Wednesday, September 20, 2017
On August 24, 2016, the dead body of ten-year-old Victoria Martens was found in an apartment building in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After responding to a 9-1-1 call regarding a domestic dispute, officers discovered Martens' dismembered remains partially wrapped in a burning blanket in her mother's apartment. The victim's mother, 35-year-old Michelle Martens; her boyfriend, 31-year-old Fabian Gonzales; and Gonzales' cousin, 31-year-old Jessica Kelley were arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in great bodily harm or death, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The three suspects have pleaded not guilty in the state's court. Background: Victoria Martens was born on August 23, 2006, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was a student at Petroglyph Elementary School in Albuquerque. Her mother, Michelle Martens, did not have a criminal record in New Mexico, but later told investigators she would seek men online to engage in sexual acts with her two children, including Victoria, while she allegedly watched for pleasure. The New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), located in the state capital, Santa Fe, had previously received five phone calls regarding the Martens' household, mostly from Michelle Martens herself, beginning in 2015. Michelle Martens allegedly met Fabian Gonzales on an internet dating service, PlentyOfFish, about a month prior to the killing. Jessica Kelley had been released from prison only four days before the murder. Murder: According to investigators, witnesses saw Jessica Kelley carrying Victoria Martens to the apartment at around 10 p.m. MDT on August 23. Later that night, neighbors reported hearing screaming coming from the apartment. Shorty after, at approximately 4:30 a.m. on August 24, Michelle Martens and Fabian Gonzales left the apartment and reported to neighbors that Kelley had attacked them with an iron. After responding to the 9-1-1 call, police entered the second-story apartment building where they saw smoke coming from behind the closed bathroom door. Upon opening the door, the responding officers discovered the dismembered body of Victoria Martens partially wrapped in a burning blanket. She was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy revealed she had been sexually assaulted, strangled to death, and then stabbed and dismembered. Her body was then set on fire. Martens had been given alcohol and methamphetamine prior to her death, according to her mother, in order "to calm her down so Fabian Gonzales and Jessica Kelley could have sex with her." Investigation and trials: Michelle Martens, Fabian Gonzales, and Jessica Kelley were arrested and charged with the murder of Victoria Martens. The three suspects were held on a USD$1 million cash-only bond. Martens, Gonzales and Kelley were arraigned on September 16, 2016. Initially co-defendants, prosecutors asked the court to try Martens, Gonzales, and Kelley in separate criminal trials. The motion was granted in June 2017. The suspects have pleaded not guilty. On August 14, 2017 the Judge Charles Brown decided that Michelle Martens would be tried first on July 29, 2018. Gonzales would be second in October 2018 and then Kelley would go on trial in January 2019. Internal investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department: On August 4, 2017, the Albuquerque Journal reported that an investigation by the Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) found that officers from the Albuquerque Police Department "did lie" to the newspaper about the police department's response to a CYFD referral concerning Victoria Martens prior to her death. In December 2016, a sergeant and a commander of the Crimes Against Children Unit told police command staff, including Chief of Police Gorden Eden and a department spokesman officer, that the Albuquerque Police had received referrals from the CYFD about Martens but did not investigate. In late January 2017, two police spokespersons told the Albuquerque Journal that officers did investigate the referrals and stated that interviews with Victoria Martens and her mother had been conducted; however, this was revealed by the investigation to be false. In July 2017, the CPOA investigation discovered that one of the police spokespersons held correct information about the case but fabricated details in the January statements given to the Albuquerque Journal. Reactions: Chief of Police Gorden Eden of the Albuquerque Police Department described the murder as "the most gruesome act of evil I have ever seen in my career". Governor Susana Martinez (R) called for a federal investigation into Martens' murder. Mayor Richard J. Berry (R) tweeted: "We are heartbroken as we mourn the murder of beautiful 10yr old Victoria Martens. Give your kids an extra hug tonight. #justiceForVictoria" A birthday memorial was held for Victoria Martens on August 29, 2016. Two months later, on October 29, a public funeral was held for Martens. In August 2017, Victoria Martens' maternal grandparents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the 2nd District Court against the City of Albuquerque and some of its police officers. The lawsuit alleged that their failure to investigate a report that one of Michelle Martens' boyfriends tried to kiss Victoria was negligence that lead to her murder. The lawsuit said the City of Albuquerque "had in effect policies, practices and customs that condoned and fostered the unlawful conduct of the Albuquerque Police Department. Individual Defendants, and were a direct and proximate cause" of Victoria's murder. The lawsuit seeks policy changes and compensation for the Martens family.
Holidays, commemorations and observances in the Church of Scientology include the following: -February 22: Celebrity Day This is a major holiday for Scientology's many Celebrity Centres, highlighting their achievements and celebrating their existence. The date is specifically the anniversary of the opening of the Celebrity Centre International in Los Angeles in 1970, which, in the Church's words, is "dedicated to the rehabilitation of the culture through art". -March 13: L. Ron Hubbard's birthday A very important holiday in Scientology. -March 24: Student Day This holiday celebrates the commencement of the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course in 1961. -April 20: L. Ron Hubbard Exhibition Day According to the Church's official website, this day is "to celebrate the opening in 1991 of the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition in Hollywood, California. Featuring impressive audiovisual displays on the life and accomplishments of L. Ron Hubbard, the exhibition is visited by thousands of Scientologists and non-Scientologists annually." -May 9: Anniversary of Dianetics Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health hit store shelves on this day in 1950. Another very important holiday in Scientology. -May 25: Integrity Day A day of contemplation of Hubbard's 1965 study on Scientology Ethics. -June 6: Maiden Voyage Anniversary The church describes this holiday thus: "Each year the annual Maiden Voyage event, commemorating the anniversary of New OT VIII, has come to be one of the most important gatherings of dedicated Scientologists and an opportunity for senior Church officials to meet and work directly with these parishioners to advance their religion. Scientologists who attend this annual spiritual cruise become “OT Ambassadors” and initiate programs to help Scientologists all over the world advance the aims of Scientology and to reach the top of the Bridge at New OT VIII." -June 18: Academy Day A celebration of Hubbard's Study Tech. -August 12: Sea Org Day Sea Org Day is a special event for all Sea Organization members, with rank and rating promotion ceremonies. It has been alleged by former members that recreational Sea Org Day events are mandatory: one ex-Scientologist claims "the one day a year you are supposed to get the day off, you are made to go on a bus to the beach, be there for roll call, participate in group games, etc." -September 4: Clear Day Clear Day marks the inauguration of Hubbard's Clearing Course, which debuted in 1965. -2nd Sunday in September: Auditor's Day A day of special recognition and acknowledgment for Scientology/Dianetics auditors. This occasion has also been popular with anti-Scientology protestors, as an opportunity to reach students. -October 7: IAS Anniversary From the Church's site: "Held at a different host city each year, members of the IAS gather to commemorate the founding of the IAS and to rededicate themselves to its aims. The annual IAS freedom awards are presented. This event coincides with the annual convention of IAS delegates." -November 27: Publications Day A commemoration of the day "Publications Worldwide" opened at Saint Hill Manor in 1967. -December 7: Flag Land Base Day Celebrates the opening of the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida in 1975. -December 31: New Year's Eve This is the only secular and non-Hubbard-based observance on the official Scientology calendar, which states "This event welcomes in the new year with a review of accomplishments over the previous year and a look forward to the upcoming year and plans for further reach into new areas of society with L. Ron Hubbard’s technology. Stellar accomplishments of Scientology parishioners helping new people to move up The Bridge to Total Freedom are acknowledged." -Additionally, many more anniversaries of notable events in Scientology history are remembered. Examples include January 25 (Criminon day), marking the 1970 founding of the Criminon program, January 28 which celebrates the founding of the Church in New Zealand, February 19 (Narconon Day), marking the 1966 founding of Narconon, March 31, the anniversary of the founding of the Church of Scientology Vienna in 1971, and September 25, which marks the 1980 opening of the first Scientology and Dianetics College in Tel Aviv, Israel, where the concept is presented as a College, not a church.
The backpacker murders were a spate of serial killings that took place in New South Wales, Australia, between 1989 and 1993, committed by Ivan Milat. The bodies of seven missing young people aged 19 to 22 were discovered partially buried in the Belanglo State Forest, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south west of the New South Wales town of Berrima. Five of the victims were foreign backpackers visiting Australia (three German, two British), and two were Australian travellers from Melbourne. Milat was convicted of the murders 27 July 1996 and is currently serving seven consecutive life sentences, as well as 18 years without parole, at the maximum-security Goulburn Correctional Centre. Details- First and second cases: On 19 September 1992, two runners discovered a decaying corpse while orienteering in the Belanglo State Forest in New South Wales, Australia. The following day, police constables Roger Gough and Suzanne Roberts discovered a second body 30 metres (98 ft) from the first. Early media reports suggested that the bodies were of missing British backpackers Caroline Clarke and Joanne Walters, who had disappeared from the inner Sydney suburb of Kings Cross in April 1992. However, a German couple, Gabor Neugebauer and Anja Habschied, had also disappeared from the Kings Cross area some time after 25 December 1991, and Simone Schmidl, also from Germany, had been reported missing for more than a year. It was also possible that the bodies were of a young Victorian couple, Deborah Everist and James Gibson, who had been missing since leaving Frankston in 1989. Police quickly confirmed, however, that the bodies were those of Clarke and Walters. Walters had been stabbed 14 times; she had been stabbed 4 times in the chest, once in the neck, and 9 times in the back. The stab wounds to her spine would have paralyzed her. Clarke had been shot 10 times in the head. The police believe she had been used as target practice. There were groups of wounds on the back of her head and on either side. Despite a thorough search of the forest over the following five days, no further evidence or bodies were found by police. Investigators ruled out the possibility of further discoveries within Belanglo State Forest. Third and fourth discoveries and body identification: In October 1993, a local man, Bruce Pryor, discovered a human skull and femur in a particularly remote section of the forest. He returned with police to the scene and two more bodies were quickly discovered and identified as Deborah Everist and James Gibson. Gibson's skeleton showed 8 stab wounds. A large knife had cut through his upper spine causing paralysis. Stab wounds to his back and chest would have punctured his heart and lungs. Everist had been savagely beaten. Her skull fractured in two places, her jaw was broken and there were knife marks on her forehead. She had been stabbed once in the back. The presence of Gibson's body in Belanglo was a puzzle to investigators as his backpack and camera had previously been discovered by the side of the road at Galston Gorge, in the northern Sydney suburbs over 120 kilometres (75 mi) to the north. Fifth, sixth and seventh discoveries: On 1 November 1993, a skull was found in a clearing in the forest by police sergeant Jeff Trichter. The skull was later identified as that of Simone Schmidl from Regensburg, Germany. She was last seen hitchhiking on 20 January 1991. Clothing found at the scene was not Schmidl's, but matched that of another missing backpacker, Anja Habschied. Schmidl's skeleton showed eight stab wounds; there may have been many more. Two had severed her spine, others had punctured her heart and lungs. The bodies of Habschied and her boyfriend Gabor Neugebauer were found on 3 November 1993 in shallow graves 50 metres (160 ft) apart. Habschied had been decapitated, but, despite an extensive search, her head was never found. Neugebauer had been shot in the head 6 times. Three bullets entered at the base of the head and three more from the left side. Search for the identity of the serial killer: There were similar aspects to all the murders. Each of the bodies had been deliberately posed face-down with their hands behind their backs, covered by a pyramidal frame of sticks and ferns. Forensic study determined that each had suffered multiple stab wounds to the torso. The killer had evidently spent considerable time with the victims both during and after the murders, as campsites were discovered close to the location of each body and shell casings of the same calibre were also identified at each site. Walters and Schmidl had been stabbed, whereas Clarke and Neugebauer had been shot numerous times in the head and stabbed post-mortem. Habschied had been decapitated and other victims showed signs of strangulation and severe beatings. Speculation arose that the crimes were the work of several killers, at least two. After developing a profile of the killer, the police faced an enormous volume of data from numerous sources. Investigators therefore applied link analysis technology to Roads and Traffic Authority vehicle records, gym memberships, gun licensing, and internal police records. As a result, the list of suspects was progressively narrowed from an extensive list of individuals to a short list of 230, to an even shorter list of 32, which included the killer. On 13 November, New South Wales police received a call from Paul Onions in the U.K. Onions had been backpacking in Australia several years before and, while out hiking, had accepted a ride south out of Sydney from a man known only as "Bill" on 25 January 1990. South of the town of Mittagong, Bill pulled out some ropes and attempted to tie Onions by the hands and then pulled a gun on him, at which point he managed to escape the vehicle while Bill shot at him. Onions flagged down Joanne Berry, a passing motorist, and reported the assault to local police. Onions' statement was backed up by Berry, who also contacted the investigation team, along with the girlfriend of a man who worked with Milat, who thought he should be questioned over the case. On 13 April 1994, Detective Gordon found the note regarding Onions' call to the hotline five months earlier. Superintendent Clive Small immediately called for the original report from Bowral police, but it was missing from their files. Fortunately, Constable Janet Nicholson had taken a full report in her notebook, which provided more details than the original statement. Police confirmed Ivan's brother Richard had been working on the day of the attack, but Ivan had not. Ivan Milat- Background: Ivan Robert Marko Milat was born on 27 December 1944 at Guildford, New South Wales, Australia. He is the son of Yugoslav emigrant Stijphan Marko "Steven" Milat and his Australian wife Margaret Elizabeth Milat. Ivan was the fifth-born of their fourteen children. He was employed as a road worker. Arrest: Milat quickly became a suspect. Police learned he had served prison time and in 1971 had been charged with the abduction of two women and the rape of one of them, although the charges were later dropped. It was also learned that both he and his brother Richard Milat worked together on road gangs along the highway between Sydney and Melbourne, that he owned a property in the vicinity of Belanglo, and had sold a Nissan Patrol four-wheel drive vehicle shortly after the discovery of the bodies of Clarke and Walters. Acquaintances also told police about Milat's obsession with weapons. When the connection between the Belanglo murders and Onions' experience was made, Onions flew to Australia to help with the investigation. On 5 May 1994, Onions positively identified Milat as the man who had picked him up and attempted to tie up and possibly murder him. Milat was arrested on 22 May 1994 at his home at Cinnabar Street, Eagle Vale after 50 police officers surrounded the premises, including heavily armed officers from the Tactical Operations Unit. Homes belonging to his brothers Richard, Alex, Boris, Walter and Bill were also searched at the same time by over 300 police. The search of Milat's home revealed a cache of weapons, including parts of a .22 calibre rifle that matched the type used in the murders, plus clothing, camping equipment and cameras belonging to several of his victims. Milat appeared in court on robbery and weapon charges on 23 May. He did not enter a plea. On 30 May, following continued police investigations, Milat was also charged with the murders of seven backpackers. At the beginning of February 1995, Milat was remanded in custody until June that same year. In March 1996, the trial opened and lasted fifteen weeks. His defence argued that, in spite of the evidence, there was no proof Milat was guilty and attempted to shift the blame to other members of his family, particularly Richard. On 27 July 1996, a jury found Milat guilty of the murders. He was also convicted of the attempted murder, false imprisonment and robbery of Paul Onions, for which he received six years' jail each. For the murders of Caroline Clarke, Joanne Walters, Simone Schmidl, Anja Habschied, Gabor Neugebauer, James Gibson and Deborah Everist, Milat was given a life sentence on each count, with all sentences running consecutively and without the possibility of parole. On his first day in Maitland Gaol, Milat was beaten by another inmate. Almost a year later, he made an escape attempt alongside convicted drug dealer and former Sydney councillor, George Savvas. Savvas was found hanged in his cell the next day and Milat was transferred to the maximum-security super prison in Goulburn, New South Wales. Appeals: Milat appealed against his convictions on the grounds that the quality of legal representation he received was poor and therefore constituted a breach of his common law right to legal representation, established in the landmark case of Dietrich v The Queen. However, Gleeson CJ, Meagher JA and Newman J of the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal held that the right to legal representation did not depend on any level or quality of representation unless the quality of representation were so poor that the accused were no better off with it. The Court found that this was not the case, and therefore dismissed the appeal. In 2004, Milat filed an application with the High Court which was heard by Justice Michael McHugh. The orders sought were that Milat be allowed to either attend to make oral submissions in an impending appeal for special leave to the court and that, alternatively, he be allowed to appear via video link. The application was dismissed on the grounds that the issues raised could be adequately addressed by written submission. The grounds of his impending appeal were that the trial judge had erred by allowing the Crown to put a case to the jury unsupported by its own witnesses and had also put forward alternative cases to the jury, one of which had not been argued by the Crown. The case was heard by Justice William Gummow and the application was lost. Self-mutilation in jail: On 26 January 2009, Milat cut off his little finger with a plastic knife, with the intention of mailing the severed digit to the High Court. He was taken to Goulburn Hospital under high security, however on 27 January 2009 Milat was returned to prison after doctors decided surgery to reattach the finger was not possible. Milat had previously injured himself while imprisoned in 2001, when he swallowed razor blades, staples and other metal objects. In 2011, Milat went on a hunger strike, losing 25 kilograms in an unsuccessful attempt to be given a PlayStation. Copycat murder by Milat relative: In 2012, Milat's great-nephew Matthew Milat and his friend Cohen Klein (both aged 19 at the time of their sentencing) were sentenced to 43 years and 32 years in prison respectively, for murdering David Auchterlonie on his 17th birthday with an axe at the Belanglo State Forest in 2010. Matthew Milat struck Auchterlonie with the double-headed axe as Klein recorded the attack with a mobile phone. This was the forest where Ivan Milat had killed and buried his victims. Other developments: -Police maintain that Milat may have been involved in many more murders than the seven for which he was convicted. In 2001, Milat was ordered to give evidence at an inquest into the disappearances of three other female backpackers, but no case has been brought against him, due to lack of evidence. Similar inquiries were launched in 2003, in relation to the disappearance of two nurses and again in 2005, relating to the disappearance of hitchhiker Anette Briffa, but no charges have resulted. -On 8 November 2004, Milat gave a televised interview on Australian Story, in which he denied that any of his family had been implicated in the seven murders. -On 18 July 2005, Milat's former lawyer, John Marsden, who had been fired before the murder trial, made a deathbed statement in which he claimed that Milat had been assisted by his sister Shirley Soire (1946-2003) in the killings of the two British backpackers. -On 27 October 2005, in the New South Wales Supreme Court Milat's final appeal was refused, and he is likely to remain in prison for the rest of his life. In May 2015, Milat's brother Boris told Dr. Steve Aperen, a former homicide detective who serves as a consultant with the LAPD and FBI, among others, that Milat was responsible for another shooting: that of taxi cab driver Neville Knight, in 1962 after Milat admitted to the crime. After conducting polygraph tests with Boris Milat and Allan Dillon, the man convicted of Knight's shooting, Aperen is convinced that both men are telling the truth and that Ivan Milat did in fact shoot Knight. In May 2016, it was announced that Milat's former home in Eagle Vale, New South Wales, was for sale, and listed on the market for $700,000. In popular culture: -The 2005 Australian film Wolf Creek is based on the backpacker murders of two British females and an Australian male. Since the film's release at the Sundance film festival, it has grossed over $30 million and had a sequel, Wolf Creek 2, which was released in 2013 and grossed $4 million. -A miniseries on the Seven Network, Catching Milat, was screened in 2015 and focused on the members of "Task Force Air" who tracked Milat.
LDS Student Association (also known as the Latter-day Saint Student Association or the LDSSA) is an organization established under the direction of the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) to help students enrolled in post-secondary education to have a balanced secular and spiritual educational experience during their years of formal education. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states: The purposes of LDSSA are to help college and university students stay closely affiliated with the Church, succeed in their studies, and achieve a balanced educational-social life while on campus; to motivate LDS students to become a powerful influence for good on the campus; to provide meaningful activities that are consistent with Church standards; and to coordinate Church-related activities for college students. Each chapter of the LDSSA is affiliated with a post-secondary educational institution and the LDS Church. Membership is open to all students enrolled at the institution who espouse the purposes and standards of the LDSSA. Associate membership may be granted to non-students under special circumstances. Membership is not denied to anyone on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability. Members must keep LDSSA standards at LDSSA-sponsored events, which are the standards of the LDS Church. These standards include, but are not limited to: no acts of sexual immorality, no alcohol consumption or tobacco usage, and no immodest attire. The LDSSA was established in 1960, and today a chapter of the LDSSA exists in many locations that an Institute of Religion of the Church Educational System has been established. The Institute of Religion Advisory Council, with counsel from the faculty advisor(s), provide advice/guidance to the LDSSA and its members. LDSSA chapters at some schools (for example, Harvard College) are not formally and directly governed by the LDS Church, as a result of official school requirements mandating the "local autonomy" of recognized campus organizations. However, they still interact with the local Institutes of Religion and church organization structure in ways similar to those of other LDSSA chapters. One key difference is that such LDSSA chapters hold elections for their president and other board officers, rather than those officers being nominated by the Institute of Religion Advisory Council. Two key figures in establishing the LDSSA were W. Rolfe Kerr and Elaine A. Cannon.
Mia Katherine Zapata was the lead singer for the Seattle punk band The Gits. After gaining praise in the nascent grunge rock scene, Zapata was murdered in 1993 while on her way home from a music venue. The crime went unsolved for a decade before her killer, Jesus Mezquia, was tried, convicted and sentenced to 37 years in prison. Life and career: Zapata was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Zapata learned how to play the guitar and the piano by age nine, and was influenced by punk rock as well as jazz, blues, and R&B singers such as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, Hank Williams, and Sam Cooke. In 1984, Zapata enrolled at Antioch College located in Yellow Springs, Ohio as a liberal arts student. In September 1986, she and three friends formed the punk rock band The Gits. In 1989, the band relocated to Seattle, Washington. Mia found a job at a local bar and the four bandmembers moved into an abandoned house they called "The Rathouse." The band released a series of well-received singles on local independent record labels from 1990 to 1991. As the Gits were making a name for themselves in the local music scene, they often played shows with their friends' band, 7 Year Bitch. In 1992, the band released its debut album Frenching the Bully. Their reputation progressively increased within the grunge scene in Seattle, before the band began work on their second and final album Enter: The Conquering Chicken, released in 1993. Zapata came from an affluent family but often lived without material comforts. As her father described it: "Mia lived in two different worlds. She lived on two different sides of the street—the straight side on one, with parochial schools, an affluent family, and tennis clubs. But when she crossed the street, material things didn't mean anything to her." Her music often led to a rejection of financial comfort, but regardless of status, Valerie Agnew describes Mia as "commanding respect and interest immediately". Zapata was well connected to her community. Peter Sheehy recalls: "Mia was the hub of several social circles; a magnetic personality who drew all sorts of people together who otherwise might never have met." On his way to her funeral, Zapata's father became lost and recalls many people carrying yellow roses: the admission ticket to her service. Even Judge Sharon Armstrong, the judge during her killer's trial, highlighted Zapata as an "extraordinarily vibrant" girl, who was "obviously talented"; she was "struck by how closely Zapata had connected to so many people". The remaining members of the Gits collaborated with Joan Jett in 1995 to make an album and tour to benefit the private investigation of Mia Zapata's murder. The band was named "Evil Stig" which spells "Gits Live" backwards. In February 2013, a play called "These Streets" inspired by Mia Zapata and the stories of other female musicians in Seattle debuted at ACT Theatre in Seattle. The Gits: The band, who included guitarist Joe Spleen, drummer Steve Moriarty, and bassist Matt Dresdner, met in Ohio 1986. A few years later the band decided to move to Seattle to indulge in the city's burgeoning music scene. Within no time the band had developed quite a following amidst the city's underground punk scene. Many would group them together with bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but Mia brought a voice of femininity to the grunge scene that had not been seen yet. Although the group was 75% men, the band as a whole and Mia Zapata in particular gained quite a following amongst the feminist community of Seattle at the time. In 1990, after the move to Seattle, the Gits went on a very successful international tour, spreading the word about the band, all without the support of a record label. In 1992, their first independent album was released- Frenching the Bully. The album had hits such as "Another Shot of Whiskey", "Second Skin", and "Here's to Your Fuck", receiving positive reviews. Throughout the recording of the second album, the band had planned a large US and European tour as well as many local shows, all the while being courted by various recording labels. Unfortunately, before the group could finish and release their second album, "Enter: The Conquering Chicken," the band was shocked by the murder of their iconic lead singer. The band did continue making music, and found success in that second album with singles such as, "Seaweed," and "Precious Blood". Murder and investigation: At around 2:00 a.m. on July 7, 1993, Zapata left the Comet Tavern in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. She stayed at a studio space in the basement of an apartment building located a block away, and briefly visited a friend who lived on the second floor. This was the last time she was seen alive. She may have walked a few blocks west, or north to a friend's apartment, or may have decided to take the long walk south to her home. She was beaten, strangled, and raped in the Central District of Seattle. It is believed she encountered her attacker shortly after 2:15 a.m. Her body was not initially identified as she had no identification on her when she was found. An episode of the cable television show Forensic Files revealed that she was identified after the medical examiner, who was a fan of the Gits and had been to their concerts, recognized her. According to the Forensic Files episode, a man two blocks from the Comet Tavern heard a scream around 3:00 a.m. A woman discovered her body in the street at around 3:30 a.m., near the intersection of 24th Avenue South and South Washington Street in the Central District. According to the medical examiner, if she had not been strangled, she would have died from the internal injuries suffered from the beating. According to court documents, an autopsy found evidence of a struggle in which Zapata suffered blunt impact to her abdomen and a lacerated liver. Zapata is interred at Cave Hill Cemetery in her hometown of Louisville. The Seattle music community, including its most famous bands - Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden - helped raise $70,000 to hire a private investigator for three years. The funds dried up without any major breaks in the case, but the investigator, Leigh Hearon, continued to investigate on her own time. In 1998, after five years of investigation, Seattle police Detective Dale Tallman said: "We're no closer to solving the case than we were right after the murder." Arrest and trial: In 2003, Florida fisherman Jesus Mezquia, who had come from Cuba in 1980 in the Mariel boatlift, was arrested in connection with Zapata's murder. DNA evidence was used to tie him to the murder and charges were brought against him. A DNA profile was extracted from saliva found on Zapata's body and kept in cold storage until the STR technology was developed for full extraction. An original entry in 2001 failed to generate a positive result, but Mezquia's DNA entered the national CODIS database after he was arrested in Florida for burglary and domestic abuse in 2002. He had a history of violence toward women including domestic abuse, burglary, assault, and battery. All of his ex-girlfriends, and his wife, had filed reports against him. There was also a report of indecent exposure on file against him in Seattle within two weeks of Zapata's murder. However, there was no known prior link between Mezquia and Zapata. Mezquia never testified in his own defense, and still maintains his innocence. The theory is that he saw her leave the bar and followed her a short distance before he attacked. Her headset covered her ears so she would have been unaware of any danger until he grabbed her and dragged her to his car where he assaulted her in the back seat. Mezquia was convicted in 2004 and initially sentenced to 37 years, which he appealed. He was then sentenced to 36 years. Mezquia has been in prison since January 2003. Aftermath: In the aftermath of her murder, friends created a self-defense group called Home Alive, which disbanded in 2010. Home Alive organized benefit concerts and released albums with the participation of many of Seattle's music elite; such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Heart, and the Presidents of the United States of America. Joan Jett also recorded an album with the surviving members of the Gits called Evil Stig ("Gits Live" backwards). The Home Alive group's instructors offered a range of courses, from anger management and use of pepper spray to the martial arts. In 2005 a documentary, The Gits Movie, was produced about Mia Zapata's life, the Gits, and the Seattle music scene. Its first showing occurred at the Seattle International Film Festival in May of that same year. Another version of the film appeared two years later at the 2007 SXSW (South By Southwest) Film Festival. The final cut of the film was released theatrically in over 20 North American cities on July 7, 2008, the 15th memorial anniversary of Zapata's death. The following day the film was released on DVD along with a Best of the Gits CD (both from Liberation Entertainment). ¡Viva Zapata!, by punk band 7 Year Bitch, was released in June 1994, on C/Z Records in Seattle, as a tribute to Zapata. Some of the songs on the album address the issue of Zapata's murder directly. Following Zapata's death, Joan Jett and Kathleen Hanna wrote a song called "Go Home" that was later released on Jett's 1994 album, Pure and Simple. Later, a video for "Go Home" was released which depicts a woman who is being stalked and attacked but is then able to defend herself against the assailant. In February 2013, a play called "These Streets", inspired by the stories of and featuring music by Mia Zapata and other female musicians in Seattle, debuted at ACT theatre in Seattle. Zapata's death caused a sense of defeat and fear within the Seattle community. The Seattle Times marked Zapata's murder as the moment "the Seattle scene lost its sense of invincibility." Cristen Storm recalls Zapata's death as a reality check, stating: "They were all very tough people and as a group of women, they are all really strong, outspoken, and hard-hitting, very opinionated women and that perception of, 'We're not victims at all in any way and this can't happen to women that aren't victims,' and I think Zapata's death shattered that myth for us, and showed that it happens to all types of women." Mia Zapata is often cast as a symbol for feminist activism, a martyr, and an angel. Dresdner said "Mia was sainted, and that was very peculiar... she became this icon for feminism and all kinds of things that she had very little to do with in her actual life." Margaret O'Neil Girouard, who wrote her thesis on Zapata, believes Zapata is an example of women artists being classified based on the perceived motivations behind their art. Moriarty believed "[Mia wanted] to relate to people on a personal level in her lyrics rather than on a political level." Andrew Kessler (the Gits' guitarist, known as Joe Spleen) believed "Mia had no social or political agenda and no real interest in that stuff. Also, after her death, she quickly acquired a symbolic status as a feminist icon, martyr, and poster child for rape and violence toward women in the eyes of many folks—which had nothing to do with who she was as an actual person. In fact Mia would be mortified that she has been remembered and portrayed in such a way." Mia is often associated with riot grrrl, though bandmates such as Kessler claim she had no involvement and "little interest" in the movement. It has been speculated that this association may be due to her presence as a "charismatic female musician" in the Northwest, who was performing throughout the emergence of riot grrrl.
Debbie Blair is a Canadian woman who disappeared in Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver, British Columbia, while hiking on September 29, 2016 with a group of friends. Her whereabouts are not known. The missing person investigation by the West Vancouver Police remains open and active. Meanwhile, ground and air search operations in the area which features unforgiving mountain terrain, have been suspended by the North Shore Rescue on October 2, 2016 due in part to bad weather conditions. Disappearance: Debbie Blair, age 65, went missing around noontime on a warm and sunny Thursday, September 29, 2016 while hiking with her regular Vancouver daytime hiking club along the Baden-Powel Trail toward Eagle Bluffs (1094 m elevation) in Cypress Provincial Park; one hour drive north-west of downtown Vancouver. She was last seen by the group members hiking in front of others, in the area of the Donut Rock Trail junction of the Black Mountain. She has not been seen since. Search: The search for Blair by the North Shore Rescue began on the same evening and continued until 1:30 am with nighttime temperatures hovering not far above freezing. The search resumed at 8:00 am Friday morning and continued throughout the day. Human tracks were found near Dick Creek. After yet another very cold night, there was a heavy rain on Cypress in the early hours of Saturday, October 1, 2016. The NSR search team was made up of around 50 volunteer personnel from Surrey, Lions’ Bay and Coquitlam SAR, aided by West Vancouver Police and the Abbotsford Police Dog Service. Multiple helicopters equipped with Forward-Looking-Infrared (FLIR) scanners were also deployed. Search operations have been suspended on Sunday, October 2, 2016 without finding any confirmed sign of Debbie Blair. Aftermath: The North Shore Rescue and West Vancouver Police informed the public that the search for Debbie Blair would remain inactive subject to receipt of any new information. The missing person investigation however, is still open. Police requested anyone who believes they saw her since September 29, 2016 to call them. Blair is described as a Caucasian woman, 160 cm (5'4") tall, weighting approximately 59 kg (130 lbs) with short, grey hair. Several theories and counter-theories have been proposed since September 29, 2016 to explain Debbie's demise. One theory is that she was suffering from undiagnosed Alzheimer’s and is hard of hearing. Another theory is that she was unprepared for a worst-case scenario, possibly wearing a T-shirt without a jacket although this has not been confirmed by her group members. It is likely that she stepped off the path for privacy in difficult terrain without leaving a bag on the trail perpendicular to where she was in order to alert slower group walking behind her; and than failed to return to the same spot herself.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Natalee Ann Holloway was an American teenager whose disappearance made international news after she vanished on May 30, 2005, while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba in the Caribbean. Holloway lived in Mountain Brook, Alabama, and graduated from Mountain Brook High School on May 24, 2005, shortly before the trip. Her disappearance caused a media sensation in the United States, and the case remains unsolved. Holloway was scheduled to fly home from Aruba on May 30, 2005, but she failed to appear for her flight. She was last seen by her classmates outside of Carlos'n Charlie's, a restaurant and nightclub in Oranjestad. She was in a car with local residents Joran van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers, Deepak and Satish. When the three men were questioned, they said that they dropped off Holloway at her hotel and denied knowing what had become of her. Upon further investigation by authorities, Van der Sloot was arrested twice on suspicion of involvement in her disappearance and the Kalpoes were each arrested three times. Due to lack of evidence, the three suspects were released each time without being charged with a crime. Holloway's parents have criticized Aruban police for the lack of progress in the investigation and interrogation of the three men who were last seen with their daughter. The family also called for a boycott of Aruba, which gained Alabama Governor Bob Riley's support but failed to gain widespread backing. With the assistance of hundreds of volunteers, Aruban investigators conducted an extensive search and rescue operation. American special agents from the FBI, fifty Dutch soldiers and three specially-equipped Dutch Air Force F-16 aircraft participated in the search. In addition to the ground search, divers searched the ocean floor for Holloway's body. Her remains were not found. On December 18, 2007, Aruban prosecutors announced that the case would be closed without any charges made. The Aruban prosecutor's office reopened the case on February 1, 2008, after receiving video footage of Van der Sloot, under the influence of marijuana, saying that Holloway died on the morning of her disappearance, and that a friend had disposed of her body. Van der Sloot later denied that what he had said was true, and in an interview said that he had sold Holloway into sexual slavery. He later retracted his comments. In 2012, Van der Sloot was convicted of the May 30, 2010, murder of Stephany Flores Ramírez in Lima, Peru. On January 12, 2012, on the request of Natalee's father, Alabama judge Alan King declared Holloway legally dead in absentia. On August 16, 2017, Holloway's father announced that he and a private investigator had recently discovered human remains and that they were being DNA-tested to determine whether they belonged to his daughter. Background: Holloway was the first of two children born to Dave and Elizabeth "Beth" Holloway (1961–) in Clinton, Mississippi. Her parents divorced in 1993 and she and her younger brother Matthew were raised by their mother. In 2000, Beth married George "Jug" Twitty, a prominent Alabama businessman, and the family moved to Mountain Brook, Alabama. Holloway graduated with honors from Mountain Brook High School, located in a wealthy suburb of Birmingham. She was a member of the National Honor Society, the school dance squad, and was a participant in other extracurricular activities. Holloway was scheduled to attend the University of Alabama on a full scholarship, where she planned to pursue a pre-med track. At the time of his daughter's disappearance, Dave Holloway was an insurance agent for State Farm in Meridian, Mississippi, while Beth Twitty was employed by the Mountain Brook School System. Disappearance in Aruba: On Thursday, May 26, 2005, Holloway and 124 fellow graduates of Mountain Brook High School arrived in Aruba for a five-day, unofficial graduation trip. The teenagers were accompanied by seven chaperones. According to teacher and chaperone Bob Plummer, the chaperones met with the students each day to make sure everything was fine. Jodi Bearman, who organized the trip, stated, "the chaperones were not supposed to keep up with their every move." Police Commissioner Gerold Dompig, who headed the investigation from mid-2005 until 2006, stated that the Mountain Brook students engaged in "wild partying, a lot of drinking, lots of room switching every night. We know the Holiday Inn told them they weren't welcome next year. Natalee, we know, she drank all day every day. We have statements she started every morning with cocktails—so much drinking that Natalee didn't show up for breakfast two mornings." Two of Holloway's classmates, Liz Cain and Claire Fierman, "agreed that the drinking was kind of excessive." Holloway was last seen by her classmates around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, May 30 as she was leaving the Oranjestad bar and nightclub Carlos'n Charlie's. She left in a car with 17-year-old Joran van der Sloot—a Dutch honors student who was living in Aruba and attending the International School of Aruba— and his two Surinamese friends, 21-year-old Deepak Kalpoe (the owner of the car) and 18-year-old Satish Kalpoe. Holloway had been scheduled to fly home later that day, but did not appear for her return flight. Her packed luggage and passport were found in her Holiday Inn room. Aruban authorities initiated searches for Holloway throughout the island and surrounding waters, but did not find her. Investigation- Early investigation: Jug and Beth Twitty flew to Aruba with friends by private jet immediately following Holloway's missed flight. Within four hours of landing in Aruba, the Twittys presented the Aruban police with the name and address of Van der Sloot as the person with whom Holloway left the nightclub. Beth stated that Van der Sloot's full name was given to her by the night manager at the Holiday Inn, who supposedly recognized him on a videotape. The Twittys and their friends went to the Van der Sloot home with two Aruban policemen to look for Holloway. Van der Sloot initially denied knowing Holloway's name, but he then told the following story, which was corrorborated by Deepak Kalpoe, who was present in the house: Van der Sloot related that they drove Holloway to the California Lighthouse area of Arashi Beach because she wanted to see sharks; they later dropped Holloway off at her hotel at around 2:00 a.m. According to Van der Sloot, Holloway fell down as she exited the car but refused his help. He stated that as he and Kalpoe were driving away, Holloway was approached by a dark man in a black shirt similar to those worn by security guards. The search and rescue efforts for Holloway began immediately. Hundreds of volunteers from Aruba and the United States joined in the effort. During the first days of the search, the Aruban government gave thousands of civil servants the day off to participate in the rescue effort. Fifty Dutch marines conducted an extensive search of the shoreline. Aruban banks raised $20,000 and provided other support to aid volunteer search teams. Beth Twitty was provided with housing, initially at the Holiday Inn where she coincidentally stayed in the same room her daughter had occupied. She subsequently stayed at the nearby Wyndham Hotel's presidential suite. Reports indicated that Holloway did not appear on any nighttime surveillance camera footage of her hotel's lobby; however, Twitty has made varying statements as to whether the cameras were operational that night. According to an April 19, 2006, statement made by Twitty, the video cameras at the Holiday Inn were not functioning the night Holloway vanished. Twitty has made other statements indicating that they were working, and has stated so in her book. Police Commissioner Jan van der Straaten —the initial head of the investigation until his 2005 retirement— said that Holloway did not have to go through the lobby to return to her room. The search for physical evidence was extensive and subject to occasional false leads; for example, a possible blood sample taken from Deepak Kalpoe's car was tested but determined not to be blood. From the early days of the investigation, American law enforcement participated in wide-ranging involvement in the case. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated to reporters that the U.S. was in constant contact with Aruban authorities. Another State Department official indicated, "Substantial resources are being applied to this as they (Aruba officials) continue to ask for more." Declaration of legal presumption of death: In June 2011—six years after Natalee's disappearance—Dave Holloway filed a petition with the Alabama courts seeking to have his daughter declared legally dead. The papers were served on Beth Twitty, his former wife, who announced her intention to oppose the petition. A hearing was held on September 23, 2011, at which time Probate Judge Alan King ruled that Dave Holloway had met the requirements for a legal presumption of death. On January 12, 2012, a second hearing was held, after which Judge King signed the order declaring Natalee Holloway to be dead. Finding of human remains: In August 2017, Natalee's father, Dave Halloway, stepped to the media with news that the case has potentially been solved. In 2016 he hired a private investigator, T.J. Ward, to go through all evidence and information related to the disappearance once more. This led to an informant named Gabriel, who claims to have been a roommate of one of Van der Sloot's closest friends named John back in 2005. John was told what happened to Natalee. Gabriel gave an explicit and detailed description of what happened that night in an interview to the Oxygen television channel, which created a new documentary series on the Natalee's disappearance. The interview aired on Saturday, August 19, 2017. With Gabriel's information, the investigator managed to find remains that have proven to be human. Currently, DNA samples from the remains are being tested to verify if the remains indeed belong to Natalee's body. Criticism of the investigation: The Twittys and their supporters criticized a perceived lack of progress by Aruban police. The Twittys' own actions in Aruba were also criticized, and the Twittys were accused of actively stifling any evidence that might impugn Holloway's character by asking her fellow students to remain silent about the case and using their access to the media to push their own version of events. The Twittys denied this. Beth Twitty has alleged in televised interviews and a book that Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers know more about Holloway's disappearance than they have told authorities, and that at least one of them sexually assaulted or raped her daughter. On July 5, 2005, following the initial release of the Kalpoes, Twitty alleged, "Two suspects were released yesterday who were involved in a violent crime against my daughter," and referred to the Kalpoes as "criminals". A demonstration involving about two hundred Arubans took place that evening outside the courthouse in Oranjestad in anger over Twitty's remarks, with signs reading "Innocent until proven guilty" and "Respect our Dutch laws or go home." Satish Kalpoe's attorney threatened legal action over Twitty's allegations, which he described as "prejudicial, inflammatory, libelous, and totally outrageous." On July 8, 2005, Twitty read a statement that said her remarks were fuelled by "despair and frustration" and that she "apologized to the Aruban people and to the Aruban authorities if I or my family offended you in any way." In her 2007 book Loving Natalee: A Mother's Testament of Hope and Faith, Beth Holloway wrote that, What we want is, we want justice. And you know—and we have to recognize the fact that, you know, this crime has been committed on the island of Aruba, and we know the perpetrators. We know it's these suspects, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe and Joran Van Der Sloot. And you know, we just have to, though, keep going, Nancy, because the only way we will get justice for Natalee is if we do keep going. I mean, if we give up, absolutely nothing will happen. Nothing. — Beth Holloway Following the airing of the De Vries programme on Dutch television, Beth Twitty adhered to the position that the tapes represented the way events transpired and told the New York Post that she believed her daughter might still be alive if Van der Sloot had called for help. She contended that Van der Sloot had dumped Holloway's body, possibly alive, into the Caribbean. Twitty also alleged that the person Van der Sloot supposedly called that evening was his father, Paulus, who, according to Holloway, "orchestrated what to do next." She and Dave Holloway alleged that Van der Sloot was receiving "special legal favors." After the court decision not to rearrest Van der Sloot was affirmed, Twitty stated, "I think that what I do take comfort in, his life is a living hell," later adding, "I'd be good with a Midnight Express prison anywhere for Joran." In response to her daughter's disappearance, Twitty founded the International Safe Travels Foundation, a non-profit organization designed "to inform and educate the public to help them travel more safely as they travel internationally." In May 2010, she announced that the Natalee Holloway Resource Center would open at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment. Located in Washington, D.C., the center opened on June 8 to aid families of missing persons. While Holloway's family initially discouraged a travel boycott of Aruba, this changed by September 2005. Twitty urged that persons not travel to Aruba and other Dutch territories because of what she stated were tourist safety issues. In a November 8, 2005, news conference, Governor Bob Riley and the Holloways urged Alabamians and others to boycott Aruba. Riley also wrote to other United States governors seeking their support—the governors of Georgia and Arkansas eventually joined in the call for boycott. Philadelphia's city council voted to ask the Pennsylvania Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell to call for a boycott. Rendell did not do so, and no federal support was given. The boycott was supported by some of Alabama's Congressional delegation, including both senators and Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who represents Mountain Brook. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) voiced his support for the boycott in a letter to the American Society of Travel Agents. Shelby stated, "For the safety, security and well-being of our citizens, I do not believe that we can trust that we will be protected while in Aruba." Prime Minister Oduber stated that Aruban investigators have done their best to solve the case, and responded to the call for boycott, "This is a preposterous and irresponsible act. We are not guerillas. We are not terrorists. We don't pose a threat to the United States, nor to Alabama." Members of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, the Aruba Tourism Authority, the Aruba Hospitality and Security Foundation, the Aruban Chamber of Commerce and government figures, including Public Relations Representative Ruben Trapenberg, formed an "Aruba Strategic Communications Task Force" to respond collectively to what they perceived to be unfounded and/or negative portrayals of the island. The group issued press releases and sent representatives to appear in news media. They joined the Aruban government in opposing the calls for a boycott of the island. Skeeters tape and Dr. Phil; lawsuits: On September 15, 2005, the Dr. Phil television show showed parts of a hidden camera interview with Deepak Kalpoe in which he seemingly affirmed a suggestion that Holloway had sex with all three men. The taping had been instigated by Jamie Skeeters, a private investigator. When the tape was broadcast, news reports indicated an expectation of a rearrest, which Dompig termed a "strong possibility" if the tapes were legitimate. Aruban police subsequently provided a fuller version of the relevant part of the tape in which Kalpoe's response differed from the Dr. Phil version, apparently due to editing that may have altered the meaning of what was said. An unofficial Aruban-affiliated spokesperson and commentator on the case said that the uncut videotape showed that Kalpoe had shaken his head and said "No, she didn't.", thereby denying that Holloway had sex with him and the other two men. According to an MSNBC report, the crucial words are inaudible, and presenter Rita Cosby questioned if it could be substantiated that Kalpoe had ever made the statements attributed to him in the Dr. Phil version of the recording. In December 2006, the Kalpoes filed a slander and libel suit against Skeeters (who died in January 2007) and Dr. Phil. in Los Angeles. Holloway's parents responded by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the Kalpoes in the same venue. The wrongful death suit was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction on June 1, 2007; the libel and slander case was initially set for trial on October 12, 2011 but was later set for April 2015. An earlier suit had been filed in New York City by the parents against Paulus and Joran van der Sloot and served on them on a visit to New York. The case had been dismissed in August 2006 as filed in an inconvenient forum. On November 10, 2005, Paulus van der Sloot won an unjust detention action against the Aruban government, clearing him as a suspect and allowing him to retain his government contract. The elder Van der Sloot then brought a second action, seeking monetary damages for himself and his family because of his false arrest. The action was initially successful, but the award of damages was reversed on appeal. Amigoe article: The Amigoe newspaper reported on interviews with Julia Renfro and Dompig in which they said that Aruban authorities had been systematically obstructed in their investigation by U.S. officials. They also said that within a day of Holloway's being reported missing, a medjet, unauthorized by Aruban authorities, had arrived on Aruba and had remained for several days for the purpose of covertly taking Holloway off the island without notifying local authorities. Renfro, an American-born editor of an English-language daily, Aruba Today, who at the time of Holloway's disappearance had become close friends with Beth Twitty, also said she and Twitty received a phone call from an unknown woman on June 2, 2005, asking for money in return for information about Holloway's location, and asserting that Holloway was unwilling to return to her mother. According to Renfro, she and another American went to a drug house where Holloway supposedly was, bringing money, but found that Jug Twitty had already been to the area, spreading "a lot of uproar and panic in the direct vicinity," and nothing could be accomplished. The Twittys disputed Renfro's accounts, Beth Twitty describing Renfro as "a witch." Film adaptation: On April 19, 2009, LMN aired Natalee Holloway, a television film based on Twitty's book Loving Natalee. Starring Tracy Pollan as Beth Twitty, Grant Show as Jug Twitty, Amy Gumenick as Natalee Holloway and Jacques Strydom as Van der Sloot, the film retells events leading up to the night of Holloway's disappearance in 2005, and the ensuing investigation in the aftermath. It was shot in South Africa. The movie stages re-creations of various scenarios, based on the testimony of key players and suspects, including Van der Sloot. The broadcast of the film attracted 3.2 million viewers, garnering the highest television ratings in the network's 11-year history. Although it set ratings records for Lifetime, the movie received mixed reviews from critics. Alec Harvey of The Birmingham News called the movie "sloppy and uneven, a forgettable look at the tragedy that consumed the nation's attention for months." However, Jake Meaney of PopMatters found the film to be surprisingly "calm and levelheaded", and praised Pollan's portrayal of Holloway's mother. A follow-up film, Justice for Natalee Holloway, aired in mid-2011 on LMN. This film picks up in 2010, on the five-year anniversary of Holloway's disappearance. It continues to center on the investigation and what exactly happened to Holloway. Media coverage: U.S. television networks devoted much air time to the search for Holloway, the investigation of her disappearance, and rumors surrounding the case. Greta Van Susteren, host of Fox News' On the Record, and Nancy Grace on her eponymous Headline News program were among the most prominent television personalities to devote time to the incident. Van Susteren's almost continuous coverage of the story caused On the Record to get its best ratings to date, while Grace's show became the cornerstone of the new "Headline Prime" block on Headline News, which ran two episodes (a live show and a repeat) every night during prime-time. As the case wore on, much of the attention was given to Beth Twitty and her statements. Aruban government spokesman Ruben Trapenberg stated, "The case is under a microscope, and the world is watching." The saturation of coverage triggered a backlash among some critics who argued that such extensive media attention validated the "missing white woman syndrome" theory, which argues that missing person cases involving white women and girls receive disproportionately more attention in the media compared with cases involving white males or people of color. CNN ran a segment criticizing the amount of coverage their competitors gave to the story despite what they characterized as a lack of new items to report, with CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper calling the coverage "downright ridiculous". Early in the case, political commentator and columnist Arianna Huffington wrote, "If you were to get your news only from television, you'd think the top issue facing our country right now is an 18-year-old girl named Natalee who went missing in Aruba. Every time one of these stories comes up, like, say, Michael Jackson, when it's finally over I think, what a relief, now we can get back to real news. But we never do." In March 2008, El Diario commented, "But if doubts persist about cases involving missing Latinos, there are reasons why. These cases rarely receive the attention and resources we see given to other missing persons. The English language media, for example, appear to be focused on the stories of missing white women, such as with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba. Cases of missing Latino and African-American women often remain faceless, if and when they are even covered." CBS senior journalist Danna Walker stated, "There is criticism that it is only a story because she is a pretty blonde—and white—and it is criticism that journalists are taking to heart and looking elsewhere for other stories. But it is a big story because it is an American girl who went off on an adventure and didn't come back. It is a huge mystery, it is something people can identify with." Good Morning America anchor Chris Cuomo was unapologetic of his program's extensive coverage of the Holloway case. "I don't believe it's my role to judge what people want to watch … If they say, 'I want to know what happened to this girl' … I want to help them find out." Holloway's family, however, took the opposite approach and criticized the lessening of coverage of her disappearance due to a shift in news priority when Hurricane Katrina struck on August 23, 2005. The saturation coverage of Holloway's disappearance was finally eclipsed by the hurricane. Beth Twitty and Dave Holloway alleged that Aruba took advantage of the extensive coverage of Hurricane Katrina to release the suspects, however the deadline for judicial review of Van der Sloot's detention was set long before Katrina. Dave Holloway lamented in his book: Hurricane Katrina had left the door open for the boys to be sent on their way with little publicity and few restrictions because it took the world's focus off of Natalee, but only for a brief time. The huge amount of publicity had waned and, during that time of quiet for us, Joran and the Kalpoe brothers were sent home ... All of the news shows that had followed our every move only a day before had now become fixated on the next big ratings grabber: the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Monday, September 18, 2017
tomorrow i have a project in dance class. i was suggested to ask heavenly father father to let me know if it's right about talking about the church more than a few minutes. by a few minutes i'd be like, "i'm a Mormon and if you have anything to ask about this (the book of Mormon musical ad) feel free to ask me after class."
Michele LeAnn Morgan was an American child abuse victim who was murdered by her stepmother at the age of four. Her story was documented on an episode of Cold Case Files. Abuse: Michele suffered multiple injuries to the chest and back, a broken nose, burns on her skin, and a broken arm before the age of four at the hands of her stepmother, Mary Rae. These led to over 20 visits to a hospital, including one in which she was hospitalized for a month. Murder: On August 9, 1961, Mary held Michele under water and stomped her violently, believing that the child had lied about something. These actions were seen by Michele's older brother, George. At dinner, Michele threw up blood clots. The next day she died of her internal injuries. An autopsy was conducted by the pathologist at the army base where the Morgans lived, and the cause of death was found to be massive trauma to the chest. Due to a technical error, the report was not completed until some time later, when an inexperienced coroner listed the cause of death as pneumonia and also stated that it had occurred in 1976. The local prosecutor never pursued the case. Disclosure: In 1996, George Morgan (Michele's older brother) was serving time in prison for rape. That year, he decided to research his family genealogy and was surprised when he saw his sister's death certificate. He recalled the circumstances surrounding her death and was certain that it was not caused by pneumonia — and that it had occurred in 1961, not in 1976. Morgan then corresponded with County Coroner Rick Stone and disclosed to him how Michele's death really occurred. Stone subsequently reopened the Michele LeAnn's case and Michele's body was exhumed. Though the body had been buried for over 30 years, it still showed the marks of brutal child abuse. Investigators discovered the original autopsy report and Michele's hospital record, which showed multiple visits. George Morgan's claims were thus substantiated. Prosecution: Mary Morgan was tracked down in West Columbia, Texas, and initially denied the allegations leveled against her. She then attempted to flee the country but was caught and placed under arrest. She eventually pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to five years in prison and was released in 2001. In the years after Michele's death, Mary raised four children. Hospital records showed that the four of them had collectively visited the hospital over 150 times for medical care before the age of five.
i hate alarms. when my mom asked me if i was reading that thing (meaning my standard works) i'm like not often. the sisters suggested i set an alarm for me to remember. i did that for a while but then got complaisant. the bishop asked if i read it and i said i did for a while but then deleted the alarm so i forgot.
The T. A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant explosion, sometimes called the Morgan Munitions Depot explosion or similar titles, began at 7:36 p.m. on October 4, 1918, at a World War I ammunition plant in the Morgan area of Sayreville in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The initial explosion, generally believed to be accidental, triggered a fire and subsequent series of explosions that continued for three days, totaling roughly 6 kilotons, killing roughly 100 people and injuring hundreds more. The facility, one of the largest in the world at the time, was destroyed along with more than 300 surrounding buildings, forcing the evacuation and reconstruction of Sayreville and neighboring South Amboy. Nearly a century later, explosive debris continues to surface regularly across a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) radius. T. A. Gillespie: T. A. Gillespie Company, founded by Thomas Andrew Gillespie (1852–1926), was operating as a subsidiary of the American Shell Company, loading artillery shells for overseas military action during World War I. After the war, the company was renamed Gillespie Motor Company in 1919, merged to form Gillespie-Eden Corporation in 1920, and disappeared sometime after 1923. Damages: Damage to the plant was estimated to be US$18 million and the US Government paid $300,000 in insurance to area residents, respectively equal to approximately $300 million and $5 million in 2012 dollars. According to a 1919 government report, the explosion destroyed enough ammunition to supply the Western Front for six months, estimated at 12 million pounds (6 kilotons) of high explosives. (The plant had started production just three months earlier, and the war itself ended just one month after the explosion.) While hundreds of detonations were spread over three days, the totality of the event ranked as one of the largest man-made non-nuclear explosions in history. Some of the strongest individual blasts, from exploding railcars of ammunition, broke windows as far away as Manhattan and Asbury Park, more than 25 miles (40 km) distant. Casualties: Government authorities declared martial law following the accident, forcing the evacuation of Sayreville, South Amboy, and Perth Amboy, whose combined populations totaled approximately 62,000. The death toll for the accident is unclear, since employment records were destroyed by the explosion and since ammunition workers were individually uninsurable; but it is believed to be approximately 100 persons, with hundreds more injured. The unidentified remains of 14 to 18 workers were buried in a mass grave on Ernston Road in what is now Old Bridge Township. Evacuated and homeless persons were more susceptible to the severe influenza pandemic that struck a few weeks later, and the area's death toll from the outbreak was high. Coast Guard involvement: Among many others involved in rescue operations were a number of US Coast Guardsmen stationed across the Raritan River in Perth Amboy. Twelve received Navy Crosses for their heroic actions in the aftermath of the explosion, and two died in the effort. The award citations indicate that during the conflagration, they risked death when they relocated a train loaded with TNT that was threatened by the fire. One Navy Cross recipient was Joseph Stika, who later became a Vice Admiral. Legacy: -The explosions scattered thousands of shells and components over a wide area, more than 1.2 miles (1.9 km) in radius. Nearly a century later, unexploded ordnance from the facility was still being found in the surrounding area. On June 7, 2007, ordnance was discovered at Samsel Upper Elementary School while workers were grading an area for a playground. Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists from the US Army were called in to remove the material. Previously, in 1994 and again in 1997, the discovery of shells near Sayreville's Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School spurred cleanup operations by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which collected and disposed of a combined total of 5,080 pieces of ordnance. -Local historians Frank Yusko and Randall Gabrielan compiled detailed histories about the explosions for a 1994 television documentary and a 2012 book, respectively. -The sports teams of Sayreville War Memorial High School are named the Sayreville Bombers, recalling the town's World War I ammunition plants and many World War II veterans.
Fond du Lac County Jane Doe, also known as "Jane Fond du Lac Doe", is an unidentified female discovered on November 23, 2008 in Ashford, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. She has yet to be identified, although many efforts have been made to discover who she was. Investigators believe that it is possible that she may not have been from the area. Her face was reconstructed digitally by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2009 to give an approximation of how she may have appeared in life. The victim was between fifteen and twenty-one years old when she died, placing her year of birth to be between 1987 and 1994. Discovery: The remains of a young woman were found frozen in a creek by hunters on November 23, 2008, in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, near an abandoned farm. To extract the body, investigators were forced to chisel away the ice and scuba divers searched the bottom for evidence. Some articles of clothing were found, including a black and pink top with a pink bow, originating from Family Dollar, distributed in the spring of 2008. The underclothing that she wore, also from Family Dollar, was shipped only between July 1 and July 15, 2008. Her jeans were that of the Angels brand and the bottom of the legs had been rolled up, somewhat, and an elastic ponytail holder was found on her wrist. No socks or shoes were found at the scene. Initially, no jewelry was found, until a penny-sized St. Benedict medal was found by divers, but it may not have belonged to her, as examiners could not be certain how long it had been in the water. However, some reports claim that a bracelet containing several pendants was also found on the girl's remains. The hair was a shoulder-length light brown, possibly having hair highlights due to having some different shades. The clothing had caused some issues with investigators, as many of the different articles were in various sizes. Examination: Determining the cause of death was inconclusive, as the severe decomposition on the body had removed all signs of possible violence from the remains. However, the case is believed to have been a murder, as suicide was eliminated as a possibility of the girl's death. The circumstances of the location of the remains had also sparked suspicion among authorities. Toxicology tests were conducted to see if any drugs or alcohol had been in her system, yet the results were never released. Although the body was found in autumn, she had died in the summer, two to four months previously. This was established by examining traces from insects that were found on the remains. She had an overbite, and some fillings and dental sealants were found on the upper molars with no current cavities. The overbite was not described as extreme, but may have been noticeable, which could be a reliable feature depicted in her facial reconstruction. The estimated height was between 4'10" and 5'4", the victim being between fifteen and twenty-one years old and weighing between 110 to 135 pounds, at an "average frame". Examiners believe she was either white or Hispanic, although Native American and Asian races cannot be ruled out. She also may have been biracial. Other physical characteristics included a healed rib fracture and being pigeon toed or knock-kneed, which may have been noticeable when she walked, as her feet were slanted inward. She also suffered from spina bifida occulta, but may have been unaware of the condition. To obtain DNA information, her femur was transported to the University of Texas. Investigation: At least 200 leads have been explored into discovering the identity of the victim. A computer-generated reconstruction was created from the skull by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children from mortuary photographs and a CT scan of the skull that were submitted to the center. The reconstruction of the victim generated over two hundred tips that did not produce solid leads, as the composite apparently resembled a large number of missing people. Former missing person Amanda Berry, one of several possible identities of the Jane Doe, was ruled out by DNA analysis. She was recovered alive in 2013. Besides Amanda Berry, two other individuals that were eventually located were also ruled out of the case: Connie McCallister and Brittany Peart. McCallister, native to Wisconsin, was abducted at age 16 and taken to Mexico. She was eventually recovered alive after meeting a "church missionary" that reported the find to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Brittany Peart disappeared in July 2008 from Elkton, Maryland. Peart's remains were located and identified in December 2011. Her cause of death remains unreleased. The Jane Doe's body was buried in 2011 after the investigation turned cold. Television shows such as America's Most Wanted were contacted to broadcast the case to possibly reveal new clues. A Facebook page was also created to generate leads for the case.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Saturday, September 16, 2017
On February 25, 1957, Mary Jane Barker, an American 4-year-old girl from Bellmawr, New Jersey (southeast of Philadelphia), United States went missing along with her playmate's dog. After an extensive search throughout the city, dubbed by the press as "the largest search in South Jersey", her dead body was discovered by her playmate in the closet of a vacant house near her home on March 3. The dog bounded out of the closet, seemingly unharmed. Despite the initial suspicion of foul play, the death was ruled an accident; a case of starvation and exposure as Barker was unable to escape the closet. Investigators concluded that Barker died on February 28, three days after her disappearance. As a result, the mayor ordered closet doors to open more easily. The press surrounding the Barker case also led to the first calls about the Boy in the Box. Birth and siblings: Mary Jane Barker was born in Bellmawr, New Jersey, U.S., on February 28, 1953, to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Barker. She had two older siblings: Carol Ann, 8 years older; and Frank Jr., 6 years older. Disappearance: Barker disappeared along with a four-month old black spaniel puppy at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, February 25, 1957, in Bellmawr (southeast Philadelphia). She was last seen playing in a nearby yard, going to meet with her friend and neighbor, 6-year-old Maria Freitta, the owner of the dog. Police were notified by 1:30 p.m. She was presumed kidnapped, and the next day footprints were found along a nearby stream bank which seemed those of a man, child, and dog. The police stated that the small footprints on the mud matched the size of Barker's shoes. Search: Her disappearance "touched off an intensive search for a kidnapper or murderer" according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. It was called "the largest search in South Jersey." Hundreds of volunteers and police searched the city. On the first night more than 200 civilians did a foot-by-foot search. Eventually well over a thousand people were involved. Her fourth birthday came and went with no sign of her. On Wednesday, February 27, the parents made an appeal on television to anyone who may have kidnapped Barker, asking them to "leave the child in the nearest church." Vern Lovering, a 43-year old floor sander and convicted child molester had been questioned, and said he was near the Barker home. On Thursday, February 28, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted its own search, and the next day again questioned Lovering after police received a phone call demanding $500 ransom. Police made an appeal to the kidnapper not to "act in haste or do harm to the child." The grief of the Barker family was especially acute on February 28 and March 1 since those were the birthdays of Barker and her father, and they were planning to have a joint celebration that week. The police stated that they were working on several leads but had no developments. On Saturday, March 2, the FBI was officially called in following the provisions of the Federal Kidnapping Act. Several nearby dumps were searched to no avail. Discovery of body: On Sunday, March 3, Maria Freitta, the owner of the dog and the playmate of Barker, went with her mother to a vacant, newly built ranch house next door to her home. It was on 433 2nd Ave, owned by her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Pat Vecchia. Maria managed to open a 3 ft × 5 ft bedroom closet's door, and her missing dog bounded out of the closet and leaped happily at her. Also in the closet was Barker, dead, in a seated position, the hood of her blue coat partially covering her blonde hair. She was found in the same clothes she had on when she disappeared. Bits of fur from her hat were rubbed off. Police Chief Edward Garrity stated he believed that Barker had recently been placed in the closet as the puppy had been fed recently, and there was no animal waste in the closet despite the dog not being housebroken. During previous searches, including a visit by a repairman, no dog was heard. The house had been searched three times before, but the bedroom closet where her body was found was not searched. Rev. Harry McIntyre looked in bedroom closets on February 26, but it never occurred to him to search the front-bedroom closet. "I concentrated on the basement, believing the girl might have fallen down the stairs," he said. A volunteer fireman, John Reeves, also searched the first-floor bedroom but not the closet. Barker may have been too frightened to cry out. Although the door was unlocked, a thumb screw inside apparently made it difficult for a child to open. The door had a knob on the outside, but only a small turn latch on the inside. Autopsy: On March 4, the autopsy indicated Barker had nothing in her system since some chocolate milk the morning of her disappearance, and had not eaten since she vanished. There was no indication of foul play; no signs of violence or sexual molestation. It was found she must have lived in the closet for three days without food or drink. An inspection of the closet showed marks from her attempt to escape. It was found the dog was with her the whole time. The dog was "alive and frisky", which initially led investigators to believe she had been in the closet only a short time. The dog was first taken to a local veterinarians for study, but they concluded that it was possible that the dog had to be put down to examine his stomach contents. Dr. Robert Sauer, the veterinarian, stated that the survival of the dog for several days was consistent with the stamina of such an animal. On March 4, the dog was euthanized in order to allow veterinarians from the University of Pennsylvania to examine its stomach contents, and establish why the dog outlived Barker. Investigators wanted to know if the dog was without food or water since Barker's disappearance. Camden County Coroner Robert J. Blake ruled her death an accident; a case of starvation with exposure as a contributing factor. A spokesman for the coroner said Barker became trapped in the closet, and died of fright and starvation. Due to a hole in the closet, she could not have suffocated. Aftermath: On March 7, Mayor Cornelius Devennel ordered all closet doors be equipped with special knobs that can open easily from both inside and outside. This order was made mandatory for all new home constructions or reconstructions. A ceremony in her memory was held at the St. Francis de Sales Church that same day. On March 20, radio station WPEN presented Freitta with a new puppy, an English Setter. Boy in the Box: The press surrounding the Barker case led to the first calls about the Boy in the Box. Frank Guthrum, who discovered the boy, had decided not to call the police until he listened to reports of the Barker case on his car radio.
Timothy White was a California child who was abducted by pedophile Kenneth Parnell in 1980. Kidnapping: Seven years earlier, Parnell kidnapped seven-year-old Steven Stayner as he walked home from school. As Stayner aged, Parnell lost interest in him and was motivated to kidnap another small boy. Parnell had enlisted Stayner as an accomplice in a few earlier kidnappings which had failed due to Stayner failing to follow directions (Stayner later admitted he intentionally sabotaged the aborted kidnappings in order to spare other children his fate). Thinking Stayner was an incompetent criminal, Parnell cajoled one of Stayner's teenage friends, a local boy named Sean Poorman, into being an accomplice. On February 13th, 1980, Poorman noticed Timmy White, who was playing outside his parents' house in Ukiah, California and ushered him into Parnell's getaway car. When White refused and attempted to run indoors, Poorman shoved the boy against a chain link fence, forced him to loosen his grip, then dragged him kicking and screaming into the car. Parnell made quick work in brainwashing, as he had done with Stayner's abduction, repeatedly trying to get White to think his new name was "Tommy". Parnell also dyed Timmy White's natural blond hair dark brown in order to mask his personal appearance from the forthcoming missing child announcements that would be anticipated when White's disappearance was publicized. Ultimately Parnell would pass White off as his younger son and Stayner's brother. White forged a bond with Stayner during the 16 days he was held captive and spoke favorably of how the older boy took care of him. Stayner, determined to not see another child suffer the systematic sexual abuse that he endured, sought to return White to his parents. Escape: While Parnell was working as a security guard on March 1, 1980, the boys escaped. As Parnell lived in remote backcountry, it was difficult for the boys to find civilization, but by luck a passing truck driver saw Stayner hitchhiking and gave the boys a ride to Ukiah. Stayner had originally planned to return Timmy to the White residence, but Timmy could not remember his address nor recognize his neighborhood in dead of night. Chancing upon a local police station, both boys were taken in and eventually positively identified as missing children. Parnell was tried and convicted of the abduction of Stayner and White in two separate trials. He was sentenced to seven years for the abduction of White and was paroled after serving five years. Parnell was not charged with sexual assault on Stayner and other boys because most offenses occurred outside the jurisdiction of the Merced County prosecutor or were by then outside the statute of limitations. The White family maintained contact with the Stayners and, when Stayner died in a motorcycle accident in 1989, 14-year-old White was one of his pallbearers. Later life and death: White later became a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy. Like his rescuer Steven Stayner, White also gave lectures to children about his experience and the dangers of kidnapping. In 2004, Parnell was sent to trial for human trafficking and attempt to kidnap a child, and White had been summoned to testify. Also summoned was a full-grown Sean Poorman, who reacted with shock, not having seen White since the 1980 kidnapping. The two men spoke briefly, then hugged; White having forgiven his abductor from over two decades ago. He died on April 1, 2010, at 35 from a pulmonary embolism, 21 years after Stayner's death and two years after Parnell's death. White was survived by his wife, Dena, two young children, his parents, his stepfather, and a sister. Legacy: On August 28, 2010, a statue of Stayner and White was dedicated in Applegate Park in Merced. Residents of Ukiah also erected a statue, one showing a teenage Stayner and a younger White, hand in hand, escaping captivity.
M. William Phelps is an American crime writer and investigative journalist. Biography- Career: Phelps is the author of 31 fact-based nonfiction and four history books, including co-authoring Failures of the Presidents with Thomas J. Craughwell. Phelps has written for the Providence Journal, Hartford Courant and New London Day, and consulted on the first season of the Showtime cable television series Dexter. After his book Murder in the Heartland was released, Phelps went on Good Morning America to talk about the 2004 murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett covered in his book about convicted killer Lisa M. Montgomery. Beginning in January 2012, he produced and hosted with criminal profiler John Kelly the Discovery Network series Dark Minds, which airs on the Investigation Discovery channel. The series features unsolved serial murders. When Phelps' book The Killing Kind was released in June 2014, Publishers Weekly wrote, "Fans of the author's Discovery TV series, "Dark Minds," will be rewarded." He was featured in Writers Digest with his debut true-crime book Perfect Poison in 2003 and again with the release of his eighth book, I'll be Watching You, in 2009. The New York Post in a February 2012 review called Phelps' book Never See Them Again, about Texas serial killer Christine Paolilla, a "riveting new book" that "examines one of the most horrific murders in recent American history." Kirkus Reviews called it a "thorough account of a quadruple murder in a Houston suburb in 2003." Phelps' book Nathan Hale: The Life and Death of America's First Spy was listed as number 14 on The New York Times bestseller list in e-book nonfiction the week of May 11, 2014. Twilight actor Peter Facinelli in June 2014 acquired movie rights for his Nathan Hale book. Personal life: Phelps, whose sister-in-law was murdered in 1996, lives in Ellington, Connecticut. Published works- True crime: -Perfect Poison: A Female Serial Killer's Deadly Medicine (2003) -Lethal Guardian (2004) -Every Move You Make (2005) -Murder in the Heartland (2006) -Because You Loved Me (2007) -If Looks Could Kill (2008) -I'll Be Watching You (2008) -Sleep in Heavenly Peace (2008) -Cruel Death (2009) -Deadly Secrets (2009) -Death Trap (2010) -Kill For Me (2010) -The Devil's Rooming House (2010) -Love Her To Death (2011) -Sleep In Heavenly Peace (2011) -Too Young to Kill (2011) -Jane Doe No More: My 15-Year Fight to Reclaim My Identity--A True Story of Survival, Hope, and Redemption (2012) With Donna Palomba Murder, New England (2012) -Never See Them Again (2012) -Bad Girls (2013) -Kiss of the She-Devil (2013) -Obsessed (2014) -The Dead Soul (2014) -The Killing Kind (2014) History- -Failures of the Presidents: From the Whiskey Rebellion and War of 1812 to the Bay of Pigs and War in Iraq (2008) With Thomas J. Caughwell -Nathan Hale: The Life and Death of America's First Spy (2008) -The Devil's Right Hand: The Tragic Story of the Colt Family Curse (2011) -Crimes of the Presidents (2013) Awards -2014: Society of Professional Journalists' Connecticut chapter, 2nd place, Investigative Reporting -2008: New England Book Festival Award for I'll Be Watching You
for some reason my mom's idea of being nice is letting me go to church for a couple hours (or as long as i can) while being with my family. it's not bad but it's confusing. like once i was going to be house sitting and a family suggested things i could make for food and then the next morning showed up at church confused as i said i'd be house sitting.
Steven Gregory Stayner was an American kidnap victim. Stayner was abducted from the Central California city and county of Merced, California by child molester Kenneth Parnell. He lived with his abductor 200 miles away in Mendocino County, California until he was 14, returning to his family when he was discovered while returning another of Parnell's victims, Timothy White, to his own family. Stayner died in 1989 in a motorcycle accident while driving home from work. Birth and family: Stayner was the third of five children born to Delbert and Kay Stayner in Merced, California. He had three sisters and an older brother, Cary. In 2002, Cary was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1999 murder of four women. Kidnapping: On the afternoon of December 4, 1972, Stayner was approached on his way home from school by a man named Ervin Edward Murphy, who had become acquainted with Kenneth Parnell as both worked at a resort in Yosemite National Park. Murphy, described by those who knew him as a trusting, naïve, and simple-minded man, had been enlisted by convicted child rapist Parnell (who had passed himself off as an aspiring minister to Murphy) into helping him abduct a young boy so that Parnell could "raise him in a religious-type deal," as Murphy later stated. Acting on instructions from Parnell, Murphy passed out gospel tracts to boys walking home from school that day and, after spotting Stayner, claimed to be a church representative seeking donations. Stayner later claimed that Murphy asked him if his mother would be willing to donate any items to the church; when the boy replied that she would, Murphy then asked Stayner where he lived and if he would be willing to take Murphy to his home. After Stayner agreed, a white Buick driven by Parnell pulled up, and Stayner willingly climbed into the car with Murphy. Parnell then drove a confused Stayner to his cabin in nearby Catheys Valley instead. (Unbeknownst to Stayner, Parnell's cabin was located only several hundred feet from his maternal grandfather's residence.) Parnell molested Stayner the first night. Parnell began raping Stayner thirteen days later, on December 17, 1972. After telling Parnell that he wanted to go home many times during his first week with the man, Parnell told Stayner that he had been granted legal custody of the boy because his parents could not afford so many children and that they did not want him anymore. Parnell began calling the boy Dennis Gregory Parnell, retaining Stayner's real middle name and his real birth date when enrolling him in various schools over the next several years. Parnell passed himself off as Stayner's father, and the two moved frequently around California, among others living in Santa Rosa and Comptche. He allowed Stayner to begin drinking at a young age and to come and go virtually as he pleased. Parnell had also bounced from one menial job to another, some of his work requiring travel and he would leave Stayner unguarded, causing an adult Stayner to remark he could have easily used these absences as opportunities to flee, but was unaware how to summon help. One of the few positive aspects of Stayner's life with Parnell was the dog he had received as a gift from Parnell, a Manchester Terrier that he named Queenie. This dog had been given to Parnell by his mother, who was not aware of Stayner's existence during the period when he was living with Parnell. For a period of 18 months, a woman named Barbara Mathias lived with Parnell and Stayner. According to Stayner, Mathias, along with Parnell, participated in sex with him on nine separate occasions at the age of nine. In 1975, on Parnell's instruction, Mathias tried to lure another young boy, who was in the Santa Rosa Boys' Club with Stayner, into Parnell's car. The attempt was unsuccessful. Mathias later claimed to have been completely unaware that "Dennis" had, in fact, been kidnapped. Escape: As Stayner entered puberty, Parnell began to look for a younger child to kidnap. Parnell had used Stayner to kidnap children on prior occasions; however, all were unsuccessful, causing Parnell to believe Stayner lacked the means to be an accomplice (Stayner later revealed he intentionally sabotaged these failed kidnappings). On February 14, 1980, Parnell and a teenage friend of Stayner's named Randall Sean Poorman kidnapped five-year-old Timothy White in Ukiah, California. Motivated in part by the young boy's distress, Stayner decided to return the boy to his parents. On March 1, 1980, while Parnell was away at his night security job, Stayner left with White and hitchhiked into Ukiah. Unable to locate White's home address, he decided to have White walk into the police station to ask for help, without him. But police officers spotted and detained both of them. Stayner immediately identified Timmy White and then revealed his own true identity and story. By daybreak on March 2, 1980, Parnell had been arrested on suspicion of abducting both boys. After the police checked into Parnell's background they found a previous sodomy conviction from 1951. Both children were reunited with their families that day. In 1981, Parnell was tried and convicted of kidnapping White and Stayner in two separate trials. He was sentenced to seven years but was paroled after serving five. Parnell was not charged with the numerous sexual assaults on Steven Stayner and other boys because most of them occurred outside the jurisdiction of the Merced county prosecutor or were by then outside the statute of limitations. The Mendocino County prosecutors, acting almost entirely alone, decided not to prosecute Parnell for the sexual assaults that occurred in their jurisdiction. This is likely due to the prosecutors' belief that they were "protecting" Stayner because rape and molestation victims were seen as "damaged goods." They may also have felt that they were respecting the Stayner parents' reluctance to discuss Parnell's crimes because of the stigma of male sexual abuse. Ervin Murphy and Randall Poorman, who had helped abduct Timmy White, were convicted of lesser charges. Both claimed they knew nothing of the sexual assaults on Steven. Barbara Mathias was never arrested. Stayner remembered the kindness "Uncle" Murphy had shown him in his first week of captivity while they were both under the influence of Parnell's manipulation, and he believed that Murphy was as much Parnell's victim as Steven and Timmy were. Steven Stayner's kidnapping and its aftermath prompted California lawmakers to change state laws "to allow consecutive prison terms in similar abduction cases." Later life and death: After returning to his family, Stayner had trouble adjusting to a more structured household as he had been allowed to smoke, drink and do as he pleased when he lived with Kenneth Parnell. In an interview with Newsweek shortly after he was reunited with his family, Stayner said, "I returned almost a grown man and yet my parents saw me at first as their 7-year-old. After they stopped trying to teach me the fundamentals all over again, it got better. But why doesn't my dad hug me anymore? Everything has changed. Sometimes I blame myself. I don't know sometimes if I should have come home. Would I have been better off if I didn't?" Stayner initially underwent brief counseling but never sought additional treatment. He also refused to disclose all the details of sexual abuse he endured while he was living with Kenneth Parnell. In a 2007 interview, Stayner's sister Cory said that her brother did not seek counseling because their father said Stayner "didn't need any". She added, "He (Steven) got on with his life but he was pretty messed up." He was teased by other children at school for being molested and eventually dropped out. Stayner began to drink frequently, and was eventually kicked out of the family home. His relationship with his father remained strained. In 1985, Stayner married 17-year-old Jody Edmondson. The couple had two children, Ashley and Steven, Jr. Jody Edmondson later said that having a family of his own helped Stayner find some peace although he still blamed himself for being abducted. In his final years, Stayner worked with child abduction groups, spoke to children about stranger danger and granted interviews about his kidnapping. He later joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just before his death. At the time of his death, Stayner was living in Merced, California and working at Pizza Hut. On September 17, 1989, Stayner was heading home from work on a rainy afternoon when his motorcycle collided with a car that pulled into traffic from a side road in Merced, California. He sustained fatal head injuries and died at the Merced Community Medical Center shortly thereafter. At the time of the accident, Stayner was riding without a license and was not wearing a helmet. The driver who struck Stayner fled from the scene and later surrendered to police shortly before Stayner's funeral. On September 20, Stayner's funeral was held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Merced. 500 people attended including 14-year-old Timmy White who was one of Stayner's pallbearers. Media adaptations: In early 1989, a television miniseries based on his experience, I Know My First Name is Steven (also known as The Missing Years), was produced. Steven, taking a leave of absence from his job, acted as an advisor for the production company (Lorimar-Telepictures) and had a non-speaking part, playing one of the two policemen who escort 14-year-old Steven (played by Corin Nemec) through the crowds to his waiting family, on his return to his Merced home. Although pleased with the dramatization, Stayner did complain that it depicted him as a somewhat "obnoxious, rude" person, especially toward his parents, something he refuted while publicizing the miniseries in the spring of 1989. The two-part miniseries was first broadcast by NBC on May 21–22, 1989. Screening rights were sold to a number of international television companies including the BBC, which screened the miniseries in mid-July of the following year; later still, it was released as a feature-length movie. The production was based on a manuscript by Mike Echols, who had researched the story and interviewed Stayner and Parnell, among others. After the premiere of I Know My First Name is Steven, which received four Emmy Award nominations, including one for Corin Nemec, Echols published his book, I Know My First Name is Steven, in 1991. In the epilogue to his book, Echols describes how he infiltrated NAMBLA. In 1999, against the wishes of the Stayner family, Echols wrote an additional chapter, about Steven's older brother, convicted serial killer Cary Stayner, at the request of his publisher who then re-published the book. The title of the film and book are taken from the first paragraph of Steven's written police statement, given during the early hours of March 2, 1980 in Ukiah. It reads (note the incorrect spelling of his family name); "My name is Steven Stainer. I am fourteen years of age. I don't know my true birthdate, but I use April 18, 1965. I know my first name is Steven, I'm pretty sure my last is Stainer , and if I have a middle name, I don't know it." Steven's story was also included in the book Against Their Will by Nigel Cawthorne, a compilation of stories of kidnappings. Aftermath: Ten years after Stayner's death, the city of Merced asked its residents to propose names for city parks honoring Merced's notable citizens. Stayner's parents proposed that one be named "Stayner Park". This idea was eventually rejected and the honor was instead given to another Merced resident because Stayner's brother Cary confessed to, and was charged with, killing four women in Yosemite in 1999; Merced city officials feared that the name "Stayner Park" would be associated with Cary rather than Steven. In 2004, Kenneth Parnell, then 72 years old, was convicted of trying the previous year to persuade his nurse to procure for him a young boy for five hundred dollars. The nurse, aware of Parnell's past, reported this to local police. Timmy White, then a grown man, was subpoenaed to testify in Parnell's criminal trial. Although Stayner was dead, Stayner's testimony at Parnell's earlier trial was read to jurors as evidence in Parnell's 2004 trial. Kenneth Parnell died of natural causes on January 21, 2008, at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California, while serving a sentence of 25 years to life. Timothy James "Timmy" White later became a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy. He died on April 1, 2010, at age 35 from pulmonary embolism. White was survived by his wife, Dena, and two young children, as well as by his mother, father, stepfather and sister. Nearly five months later, on August 28, 2010, a statue of Stayner and White was dedicated in Applegate Park in Merced, California. Residents of Ukiah, the hometown of White, carved a statue showing a teenage Stayner with young White in hand while escaping their captivity. Fundraisers for the statue have stated that it is meant to honor Steven Stayner and give families of missing and kidnapped children hope that they are still alive. Steven's father, Delbert Stayner, died on April 9, 2013 at his home in Winton, California. He was 79 years old.