Archive for category Missing Persons

The Legacy of Leah Toby Roberts and the  “On the Road to Remember Tour“ with the CUE Center for Missing Persons 2014 

 

“There are no good-byes, wherever we are, you’ll always be in my heart”. Anonymous

GONE MISSING at age 23! Leah was an adventurous young woman from Durham, North Carolina who was inspired and grieving. If this combination was flirting with disaster only Leah, her perpetrator(s), and perhaps the well honed experience of Monica Caison, Founder of the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for the Missing would know in their heart of hearts.

Leah Roberts, Road to Remember Tour honoree, CUE Center for Missing Persons

Leah Roberts

Leah Roberts’ story is not a story in the sense of entertainment, rather, it is a true account with certain known facts, but also shrouded in mystery, possibilities, hypotheses, innuendo and lots of unsubstantiated speculation. The fact that CUE Center volunteers decided to “form a caravan”  on a grueling 14-day trip to retrace Leah’s route and inform the media of all those who were missing while performing this search, is the heart and soul of the “On Road to Remember Tour” and the reason for this blog.

What is the Road to Remember Tour?  In the Words of Monica Caison:

 “On the Road to Remember, National tour ” is an awareness campaign focusing on missing persons cases that have gone cold or have not received appropriate media coverage on the local level – much less the national level.. The tour, which travels through many states annually, provides that attention. Each year particular regions of the country are selected with “more interest growing “along the way. 

In all cases of missing people, it is vital to inform the public of the missing person’s circumstances quickly and to disseminate that information to the media and the public. In most cases where details are released immediately to the public through an organized campaign, the public brings forth information that aids in the investigation and or the location of the victim. The media plays a significant role in getting the word out on the behalf of the missing person and should be recognized as a vital resource to any investigation.

Interest in many of the cases we have featured in previous tours has been renewed. The media have learned about local cases they were unaware of; case investigations have been renewed, and searches conducted. Information has resulted in new leads in some cases, and has even helped identify an unknown decedent and in 2008 solved a cold case of twenty-eight years. Finally, with each tour, some of the missing persons featured have been found through various efforts. This is the main reason the Cue Center conducts the tour despite the toll it takes on our all-volunteer staff.

It is the belief of the CUE Center for Missing Persons that all investigations, the public, volunteers and the media should work in collaboration on cases involving missing children and adults; until this happens, their will continue to be cases of the missing labeled “cold” or “inactive.”

WHAT IS A RALLY STOP?

A rally stop is a place that is pre set by anyone who wishes to host one for suggested missing person(s). Once a location is secured CUE will inform the host of time and date of arrival. Each stop is one hour and a half  long for whatever program the host wishes to have and feature;  this is the time to bring an awareness to your community of missing persons.

Returning to Leah Roberts:

Events and known facts will be listed here and  perhaps some of the “theories” if only for the purpose of creating legitimate leads, jogging memories or “growing a conscience;”

  • Vital Statistics: Caucasian Female; DOB – 7-23-1976; 5’ 6” 130 pounds; sandy blonde hair blue eyes;
  • Distinguishing Marks: Pierced ears, dimples, Surgical scar on right hip, metal rod- femur –secondary to  previous car accident
  • Habits- Lifestyle – Vegetarian, smoker, Fluent Spanish speaker, strong southern dialect;
  • Leah spent much time at Cup O’ Joe’s Coffee House
  • One person on-line had this to say about this spot on Hillsborough Street:  “Well, I spend my Saturday afternoons at Cup A Joe on Hillsborough Street. I sit in the back and smoke cigars and work on my laptop. To me, it’s comfortable and the coffee is strong and the cookies are good, but the clientele can be a little weird. They are interesting to look at, though.” (Driving distance from Durham to Hillsborough is 14 miles). This may have been the correct location;
  • Leah dabbled in poetry, and was influenced in outlook at that time in her life by poet, Author,  and Journalist, Jack Kerouac. His public persona and his talented works were a contradiction in terms.  His 1951 book ‘”On the Road” no doubt inspired Leah as she set out on her adventure to “find herself and her true calling in life after many losses.  (From Biography.com: “On the Road,” a barely fictionalized account of these road trips packed with sex, drugs and jazz. Kerouac’s writing of On the Road in 1951 is the stuff of legend: He wrote the entire novel over one three-week bender of frenzied composition, on a single scroll of paper that was 120 feet long.” Jack died in 1969 of alcoholism and an abdominal hemorrhage at age 47.)

 

When Last Seen:

  • Wearing several pieces of gold, diamond and gem  jewelry including 14 carat gold earrings, .3 caret ruby stones, 3 rings on her right hand, 14 caret white gold ring set with .45 carat emerald cut diamond with 2 .07 carat baguette diamonds. (Jewelry may have belonged to her deceased Mother)
  • Leah left college in Durham, North Carolina during her senior year –Year 2000;
  • She left on a cross-country trip on March 9, 2000 and arriving om the west coast in just three days;
  • Leah did not  share her specific plans (in true adventurous spirit), but did notify her roommate that she was not suicidal;
  • Her 1993 white  Jeep  Cherokee was found down an embankment wrecked without her as driver or passenger  ~ 90 miles north of Seattle; The jeep was located on a logging road in Whatcom  County, Washington (setting from a Kerouac novel) nine days after she left North Carolina;
  • Belongings found and identified: Cat Food, guitar, compact discs, checkbook , movie ticket stub, and $2,500 tucked in the pocket of a pair of pants, credit card and driver’s license,
  • Other Observations:  No cat was located or signs of foul play, blankets covered the broken windows (as cover from the elements “for someone”);
  • Reportedly she spent just $100.00 in eight days of travel;
  • Sightings: A witness supposedly observed Leah and called in a tip from at a Texaco gas Station. The man claimed he and his wife observed her 30 moles from the scene of the crash. She was disoriented and did not know her identity. He abruptly ended the call, perhaps out of panic. Police feel this tip was credible. Reports of the Investigation Discovery show, “Disappeared” revealed that her Jeep may have been tampered with– to accelerate on its own;
  • In a Foothills Gazette.com article, Monica Caison is quoted as saying, “She could have been abducted as she walked out of there or that she ran into foul play and they staged it.”
  • “Theories” & Speculation: Picked up by a passing motorist while injured and disoriented on Mount baker Highway with an unknown assailant driving her vehicle where foul play ensued; Abduction & Kidnapping; Leah “staged the crash and decided to start a new life”; Leah wrecked her jeep, hitchhiked to get help, and was kidnapped by someone, Leah wrecked her jeep, hit her head, and is alive with some sort of amnesia.
    Leah was kidnapped sometime before her car crashed, and the kidnapper crashed her car.
  • Leah told two men at a bar-restaurant at lunch she was travelling alone; The perpetrator is a mechanic who tampered with her car and fled to Canada with-without her; She spent the night “in nature” and was removed from the car; A sexual sadist was involved as there was no robbery.  And on and on….  In the past, Leah’s sister, Kara, stated, “Leah was a young woman who was lost. You know by the time Leah was 22 she had lost both of her parents and here she is on the verge of graduating from college and I think she just really felt lost and didn’t have a lot of direction and I feel like she took this trip as a soul-searching trip…I think she just needed to go and get away to clear her mind.”
  • Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office
    Det. Mark Joseph
    (360) 676-6650
    OR
    Whatcom County Dispatch Center
    (360) 676-7722
    (360) 676-6711

 Tour Reviews from previous years:

……..   “a success, a blessing,  “a perpetual voice for missing persons everywhere.”

“This group of compassionate people who work harder than I ever imagined, stays on top of every detail, and at the same time, has time for the family, letting them know they are being heard, and helps in guiding them through what many have already endured first hand.” (Judi Jordan) 

Conclusion:

We honor Leah wherever she may be in 2014. We will never give up searching for her!  It matters not what her reasons were to experience her adventure in the manner she did. She was a free spirit, wanting to enjoy life until evil stepped in her path and the occurrence of circumstances beyond her control. The Community United Effort stands read to take action and mend hearts all across the nation for missing persons.

Donna Ingersoll, CUE Center for MIssing Persons, Road to Remember Tour 2014

Donna Ingersoll

I am so proud to be standing with CUE during their stop in New Haven, Connecticut this year as we honor  2014 National Honoree, Donna Ingersoll, missing from Waubesha, Minnesota since 1990.

PLEASE participate and support the Road to Remember Tour when it comes to your geographic location this year! It is vital to recognize these families and to create increased awareness such that loved ones can, at last be located and a sense of resolution achieved.”

IN THE AFTERMATH OF CRIME: For families of the missing and unsolved homicides who need assistance with completing a customized Victim Impact Statement, See link and contact me

 

 

References:

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/r/roberts_leah.html

http://foothillsgazette.com/tag/leah-roberts/

http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/leah-toby-roberts/

http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/on-the-road-to-remember-national-tour2014/

http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/Leah_Roberts

http://greenriverkillings.com/Blog/2011/01/06/disappearance-leah-roberts/

http://www.biography.com/people/jack-kerouac-9363719#synopsis

http://www.city-data.com/forum/raleigh-durham-chapel-hill-cary/242916-funky-comfortable-coffee-house.html

 

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“No One Stepped Into Their Path”- the Prophecy of Monica Caison and the CUE Center for Missing Persons

Monica Caison, Founder CUE Center for Missing Persons

“The silence of ignorance can be deafening  and therefore we must break it whenever the opportunity is presented.” Donna R. Gore

The book “The Road Less Traveled” has made publishing history, with more than 10 years on The New York Times bestseller list, sales of more than 7 million copies translation into more than 23 languages. It’s been 36 years since its inception into the publishing world. Author M. Scott Peck’s timeless message concerns the nature of loving relationships and helps to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self. Its opening line is “Life is difficult and the journey to spiritual growth is a long one.” ‘So true…

Although books have their place, I submit to you that no author has made the impact as compared to “the school of hard knocks” on a person-to-person level, touching the flesh, the hearts and souls of humanity than Monica Caison., Founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons.

Monica is a warrior in tune with the woods, the waterways, the alleys, the streets, ultimately the ramshackle lives of those ho “go missing” for inexplicable and heart wrenching reasons. The truly amazing attributes of the CUE Center for the Missing rest with their founding principles and the lack of judgment. No matter what the circumstance, the Cue Center is there to serve.Monica Caison, CUE Center for Missing Persons, Donna R. Gore

Particular phrases come to mind – self sacrifice, going way beyond the extra mile …”colorblindness,” volunteerism at its best, compassion, lots of tough love, strategic coordination, crying and laughing in the same conversation, never leaving a person without a “port in the storm.”” Never say never,” “All things are possible with the right plan of action.”

With an eye toward the future as all good CEOs should have, the organization not only carries on, but thrives with dedication and heart, including new projects on the horizon that will increase visibility and education, changing attitudes and putting the focus where it needs to be… on the victims and their families, as human beings deserving of respect, attention and the full complement of resources afforded everyone.

Offering a wide range of free services, CUE has since helped more than 9,000 families in what is often the most confusing and desperate times of their lives. In addition to providing services for the missing and their families, CUE offers college internships and youth mentoring programs.
CUE is entirely donation funded and staffed by volunteers, including Monica Caison, who takes no salary from the organization.
What was simply a dream, name and purpose, is now a nationally-recognized center that answers hundreds of calls for help each year.

Donations to CUE Center are gratefully accepted at their website: http://ncmissingpersons.org

10th Annual National Missing Persons Conference

2014ConfPosterThe Theme: “Breaking the Silence” Victim No More” speaks to breaking the silence by setting family members free to tell their story, educating, the public, law enforcement, and other agencies who have pre-conceived ideas about what it’s like to be a victim, to make the effort to really know who is missing and to communicate with the people who can provide the most assistance without regard to past history.

There is a liberation that a victim experiences and a sense of community and safeguarding when you first “reveal your painful soul” to an audience who well knows what you have experienced. Rather than “living in a fishbowl,” you feel a sense of relief like never before. I bore witness to this in the new connections made this year at the 10th Annual Conference (always a reunion for repeat attendees).

There is always that person who walks in the door not knowing anything about the CUE, having come as a result of a news story, an advertisement, an electronic link, a personal recommendation. No matter how they arrive, it doesn’t take long to feel the magic of camaraderie and Southern hospitality, regardless from what state members travel.

I am thinking of a woman who may have been tormented for answers concerning her mother who tragically went missing by a combination of forces, an athletic spirit for hiking, an iron will to “do it her way” and worsening dementia. Evidently, this was a lethal combination. Does it make it any less heartbreaking that she was participating in a sport she truly loved? Does it make it worse that her daughter had plans to implement her “plan of action” concerning her mother’s worsening memory next week, when next week never came? I do not know. What I do know is that she spoke publicly, seemingly “blossomed like a flower” and came to her own peaceful conclusion with her former major regrets.

Presentations at CUE Center for Missing Persons Conference

  • Raymond Bechard- Author, Producer, Human Rights Advocate and Human Trafficking Expert;
  • David Sullivan – Retired Sheriff, Lead Instructor for Ground Search & Rescue;
  • Dr. Scott Bonn – Professor of Criminology, Media Expert, Author;
  • Sheryl McCollum –Law Enforcement Professional, Director of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute
  • Peter Hyatt- Civil Investigator and Statement Analysis Expert;
  • Gaetane Borders - Psychologist, Writer, Public Speaker and President of “Peas in their Pods”
  • Elaine Pagliaro- Assistant Executive Director of the Henry C. Lee Forensics Institute, Forensic Scientist and Attorney;
  • Karen Beaudin- Author, Advocate for Cold case Units, Public Speaker and Survivor of the Missing;
  • Holly Hughes- Former Senior Assistant DA Fulton County GA; & Legal Analyst;

CUE Center for Missing Persons Conference speakers

 

A good ending to an experience is like the icing on a cake or the ribbon on your favorite gift. Monica delivered just that, as she spoke from the heart about the epidemic of runaway teens.

As a group they tend to evolve into people they would otherwise never become, if not for forces beyond their control; sexual assault, rape, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution escalating to human trafficking, misdemeanor crimes and even felonies in the escape from and the running to something as a means of survival.

Her refrain in telling us many illustrative stories was “No One Stepped into their Path” meaning that no one offered a non-judgmental helping hand to show them a different way, show them their value as a human being with potential and ensure their safety from harm’s way. She seldom took credit as she spoke. Rather, she told of how she was able to peel away the layers, get to the heart of the matter, establish trust and a kernel of understanding, and in the process creating many life long bonds.

It’s like kicking the can down the road. Who will stop and do something about a bad situation rather than make excuses? You can rest assured that Monica Caison and her team will always step into the path when needed!

I, Donna Gore, am the CUE Center  State Outreach Coordinator for the State of Connecticut, and I know I will be stepping into the path of many lives in the future!

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“Growing a Conscience” Is it Possible With the Female Peer Group?

female peer group, female friends, girlfriends, Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice

 

Running from responsibilities or problems… or just running to the ladies room… In any case, IT NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED! There is this strange phenomenon… or perhaps this writer is just imagining it…. But I don’t think so… You tell me at the end….

Ladyjustice asked herself recently, what is it about girls “who run together;” who operate differently than many males? This writer hypothesizes that much hasn’t changed over the years regarding how groups of youth generally socialize.  YES… much HAS changed with respect to the introduction and influence of social media ever –present. Young men and women are virtually glued to their electronic devices 24/7. So… is it then a “sip of your drink at the bar, head down to check your messages or text” …and then repeat a million times over?   If so, no wonder we are missing important observations like – a friend gone missing, for instance!

Women tend to socialize in twos…or in small “packs” whereas young men meet up at a bar unless transportation is a problem. Or, maybe it’s the initial comfort level or perceived loyalty of girls…. But girls can also cause much drama.  Guys don’t have time for drama. They get to the heart of the matter quickly or are ruled by their hormones.

Irrespective of these factors, real or imagined, three examples of “Girls Gone Missing and Their Peer Groups” come to mind. These women suddenly and inexplicably “went missing” and who, at least initially, were in the company of female friends “supposedly to protect and serve each other.”  LJ isn’t saying that this was intentional in every instance…. Just that vigilance was not part of the scenario. And… oh what a mistake it was….  One of the three women’s remains has been identified, while the remaining two remain illusive to law enforcement, their parents and the world. You will read about the three women Ladyjustuce has chosen to tie together… for good or for bad…as a learning experience. We will present:

Brittanee Drexel, Morgan Harrington and Natalee Holloway

britmorgannat

In a book called “Developing through the Lifespan”, Kathleen Stassen Berger states in her slide presentation that a Clique is defined as:

Clique -A group of adolescents made up of close friends who are loyal to one another while excluding outsiders. Whereas a

Crowd – is a larger group of adolescents who have something in common but who are not necessarily friends.

She states that when CHOOSING FRIENDS:

Peer pressure   occurs when encouragement to conform to one’s friends or contemporaries in behavior, dress, and attitude; usually considered a negative force, as when adolescent peers encourage one another to defy adult authority. WHEREAS

Selection occurs as teenagers select friends whose values and interests they share, abandoning friends who follow other paths.

Susan Shapiro Barash in her book, Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships interviewed 200 women of assorted backgrounds and ages, and asked them all kinds of nosy questions about their friends. .  A synopsis of this information is passed on via Psych Central and Associate Editor, Therese J. Borchard:

The Ten Types of Female Friends:

1. The Leader

The leader is the friend we feel we must have the one who can make or break our social lives. Being the leader renders one a “winner”–she is strong and outspoken; she understands her potency.

2. The Doormat

The doormat is a martyr. She isn’t one to make her demands known and rarely questions anything. She is useful when any friend, in any category, is in a bad way–the doormat absorbs her sorrows willingly. The doormat yearns to belong to a group,

3. The Sacrificer

The sacrificer is the one who takes the leap for her friends, and in tough times, we lean on this person, who will answer her phone in the dead of night to console you. The sacrificer’s search for closeness is often what motivates her, and she is confident that she can handle a friend’s expectations.

4. The Misery Lover

Enough women describe their misery lover as a friend who cares more about your bad news than your good news. These friends rally when a crisis hits and are even able to make a small incident into a bigger problem, at times…. When the situation improves, she distances herself.

5. The User

The user stands alone in how every step she takes is purposeful and deliberate….This friend can be enticing and charismatic and knows how to wheedle her way into one’s life and firmly entrench herself. She also has a hidden agenda

6. The Frenemy

The frenemy is the dark side of the user, with manipulation an underlying factor in these negative relationships. Many times her act is refined…..Although it is apparent why and when one should walk away from this kind of friend, cultural messages, oddly enough, ramp up our view of frenemies. This gives tacit approval for the emotions and passive-aggressive behaviors that accompany the relationship. [Ohhh… this one sounds evil- LJ]

7. The Trophy Friend

The trophy friend is out for the conquest of making you her friend….This friend is capable of seduction; she discovers you, and it is thrilling to be together….The trophy friend is savvy about intimacy and passion but falls short on commitment.

8. The Mirroring Friend

The mirroring friend has an identity that resonates with our own. So we are drawn to her, even if we aren’t the same exact kind of friend ourselves; t is the mirroring aspect of the equation that makes it work. Our mirroring friends want to be with us in good times and bad with their matching joys and sorrows … and are able to provide great solace.

9. The Sharer

While women are known to trade confidences, the sharer not only will tell all but will pour herself into the friendship. The sharer remains emotional and open, friendly and focused; she wants you to be her best friend. This kind of friend anticipates a serious pledge from her friends and feels that she, based on her own path, can ask for it.

10. The Authentic Friend

The authentic friend is the one we are in search for, a woman who has a high tolerance for her friend’s entanglements and is deeply committed to the relationship. This relationship makes it worth all the ups and downs inherent in female friendship, and operates on mutual self-esteem, care, and flexibility. This is the friend who reinvented her role and adapts as friendships alter with time; she also remains steadfast with the patterns that have succeeded over the years.

[Just to let you know LJ thinks she is a combination of the three of the best…We hope!]

Knowing that females are attuned more to the emotional aspects, could we further surmise that when a problem occurs, rather than use “brawn”, girls are more likely to separate, “leave in a huff” or “get revenge?” Alternately, some women desire to be free as in a celebratory event and may take risks they otherwise would not, particularly if alcohol, drugs or environmental stimuli (such as large concerts) are in the mix.

‘With that backdrop… LJ takes you to the first scene of the crime:

NATALEE HOLLOWAY’S FEELING FREE AFTER GRADUATION “CHAPARONED TRIP” TO ARUBA”

alg-resize-natalie-holloway-jpg

Natalee Holloway

The Peer Group’s presence breaks down at Carlos & Charles

After Natalee’s disappearance, her friends go on record saying via interview with Greta Van Sustern at Fox in June 2005, saying:

  • Carlos & Charles’ was “just a place to go when the sun went down.”
  • They were together in the casino when Holloway introduced herself to Joran ver der Sloot, reportedly not an outgoing or receptive local.
  • The “girl crowd” supposedly met the “guy crowd” at Carlos & Charlie’s on a Sunday night “quite by accident.” Van der sloot stated, “Sunday was not a fun night on the island,” so they were surprised he showed up at all.
  • Natalee’s friend, Frances Byrd stated that no one saw Natalee leave with Joran. She said, “If one of our good friends had seen her, we would never have let her get in the car with him, ever. Absolutely not!”
  • It was reported by her friend Francis that there were a lot of local people and a huge group of people waiting outside for taxis.  However, in the confusion, they never saw Natalee enter the taxi.
  • Natalee’s friend Ruth McVay reported that she left around midnight while they speculated that Natalee left nearer to closing time around 1 a.m.
  • The next morning, friend Ruth McVay states, “Oh we knew there was something wrong because Natalee is one of the most responsible friends. When she was not with us, we were worried.  We were right there with the chaperones trying to figure out what was going on.” [LJ- Where, of where were the chaperones when they were really needed at Carlos & Charles’s?]

Commentary:  Girlfriends are loyal and can be the protective mother hen” when needed.  However, when a good girl is hell-bent on “letting loose” and gets in over her head in a foreign land and when under the influence of alcohol, bad things happen.

The Blame Game:

  • A much more proactive, detailed orientation program should have been devised by high school officials intending to pursue such a trip.
  • [LJ- Thanks to Beth Holloway, there now is such a program- http://donnagore.com/2011/07/10/an-aruban-mystery-blossoms-into-a-resource-center/]
  • The chaperones failed miserably…. Could they not have foreseen that 17 year olds may have wanted to “push the limits?” Why was there not a greater presence-particularly at night in a bar setting?
  • The “peer group” should have “stuck together” regardless of temptations… But let’s face it; they were kids with “not yet fully developed brains.”
  • The cultural differences, incompetancies of the investigatory officials and international media presence, the political influence of the van der sloot family, the misinformation and lack of communication no doubt created the “perfect storm” in this still unresolved case.
  • The “evil doer” mass murderer Joran van der sloot, who to this day will not divulge  substantive information regarding the whereabouts of Natalee to her family will ultimately rot in the hell he created

BRITTANEE DREXEL LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

brittanee-drexel02

Brittanee Drexel

Some people fancy the term “Murder Beach” when referring to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Such a term “stabs LJ in the heart,” because her experience has been quite the opposite! However, it does depend upon what part of town you speak of, what risks are taken, how naive you are, what other environmental conditions exist etc.

The high-profile case of Brittanee Drexel can never be emphasized enough, for it is a prime example of what kids do on a lark….and then things have the potential to go horribly wrong in no more than a moment’s time!  Brittanee is a 17-year-old from upstate New York in the Rochester area. LJ asks what 17-year-old does not have problems and wishes to break free  from the confines of parental monitoring during spring break….if only for a while?  She is no different from millions of other teens…  When she was in Rochester, she was an impassioned soccer player with a caring boyfriend.

What forces were at play when Brittanee decided to leave her hometown and leave her boyfriend to go on vacation with a group of girls (who were older than she), who did not have her best interests at heart and… without her mother’s knowledge or permission we may never know with certainty.

  • Reportedly, Brittanee took the offer of the time away in what must have seemed like “exotic Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
  • Blog posts in March 2013 from www.helpfindbritaneedrexel.com give the opinion that the group of girls invited her and effectively abandoned or ostracized Brittanee after inviting the underage teen along.
  • Was she ultimately “not cool enough” for their activities which purportedly included drug use? Did she wisely refuse and for all intents and purposes was then on her own… “So sad, too bad “as the saying goes?
  • Intimate partner violence expert Susan Murphy- Milano stated in her blog post of May 4, 2011 about the circumstances of Brittanee’s disappearance that, her Mom, Dawn Drexel is told via the boyfriend, after he initially learns from the girls specifically that “Brittanee is missing.” Focusing in on his use of language, Susan asks, “How does he know to say that, if he is not in Myrtle Beach?” Susan postulates, “it is because after Brittanee doesn’t text back, he calls one of the girls and learns something has happened? He then repeats what he has been told by the girls to her mother. Bingo! How do they or anyone know at that point– anything about Brittanee? It is not possible to say a person is “missing” unless, wait a minute, they have direct and absolute knowledge?”  This writer thinks It sure sends up red flags about the entire bunch…
  • Susan also stated that the group who invited Brittanee to Myrtle Beach “continue to claim they ‘did not know’ Brittanee and yet the photo’s from last week on the blog prove otherwise.” Reportedly, these girls never assisted  with flyers or searches, unlike Brittanee’s true friends
  • On Brittanee’s website blog, there is a mention of her retrieving a pair of shorts belonging to a friend prior to going out again.  Was that the last time she would seethe evil, heartless   girls before she went missing? As Britanee supposedly walked the street all day and night solo along the sand laden strip of motels-hotels on Ocean Boulevard, how was she feeling?
  • At some point Brittanee, the soccer player, met up with a group of male friends from Rochester at the Blue Water Resort, intending to walk back to her hotel.  This was the location of her last known sighting by video on April 25th at 9 pm.
  • Supposedly, Brittanee texted her boyfriend at that point in time that she was headed back to her hotel.  [LJ wants to know, what were the circumstances surrounding her leaving the group of guys? And…. Why did they ever allow her to leave alone in the dark, in a strange city without escorting her?]
  • “The girlfriends” obviously didn’t care about Britanee’s welfare if they were engaged in drinking and drugging. A non-compliant 17-year-old was just “excess baggage” to them.
  • Myrtle Beach Police theorized hat Brittanee was abducted while trying to return to her hotel.   Her cell phone’s last communication was aping emitted from a tower in MvClellenville, S.C. – About 60 miles or an hour and 20 minute drive from Myrtle Beach.
  • As of July 2010, persons of Interest have included: Timothy Shaun Taylor who was one of three men who grabbed and was accused of trying to kidnap a woman July 21 on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. Taylor is the brother of a McClellanville man who had been charged with the 1998 abduction and murder of 19-year-old Shannon McConaughey.  McConaughey’s body was found in northern Charleston County, the same general area where investigators last pinpointed Drexel’s cell phone signal.
  • As of February 2012, investigators named Raymond Moody, 51, of Georgetown County as a person of interest. Police are now considering convicted rapist Raymond Moody, who served a 21 year sentence for the 1983 abduction and rape of a California girl, to be the prime “person of interest” in her disappearance.

Commentary:  Brittanee’s mother, Dawn Drexel, suffers the day-to-day agony of wondering and waiting for more clues…. Wondering if any of the girls will give up information, will ever “grow a conscience” to put the case to rest. In an April 17th 2013 press release, [Coincidentally that date is the anniversary of the murder of LJ’s father] she promised herself  she would not be “one of those families” waiting forever…. If only we could know what the future holds….

Anyone with information regarding Drexel’s whereabouts or her disappearance is asked to call the Myrtle Beach Police Department at 843-918-1963 or the CUE Center For Missing Persons’ 24 hour tip line at 910-232-1687.

MORGAN DANA HARRINGTON – A DATE WITH ‘METALLICA…AND THEN GONE!

Morgan-Harrington-death-reported

Morgan Harrington

On October 17, 2009 a young woman with much promise personally and professionally was snuffed out by an unknown assailant .  She seemingly innocently went to a Metallica Concert in Charlottesville, Virginia. Morgan Harrington at 20,  was barely out of her teens, yet she possessed worldly aspirations as far-reaching as Zambia, Africa.

Morgan attended the concert with a group of friends. Morgan separated from those friends, reportedly for a smoke break.  Depending upon the venue Metallica concerts attract 5,000 to 50,000 fans at per concert.

  • John Paul Jones Arena, or JPJ, opened for the 2006 through 2007 NCAA Division I basketball season and is located at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. It has seating for 14,593 fans, nearly twice the capacity of 8,457 at Virginia’s previous facility, University Hall.                                                                                                          The design features pergolas on the outside to tie in the design with Scott Stadium, UVA’s football facility. This style is known as Jeffersonian architecture, reminiscent of the many buildings designed by Thomas Jefferson on UV’s grounds and nearby.
  • A TIMELINE reported by police is as follows:
  • 8:20 pm – 8:30 pm Harrington was outside the John Paul Jones arena at several locations including the front entrance and the side facing University Hall;
  • 8:30pm-8:48 pm Morgan was still outside JPJ Arena trying to get back in 8:48pm.   A friend inside phoned her on her cell phone and offered suggestions about how to get back in the arena.
  • Apparently Morgan made it to the restroom, as a bystander in the restroom did not smell alcohol on Harrington, but noticed that she was acting erratically. The bystander said that Morgan was disoriented and did not know where she was.
  • As a consequence of at least one bystander coming forward and assisting Morgan new information was learned regarding Morgan’s condition.  The Harringtons filed a $3.9 million dollar lawsuit against Regional Marketing Concepts, Inc., suing the company for negligence and breach of contract.
  • The bystander in the restroom assisted her but did not smell alcohol; the Good Samaritan described her as being disoriented. Harrington eventually stepped outside of the arena during the concert and was denied re-entry.
  • It is certainly a very arduous and complicated road to have criminal and civil proceedings on-going simultaneously….
  • During interviews in March 2013,
  • http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/Harringtons-Claim-New-Information-In-Daughters-Murder-200066721.html
  • “There are occasions when people have the means to act and they should act,”
  • Adding credibility to the lawsuit, is that fact that it was learned that   RMC Events arranged for an intoxicated off-duty police officer from Fairfax County to get into a taxi.
  • [LJ -SO…why was Morgan not allowed re-re-entry….]
  • There were also reports that Morgan was injured not only with a 2 to 3 inch gash on her chin and bleeding profusely, but that a head injury caused her disorientation … How did this occur? Was Morgan jostled by the crowd…or did someone attempted to assault her on the way to her smoke and bathroom break?   And …why the different rules of re-entry, especially if Morgan was obviously in distress?  Too many questions….
  • It was reported that Harrington interacted with several concertgoers and, according to police, members of the UVA men’s basketball team on her way….
  • Surveillance cameras at the concert caught Harrington getting turned away from several entrances as she tried to return to the concert.
  • A partner with law firm Tucker Griffin Barnes, who has no connection to the case, stated the burden of proof is on the Harringtons. “The plaintiffs must not only prove that RMC Events was negligent, but that the company’s negligence led to Harrington’s death.”
  • After Harrington began hitchhiking.  Police said Harrington was picked up on the Copeley Road Bridge, which is not on the property of the John Paul Jones Arena.
  • “The legal question posed, is whether a property owner is responsible for the criminal acts of a third-party,” Griffin said.”
  • Evidence left behind…. . Morgan’s T-shirt was found outside an apartment building near the Charlottesville auditorium, However, her camera and a crystal necklace she had with her were missing.
  • More to the story – A DNA Link In January 2010, Virginia State Police recovered Harrington’s remains in a field on an Albemarle County farm about 10 miles from where she was last seen.
  • While no suspects have been identified in the case, the FBI says DNA evidence has linked Morgan’s murder to an unsolved 2005 sexual assault victim from Fairfax, Virginia in 2005. Composite Sketch of the suspect: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/june/help-FBI-catch-morgan-harrington-killer/morgan-harrington_060412
  • Help us catch Morgan Harrington’s killer. If you have any information about the Harrington case or the Fairfax City assault, contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, the Virginia State Police Tip line at 434-352-3467, or submit a tip online.

Commentary and “Blame Game” – Returning to the Girlfriend Peer Group theme…. In this case, Morgan’s friends did try to assist in some ways…. They communicated by cell phone trying to tell her how to re-enter the arena…. But… vigilance, as in the other cases, was absent.  If the concert was sold out, there were approximately 14,600 fans… Morgan became injured and disoriented. Although she appears to be an independent and capable person, these environments are unpredictable.  Why did her friends not insist on accompanying her as a common sense measure and for safety?  Hindsight….

As part of the lawsuit, the complaint cites “the frequently violent themes in heavy-metal music songs, as well as 40 reported assaults that occurred within a half mile of the arena in the three years prior to Harrington’s disappearance and death as evidence that RMC acted with negligence in barring her reentry and should have known serious harm to her was a possible outcome. “

http://www.readthehook.com/109328/security-failure-morgan-harringtons-family-refiles-complaint

A Bright Spot -Metallica Band Assists in the Investigation -

The multimedia campaign includes a public service announcement by METALLICA lead guitarist James Hetfield appealing to the public to come forward with information concerning the Morgan Harrington investigation (See video) In a statement posted at their official website, called “The Loss Of A Fan,” METALLICA wrote in part, “We are profoundly saddened by the news of the discovery of Morgan Dana Harrington‘s body . . . Mere words cannot express the anguish and grief that we know her parents Dan and Gil are feeling, and our thoughts are with them.”

http://www.metal4all.com/metallica-frontman-films-public-service-announcement-in-morgan-harrington-murder-case/

Good Works in the Aftermath:

1) The Morgan Dana Harrington Educational Wing, OMNI Village, Ndola, Zambia, Africa

OMNI, Orphan Medical Network International, donations may be mailed to:

OMNI
6930 Empire Lane
Roanoke, Va. 24018
Or on line at www.omnimissions.com
OMNI is a 501(c) 3 charitable organization

2) The Morgan Dana Harrington Memorial Scholarship, Virginia Tech-Carilion Medical School
VTC Scholarship donations may be mailed to: Virginia Tech
Morgan Dana Harrington Memorial Scholarship
University Development
Blacksburg, Va. 24061
Or on-line at Morgan Dana Harrington Scholarship

http://omnimissions.com/site/build/

3) Non-Profit: Help Save the Next Girl.com

http://www.helpsavethenextgirl.com/

Parting Words-

Many commonalities…. It is Ladyjustice’s sincere hope that we can continue the conversation with these families…. Perhaps a Special Two-Hour “Shattered Lives” Radio Broadcast could be in the making…. Stay tuned… and be safe!

The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.

 

 

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“On the Road Again…” Tribute to Former “Tours” and the 2013 CUE Center for the Missing “Road to Remember Tour”

CUE Center Road to Remember Tour, Donna R. Gore, Monica Caison

Historically, there have been many tours that forged the economic growth of our country, paved the way for change and sought to bring a sense of relief from everyday troubles…. And then there’s the “Road to Remember Tour,” created by Monica Caison and her colleagues nine years ago at the Cue Center for the Missing in North Carolina, who take honor, respect and remembrance of the missing to a whole new level….

Joint this writer on a historical retrospective of “the tours” from cattle herders, to entertainers…to the vastly important crime victim advocates who do a most honorable and necessary task.

We’ve “saved the best for last” Read and enjoy through the end… And…. please do SUPPORT Monica’s Tour for the missing….going on now!   [**Note: Ladyjustice gives her opinion of the value of the CUE Center and their Annual Conference too!

 HISTORY: “The Tour” Cattle Herding

  • Long-distance cattle driving was traditional in Mexico, California and Texas, The Spaniards had established the ranching industry in the New World, and began driving herds northward from Mexico beginning in the 1540s.
  • As early as 1836, ranchers in Texas began to drive cattle along a “Beef Trail” to New Orleans. In the 1840s, cattle drives expanded northward into Missouri. In the early years of the Civil War Texans drove cattle into the Confederate states for the use of the Confederate Army.  In October, 1862 a Union naval patrol on the southern Mississippi River captured 1,500 head of Longhorns which had been destined for Confederate military posts in Louisiana.
  • The first large-scale effort to drive cattle from Texas to the nearest railhead for shipment to Chicago occurred in 1866, when many Texas ranchers banded together to drive their cattle to the closest point that railroad tracks reached, which at that time was Sedalia, Missouri .

The Chisholm Trail was the most important route for cattle drives leading north from the vicinity of Ft. Worth, Texas, across Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to the railhead at Abilene.

  • Cattle drives were a tricky balance between speed and the weight of the cattle. While cattle could be driven as far as 25 miles in a single day, they would lose so much weight that they would be hard to sell when they reached the end of the trail. On average, a herd could maintain a healthy weight moving about 15 miles per day. At that pace, it would take as long as two months to travel from a home ranch to a railhead.
  • To herd the cattle, a crew of at least 10 cowboys was needed, with three horses per cowboy. Cowboys worked in shifts to watch the cattle 24 hours a day, herding them in the proper direction in the daytime and watching them at night to prevent stampedes and deter theft.
  • The typical drive comprised 1,500–2,500 head of cattle. The “outfit “consisted of a boss, ten to fifteen hands, each of whom had a string of from five to ten horses; a horse wrangler who handled the horses and a cook who drove the chuck wagon. The wagon carried bedrolls and tents – a luxury. The men drove and grazed the cattle most of the day, herding them by relays at night.  Wages were about $ 40 a month, paid when the herds were sold. [Monica Caison takes no salary.]
  • Smaller cattle drives continued at least into the 1940s, as ranchers, prior to the development of the cattle truck and stockyards for transport to packing plants.

HISTORY: “The Tour” of Circus Life 

  • The circus came to the United States on April 3, 1793. John Bill Rickets, an English equestrian rider, used a ring and added acrobats, a rope walker and a clown to his equestrian act.
  • Initially, entrepreneurs put individual wild animals on display and charged admission. As time went on, exhibitors began adding more animals to their shows. By the early 1820s there were 30+ traveling menageries touring the eastern US. It wasn’t until the late 1830s that promoters figured out a way to combine the menagerie with the circus.
  • Eventually, menageries began using equestrians and clowns to present performances in circus rings, so the distinction between circus and menagerie gradually faded. They traveled at night in wagon trains over country roads often a foot deep in mud, covering only two or three miles an hour. These were the so-called mud shows. The longest distance they could cover was 10 or 15 miles. A hostler rode ahead of the wagons to find the shortest route and to “rail” every fork and crossroad by taking a rail from a farmer’s fence and placing it across the road that was not to be taken so that the wagons would avoid making a wrong turn.
  • An advance agent “ballyhooed” the show, arriving on horseback about a week ahead of it. On circus day, a clown would come into town a couple of hours before the circus enticing the townspeople with acrobatics, clown antics and jokes followed by the arrival of the wagons. The regular members of the troupe split the profits, with each expected to perform several jobs. Owners seldom paid salaries.
  • Circus “roustabouts” are people who “get sweaty and they’re proud to do so.” They dismantle the show and build it up again in the next town their jobs consisted of the physical act of carrying the “big top” and rigging to the empty lot for set-up, called, “the haul.”
  • Joshua Purdy Brown, a native of Somers, New York, put up the first circus tent in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1825. [The CUE Center is located in Wilmington, North Carolina.] The perfect innovation was the simple idea of a canvas tent that was easily portable, yet kept both rain and blazing sun off performers and spectators.
  • The 1850s ushered in the golden age of the circus. By 1852, about 30 circuses were touring the US. The decade of the 1850s represents golden age of the river, an era when river traveling in general and showboats in particular were at their height. Charles W. Rogers built the first circus showboat, called the Floating Palace, for $42,000.
  • Circuses could also choose which towns to play. Previously, a show was limited by how far its baggage stock horses could walk overnight. Many times this meant having to stop in towns that gave only limited patronage. As time evolved, trains carried circuses to towns hundreds of miles away, offering performers a good night’s sleep. Though P.T. Barnum took credit for it, it was William Cameron Coup’s [one of the co-founders of the Barnum & Bailey Circus]. idea to design a special circus train.

And Who Could Forget….Willie Nelson and Family Old Farts and Jackass Tour….On The Road Again… 

  • The Old Farts and Jackass tour began in Durham, NC on January 18th, 2013 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. On Saturday night, Willie Nelson and family performed in Bowling Green, KY at the Performing Arts Center before heading south to the Tabernacle in Atlanta.
  • After the annual bacon and egg luncheon, the Presidential Inaugural Swearing Ceremony took center stage. Willie stepped forward and placed his hand on the Bible.  The Joint Congressional Committee spoke of the logistics of presenting such a presidential event in an old church and security concerns plaguing the event from the beginning.
  • Fast forward to today… in October 2013, Willie is 80+ years old, [born April 29, 1933] and just keeps on rollin’…. LJ counted 30 tour dates from October 15th through the end of the year… Whew!   http://willienelson.com/tour/

AND NOW… the 10th “On the Road to Remember Tour”

In the Beginning…

Road to Remember Tour,Monica Caison, CUE Center for Missing PersonsThe  CUE CENTER Annual Tour was created to generate new interest in cold cases of missing people across our nation. The inspiration came in 2004 from the case of North Carolina college student Leah Roberts, who went on a cross-country trip of self-exploration. Her wrecked and abandoned vehicle was found. However Leah is still missing to this day… Leah’s case went cold and interest faded until CUE volunteers began a grueling 14-day trip to retrace her route  informing  the media of her case and all those who were missing along  the path of the tour. In the years to follow, interest was strong to keep hope alive for other families across the country who requested help and who supported the concept and vision of the tour. (http://ncmissingpersons.org)

Each year the tour covers a different route. This year  the following states are featured:  North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama offering the opportunity for all families with missing loved ones, or those who advocate for them, to participate.

2013 marks the TENTH YEAR for  the CUE Center for Missing Persons ANNUAL On the Road to Remember Tour spanning thousands of miles across the United States to bring awareness to missing persons and unsolved cases, many which have never been featured in media.Michael Austin Davis, On the Road to Remember Tour Honoree

Anyone can volunteer to sponsor a rally stop in their community held in various venues including public parks, churches, schools, law enforcement departments or any location in which media can partake. It is vital that the media ha the opportunity to provide information about the missing persons represented at each rally stop. Each stops lasts about an hour with Founder of the CUE Center, Monica Caison, other CUE CENTER representatives and family who assist in obtaining media coverage of their event,

Examples of creative past events: balloon/butterfly/lantern releases, candlelight vigils, prayer circles, safety events, guest speakers and any variation of events to draw public attention, and needed CLUES from the public!  RESULTS: In 2008, this event assisted in solving a cold case of twenty eight years!

It Takes A Village! Monica’s philosophy is that all investigations require the efforts of the public, volunteers and the media working in collaboration on cases involving missing children and adults, it is only when such collaborative efforts take place, that cold and inactive cases have the best chance to finally be resolved and bring resolution for families.

For daily updates on the current tour see posts from Monica at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/CUE-Center-For-Missing-Persons/136501784957?sk=app_57675755167

To Donate: PO Box 12714 Wilmington, NC 28405
(910) 343-1131 / (910) 232-1687
Contact CUE

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle_drives_in_the_United_States

http://www.history-magazine.com/circuses.html

http://www.pbs.org/opb/circus/circus-life/talking-circus/

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