Monday, October 20, 2014

Aurora Woman Was Dawn of Serial Killer Case

This Aurora native with the first name of Afrikka was killed in Indiana.

Aurora means "dawn."

"My liveliest interest is not so much in things, as in relations of things. I have spent much time thinking about the alleged pseudo-relations that are called coincidences. What if some of them should not be coincidences?" ~ Charles Fort, Wild Talents (1932)

The discovery of the body of a young woman from Aurora, Colorado, was the beginning of the unraveling of the mystery of multiple murders in the Gary-Hammond, Indiana area.

Authorities identified the first of the seven victims as Afrika (also spelled Afrikka, in some accounts) Hardy, 19. Hardy was found unresponsive at a Motel 6 in the 3800-block of 179th Street in Hammond (shown above) around 9:30 p.m. Friday, October 17, 2014. An autopsy found on Sunday that she died as a result of strangulation.

Officials said three bodies were then discovered in abandoned homes in Gary late Saturday night, based on a statement or confession from the man in custody. He told officers over the course of time where six other women's bodies could be found. He may have talked of killing women over the course of several years.

The body of a woman police identified as Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, Indiana, was found in the 413 E. 43rd Avenue (shown above) in Gary, Indiana.

Early Sunday, the body of Teaira Batey, 28, of Gary, was found in an abandoned home in the 1800-block of East 19th Avenue. She was reported missing in late January, according to her boyfriend, Marvin Clinton.

Late on Sunday, another body, that of 36-year-old Christine Williams, was found at 2200 Massachusetts St. in Gary, Indiana.

Hours later, two more bodies were found in this house in the 400-block of east 43rd Avenue. They have not been identified.
"Once we find out who they are, we can do a timeline back to see who the last person was that they talked to or last person was who they were with and then the investigation can really take off," Gary Police Department Cpl. Gabrielle King said.

The man in custody has not yet been charged. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson confirmed he is a sex offender from Austin, Texas, who moved to Gary in 2004.

The mayor said he moved many times and has court cases pending. He is also recently divorced. Freeman-Wilson said he filed in Lake Superior Court in East Chicago, Ind.

Police found three more bodies in Gary overnight. A total of seven bodies, all female, were discovered in northwest Indiana over the weekend, according to the Lake County coroner's office.

One body was found in the 4300-block of Massachusetts Street and two bodies were found in the 400-block of East 43rd Avenue Sunday night.

The suspect is Darren Deon Vann, 43. He is a former U.S. Marine, and a convicted sex offender in Texas.

The strange scene inside Vann's home.

Darren a masculine given name, with some theories state that it originated from a Gaelic surname meaning "burnt land or hill," or from an Anglicization of the Irish firstname Darragh or Dáire meaning "oak tree." The name Deon is an African-American baby name. In African-American the meaning of the name Deon is "God." The name Vann (Dutch, Welsh) is derived from the Middle English words fein, fayn, or fane, which all mean "glad."

(Thanks to R.S. on Aurora background for Ms. Hardy.)
The significance of the name Aurora surfaced in 2012. 
See the following for more details:

A few 2012 interviews, about the Aurora shootings:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Copycat Creepy Clowns Countrywide

Clown contagion appears to be spreading across the nation.

The Wasco Clown, a California photography project by a husband-and-wife team who said they wish to remain anonymous, appears to have inspired copycats that have been photographed and videotaped in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Fishers, Indiana; and Jacksonville, Florida. Source/Video.
Huffington Post and many media outlets have posted the photos.

Also, there's been a recent rash of clowns-as-robbers incidents too.

See posting of October 10, 2014, "Wasco's Mysterious Clowns."

Phantom clowns have been making appearances for years (see this, from 2008), so it would only be natural that clowns would be used to terrorized people again. And again.

Trident Stolen From Poseidon's Fortress

According to WJON, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that a theft occurred at the “Poseidon Fortress” house in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Sheriff John Sanner says deputies were called to 32208 County Road 1 in Le Sauk Township on Thursday, October 16, 2014, for a theft complaint.

[The Sacs or Sauks are a group of Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands culture group. Due to the yellow-clay soils found around Saginaw Bay, their autonym was Oθaakiiwaki (often interpreted to mean "yellow-earth"). The Ojibwe and Ottawa name for the tribe (exonym) was Ozaagii, meaning "those at the outlet." From the sound of that, the French derived Sac and the English Sauk. The use of "le," for "the" is thus used in American location names, as per "Le Sauk."]

Sanner says the caretaker at the residence reported that somebody stole (at a time unknown) the trident from the bronze Poseidon statue in front of the house. Source.

The Poseidon Fortress/House is the site of a spoof of an actual real estate video of the home for sale. See below.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Death of Skinwalkers' Misty Upham: Accident, Suicide, or Murder?

The Native American (Blackfeet) actress Misty Upham, 32, who has been missing since October 5, 2014, was discovered dead in a ravine in a Seattle woodland, close by her sister's apartment, on or near the Muckleshoot Nation, on October 17th.

Upham appeared in several films, including Skinwalkers (2002), Frozen River (2008) - shown immediately above -, Diango Unchained (2012), and August: Osage County (2013).

Skinwalkers (2002) is not to be confused with the more horror-oriented Skinwalkers (2006).

In some Native American legends, a skinwalker (in Dini/Navajo = yee naldlooshi) is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires. To be able to transform, legend sometimes requires that the skin-walker wears a pelt of the animal. In most cases, this pelt is not used in modern times because it is an obvious sign of them being skin-walkers. Similar lore can be found in cultures throughout the world and is often referred to as shapeshifting by anthropologists. I personally, as long ago as the mid-1960s, interviewed people who had encounters with what they assumed were skinwalkers, running beside their speedy cars, in Arizona and New Mexico. There is nothing funny about skinwalkers and shapeshifters to those who feel they have seen them.

The synchrocinema Skinwalkers is a 2002 mystery television film based on the novel by Tony Hillerman, one of a series of mysteries set against contemporary Navajo life in the Southwest. It stars Adam Beach as Jim Chee, Wes Studi as Joe Leaphorn, and Misty Upham as Nina. It was produced as part of the PBS Mystery! series.
Joe Leaphorn, a seasoned cop accustomed to the ways of Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, has returned to the Navajo Nation. Recovering from cancer, his wife, Emma, feels rejuvenated by her home's landscape and people. Leaphorn is less sure about their return. Well schooled in urban policing, he is soon confronted with a particular Navajo case: a mysterious killer who has a special antipathy for medicine men. He works with a partner Jim Chee, an FBI Academy grad who is training to be a traditional healer.
Roman George's body is found miles from his abandoned truck and surrounded by ancient symbols etched in blood. A local archeologist holds the key to the symbols he left behind, so Chee and Leaphorn pay him a visit at a nearby Anasazi ruins. There, these unlikely partners find further clues indicating that the murderer may be a "skinwalker," a Navajo witch with the power to shape shift, or change from human to animal, move with lightning speed, and to kill with curses. Fearing that his mentor, Wilson Sam, will be next, Chee convinces the medicine man to hide in a nearby motel.
As Chee juggles the day-to-day police work on the reservation, Leaphorn tracks down clues to the identity of the evasive criminal. More ancient symbols are found at an abandoned paint factory, where a local gang has been congregating. What do the signs mean? Who is sending these messages in blood? Could the murders be linked to the old Dinetah Paints scandal? Chee does not have much time to mull these questions over, as he soon finds himself in the killer's crosshairs. Source.

For a complete overview of the various theories related to Misty Upham's death, please see here. Most focus on a suicide or an accident.

Some individuals, such as actress Juliette Lewis, feel a more sinister backstory may be in play.

Her family claim that she tripped and fell down a hidden embankment while hiding from police. She was missing for 12 days until her body was found.

In summary, Misty Upham was apparently bipolar and suicidal, and may have taken her own life. She may have been fleeing what she felt was a police pursuit, and fallen, by accident, into the ravine. The family has some strong feelings about her death, of course.

The following is a statement from the family:
We would like to provide the following information to all of Misty's friends and family. We believe that Misty's death was accidental. She did not commit suicide.
We believe she ran into the wooded area behind her apartment to hide from the police.
The area in question has a hidden drop off and evidence suggests that she slipped and fell off of the steep embankment when she tried to get out of a view from the road.
She simply did not see the drop off. We searched near that area that evening she disappeared and missed seeing her purse by 25 feet.

I , Charles, went there after Fire Department officials recovered her body and you just can't see the steep drop until it's to late.
Misty was afraid of the Auburn PD officers with good reason. In an incident prior to her disappearance, the Auburn PD came to pick up Misty on an involuntary transport to the ER.
She was cuffed and placed in a police car. Some of the officiers began to taunt and tease her while she was in the car.
Because it was dark they couldn't see that we, her family, were outside our apartment just across the street witnessing this behavior.
They were tapping on the window making faces at her. Misty was crying and she told them you can't treat me like this I'm a movie actress and I will use my connections to expose you.
Then another officer walked up to her asked 'are you a movie star?, then why don't complain to George Clooney!'
After Misty arrived at the ER we went to see her and she has a swollen jaw, black eye and scratches and bruises on her shoulder.
I asked the ER staff what happened and they said Misty was brought in like that. Misty said she couldn't remember what happened but that’s why she feared the police.
I asked Misty to call the Auburn PD and ask to speak to the commander. When she was connected to, whom we believe was Commander Stocker she made a verbal complaint.
The official asked her 'what are you going to do about it?' She replied I'm doing it, I'm telling you so you do something about it.'
The APD official told her unless she wanted to file a formal complaint the matter would not be pursued.
The day the APD was called to do another Involuntary transport Misty left the apartment where she was staying.
When we tried to follow her Auburn PD officers told us they wanted to check for inside. We told them that Misty may have walked around the side of the apartment but they made us to go back inside.
They asked if we were hiding her and took time to search the apartment and get a description of what she was wearing.
By the time they finished Misty was gone. We believe that if we were not otherwise occupied we may have found Misty before she got hurt.
It is a tragic that Misty slipped and fell to her death trying avoid the police, it's tragic that she did not get the proper medication to treat her mental illness from her mental health care givers at Valley Cities Mental Health, it is tragic that the Auburn PD refused to help offer to find or at least change her Missing status to 'Endangered' to allow other agencies to get involved. But the real tragedy is this could have been prevented on a lot of levels.
We pleaded with the Auburn Police to help us find Misty but Commander Stocker made the decision that Misty did not fit the criteria of the Washington State Endangered Missing Persons Plan. This became a point of contention between us and the Auburn PD.
In a statement he gave to the press he said Auburn PD doesn't have any evidence that Misty is actually missing. He went to say that Misty packed her belonging and left her apartment. This was an inaccurate statement.
We believe that Commander Stocker had animosity against Misty due to a previous encounter. Why else would he refuse to allow common sense to prevail? Imagine a 32 year old woman with mental illness, without her medication, imagine she left in an unstable mental state, imagine for the first time in 32 years she lost contact with everyone for 11 days.
Now imagine she is Commander Stocker's daughter. Do you think this case would have been handled differently? Misty loved life, she had ambition, vision and a desire to make a difference in the world she lived in.
She tried to use her celebrity status to influence positive change and she became a living example of that endeavor. Now press reports are saying that Auburn police department found Misty.
The truth is the Native American community formed a search party and found her after several days of searching without the help of the Auburn PD.
We would like to thank the Muckleshoot Tribe and other Tribal volunteers for all their support in our time of desperation.
We would like thank all the wonderful supporters who could not be here but offered kind words and prayers.

One of Ms. Upham's Hollywood glamor photographs.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola Czar, Ron Klain, Recount, Kevin Spacey, and Outbreak

Ron Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joseph R. Biden Jr., has been named by President Barack Obama to be the Ebola Czar. He was the lead Democratic lawyer for Gore during the 2000 election recount.

Klain was later played by Kevin Spacey in the HBO drama Recount about the disputed contest. 

The name Klain 
is one of the most famous of all surnames of Germanic origins. It is a nickname, and is recorded in some fifty spellings ranging from Klein, Kleyn, and Cline, to De Cleyne, Kleinermann, and Klejna, and with many compounds such as Kleinbaum and Kleinhandler. However spelled the origination is pre-7th century A.D., and the derivation is from the words klein or kleyne meaning "small." In ancient times before the introduction of surnames in about the 12th century, nicknames, particulary those of endearment were very popular. In this case the word was probably applied to the youngest member of a family, although it could also have applied to one of small stature or even the reverse! Pre-medieval humor was both robust and personalized, so "Klain"/"Klein" may on occasion have been a nickname for a large person! The surname is one of the first ever recorded anywhere, and early examples taken from the authentic German charters and registers of the period, confirm its popularity. Source.

Coincidentally, Kevin Spacey played Major Casey Schuler in Outbreak (released March 10, 1995), who dies of an Ebola-like virus. The film focuses on an outbreak of a fictional Ebola-like virus called Motaba in Zaire and later in a small fictional town of Cedar Creek, California, in the United States of America. 

Klain was born on August 8, 1961 in Indianapolis, He is a member of the DayBreak Boys Band and grew up in a Jewish home. He graduated from North Central High School in 1979 and was on the school's Brain Game team, which finished as season runner-up. He graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University in 1983. In 1987, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was one of several to win the Sears Prize for the highest grade point average in 1984–85. While at Harvard Law School, Klain was also an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Source.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Klain served as a law clerk for Justice Byron R. White and worked as an aide in the Senate, as well as in several Democratic campaigns. Klain was chief of staff to Biden from 2009 to 2011, and held the same post from 1995 to 1999 for Gore. 

Fiction becomes fact?

For those looking for the top high quality, narrative fiction epidemiology (non-Zombie) films to view during this Ebola crisis, I recommend the following:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ebola Maps: Graphic Projections of a Global Crisis

Ebola means "Black River," in the local Lingala language.

The virus Ebola was named after a river in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, at the headwaters of the Mongala River, a tributary of the Congo River.

It began in a small corner of the world.

Now, Ebola is in a dynamic phase of spreading. 

Let's look at this contagious situation via maps.

This map, based on a model created by a team led by Oxford University scientists, predicts that in animal populations the Ebola virus is likely to be circulating across a vast swathe of forested Central and West Africa.

The search is on for passengers on Flight 1142, from Dallas to Cleveland, on October 10, 2014, as well, plus the following:

Flight 2042 on Tuesday morning from Dallas to Cleveland,
Flight 1104 on Tuesday afternoon from Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale,
Flight 1105 on Tuesday afternoon from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland,
Flight 1101 on Tuesday night from Cleveland to Atlanta, and
Flight 1100 on Tuesday night from Atlanta to Cleveland.

Nurse Nina Pham, who treated Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan died October 8, 2014.

Nina Pham and her dog, a King Charles Spaniel, named Bentley.

Nurse Amber Vinson, who also treated Duncan, and flew on Flights 1142 and 1143.