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Today was the second time I stumbled onto an online confession regarding a possibly missing person.

The first, you may very well be familiar with, as it got quite a bit of national press. It involves a blog called PostSecret, that encourages readers to confess their secrets on one side of a postcard and mail them in.   The postcards are scanned and displayed on the site, with no identifiable information about who sent them.

The typical secret will be someone admitting their lust for someone who is married, or expressing disgust with their neighbors.

One, however, contained a close-up Google Earth map showing a wooded area along a river.  Taped to the map was a note that read “I said she dumped me, but really, I dumped her (body).  An arrow was drawn pointing to a specific point on the map.

postsecret4n-1-web

Authorities believed this image was of Jackson Park in Chicago, Illinois.  They searched the park and found nothing.  They now believe this was a hoax.

The second online confession I found is an audio confession  (it’s not graphic or gory) which alludes to the murder in a mostly unknown case from Florida.  This doesn’t sound like a hoax to me, it sounds like someone who wanted to relieve herself of guilt. Although she doesn’t exactly come out and say she killed this person, she certainly insinuates it.   I am trying to determine if this woman is still missing or not.  It’s hard to tell, because there was never much publicity.   One of her family members posted a query on Ancestry back in 2001, and was apparently trying to locate her, but was unsure of how to spell her name.  She is listed on the Florida State Missing Persons site, and on Official Cold Case Investigations, but I do not see her anywhere else.

I am not posting her name here until I can determine her status, but you can certainly see and hear it in the confession or at one of the links.

Anyway, the concept of online confessions is a tough one to ponder.

It’s a way for a perpetrator who wants peace for their victim’s family to give up what the family wants more than anything – the victim’s location – without putting themselves in jeopardy.

Of course, it’s not ideal for someone to have committed such a horrific crime and get away with it, but I think it beats the alternative of the perpetrator (or witness) saying nothing at all.

On the other hand, it provides a great opportunity for kids with too much time on their hands to create hoaxes, or even for the perpetrators themselves to try to steer law enforcement in the wrong direction by pretending to be the missing person, or what not.

I guess it’s really no different from an anonymous tip line, except that I think it takes far more courage to actually call and speak to someone than to hide behind an anonymous screen name.

One thing I’ve noticed, just in my own attempts to contact law enforcement with possible matches, questions, requests for photos, etc. is that it’s difficult to find a way to contact most Missing Persons personnel online.  There’s usually a phone number, but rarely an email address or contact form.

Regardless of the potential for hoaxes, I think law enforcement is going to need to develop a stronger online accessibility sooner rather than later.   Whether we like it or not, outgoing phone calls are quickly becoming an annoyance.  I admit I’m guilty.  After booking airfare, hotel, rental car, dinner/show reservations online, I’m annoyed when I have to call to reserve boarding for my pets.

Since I don’t have any cases quite ready to post, I thought I’d just throw this out there and see what you guys think about it.

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11 thoughts on “Online Confessions

  1. I looked into the lady that posted the audio confession and WOW, what a wack job! She’s crazy!!! She claims that she is President Obamas half sister and that she forged his birth certificate.She even called the FBI and told them she forged it. She claims that she killed Pablo Escobar and has ties to Jimmy Hoffa and the Adam Walsh murder. She is from the same town as the MP she confessed to killing but she’s pretty nuts. I’m not sure we can believe her even though she sounds convincing she’s absolutely crazy just google her name.

  2. The handwriting in the note (first confession), looks like that of a woman, although, to me, the message seems to come from a man

  3. Shari Farner is/was my half sister and I am the one who was searching for her on Ancestry. We share a father whom she grew up with. I hadn’t had any contact with her since she was around 10yrs old. That’s why I was unsure about how her name was spelled. She is still missing according to her mom (my stepmother) as of this date. Jan.13,2014

    • Hi Crystal, and thanks for posting! I sent an inquiry with the ‘confession’ info to the local police associated with Shari’s disappearance but never got a response. I will try to follow up again now that I know she is still missing. That confession sounds legitimate to me, but according to another commenter, that person has posted some wild stuff, so it’s hard to say.

  4. Thanks for sending info to local police but I am not surprised that they didn’t respond. I understand there were some “issues” with the local police and others that really never had interest in pursuing Shari’s missing status. She may never be found, under a shed or otherwise without a private investigator. It’s shameful.

    • Hi Crystal, I grew up in Parke County, IN and I knew Shari back in my teens. We went to different schools and weren’t close, but we weren’t enemies either. I hadn’t seen her since I was 16 or 17, but I always remembered her, and I was surprised when I heard about this somewhere around 2001. I was stunned at the lack of information out there about her disappearance-there just seems to be nothing at all. I have nothing to offer in the way of solving her disappearance, but I wanted you to know that you aren’t alone here. She pops into my mind sometimes, and it bothers me that so very little has been done to find her.

  5. theres another one on postsecret thats even more likely to be mp related. i wish i could find it for you; it says something very much like “everyone i knew before 9/11 thinks i was killed in the towers.” i remember that there is a famous nyc case–she was/is a married med student or physician [?], indian surname, her family was eventually given compensation as tower survivors even though she apparently disappeared the previous day–at any rate, when i saw that postsecret post, i thought of her.

    ps. i really like yr blog, arrived via charley. i really like her blog, too.

    • Shari is definitely still missing. We were best friends when she lived in Indiana and we always kept in touch and she even came back and stayed with me from time to time. My mother swore that she called our home around the time she was missing, but the police said they checked our phone records and it wasn’t her. I believe she was murdered.

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