Part II: Christine Walters Missing Person

In my previous post on this case, I summarized the details of Ms. Walters' disappearance and discussed some of the woman's background.

Today, I'll address two questions related to the case...


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Case Summary

On November 12, 2008, twenty-three year old Christine Lindsey Walters was transported to a nearby hospital after being found nude and confused on the doorstep of a rural home in Arcata, California.

Evidently, Christine would not disclose any details to police as to her previous whereabouts, but did contact her mother in Wisconsin stating that she had been involved in a "ceremony", and believed that someone was following her.

She was treated medically, allegedly tested negative for drugs, and released from the hospital.

Christine, with the help of her parents, rented a room at a local hotel. Once she was settled, her parents then began arranging for a flight back to her home in Wisconsin.

On November 14th, Christine retrieved some paperwork at a local copy center that her mother had faxed to her. Workers described her behavior as paranoid.

Christine left the copy center and has not been seen since.

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1) Why do authorities have more hope than not that Ms. Walters is still alive?

Of the unsolved missing persons cases he is currently working, Humboldt County Sheriff's Office detective Dan Paris is very hopeful about the Walters' case.

There are two reasons for the positive feelings--Paris has found no indication of criminal activity and told a reporter this:

...Walters was supportive of the environmental movement in the area, and Paris has seen a photo of a young woman with strawberry-blond hair being shown how to climb trees at a Southern Humboldt activist camp...
I think investigator's comments are revealing as to what else may be in the case file--likely more evidence of someone who associated with activists which gives credence to theories that portray Walters as a woman willing to walk away and start a new life.

2) Why do I believe the parents of the missing woman have been criticized unfairly?

I saw on an unnamed site where the family was being criticized for not taking a more active role in their daughter's life--arguing that her controversial lifestyle choices and then her hospitalization prior to going missing should have been acted on immediately by her mother and father.

First, I don't see anything that the parents did wrong. The missing woman was 23 years old, and certainly old enough to make her own decisions.

If an adult daughter wants to "go west" and search for the meaning of life, there is little a parent can do but offer support.

Second, at the hospital, since authorities decided she was not a risk to herself or others, they could not force her to seek a mental health evaluation. She was cleared medically, and released into the community--the parents could not have her detained anymore.

It wasn't until after her disappearance that a private investigator hired by the family found evidence that Christine was taking part in "tea ceremony" prior to being found nude.

This article from crime writer David Lohr discusses more on the ceremony and how hallucinogenic drugs associated with the ritual can cause some users to become paranoid.

Finally, the parents were navigating the logistics to fly her back to Wisconsin when she vanished and due to medical record privacy, they were not fully aware of the details (being found nude and acting paranoid) that had led to her hospitalization.

Next time, I'll discuss what seems odd to me about the case, and suggestions for the future.
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To view all posts in this series go here, and the photo was used from this site.

15 comments:

Momma Fargo said...

On pins and needles waiting for the rest!

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

I may never drink tea again if I have to do it naked! Can't wait to see what happens with this case.

If I was a parent, I would have flown out there to get her right away but we don't know the parents situation. Maybe they didn't have the money to get out there to her, maybe they couldn't get off work, maybe she did this frequently. You can't really judge the parents without knowing their whole story too.

J. J, in Phila said...

I know people why like living "off the grid," i.e. not liking records on themselves out there. I can very easily see Ms. Walters being that type of a person, since she is someone involved in the nontechnical aspect of the environmental movement. First point well taken.

In my neighborhood, we have a saying, "He/she is grown folks," meaning that she can make her own decisions. You second point is well taken.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Another way interesting case!

I think your points are all valid. If she self-reported her hospital visit to her parents and was treated and released, as a parent you would not necessarily come flying. She asked for specific items of support and they were provided.

The hospital is bound by legal limits. Maybe I would have wanted to do a rape kit if I was the M.D. on duty. However, if she didn't allege rape, I have heard you can't administer that kit--that there are limits, and hours of work required for such a test. You can't detain someone against their will.

It does sound bad for her, that's for sure. Cult-type stuff, and that's an interesting subject too.

Ann T.

Tara said...

I remember reading about this. Very sad for her parents. Not much they could have done differently and now they've "lost" their daughter and [some of] the public places a large part of the blame on them.

AB HOME Interiors said...

You always have such interesting cases!

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

I've never heard of THAT kind of tea ceremony before... just the traditional sorority stuff... and while that did leave me worried about some of my sisters' personal lives, I was by no means paranoid!

~Elizabeth

Portia said...

This case is still chilling to me. I hope she *is* alive and she is found. Even if she's not ready to reconcile with her parents yet, there may come a day. It reminds me of "Into the Wild," a bit.

BobKat said...

"First, I don't see anything that the parents did wrong. The missing woman was 23 years old, and certainly old enough to make her own decisions.

If an adult daughter wants to "go west" and search for the meaning of life, there is little a parent can do but offer support."

That is key...

That you!

 ALH said...

The case is starting to make more sense now that the "tea ceremony" aspect explains some of the paranoia and strange behavior exhibited by Christine. I agree that perhaps the family was unfairly criticized based on the case you present.

Cherry said...

I would like to know more about what the police are doing. Are they treating this like a missing person case? They should be. She left all her belongings and money $1000 in the bank. Human trafficking maybe?
I think Christine obviously cared a great deal for her parents as she did keep in touch and told them about the hospital. Something is hinkey here.
By the way I like your blog. Good work!

Cherry said...

In the article that states Paris as seeing a strawberry blond climbing trees in an activist camp.

I did a little looking and Check this out:
Judi Bari (1949 - 1997) was a prominent activist and Humboldt Earth First!er. She was a principal organizer of the Headwaters Forest Campaign which resulted in protesters being victimized by Humboldt County police as well as by PL employees. In 1990 Bari organized the landmark anti logging demonstration Redwood Summer and launched her revolutionary "Forests Forever Initiative" to make old growth destruction illegal. For her preservation efforts, Bari was the target of a vicious smear campaign by the logging industry, she received death threats, and she was severely maimed by a car bomb. See: (Albion Monitor).Judi Bari Resoures

Maybe someone there knows something? Why doesn't he go see if the strawberry blond is Christine? How does he know she's just climbing trees and not being held against her will? Maybe the police just don't want to go out there?

Anonymous said...

The photo Paris was shown was determined to not be Christine. Christine has a large tattoo on nape of neck of a purple and green Iris flower and it was not in the photo (should have been visible).

Slamdunk said...

@ Cherry: I appreciate your comments and feedback. I would think that police in the area would have lots of shared resources on activist groups, and feel confident that they are exploring that angle to the fullest extent.

As you state, Christine appeared to have a good relationship with her family, and though she is alleged to have had connections with local activists, the paranoid state (at least the one described) prior to disappearing bothers me. When someone's judgment may have been clouded by mental health issues or whatever, it could result in them doing things out of character--putting them more at risk to being a crime victim.

Thus far, the only argument investigators have presented that her disappearance is not crime related is that they have not found any evidence to indicate such. To me, that is not very convincing.

@ Anonymous: Thank you for that insight. My opinions are based only on the published reports (which are incomplete and often contain errors). I appreciate you taking time to share that information.

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