Away

Looks like our family is not the only one battling a bug--my primary blogging computer is not working correctly and needs to go into the shop.

As such, I am going to have to shut the blog down for awhile.

It is always something. 

Take care everyone...

Unidentified Person

Today, I want to discuss another aspect of missing person investigations.

When law enforcement finds a deceased person, but are unable to identify him or her.
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The California Department of Justice reports that they currently have over 2,000 reports of "unidentified persons" in their automated systems

Wow, 2,000?

In just one state?

It is difficult to comprehend that over 2,000 body and partial body recoveries remain anonymous.

Now, I am sure that many of these cases are old--back before modern identification and preservation techniques were available--and will never be closed.

But, still many deceased "John Does" and "Jane Does" are cases waiting to be solved.

Here is a case that California authorities are publicizing--hoping someone will provide a lead:
Summary: Unidentified female homicide victim found 6/29/2001 in Sacramento, CA 
Sex: Female

Race: Possibly White

Approximate Age: Late teens or early 20's

Height: 5'-5'5"

Weight: Unknown (thin to average)

Hair: Unknown

Eyes: Unknown

Outstanding Features: Has had a broken nose in the past 
Dental: Teeth seen in facial re-construction are victim's actual teeth. Teeth are very well cared for; no dental cavities; teeth have plastic sealants; missing all first bicuspids (#5, #12, #21, and #28); possible prior orthodontics or preparation for orthodontics; all four wisdom teeth are present; lower wisdom teeth are not fully erupted.

Contact: Detective Woods, dwoods@pd.cityofsacramento.org
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It is obvious why investigators believe that this case has a much higher chance for closure than others they are handling: the victim's teeth.

The woman's teeth were well cared for and dental records likely exist somewhere.

Why is no one from her family looking for her then?

Or, perhaps they are looking, but do not realize that this unidentified woman found in California is their loved one.

The 2,000+ anonymous bodies is difficult to digest though; especially knowing that the total is added to every year.

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Additional Note: Perhaps, convicted serial killer (worked with Loren Herzog and were known as the "speed freaks") Wesley Shermantine's recent disclosures will help provide a clue in this case as well.

Romance Criminal Justice Style

We are battling a stomach bug here at the Slamdunk residence, so I'll keep today's post short.
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I think I have decided on my Valentine's Day benchmark.

I have to be more romantic than those involved in this date:


...a Florida judge ruled on Tuesday that a man involved in a scuffle with his wife treat her to an evening at a local bowling alley and a romantic meal at Red Lobster. Judge John Hurley ordered that Joseph Bray, 47 and his wife Sonja, 39, also visit a marriage counselor.

Hurley handed down this ruling instead of setting bond or slapping Bray with a prison sentence after he deemed domestic violence charges leveled by Bray's wife to be "very, very minor."

According to Bray's arrest affidavit, Bray and his wife got embroiled in a spat after he failed to wish her a happy birthday. Bray's wife claims that her husband shoved her against a sofa and grabbed her neck.

The judge, citing Bray's otherwise clean record and the incident's apparent lack of serious violence, did not consider Bray's behavior a major offense. However, Bray must follow the stipulations of Hurley's ruling very closely if he wants to avoid potential jail time.

"He's going to stop by somewhere and he's going to get some flowers," Hurley said at a hearing, according to Florida newspaper Sun Sentinel. "And then he's going to go home, pick up his wife, get dressed, take her to Red Lobster. And then after they have Red Lobster, they're going to go bowling..."

A Court mandated date that includes flowers, a Red Lobster dinner, and bowling, eh?

Let's hope I can do better than that. 

But wait...

When their date is completed, does the judge issue a signed certificate that is suitable for framing?

If so, I may have set my romance bar too high.

Let me rethink this.

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I am kidding, really....

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I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Note: When this story of the deal became public, there were quite a few folks who criticized it.  If I was a prosecutor or judge, I would not want my name attached to it, but for this "date" to happen, the judge, prosecutor, victim, and defense had to have agreed to it.  I am sure these folks are hoping that no additional news is good news.   

Vacation Memories

This past summer, I took older boy and his five-year-old sister "Sissy" to the Green Mountain state for a three-day vacation. 

The Mrs. stayed with our youngest at the house--with his condition, he prefers day-trips that include a return to his own bed.

So, three fun-lovers enjoyed being tourists and consuming the best that Vermont has to offer; especially lots of cheese and maple syrup. 

But after all of my efforts at planning a fantastic scenic and water-filled vacation, the kids, after returning home, immediately relayed these fav "memories" to mom:

1) We Rode Escalators

I wonder if we clearly identify ourselves as rural folk when the children are overheard saying: "Look Dad, moving stairs!" and then they proceed to ride this modern technology for ten minutes?

Just for the record: we do have escalators, but the closest ones that I know about are an hour away.

2) We Bathed Every Night

Our fancy room included a jacuzzi bathtub, and the older boy discovered that he could use the complimentary shampoo to create a massive wall of suds using the power jets. 

Of course the next night, his sister had to replicate the trick and model her best Santa Claus beard.  At least a thorough end-of-the-night child cleaning was not an issue for me.

3) We Saw Flying Furniture

While returning to the hotel from an expensive visit to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, I noticed a pickup truck loaded overloaded with personal belongings including a mattress, chairs, tables, lamps, etc. 

The driver must have only been going a short distance because saying the household items appeared to be tied hastily was an understatement.  My little internal little voice had transformed into a horror movie scream advising me to "get away," and I told the kids that my goal was to pass "moving guy" ASAP.

Of course, just as I got in  front to him, the expected occurred--older boy and Sissy watched quite a show as furniture began flying from the back of the truck and exploding on the highway's pavement.

A horrible feeling I am certain for the owner of those belongings.

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So, I am hoping that no teacher asks our children to describe summer vacation experiences, or they may get an unwanted yet vivid description of escalators, bubbling suds, and airborne chairs. 

Josh Powell and Samantha Koenig

I don't usually have two missing persons posts in a row, but had a couple of pressing items.

I was at a loss for words on the news that the children of missing Utah woman Susan Powell were murdered by their father Josh Powell.

Sunday, Josh Powell prevented a contract worker charged with monitoring a visit with his children from entering his home and then caused an explosion that killed himself and his two young sons, Charlie and Braiden Powell.

Josh Powell had been considered a person of interest in his wife's disappearance in 2009 when he stated that she went to bed at their home while he left to go camping with his kids (then ages two and four).

Camping at 11 pm on a Sunday night.

With two small children.

In December, with temperatures outside below freezing.

Camping.

Wow, those kids deserved better.

I did want to repost this video from an interview with Josh Powell that was conducted by a local Utah television reporter shortly after his wife was reported missing.

This was before he stopped talking to anyone about his missing wife--and relevant considering it is always interesting to see a person talk before they have had time to think about responses.







It is unknown if there will be any new developments based on the children's deaths.

My previous posts on Susan Powell are here.

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Also, reader "Diana" who blogs at In the Heart of Kansas reminded me of a current missing persons case from Anchorage, Alaska that was in the national news this weekend.

Last Wednesday, the surveillance system at a coffee stand appeared to show the one employee working that night, Samantha Koenig, was abducted by an armed man dressed in a dark hooded sweatshirt.

Ms. Koenig has not been seen since.


I did see that online readers of Ms. Koenig's case were being highly critical of authorities for not releasing the video footage to the public.

They argue that someone may recognize the suspect, no matter how bad the quality is, and it should be made available immediately.

Having been on the law enforcement side of investigations, all I can say is: let the police do their jobs. 

If they have not released the video to the public, then there is a very good reason behind that decision--police obviously feel that the abducted woman's safety would be further compromised by allowing everyone to see the tape right now.

It is important to remember that law enforcement has more information on these cases than myself or any citizen will ever know.

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My prayers are with the Powell family and for Ms. Koenig's safe return, and thank you to Diana for the post suggestion.

Missing but Not Forgotten

With my Missing Persons Monday segment, I highlight popular cases as well as those that have fallen out of the public eye.

Sadly, the following case is an example of the latter.

Note: I try not to be judgmental of the parents/guardians involved in the cases of those missing, but instead prefer to focus on other aspects where I can offer some sort of a relevant contribution to the discussion.
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On Saturday, January 10, 2009, at approximately 5:30 pm, the grandmother of six-year-old Adji Desir stated that after dinner, the little boy went outside to play with kids in the neighborhood.

Adji was being watched by his grandma in an area of Immokalee, FL called "Farm Workers Village" while his mother was at work.

The child has not been seen since. 



It was also reported that Adji is disabled and functions mentally at the level of a two-year-old.  He can speak very little, and understands primarily Creole.

Adji was wearing blue shorts and a blue T-shirt with yellow stripes when he vanished.

In contrast to the criticized slow response of police investigating the disappearance of Jorelys Rivera in Georgia (later found murdered) that I previously discussed, Collier County Sheriff's deputies assembled and used bloodhounds, ATVs, horses (and rider), and a helicopter in less than an hour after being notified about Adji .

Despite intensive searches (lots of wooded and water areas nearby) and investigation by the local Sheriff's Office, and with assistance from Florida State agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the case went cold.

A couple of observations:

1) Challenges

Detectives trying to investigate crimes in an area like this certainly require additional sensitivities.  The language barrier is difficult to overcome as law enforcement tries to persuade potential witnesses to come forward with information.   

Also, the transient nature of the population would likely make residents mistrustful of police.  I would expect that not telling authorities about questionable activities in the neighborhood is the norm.

2) Media Attention

Even though this happened in 2009, I was not aware of Adji's disappearance, and I feel like I read more news than most folks.

A missing six-year-old that was not a major national story for months? 

Sad that the media did not seem to view this disappearance with more urgency.

With the lack of coverage, one might ask: did the child not have the right "look"?

Or, since his parents have limited resources and a different language is spoken at home, does that make Adji less important than other missing children?

Some folks argue that these factors do play a role in which disappearance cases are covered (as in this video which includes a Google search done in 2009 of "Adji Desir missing" that only returned five pages--now it returns over 200,000).

I do believe a missing person's "look" plays a part in how much media coverage is generated.

But I'll save that argument for another day.

In any event, the whereabouts of Adji Desir remain unknown. 

And his important story lies buried on secondary pages of crime websites.

The Silver Moon Diamond

An advantage to having been a "blogger" for some time now is that kind readers send me information for post ideas.

In other words, I don't have to struggle for things to write about.

Long time reader and online friend "Grannye" from Arkansas sent me this news item to awaken the treasure-hunter's-fire that is buried in just about all of us:

MURFREESBORO, AR – A rough diamond found at Crater of Diamonds last March, dubbed Silver Moon, was recently cut and appraised at $21,639.

Silver Moon was a 2.44 carat diamond found by Melissa and Kenny Oliver during the “supermoon” event last March. They had a jeweler in Fayetteville (Bill Underwood of Underwood's Fine Jewelry) cut the diamond down to a 1.06 carat, pear-shaped piece.

Crater of Diamonds State Park says that a rough diamond will typically lose between 40% and 60% of its weight in the cutting process...

This is an after and before shot of the Oliver's treasure find.


Not bad, eh?

Crater of Diamonds State Park is comprised of about 37 acres of plowed field and, by surface area, is the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in the world.

Located in Southwest Arkansas, it is the world's only diamond-producing site open to the public, and an average of two diamonds are found each day at the park.

The best thing about Crater of Diamonds?

The park's policy is finder-keepers.

Bring your shovel, rake, and pail, because if you find a diamond, you keep it.

A few years ago, older boy and I spent some time digging at the famous diamond park. 

We did not bring home any diamonds, but had lots of fun making a mess (anyone interested in that trip is welcome to go here for the old post).

I was smart enough to include time for additional digging at a quartz mine not too far away that is open to visitors as well--knowing that the odds were against us in finding a diamond. 

With the quartz mine, we found so much, I had to pay extra to check the heavy bag of shiny rocks on the plane.

Good memories. 

Thank you to Grannye for the article.

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Have a good weekend everyone. 

My Signature

On floor space between our dishwasher and cabinets.

By the children's art proudly displayed on our fridge.

If you were to stand in this one specific area for a few moments. 

When the bright morning sun rays illuminate most of the kitchen.

At that time, if you look up, you'd be in for quite a sight.

Liquid stains on the ceiling. 

Not many, but a few.

And, any is more than there should be.

No matter how many times we have scrubbed that ceiling, some of the stains remain.

I never would have guessed that a gallon jug of milk, dropped onto a floor from chest-high would create such an explosive force that milk would spray the ceiling and become a fixture. 

So, sunny mornings from time to time, one or more of our observant kid crew will say, "Dad, look!  I can still see that milk you spilled on the ceiling."

Gee, thanks.

When we moved into this house, several years ago it was new.

Milk displayed above appears to be my contribution as the "signature feature" that makes our house unique.

Now, we have others--the older kid's height chart marked with a pencil on a wall, trees and bushes that we planted outside to commemorate a birth or death, etc.

But, that milk residue is the most talked about one.

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So, do you have any "signature features" around your house, apartment, or residence?

One that you can boast about or are responsible for?

Hopefully, your contribution is much more appealing than mine.