A bit confused

Just now I updated the case of the missing Luhk sisters from the Northern Mariana Islands: Faloma and Maleina. I added new age-progressions for them. In the process I noticed that the NCMEC now refers to Faloma as “Sa Luhk.” Nowhere else have I ever seen her called by that name. All the news accounts about the missing girls, as well as the official website about them, call her Faloma Luhk. But the name Faloma has utterly disappeared from her NCMEC poster.

I am not sure about this. I am thinking that perhaps her legal name is Sa Faloma Luhk, or perhaps Faloma Sa Luhk, and everyone called her Faloma. But until I get this figured out, assuming I ever do, the little girl is going to be called Faloma on my website.

[EDIT: The NCMEC is now calling her Faloma again. Shrug.]

And this week’s MP is….

Maleina Quitugua Luhk. Maleina was nine when she disappeared with her ten-year-old sister, Faloma, from the Northern Mariana Islands on May 25, 2011. I don’t have much on them; they were just gone. Authorities have said that a relative by marriage is considered a person of interest in the case. Maleina is short for her age and has a distinguishing birthmark on her cheek; it kind of looks like she smeared a bit of chocolate there.

Until I heard about those girls I didn’t even know the Northern Marianas, which are in the south Pacific, were part of the US. I think this may very well by the first MP of the week to come from a territory of the US, not a state.

Missouri and other places

Once in awhile people write to me to ask why I put Missouri on the Southern States list rather than the Midwestern States list. They have a point: Missouri is smack almost dab in the middle of the country, right in line with Kansas and Nebraska, which are listed as midwestern. Looking back, I think it was a mistake to place it where it was, but after seven years, if I change its location I’ll have a bunch of people writing to me to ask where Missouri’s listing went. I shall stick to well-established precedent, no matter how nonsensical it is.

Anyway, the reason why Missouri listed as a southern state is the fact that when I started this site, I was a freshman at a college in Arkansas. Many students came from Missouri. (In fact, I think the majority of the student population was from Arkansas, Texas or Missouri. Though they came from all over — there were one or two that I know of that were from Hawaii, my roommate Vanessa came from Connecticut, and the girls in the room across the hall were from California and Minnesota.) Most of the Missouri students came from the southern part of the state and considered themselves southerners rather than midwesterners. I suppose it was a cultural thing rather than a geographic thing.

This is hardly unique: Minnesota and Maine, for instance, are both as far north as Washington state or Montana, but I’ve never heard anyone call either of them a “northern state.” (In fact, a northern states listing doesn’t exist on Charley.) The Dakotas are in line with Minnesota but I listed them as western — though south Dakota kind of straddles the line in my opinion. I suppose a western state is defined as “both very far north and has lots of mountains.”

If my ex-friend Molly had had her way, Oklahoma would have been listed as a western state, in spite of its position right below the midwestern state of Kansas. She’s from Arkansas herself and claimed that any state that did not secede from the Union during the Civil War was not, technically, a southern state, no matter what its’ geographical location was. This would have knocked Kentucky off the list, and as far as I know most Kentuckyans consider themselves southerners. I’m glad I didn’t listen to her. Meanwhile, my still-a-friend Brad said states like Ohio, Michigan etc., and probably Kentucky too, were not from the Midwest, but rather from the “Old Northwest.” I’m glad I didn’t listen to him either. I doubt many Charley Project readers are all that familiar with, or care about, American geography in the 1700s and early 1800s.

I didn’t place territories in their own section because there aren’t very many of them, the are situated far apart from each other, and all of them (unless I’m mistaken) are situated south of the Mason-Dixon line. Of course, Alaska and Hawaii are in a class by themselves, really, but they are both very far west and not at all close to each other. I mean, we’e got Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands, and then the Northern Mariana Islands, which are about as far apart as you can get.

Anyway, that’s the answer to the Missouri question, if any of you are dying to know.

Northern Mariana Islands Part Deux

Per Jamie: Three articles about missing persons in the NMIs. Human bones have turned up, unearthed by a dog; they’re not sure whose they are yet, but there’s speculation that the bones are from one of the missing Luhk sisters. Apparently those in the know don’t think the victim has been dead all that long and if it is in fact Faloma or Maleina, she was kept alive for several weeks after the girls disappeared in late May.

There’s also an article about the 1998 disappearance of Rosaline Santos Camacho, mother of four and a police officer’s wife, from Saipan. Her car was found abandoned near a golf course and her shoes were on a cliffline nearby. According to Rosaline’s family, the police mishandled the investigation by not treating it as a crime, not processing the car or dusting it for prints or anything. I’m not sure whether “cliffline” means the top edge of a cliff or right at the bottom of a cliff. It was the top of a cliff, maybe Rosaline fell off into the ocean? Or the police assumed she had and that’s why they handled the disappearance so nonchalantly?

And there’s this article about seven people who’ve been missing from the NMIs going back to 1995. No pictures, unfortunately. All adults, between 24 and 79: Qi Run Li, John Garcia Manahane, Manuel L. Dela Cruz, Yuji Watanabe, Ngai Fung Chang and his girlfriend Lai Meung Kou, and Tian Ming.

Northern Mariana Islands

I was looking at the NCMEC site today and I came across this poster for two sisters, Faloma and Maleina Luhk, age ten and nine respectively, who disappeared on May 25, 2011. Listed as non-family abductions. I was a bit confused when I saw they were missing from “Saipan, MP.” That didn’t match any state abbreviation I had heard of.

Then I figured out that “MP” was the Northern Mariana Islands, which until an hour ago I didn’t know were part of the US. (Not sure what the P stands for. Maybe it was just that NM and MI were already taken?) I have a few cases from Guam but never a case from the Northern Mariana Islands. For that matter I was barely aware of their existence until today. But if these girls are still missing come November, I’ll have not just one Northern Mariana Islands case but two.

Makes me feel kind of ashamed how ignorant I am about my own country. When I was in college I had to look it up to see if the Bahamas were their own country or a US territory like the Virgin Islands.