Thursday, March 13, 2008

Faces of Death

Christina White still carried a baby face during the days leading up to her 20th birthday. Her dark hair, soft blue eyes and petite frame often made her appear far younger than most sophomores taking courses at Adirondack Community College.

She argued late one summer night nearly three years ago. She was supposedly angry about her living arrangement in her mother’s trailer at what is now called Saratoga Village, an anonymous mobile home park wedged against the forgotten edges of the Spa City. She was never seen again.

Her mother claims the quiet girl wandered into the night as she was prone to do, taking long walks to quell her depression. Days went by without word from Christina and her family began to worry. Her 20th birthday came and went, as did the summer and fall of 2005.

Deputies from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s department were contacted and a missing person’s case was launched; the newspapers were alerted and a picture of the 19-year-old girl was plastered on bulletin boards and utility poles in a several miles around the park with a number advising to potential tipsters to call investigators. Christina changed from a living breathing person into a black-and-white brief buried inside local papers.

Months went by and the case became a footnote even ignored by the few reporters who had bothered to cover Christina’s disappearance in the first place. Her name had been all but forgotten until abductor John Regan attempted to grab a high school runner from track practice in a city on the right side of the tracks. Regan’s story received national headlines and later drew Stone Philips and camera crews from Dateline NBC. Unfortunately for Christina, her disappearance had nothing to do with Regan. Otherwise, her stabbing murder might be solved by now.

The almost wraith-like girl’s skeletal remains were found splayed in the 550-acre Daketown Forest preserve two years ago, six-miles north from where her mother last saw her. Her cloths were in taters, her bones picked of flesh and her unburied remains scattered by woodland animals.

The discovery caused initial frenzy among the media, which thirsts for a good murder. But when the case went cold after several weeks, they lost interest. One year after her death, her disappearance was ignored. This year, with the discover of her remains more than two years old and her disappearance nearly three years old.

Had Christina carried a different surname –let’s say Bruno for instance –her body would have been found within days of the murder. Better yet, maybe she would have been found alive. But because she was an anonymous girl all but ignored in life, she is also ignored in death.

The Keystone Kops of Sheriff’s Department never offered any insight or urgency regarding Christina’s disappearance, much less her murder. In both instances, they decided to simply toss her information out to the media and play the waiting game in hopes someone would come forward. Today, they claim deputies are still out beating the bushes for Christina’s killer, even though it’s never been more clear that they’re not.

They haven’t bothered to elaborate on the sparse few leads they have tossed to the public. For instance, Christina was allegedly seen walking with two other individuals on the eve of her death. Investigators have yet to substantiate this claim or divulge who offered it. An examination of the remains suggests Christina was stabbed in the abdomen, yet no other details about the murder weapon or the nature of the girl’s fatal injuries have been released to arouse even cursory interest in the case.

There are other details that are not being discussed. There are some indications that Christina was sexually abused long prior to her disappearance; something that might have contributed to her often mentioned bi-polar disorder.

However, to simply fault the negligence of the sheriff’s department is short sighted. Joining in the blame are the journalists who could care less about case; Christina’s parents and siblings, who continue to be muted since the discovery of her body. Most of all, the apathetic communities of Milton, Ballston and Saratoga Springs deserve a fair amount of blame for all but condoning the vicious murder and unceremonious dumping of an underprivileged girl’s body with callous malice.

There are still some who are dedicated to finding the truth about Christina’s final demise. These are people unwilling live with the notion of an unrepentant murderer wandering the streets, perhaps even preparing to slay again. There are also those who believe this case should strike more of a chord and take higher precedence with the public than bullshit front-page political scandals involving high-price hookers.

Editor’s note: For three years in a row, I’ve posted Christina’s picture on this blog. And each time, I find myself filled with an increasing degree of remorse for the shattered young life that was clipped short and left to rot for nine months in a forest. To date, it’s the only image I’ve ever reposted on this site. Hopefully, her pleading eyes will one day haunt someone who can actually affect change in this case. Then maybe she can finally rest in peace.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree completely that there is a significant double standard in how cases are treated by authorities, depending on the pedigree of the missing.
But I'm confused about something. You seem to want to villify the press for at one time jumping on the murder story like "thirsty" dogs, when what you're apparently asking for is more coverage of this case. It sounds like you're just saying whatever you can to goad the local rags into doing what you want.
How often has this been successful for you, out of curiosity?
Any chance you could use your influence to get another Jaliek Rainwalker story in the local papers -- it seems like it's been almost two weeks since I've read anything on that case, and it seems that's certainly another instance of a missing, disenfranchised child, no?

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This poor girl's story has fallen through the cracks in every way. Without someone to constantly call the police and the media, the story and the mystery of her death will go unsolved. It is very unfortunate.
The recent Ballston Spa student that fell to his death at MIT got more press. Such a shame.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christina White is not the only woman who was murdered around here, and the killer got away.

Unlike on TV, most police departments do not work on cold cases.

They just wait for the phone to ring.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update.
I am saddened by the reality, of how unimportant our other concerns are.

Those are our remains.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Uncle Smoove said...

Here's hoping you just haven't gotten around to posting the comments. I'd hate to think nobody cares about this local tragedy. Just one quibble. You don't really think the lack of success by the cops is because she lived in a trailer park. I've known more than a few cops, and all of them want to solve a murder case. There just aren't that many that occur in Saratoga (thank goodness). Maybe its bad police work, but I'm not buying that they would work harder if the victim was from out on Meadowbrook.

Lets hope for a break in the case. Look how long it took to get a break on the aratoga Hotel caes or the DeVivo murder

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank god the golden grille closed down

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christina...you will always be missed. being in school with you in cohoes then seeing this on the news had me in shock! i hope the find who did this to you and put that person to death!! May you rest in peace my friend..you will never be forgotton!!!!!!! R.I.P

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the Devizzio murder ever solved?

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:59 AM
"Was the Devizzio murder ever solved?"

No. Nor was the Shelia Shepard murder.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

speaking of the golden grille, the devizzio or the shepard murder was never solved! One of the suspects had a big tie to the golden grille though!

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah i think the school rushing leader... very OJ like.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christina was a friend of mine, we rode the school bus together everyday and hung out after school often. It truly saddens me that after 5 years (tomorrow) there are still no leads on this case.I'm afraid to leave my home because a murderer is still roaming our neighborhood. Ch 6 news is doing a story "to update us" on the case tonight at 11.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It absolutely breaks my heart that this case is still unsolved. Christina is my cousin and although we were not close, my grandmother died with a broken heart. My grandmother was very close to her and cried even on her death bed that Christina's murderer had not been caught. Christina did not deserve to die the way she did!

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am deeply upset I went to school with christina in cohoes dated her in middle school.. only to have our closeness taken away due to my own family issues and I had to move away without getting say good bye. I never saw her again. I wondered for a long time what happened to her only to hear from a friend we went to school with one evening in 2010 and he told me she was no longer with us...anyone who knew her would know she was head strong and over all a good person. My heart goes out to family and loved ones..and aches even more reading all this after I lost my only daughter just a few weeks ago to a horrible accident. She would've been 4 this Aug. Stay strong..and bless u all

4:15 PM  

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