“An Uncertain Future for a Key Missing Persons Program” and other stories

Another article dump (I’ve decided to make a regular thing of this, even after I’m out of Facebook Jail):

This article about the near-defunding of NamUs. Key highlight: “Meanwhile, according to a statement from NIJ, the program could be facing staffing and service cuts, at least in the short-term — and it remains unclear what exactly the longer-term future of NamUs may be.”

From Alaska: four Native people disappeared this fall after visiting the city of Fairbanks, and they are all still missing. Their names are Willis Derendorf, Frank Minano, Debbie Nictune and Doren Sanford. Police don’t think the cases are related.

From Florida: Ashley Lucas disappeared in September, a few months after traveling from her home in Texas to the Florida Panhandle for work. She was hospitalized and has not been seen since her release at the end of the month.

From Massachusetts: it’s coming up on the sixth anniversary of the disappearance of Sabrina Lee Hatheway from Worcester.

From Mississippi: they’ve installed Crime Stoppers kiosks in Walmarts in Biloxi, Gulfport and Pascagoula to help find missing people from the area.

From Nevada: A body found in 2004 has been identified as Aldo Araiza, who disappeared in 2000 at the age of 20.

From North Carolina: the police are still looking for two people missing from Shelby: Kenneth Jamison, missing since 2017, and Walter Vernon McCraw, missing since 2018.

From Ohio: Brian Rini, who surfaced in Cincinnati in April 2019 and falsely claimed he was Timmothy James Pitzen, who disappeared from Wisconsin in 2011, has been sentenced to two years in prison for identity theft as a result. But because he gets credit for 20 months of time served, he’ll be out in four months. A year of probation follows his release.

Also from Ohio: the police are still looking for Jeffrey Hayes Pottinger, who disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2009 from Warren County.

From Texas: the police are still looking for Orville Seaton, who disappeared from Navasota two days before Christmas in 1997. He was 71 at the time and would be 94 today.

From Virginia: Ronald Roldan, recently charged with the kidnapping of Bethany Anne Decker, has now been charged with her murder as well. Bethany has been missing since 2011.

From Wyoming: Angela Laderlich disappeared from Casper on September 25 and is still missing.

From England: they found some human bones in Solihull, which were thought to possibly be those of thirteen-year-old David Spencer and eleven-year-old Patrick Warren, who disappeared the day after Christmas in 1996. However, it turns out the bones are over a century old.

From Nigeria: in an all-too-familiar story, the terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 330 boys from a government-run boarding school in Kankara.

From Pakistan: despite promises to end the practice, security forces are still regularly abducting, torturing and murdering people. Thousands of victims are still missing.

From Scotland: A review of missing people from Glasgow.

MP of the week: Amira Mubarak

The featured missing person for this week is Amira Farooq Mubarak, an eleven-month-old girl who was abducted from Manhattan by her non-custodial father on August 5, 2000. I think Amira is breathtakingly cute in those photos. Those big, bright brown eyes are stunning. My dear friend Annie Keller’s site For the Lost, which is a great resource for family abduction cases especially, has a little bit more info than I do in its profile for Amira. It says she and her father may be traveling a green 1992 Lexus and may be in either Canada or in Pakistan. Her father, Muhammad Farooq Butt, is of Pakistani descent, though I don’t know if he was actually born there. I’ll have to update her case with the For the Lost info.

I really hope Amira is in Canada and not Pakistan, which is one of the poorest nations in the world and not a great place for girls. Although marriage is illegal in Pakistan for girls under 16 and boys under 18, child marriage for girls is pretty common regardless, and a proposed law raising the marriageable age to 18 for both sexes was roundly rejected in 2014. Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology believes that girls as young as 9 ought to be allowed to marry in some cases. Honor killing is also an issue there.

Amira is now 16. Her case is one of the older family abduction cases on Charley, and as she was less than a year old at the time of her abduction, she won’t remember her mother or other left-behind relatives. Who knows what, if anything, she’s been told about them. I hope she’s happy and healthy, wherever she is, and I hope she will be reunited with her searching family someday. Perhaps social media can help. I know of many cases where searching parents have found their lost children on Facebook and have been able to at least start a relationship with them.

Heroes for missing children

This out of Pakistan: a barber who has made it his mission to reunite lost children with their families. Anwar Khokar says that since 1988 he’s helped 8,500 missing children. Missing children are a big problem in Pakistan — as they are, I suspect, in all third world countries. Kids run away or are thrown out by families who can’t afford to keep them. Child trafficking goes on. And the police often can’t help. If they’re not simply corrupt, they have a lot of other problems on their plate.

I recently read a book called The Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal. This American guy went to volunteer at an orphanage in Nepal for a few months and discovered that all of the “orphans” had in fact been stolen from their families by child traffickers. So he decided to reunite them, and journeyed to an extremely remote region of Nepal (without even road access) to find their parents. And he founded a non-profit for this purpose. It was dangerous work — the child traffickers were often well-connected and powerful, and there was the business of having to trek through the Himalayas — but the looks on the parents’ and kids’ faces made it all worth it for him.