Thirty Years Later: Juanita Returns Home

The complexity of missing persons cases varies widely.

But no matter how frustrating the investigation becomes, one strategy for detectives, voiced best by Winston Churchill, is essential:

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up!

Three decades of persistence helped investigators with the Hall's County Sheriff's Office (GA) close a missing person/unidentified body case last year:



Her family gave Juanita Adams the Lakota name “Omani Wi” – woman on the longest walk.

Adams’ journey, which started more than 30 years ago, was to end today when her remains are laid to rest beside her mother and other family members on Red Shirt Table.

Adams’ burial will conclude a 30-year quest to identify skeletal remains found along Interstate 985 in Hall County, Ga., on May 22, 1980.

It also ended a family’s search for a missing mother, daughter, sister and cousin.

Adams disappeared in 1978, according to her cousin Roxanne Two Bulls. She left a 3-year-old son behind.

Adams participated in the American Indian Movement’s “Longest Walk” to Washington, D.C., in 1978. She returned home for a few days then left with friends she had met on the walk, Two Bulls said.

“No one ever heard anything from her again,” Two Bulls said.

After the skeletal remains were discovered, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation attempted to identify them.

Forensic examinations by law enforcement agencies and the Smithsonian Institution concluded that the victim was between 17 and 24 years old and of African American or Native American mixed with Caucasian descent.

The victim was likely 19-20 at the time of her death, according to a Hall County news release.

Adams was 20 in 1980, according to her obituary...

One telling feature of the woman’s remains was a prosthetic right eye and indications of old injuries to the right side of her face.

Two Bulls said Adams was injured in a car accident. Surgery to install the prosthetic eye was done at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

According to Two Bulls, Lt. Gerald Couch of the Hall County Sheriff’s office was assigned to the case. He spent years trying to trace the origin of the eye and following leads.

Several skeletal reconstruction composites were created and published.

It wasn’t until Couch asked a forensic artist to enhance scars on the victim’s face that a family member recognized Adams on the GBI website last May...

The family waited 10-months for the University of Texas to perform DNA testing that confirmed Adams’ identity.

According to Hall County authorities, a cause of death could not be determined...
A missing person who has a prosthetic can certainly can aid law enforcement in locating the man or woman in question.

Unfortunately, so many of these unsolved cases contain very little about people that would be considered "unique identifiers."

As such, the Churchill quote on never giving-up is a painful daily reality for family members and investigators searching for those missing.

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You can read more of my Missing Person Monday posts by clicking here.

Barbecue Fail

For the most part on this blog, I enjoy highlighting and commenting on police stories.

But I can't resist this fire department news item from last month (emphasis added below):

(Madisonville, KY) The Madisonville Fire Department (MFD) had a busy weekend and start to the week, largely as a result of excessively dry conditions in the Hopkins County area. 


Below you will find your weekly update of fire department activity in the Madisonville area.


...At 6:16 PM, MFD personnel noticed a column of black smoke a 1/2 mile north/east of station 1. Battalion-3 and Engine-17 responded to the area to investigate. 


Upon arrival fire crew found a tire next to a barbeque grill, both on fire. 


The fire crew extinguished both with a portable water extinguisher. 


Upon further examination, a 2 pound block of frozen hamburger was found in the ashes. 


The homeowner stated that they were going to cook the hamburger over the burning tire because they had seen it done on the food network. 


The homeowner was advised that it was illegal to burn tires and that it was extremely dangerous to eat food cooked over burning rubber. 


Both units return (sic) to service...

Nicely done by the MFD, and though my cooking abilities are limited, I don't need an explanation as to why "collect old tires out of local creek for this weekend's bbq" should not be my current To-Do list.

Thanks to all of our public servants out there for their dedication, and well...especially for their patience.

Have a super weekend everyone.

Spicy Parenting is in My Future

Sissy is our spunky just-turned-six-year-old daughter. She is one of those kids who is six going on twenty-two.
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I walked into the front room where little "Sissy" was engrossed in an episode of classic Looney Tunes.

"Sissy, are you finished with your lunch?" 

Sissy nods, still staring at the television.

"Ok, hand me your plate and milk."

Receiving the plate and cup, I notice two used Klenexes on the floor.

"Hand me those tissues that are on the carpet.  Yuck."

Again without looking, she grabs the tissues and gives them to me.

"Thanks," I offer.

As I turn to exit the room, I see two balls of brown and pink lying on the end of the couch.

Those balls are Sissy's socks from yesterday: pink being their original color and brown reflecting the mud she collected after a fun evening of puddle jumping.

I sigh.

"And Sissy, please get those dirty socks off the sofa. You know where those belong."

Annoyed, Sissy breaks her concentration on the television, turns toward me, and frowns.

Handing me the used socks, she replies:

"Geez Dad, can't you do anything yourself?"

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After analyzing this conversation with a kindergartener, I have concluded two things:

1) My life as Dad will become increasingly difficult as Sissy gets older and more opinionated; and,

2) These exchanges between Sissy and I will make for entertaining and spicy blog posts. I should have lots to write about in the future, but I may be smiling less and less as each post is published.

At least I can laugh now.

Attempted Child Abduction

As scary as these attempted child abductions are to watch, they are very useful for those studying the tactics of a kidnapper.

This incident in Philadelphia involved a 10-year-old girl, and her 2-year-old brother.

The suspect does not appear particularly concerned about if anyone is watching.

He seems to be focused on the girl victim.

Someone who would try this at about 4 pm on a sunny urban street would definitely be a person of interest to investigators looking at unsolved missing persons cases.

Big cheers for the courageous little ones for screaming and fighting back.

In situations such as this, I am an advocate of a youth kidnapping resistance strategy called Kid Escape.

With his approach, safety consultant and black belt John Hall teaches children to wrap themselves around fixed objects using their arms and legs while screaming for help.  If no fixed object is available, the strategy would be to wrap around the attacker's leg and create as much of a disturbance as possible.

It is a shame that we have to be concerned with children and such things.

But the need to protect young people is a reality.

The man accused by Philly police of being the failed-kidnapper, Carlos Figueroa-Fagot, fled the scene.

He turned himself into authorities last Thursday (thanks to all the publicity).

The video of the incident is below.




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To read more of my Missing Person Monday posts, you can click here.

I Might Be a Redneck If

I might be a redneck if...

The Mrs. told me she was showing the kids some sparklers and a stray spark started a tiny fire on the front-yard grass.  Evidently, the sparkler demonstration turned into mom's best tap dancing routine as she stamped out flames.

I might be a redneck if...

While sitting in water at the local swimming hole, I observed older boy reenacting the techniques demonstrated on the show "Hillbilly Handfishin." He did not have any luck in catching a fish, but did pull a $10 pair of sunglasses out of the water--and whoa was he all smiles.

I might be a redneck if...

I took Sissy and older boy to a monster truck show last weekend. My three-year-old nephew loves monster trucks, so brother-in-law and family accompanied part of my crew for the hot, muddy, and loud competition.  Zoom zoom.

I might be a redneck if...

A birthday party the little kids were going to was unexpectedly canceled.  We received a call that the community pool had to be closed for the evening as it was being shocked and cleaned after a child dropped a poo in the water. Frustrated, our kids could not understand why the community pool cannot be cleaned as fast as our backyard pool--when Dad picks up the $20 wading pool, dumps the water, wipes it clean, and refills it in 15 minutes.

I might be a redneck if...

So with the pool being unavailable for the birthday party, we took the kids to the local "beach." Around  here the "beach" is a rocky and sandy strip of flat land with a creek. The creek water is about waist deep on me this time of year.

I might be a redneck if...

Older son showed me a heavy iron-like ball he bought for 20 cents at a yard-sale.  The kid found the rusted one-pound ball at the bottom of a box of toys.  He thought it was odd and might be something historic.  I agreed, and we researched my guess as to what it was.  The weight, diameter, and physical appearance are consistent with "grapeshot" used by artillery in the American Civil War. I am not sure who was more excited--me or him. Below, is a photo of what son's grapeshot looks like (one ball).


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So, there you have it.

I may be transforming.

And, only you can help.

Now, before my porch becomes a crash-pad for 13 dogs, and my front yard becomes littered with old truck parts, I ask all of you bloggers this: please continue writing educational posts.

This exposure is essential for me.

If I can continue being cultured and challenged by all of you out there, I can prevent myself from becoming fluent in "redneckanese."

My fight continues.
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Have a good weekend everyone.  

Police Overtime and a Top 10 List

Just as an FYI--I was not compensated for offering my opinion on the following policing top 10 list. 

In contrast, one of Dr. Moskos' insights fits well with an observation I wanted to make on a current criminal justice event.
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Recently, I read an insightful article by Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer and current professor at John Jay College.

Dr. Moskos discussed the Top 10 Things Police Officers Learn on the Job.

Here is one of the points:

To cops, overtime is like a drug. It's something you'll crave, and something that influences far too much of what you do on and off duty.

Police officers can make great money through overtime. They can also rake in the cash moonlighting.

As such, good law enforcement managers limit the type and amount of overtime and "extra-jobs" that officers are permitted to work.

On my NFL blog, I discussed a recent story about an officer working an extra-job at a bar who arrested Minnesota Vikings football player Adrian Peterson.

Not sure how the case against Peterson will pan out, but the arresting officer and the agency are getting plenty of negative publicity.

Advice for new officers working extra-jobs?

Be smart.

Be selective.

Avoid becoming dependent on the income from working overtime--it can certainly have a negative impact on one's personal and family life.

If the agency does not ban working off-duty at bars, steer clear of those high-paying yet high-risk opportunities like the plague.

They are always more trouble than they are worth.

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You can read Dr. Moskos' full top ten list by going here, or by going to the host site CriminalJusticePrograms.com.

Georgia Tann: Baby Snatcher

Last week while discussing the unsolved missing persons case of then four-year-old Majorie West, I mentioned that when kidnapping theories were discussed in the early to mid 1900s, one name that was regularly mentioned was Georgia Tann.


Here is more on Ms. Tann.
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Georgia Tann was a woman of high-society who dedicated her life to helping orphan children.

Or so it seemed.


Tann was a nationally recognized children's advocate, and operated the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis for decades (1924-1950).

Eleanor Roosevelt once sought her guidance on child welfare.

President Harry Truman invited Tann to be his guest at an official function.

But in 1950, Tennessee state authorities completed an investigation and closed Ms. Tann's agency.

She died of cancer a few days before the information about her agency was made public.

What was Ms. Tann really?

After her death and the truth about her child welfare activities were revealed, she became known as "The Hollywood Baby-Snatcher."

It was estimated that Tann sold through "adoption" nearly 5,000 babies--many to wealthy clients that paid her large sums of money.

Superstar actresses Joan Crawford and Lana Turner both used Tann to adopt infants.

Unknown to them or other want-to-be-parents, Tann acquired these infants through fraud, deception, and old-fashioned kidnapping.

She regularly targeted the poor, mentally ill, and women in prison--children that she could remove from families that could not fight back.

One of her common strategies was recounted in this article:


As she watched her baby coughing in her cot in a corner of her tiny apartment, Alma Sipple felt increasingly desperate. 


A single mother in Tennessee, she could not afford medical care for ten-month-old Irma. Suddenly, a knock on the door heralded a turn in her fate: there stood a woman with close-cropped grey hair, round wireless glasses and a stern air. 


She exuded authority as she explained she was the director of a local orphanage and had come to help. Alma rushed to show the lady her sickly child.  


Examining the baby, the woman offered to pass her off as her own at the local hospital in order to obtain free treatment. 


She warned Alma not to accompany her, explaining: 'If the nurses know you're the mother, they'll charge you.'  Lifting the child from the cot, the woman turned on her heel and disappeared. Two days later, Alma was told her baby had died.  


In fact, Irma had been flown to an adoptive home in Ohio. Alma would not see her daughter again for 45 years.  


For far from being her saviour, the woman who had taken Irma was a baby thief.  


For 30 years, Georgia Tann made millions selling children. A network of scouts, corrupt judges and politicians helped her steal babies. 


She also targeted youngsters on their way home from school, promising them ice cream to tempt them away from their homes.  Legal papers would be signed saying they were abandoned - most would never see their families again...

And, she did this for more than 20 years.

Tann's criminal activities led to reform of adoption laws in Tennessee and later the US.

And what became of the thousands of Ms. Tann's child victims?

Authorities in the 1950s made no effort to reunite birth families, and very few ever saw their natural mothers and fathers again.

In 1997 after a lengthy court battle, some of Ms. Tann's victims were allowed access to adoption records, but as one can imagine, many of those involved were deceased or the files had been falsified.

A sad ending to one individual's life of crime.

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So, could a little missing girl from Pennsylvania have been sold by Tennessee's Georgia Tann?

Yes, it is possible, but based on the information released about the case of 4-year-old Majorie, it is not likely.

Tann's "child grab" activities seem to be relegated to Tennessee, Mississippi, and Connecticut.

But, if a kidnapper contacted Ms. Tann and stated that he had a young girl for sale, I have little doubt that Ms. Tann would make that purchase with no questions asked.

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You can read more of my Missing Person Monday posts by going here.  

On Responsibility

I wrote this a few days ago, but with the release of the Freeh Report on Penn State's failed leadership during the child sex abuse scandal, the message is certainly contemporary.


On a side note but related to the Freeh Report, JJ from Phila continues to comprehensively cover the disappearance of former Penn State area prosecutor Ray Gricar.


His latest post is entitled Proving Walkaway and can be read by clicking here


What is the connection to the Penn State scandal and the missing district attorney?


Ray Gricar was one of the prosecutors that decided against prosecuting Jerry Sandusky after accusations had been made against the former Penn State coach.


Anyway, here is my offering on responsibility for today.
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The Mrs. learned mid-week, inadvertently, that older boy was placed in the wrong camp this week.

We all thought he was attending archaeology camp and would be out at a dig site Tuesday, but instead he was hiking at a general outdoor camp.

One organization runs both camps and the staff, times, drop-off, and pick-up sites are all the same.

The Mrs. spoke with the administrator who handles the paperwork, and evidently the woman accidentally put his enrollment forms in the wrong pile--causing him not to be placed in the digging camp that he has been looking forward to all year.

A camp that we shelled out some good money for.

Many years ago, I learned something the hard way.

When you are in charge of something and there is a customer service problem, just make it right.

Especially if it is related to a mistake you made.

Take responsibility.

Apologize.

Correct the mistake quickly.

And, take measures to ensure similar errors don't occur in the future.

A simple yet full-proof plan to make the best out of tense situations.

When confronted with her mistake, the woman from the camps instead said this to the Mrs.:

Well, I don't want to blame anyone here, but if your son would have said something yesterday, this would not have happened.

Wow.

Blaming a fifth-grader who had simply assumed that there were two groups for the same camp and that it would be his bunch's turn to dig this morning?

Yikes.

That is guaranteed to get an immediate and unpleasant response from most parents.

Therefore, I apologize to anyone who was startled by the loud KABOOM heard from our neck of the woods Tuesday at about 1 pm.

It was the result of the exploding Mrs. giving the woman immediate and unpleasant.

Lots of immediate and unpleasant.

The situation was resolved and kiddo finished the week where he was supposed to be.

Hopefully, the administrator learned the same lesson that I did so many years ago.

Just take responsibility.

Poor Sport

Many years ago, when I played youth sports, the worst I worried about was whether or not the opposing team had spit on their hands prior to the post-game handshake--not this:
VANCOUVER - The RCMP said Wednesday it plans to recommend assault charges against a minor hockey coach who tripped a 13-year-old player following a game last weekend, causing the child to break his wrist.
A hockey mom in the stands captured on video UBC Hornets coach Martin Tremblay tripping a Richmond Steel player during the post-game handshake, despite his team’s 5-4 victory Saturday at UBC’s Thunderbird Arena.
Video footage shows the coach shake hands with the goalie of the opposing team. He then appears to purposefully march down the line of Richmond Steel players before sticking out his right foot to the side and trip the youth, causing another player to also fall.
Tremblay then spins around, jabbing his finger toward the second player, who’d leapt back up to his feet to face the coach... Tremblay was arrested after the incident and released same day, on a promise to appear for court date at the end of August, Gidda said.
After watching the video of the incident, I was surprised that the coach involved did not cause a riot in the stands and end up flattened--one thing that few want to face is the fury of moms and dads in defense mode attending their kids' sporting events.


The link to the video is here.


Below is a screenshot of the trip.


One of Pennsylvania's Oldest Missing Child Cases

For Missing Person Monday, I selected the oldest case from Pennsylvania listed in NamUs or the national missing persons directory.  


This is the story of a little girl who has been missing for more than 70 years.
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On May 8, 1938, four-year-old Majorie West and her family enjoyed a Mother's Day picnic in the rural community of White Gravel in McKean County, PA.

Majorie and her older sister, Dorothea, picked wildflowers from a field near a road and a large boulder. Her father had warned the children about going near the boulder for fear of rattlesnakes.

At around 3 pm, Dorothea went and spoke to their mother leaving her little sister with some of the flowers, but when she returned, Majorie was nowhere in sight.

The family conducted a brief search of the area, but nothing was found so they contacted law enforcement.

Using bloodhounds, police determined that Majorie's scent trail stopped in the middle of the road by the wildflowers that she had picked earlier.

Did Majorie get lost in the woods?

Did she fall into an abandon mine that was evidently nearby?

Trained dogs being unable to find a little girl's scent on a spring day nice enough for a picnic would seem to reduce the likelihood of her getting lost.

Possible but less plausible.

Witnesses told police that two vehicles were seen driving near the West's picnic, but authorities did not believe either driver had anything to do with the girl's disappearance.

But, even in the 1930s, a four-year-old standing alone near an isolated road could have been a kidnapping scenario for an opportunist.

After the case was publicized in newspapers, a taxi driver in Thomas, West Virginia reported that he saw a girl closely matching Majorie's description riding with a man at 11:38 pm on the night she vanished.

The cabbie told authorities that, after being stopped, he gave the man directions to a nearby motel. A few minutes later the man and girl returned--the man saying that the motel was full. He then allegedly asked the cab driver where he could get some liquor, and the driver directed him to a local bar.

Police were unable to identify the man the cabbie spoke to that night or corroborate his story, but the driver did believe that the little girl he saw in the car was Majorie.

Authorities did not rule out the sighting--as it was determined to be about an 8-hour drive from the disappearance location to that part of West Virginia.

Time went by and the case went cold.

Speculation about the missing girl's relatives, abduction scenarios, and other explanations continued to be discussed, but no leads panned out.

The disappearance of then four-year-old Majorie West remains unsolved.

The young girl was last seen wearing a blue dress, red hat, and a navy-blue mid-length coat with the collar edged in pink.

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Discussions about the possible kidnapping of young children in the early 1900s, like this one, often include the name Georgia Tann--one of America's most infamous "baby snatchers."

I'll talk about Ms. Tann next week.

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A more detailed description of Majorie's disappearance and the painful aftermath suffered by family members can be read by going here


My other Missing Person Monday posts can be found by clicking here.  


Look Busy

Our home is quiet.

The afternoon sun illuminates young faces focused on electronic devices.

Older boy is watching Discovery Channel's car guy show "Fast and Loud"; dreaming about someday owning some fast and loud ride.

Little girl is practicing her bullet blocking bracelet techniques in front of the television while imagining she is Lynda Carter from the classic Wonder Woman series.

Little dude is perched in front of the computer next to the bay window playing Nick Jr. games from the Internet.  The sounds of the cartoon bunnies Max and Ruby playing hide and seek are common here.

Meanwhile, I am sitting and reading a new fantasy football magazine I picked up.

"I can grab Donald Brown in the 9th round? Man, that is a steal."

I am certainly lost in thought.

But, in an instant, the calm and near silence is broken.

"Mom's home!" the little boy yells.

"Quick, everyone look busy!" the older boy directs.

Wonder Woman gets turned off.

Fast and Loud becomes...well...quiet..

The football magazine gets shoved haphazardly into the desk drawer.

The three of us then move in opposite directions to look for activities that will meet with approval from the Mrs.

The little boy never moves from what he is doing, and continues to click and find those hidden online rabbits.

"Hi mommy," he greets her as she pushes open the front door.

"Hello Luka.  Where is everyone else?" she replies.

"I don't know," Luka says.

And so, the other three family members pass the "busy" test, and live to goof-off another day.

Oh, the perks for Luka of being the baby in the family.

And, just a day in the domestic life of the not-so-hard-working Slamdunk.

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Note: The Mrs. is an occasional reader to this blog--perhaps she'll miss this one.  


Mr. Busy Pinky signing off.  

I Am a Guest Blogger and Call Me Pinky

First day back and I guest posted for the multi-talented police officer Raindogblue--as he is enjoying a vacation.

On the home-front, I challenged older boy to a game of mini-golf and thought I did well with a 5-under-par game.  Unfortunately for me, he finished 10-under-par and currently owns family bragging rights.

We did have a wager on the game: for the loser (that is me), the next time we play mini-golf, I have to play the  entire round using a pink ball.

So just call me "Pinky" and it is a good thing that I am comfortable with my masculinity.

Now pardon me, while I go belch, spit, and pump some iron.

In any event, my post over at Raindog's blog is entitled "Surprising Admission" and can be read by clicking here.  

Happy Fourth of July to all!

Back

Well, I am back, but used my only ounce of creativity writing a "guest post" for a friend's blog.

As such, it is almost midnight and I don't want to waste anyone's time with something just to fill space, so I'll try visiting blogs and have a more appropriate "first post back" tomorrow.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying summer--at least for all those north of the equator.