Missing But Not Forgotten
July 21, 2005
By Antonio R. Harvey
Somewhere between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., on March 8, 2000, Wilma J. Joiner was seen leaving her niece's home in Vacaville in Solano County. Joiner, who was 70 years of age at the time, likely left the residence to take a stroll and may have been carrying $30. She has not been seen since. Today, more than five years later, Joiner is still on the long list of hundreds of missing African American adults in California.
Joiner who lived alone in Colorado Springs, Colo., before moving to California because her physicians required that she needed constant care never returned to the house on Songbird Court near Leisure Town Road. The Vacaville Police Department is very concerned about Joiner's disappearance, and they want answers. She is still an outstanding missing person case, said Sgt. Mike Ashford, spokesman for the Vacaville P.D. This is a case that has puzzled us for five years. We want to find her and we will take all the help we can.
While people old and young come up missing in the U.S. every day, oftentimes the mainstream media go without giving the public the full picture of the thousands of people who are missing. According to FBI statistics, Blacks and other minorities make up a larger number of missing victims than the media represents.
However, as the debate continues on media coverage, the most important issue at hand is what is being done to find the missing persons old and young - who are way under the media's radar. In the state of California, the Office of the Attorney General listed nearly 1,900 missing adults reported in Sacramento County in 2004. In reference to the Atty. General's office statistics, 73 were under unknown circumstances, 56 were listed missing in the suspicious circumstance category, 27 in dependent adult, 11 reported in catastrophe, and two were placed in stranger abduction when taken by a stranger or non-family member. The voluntary missing section made up the majority (1,680) missing person cases in the county.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the National Center for Missing Adults reported that there are more than 47,000 active missing person cases across the country. As of July 30, 2004, nearly 17,500 are considered at risk or endangered missing, 6,309 are determined missing involuntarily, 7,691 are missing with disabilities, 1,046 are catastrophe victims, and 1,866 are placed into the other category. The National Center for Missing Adults also reported that individuals are reported missing due to various circumstances that include psychiatric disability, diminished mental capacity (mentally challenged), a physical disability, and issues with substance abuse. In addition, the report describes domestic violence, financial woes and other factors that are not always understood contribute to individual's disappearance.
One missing person's case in the Sacramento City Police Department's files is partially not understood, cold, and difficult to solve.Nineteen-year-old Kristy Ann Green vanished in March 2000 from her home at 2861 Lock Avenue in Sacramento. On June 10 of that year, the Sacramento Police Department received a call from a male caller who revealed that he had information that Green was murdered and her body was disposed.
Green's case was reclassified as a homicide by SPD, and eventually caught up with the person who provided the caller with the information. In reference to a police report in July 2000, this person denied any knowledge of the incident, or of ever giving the caller any information. After further investigation by SPD's Homicide Unit, investigators located evidence that corroborates Green's death. Investigators also retrieved more information that Green was deposited in a container and disposed of in the Sacramento River. On July 10, divers from D.A.R.T. and Placer County Safety Department searched the Sacramento River near Freeport for Green to no avail.
In 2002, a male and female were tried and convicted of Green's murder. Prosecutors alleged that Green was probably killed to prevent her from telling the police about their involvement in a mail fraud scheme. Different reports and witnesses say Green was smothered in bubble wrap, and then the body was dismembered, burned and dumped in the Sacramento River. They are both serving 25-to-life sentences, Lana Wyatt, spokesperson for the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, said about the people responsible for Green's death. The prosecutors were successful in getting a conviction without a body, yet the fact remains Green is still missing. As far as I know she's still missing, Wyatt said of Green. But we just prosecuted the case. (As far as finding Green) that would be up to the investigating agency.
Fortunately, Green's information still appears on web sites dedicated to finding missing persons - both children and adults. Web sites such as the National Center for Missing Adults and the Doe Network's sister site, the North American Missing Persons Network have all sorts of information concerning missing people.
The NAMPN, based out of Canada and the United States, is a volunteer-run site that debuted in January 2005. Angela Ellis, a long time member of the Doe Network along with her fellow Doe Network volunteers Jaime Dobrzelewski and Julie Mearing, run the site. The North American Missing Persons Network is devoted to bringing attention to both child and adult missing person's cases in Canada and the United States.
NAMPN has helped solve one case since it was launched earlier this year. The Web site currently has approximately 2,500 missing persons entries with more being added everyday. We have had 106 cases that we had listed that were resolved and removed on our site, Ellis said of NAMPN's web site. They were resolved through many different means and not necessarily through any involvement of NAMPN. We my have assisted others in being solved but aren't aware of it.
Despite the current situation with the media picking cases based on race, Ellis said she think law enforcement agencies are doing their best to solve as many missing persons cases as possible. I believe law enforcement do the best they can with all resources available to them, Ellis said.I have the utmost respect for law enforcement and all they do.
For more information about NAMPN, visit www.nampn.org. To find missing person's entries through the NCMA, visit www.theyaremissed.org.