[“Caylee Anthony” – Google News]
findingcaylee.jpgI make no bones about it — I find the nature of much of the current coverage of the Caylee Anthony case kind of obscene.
Cindy and George Anthony, little Caylee’s grandparents, have made spectacles of themselves. The media has gladly covered each instance. Casey Anthony, Caylee’s mother, is probably the kind of narcissistic, likely even psychopathic personality who, in a way, even enjoys the attention being paid to her every movement.
What I also find obscene, I think, is the obsessive chewing over every tiny, meaningless detail of the circus surrounding the case (parsing the actual details that may point to what really happened is a necessary evil). I find it obscene that people insert themselves into the story — by going to the Anthonys’ home — surely making it a point to do so when the cameras are around — by starting fights in the street. To some degree, even the searches for the child end up being unseemly affairs. I get the sense that some of those people don’t want to find the little girl to bring peace to anyone; they want to be the one who finds the body and gets an interview on national TV.
That’s the part of stories like this that disgusts me — how they always end up drawing a huge number of attention whores into the mix. People who have no real interest in the case, just in getting their own names out there.

hannahupp3.bmpLast night, just after midnight, group administrator Hannah Wood sent the following information in a mass e-mail to members of the Facebook group devoted to finding missing New York City middle school teacher Hannah Emily Upp:

We wish we could be writing to you saying she’s been found, but right now we must allow ourselves to be comforted by the United Federation of Teachers’ incredibly generous offer of a $10,000 reward for information leading to Hannah’s whereabouts. This is in addition to the $2,000 offered by NYPD Crime Stoppers…

Later, in the same message, Wood wrote:

It’s now been over a week since anyone last saw Hannah, and thus the quest to find her has assumed a new and serious urgency. We know that your lives will go on – they must – but we ask you from the very depths of our being to please keep our amazing, beautiful, wonderful friend in your thoughts. Continue to keep in touch: receiving your emails and messages means more to us, and to Hannah (wherever she is), than you might ever imagine…

Were this not a season for storms and politics, it is likely that Hannah Upp’s mysterious disappearance from her apartment on August 29 would be receiving major play from cable news networks like CNN and MSNBC. Since it isn’t — yet — major blogs and newspapers have taken up the slack.
Ian Spiegelman, weekend editor of the enormously popular Gawker.com, was unusually serious (for Gawker) in his post about Hannah’s disappearance. Spiegelman wrote, “This is actually important. And anyone using this thread to make a certain old complaint about the media and missing people, you’ll get banned instantly.”
Spiegelman was referring to a now pro forma complaint often issued by many in the blogosphere whenever a missing persons story about a white female gets a lot of airplay. While it is true that there is inequity in the way these cases are covered by the mainstream news (recall Fox News — for example — and its wall-to-wall coverage of the Natalee Holloway disappearance in the summer of 2005), it is also true that some stories receive the level of coverage they do because they don’t have easy explanations — it is the mystery that draws attention to the case as much as anything.
With Hannah Upp, the yeoman’s work being done by her friends from Bryn Mawr has a lot to do with the story making it to a blog that doesn’t normally touch such a story — like Gawker. As soon as it was clear that something was seriously wrong, that there was no logical explanation for Hannah vanishing into thin air, friends like Hannah Wood and Arielle Schechter began contacting anyone and everyone they could think of to get the word out. Sometimes I think we should focus less on the media’s occasional feeding frenzy on cases like this and more on the positive aspect — that Hannah Upp had friends so committed to finding her that they used every networking tool they could think of to let the world know something was wrong.
Anyone who knows anything about Hannah Upp’s disappearance — please call Detective Perez at the 30th Precinct. You can call either 212-690-8842 or 212-690-8843.
And just so it’s clear, I’ll echo the Gawker editor on this score — any of that usual bitching “about the media and missing people, you’ll get banned instantly.”
[Facebook: “We’re Not Giving Upp (on Hannah)”]

On the phone, Arielle Schechter’s youthful voice sounds a little frayed. Her worry for her friend Hannah Emily Upp is palpable.
hannahupp2.jpgHannah, age 23, has been missing since August 29, 2008. When she didn’t come to work to begin her second year of teaching Spanish at Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change in Harlem, it was clear that something was wrong.
Arielle told me that Hannah’s friends are simply doing everything they can think of to get the word out about Hannah’s disappearance. That was why she joined friends Hannah Wood, Amy Scott and Piyali Bhattacharya in maintaining the Facebook group they titled “We’re Not Giving Upp (on Hannah).”
“We need to just get as much information out there as we can and hope that the right person sees her,” Arielle said. They’re doing pretty well — at last count, the Facebook group had 1,282 members.
Arielle said that everyone is worried. Some are scared. But, she said, “we don’t know,” so they “try to not speculate.”
Hannah was a freegan, but Arielle explained that being a freegan wasn’t really that big a part of Hannah’s lifestyle. It was social, for Hannah, something fun and unusual to do. It didn’t have to be about finding free food — Hannah might find a perfectly nice picture frame out by a Dumpster and take it home.
Hannah’s vanishing is a true conundrum for those who know her. Arielle, who has known Hannah for “about 3 years,” says that nothing fits. And many of the usual issues that pop up when a person goes missing weren’t present in Hannah’s life. As far as Arielle Schechter knows, Hannah has never had any major mental health issues. Hannah Upp didn’t have a significant other, or any known problems with an ex, either.
Hannah’s job teaching middle schoolers Spanish was part of New York City’s teaching fellowship program. Hannah was taking classes towards her master’s at night and, like other teaching fellows, working at an underserved school during the day. Arielle said she thought that Hannah was good at what she did — “very creative.”
Hannah’s first year teaching at Thurgood Marshall wasn’t a picnic, but as far as Arielle knew, that was about par for the course for any first year teacher.
People have been posting flyers everywhere in Hannah’s neighborhood, and Arielle said that scent dogs will try to find some trace of Hannah along routes she was known to run.
On the Web, friends are sending out blind e-mails, to publicists, people working with publishing houses or at newspapers, anyone who can get the word out.
It’s all they can think of to do, right now. Get the word out, and not speculate too much.
Hannah Emily Upp is 5’5″ and weighs about 130 lbs. She has long, dark hair and hazel-green eyes. She has a lot of friends who want her to come home safe. Again, if you know anything about her disappearance, call Detective Perez at the 30th Precinct Detective Squad at 212-690-8842, or 212-690-8843, or call (800) 577-TIPS.

hannahupp.jpgNo one has seen 23-year-old New York City school teacher Hannah Emily Upp since Friday, August 29, 2008.
Her roommates say Hannah was planning a weekend getaway. She was going to spend some time with her mom in Philadelphia and probably return to NYC on Saturday, no later than Sunday. They last saw her around 2 that afternoon.
Some time that day she used her debit card to go to a movie by herself at a Times Square movie theater.
When Hannah didn’t come home on Sunday, her roommates began to worry. Phone calls went straight to voice mail.
When they entered her bedroom Monday evening, frantic with worry, they found Hannah’s handbag. Everything she might need was there — an ATM card, her cell, her passport and her subway card.
Hannah was supposed to go back to work on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change, where she taught middle school Spanish. The first day of her second year as a teacher passed, still no Hannah.
Now there is a Facebook group dedicated to finding Hannah, as well as several blog posts and news articles.
No one knows where she is.
Hannah Upp graduated from Bryn Mawr in 2007. Following graduation she moved to New York, where she secured her job at Thurgood Marshall and began doing volunteer work for AIDS organizations. The Daily News reported that she had also begun working on a master’s in education at Pace University.
Hannah had wide-ranging, unusual interests. An article published in the Daily News on July 19, 2008 featured a photo of Hannah with a couple of friends holding bags of bagels. According to the piece, Hannah and her friends were “freegans.”
Freegans are a subculture of people, usually vegans, who only eat food that is free. Freegans find what they need by scavenging on the street; the practice is called Dumpster diving. To be a freegan is to reject capitalist values and the wastefulness of society at large. It’s an act of defiance, a turning away from crass, consumer culture. Since May 8 this year, Hannah Upp had even been a member of a Meetup group for people interested in “NYC Dumpster Diving.”
While a member of the Bryn Mawr and Haverford Chamber Singers, Hannah wrote about a choir trip to Ghana for Bryn Mawr Now. Her article revealed a great deal of insight and a compelling way with words. Hannah wrote:

Returning to Bryn Mawr also meant that I was faced with the challenge of explaining how I spent my winter break, and I have surprised myself with my descriptions of the trip. Instead of the details that would excite a thrill-seeking traveler […] I find myself describing the emotion I felt while we sang a spiritual at the banks of the river where slaves were bathed for the last time before being sent off on the Middle Passage. I recall the power of the hospitality of the family that welcomed me into their home, where I would share a small bed with three others in what turned into a very cozy night. I refer to the instant connection developed with the members of other choirs when we were able to engage through a song that we had specifically learned to sing together. As corny as it sounds, music did become the instant bridge. Even though I had never met this person singing next to me and any objective comparison of our lives would indicate a complete lack of common ground, we were able to interact and share something that needs no explanation…

A fellow Bryn Mawr student, writing in her tumblelog about Hannah’s disappearance, called the young teacher “one of the kindest people I’ve ever met.” The size of the Facebook group devoted to finding Hannah is further testament to the number of people who know her and now find themselves worried about the teacher with the easy, winning smile. In a comment on the group page, a friend named Danika Hunt wrote, “I am completely distraught right now, actively keeping my mind aside whenever I can, because I can’t imagine my Hannah in this situation. Please return home safely. You’re in mine and my family’s prayers. I miss you.”
Corey Godbey wrote that he was “Hannah’s cousin Corey from KS.” Godbey continued, “I want to thank each one of you that has joined this group… and also ask you to join me… As we continue to pray for Hannah’s safety and ask God to reveal her whereabouts to us… we also need to pray (believing) for the person(s) that DO know where she is. Someone does. Somewhere. Pray with me that that person(s) will reveal what they know in the opportune moment…”
Not all disappearances are the result of a criminal act. They can come from depression, from misadventure, from someone simply wanting to just get the hell away from it all. It seems clear that in this case, Hannah Upp’s disappearance was completely unexpected and to those who know and love her, cause for great suspicion and worry.
Dropping into the subjective blogger’s voice now — I couldn’t help but notice that Hannah Upp disappeared just two days before the murder of Pace University honors student Kevin Pravia. Pravia was apparently murdered by a homeless man, Jeromie Cancel, whom Pravia met early in the morning on August 31. Cancel accompanied Pravia to his apartment. After Pravia fell asleep, Cancel took a number of electronic items and left — only to return and strangle Kevin Pravia as an afterthought.
Freegans with jobs and residences like Hannah Upp would surely come into quite a bit of contact with the homeless, who sometimes have no choice but to Dumpster-dive.
Let’s hope Hannah didn’t encounter Jeromie Cancel or someone like him. Since it seems as though Cancel has been more than willing to confess to what he’s done, it is unlikely she ran into him, or he might have already said so. Still, there had to be a certain danger factor in pursuing the freegan lifestyle, since among the homeless, there will always be a small number of people like Jeromie Cancel, who have profound and potentially dangerous emotional and mental problems.
If you think you have information that might help in the search for Hannah Emily Upp, please call (800) 577-TIPS or get in touch with Detective Perez at the 30th Precinct Detective Squad, by calling either 212-690-8842, or 212-690-8843.
[Facebook and New York Daily News. See also: Neil Gaiman’s Journal.]

cayleeanthony.jpgAnother day, another development in the case of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony that makes me want to tear out what little hair I have left. In the past I’ve avoided such pitched coverage of one case or another because I have a terrible attention span and because I try to maintain some objectivity; the more I write about a case, the more I tend to develop opinions and propose speculation — that’s all well and good, but it can also be a waste of time and energy.
Anyway, I feel a call to handle things a little differently here — a call to not be so in thrall to my own whims. So that’s why I post this deeply irritating update in the Anthony case — Casey’s getting out again. Some anonymous nimrod has decided Casey is worth their money, and she’ll be out on bond by Friday morning.
According to a statement released by Casey’s attorney, Jose Baez, the person posting Casey’s bond believes “that Ms. Anthony’s constitutional rights have been grossly violated.”
Another, less comment-worthy development — Cindy and George Anthony have hired their own attorney, Mark NeJame. An article published by WFTV explains why: “George and Cindy Anthony have been heard making random statements and spectacles of themselves in the media and NeJame said the grandparents realize it and are now asking for help.”
Finally, there’s a statement Cindy Anthony made regarding Leonard Padilla and Tim Miller, of Texas Equusearch. Via e-mail, Cindy said that both men came to her “under false pretenses.” According to Cindy, both men said that “their sole purpose” was “to find Caylee alive.”
Tim Miller, said Cindy, really just wanted to “obtain publicity for his organization at the expense of exploiting” Caylee’s disappearance. Cindy believes that Miller’s approach was simply him “following in Leonard Padilla’s footsteps.”
Of course, that’s all the sideshow. The meat of the story hasn’t changed. Casey Anthony has still lied repeatedly about what happened to her daughter. The DNA on hair found in the car she drove still matched her daughter’s DNA, and tests conducted by the University of Tennessee’s Body Farm still found that a human body was decomposing in the trunk of that car. Chloroform was still searched on Casey’s computer, and traces of chloroform were found in the same vehicle that stank of death when Cindy Anthony first called the police.
Anyone really paying attention clearly sees the real story as it slowly emerges. And at the risk of repeating myself from the previous post — the word “vile” still applies. [TBO.com/AP and WFTV.com.]

findingcaylee.jpgAccording to reports out of Orlando, traces of chloroform were found in Casey Anthony’s car. That might normally be the kind of detail that a defense lawyer or an enabling family would write off as irrelevant to the investigation into the disappearance of 3-year-old Caylee Anthony, but unfortunately for Casey Anthony, someone also allegedly used her computer to search for information about chloroform.
Other news in the case — bounty hunter Leonard Padilla has been dropping little bombs here and there, revealing himself to be a little more cagey than he seemed when he went to Florida saying he believed the little girl was alive. Padilla said, in a recent interview, that the results of tests currently being done by the FBI will “shock the world.” Padilla also said that a Dumpster located “a mile and a quarter away from” the home of Casey Anthony’s boyfriend, Anthony Lazzaro will “play a big part in this.”
Did Casey Anthony kill her daughter in cold blood, then carefully and remorselessly concealed the crime and her daughter’s body? A lot of people don’t want to believe any mother is capable of such a crime. At this point, in this case, though, any other explanation beggars common sense. Of course, miracles can happen, but they are, sadly, rare. Caylee Anthony is gone. And now, it’s as if her entire family is complicit, even though no one has accused Cindy or George Anthony of any crime. Indeed, they probably believe what they say in Casey’s defense. In a strange way, that may speak to the sheer weight of the truth — perhaps the denial expressed by Caylee’s grandparents in their words to the media is really two people revealing the fact that they can’t deal with the most obvious possibility — their daughter killed their granddaughter and then went on with life as if nothing had happened. I’ll give the Anthonys that much credit — they may very well be behaving the way they are because to accept the obvious would actually put them — especially Cindy — over the edge.
Truth be told, most of us would want to believe anything but that kind of truth. Some things are just too vile to accept. [WKMG Orlando]

izamora.jpgThe Associated Press has identified the suspect in a Washington State shooting spree as Isaac Zamora, age 28.
The spree left six dead and two wounded. A deputy from the Skagit County Sheriff’s Dept. was among the dead. A Washington State trooper was injured during the police chase that ultimately led to Zamora’s arrest.
A spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol said that Zamora had “a mental illness.” The AP also indicated that Zamora was in Skagit County detention as recently as early August.
Dennise Zamora, a healthcare worker, told the AP she was Zamora’s mother. In an interview she described her son’s severe mental illness and said that she was “devastated for the families” of the victims. Dennise Zamora also said that she wished that either she or her son had been killed rather than the 6 who died.
In another interview with a Seattle-area TV station, Zamora’s mother said, “This is the truth: I love him, but I would of rather it would have been him than any of them. Its’ not his fault that he is mentally ill.”
Isaac Zamora’s mother has apparently tried to help her son in the past, but she has been limited by the fact that her son is no longer a minor. Zamora has been in and out of jail for theft and drug-related offenses and may have even been homeless for a time.
Isaac Zamora was on a special list of Skagit County offenders who were watched due to issues such as mental illness.
Zamora did have a MySpace page, but he hadn’t logged in since December of 2007 and there really wasn’t anything there, save a birthday comment from a friend, left in August, 2007.
Perhaps because the victims of this spree were scattered over several crime scenes, making the investigation much more complex than usual, none of their names have been released.
Zamora is in the Skagit County jail. [Seattle Times and the Bellingham Herald.]

shootingspree.jpgAn allegedly mentally ill man with an extensive criminal history apparently went on a rampage today in Skagit County, WA. Six people were killed and two were injured before he was taken into custody.
The insanity began with a police call to a home on Silver Creek Drive in Skagit County.
When the responding deputy wouldn’t answer hails from dispatch, more cops went to the scene. There they found two dead people, including the deputy.
The toll rose when two workers were found shot to death at construction site near the Silver Creek Drive address. Victim number 5 was found nearby.
Somehow the shooter was spotted at a gas station. He shot a witness there and fled the scene. A police chase ensued down Interestate 5, the shooter firing wildly much of the way. In the process he wounded a state trooper and killed an innocent driver.
Finally the shooter pulled up to a police station, where he gave up. Police say he began discussing the crime spree right away.
So far, that’s just about all there is on this story. There’s likely to be much more,later, so look for an update later tonight or tomorrow.
[TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA and KATU.com.]

jcancel.jpgThe 22-year-old who allegedly murdered Pace University student Kevin Pravia over the weekend is Jeromie Cancel, of Queens, NY.
The New York Post, citing police sources, reports that Cancel “sat down in the victim’s apartment and watched the movie ‘Saw’ just moments after smothering the teenager in his sleep.”
Cancel allegedly confessed to the crime. He may have told his father, Jesus Soto, and the cops who came to arrest him. Cancel claims he bought drugs from Kevin Pravia, but police don’t believe him. Still, why Pravia and Cancel returned to the student’s Chelsea apartment together remains a mystery. Pravia was gay, but there was no evidence of sexual contact between him and his alleged killer.
After Cancel watched the movie, he allegedly took electronic items from the residence Pravia shared with roommate Josephine Madonna.
Cancel was arrested at his dad’s home. Jesus Soto told the Post that Cancel came to his door and said ‘I just killed someone.’ Soto continued, “He had no remorse. He had a big smile. Then, he told me again he killed someone.”
Soto called the cops. When they arrived, Soto says his son “just turned to cops and told them he just killed someone.”
Jeromie Cancel’s father also told the New York paper that his son is “mentally imbalanced.”
On MySpace, Jeromie Cancel called himself “puertoricothug352.” Where the profile asked who he’d like to meet, Cancel wrote, “THE DEVIL.”
Cancel titled his profile “TEARS OF A KING,” and his headline read “F.T.W. AND THE PPL IN IT” — for you text-message challenged folks out there, “fuck the world and the people in it.”
All of Cancel’s photos showed a young man with a hard look, playing at gangsta poses. In two he appeared to be wearing fangs — which might make sense, as he was a member of a “Vampire clan” MySpace game, in addition to mafia and mobster games. Other photos showed new tats, one so fresh it still glistened with ointment.
Cancel’s last log-in was August 20, 2008, and he had only one friend left on his profile, though comments posted to the page went back to 2006. He’d apparently been living in Florida for a time prior to his arrival in New York.
Cancel’s ‘general’ interest on MySpace were simply “THE DEVIL.” He also posted “THE DEVIL” beside ‘Heroes’ on his profile.
Maybe Jeromie Cancel was sending a signal. Perhaps he had gone off the deep end and he knew it. The killing is still strange, for a robbery — there is something deeply pathological behind the bag in the throat, the strangling, and the smothering. Could Cancel have been a fledgling serial killer? At the moment, only he and “THE DEVIL” know. [New York Post]

jcancel.jpgThe 22-year-old who allegedly murdered Pace University student Kevin Pravia over the weekend is Jeromie Cancel, of Queens, NY.
The New York Post, citing police sources, reports that Cancel “sat down in the victim’s apartment and watched the movie ‘Saw’ just moments after smothering the teenager in his sleep.”
Cancel allegedly confessed to the crime. He may have told his father, Jesus Soto, and the cops who came to arrest him. Cancel claims he bought drugs from Kevin Pravia, but police don’t believe him. Still, why Pravia and Cancel returned to the student’s Chelsea apartment together remains a mystery. Pravia was gay, but there was no evidence of sexual contact between him and his alleged killer.
After Cancel watched the movie, he allegedly took electronic items from the residence Pravia shared with roommate Josephine Madonna.
Cancel was arrested at his dad’s home. Jesus Soto told the Post that Cancel came to his door and said ‘I just killed someone.’ Soto continued, “He had no remorse. He had a big smile. Then, he told me again he killed someone.”
Soto called the cops. When they arrived, Soto says his son “just turned to cops and told them he just killed someone.”
Jeromie Cancel’s father also told the New York paper that his son is “mentally imbalanced.”
On MySpace, Jeromie Cancel called himself “puertoricothug352.” Where the profile asked who he’d like to meet, Cancel wrote, “THE DEVIL.”
Cancel titled his profile “TEARS OF A KING,” and his headline read “F.T.W. AND THE PPL IN IT” — for you text-message challenged folks out there, “fuck the world and the people in it.”
All of Cancel’s photos showed a young man with a hard look, playing at gangsta poses. In two he appeared to be wearing fangs — which might make sense, as he was a member of a “Vampire clan” MySpace game, in addition to mafia and mobster games. Other photos showed new tats, one so fresh it still glistened with ointment.
Cancel’s last log-in was August 20, 2008, and he had only one friend left on his profile, though comments posted to the page went back to 2006. He’d apparently been living in Florida for a time prior to his arrival in New York.
Cancel’s ‘general’ interest on MySpace were simply “THE DEVIL.” He also posted “THE DEVIL” beside ‘Heroes’ on his profile.
Maybe Jeromie Cancel was sending a signal. Perhaps he had gone off the deep end and he knew it. The killing is still strange, for a robbery — there is something deeply pathological behind the bag in the throat, the strangling, and the smothering. Could Cancel have been a fledgling serial killer? At the moment, only he and “THE DEVIL” know. [New York Post]