The Cellar Dwellers have given yet another nudge to this case. Brooke Beare, a morning anchor from CBS2 out of Thousand Palms, CA has now written a story about the possibility of Duncan having murdered this boy, and the information coming from this blog and forum: "Bloggers" Ponder Link Between Desert Cold Case and Idaho Slayings Arrest.
For instance, Steve Huff wrote about this possible link in his blog on July 16 and July 19 after Cellar Dwellers started sending him some links. Yet even before that exposure, the Cellar Dwellers were hard at work making the connections, mapping the distances, placing Duncan's relatives in the area- putting the pieces together. At first glance, any links between Anthony's murder and Duncan seemed to be gossamer speculation. Until the "sleuthing" picked up some serious steam.
In the later blog entry, Steve writes,"In the entry titled The Other Missing... How Many, Jet? I mentioned the unsolved abduction and murder of Anthony Michael Martinez from Beaumont, California, on April 4, 1997. At the time I wasn't sure as to Joseph Duncan's location. Turns out court documents available from the time show that Duncan was somewhere in California, after all. He was also driving a vehicle that roughly matched the appearance of the vehicle in the Martinez murder."
He explains in detail how several points about the Martinez case that had him doubting any link became more of a possibility the more he learned about Duncan.
As Duncan's prison, parole, court and school documents became available, sleuthers devoured them, poring over every detail six ways from Sunday. Contained in those documents were seemingly insignificant details: bits of quotes, the name of a town, maybe just a 3-digit number. But those details are gold, because when added to the clues from other documents, they became a lucent picture of Duncan's life: his whereabouts, the dates, his contacts. Until there are other details to add, details which exclude Duncan, that picture could fit this crime.
JoJoFox, Scubagirl, Bloo and others in the Cellar forum discovered, tracked down, verified, sifted, sorted and collated the myriad details and suppositions into a cogent file to send to the FBI and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Ms. Beare was contacted by the Cellar Dwellers as well, and apparently thought enough of the work of "amateur sleuths" and "bloggers" that she wrote this story.
She writes, "Could there be a link between one of Beaumont's most grisly murders and a serial sex offended just arrested in Idaho? An online "blog" community thinks so, and they've been tipping off Riverside County law enforcement.
For the past several weeks, bloggers like JoJoFox have posted thoughts, research, and data about the death of 10-year old Anthony Martinez of Beaumont in 1997."
Now that's something you don't often read in the news. Ms. Beare stated the facts, and hey! she did it without condescension for bloggers or by pooh-poohing their efforts, either. She must know the stakes are larger than that. I hope this article by Ms. Beare gets some fires burning at the FBI and Riverside County Sheriff's Department. My forum has been burning with it for a couple weeks now, as has Steve's blog and other online "sleuthing" communities.
I'm really proud of JoJo, Scubagirl, Bloo and the other Cellar Dwellers for caring enough (and being dog-with-a-bone determined enough) to pick at these details and then arrange them, and send the info along to the authorities. I know firsthand how little sleep they've had lately.
If events and facts can clear Duncan from being a suspect in the murder of Anthony, then that's the way it goes. Yet many more people now know of Anthony's unsolved murder, and that can only help solve this case. Shine a little more light upon it. Get people talking about it again. Maybe someone who knows something will decide they've been quiet far too long, that this family needs to know who killed their boy.
Diana Medina, Anthony's mother, said, "You always want to know that your child is not forgotten. That people do hold him near to their hear, and they still are concerned. And concerned about finding him. I appreciate their passion."
"I appreciate their passion, because a lot of times, when a case is solved, it's the passion of one person. "
Update 7/29 related: Blogger heightens interest- The Latoyia Figueroa case
"Thanks largely to the efforts of a local Internet blogger, the Figueroa case is receiving plenty of national coverage, particularly from cable news. "These missing-persons stories happen every day," said the blogger, Richard Blair, who operates a progressive political Web site at www.allspinzone.com.
"But which become newsworthy? A lot of it has to do with skin color and economics, but more important, I think, is what catches somebody's eye. If you get the word out, news organizations will respond. That's what we did."
"What has happened also highlights the role of bloggers vis-a-vis the mainstream media.
"Blogs can act as a stimulus to traditional journalism," said Richard Craig, who teaches journalism at San Jose State University. "That's what happened in this case. It's a good thing."
Thanks to JoJoFox for sending me this article.
Also, see CNN's piece here, and USATODAY's here.