carolina: Human remains found in Murrells Inlet park in 2018 identified as missing man. The man, David Scott Woolslayer, is listed on the Charley Project; I’ll resolve his case.

From Tennessee: Retired homicide investigator taking on two missing persons cases out of Dunlap. Tiffany Diane Holbert, missing since June 13, 2018, and Matthew Tyler Henry, missing since April 15, 2018. Though they both disappeared from the same town just a few months apart, the cases aren’t believed to be related.

From Texas: 33-year-old veteran missing from Houston home since October, mother says. The man, Marshall Powell, was last seen on October 23.

Also from Texas: Crime Of The Week: Cold case missing person last seen in 1961. Eleven-year-old Scott Andreas “Andy” Sims was last seen in Wichita Falls on December 9, 1961 — that’s 59 years ago tomorrow.

From Wisconsin: MPD: Plea for help in search for woman missing since Oct. 2016. Jamie Lee Hoaglan was last seen in Milwaukee on October 20, 2016.

From Australia: Missing kids campaign: “We’re frozen in time”. About the 1968 disappearances of sixteen-year-old Maureen Braddy and seventeen-year-old Allan Whyte, who disappeared after going out together to a dance at the YMCA in Bendigo, Victoria.

Also from Australia: Human remains found in bushland believed be missing NSW woman. Allecha Boyd has been missing from Coolamon, New South Wales since August 10, 2017; they found remains in the woods near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and think they’re hers.

From Canada: Remains found in 2009 identified as missing Penticton man. James “Jim” Neufeld disappeared from Penticton, British Columbia in January 2009. His remains were pulled from the Salish Sea about half a mile north of Orcas Island off the Washington coast a few months later, but not identified till now.

From Ireland: Ireland’s missing people: 823 cases remain ‘open’ with the Garda.

From Mexico: The Search for the Disappeared Points to Mexico’s Darkest Secrets. Apparently as a result of the drug war, Mexico now has more missing persons than Guatemala, El Salvador and Argentina do.

From the UK: Fears of rise in Christmas missing people rates due to lockdown.

Also from the UK: Mum of missing Saltdean teen Owen Harding prepares for Christmas. Owen was sixteen when he went for a walk on March 26, three days into the UK’s national coronavirus lockdown, and never returned. This was in Saltdean, a coastal village in the city of Brighton and Hove, England.

Another article dump, stuff I would normally have posted on Facebook

Madeleine McCann investigators to keep searching for missing girl until ‘all possibilities have been exhausted’

Authorities end search in river for missing Columbia woman (Mengqi Ji Elledge, who disappeared from Missouri in October 2019)

Three suspects charged with murder after remains found of missing woman (Melanie Steele, who disappeared from Savannah, Georgia in September 2019)

FBI asks for information on missing Iowa girl’s birthday (Breasia Terrell, who disappeared from Davenport, Iowa in July this year)

Missing man last seen at Orlando bus station months ago, police say, (Stanford Knight, who disappeared in August)

HLN Special Examines Case of Timmothy Pitzen, Missing Boy Whose Mom Wrote Taunting Suicide Note (Timmothy’s case on Charley is here, he went missing from Wisconsin in 2011)

Final Sentencing Set For Ohio Man Who Claimed To Be Long-Missing Child From Illinois (he pretended to be Timmothy Pitzen, see above)

Cops seek help finding woman missing for nearly 2 years (Robin Best-Bey, who disappeared from Buena Borough, New Jersey in February 2019)

Police search for Houston woman who went missing nearly 4 months ago (Micaela Helene Roberson, last seen August 15)

Friend says woman found dead at Fort Myers apartments disappeared 2 years ago (Cassandra Clermont)

Missing kids campaign: “I used to talk to her picture on the mantelpiece” (Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon, missing from Adelaide, Australia since 1973

B.C. couple in final bid to bring children of their missing daughter back to Canada (kids are not named, but their mother is Kimberlee Kasatkin, missing since since 2016; this is a murder-without-a-body case in Peru)

Daughters still desperate for answers 20 years after mother disappeared from Florida home under suspicious circumstances (Geanna Jones, missing from Jacksonville since 2000)

Officials identify Baby Jane Doe found dead in 1982; suspect is deceased (the baby was also called Delta Dawn, her body was found in Mississippi; her real name is Alisha Ann Heinrich, she’s from Missouri, and her mother, Gwendolyn Mae Clemons, has not been seen since Alisha’s body was found)

WC toddler identified in MS cold case (same case as above)

Delta Dawn and her mother identified as Missouri woman, child missing since 1982 (same case as above)

Reminder: DPS Seeking Information in Refugio County Cold Case Homicide (unidentified woman whose remains were found in Texas in 1992)

Outstanding Indigenous Woman: Meet Cheryl Horn, advocate for families of MMIW victims

Brother of man missing for 73 years still ‘bewildered’ (James “Jimmy” O’Neill, who disappeared from County Waterford, Ireland in 1947)

National Missing Persons Day: ‘You don’t ever give up hope’ (more about missing people from Ireland)

Searching for the disappeared: the challenges facing Mexico’s search commissioner

Spalding authorities excavating wells in missing persons case (Spalding County, Georgia, but they haven’t said which case)

Son Determined To Find What Happened To Mother Who’s Been Missing For 34 Years (Rogene “Jeannie” Annette Helm, missing from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma since October 1986)

Family, missing persons group offers $5,000 reward in missing Florence man case (Tracy Herion, missing from Florence, South Carolina since January 2020)

Interesting article with a lot more info on Jody Ledkins case

Hi all. This article came out a few days ago that has a lot more info on the 1985 disappearance of Jody Lee Ledkins. It’s very interesting and it’s hard to decide whether or not she ran away, though I don’t think she’s alive now.

The article puzzles me though. It’s mentioned that Jody’s probation officer got a letter, supposedly from her, after her disappearance, and that Jody’s mom compared the writing to a previous letter Jody wrote to her PO before she went missing. The article includes photos of both letters.

But, um, the post-disappearance letter is addressed to “Mom” and includes the phrase “I am writing to tell you I love you” which doesn’t sound like the kind of thing you’d write to your PO. I wonder if the reporter mis-wrote and she meant to say Jody’s mom got the letter. I do think it’s odd that the letter references Jody’s sister just as “sister” rather than by her name.

I can’t really say whether the handwriting looks the same to me; the pre-disappearance letter is printed (sort of) and the post-disappearance one is in cursive, which doesn’t really help comparison.

There’s also part of a transcript from a threatening call Jody’s mom got. The caller said if her mom didn’t pay them money, “your daughter will be sent to you in pieces.” The caller also asks about someone named “Lori”; maybe that’s Jody’s sister? I dunno.

MP of the week: Ashley Conroy

This week’s missing person of the week is really two people: both seven-month-old Ashley Nicole Conroy, whose name and photo are on the Charley Project’s frontpage, and her mom, Jennifer Lynn Conroy, who was only fifteen years old. They disappeared together from Kansas City, Missouri on December 14, 1993. Eleven days before Christmas.

There’s been very little said about this case from what I can find. Nothing in the newspaper archives. I wonder how long it took before the police finally stopped assuming Jennifer had just run away. Now, foul play is suspected in their cases.

Because so little information is available in the case, it’s hard to even speculate as to what happened. I do wonder about Ashley’s father, whoever he was. Jennifer was only fourteen when Ashley was conceived, and the age of consent in Missouri (at least at the present time) is seventeen. If Ashley’s father was older than seventeen, he could have gone to prison, which would have been an excellent motive for him to make both of them disappear. But I have no idea who the father was.

If anyone knew Jennifer, I’d love to have them post in the comments here. If still alive, Jennifer would be 42 today. Ashley would be 27.

MP of the week: Angel Rose Avery

This week’s featured missing person is Angel Rose Avery, a 35-year-old woman who disappeared from Kennett, Missouri on September 1, 2018. Hers is a “few details are available” case; I know nothing else about the case. I was able to snag a few additional photos of her from social media.

If still alive, Angel would be 37 today.

MP of the week: Curtis Crowley

Hello, all. I hope you are all in good health and staying safe. This week’s featured missing person is Curtis D. Crowley Jr., a Kansas City, Missouri man who disappeared on May 14, 2003, at the age of 20. He was last seen after he was released from the municipal jail.

After Crowley disappeared, his brother stole his identity, which temporarily confused the police. At first they thought he had been located and that HE might have stolen his BROTHER’S identity, rather than the other way around. Eventually they realized he was still missing. Foul play is suspected in his disappearance, but very little has been released about it.

If still alive, Crowley would be 37 now.

MP of the week: Byron Davis

This week’s feature missing person is Byron Lee Davis, a mentally disabled 53-year-old man who went missing from Kansas City, Missouri on May 18, 1993. If still alive today, he’d be eighty years old.

I wish more information was available about his mental disability; there is a big difference between, say, someone who functions at the level of a toddler, and one who functions at the level of a twelve-year-old. Davis appears, anyway, to have been able to wander around his neighborhood alone. Unfortunately some people living in the area took advantage of him and he was sometimes the target of cruel jokes.

Foul play is suspected in his disappearance. It seems likely that one of those nasty neighbors did something to him, perhaps in a robbery attempt or in a “joke” gone horribly wrong.

MP of the week: Jonathan Franklin

This week’s featured missing person is Jonathan Chase Franklin, a 25-year-old man who disappeared from Eureka, Missouri on May 31, 2013.

The circumstances suggest he drowned: he was last seen wearing a swimsuit, at a beach on the Missouri River. I never found any news articles about him, though.