Casey and O.J.? Well, why not?

Published 12:32 am Saturday, July 9, 2011

Every time the national media – and subsequently the American public – gets captivated with a story that’s not necessarily unique, I spend way too much time wondering why.

Of course, the story that has had me wondering for weeks is Casey Anthony’s. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock since 2008, Ms. Anthony was acquitted this week in a murder trial in which she was accused of killing her toddler. The child’s badly decomposed body was found in a swamp. Although the cause of death was never determined, prosecutors alleged that the mother used chloroform and duct tape in the child’s death.

Gruesome and horrible, yes. Captivating? Why?

A talking head told CNN this week it was the 31 days between the time the little girl was last seen and the time her mother reported her as a missing person that hooked us. But we were hooked only because of the attention given to the case.

Which gets me back to wondering.

Melinda McGhee was 31 when she went missing from the Poarch community in neighboring Escambia County, Ala., on March 24, 2003.

A nurse, she’d worked the night shift at a nursing home and arrived home at 8 that morning. She called her husband at his job and her mother, and told both she was going to sleep.

When her husband went home at about 4 that afternoon, his wife was missing and there was evidence of a violent and bloody struggle. Her purse and phone were in the home.

Local law enforcement chased all kinds of leads and even dug up two septic systems in response to tips. Her body still hasn’t been found, and the national media never came calling.

Kemberly Ramer was 17 when she disappeared in Opp in 1997, four days before the start of her senior year of high school. Tips have led investigators to a sink hole in Ponce de Leon, Fla., among other places, also to no avail.

While Kemberly’s case has gotten some national media attention, it hasn’t been enough to get the crime solved.

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands more cases like these out there. If a member of my family or your family disappeared, wouldn’t we want every resource available to help solved the mystery?

And would we be interesting enough to grab the national media’s attention?

Sadly, probably not.

Someone sent me a Photoshop creation of Casey Anthony in O.J. Simpson’s arms yesterday. Maybe he, like she, will get out of jail soon. Frankly, they sort of looked as if they belonged together.