Missing for an Hour or for Years, the Personal Nightmare of LadyJustice

 

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When people try to wrap their heads around the very real circumstance of a man or woman gone missing, it seems so surreal!  But it is very real.  Whether missing for an hour or years, professionals in the non-profit arena take all reports seriously.

When I think back 35 years ago my Dad was also missing, but this aspect was never emphasized in the scheme of things. Although I don’t recall exactly, I estimate that for our family, the time he was unaccounted for was approximately from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day.   Although the police tried to construct a timeline, if they had delved deeper, I believe they would have discovered his identity sooner. What difference do a few hours make? A lot!

We knew his habits and what occurred prior to leaving home in the early evening hours. He owned an auto body business and also sold used cars. After dinner, he typically left to collect monies owed for cars purchased.  Previously, I had inherited the family car to commute to college. The car needed oil, so my Dad intended to get oil for the car that evening.  At the time, I had just earned my Master’s Degree in speech-language pathology and was to report to one of my jobs in Western Massachusetts for my new employer.  I never made it to work the following day.

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My Dad went missing and never came home, nor did he call my mother if he expected to be very late or change his plans, as he had done in the past. Hours of worry and concern ensued for my mother. She contacted all the friends, contacts, and family she could think of who may know of his whereabouts. She called the hospitals, nothing.

BUT WAIT…. Intervening events would play a part in this awful scenario. Prior to his going missing, he was at a stoplight and apparently someone had the nerve to mug him for the contents of his wallet, including his driver’s license. Dad had not had a chance to replace his license.  However, his van had dealer plates and he was a well known business owner in the Greater Hartford area.  Ultimately, he was found in his van. Why hadn’t the Hartford Police followed up on this right away? Did the dealer plates go missing too? I’ll never know.

However, what occurred was a series of unconscionable “missteps” by the police. Somehow, before we even had a clue that my father was murdered, the local newspaper (under whose authority?) wrote a newspaper article about a missing person.

Among the many scenes of our homicide that are indelibly etched in my brain is this one –

We were in the living room that morning (Aril 17, 1981). My mother was very worried,  having spent a sleepless night.  I was dressed for work looking out the big picture window.  Mom sat in the rocker and was leafing through the newspaper. In the silence of the early morning, I heard my mother suddenly cry out words to the effect of “They’ve found him. It’s him.”

To our absolute horror, the newspaper heading stated “Unidentified Missing Man Found in Green Van.”  In our hearts, we knew it was my Dad. And then, the two of us summoned our strength to call the Hartford Police together. My mother recalled the detective putting his had over the receiver and in a muffled voice saying, “They’ve just identified him.” This was a chilling moment that no family deserves!  My mother called a close family member, a cousin, in order to provide support and drive us to the police station and the medical examiner’s office. I still did not believe it was true. The moment of truth for me was when someone at the police station walked past us carrying a plastic bag with my Dad’s coat which I recognized. That was a defining moment for me.

Imagine, if you can, learning that your loved one is murdered from a newspaper article with no warning whatsoever!

I could write volumes about the injustices we experienced as I recall the events today knowing what I know in 2017. Law enforcement tried, but they made many mistakes in the investigation, as well as in the judicial aspects for years to come, as the perpetrator never should have been eligible for parole!   Does it do any good to point fingers?  Would it have changed the outcome of the crime? No. I am grateful for their efforts in solving the case. However, I am not comfortable giving everyone involved a “pass” just because of the era in which it occurred, with the lack of resources for crime victims and lack of care versus overzealousness in convicting the murderer.

Perhaps the “saving grace” of our ordeal may be that we paved the way for future victims of crime to have a much better experience over time. That I can live with and it gives me solace.

As for the relatively short period of time in which my father was missing, although it was not prolonged, the events that occurred were horrendous, leaving scars for a lifetime. But, scars do heal. As a result, I have a tremendous amount of respect for all families of missing persons, whose ordeal typically goes on and on.

I will end with a most important message: If you experience a loved one or a good friend gone missing, time is of the essence!  In addition, if you desire expertise in assisting your local law enforcement, to begin the process, a missing persons report must be filed with police and then registered with the CUE Center for Missing Persons. http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/file-a-report/.

CUE donations are appreciated, with all funds committed to the work of locating missing persons and supporting their families.

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To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity. Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.com

 

 Secrets of McClellanville and the Death of Brittanee Drexel

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When loss of life is involved, particularly in a cruel, violent manner, it is only natural that there is public outrage. People rush to judgment to try to justify their opinions in the heat of the moment – in the acute phase. Concerning the location in which a crime occurred, we often broad brush all residents and their culture as inherently evil. This is wrong. No town or city should be thought of as a reincarnation of White Pines Bay – the fictitious location of the Bates Motel or Amityville, New York, just because a criminal element has frequented a town.

After years of searches and investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, the rural town of McClellanville, South Carolina has unequivocally been pinpointed as the place where 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel spent her final days on earth, rather than her upstate New York home. If this is so with irrefutable evidence, we must believe it. But, in the hearts of the Drexel family and friends, this cannot be imagined, without a perpetrator, without her precious body.

Given this information, it does not mean that all residents of McClellanville are heartless. We have to ask, why have someone not come forward, particularly with a $25,000 reward publicized for credible information.  If I had to speculate, perhaps, they may be scared, frightened of retribution. Their silence could mean that they don’t have a good reason to trust law enforcement. Possibly residents feel that any information they may have “in the cobwebs of their mind” times 7 years ago is insignificant. Possibly they do not believe that offering any information will lead to a monetary reward for them personally, so why risk it?

Such is the thinking that tries men’s souls and keeps families and law enforcement constantly on edge.

History and Demographics

128657464991113191800301197_BRITTANEE_DREXELMcClellanville, situated in northeast Charleston County is on US Route 17 heading 23 miles northeast to Georgetown and 38 miles southwest to Charleston. McClellanville is populated by 500 or so people – a Mayberry RFD by some standards. This town, in the parish of St. James –Santee was incorporated into the Church of England in 1706, but settled by the French as early as 1605. It has always been an agricultural economy. They feature many historic properties, small town life, Bible school and their trademark is their shrimping fleet and seafood industry.  Natural resources include Jeremy Creek, running through the center of town, and south toward the Intercoastal Waterway adjacent to Romain National Wildlife Refuge (66,287 acres).  Nearly 57% are age 25 to 64, with almost 20% – age 65 + years.

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They showed their resilience in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo destroyed much of the town. People were saved by crawling into a space above a false ceiling in the high school-storm shelter.

What Happened to Brittanee?

It doesn’t make sense to me that a possible human trafficker or sexual predator would “stick around Mayberry” for several days with an innocent teenager who could clearly be distinguished by her northeastern dialect without notice.  Crime never makes any sense… Brittanee was abducted and held against her will we are told. Was she “free to do errands for this man” but clearly under his control around town under threat of death, or forced to perform other favors in a hotel or abandoned property?  Did the perpetrator have ties to McClellanville or was he a transient predator? Did Brittanee reach out and try to secretly ask for help which ultimately lead to her death? Was she persuaded with initial sweet talk and lies that her family didn’t care about her and to come on an adventure? We may never know.

As a northeasterner, I drove from Myrtle Beach through McClellanville to Charleston a couple of years ago and barely noticed this nondescript town.

I thought this at the time, as I am a suburban –city slicker at heart. Now, I will never forget as it has a much deeper meaning now.

How do we encourage people to have e a conscience for the betterment of others no matter what the risk? This is God-fearing, church going folks after all!  It would truly help if the media put a positive spin on proactivity. The little town ofMcClellanville could be known forever as “the town that saved a family, saved a girl with such promise from New York!” They did the right thing for missing persons everywhere!  Let us all hope and pray that they do!

maxresdefaultProfiles and Contact Information for Brittanee-

http://helpfindbrittaneedrexel.com/submit-a-confidential-tip/

http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/fbi-offers-reward-in-09-brittanee-drexel-case-rochester-teen-likely-killed/

“We Love You 2 Much, 4 Ever, and 1 Once More (241)”

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The Legacy of Morgan Harrington

 

When unspeakable violence enters your family it’s like a once smooth sailing ship, now without a rudder, hitting the sandbar being exposed to the salt air and slowly eaten away by the forces of nature.  A ship, made of metal and wood, shows its obvious wear over time and is “docked for renovation” when it needs to be refurbished.   However, a mother and father who were so enjoying the fruits of their upbringing cannot be refurbished. They became victims of a vicious perpetrator who stuck down their daughter Morgan, and their world was forever altered and shipwrecked like never before!

The Shattered Lives Radio team bore witness to the two sides of the coin as presented by Gil and Dan Harrington with grace and forethought. Learn with us how their journey continues to inspire people worldwide!

It has been nearly five years come this October. There are bad days and then brighter days, particularly when a special human connection is felt with another family who is irrevocably wounded and in crisis.

Assisting others is good for the soul, the spirit and the mind. It keeps you occupied and then again, distracted on the toughest of days.  The successes can keep you invigorated and forging on toward the next challenge.  The anger and disillusionment is converted to positive energy in order to “Help Save the Next Girl.”

When you “turn the corner” to survivor hood, you realize that focusing a lot of energy on the perpetrator is much better spent on those who are worth it.  It is at this intersection where unbelievable, heart-wrenching misfortune meets an array of possibilities (the stuff of dreams that a daughter once had,) when you realize you have come through the abyss.   THAT, my dear readers, is when “a new normal” truly blossoms!

 

Listen to Shattered Lives Radio

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  • Introduction to our guests
  • In the beginning… a Dad’s perspective
  • Life as a summer intern and “the power of women”
  • Gil speaks to the way their family operated always…
  • A Daddy’s girl and a “blooming adult”
  • Seeing value in a different way – a piece of you!”
  • Service to others was and is the name of the game…
  • Bloodied, stunned and confused …
  • Where was Morgan?
  • “We protect our merchandise at Wal-Mart better than protecting our children”
  • Discussion of finding Morgan’s remains:
  • The Virginia State Police and DNA searches…
  • The T-shirt- Stonewalling or need to know in order to save the next girl
  • What did Susan Murphy Milano say…as told by Delilah?
  • Complacency at college campuses and EVERYWHERE!
  • Making change where you’re planted- the focus needs to be awareness of surroundings, take precautions etc.
  • CONTRAST- Universities “looking good” versus what’s really happening
  • Help Save the Next Girl – “ripping off the bandied
  • A cultural shift… It takes thinking out of the box
  • Delilah asks about the biggest obstacles
  • Shared humanities and Alexis Murphy’s mother
  • Federal guidelines and violence against women
  • Catherine’s Law in Virginia-http://www.readthehook.com/100707/round-two-kathryns-law-gets-harrington-support
  • A “black hole” of 28,000 students felony crimes on campus need to be reported and investigated
  • What is the Cleary Act and how does it apply?
  • Protecting students versus endowments
  • 1984 Liz Seccuro sexual assault at University of Virginia: Another victim of campus violence and indifference  and the fallacy of justice is served
  • Gil on the chain of command and handling of things internally to “keep it quiet” versus using investigative zeal
  • Lack of focus on victims, the cover -ups, glorifying the perpetrators etc
  • Gil says: As long as the perp is out of commission, I don’t care…as long as the are no more killings.”
  • Gil and Dan – short and long term goals “service is the engine to recovery…”
  • Demands of being an Advocate and the pitfalls
  • Making a difference, being energized now versus in th beginning
  • Money talks; Our Harvard Can Do Better Group-
  • Delilah on putting obstacles in the way and providing tools so that everyone will know
  • Gil on Mother’s Against Drunk Driving – a parallel

Contact information and Donations:

Help Save the Next Girl;
PO Box 8062 Roanoke Va.24014

FindMorgan.Com
OMNI Village, Ndola , Zambia
Virginia Tech
Morgan Dana Harrington Memorial Scholarship
University Development
Blacksburg, Va. 24061

 

Questions from the Listeners

  • What made Morgan a “Renaissance young woman”?
  • How did Morgan spend her last summer?
  • Why did the Harrington children never buy a gift for their parents?
  • What were the circumstances surrounding the Metallic concert?
  • What happened after Morgan was not allowed re-entry into the concert?
  • What was the information received re video surveillance?
  • What agencies and activities were involved once Morgan was considered a missing person?
  • Why is violence against women still part of the culture?
  • What is the most effective method in reaching young people in 2014?
  • What is the importance of showing the numbers?
  • What does Catherine’s Law do in Virginia to bridge the gap?
  • What are the typical consequences for the perpetrator of the he said-she said crimes?
  • Would a high profile be remembered more than the victim?
  • How do we measure success with Help Save the Next Girl …(and a pan of brownies)?
  • What can alumni do?

 

Disclaimer: 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.

 

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.