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Old 03-01-2019, 03:28 PM   #1
Labonte18
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Default Lori Jane web exclusive case

So, I've talking briefly about this in the past, the Unsolved Mysteries case that I actually was somewhat involved with. Just figured I'd talk about it here a little more in depth as my experience with it does certainly affect how I think and the ideas I have about some of the other cases we wind up discussing here (Adam Hecht specifically)

Plus, I think it shows, to a point, how little attention missing persons cases can get from investigators and how.. Silly, for lack of a better term, it is that some people wind up missing for so long.

So, the starting point is here. https://unsolved.com/album/have-you-...es-richardson/

How I wound up seeing that was that I had been going through the Unsolved Mysteries Wiki page, just reading through the updates.. Got me thinking about the Walter Rice case, which many of you have seen me post about many times because that case still just bugs the crap out of me. But, Walter Rice was living just down the road a ways from my hometown. I looked at other South Carolina cases and the above showed up with the link back to unsolved.com, so I watched it and read the info on the Wiki about it.

Just because I happened to be bored one day at work.. I started doing a little digging. The result of that digging was this..

https://unsolved.com/album/update-lo...es-richardson/

I do want to stress here. It was literally about 5 minutes of work, followed by about an hour of trying to disprove what I had found.

I plugged Lori's name in to ancestry and newspapers.com and the like.. Searched the Richland county court records online and found info that others had located before. Then threw it in findagrave.com.. No results. Then, just on a whim.. I searched the name Lori Reeves, because.. If it were me.. And someone just told me their name was Reaves, I would probably spell it E-E vs E-A.

Immediately, I came up with a result in the Richland County Cemetery of a Lori Reeves, born 1959, died 1994. DOB was a match, DOD was plausible.

So, now.. It's the hour of trying to disprove what I had found, because, I certainly didn't want to send this over to the family and have it be something dumb that I just didn't do enough homework on.

I couldn't do it. Everything seemed to match up. So, I shot a FB message over just to show it to them, still kinda assuming they knew about it. But.. I was rather shocked when I got a reply back that they weren't aware of it and was slightly horrified when their reply seemed very excited about it, because I was terrified that their hopes of finding Lori would be dashed, yet again.

They were passing the info over to the investigator on the case to have them follow up on what I had found. While that was happening, which I believe was Thursday evening.. I was doing more searching. I found that the Richland County Cemetery was a 'paupers' cemetery. It was used for unclaimed bodies and for people who had donated their bodies to the University of South Carolina Medical School. So, this is starting to sound more and more likely that it just might be the right Lori.

On Friday, I was so convinced that I told them that if the FindaGrave user who had documented the grave hadn't replied to me, I'd drive down there and try to find it myself.

By Saturday, I hadn't heard from the findagraver, so.. Off I went. Finally found the cemetery, which was hidden back in an industrial area. I even stopped off and spoke with the pastor of a church that was about a quarter mile from the cemetery, and he didn't even know it was there. I had arranged with the family to speak with them on the phone and send them photos of what I found, so called them and walked in the cemetery. Within 2 minutes.. I found the marker for Lori along the fenceline.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...ri-jane-reeves

I sent pics, videos, etc to the family (and made a note that I needed to return in the future to fully document that cemetery, as I volunteer for findagrave myself) and left after about an hour because.. That was July in South Carolina.. My bottle of water was gone 10 minutes into being there.

On Monday, I heard back from the family that it was confirmed by the investigator and the Coroner's office that this was the correct Lori.

The exact circumstances, the family has not publically stated, so I will withhold some of that information. Suffice to say, as the unsolved update states, there was no foul play. It was a drug/alcohol related death, as accidental as those things can be.

We later found out with more research that the ex husband was a real piece of.. work. He SHOULD have been the key to solving this many, many years ago. Again, without going into specifics, if he had shared the information that he knew, she would have been found long ago. The issues here were the misspelling of her name and apparently a government screwup that recorded her SSN incorrectly by one digit.

I just want to stress that and have everyone think about that for a few seconds. Someone wound up missing for 24 years because the name was recorded as "Reeves" rather than "Reaves" and a SSN had a 3 instead of an 8 in it.

Also, sit back and think of just how little time and effort was put in by investigators here. I mean, what I did isn't exactly brilliant or anything. Pretty common sense stuff. Now, we can sit here and talk back and forth on whether my experience was 'typical' or not, so far as investigators actually looking for a missing person or not, but.. I kinda believe it probably happens this way more often than not. Especially if investigators get the idea that someone is an addict or apt to have disappeared willingly.


So.. Anyway.. That's my Unsolved Mysteries connection. Don't think I left anything out there, but.. I'll answer any questions that I can, even if it's just opinion. I just wanted to put the story out here, because.. I think there's a big disconnect on what the average person thinks happens in missing persons cases, and what ACTUALLY happens. Before I got involved in this, I always thought if someone was reported as missing, the police got out and interviewed many people, lots of times and spent time looking for the person until the trail went cold.

Reality appears to be.. They may or may not talk to anyone, and these cases generally just sit on the back burner and don't get solved unless the information falls in their lap.
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Old 03-02-2019, 02:17 AM   #2
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Dude... you solved a real life missing persons case. That is pretty badass and congratulations on doing something so noble for a perfect stranger(s).
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Old 03-02-2019, 03:00 AM   #3
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Awesome job! So very cool that you helped bring closure to this woman’s family.
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Old 03-02-2019, 12:03 PM   #4
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Well done!

Thank you for sharing this story with us.
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Old 03-04-2019, 09:50 AM   #5
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Tremendous job.
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Old 03-04-2019, 11:49 AM   #6
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See.. These replies are kinda my point.. I didn't do anything special. Nothing that the cops shouldn't have done long, LONG before. What I did wasn't smart.. It was stupid. I mean, at least so far as actually working.

Shouldn't a check with the coroners office be.. You know.. Step 1 of a missing persons case? You know, check for alternate spellings of the name, that kind of thing?

But.. You can see why I have the theory I do on the Adam Hecht case.. That he's been misidentified many years ago and is sitting in a paupers cemetery or in some coroners' office on a shelf.
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Old 03-04-2019, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labonte18 View Post
See.. These replies are kinda my point.. I didn't do anything special. Nothing that the cops shouldn't have done long, LONG before. What I did wasn't smart.. It was stupid. I mean, at least so far as actually working.

Shouldn't a check with the coroners office be.. You know.. Step 1 of a missing persons case? You know, check for alternate spellings of the name, that kind of thing?

But.. You can see why I have the theory I do on the Adam Hecht case.. That he's been misidentified many years ago and is sitting in a paupers cemetery or in some coroners' office on a shelf.
It goes to show how inept or uninterested many investigators are when a few google searches and a trip to a cemetery can solve a case. Don't discredit yourself. No one else took the effort to put those very reasonable conclusions together then follow it up by taking a road trip to verify what you found. It's a shame there wasn't a reward involved but it must feel great knowing you at least gave the family some closure.
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Old 03-04-2019, 01:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5thcorps View Post
It goes to show how inept or uninterested many investigators are when a few google searches and a trip to a cemetery can solve a case. Don't discredit yourself. No one else took the effort to put those very reasonable conclusions together then follow it up by taking a road trip to verify what you found. It's a shame there wasn't a reward involved but it must feel great knowing you at least gave the family some closure.
Uninterested is my belief on it. My understanding based on what the family has shared is that the investigator did talk to the ex-husband (or, he might have been the husband still.. Think he was.. Weird situation, the family didn't even know she had married) and he said he went to jail and when he was released, she was gone.. Which.. Factually was correct. But there was a big piece of information that he knew that was left out.

The family was under the assumption that this husband was responsible for her death.. And I think if you watched the initial video without knowing the outcome.. Most of us would jump to that conclusion as well, or at least have it high on the list of possibilities. The husband had been arrested for violent crimes (assaults and the like) several times before she disappeared and several times afterwards.. And is also on the sex offender registry here in SC, though.. That can be misleading because a 10 year old peeing on the side of the road can be put on the sex offender registry for life. Prosecutors use it as a weapon to get guilty pleas. Which is one reason I am against registries in their current form, but that's a discussion for another topic.

The family didn't even know she was missing until about 2007 or so. You can read some of what they went through on the Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Finding.Lori.Jane/

There are families that just don't stay in touch. While this certainly wasn't the outcome that anyone wanted.. From one perspective, at least her kids know that she didn't abandon them.

Last I spoke with Debbie (The sister) a few months ago, one of Lori's kids was trying to get her exhumed and sent to them, but it was going to cost over $1000 to do.. I told her they should start a GoFundMe to raise the money.. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a large sum and it would break down to getting 50 people to donate $20 each.

I presume, but am not 100% certain, that after a body is unclaimed in the county, they are cremated and the remains placed in that paupers cemetery.
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