I am very honored to welcome a most exceptionally brilliant guest who goes by the moniker, "Slam" from Slam Dunks. I have been a fan for many years and follow his blog. He doesn't need much introduction as some of you may know how fascinating his missing person posts and cold case reviews capture your attention. However, I don't know if you may know how much time and research he puts into these cases. Missing persons and cold cases are unsolved mysteries that often leave many unanswered questions for us in the background, but most importantly for those loved ones left behind. Please join The Boogie Man Is My Friend in welcoming my prestigious guest, Slam! And stay tuned in for a short series of posts to come on cold cases, missing persons, and lost investigations, and a book review on The Skeleton Crew.
I know you will find Slam as engaging in the world of "armchair" investigating as I do. He also likes to help people and does a great job in keeping an open mind and looking at all the possibilities.
Without further ado, please welcome Slam! Enjoy the ride...
I have a confession to make.
I have always had lots to say, but as an introvert, remained quiet for the most part.
That is until I started blogging.
It is a great fit for me.
Actually, I started blogging five years ago to focus on three missing persons cases.
Two of those remain unsolved (Ray Gricar and Brianna Maitland), and sadly the third is now a cold case homicide after the missing man (Beau Ramsey) was found deceased.
I quickly learned that I could not maintain a blog solely on missing persons--the posts are time consuming in terms of research and the majority of my audience loses interest unless I offer a diversity of topics.
As such, I usually highlight one missing person case per week, and have two other offerings--which is ok, as it gives me a chance to write on a variety of topics including crime, policing, family, etc., or just make fun of myself (which I generate lots of material for).
So for today, Momma Fargo asked me: What attracts you to a missing person case?
She specializes in those.
Rather than say a variety of characteristics, let me pick one.
A primary attractor?
When the person who has disappeared leaves behind an electronic footprint.
Social media sites, discussion boards, and websites can contain a wealth of information about the individual--and reading about them allows me to better understand the person as opposed to the filtered and/or opinionated pieces that are frequently included in the Internet news reports.
For instance, Kathleen "Beanie" McBroom disappeared in Alaska in 2008. There were a handful of local news reports on her case, but all pretty vanilla. Readers were left with only a limited understanding of Ms. McBroom's life.
But one resource was available that detailed quite a bit on her life: the missing woman was an avid blogger.
And, one of her most active writing months was just prior to vanishing. In total, she wrote over 300 posts about herself, her friends, family, job, stress, faith, etc. Her online presence contains a wealth of information--making it much easier for me to develop a series on her disappearance.
In contrast, sometimes the electronic footprint is disturbing. Lucas Prassas is a missing young man from Arkansas. Prior to disappearing, he had been in the hospital; getting help for mental health issues.
Searching online for information about Mr. Prassas, I saw indications of a depressed individual. A guy who at times seemed very angry. One who described himself as a "griefer"--or a person online who enjoys harassing others.
In at least one exchange, Mr. Prassas posted his home address online and challenged anyone with a problem to drop by and he would deal with them personally.
Now, a member of Mr. Prassas family has visited multiple places on the Web and described Lucas as a good person who was just going through a difficult time; and that certainly could be the case.
In any event, when someone like him goes missing, investigators have a variety of directions to turn for possible answers.
Who knows, but an open challenge with a listed home address posted by someone who vanished is something that would catch an investigator's attention.
Another example of Internet presence being useful in a missing persons case is that of Makayla Hallman of Springdale, Arkansas.
Reportedly, the 17-year old was last seen on July 1, 2014. On her Facebook page for July 1 (her last entry), she posted an image of the envelope of a letter. It shows her home address and the current residence of her adult boyfriend--who is an inmate at the Washington County (AR) Detention Center.*
She had posted the same image a few weeks prior--again with her home address clearly visible.
The logical assumption is that she left voluntarily to be closer to her boyfriend, and the letter is meant to show her intentions.
But, that should not be the only theory that investigators explore. Looking closely at comments left on previous posts, it seemed like she had some unusual followers.
When she posted the envelope from her boyfriend, was it a proclamation of love?
Or, did Makayla Hoffman unwittingly announce where others could specifically find her?
I think this exemplifies what makes missing person commentary so useful. Not that myself or anyone else is expecting to "solve the case" by looking at social media, but it can mean contributing something useful to an investigation.
In sum, a missing person's electronic footprint often provides a wealth of information about the individual, and sometimes contains nuggets waiting for the diligent researcher to mine.
A big thanks to Momma Fargo for allowing me to guest post today.
And, have you read her books yet?
I have--they are worth your time!
*Post Note: After writing this, I see that Makayla Hallman began posting to her FB account again (as of 8/6), but she is still listed by authorities as missing. Glad she appears to have reappeared and is safe. I will be notifying the investigating agency to see if they will be updating her status.
Thanks so much for being my guest, Slam, and for the book plug. ;) Please check out more missing person posts, cold cases, investigations of the strange and unusual kind, mysteries, humor, and most importantly his brilliant and insightful investigative thoughts...along with daily happenings on his blog!