The Missing Americans Project

Looking for People and Answers

October 2009 Blog Posts (10)

Re: Ronald Scheepstra-wife's trip to The Netherlands


I travelled to The Netherlands, where my husband Ronald is from. I go here this time to attend a Rememberance Gathering for him. We had 71 visitors. It was not a sad affair. It was more like a party with a few tears. We remembered the Ron that everyone loved. Remembered how funny he was, how stubborn he was and how much he loved to fly fish.

I remembered what a wonderful husband he was and how much I miss him. Being here in Holland I see him everywhere I look....I… Continue

Added by Cynthia Scheepstra on October 30, 2009 at 10:08pm — 6 Comments

Looking for Organizations That Can Be of Help in a Search? Try the Catholic Church

Here is a great resource: The entire Catholic Church hierarchy, broken out by country and diocese: . Thanks, Bob Mac, for sharing this. One of the things this project is trying to do is compile such resource lists, so, PLEASE, everybody, pass along your lists of organizations that you have found helpful or believe would be helpful in these situations.

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 30, 2009 at 2:24pm — No Comments

Costa Rica Paper: Gimelfarb & Dixon Only Most Recent Young Men to Disappear

According to

A.M. Costa Rica, David Gimelfarb and Michael Dixon are only the most recent young male tourists to vanish in the vicinity. The newspaper report says Craig Snell was last seen walking on the beach south of Tamarindo (which is where Michael Dixon was last seen). Snell had lived the past five years in Ostional and was described as well liked. Snell left his computer on when he departed his home in Ostional, as well as his… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 30, 2009 at 11:00am — No Comments

Help Find Michael Dixon

We don't know much at this point except that Michael Dixon vanished on Oct. 19 in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica, about 50 miles from where David Gimelfarb disappeared. Here's the timeline as we know it right now: October 15 Michael gets a bag stolen close to La Fortuna and he loses his phone charger

October 18 Michael checks into the Villas Macondo ( in… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 29, 2009 at 4:30pm — 4 Comments

Assembling Your Team

A logistical plan for successful search campaigns: Assembling your Team

There is no way to effectively manage these searches on your own. A team approach will be more efficient and will help to keep you healthy. As mentioned in the first posting. No person expects these situations to last beyond the first couple of days. This makes it difficult for people to plan ahead since they must simultaneously accept that this may be an extended situation. All I can say is hope for the best but… Continue

Added by Jeffrey S. Brehm on October 19, 2009 at 6:56pm — 1 Comment

The Embassy Doesn't Care If Your Loved One Is Found

I know this sounds harsh, and I don't mean it to impugn the compassion of any individuals who work in U.S. Embassies, but if you believe (as I did before my brother disappeared) that looking after the safety and well-being of individual Americans is part of the Embassy's mandate, this is an illusion you have to get over immediately. It will only lead you to greater frustration and cause you to waste precious time in the early hours and days of your search.

As far as I can tell,… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 16, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Job 1: Don't Get Lost in the First Place

There is a tendency in cases of missing adults (other than Alzheimer's patients) to blame the victim, especially if they disappear in an exotic region. The two most common presumptions are that they either engineered their own disappearance and are now sipping an umbrella drink on a beach somewhere or that they were somehow involved in something they ought not to have been and it backfired. This is a convenient narrative that lets its purveyors off the hook of their humanity: "Yeah, I feel bad… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 14, 2009 at 10:30am — 8 Comments

A logistical plan for successful search campaigns.


A logistical plan for successful search campaigns When a person goes missing in a foreign country the hours will fly by and days can quickly turn into weeks then months. You will become overwhelmed by the flow of information and may quickly become disorganized. Little notes scattered about, important names and numbers written on the back of napkin. As time progresses a common… Continue

Added by Jeffrey S. Brehm on October 13, 2009 at 3:31pm — 1 Comment

Why Just Americans? Why Just Those Lost in Foreign Countries?

I struggle with these questions in defining the scope of the project. The one thing I've learned in the search for Joe and for answers about Joe's disappearance is that people disappear everywhere and the resources and attention applied to finding them are woefully limited. I remember talking to a lady who runs a water taxi service in Belize (one of the hundreds of calls I made into the region just to get a sense as to whether people were aware of and alert to Joe's situation). The woman… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 12, 2009 at 9:18am — No Comments

The Missing Americans Project: Getting Started

My brother, Joe Dunsavage, disappeared in the waters off the island of Roatan, Honduras, on May 10, 2009. I will be telling his story -- and my family's -- as this project progresses. But what is The Missing Americans Project?

As my family has struggled with our own loss, we also have had the opportunity to meet with other families who are contending with similar losses. Along the way we have learned things that might be of help to families in similar situations. Most important, we… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 11, 2009 at 3:00pm — No Comments

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