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]
- A More Open Hart Island? City Looks To Improve Access To Potter’s Field and Records (observer.com)
- Shattered Lives and the Cyber Age…. (donnagore.com)
- Shattered Lives: Welcome Back, Duane Bowers! (imaginepublicity.com)
- The Pandemic Otherwise Known as Human Trafficking…. (donnagore.com)