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  1. #1
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    Why so few photos?

    Thank you to all you websleuthers who are also interested in helping identify the Jane and John Does and to help find missing people!

    I often look through unidentified and missing websites, in the hopes to match someone missing with someone unidentified. I would like to understand why, so often, there is only ONE photo of a missing person? I would also like to know why, very often, there is only one angle of an unidentified person? I have compared actual photos to real people and it can be very difficult to recognize a person from their photo. Having only one angle to look at only adds to the uncertainty. I see ID photos on a regular basis and many times I honestly cannot tell if it is the same person standing in front of me. I would like to suggest to LE, anyone who has anyone missing and websites that show missing and unidentified people to provide as many pictures as possible, preferably with different angles of the face shown. Although disturbing to many, when there is a possibility of photographing a recently deceased individual that has not been identified, I would recommend taking pictures from many angles of the face. I think that this would help to eliminate or include possible matches for amateur sleuths, like myself.
    I'm finding that a large percentage of missing persons' photos have an odd angle that is difficult to compare with the head on shots taken by LE of unidentified people. It also seems that loved ones often pick very favorable photos of their loved one, which often are portraits taken by professionals. It seems to me that it is very rare that these photos are straight on photos. Photographers take pictures of people looking over their shoulder, leaning on a hand, tilting their heads...creating shadows that can be difficult to interpret (such as shape of nose).
    One of the things that I have done, in my pursuit to help match unidentified individuals with those listed as missing, is to measure the distance between key points of the face and compare these between Jane/John Does and those missing. Of course with different angles, these distances appear different even amongst known photos of one individual.

    In one case, I saw a face that looked very familiar to me, but I wasn't sure. I looked all over the internet for another photo of this missing person to see if a different angle would help my memory; There were several websites showing her photo, but all used the same photo.

    In another case, I compared a Jane Doe to missing people for months before someone at WS posted a link to another site that provided a photo of a different angle of this Jane Doe's face. It showed a very different look than the first photo.

    I have looked at photos of friends and family and come to the same conclusion: People photograph differently in different circumstances, different lighting, with different expressions...

    How often do loved ones of a missing person post a photo of the missing with their eyes closed and their mouth relaxed (without a smile)? It is very difficult to compare a photo of a recently deceased, unidentified person with a photo of someone beaming into the camera. Not too many people pose for photos where they are not smiling, but people are often caught in "candid" moments without a smile. I would like to see more of these candid shots included in missing person's postings.

    Does anyone have a suggestion about getting the word out to LE and agencies that work with missing individuals that multiple photos would help with the identification process?

    Does anyone have any ideas about why this isn't happening now? Am I not considering something obvious? I know there are cases where there honestly isn't additional photos of someone, but in this day and age I guess I'm assuming that this would be unusual.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    I can only speak as the wife of a missing adult, may not be who you wanted to hear from on your posting but here goes.

    You have great points you made but these aren't things that the families and friends think of because 1) We never thought a loved one of ours would go missing so we didn't plan ahead of time the photos to take. 2) From what I'm seeing most families and friends of the missing create their own flyers and websites....I haven't seen LE helping too much with that. 3) When our loved one goes missing in the beginning you may fear they are dead but to maintain sanity you believe/hope they are alive --- you aren't considering the photos you put out there will have to be compared to unidentified bodies.

    I know I put a lot of photos out on my website http://www.reintjes.us because I was trying to convey this is normal guy, with a normal life who was surrounded by people that love him. I'm not sure I put good enough shots out there as you are hoping for. In this day of digital photography I'm almost thinking we delete the type of pics you want.

    But, thank you! You've made me re-analyze what photos I do have out there.

    Maureen
    Wife of missing USMC (Ret.) MSGT Jon R. Van Dyke

    www.reintjes.us

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by deskside View Post
    I can only speak as the wife of a missing adult, may not be who you wanted to hear from on your posting but here goes.

    You have great points you made but these aren't things that the families and friends think of because 1) We never thought a loved one of ours would go missing so we didn't plan ahead of time the photos to take. 2) From what I'm seeing most families and friends of the missing create their own flyers and websites....I haven't seen LE helping too much with that. 3) When our loved one goes missing in the beginning you may fear they are dead but to maintain sanity you believe/hope they are alive --- you aren't considering the photos you put out there will have to be compared to unidentified bodies.

    I know I put a lot of photos out on my website http://www.reintjes.us because I was trying to convey this is normal guy, with a normal life who was surrounded by people that love him. I'm not sure I put good enough shots out there as you are hoping for. In this day of digital photography I'm almost thinking we delete the type of pics you want.

    But, thank you! You've made me re-analyze what photos I do have out there.

    Maureen
    Wife of missing USMC (Ret.) MSGT Jon R. Van Dyke

    www.reintjes.us
    Thank you for responding. You brought up some things that I hadn't thought about. I'm very sorry that you have someone you love missing. I hope he is found soon.

  4. #4
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    I will put up as many photos as I can find on Charley Project casefiles. I think I've put up as many as twelve photos of a missing person at a time, including age-progressions. If there's an associated vehicle or something, I'll try to find a photo of that too. Often I can only find one picture of the missing person, though.

  5. #5
    Zanko, you bring up some very valid points. I think so many families want to present their missing in the best possible light. However, I agree...there should be a wide variety of photos presented to the public on a missing person. Everything and anything should be used to bring them home and this is one aspect most wouldn't think of. I have often wondered why there is only one picture of missing children on the NCMC site and others. You know the family has tons more photos to be presented which could be helpful in indentification.
    "WE SEEK FOR THE TRUTH. WE SEEK JUSTICE.
    THE COURTS REQUIRE IT. THE VICTIMS CRY FOR IT
    AND GOD DEMANDS IT!"

    A quote spray painted on the wall by search
    and rescue workers, Team 5, at the OKC Bombing site 4-19-1995.



    What I post are my opinions only.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2005
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    All great points! IMO, FWIW And, yes, obvious. This would help tremendously! I have seen the same person in many photos and they look COMPLETELY different. I agree that there should be as many photos as possible of the missing. And also, on the UID side, I have seen coroners do busts with every hair color, eye color, different hair styles, etc, and I wish all would do that.

    As far as how do we do it, it's up to the family to provide their advocates with photos, whomever is doing the webpages, myspaces, etc to collect as many pictures as they can. It's not always that easy, all we have is the internet pics.

    This would be a good thing to bring up at conferences and the like with other advocates. I will also w/your permission, copy and paste some of your post into an email and send it to those I know working with the missing, and all of my volunteers! Just a reminder to how important multiple photos are.

    www.myspace.com/do_u_recognize_me

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by christine2448 View Post
    All great points! IMO, FWIW And, yes, obvious. This would help tremendously! I have seen the same person in many photos and they look COMPLETELY different. I agree that there should be as many photos as possible of the missing. And also, on the UID side, I have seen coroners do busts with every hair color, eye color, different hair styles, etc, and I wish all would do that.

    As far as how do we do it, it's up to the family to provide their advocates with photos, whomever is doing the webpages, myspaces, etc to collect as many pictures as they can. It's not always that easy, all we have is the internet pics.

    This would be a good thing to bring up at conferences and the like with other advocates. I will also w/your permission, copy and paste some of your post into an email and send it to those I know working with the missing, and all of my volunteers! Just a reminder to how important multiple photos are.

    www.myspace.com/do_u_recognize_me
    If you would like to post anything I have written, this is fine with me.

  8. #8
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    Atlanta GA
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeriouslySearching View Post
    Zanko, you bring up some very valid points. I think so many families want to present their missing in the best possible light. However, I agree...there should be a wide variety of photos presented to the public on a missing person. Everything and anything should be used to bring them home and this is one aspect most wouldn't think of. I have often wondered why there is only one picture of missing children on the NCMC site and others. You know the family has tons more photos to be presented which could be helpful in indentification.
    I agree, and would probably do the same thing - find the best picture to get the media's attention. Didn't we all fall in love with Laci because of that beautiful smile? But in reality a missing person probably looks like crap after a very short time. They may be hurt, on drugs, being abused, fighting for their life...or dead. Whatever the case, their hair and makeup don't look perfect and they could easily go unrecognized.

    This is a really good point that needs to be kept in mind.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelmom View Post
    I agree, and would probably do the same thing - find the best picture to get the media's attention. Didn't we all fall in love with Laci because of that beautiful smile?
    Very good point! I didn't think about the media's attention and how they grab a hold of one missing person versus another. So many missing persons go unnoticed by the press. Even those that are highlighted one day, are in Section D, page 3 in a short time, and then--nothing. Plus missing cases rarely make the national news. I can see why the initial photo has to appeal to a broad spectrum. I read somewhere that there were many pregnant women missing the same year that Laci went missing, that barely got any coverage. That is sad. Every missing person is important!

  10. #10
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    Jan 2007
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    I think that there are less photos of women available, unless they're at the end of their teen years, because they're moms.

    In my family, I take just about all of the pictures. We just got back from vacation with four rolls of film to develop. Out of those four rolls, I was in only three pics---two actually of me and one where I'm a blip in the background.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLMom View Post
    I think that there are less photos of women available, unless they're at the end of their teen years, because they're moms.

    In my family, I take just about all of the pictures. We just got back from vacation with four rolls of film to develop. Out of those four rolls, I was in only three pics---two actually of me and one where I'm a blip in the background.
    You are absolutely right, FLMom. You look at pictures of my family, you'd think my kids grew up without a mom. That's because I'm the one behind the camera.

  12. #12
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    Something I would like to point out, cause it may be relevant: I had one missing woman profiled, I won't say who, and had two or three photos of her, and one of them was obviously a mug shot. I put it up with the rest because, well, it was a good photo of her, and I've seen so many mug shots I don't even notice anymore.

    But her mom wrote me, very upset about the mug shot picture, and said her daughter did not normally look as trashed as she did in that photo, and it sent off the wrong impression, and would I take it down please. I said okay, since I had other pictures, and since the mother was so upset about it. And I did remove the mug shot photo but I didn't feel all that right about it because, given as the woman is missing, who knows what condition she is in if she's alive. She may look a lot more like the mug shot than she did like the portrait photos and family snaps.

    The point I'm trying to make here is I think it would be ideal if there were photos of people doing different things, and in different emotional states, etc. Of course, it's rare to find a picture of someone crying, but you know what I mean. A person looks a lot different at their birthday party than they do being arrested.

  13. #13
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    good point

    Quote Originally Posted by meggilyweggily View Post
    . . .The point I'm trying to make here is I think it would be ideal if there were photos of people doing different things, and in different emotional states, etc. Of course, it's rare to find a picture of someone crying, but you know what I mean. A person looks a lot different at their birthday party than they do being arrested.
    I very much agree.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Zanko View Post
    Very good point! I didn't think about the media's attention and how they grab a hold of one missing person versus another. So many missing persons go unnoticed by the press. Even those that are highlighted one day, are in Section D, page 3 in a short time, and then--nothing. Plus missing cases rarely make the national news. I can see why the initial photo has to appeal to a broad spectrum. I read somewhere that there were many pregnant women missing the same year that Laci went missing, that barely got any coverage. That is sad. Every missing person is important!
    Every missing person IS important, but I have a different way to view this...Yes, Laci, Jessie Davis, and others have grabbed the headlines...but it does draw attention to the fact this is happening every day and could be anyone's child, mother, brother, or friend...regardless of where they live and who they are.

    Nationally they need to be aware of the staggering numbers of missing and if a few cases can wake them up to this fact...at least it is a start. The nation as a whole cannot brush this under the rug anymore and people need to act to prevent predatory behavior. I don't care if one case gets more attention than another because it all goes towards coming together to shed light on the uglier side of life here.
    "WE SEEK FOR THE TRUTH. WE SEEK JUSTICE.
    THE COURTS REQUIRE IT. THE VICTIMS CRY FOR IT
    AND GOD DEMANDS IT!"

    A quote spray painted on the wall by search
    and rescue workers, Team 5, at the OKC Bombing site 4-19-1995.



    What I post are my opinions only.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by meggilyweggily View Post
    The point I'm trying to make here is I think it would be ideal if there were photos of people doing different things, and in different emotional states, etc. Of course, it's rare to find a picture of someone crying, but you know what I mean. A person looks a lot different at their birthday party than they do being arrested.
    Yeppers.

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