Saturday, September 10, 2011


So now that there are hate pages online, blaming my nephew for her disappearance. The people who post there are at liberty to create innumerable scenarios, all of which end with him killing her. What is it in these people's hearts that makes their inner lives so ugly?  A small sample for you: they argued over something, he killed her, then sent texts to himself to make it look like she was still alive. He lured her out of her townhouse, killed her and drove her 4 hours away, dropped her body and came back without anyone knowing he'd left. He took her out of her home in a sack and burned her in his friends' fire pit. There was a wiccan full moon ceremony and she was accidentally killed. He and six of his friends conspired to kill her and now the six friends are his alibi. He has the police completely fooled. He lies all the time. He cries too much. He never cries. His body language shows he's lying. He speaks about her in past tense. He didn't thank the searchers. He did thank the searchers. It all proves he's guilty.

One woman searched his name and found everyone in the area with the same name and all their criminal records. My nephew had 3 small speeding fines, all a couple of years old. She felt perfectly free to post this online. Another one found a poetry site he'd posted on when he was in high school. Which she mined for "dark" poems. She actually got upset and railed at the other haters when they weren't grateful for all her hard work snooping into his life. Another has no problem describing all the cars in my sister's driveway, who she believes they belong to, and where they go. Yet another who says she works with my sister, or knows someone who does, and claims my sister told them that my nephew has a learning disability. Some of these people say they live near my family, know this or that person, or know no one in the story, but know exactly what must have happened.

They say my nephew is a wiccan, a Juggalo (!), a slacker who K outgrew and he killed her because she was leaving him. They know where he works and tell each other to call his company and ask for him to find out where he is. They write scenarios where my nephew and his fiancee were playing poker with a third person, who flirted with her, and my nephew killed her out of jealousy. The spent literally days analyzing a photo from her missing poster, mistakenly thinking it's the same photo K sent my nephew the night she went missing. It's not. Yet they see his face, his glasses, a checkered shirt, in the shadows on her collar. But it's not the same photo, it was taken long before she disappeared. When someone who knows them tells them this, they quiet down for a few days, and then go back to the same photo, this time turning it black and white,  and sideways, and analyzing what they think is his shadow taking a picture of her picture with her phone, to make it look like she sent him the picture.

They hate me. They call me the crazy aunt. I had gone to one page to correct what I thought were some mistaken ideas about what had happened. They told me I was lying, J was lying-- they sent me threatening messages. Then I saw a familiar pattern, I could tell that some of the profiles were actually fakes, what we used to call sockpuppets. One of the sockpuppets claimed he was a private investigator and that he was snooping around my sister's house. He gave a description of the house and yard. So I responded that I was cutting and pasting that post and sending it to the cops. Within an hour my phone was ringing-- a girl I knew who'd gone to high school with K. She talked a mile a minute. She said that the person with the fake profile had called her and begged her to convince me not to call the police. the girl would not let me speak, she hardly took a breath, telling me how it was really a woman, that the woman had two kids, single mom, afraid she'd lose her job, she was just trying to help bring out the message to find K....on and on. I finally got her to shut up long enough to tell her that if the woman wanted me to do anything, she'd have to admit what she'd done, and stop posting as all these fake names.

She never did. The same girl called my sister and told her that the cops had already visited this woman. She started showing up at searches and going up to the reporters and telling them she was the "press liaison." We asked K's dad, he hadn't talked to her. We checked with everyone connected to K--none of her friends knew her either. When the press ignored her and started talking to a TES search leader, she and her friends threw a fit, trashed their table and walked out--leaving us to clean up after them so the church would be clean for Sunday services.

 Later, I realized that the person she was telling us about in those phone calls was actually her. That's why she was so freaked out. That's why she knew so much about this person. And that's, at least in part, why she disappeared from the searches, and all the pages good and bad, after the press started ignoring her.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

how it works

so we couldn't see really what the smell was. We hung over the guard rail and parted the screen of branches and there was nothing down there. The smell at that vantage was more like old garbage than death, and we cut ourselves some slack, no need to go verify that this was either runoff from Mount Rumpke, the local landfill operation, or someone's idea of a compost heap.

We spent the next few days coming up with new places to search, meeting up with other unofficial search teams, roaming around contracting poison ivy and chiggers, mostly. There was literally nothing to find. We saw parts of this town that I hadn't found in16 years of living there and looking for places to hide from everyone else who lived there, including my parents. At one point, my sister and I were poking around the woodsy banks of yet another dry creek bed, another party spot hidden under the arched brush, I told her I wished I'd known about all these places when I was a kid. And then I thought-- maybe it's better that I never did.

We stayed for over a week, till my mom was sick of looking at us, till we had run out of places to look, till we couldn't stand another minute of walking eyes to the ground, wondering what exactly we could possibly be looking for. There was nothing. We would run into other searchers, one the family of some kids I'd gone to school with-- their mother had been at my mother's birthday the year before. "I grew up walking up and down this creek," one said, of the run that intersected Groh lane.  He had been friends with my brother, but I hadn't seen him since he was 11 or 12. It was hard to accept that that burnt brown, skinny little boy with the mop of dark hair was the same person as this 45 year old dad with the greying goatee.  I guess because it meant I was old. I couldn't afford to be old. Not yet.