Missing and/or Unidentified: the Circumstances that Make you Wonder

The Unreported Missing or Long-Time Unidentified

I have used up a very high percentage of my web browsing looking up missing persons cases for the past 10 years. It’s just intriguing to wonder what happened to these people. Did they fall off the edge of the earth? Did they accidentally wander into another dimension? Did they walk into their closets into Narnia? Alien abduction??

Captureunknown2.PNGAlthough it seems like they just disappeared into the unknown, it’s more likely they are one of the almost 50,000 unknown dead in the U.S.

The unidentified persons who remain unknown for decades sometimes were found several states away from home with no identification on them or found with their body.

Examples being a hitchhiker (David Stack), or a runaway (Tammy Alexander).

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David Stack- Reported Missing -Unidentified for 39 years

You know, not locals, so people from that area didn’t recognize them when they made composite sketches of the person. Let’s face it, back in the day police jurisdictions were terrible about communicating, even to neighboring towns, so it’s no surprise these people went unidentified for so long since they were so far from home.

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Tammy Alexander- Unreported Missing- Unidentified for 36 years

But we live in a completely different time now, where we are constantly connected, hitchhiking I guess isn’t as common as it was in the 70’s, and we have a website dedicated to identifying the missing unknown. So I’m really surprised by how many lives that seemingly fell through the cracks without any deserved notice.

Here is some questions I have regarding some circumstances of the unidentified and unreported missing-

Abandoned everything all of a sudden? You’d think someone must have noticed.

A normal everyday person likely has a place of residence, maybe a job, some family, and at least one friend. It’s hard for me to believe someone, anyone, can go missing without a single soul noticing. However, it has happened where people have died in their homes and not discovered for years!

Even the most reclusive people have neighbors, and a mother or a father, (or a cat at least). It is unrealistic to assume a majority of unreported missing cases are agoraphobics that live alone, who are estranged from their family, with no outside human contact. Even the biggest loners have people they might see or interact with on a somewhat regular basis. The mailman, grocery store cashiers, the bank person, and the landlord. Maybe?

  • Their Homes being abandoned, the landlord would definitely notice. And maybe neighbors. The newspapers/mail piling up? What happens in that situation?
  • What about their car if they had one? Does it just get towed?
  • There wasn’t social media back then to be like a reminder of not hearing from someone in awhile, but I’m sure some family member must have wondered at some point why they don’t see so and so at Thanksgiving dinner anymore.
  • If someone quits showing up for work, does the employer/co-workers just believe the person who vanished is running from the law? Got abducted by aliens? Was put in the witness protection program?
  • Maybe they moved around a lot, I mean a lot!

They can’t ALL be homeless or travelers, right?

Okay, so homeless persons being one of the unreported missing makes sense since they don’t live anywhere or likely have a job. Sure, in the cases of runaways, hitchhikers, and travelers they technically aren’t living somewhere at the current moment they disappeared or came up unidentified, but still the unreported can’t be expected to majorly be homeless, right? 

And if they do happen to be legit homeless, chances are they’ve been seen around more often. The homeless generally occupy a certain area of town, and also of note, they live outside! or they are taken in by somebody, so there is much more room for reported sightings or witness interactions. Think about it, in this situation they likely rely on the help of others, (hitchhikers asking for a ride, runaways staying with somebody, homeless asking for change), so they have to of interacted with someone, maybe they relied on the wrong person?

In the cases of unreported missing “runaways”…

I’m not talking about the unreported missing whose family tried to file but the law enforcement of the past told them they could not be reported due to their history of being a chronic runaway or whatever, and telling the family, “they will come home when they feel like it”. And I am not talking about the unfortunate circumstances of children who are wards of the state and likely orphans, like the terribly sad case of Shannon Aumock.

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Shannon Aumock- Unreported Missing- Unidentified for 19 years

I’m talking about the parents who don’t even try. Back in the day, the parents might have just assumed the same thing the police would tell them, they’ll come back when they feel like it. What about when they don’t?

  • What about when their birthday passes? Christmas and holidays? A family member dies? Do they just assume their missing child was an asshole who didn’t care to show up to the funeral?
  • Regarding family, I’m sure at family functions family members ask questions. “Have you heard from so and so?”, “I wonder what they’ve been up to lately”.
  • What about their bedroom and belongings? What does the parents do with these? Since they never come home there has to have been a moment of changing that room; being that, they likely wouldn’t let it sit there for years. Maybe the family moves? Do they yard sale the stuff or just stuff it in the attic?
  • Portraits around the house must be a constant reminder, why doesn’t it set off alarm bells to go and try to do a well-being check with law enforcement?

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    Holly Glynn- Unreported Missing- Unidentified for 28 years
  • Maybe the parents felt like they did all they could? Gotten a private investigator like Holly Glynn’s parents?
  • Was the child close enough to turning 18 or over just enough for their disappearance to be labeled as voluntary? “They’re an adult so they can leave on their own accord if they want to. They aren’t breaking any laws by leaving.”

And the terribly sad circumstances of unidentified children!

I’M GOING TO START THIS ONE OUT IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!

Michelle_pulsifer
Michelle Pulsifer- Unreported for Decades-Missing for 47 years

You have to wonder how the family explained the child’s absence to the rest of the family, because the reason for the child’s disappearance usually points directly at the parents. Did they pull the “Oh, we moved and couldn’t raise so and so amount of kids, but they are safe and in the care of others“, pure bullshit reasons, like the mom of little Michelle Pulsifer, who literally told Michelle’s brother that they had to leave her behind, because she wouldn’t fit in the car when they were moving away.

 

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Anjelica Castillo- Unreported Missing- Unidentified for 22 years

Or was the child’s parents illegal aliens afraid of getting deported, or a child of the homeless? Not reporting a child in fear of getting deported is not an excuse! This happened in the case of Anjelica Castillo, her story is really sad, her adult cousin was responsible for her death.

I understand that in the case of an unidentified or unreported child, someone in the family is usually responsible, so that makes sense to why the child wasn’t reported, but

  •  When it comes down to families, a child likely has an aunt, uncle, cousins, grandparents, and so on. Do they question why the child isn’t around anymore? Did they just continually lie about their whereabouts? “Oh, they are at Boy scout camp”, or whatever. I’d assume this would be parents who are already pretty estranged from family, otherwise people would start to get suspicious rather quickly.

    Boy_in_the_Box_1957_Recon_001C
    Boy in the Box- Unidentified for 59 years
  • Was the child an orphan or foster child? (one theory for the boy in the box )
  • Are they a child involved in a family abduction case? These children are kept under the radar and usually are living under an alias in an completely different city/state/country, and sometimes their physical characteristics are slightly altered to avoid detection (hair color, etc.).
  • The child of a single parent who recently moved to a new city?
  • The child of the homeless who otherwise have no record that they even existed?
  • Immigrants or migrant workers who fear of getting deported or don’t know enough English to efficiently report their child to authorities?
  • Are their parents in a traveling circus? It makes you wonder what the circumstances of the family were when a child comes up unidentified.

How do whole families/multiple individuals go unidentified?

It’s understandable enough when one person’s identity goes unknown that it’d be like finding a needle in a haystack already full of needles, but you’d think multiple individuals found together would be easier to solve, right? You’d think.

I understand the circumstance could be difficult in the situation of two runaways that met just prior to meeting their fate together, but what about the cases of related individuals being found together? How come no one notices them disappearing from the neighborhood all of a sudden? 

  • Could they be from an abusive household where a family member snaps then kills them? That could explain why they were never reported.
    Bear_Brook_Jane_Does_2015
    Bear Brook Murders- Unidentified for 31 years

    This is suspected in the Bear Brook Murders, where an adult women was found with 3 children. It is speculated that her significant other is the perpetrator, because they were beaten to death and unreported. One of the children, the middle child,  wasn’t related to the other’s and it’s possible it was his child from a previous relationship. In this situation, it would be easy for the dad/boyfriend/husband to say, “she left and took the children.” 

  • Could they be a part of some religious cult, gypsy community, be a migrant worker, Indian reservation, or a member of a motorcycle gang? Some organization that would be hesitant to come forward for whatever reason.
  • In cases of adults found with children, could they be teenage runaways grown? Maybe they got pregnant and ran away? Or gotten pregnant afterwards? Or maybe they were an abducted child that grew up and the children were never publicly documented, much like Jaycee Lee Duggard. She was kidnapped at 11 years old and held captive for 18 years, in that time she had two children by her abductor. There was no documentation her children existed prior to their rescue, because they weren’t in the system, never were enrolled in school, no birth certificate/SS#, etc.
  • A man who kills off his mistress and child/children? Like the murder of Reyna Marroquin.
  • Could they be a homeless family? Children born to a homeless mother with no documentation of existing?
  • A stay-at-home mother that relies on boyfriends for a place to stay? Maybe current boyfriend was a monster?
  • In cases of siblings found together, could they be the children of a sex worker? (a theory for Stanley Park’s Babes in the Woods, two boys maternally related with different fathers).

    Babes_in_the_Woods_(Stanley_Park)
    Babes in the Woods- Unidentified for 63 years
  • Could they be orphans or foster children killed by their caregivers?
  • In older cases, like during the depression I’ve heard of families being so in the red with money that they killed their whole family so they wouldn’t starve to death. Could it be a mercy killing? Children born out of wedlock?

In the cases of unreported missing children, the perpetrator is almost always the one’s closes to them. Which adds more frustration and grief to the investigation.

How could they not have someone looking for them? Anyone? How could someone do this to them and walk around like nothing happened?

In the cases of unreported missing runaways that got resolved, it was usually the person’s childhood friends that were the one’s that ultimately gave the investigation enough momentum to get solved. Why not the family? 

When it comes down to situations like the unreported missing, likely the person was living on their own estranged from family, a runaway, hitch hiker or traveler, someone who lives a nomadic lifestyle, or someone not reported because a family member is responsible, whatever the reason-

If you haven’t heard from someone in a long time, try to check in on them, and if you can’t reach them, it wouldn’t hurt to do a well being check

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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