Posts Tagged Missing Persons

Across the Miles…. A Father’s Quiet Desperation Evolves into a Hunt for Justice Like No Other

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Lubbock Texas- Nick named the “Hub City,” due to its reputation as the economic, education, and health care hub of that region of the state. Lubbock is the largest contiguous cotton growing region in the world…. The Lubbock Police Department was shaped by Chief J.T. Alley (1923–2009), who served from 1957–1983, the third-longest tenure in state history. Under Chief Alley, the department acquired its first Juvenile Division, K-9 Corps, Rape Crisis Center, and Special Weapons and Tactics teams.

It was also against this backdrop just eight years later… in May 1991, that an affable young man, at age 24, always popular with the young ladies, seemingly was outmatched by a sociopathic hanger-on girlfriend that he could not shed in favor of his true love.

Descriptions such as callous; unemotional; lacking empathy; aggressive; impulsive; acting without any regard for the welfare of others have been used to describe psychopathy…However, new research suggests that female psychopaths differ in the expression of deceitful, manipulative, and exploitive personality traits. They are more likely to express these personality deficits through behaviors typically with extreme fear of abandonment; outbursts of rage over real or imagined transgressions, they switch between seeing their significant other as either completely perfect or totally evil or become women who must constantly be the center of attention.  They may be misdiagnosed as having mental illness.  Such a female…. perhaps Leisha Gwen Hamilton…. [The murderer of Roger “Scott” Dunn] may be just as incapable of true empathy, and just as manipulative and deceitful, as the psychopathic callous, unemotional male. [Published on May 2, 2012 by Joni E. Johnston, Psy.D. in The Human Equation].  Such a woman, who upon first meeting Scott’s Dunn’s father, was more concerned with acquiring Scott’s car (holding the keys in her hand) than finding him… and THAT was just one layer of the onion…..with 21 more years worth of layers to come….

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“Shattered Lives”  travelled the path with Jim Dunn, as he recounted his fight for justice with many revelations along the way

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

 

  • Crime tips across the miles…South Carolina, Connecticut.  ***Email your tips  anytime to feature on the air at: ladyjusticedonna@gmail.com;
  • Introduction to our guest; Murder of a son…
  • What it takes to be a survivor to continue to pursue justice all the many years…the road not taken…;
  • The circumstances of the crime….. All of a sudden we don’t hear from our son….….A strange woman calls….
  • “Why are you calling me at work? “(Leisha)  The story continues… a piece of carpet tells the story….;
  • Richard Walter, psychologist’s comment  on  psychopaths;
  • A bright technically oriented kid, who had “too many girlfriends;”
  • Twenty-one years to the date that he was murdered…. The remains were found in May 2012;
  • Filling in the gaps…. The law enforcement response initially- Across the miles  from Philadelphia to Lubbock ,Texas;
  • A father’s demeanor to “take care of business” just  like a business meeting;
  • The dinner with Leisha-   a plot to play one man against the other – in jealousy;
  • “Scott just left.”  I want his car…..”
  • Under surveillance…. Ready to jump on the case….
  • 300-400 phone calls in one year- June 1992- Meeting Richard Walter…from the Vidocq Society;
  • “You don’t have a body…. You don’t have a case;”
  • Duct tape and hair fibers …. A telltale sign;
  • Tim Smith and former criminal records discovered by Jim;
  • A TV show that made the difference….. http://www.vidocq.org/who.html;
  • Richard Walter comes in from Scotland Yard…. “I’ll let the phone ring five times”
  • Texas Law tells the story – a body, a confession or part of a body;
  • The trials of Leisha Hamilton and Tim Smith….
  • A suspended sentence – Why??
  • Discussion of a probated sentence;
  • A victim’s advocate….Pam Alexander  “a God’s send;”
  • His wife Barbara and her needs…. I’ll leave you…”
  • Scott’s biological Mom….
  • An unexpected event – finding the body….  Repair men on Pipelines;
  • Meeting Wanda Evans and the evolution of “Trail of Blood”
  • My purpose was to find Scott and give credit to the Vidocq Society;
  • Competing books…..  “The Murder Room”  http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/headlines/20100905-Book-review-The-Murder-1497.ece
  • Jim’s “Trail of Blood” http://www.amazon.com/dp/0882822616;
  • Contact Information:  dunnj@bhosted.net;

 

 

Questions, Questions, Questions;

  • The parole board -What is the status of the murderer when does the perpetrator get out?
  • What was the crux of the altercation that led to the murder?
  • How long did it take to secure a conviction?
  • What was Jim’s charge by the police in order to find out more information from the perpetrator(s)”?
  • What were the evidence and the results of the DNA?
  • What were Jim’s efforts after Scott’s blood was identified?
  • Who ultimately responded to Jim’s outreach efforts?
  • What was the Texas law enforcement’s theory of the case?
  • Who was Bill Fleisher, William Fleisher, V.S.M. and what was his significance to the case?
  • How was it that the case came to trial with “no body”?
  • What was the involvement of Scotland Yard?
  • What happened with the Grand jury?
  • What part of Texas law allows for a suspended sentence-“probated sentence”?
  • What was the condition of Scott’s body when located?
  • A letter from prison… What’s going on?

 

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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It is Impossible Not to Miss Someone Who Was Once a Part of Your Life… Monica Caison and CUE Center for Missing Persons

CUE Center for Missing Persons,Monica Caison,National Conference

 “Sometimes we are only given a few minutes to be with the one we love, and a thousand hours to spend just thinking about them”  Victoria Morgan.

Monica Caison,Cue Center for Missing Persons

The above quotes tell the story… and have a quality of truth that is inescapable for families with loved ones who go missing.  Monica Caison, Founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons in Wilmington, North Carolina, is the keeper of the flame and the tireless organizer- searcher for the forgotten… a mission carried forth since 1994. Monica goes about her job systematically. She‘s built a reputation, the respect of law enforcement and service providers. She has an army of resources atthe ready to assist… but can always use more dedicated people.  Volunteers are the “lifeblood” of this amazing organization…  Ladyjustice and Delilah spent a fun-filled, informational hour discussing how far the CUE Center has come to date…..and the details of the upcoming 9th Annual Conference –Thursday, March 21st through Sunday March 24th, 2013.  (See Questions to be answered below!)

To listen to the Podcast: CLICK HERE

  • Introduction to our guest;
  • History of the CUE Center and what makes it unique – A liaison between law enforcement and the community; Primary focus- Their stellar search efforts…
  • How it works… Starting with a goal list… and coordinated professionally trained  searches;
  • Billboards, rewards, posters, networking….anything and everything;
  • The long view: What has changed since 1994?
  • The Peggy Carr Case- a benchmark National Case
  • http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/tag/peggy-carr/
  • The Give Campaign and CUE Voted the Top Rated Non-Profit of 2012…
  • The benefits of attending for the first time…no matter how you are affiliated;
  • GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING …Face to Face……. Very Important!!
  • Advocacy and Victim Empowerment- Giving Back…
  • A touching letter – getting out of your comfort zone;
  • An Overview of the Conference;
  • A larger venue; a larger hotel on the ocean….
  • Trainings, food, fun night…   The Ocean Shore Special Event;
  • National Candlelight service  and unveiling “The Wall”
  • Roundtable Discussions and Networking for help with missing persons cases;
  • Sponsors, theme baskets, Door Prizes
  • “The Big Chance to Win” in Memory of a former missing person;
  • Deciding on next year’s Conference…the process;
  • A no fee Conference…
  • Family donors and Fundraising…
  • One Day Search for the CUE versus a Government Operated Search;
  • Delilah’s role in helping with Recruiting Presenters…The Line-Up;
  • Bridget Daly Musteata- La\w Enforcement- Victim Advocate for the Police Department – Duncan South Carolina – Legal Rights Before &After;   Forensic Interview- an in depth-interview and the needs of the family in the aftermath;
  • Teams, Rotations and General Assembly;
  • “Dr. Dolly” Dalal Akoury- Talking about how to reduce the stress of trauma
  • Monica’s Sanctuary to inner peace…
  • Marilyn Gambrell – Amazing Advocate working with teens of incarcerated parents;
  • Monica – a tutorial on Sonar – with Expert Chuck Elgin;
  • Delilah & Monica on the importance of timeliness in getting to Monica and knowing what to do- A MASTER PLAN;
  • “There’s no place to search…”
  • Monica’s State Coordinator Program –Why it’s needed;What they do….
  • On a path to increased growth…   Her database… and the rewards…
  • Contact Information -. Donations: www.cueonthegofundme.org;/
  • Registration and general information :www.ncmissingpersons.org;

 

Questions to be answered:

  • Are billboards always needed and the most effective method why or why not?
  • Awareness campaigns and a public presence
  • Why should new people attend?
  • How did Monica’s dream come about?
  • What is a True Founder versus a True Advocate?
  • What are the themes of this year’s conference?
  • What is the special memorial for Susan Murphy- Milano?
  • What are the extras, gifts and fundraising?
  • What’s involved in the expense planning process for a search?
  • What are the difference sin sonar used as it relates to a particular case?
  • What is the waiting period with law enforcement once a person goes mIssing?
  • What are the requirements to be a State Coordinator?

 

CUE candlelight vigil

For a full list of speakers and detailed information about the

National Conference:  click here

NOTICE: (This conference is a pre – registration conference ONLY) please contact the center for details, thank you.

Download and print registration form below

Submit Registration: Mailing Address (CUE) PO Box 12714 Wilmington, NC 28405
Ph: (910) 343-1131 or (910) 232-1687 Fax: (910) 399-6137
Location: Courtyard Marriott Hotel

2013 Conference Registration. Click Here to Download and Print (1843)

Note: Do not contact the hotel to register, the CUE Center for Missing Persons is responsible for submission of the rooming list and providing airport travel arrangements of all conference attendees. 

 

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A Missing Young Man ….Following A Cold Trail from the East Village and Hart Island to Nowhere….

 

 

Amid the backdrop of a lonely burial ground, Michael Jones has taken up the charge to find his brother, Vernon Kent Jones, missing since 1993.

The New York City Cemetery, located on Hart Island, the Bronx, in the Long Island Sound, is commonly referred to as Potter’s Field. The probable origin of the term “Potter’s Field” as meaning a public burial place for poor and unknown persons is a passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew (27:3-8):

“Then Judas, which had betrayed Him, saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests … and they took counsel, and bought with them the potters field to bury strangers in.”

Hart Island was purchased by the City in 1868 from the Hunter family of the Bronx for $75,000. The following year it was established as the City’s public cemetery for the burial of those persons who died indigent or whose bodies went unclaimed. In the first year, 1,875 burials were performed.

The Department of Correction maintains and operates the City Cemetery, commonly called Potter’s Field, on Hart Island, the Bronx, in Long Island Sound. Burials are done with inmate labor, under supervision of Correction staff. Inmates are paid between 25 and 35 cents per hour. The supervised inmate work details are bused from Riker’s Island and ferried from City Island on weekdays to perform the burials, disinterment and maintenance tasks. The Island is 101 acres, measuring approximately one mile long and one-eighth to one-third of a mile wide. It is maintained by the Department of Correction. Hart Island is not open to the public.                                                                    [Reference:http://www.correctionhistory.org/html/chronicl/nycdoc/html/hart.html#Starter%20Hart]

Michael, PI’s Bob Rahn, Kim Anklin, Ladyjustice and Delilah discussed the all too few details of this cold case on “Shattered Lives” in hopes of finding clues to this mystery: 

To Listen to the podcast CLICK HERE:

  • Introduction to the case and guests- The importance of awareness;
  • Michael’s telling of the background and circumstances of his brother’s disappearance [Vernon Kent Jones];
  • A New Year’s Eve Party and a disappearance;
  • “The story “as told by friends;
  • Delilah asks about an active police investigation and treating it as a crime scene- What was done; what evidence was found?
  • Bob Rahn – Status as a missing persons case;
  • Kim Anklin’s take on investigating cases as a homicide versus a missing person’s case;
  •  A very Impaired person… who was in need of having special attention;
  • Theories of the case- “Experimenting,” 
  • A baby tooth…and the beginning of the search for burial records on behalf of the poor and remains of unidentified people;
  • Mike’s research of handwritten records;
  • DNA profiling from the tooth- into Codis; http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/codis/codis_brochure;
  • Delilah’s research into NAMUS- the two-pronged DOJ Data base…                      Cross-checking – an invaluable tool; http://www.namus.gov/;
  • Vernon’s  broken legs;
  • Hand written data base- Unidentified remains- December of 1992 to  first quarter of  1993- 25 people;
  • Kim on finding a missing person at Potter’s Field – a wonderful find to be able to locate a family member and have the person returned to a family plot;  
  • Bob on the records keeping – Over 800,00 people buried  at Hart Island with all hand- kept records;
  • A sense of purpose that grew…
  • Do people hold the key or technology to solving this case?
  • Update on the other partygoers; Inconsistencies?
  • Location of the party versus Vernon’s apartment and mass transit;
  • Ladyjustice asks how Vernon could have gotten somewhere under his own power given his level of intoxication and poor vision?
  • Kim’s description of the day when Michael & Mom Sarah saw the apartment for the first time year’s later captured on video;
  • Ladyjustice’s theory of what might have happened…  matching Bob Rahn’s theory…. without proof;
  • “Growing a conscience”… and providing a piece to the puzzle;
  • Bob  on the apartment – an old three story walk up- improbability of walking down the stairs alone;
  • The presence of alcohol ; “wanting to do heroin” according to a witness;
  • Michael’s impression of the occupant-witness;
  • Surreal experience-Meeting at the apartment where Vernon was last seen; Meetings with occupant, Meeting with Erin Moriarty of CBS of              “48 Hours”
  • Delilah asks what kinds of awareness events have been done over the years to keep it in the forefront?
  • Delilah on how vital it is to hammer away at this case re social media and  the public’s help;
  • Age progression and facial recognition- A forensic artist’s help;
  • Identifying marks… unusual characteristics?
  • Casting a wide net from the Hart Island data – 13 possibles…
  • Ladyjustice asks about the criteria for taking on a cold case and when is a case “considered cold”?
  • Contact information for further information:
  • 1-800-490-2267 or www.nyslueth.com;
  • [Off air Ladyjustice recommends registering with Monica Caison at            http://www.ncmissingpersons.org  and the possibility of creating a full website dedicated to Vernon]

 

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The Second Ring, the Disenfranchised…Who Are Taking Care of Other Family and the Caregivers?

Duane Bowers, Donna R. Gore,Shattered Lives

Duane T. Bowers looks at the whole picture of life…  As a licensed professional counselor, educator/training consultant and expert, he travels the U.S. and beyond, seeking to help the grief stricken, forging a better understanding and recommending practical measures to improve one’s quality of life …when life looks like a battlefield following war.

Duane can answer many of the why questions (as they are based in physiology); and he is cognizant of the impact of traumatic death, PTSD, grief, suicide and those gone missing. He knows the landscape and the human toll up close and personal through his work with many organizations.  Among them are:  the Office for Victims of Crime, Project Jason, the Cue Center for Missing Persons,  Team Hope, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Association of Missing and Exploited Children and the Canadian Center for Child Protection.

Duane spent an hour with “Ladyjustice” and Delilah focusing on the disenfranchised – those family members and caretakers whose needs are often overlooked when someone is victimized by violent death, loss or life threatening illness. How do you “get off the daily merry-go-round” that never seemto slow down? 

Listen to the latest interview with Duane Bowers: CLICK HERE

  • Ø What is a disenfranchised victim?
  • Ø First ring of survivor… forgetting the second ring; Examples;
  • Ø Reasons for attending only to the victims in the first ring; Levels of disenfranchised –people and pets;
  • Ø The Traumatic Response -  Physiological response followed by behaviors;
  • Ø Keeping Alive…. If stress is prolonged….
  • Ø Immune System , pain,  and immune system importance;
  • Ø Short term memory and remembering under stress;
  • Ø The “pictures in my head”… PTSD…;
  • Ø Introducing counseling  versus  cortisol level  via exercise;
  • Ø Options – “Feeling good about yourself;” Laughing and pretending, Singing, dancing, natural sugars;
  • Ø Delilah asks, Why aren’t MD’s attuned to educating about caretaking the caregiver?
  • Ø Selected Caregiver classes… including hospices;
  • Ø Bodily response with those who are caregivers and “in the second ring;”
  • Ø New DSM category to be introduced in 2013 re PTSD;
  • Ø Services for the second ring?
  • Ø Hospice services including respite;
  • Ø Setting up respite services in an extended family. How to get this training?
  • Ø Chat room question- Where is the respite for other victims who give back to future victims?  Project Jason Retreat as an example. Retreat organizers need respite too! ;
  • Ø Massage, stress management and acupuncture  to decrease stress;
  • Ø Recommended role of extended family members; Lack of recognition and becoming disenfranchised.  Need to  focus on the caregivers;
  • Ø Look at the family unit – the second or third ring… to know, how much am I allowed to be a part of it?
  • Ø Tap into  good friends,  clergy, to assist that second ring;
  • Ø Just being there… and talking, having coffee, venting;
  • Ø  Duane believes victims do not get enough mental health counseling when they need it – Recommends  4 to 8 weeks post trauma;
  • Ø Little things … crying and new research…. When a person’s perspective shifts…..   “Oh don’t cry…everything will be okay…”  Naught!
  • Ø Talk about it with – a good clergymen, a well trained person;
  • Ø Historical perspective -Washington DC  clergy and counseling;
  • Ø Clergy and liability;
  • Ø Doing shows like “Shattered Lives” – a vital part of what we do at Imagine Publicity;
  • Ø Delilah on getting out the resources, education and awareness and “running at high speed;”
  • Ø Duane asking what is the hardest part for caretaker Delilah? – Delilah says… the time to do the things you know you have to do…. Needing 40 hours per day;
  • Ø “Your mental state goes to unfamiliar places…..”
  • Ø Duane on  24 hour crisis lines – Crisis link – highly reputable and trained;
  • Ø http://www.crisislink.org/;
  • Ø How to read the signs…seeing the red flags and stopping the self-destruction of the second ring and caretakers we love.  Rely on friends versus family members  and “just be there, “pick up the pieces   (do the laundry) or whatever needs  done ; “Drag the person out“ for an hour of fun and relaxation;
  • Ø When those who care are in another state…
  • Ø Long term illness versus a trauma and how it is diagnosed (in name) versus how you feel it;
  • Ø  Scenario – Traumatic event of a violent nature: The first, second and third ring…. Where is the family to support grandma who also needs assistance?  Additional stress and lack of resources… Grandma becomes disenfranchised;
  • Ø Mental health professions need to intercede and set up structure for services and support;
  • Ø High stress; decreased immunity and developing cancer;
  • Ø Medical profession – “Treat everything with a pill”
  • Ø  Trauma, Death and Caregivers- Sleep medication:  Did you know that we MUST dream in order to release stress?  Prescription meds do not allow this… you wake up more exhausted… 
  • Ø  Your retina controls sleep… releasing melatonin to assist with sleep.  Make your environment darker and relax your body…in a habitual way…
  • Ø It takes 21 days to form a habit…..  Good or bad…
  • Ø  “Homework assignments” and closing….

 

 

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“On Golden Pond” (A Doddering Old SOB…and Other Characters)

Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice

Ladyjustice’s memory was peaked regarding a recent  story of an elderly man in Litchfield County, Connecticut with Alzheimer’s type dementia missing since July 2007 (nearly 5 years), who was reportedly near incapacitation and remains missing without any substantial clues.

Read the 1st of the series by Jack Coraggio and Andy Thibault in Country Times: CLICK HERE

It doesn’t make sense from a medical standpoint, a search and rescue standpoint, or from a common sense perspective.  However, Tom Drew continues to be among the missing and most likely dead.  Such scenarios sadden LJ’s heart… and remind her of the frailty of the elderly and the “disposable mentality” of the elderly held by some people.

The 1979 play, “On Golden Pond” was adapted to an award-winning 1981 movie starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn (as the married couple), with an estranged daughter played by Jane Fonda…and Doug McKeon as a begrudging young guest.

The movie holds many lessons and has a charm all its own.  The character of Norman Thayer is a crusty old man whose prime in life has passed him by.  He struggles with cognitive deficits such as memory problems and disorientation as well as failing health.  But, he desperately hangs on to his pleasures and failings in life.  Norman’s pleasures are few. They include his ever patient wife, Ethel…and fishing.  His failings include an “incommunicado status” with his daughter and inability to express his true feelings.

Norman’s daughter breezes in and out of her parent’s life.  She too is filled with resentment toward her father… as if her personal failings and inflexibility was Norman’s fault.  So…she thinks she has found happiness in a new husband (Dabney Coleman) whom she brings to their summer home hoping that they will embrace him… and babysit a newly acquired step-son.

 “Billy” is a cool 13-year-old who likes to “cruise chicks and suck face” back home. He feels abandoned by his father for dumping him with an old couple.  As the story progresses, Billy is both puzzled and yet begins to like Norman and learning to fish. Billy and Norman attempt to catch the “infamous Big Walter” (i.e. the fish that got away years ago…nearly caught, but not quite.)  Ladyjustice speculates that “Big Walter” may be a metaphor for Norman’s daughter.

Ethel Thayer is a woman who unconditionally loves her family… flaws and all! She is the consummate mediator.  One gets the impression that she has sacrificed much for Norman….and accepts “the facts of life” as they are.  Scenes between Hepburn and Fonda are often priceless.

This writer does not want to give away too much.  There are many touching, sad and delightful moments in this film. Henry Fonda flawlessly delivers funny, sometimes shocking dialogue while playing “an entitled elder” as no one else could.  This, in fact, was Henry Fonda’s last role.

Memorable Video Clips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8T1VxZoT6s&feature=relmfu;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWCZ2mqGfIE;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_h8C_rCbgU&feature=endscreen&NR=1

And… what can we say in parting about advancing age?  ‘Words to the wise…

“It is not the number of years we have behind us, but the number we have before us, that makes us careful and responsible and determined to find out the truth about everything.”   George Bernard Shaw

DRG

 

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Do You Know the Searcher???

 

 Monica Caison,Cue Center for Missing Persons

What do you get when you cross a blonde version of Wonder Woman and a modern day Rin Tin Tin?   Well… Monica Caison, of course!

She is one of a brood of 11 children and native of Florida.  As a rebellious teenager she had her brush with the law, but…that experience made her grow up ever faster… and in the interim, she personally knew  at least three families who had members “go missing” by the time she reached age 25!  Then, she had an epiphany, Why not create an agency specifically designed to locate missing persons and assist with the needs of their loved ones?   And that’s exactly what she did in 1994! She founded the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for Missing Persons, based in   Wilmington, North Carolina. Since that time, she has assisted over 9,000 families of the missing by providing absolutely free services (of which there are a boatload!).The organization is staffed by volunteers and FUNDED ENTIRELY BY DONATIONS! 

How Monica does what she does each and every day, remains an enigma… She works…and is on call 24/7; She takes calls and cases from all over the United States.  She takes no salary… and I don’t think her husband is a relative of the Bill Gates clan! Monica also offers youth mentoring and college internships.   It appears she seldom sleeps, probably doesn’t eat much and values her smoke breaks when she can fit them in….. Interviews have revealed a “diamond in the rough”…. with some salty language “to get the point across”.  However, when she speaks of the plight of specific victims, there is no one more compassionate or caring…

***Free Services Offered by the CUE Center

  • Search and Recovery, Victim Support, Investigative, Awareness Resources
  • Canvassing – foot, vehicle, neighborhood /door to door
  • Teams- K9, air, water (boat & divers), horseback, 4- wheelers, ATV, GPR, ground pounders, command IC, mapping control, current technology  instruments
  • Case goal/efforts with guidance for families of the missing.
  • Support from local and national sisterhood organizations
  • Act as a liaison for families, media, agencies and law enforcement
  • Financial aid/most cases
  • Community and public awareness programs for missing victims
  • Provide a variety of guest speakers and topics
  • Finger printing/ photo ID programs /DNA technology
  • Poster/ flyer distribution, to include internet distribution nationally
  • Bill board (resources)
  • Reward resources
  • Safety/prevention workshops
  • Organizing private and public meetings for case effort
  • Utilize all areas of case resources and identifying case needs
  • Provide spokesperson / advocate for missing person case
  • Campaign force effort in locating the missing
  • Counseling resources – group, individual, grief, trauma
  • Food, shelter, fuel provided for search teams and families of the missing
  • Full complete investigative casework of missing person
  • Support group and victim resources; homicide, abuse, rape and mental illness
  • Bulk mailings project for missing persons
  • Twenty four hour public TIP number to be provided for cases of the missing

From what Ladyjustice has heard and read, Monica is also a master organizer and her volunteers are creative fundraisers.  Just consider the endeavors designed to raise money for resources:

A few of the fundraising projects include:

1)      Greensmoke for Cue. An electronic cartridge cigarette that looks and feels like a real cigarette but is an alternative;

 

2)    Fueling Good Sponsored by Citgo

3)    Project Prayer for The Missing – Quarters For CUE  A youth Ministry program offering prayer to families of the missing, raising awareness and money during masses held in honor of the missing.

And last but not least, Monica offers a one of a kind National Annual Conference to impart knowledge, provide support and resources for families of the missing and service providers. This year’s 8th annual Conference information can be found at the following link: The 8th Annual National Missing Persons Conference 2012

CONFERENCETHEME 2012 “In Support of the Journey” Thursday, March 22-25, 2012

Who stands up for the missing, lost, abused, neglected, murdered, disposed of and otherwise forgotten individuals who need to be found and loved, whether alive or dead?  Answer: Monica Caison.  Please donate now:

http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/category/donate/

As this writer closes out another blog chapter she can think of no better a musical refrain than Linda Ronstadt’s “Heart Like A Wheel” to remind us of Monica’s dedication and the love lost from all of those who have gone missing:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4edvNAtAwE


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Treasure or Trash? No… A Human Being

      

                 

Ladyjustice is often fascinated by the unique finds on shows such as PBS’ Antique Roadshow and the like. There is something special when an unusual item is closely linked to history. If only such respect was paid to persons who go missing and ultimately murdered as they do to their precious potential antiques!

It occurred to LJ while listening to the case of Danielle Hill Alvarado on a radio episode of Crimewire recently, that there have been far too many cases in which a person died and was literally discarded as garbage- that tragic ultimate resting place was a dumpster and/or landfill. This blogger is compelled to “shine a light” on such cases, in hopes that in some small way, others may have answers to those currently unsolved cases.  These sociopaths think nothing of others… They are skilled at “playing the game of life” without really participating. Their true talents lie in masquerade.

The Case of Danielle Hill Alvarado:

Danielle, age 21, came from a small town (15 miles south of the Texas/Oklahoma border).  She lived a small town life and was married to Jonathan Alvarado with a 5 year old daughter, Nicki.  Danielle went missing on January 24, 2010. It appears this man was an abuser from the get go and had a “history behind closed doors.” (i.e. Danielle’s statements like “It will be far worse punishment if I disobey/ don’t do X.”)  In addition, Jonathan had a history of drug abuse was a serial intimate partner abuser and was arrested for aggravated assault two months prior to Danielle’s disappearance. As told on Crimewiresire.org, Belinda’s mother is currently the guardian for her granddaughter. Belinda learned from her son-in-law’s employer -property owner that Danielle was choked to death, dumped and ultimately put in a city landfill bordering the two states!

Power and control was the status quo with Jonathan.  What harm would come to the relationship for Danielle to attend church and a baby shower with family members?  Absolutely none…  However, this is the “big event” that sent Jonathan over the edge?  Danielle’s family reportedly pleaded with her not to return home after the shower.  But, as they so often do, Danielle may have had a false sense of: She’d rather tolerate a “lesser beating for disobedience rather than a severe beating later…” Such a sad story…

The rest of the story to date is that Jonathan’s “employer-protector” seems to have divulged the vile truth to Belinda, like “dropping a bomb” and thinking nothing of it as he was her handyman and “such a nice guy!”  As Susan Murphy Milano so aptly pointed out, this woman was aiding and abetting a criminal.  Where is her conscience? Where is her sense of right and wrong?  What circumstances would ever justify a man disposing of a woman like a Kleenex tissue?  ‘Disobedience over going to church and a baby shower?  This was her husband…not a military officer.

Jonathan also made 22 cell phone calls during the baby shower and then nothing. Jonathan’s mother lied about Danielle’s whereabouts.  Immediately after her disappearance, Jonathan and his father used borrowed funds and left for Florida although there was no reason for their destination.  Police and parole officers were less than zealous about Jonathan’s unlawful exit.  Danielle was branded as a “street person”, based on the behaviors of Jonathan alone, and the police did not speak to Belinda or investigate in any meaningful way.

Good riddance to bad rubbish …wherever you are Jonathan Alvarado! Let’s bring Danielle home.

 A YouTube tribute video can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j3KO0_N1YY.  For further details on this story, please go to the Crimewire link at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/crimewire/2011/09/14/crime-wire-investigates-tuesdays-900-pm-eastern-time.

 

The Mysterious Case of John Wheeler:

According to CNN News sources and Daniel Bates, a British reporter for www.dailymail.co.uk, the bizarre case of Washington government official, John Wheeler was shrouded in mystery and unanswered questions prior to his untimely death on December 31, 2010.

This 66 year old man, resident of Wilmington, Delaware, served under three Presidential Administrations including Reagan and George W. Bush.  Wheeler is credited with being the impetus behind the approval and funding for the Vietnam War Memorial. At 3:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, a garbage truck released his body from a truck at the Cherry Island landfill in Delaware. Prior to the discovery of his body, the facts as reported are:

  • Forty-eight hours before his body was located, John Wheeler was wandering around a parking lot looking for a car and appearing disoriented, coatless and with one shoe in the freezing weather adjacent to the New Castle County Courthouse;
  • The parking lot attendant noted that he was disoriented. When asked about his welfare, but she failed to report his unusual behavior in a timely manner;
  • The next morning Wheeler was observed walking in downtown Wilmington;
  • No evidence was located during searches of his home in Wilmington and Manhattan apartment.  Although the floor boards were removed, it “wasn’t considered it a crime scene;”
  • Background checks revealed that Wheeler’s current wife had a wealthy sister-socialite, Emily Klyce Fisher who was stabbed to death in her home in 1995.  It is questionable whether this murder was ever solved;
  • The most promising lead as of January 2011, was that John Wheeler and a neighbor were having an ongoing argument concerning the neighbor building a house on an adjacent property.  Evidently, a legal battle ensued as the addition would have restricted Wheeler’s view and Wheeler’s claim that the house was “too big for the area.”  In fact, police confirmed that a smoke bomb was placed under the neighbor’s house a week before John’s murder;
  • Police refused to comment on the manner of death but later reports indicated it was blunt force trauma;
  • Another possible motive was speculated by a blogger concerning Wheeler’s views on biological warfare.  Sources at the Washington Post revealed that Wheeler wrote a manual on the effectiveness [LJ- Or lack of effectiveness] of biological and chemical weapons.  Supposedly, Wheeler was against the use of such warfare. [LJ- Could he have been in the midst of blowing the whistle re pesticides?  Were there classified documents in his briefcase that others wanted?]
  • Still another speculative theory is that Wheeler had a form of dementia [LJ- Sudden onset disorientation would be more representative of a head injury, brain tumors, hematoma (clotted blood due to a break in a blood vessel, encephalopathy(lesions in the brain sometimes caused by prolonged alcohol abuse) and not a dementia which is typically a more gradual onset of symptoms;

 

Status of the Wheeler Case as of September 2011:

New information is limited…  However more is known about the

Timeline:

  • Two days prior to his murder, Newark police learned that Wheeler walked into a pharmacy in which he was a customer and “asked for a ride,” The pharmacist offered to call him a cab.  Wheeler declined the offer;
  • The parking lot attendant was assured by Wheeler that “I’m not drunk.”  “I’m not drunk” despite his disorientation and unkempt look, lack of a coat in 30 degree weather;
  • Wheeler told Imen Goldsborough, the attendant that his briefcase had been stolen;
  • Wheeler was seen the next day on December 30th in another office building in downtown Wilmington via security cameras as late as 8:30 p.m.;
  • During the afternoon between 2:30 and 3;30 p.m. John came in contact with several people who offered to help, but he declined;
  • Wheeler was reported to be wearing similar clothes as the previous day as well as a sweatshirt;
  • Police and the FBI are searching for the crime scene and the missing briefcase which could provide a link to the murder;
  • The dispute with the neighbor is only “one facet of the investigation.” Wheeler’s attorney said “it was not contentious, but within normal bounds;
  • Wheeler’s biographical history includes being the first Chairman of “Mothers Against Drunk Driving.” 

Was this an organized crime killing?  Denny Griffin, we need your expertise!

 

The Tragic Case of Lori Hacking:

Many readers may be familiar with this shocking case, as it appears to have occurred around the same time as the Chandra Levy, the Washington D.C. aide slain while jogging…  

As per an article by Rebecca Leung who interviewed Maureen Maher, a CBS,   48 Hours Correspondent in February, 2009. Mark Hacking was a “goofy looking dude,” who got lucky and attracted a cute woman…  Lori Hacking referred to Mark as “my big old teddy bear.”  ‘Trouble is… his actions were those of a pathological liar who weaved a pack of lies more intricate and lengthy than anyone could have imagined!

[LJ- I’ll bet Sandra L. Brown of the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education would have a thing or two to say about this guy…http://saferelationshipsmagazine.com.]

Lori and Mark lived in Salt Lake City Utah and had plans to move to North Carolina where Mark intended to begin medical school.  It appears that while Mark “charmed his way entertaining children at a psychiatric hospital…and bamboozled his wife and in-laws for five years, he was no closer to enrolling in medical school than a kindergartener! His elaborate ruse included “pretending to be psychotic-walking around naked, but with shoes on.”  He also pretended to take a trip to Manhattan to interview at Columbia University-ultimately staying with a cousin.  In fact, he never graduated college.  He stopped attending classes after three years.

Mark’s deceptions were revealed when his mother called the Hacking’s answering machine, asking why he wasn’t on the enrollment list at the North Carolina medical school.  (Mom being Mom, had attempted to pay his tuition.)

Lori learned the news, confronted “the teddy bear,” they argued, he took off to a hotel.  The next day… so the story goes, Lori told friends she and Mark “reconciled things and made up.”  (At this point, Lori was five weeks pregnant with their first child.)  Hacking went through the motions (Similar to Scott Peterson) reporting his wife missing and lying about the circumstances.  Hacking claimed Lori went jogging and never returned.  Next, he made his public thank yous for search efforts and actually went mattress shopping when he was supposed to be searching.  Mark allegedly confessed that he killed Lori while she slept in bed and then… “put her in the trash” where her body (and soiled mattress) was found under more than 2,000 tons of garbage.

Douglas Hacking, Mark’s father stated that Mark confessed he felt pressure to achieve, as his brothers were high achievers… and when he “couldn’t make the grade” and knew he would disappoint his family, he began lying and subsequently eliminated his wife and child.

The Ultimate Irony:  Paul Soares, Lori’s brother, related that Lori would have continued to love Mark anyway as long as he was trying his best.

[LJ-He tried his best at the wrong thing, the most dastardly thing on earth.  Mark Hacking put his wife and unborn child in the earth.  He played God when no one has such a right!]

 

Little Somer Thompson:

Nearly two years ago, on or about October 22, 2009, Somer Thompson from Orange Park Florida went missing on her way home from school.  She was seven years old and a twin who assumed it was safe to walk home from school. Sheriff Rick Bessler reported that he had to report the tragic news that her body was discovered in a landfill.  This was a first time crime for the small town of Orange Park.

According to a Camembert County publication as of October 22, 2009, police, “rounded up known sex offenders and garbage pickers,” but initially had no prime suspect.  Investigators were trying to determine the time of death before or after the disposal of her body. 

Update as of March 26, 2010: Twenty four year old John Harrell was charged with the kidnapping and murder of Somer Thompson after long delays in the processing of forensic computer analysis with a “no rush status” by Clay County Florida investigators, which finally resulted in 55 counts of child pornography. As told by Dr. Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler and founder of http://www.livesecure.org, Harrell maintained a “secret stockpile” of child porn labeled, “Don’t lose music.” This stash was discovered by his former roommates.  Evidently Harrell had been ousted from his apartment after they suspected that he had stolen an I-Pod. [LJ thinks Harrell wasn’t the smartest of criminals as he left behind his computer and many incriminating CDs.  No doubt he was thrown out with little time to prepare.  Luckily, the 20 something roommates had a collective conscience and turned over the evidence to police two months prior to Somer’s murder.]

The Likelihood of the Crime: Pattern of Conduct & Jarred Harrell’s Culpability:

Dr. Van Zandt provides the likely scenario-factors that contributed to young Somer’s death.

  • Somer wasn’t merely snatched away from her group of friends.  She argued with her friend, ran ahead of the group and was kidnapped after her separation;
  • Previous history of child pornography viewing as evidenced by his computer files;
  • Apprehension in Meridian Mississippi and arrest for child molestation and child pornography;
  • History of suspected theft;
  • Harrell’s former residence on Gano Avenue was located near a school and near Somer Thompson’s Orange Park home. [LJ- Where were the police and Federal officials requiring Harrell to register as a sex offender?  Nowhere… because the evidence wasn’t processed soon enough, nor did an arrest occur until November prior to Somer’s murder in order to save her life! Timing and opportunity is everything -especially concerning sexual predators and murderers!]
  • As Harrell lived en route to an elementary school, he had access to groups of children and the opportunity to observe them daily.  He also no doubt observed them in the neighborhood playing.
  • Harrell may have seized the moment as Somer ran ahead from the group and easily overpowered her without being seen;
  • Harrell was in the construction trade, assisted in building a restaurant and offered to be a cook. [LJ- This makes him a “hanger-on” in my opinion, an opportunist who “changes with the wind.”]
  • Ladyjustice speculates that as a cook, Harrell would have easy access to a commercial dumpster, whose dumpsite would have been the Georgia landfill reported to be 60 miles from where Somer was kidnapped;

Somer’s mother, Diena Thompson reported on March 29, 2010, that Jarred Harrell is…“A monster. That’s all this person is,” at “Somer Jam,” a fundraising concert she organized in Jacksonville to benefit the Somer Thompson Foundation. “I’d like to take this opportunity to say, ‘Jarred Harrell, we got you, and you ain’t gettin away.”

He is now in prison facing his 50 sexual abuse charges, child pornography and creation charges, and now kidnapping, assault of a minor and first degree murder in the death of Somer Thompson.

Please view the moving YouTube video of Diena’s comments: http://pysih.com/2010/03/29/jared-mitchell-harrell/ 

 

 

The Case of Marta Jimenez:

Marta was a 44 year old hard working convenience store clerk in East Montgomery County, Conroe Texas. 

As of April 20, 2011 her husband, Luis Hernandez Jimenez argued with his wife during the previous weekend.  Accounts from www.khou.com and www.yourhoustonnews.com reported that Luis worked for the local landfill near Cleveland for the past for years.  [LJ- ‘How convenient!].  Marta’s 18 year old daughter reported her missing the day after she did not return home from work.

Police found “irrefutable evidence” that Marta was killed.  Eight Texas Equusearch cadaver dogs were used in addition to a very organized and methodical trash distribution and grid search system.   Police were given false information that Marta had gone to Mexico with a friend.  Luis Jimenez was charged with tampering with evidence and submitting false statements and was being held in the Montgomery County jail pending further charges. 

In the end, can we say that John Wheeler and Marta Jimenez or Lori Hacking, Danielle Alverado and little Somer Thompson had anything in common in life?

It doesn’t appear so…  They all lived separate and distinct lives. However, it is in death and their manner of death that they share much in common.  They were people, not trash!  I’ll bet they are best friends in heaven now.  Let us never forget them!

Respectfully told,

Ladyjustice

 

                                                                                                

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An Aruban Mystery Blossoms into a Resource Center

             

           (www.crimemuseum.org/NHRC)

 

To this blogger, the name Natalee Holloway is nearly a “household name,” synonymous with other unsolved crimes which have gone before her.   We can readily conjure up a mental picture of this bubbly, bright, blonde young woman, “free at last” away from parental influence and on the precipices of adulthood, sipping her island drink. Unfortunately, she was totally unprepared for the local male vultures that make a game of taking advantage of female tourists.  

The birth of the Natalee Holloway Resource Center sheds some dignified light and effort on this tragic “missing person presumeddead” case. The NHRC, based in Washington D.C. and housed within the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, is “a charitable foundation dedicated to helping missing persons and does not represent the Holloway family.” (“per se”)  (Although Beth Holloway spent five years searching for an appropriate way to honor her daughter and endorses this venture-LJ). 

The dastardly deeds of the person of interest and primary suspect are probably all too familiar.  A brief account is more ink than he deserves…. Joran van der Sloot is the narcissistic womanizer, pathological liar with a very short fuse. 

Natalee was reported missing and presumed murdered on Thursday, May, 30, 2005 when she did not report to her group for a return trip home following a high school graduation trip in Aruba. 

Background: 

Murderer’s Timeline Within the Past Year

(as reported on the NHRC website) 

 February 25, 2010 

  ‘Still another “confession” 20 and counting…. Seriously!

Former confessions include:

  • -          Joran and his friends dropped her off at her hotel;
  • -          Joran left her on the beach alone;
  • -          Joran sold her to a man in a boat for $10,000;
  • -          A friend disposed of her body after she had a seizure following their sexual encounter;
  • -          Joran dumped her body in a swamp; 

According to the NHRC web information, van der Sloot has not been arrested to date due to a lack of corroboration from witnesses and the lack of forensic evidence.  Although computer and cell phone communications have been established between suspects, apparently, prosecutors have no substantial physical evidence as a prerequisite.

Thus, witness testimony has been the focus as well as the innumerable false confessions.   

  March 19, 2010

      Scuba divers come forward claiming an underwater photo depicts the remains of a person, potentially Natalee Holloway.  Outcome: Testing proves this to be a specious claim.

 June 2, 2010            

  Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramirez is found dead in a Peruvian hotel room.  Joran van der Sloot is again noted to be the last person to see and interact with her at a gaming casino and is “under suspicion of murder.”             

 June 3, 2010

  van der Sloot flees Peru for Santiago, Chile on the day that Stephany goes missing.  Van der Sloot is extradited via Interpol.

 June 6, 2010 

  The FBI files two criminal complaints in the Natalee Holloway case involving wire fraud and extortion. Van der Sloot reportedly extorted $15,000 from Beth Holloway as partial payment to reveal the location of Natalee’s body. (Total requested $250,000).  As a wire transfer was used, this represents “a scheme to defraud” with the possible penalty of up to 20 years for extortion and 30 years for wire fraud.

 June 8, 2011 

  Joran van der Sloot confesses to the murder of Stephany Ramirez. News accounts state that Stephany invades van der Sloot’s privacy by reading information about him from his laptop computer, enraging him; whereupon he breaks her neck, killing her.  Possible sentence: 15 to 35 years in prison.

 June 11, 2011

  During the interrogation of Stephany Ramirez’ murder, van der Sloot claims to know the location of Natalee Holloway’s body. However, he will only reveal it to Aruban police.  (Let’s make a deal anyone?? LJ)                   

June 16, 2010 

   Aruban and Peruvian authorities pledge to “work together” via separate interviews and forensic analyses of the laptop computer.  In the meantime, van der Sloot is jailed in the maximum security Castro Castro prison in Peru.  And… his attorney temporarily quits following the receipt of death threats.

 June 17, 2010

  A hearing is announced on the Ramirez murder with a promise to share any information revealed that is related to Natalee. 

June 23, 2010 

  van der Sloot claims he “was tricked into a confession” concerning the Ramirez killing…

***A psychological evaluation reveals “a low tolerance for frustration, especially when being contradicted, emotional immaturity leading to lack of self-control and de-valuing of the female role.”

 June 28, 2010

  Claims of “rights violations” prove to be unfounded.  Go directly to jail… Do not pass go… Do not collect $200.00!

August 25, 2010             

  Joran keeps trying…. Continued requests to have his confession of Stephany’s murder thrown out for… “ improper representation and a non-official translator.”

Re:  Natalee Holloway Case- van der Sloot remains a suspect.  However, no charges are filed.

 July, 2011 

   No news…is hardly good news!  However, Ladyjustice was able to view previous footage of this Peruvian Jail.  It should be named “Animal House” – such a fitting name for Joran!  He is housed in Lurigancho Prison, which is the worst of the worst,” Michael Griffith, senior partner at the International Legal Defense Counsel, tells AOL News. “They should have a sign above the door there saying, ‘All those who pass this way leave all hope behind.’ “

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/inside/3144/Photos#tab-Photos/5

Feature Story: 

1) According to the U.S. Department of State, 2,500 citizens are arrested abroad each year. Nearly half of the arrests are for very small amounts of narcotics. Alcohol abuse is typically involved; Sexual assaults and robberies occur because students/travelers find themselves in unfamiliar locations.  “Date rape drugs” are not identified often until it is too late… Such travelers cannot protect themselves under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Frequently, they are also unfamiliar with different standards of safety abroad.  Motor vehicle deaths are the second most common causes of death abroad after natural death. 

The State Department endorses a program called Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order for their agency to contact a student traveler in the case of emergency in the U.S. or while in a foreign country. (http://studentsabroad.state.gov).  In addition, the Department of Homeland Security’s Website: www.getyouhome.gov  can assist with passport and other required documents. 

As a society, we need only look in our own backyards to see examples of Spring Break gone wrong with potential terrible consequences.  In addition, others seeking careers internationally have been victims of the most horrendous crimes imaginable. 

2) Such is the case of Ladyjustice’s friend. Since April 14, 2005, Maxine Russell has dedicated every waking moment to her primary purpose, that of finding the true answers in the horrific treatment and ultimate death of her son Darren, living in China.  Darren was embarking on a new career as a missionary teacher in China.  This so called “traffic accident” has become an international cover up of the greatest proportion, irreparably changing the lives of her entire family, taking its toll physically, emotionally, financially and otherwise!   Please go to the new website created at:   www.russellcase.net (website) and on Twitter at killed_in_China. 

3)The Natalee Holloway Resource Center 

The Natalee Holloway Resource Center focuses on education, and crime prevention. It is not a “recovery center.”  This is a misnomer, as we survivors of crime know; there is no “recovery”.  There is no “closure”.

NHRC shares selected goals similar to other organizations such as the gathering of resources, coordination of a plan to search for the missing and means to contact the media for purposes of public awareness.  

However, in the opinion of Ladyjustice, what makes the NHRC unique includes a mission focusing on educational programs for teens, a traveling safe program, promoting careers in forensic science and law enforcement and providing educational curriculums on law enforcement for “high risk students.” 

Ladyjustice chooses to focus on the traveling safe program, as it is often so overlooked, and certainly a contributing factor in Natalee’s death! 

The Travel Safe Program includes general and specific safety tips and detailed checklists for domestic and international travel.  Although many of the suggestions may be common sense, many people are not obsessive when it comes to the details of planning a vacation.  With teens in particular, it’s “throw a couple of pairs of shorts in a duffle bag with your bathing suit… and you’re done!    Nothing could be further from the truth when you are travelling to a foreign country.  Just ask Maxine Russell….  She will tell you!   

Readers, please indulge Ladyjustice for including the detailed list here and now.  It is so important… It could save a life.  (Be sure to check the website for handy checklists too!) 

Make A Difference Natalee Holloway Resource Center http://www.helpthemissing.org Developed by National Museum of Crime & Punishment

Domestic and International Travel Tips

The key to safe traveling in any area is situational awareness. Distractions because of luggage, children, hotel personnel, strangers, etc. can put you at risk.

Know your surroundings and stay in control of every situation. Look and act confident. Be alert.

Act like you know where you are going. Do not look lost or confused; simply look for an authoritative person or company in which you can ask for directions.

Never flash your money in public. Exchange funds with reputable and recognized exchangers only.

Do not discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.

Watch for scams on the street. Children working with adults are notorious as pickpockets.

Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.

 

1) Documentation/Personal Information 

Passport, cash and credit cards should be kept in a hotel safe or in various places on your body.

Avoid handbags, fanny packs and outside pockets – inside pockets or a sturdy shoulder bag with the strap worn across your chest. Consider locking/tying the zippers shut.

Be aware of pick picketers.

Never list your home address on the luggage tag. If on business, put the company’s address on the tag; if visiting friends you can list their address. Use covered luggage tags as well.

Stay with your luggage until the luggage is checked. If you must put your bag down, keep one foot on the handle.

Carry important papers with you; NEVER check anything that you simply cannot afford to lose.

If possible travel with only one or two credit cards, and keep them in separate storage areas/pockets.

Do not wear name tags in public.

Leave a copy of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver’s license, the credit cards you’re taking, serial numbers of your travelers’ checks, insurance information, as well as the addresses and phone numbers of the places you’ll be. Having copies of these documents at home will allow your family or friends to contact you or help you in case of an emergency. (Carry additional copies of these documents with you on your trip, separate from the originals.)

Consider bringing your driver’s license, even if you didn’t plan to drive, as when faced with an emergency, you may need to drive.

 

2) Police/Laws

Visit http://www.travel.state.gov before you travel abroad.

Register your travel. http://studentsabroad.state.gov/

The Consular Information Program consists of three main components that provide information to the American public about travel to specific countries: Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts.

Familiarize yourself with your destination.

If you are planning to drive, familiarize yourself with driving laws.

Learn the emergency contact number, as “9-1-1” isn’t universal in every country.

Do not carry or buy recreational drugs. Besides this being against the law, other countries often have different penalties that can include the death penalty.

Know the liquid limits and luggage weight limits for traveling prior to date of travel and pack accordingly.


3) Culture/customs/local activities

Learn the local dress code and any religious dress customs; buy appropriate clothing locally if necessary.

Learn some phrases in the local language or have them handy in written form so that you can signal your need for police or medical help.

Never wear anything that projects affluence. No gold chains, expensive watches and rings, luggage, or other paraphernalia should be in easy view. Best option: leave your jewelry at home.

Never accept a drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.

Vary your schedule; try not to come and go at the same time every day.

Never leave with a stranger.

Never go out alone. Use the buddy system!


4) Currency

Convert your cash before you go abroad.

Know the US dollar ratio.

Use Travelers’ Checks.

Consider using prepaid credit cards, as in the case of theft or loss, at least there are limited funds on the card.

 

5) Communication 

If your cell phone does not work outside of the country, consider renting one that does for the duration of your trip. Consider purchasing a worldwide cellular SIM card before you travel.

Consider purchasing portable alarms that emit a loud sound.

You may want to purchase several calling cards.

Purchase a mini translator, or a dictionary.

Establish a Skype account before you travel. This allows international calls for free via the internet.

 

6) Navigation

Bring a small flashlight. You never know when you’ll suddenly be “in the dark” and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings.

If you must rent a car, rent only from a reputable company. Any operating problems that occur could signal sabotage.

Familiarize yourself with train and bus schedules before traveling. Have an alternate plan in place in the event your transportation plans change.

Confirm cost of journey/travel prior to entering a taxi.

Do not use unmarked taxi cabs.

Beware of taxi drivers wanting to take diversions while on route- to shopping areas (as often they get commission from store owners to do this).

Sit behind the driver so you can see him, but he cannot see you.

Pay the driver upon arriving at your destination and while you are still sitting in the vehicle.

Be aware of ‘staged’ car accidents meant to catch you off guard.

Back into your parking spaces to facilitate a quick exit.

Park only in well lit and well traveled areas.

Never pick up hitchhikers.

Don’t use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.

If you do not feel safe stopping at a red light, proceed safely with caution.

Keep your car doors locked at all times, including when you are in the vehicle.

Only pull over for the police.

7) US Emergency Contacts 

Discuss with your family/home contact, what they would do in event of an emergency while away from home, e.g. whom to call, how to contact emergency personnel, etc.

Provide your family/home with your itinerary and all travel information and contacts.

Write down important contact numbers that you will need, in the event that your cell phone gets lost or stolen.

While traveling, if you plan to use an internet café, ensure that you log out of all applications- especially any application that has your private or confidential information.

Traveling with Children: 

Write your child’s name, your contact information and your hotel number on an index card; include close friends or relatives contact information. Give a card to each child which they will carry with them as long as you are traveling. Destroy once home.

Bring along an updated photograph of each child in the event that you become separated from them.

 Consider writing your cell phone number on an item/labeled pined to your child

 

8) Safety/Health

Visit the Travelers’ Health page of the CDC- http://www.cdc.gov/travel

If your medical insurance does not cover you abroad, purchase a short-term policy that does.

Any medications being carried overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled.

If you wear eyeglasses, take an extra pair with you. If you wear contacts, take a pair of eye-glasses with you too.

Make sure your prescription medication is not considered and illegal narcotic.

Travel with a basic first aid kit with bandages, iodine, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, alcohol packets, motion sickness pills, stomach upset/diarrhea medicine, etc.

Research the nearest and best hospitals or urgent care facilities and pharmacies.

Bring any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage.

Make sure that your prescription medicines are filled properly and labeled accurately. Ensure that you have enough medicine in the event your return trip gets delayed.

 

9) Lodging

Research area and make reservation(s) with a reputable hotel. Use online reference sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp, to view visitor’s comments.

Only stay in a hotel that uses cards to open room doors and make sure your room has a peephole and a deadbolt lock. Secure the chain and secure the door by pushing a rubber stop under it.

Keep your hotel door locked at all times. Meet visitors in the lobby. Do not allow any strangers into your hotel room.

Do not leave money and other valuables in your hotel room while you are out. Use the hotel safe.

Have gratuity/tips ready in advance for service personnel.

Know the identity of any visitors before opening the door of your hotel room. Don’t invite strangers to your hotel room, or to remote locations.

Try to stay in a room near a stairwell. Never take the elevator if a fire or smoke is detected. Always stay in a hotel where the doors enter the hallway and not directly from the outside.

Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room. Know how to report a fire, and be sure you know where the nearest fire exits and alternate exits are located. (Count the doors between your room and the nearest exit; this could be a lifesaver if you have to crawl through a smoke-filled corridor.)

10) Embassies

Make note of the US Embassy in the country you are traveling to- http://www.usembassy.gov/

 

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Do You Know this Face? (A New Tool for Cold Cases….)

The year was 2005; the location, Polk County, Florida (25 miles east of Tampa and 35 miles southwest of Orlando – the proverbial “center” of Florida) with 7,500 or so residents. What is their claim to fame, you ask???

Polk County is the “birthplace” of the Cold Case Playing Cards, initiated to assist in locating missing persons and/or murder victims.

Basically, a stack of standard 52 ordinary playing cards are used and “transformed” to replace the noblemen, women and  sole card symbols  with a recent photo of a murdered victim or missing person along with a brief summary of “Who, What, Where and When” circumstances of the crime.    Card players, hopefully supply the “why,” or at least tips leading to solving the long missing or deceased person’s story.  Following production, the specialized decks of cards are mass distributed to inmates throughout prisons across the US and Canada.

An initial news story on March 30, 2006 reported that a team consisting of the Lakeland Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement garnered two suspects and their first true success — the capture of the killer of Thomas Wayne Grammer, gunned down by an unknown assailant who entered Grammer’s home in the early morning hours.  Grammer’s body was found on May 7, 2004.  The perpetrator was located and the case officially solved 19 months later on December 5, 2005, as a result of his information being featured on a Cold Case playing Card!

As the story gained national attention, interest peeked in many other states.

A CBS news story from Barstow, Florida in March 2006 attributes the success to two facts by this blogger’s interpretation.

1) Each card depicts the photo of a murder victim’s or missing person’s   

face and “just enough detail to jog a memory… or a conscience,”

2) Bragging rights… As told by Florida state inmate, Johnny Luster, “You’d be surprised the gossip that goes around in jail. ‘People bragging about this, bragging about that. It’s easy to let something slip.”

Ahhh… forget truth serum….   Just put a deck of cards on the table and listen to them talk…

Commonly, such cards are a direct link to the local law enforcement entity or an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip line.  When a perpetrator is captured, there are many more to replace the guy on the 7 of hearts, Jack of Spades, or whatever the case may be…

In Florida, initially 10,000 decks of cards were distributed to 2,500 inmates throughout the prison system, featuring 104 unsolved cases.  As of this writing, the FDLE has featured three editions involving approximately 156 crime victims.

Although 2010 news accounts claim that as many as 20 states produce a version of these specialized cards, an internet search by this blogger revealed only a handful of states advertising their use on the web.  These states include Florida, Texas, Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, New York and Minnesota.


More Interesting Features…

Nebraska State Patrol officials reported in a CBS News article, September 2010, that all versions of playing cards are “based on decks distributed to U.S. troops in Iraq shortly after the 2003 invasion.  The 2003 cards featured the names and photos of Iraq’s most wanted fugitives, including Saddam Hussein as the Ace of Spades.”

The current cards used by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, highlight 52 cases and 57 individual victims.  A unique aspect of their program includes the category of “unidentified remains –   such as …

Jane Doe, John Doe or Unidentified Baby #1234.

The exact number of cold cases solved to date since the inception of playing card portrayals is not known for certain.  However, one thing remains clear among all law enforcement; they are equally committed to the program, even if just one in 52 cold cases is solved!

“The Missing Missing”

An exhaustive and fascinating 319 page 2007 Homicide Studies investigation and analysis of serial murder victims, including missing persons, unidentified dead, and misidentified dead data can be found by author Kenna Quinet and published in 2008 by Sage Publications.Com.

A PDF version can be downloaded at http://hsx.sagepub.com.

“The Missing Missing: Toward a Quantification of Serial Murder Victimization in the United States. Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis).

In a section called “Doing the Math”, Ms. Quinet states that according to the FBI, in all categories combined in 2004 there were 840, 279 adult and child missing reports filed with only 106,000 active cases… ‘But what about those non-active or not known to be missing?  Did you know that 34 to 46% of prostitutes surveyed do not have homes/households/ or real addresses? And… the homicide rate for prostitutes was 229 per 100,000 people in 2004.  By counting various hidden serial murder victims, a low estimate of 182 to an upper estimate of 1,832 annual serial murder victims is suggested in this detailed study.

This blogger confesses that she did not read the entire study, or the information regarding a methodology for counting the dead and missing.

I will leave that to you, should you care to.   My job is to peak your interest…   The bottom line….

So many victims, so many playing cards…  SOMEBODY BETTER GET CRACKIN’ (And I don’t mean cocaine).

A recent success story in my home state of Connecticut is a good illustration of what one tip can bring to all those involved in the very personal story of homicide or missing persons.

Case In Point: The Murder of Shawn Dudley: Nine of Diamonds

Twenty-two year old Quan Morgan of Hartford was charged with one count of murder in February 2011 in connection withthe murder of Shawn Dudley at the West Indian Club in September 24, 2006.

State officials in the Criminal Justice Division report that Mr. Dudley, age 19, was confronted on the dance floor by several males.  One male in the group, Quan Morgan apparently pulled out a handgun and shot him once in the chest.  A motive was not given….

Mr. Quan’s rap sheet is full, unlike his dance card.  Prior to this fatal shooting he was incarcerated for the unrelated 2008 shooting of yet another man, Edward Haslam, also committed in Hartford. That arrest also resulted from investigated by the Cold Case Unit of the Hartford Police.  Bond on the arrest warrant for this most recent murder was set at $5 million.

This Case was solved as a consequence of information received by an inmate who saw Shawn Dudley’s information depicted on a Cold Case playing card.

Another crime victim’s organization is Hope4the Missing.Org-Center for Hope.  The State of New York also has custom designed cards through a collaboration of State District Attorney Murphy and Doug and Mary Lyall.

The Lyalls became the impetus for the cards in memory of their daughter, Suzanne Lyall who was a sophomore at State University of New York/SUNY in Albany when she went missing on March 2, 1998.  She hasn’t been seen or heard from since, according to a 2008 article in the Saratogan newspaper.   The Suzanne Lyall Campus Safety Act mandates colleges and law enforcement to develop procedures for investigating violent crimes on campuses, previously signed by former President George Bush.   However, when the Lyall’s sought permission to name a National Holiday for the Missing on Suzanne’s birthday, they were denied…..


It’s okay to celebrate two President’s Days…. But, nothing for Crime Victims except a relatively obscure National Crime Victim’s Week in April .

The standard bearer in the specialized playing card field is “Effective Playing Cards”, geographic location not listed on their website, but presumed to be Florida…. Their literature states they have produced “hundreds of thousands of custom card decks for many crime stopper units throughout  Florida, Texas, New York, Missouri, Ohio, Iowa California and Washington.”

Effective Playing Cards: How to Order (Website Info)

In order to receive the best results you would like to have a deck of cards in the hands of every existing inmate. Since criminals tend to associate with other criminals it is a great idea to send a deck home with each prisoner when released.

In order to decide how many decks to order, you should determine the average daily inmate population of the facilities to which you are intending to distribute and factor in average new inmates received daily.

There are several grants and funds which can provide help with the printing costs. These vary from area to area, so give us a call toll-free at 1-888-80CARDS or email mail@effectiveplayingcards.com to discuss what will work for YOU.

Once you have determined how many cards you need and have placed your order we will provide you with a link and pass code to our secure website. This site provides a playing card template allowing quick and efficient production of your customized cards. You will be able to issue pass codes to as many individuals as you need. In Florida, we have found that by enabling several different municipalities, (i.e. Local Police Department, Sheriffs Office or other law enforcement personnel who have access to case photos and descriptions) to be responsible only for 2 or 3 cards each you can complete your deck in the shortest amount of time while minimizing the work load. The 2 jokers in each deck are used as information cards for your unit.

The jokers plus the card back designs are individually customized to meet your specific needs and their layout will be coordinated separately with you through our graphics department.

Please allow approximately 4-6 weeks for delivery from the date of final proofing. Don’t wait…. Call toll-free today at 1-888-80CARDS.

In addition to prisons and convenience stores, this blogger speculated recently, that in order to create the maximum effect in any geographic area, greater exposure of the playing cards might help in this very worthy endeavor.  What better place than….. casinos???  Two such organizations quite well known throughout the country happen to be located in Connecticut – Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.

Ladyjustice made a call to the corporate headquarters of Mohegan Sun Casino this week… and called the Cold Case Unit of the office of the Chief State’s Attorney.  A corporate assistant received my “out of the box” idea warmly.  The latter, those gumshoe detectives who are supposed to solve cases, did not return my call… Yes, they are busy, but so too are corporate executives. (‘Wonder what the Crimewire Team would have to say about this??)

Follow up, Follow Up, Follow Up is so important in every industry to achieve any credibility!

My blogger friends, I share with you ‘my pitch” below sent snail mail to Mahegan Sun’s CEO, as requested.

Mr. Jeffrey Hartmann

Chief Executive Officer

Mohegan Sun Casino

1 Mohegan Sun Blvd

Uncasville, CT 06382

Dear Mr. Hartmann:

It is my pleasure to write to you today given your reputation for receptivity to Connecticut residents and potential customers.  My purpose in contacting you involves a proposal that may benefit your organization, hundreds of residents as well as law enforcement.

In 1981, my 47 year old father was murdered by a career criminal. Since that time, I have been a true advocate on behalf of all crime victims- those that I have know personally and those that will become victims and ultimately survivors in the future.

As part of this quest to assist others, I have a career goal to move to San Diego in the near future to assist others using some of my many skill sets.   Toward this end, I am fortunate to have a personal blog and upcoming website focusing on Crime Victim issues at

http://donnagore.wordpress.com .

I invite you to review the varied content.

A topic about which I am currently writing, could conceivably involve Mohegan Sun.  This topic involves the relatively new and innovative method of assisting law enforcement in the capture of homicide victims and missing persons using specialized playing cards which offer basic information and a photo assigned to each card.  It is my understanding that approximately 20 states participate in such programs, originally created in Polk County Florida.

In fact, the Cold Case Unit of the Hartford Police recently was successful in obtaining vital details in the unsolved homicide of Shawn Dudley in 2006.

Mr. Hartmann, it is with this backdrop that I can envision Mohegan Sun as a valuable community partner with State’s Attorney’s Office Cold Case Unit  in producing a series of 52 cards/placards displayed in the gaming areas and offering such the same decks of playing cards for purchase to interested patrons.  As perpetrators are arrested, new crime victims could easily be replaced on the placards or cards.

Part of the proceeds from these purchases could potentially go toward the Crime Victim Compensation Fund or Survivors of Homicide, Inc.

I see the potential benefits to be many…. including a new promotional angle for Mohegan Sun, the generation of community interest, increased gaming sales depending upon where the placards are placed, more revenues with increased activity, patrons desire to purchase the decks of cards as keepsakes, increased funds for the entities mentioned above, and most importantly, the potential solving of homicide and missing persons cases in Connecticut, thus achieving some resolution and peace of mind for these families.

This week I contacted the Cold Case Unit in Rocky Hill with my idea.

To date. I have not received a return call.  However, I cannot imagine why they would say no…..  This appears to me to be a WIN, WIN, WIN situation.  If you would like to view some of the current playing cards, they can be found at the following link:

Cold Case Deck

As a corporate entity, I have approached you first, rather than reaching out to your competitor, Foxwoods down the road.  I predict that if you are willing, other gaming organizations may follow suit.  Is it not better to be “the first” when it comes to such ventures?  I have confidence that I am correct in this assumption and that you will join with me in convincing the Cold Case Unit to proceed with this concept.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

On behalf of all Homicide Survivors in Connecticut,

Donna R. Gore, M.A.

“The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.”  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Links:

Florida Cards: Cold Case Playing Cards Edition 1

Cold Case Playing Cards Edition 2

Cold Case Playing Cards Edition 3

Connecticut Cards: Cold Case Deck

Nebraska Cards: View Playing Cards

New York Cards: View Power Point

Follow Donna R. Gore, “Lady Justice”

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Donna-R-Gore-Lady-Justice/177116699001933?ref=ts

Twitter @DonnaRGore    http://twitter.com/#!/DonnaRGore

 

UPDATES

Mohegan Sun Casino CEO Response: (Letter Said)

It’s a” no” to my proposals.  They have contract agreements although he “sympathizes with my plight”

Playing Cards Foxwoods Casinos CEO Response (Letter Forthcoming)
(Although his assistant was a lot more personable and supportive.)
It’s a “no ” to my proposals because” the gaming industry is heavily regulated” and therefore they cannot assist.

These replies are a good excuse diguised as disinterest by both gaming operations in my opinion!


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