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 sticky  Author  Topic: Project Edan - Todd Matthews - Tent Girl  (Read 2669 times)
FindCarrie
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xx Project Edan - Todd Matthews - Tent Girl
« Thread started on: Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:38am »

We must keep this organization at the top of the list along with Ms Emily Craig, because of the age enhanced photograph that was drawn of Carrie Culberson. Very gracious people.

This site was developed for The Forensic Artists of "Project Edan".
The Artists donate their work to make facial reconstructions for Law Enforcement Agencies that do not have access to, or funding for a qualified Forensic Artist.

Complete Website:
www.projectedan.us
« Last Edit: Oct 25th, 2006, 07:10am by FindCarrie » User IP Logged

Caring About All Missing & Murdered People
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My group inspired to help others because of Carrie.
See also our missing & murdered person blog
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xx Volunteers match found bodies, missing persons
« Reply #1 on: Apr 7th, 2006, 1:11pm »

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By Leon Alligood, USA TODAY

LIVINGSTON, Tenn. Todd Matthews' hobby begins with a nameless corpse the remains of somebody who died, probably violently, and was found without identification.
There are almost 6,000 unidentified bodies John and Jane Does listed in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, according to the FBI. "They're all someone's mother or daughter, father or son," Matthews says. And they can be forgotten by law enforcement agencies that are short on time and tight on resources.

That's where Matthews and like-minded volunteer researchers from the Doe Network come in. An Internet-based alliance of more than 600 people in 23 countries that began in 1999, the network tries to match the unnamed dead with bereft families hoping to find a missing relative.

The Doe Network's primary tool is the Internet. Network members are known for their persistence: No database or message board is too obscure, no clue too tangential, no amount of e-mailing too much in search of the leanest of facts.

The network reports on its site, www.doenetwork.us, that it has identified 36 bodies. That might not sound like many, but considering that Doe members work on their own time without pay and that many of the "unknowns" have been dead for years, the number is a source of pride for members.

Kylen Johnson, 36, who works for an Internet technology firm in Rockville, Md., became a Doe Network volunteer about five years ago. In 2002, her work gave a Kentucky family the closure it had sought for 18 years.

The facts of the cold case were these: Roger Gene Jeffreys was 22 when he left his home in Clay, Ky., in September 1984, bound for Canada. He called home from Maryland but was never heard from again.

Jeffreys' ex-wife, Loretta Conrad, never gave up hope of finding him. She contacted the Doe Network and ended up working with Johnson. "As she was telling me the story, I told her it sounded like an 'unidentified' up in Vermont that I knew about," Johnson says.

The body in Vermont had been found by hunters in a shallow grave in 1985, and it had been there for several months. The person had been killed by a blow to the head.

A critical clue helped make the connection. Conrad said her former husband had "RGJ" tattooed on his shoulder. Vermont's John Doe had a similar marking. The men were one and the same.

Being in the Doe Network, where you learn a lot about other cases all over the country, helps you to make those connections," she says. "I love doing this kind of thing."

Detective Pat Ditter of the Washington State Patrol turned to the Doe Network in 2004 to help him solve a decade-old hit-and-run case.

On Feb. 1, 1993, a man's body had been found along State Route 24 near Moxee, Wash. It had no identification. On the same day in Amarillo, Texas, Judge David Glen Davis' wife reported him missing.

Eleven years later, with the help of a photo posted on the Doe Network website, Ditter connected the cases. Moxee's unidentified dead man was Amarillo's missing judge.

"They're fulfilling a service that we don't have. We don't have photos in the NCIC database," Ditter says. "When you've used the resources that we normally have at our disposal, that's all you can do. It's good to have an organization like the Doe Network."

Matthews says the work is "akin to grasping at straws."

"You just hope to pull out one piece of information that leads to a more crucial piece."

Matthews broke his first case in 1998, a puzzler that had confounded him for more than a decade and kept him in front of the computer screen for hours on end.

The Jane Doe whose identity he sought had been known simply as "Tent Girl" since 1968, when her body, wrapped in a canvas tarpaulin, was found near Georgetown, Ky.

The man who discovered her remains was Wilber Riddle, Matthews' father-in-law. Matthews married Lori Riddle in 1988. "It was one of the first things we talked about when I started dating Lori," he says.

"For some reason, the story of the Tent Girl got inside of me and I couldn't let go. It changed my life," he says, noting that his marriage suffered as he spent time and energy on the case.

The night he connected Tent Girl to a Lexington, Ky., woman missing since 1967, he was browsing on a hunch. A message on a genealogy website got Matthews' attention.

"My sister Barbara has been missing from our family since the latter part of 1967," the posting said. "She has brown hair, brown eyes, is around five feet, two inches tall, and was last seen in the Lexington, Ky., area."

The message was from Rosemary Westbrook of Benton, Ark., who was seeking information about her sister, Barbara Taylor. Matthews shakily typed a reply: "This girl is my girl."

Westbrook thought so, too. The family persuaded Kentucky authorities to allow an exhumation, and a DNA comparison made it certain: Tent Girl was Barbara Taylor.

Matthews, 35, a quality control inspector at an company that makes parts for auto air conditioners, says he regrets his search for clues caused him to ignore his wife and two boys at times, but he calls the discovery of Tent Girl's identity "a life-fulfilling moment."

"I spent 10 years of my life searching for Tent Girl's name. I could have gotten a college degree and an advanced degree in that time, but she taught me a lot more."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-03-06-doe-missing_x.htm
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xx Re: Project Edan
« Reply #2 on: Sep 16th, 2006, 5:39pm »

Searching for answers from near and far

Dennis Webb
Post Independent Staff
September 15, 2006

When a Garfield County sheriff investigator released clues in April related to an unidentified man whose body was found in the Flat Tops in 2004, the story was reported in media as far away as Grand Junction and Denver.

That's all well and good if the man is from Colorado. But it's of limited value if he's from some other state where people don't watch the Denver news on TV.

To Pat Champeau, a semi-retired Wisconsin private investigator who specializes in looking for missing persons, it points to a glaring gap. If someone from her state is killed, and the body is dropped off in Colorado, it can be hard for investigators, possibly with the help of the public, to make the connection.

"My state has a missing story, your state has a found story, the twain never meet," Champeau said.

Champeau is one of thousands of people around the country who devote themselves to trying to connect the dots between missing cases and found bodies, such as that of the man discovered in the Flat Tops near Glenwood Springs.

"Your guy is one of over 5,000 unidentified human beings in this country. It's more prevalent actually than I think you're aware of," Champeau said.

Cybersleuths


Local investigators dealing with unidentified remains are getting an increased amount of help these days from faraway places, thanks to the advent of the Internet. Both the Flat Tops case and that of remains found on Red Mountain near Glenwood Springs in 2003 are now listed on the Doe Network, at www.doenetwork.us. The site is an international information center on missing persons and unidentified remains. It includes indexes to both categories, often including photos. A picture of a facial reconstruction done on the Red Mountain skull is on the site, as are images of a notebook, boots and other items found with the body in the Flat Tops.

The Flat Tops case also was mentioned in Yahoo's Cold Cases discussion group. All the attention has resulted in people such as Champeau pondering what evidence found with the remains might mean. For example, Champeau is particularly intrigued by the reference in the notebook to "Lib," which may be a nickname for Libby, and which Champeau thinks could be a crucial clue to helping solve the case.

Champeau, who formerly was a Doe Network member, now operates her own blog that she said is devoted to the "lost but not forgotten."

She remains frustrated by the challenge of linking missing persons and found remains. Even the Internet is of limited value in getting information out in a more widespread manner to the general public.

"You have a lot of people with very good intentions, but there are limitations. There's no national way to get these faces out currently," she said.

TV shows such as "Unsolved Mysteries" and "America's Most Wanted" have been of some help, she said. While the Doe Network Web site also has been valuable, she said, one frustration for her is that it only publishes pictures of people who have been missing at least seven years.

Todd Matthews, a Doe Network spokesman and the man who solved what is known as the Tent Girl case, pointed to the sheer volume of missing people - more than 100,000 nationally. He believes the Doe Network is best off concentrating on older cases that police haven't been able to solve. With more than 1,400 cybersleuths as members, the Doe Network has solved or helped solve about three dozen cases.

The Internet is helping end mysteries involving the lost and found in ways that go beyond Web sites, chat rooms and blogs devoted to that goal. Matthews said cases are now easier for people to investigate as well. The Internet has simplified things, such as tracking down the name of a sheriff to talk to in another state, checking the archives of a distant newspaper, or comparing notes on a case with people living around the world.

"It just seems like now there's so many resources out there that weren't there years ago. If I had those the Tent Girl might not have taken 10 years" to solve, he said.

Driven by a mystery

Some people become involved in organizations such as the Doe Network because they have a missing family member, Matthews said. A lot of others, such as him, have a specific case that has haunted them and driven them, and sometimes has become known by a name drawn from its circumstances.

For Matthews, that case was the Tent Girl. Matthews' father-in-law, a water well driller named Wilbur Riddle, found her body wrapped in a green tarp, near a creek off a dirt road in Kentucky. The year was 1968, before Matthews had even been born. In 1987, while working as a quality auditor at a Tennessee auto plant and dating his future wife, he became intrigued by Riddle's discovery.

Hounded by the thought that some family was missing a loved one, he worked the case diligently over the next decade. He finally solved it in 1998 when he came across a missing persons Web site that mentioned a Lexington woman who seemed to match the description of the Tent Girl. DNA tests confirmed his suspicions.

The case that has possessed Champeau has yet to come to any satisfactory ending. After reading a newspaper story, she became interested in trying to identify a woman whose remains were found in Wisconsin in 1999. X-rays show the woman, who had been developmentally disabled, was tortured for four weeks before her death, Champeau said.

Somebody "has gotten away with it for seven years" because about the only people to see a facial reconstruction of the woman live in southeast Wisconsin, Champeau said.

Some people follow missing and unidentified persons cases for other reasons. Jack Sweeney, who lives in China, e-mailed the Post Independent about the Flat Tops case, wanting to know what time of day the remains were found. He researches, practices and teaches an ancient Chinese astronomical science that is sometimes used by police there. Knowing the timing of certain events can yield clues such as the circumstances of a death, the year the deceased was born, and clues to the killer's identity if someone was killed, Sweeney said via e-mail.

"I have e-mailed Garfield Sheriff Lou Vallario, but he chose not to respond, which is not surprising, since most police don't like to reveal anything about murder investigations beyond what has already appeared in the press," Sweeney said.

Sheriff detective Don Breier, the investigator on the case, said he hadn't heard about Sweeney, and added that his approach sounds "kind of curious."

Though Breier said he tries to generally keep an open mind, both he and Vallario said they tend to be skeptical about some things, such as the use of psychics on cases.

"When they start telling me what the winning lottery numbers are and who killed Jimmy Hoffa I'll become a believer," Breier said.

Welcome help

Breier said the Doe Network is "a legitimate organization" that he has worked with in the past. He and Vallario feel the Doe Network and similar groups can help fill a void in making connections between missing people and found remains.

Said Vallario, "There's really no good sort of central registry of missing adults and yet these groups kind of keep track and keep an eye on these things."

Champeau said she has found some law enforcement agencies to be more appreciative than others of attempts by outsiders to try to help solve cases.

Breier and Vallario said they appreciate the public's interest in trying to help solve cold cases.

"We encourage any information," Vallario said. "We encourage anybody who has even any experience in these matters who wants to step out and ... lend us a hand."

When it comes to long-shot leads, said Breier, "What the heck ... it can't hurt to check."

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Caring About All Missing & Murdered People
Please visit www.FindCarrieCulberson.Com
And www.AngelGardenOfHope.Com
My group inspired to help others because of Carrie.
See also our missing & murdered person blog
http://findcarrie.blogspot.com
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