Part II: Kathleen McBroom Missing Person

Note: This is my second post on the disappearance of Kathleen McBroom.

In sum, she did not arrive as expected at her workplace, a federal government facility in Anchorage, Alaska on October 27, 2008 , and was reported missing by her family the next day. Her truck was found abandoned on a highway south of Anchorage along with her cell phone and other personal items (recovered inside the vehicle).

After realizing that Ms. McBroom's blog contains several years worth of posts that I wanted to review, I have decided to make this a series (instead of two posts as I had indicated previously).

In the initial post, I stated that I wanted to address three questions.

1) Is it helpful that the missing woman kept an online diary or blog of her thoughts and activities?

Absolutely. It is evident that Ms. McBroom enjoyed writing. Her blog contains 82 posts between 2004 and 2007. In 2008, she published over 240 entries. Included in her posts were discussions about family, faith, career, life-perspective as well as several short stories and an unfinished novel.

A detective interested in learning more about Ms. McBroom, especially her thoughts and concerns, would be glad to have this online diary. As an added bonus for authorities, Ms. McBroom's posts are frequent and detailed up until the day she vanished.

I'll discuss specifics about Ms. McBroom's blog in a later post, but one example of the potentially valuable information that can be gleaned from the writings is her dislike of her current employment. She describes multiple times in the blog her distaste for her boss, and how it was negatively impacting her.

In reading the reports, her boss evidently was unaware of Ms. McBroom's difficulties. Her family would have provided this information to investigators, but having her personal writings allows for a better understanding into how this was affecting her.

2) What did readers of her blog do to assist in the missing persons case?

When I first learned of the case, I tried to Google "Sheila McBroom" and was disappointed to see only a couple of related news stories. Searching for her by her preferred name of "Kathleen McBroom" provides more news stories, other bloggers who have posted about the case, and a missing person discussion forum.

Ms. McBroom's blogger friends were disappointed at the initial attention given to the case by media. Determined to do something, Blogger Tara contacted the Anchorage Police Department, along with some of the local news organizations inquiring why Ms. McBroom's story had not been published/aired. At the time, the local newspaper indicated that they had not received notice from authorities.

To help things move forward, one blogger even provided a picture of the missing woman to her employer (since she had lost weight)--agency reps then distributed missing person flyers to neighboring organizations.

Television and newspaper reports did eventually get published about the missing woman, but it is the bloggers who have organized the information on this story and are keeping it alive on the Internet.

In a missing persons case, it is essential that the public be connected to the person's information. Oddly, I did not find any mention of Ms. McBroom on the Anchorage Police Department’s website.

In fact, the only listing of missing persons in the city is found on the agency’s Crime Stopper page—-the last case highlighted was 2004.

Further, the Alaska State Troopers website on missing persons lists 72 active missing person cases with photographs—-Ms. McBroom’s information is not listed there either.

By not posting recent cases that authorities are actively soliciting the public’s help (both locally and nationally) with, investigators could certainly be missing out on valuable leads.


I'll continue in the next post with the unusual aspects of this case, and a look at her blog. I'll also request that local and state authorities add her case to their online lists of missing person investigations.

The previous post in this series can be accessed by clicking "Kathleen McBroom" on the left margin of the home page or a list of historical posts is here.


LOUDnPROUD♥MoNeeKah♥ said...

this is the updated version of the "face on the Milk Carton" concept to help keep those missing on our minds just in case,thanks for that.

BobKat said...

thGreat post Slam... you make a good assertion that the online populous, bloggers and readers can make a difference. The difference being that many people would be forgotten, as law enforcement has it's priorities, and with all the cases, mainly routine investigations, they not only appear to lack the time and resources, but also the staff to actively pursue and update their case files re: missing/endangered persons. Blogs like yours are providing a a resource into cases that might collect just dust.

The first thought that comes to mind is based on an experience of my own, where a prescribed medication made me groggy... and I was pulled over. I would wonder what medications she was on? After being pulled over, I proceeded with caution with le following, and felt really like pulling over and taking a nap. My stress level was way up and it only aggravated my senses. I wasn't far from home at that point, so I decided to continue onto that destination. But what if Kathleen decided she'd had enough for awhile... pulled off the road where she first could, got out for some air, and began walking. Day or night she may have gotten lost. She may have been hurt, from a fall. So the question is... how well was the area searched?

Slamdunk said...

Good point Bob--I hope to cover some of your thought in the next post.

J. J. in Phila said...

I was reading the blog of Ms. McBroom. There seemed to be a dramatic change in the last two or three entries, as if she became suddenly more religious.

Did anyone else notice that?

Slamdunk said...

Interesting observation JJ.

I read the blog from earliest to most recent, so I'll have to look closely at your thought. Without a second look, it seems that the posts with lots of religious references came in groups bunches--though it seemed to be consistent.

J. J. in Phila said...

The last three entries seem substantially more spiritual/contemplative. 10/25 and 10/26.

The style is slightly different, with those long italicized quotes.

I went back a month, and didn't see anything like that.