Mar 16, 2015

My thoughts on the Anjelica Hadsell disappearance

By now many of you are aware of the disappearance of Anjelica "AJ" Hadsell. The Norfolk, Virginia teen vanished on March 3rd, leaving behind just enough evidence to inspire concern that she's fallen victim to foul play. Some of you have had a ton of questions pertaining to her family, and of course the rumor mill is spinning out of control with this case like with every other high profile disappearance. That is why I dedicated Sunday's podcast to her case, and invited her father Wesley on the broadcast to talk about her case. I hoped that Wesley would be able to answer some of the numerous questions that have circulated over the course of the past couple of weeks.

In fact, Wesley provided more than I could have ever hoped for in a live interview. Even though he couldn't reveal a lot of sensitive information -- such as names -- he was able to reveal information that had never been addressed in the media. He revealed that AJ's jacket has allegedly been found in the possession of a person that Wesley feels is a person of interest in her disappearance. He also revealed that pieces of credit card that were found looked suspiciously clean -- insinuating that someone had planted the evidence.

During the interview with Wesley -- which lasted approximately 30 minutes -- I paid extra attention to his speech patterns, his breathing and his other audible behaviors. One thing that stood out to me immediately was his constant sniffing, which can be explained by recent crying (given the current situation with his daughter this would be a rational explanation). His voice broke while speaking about Anjelica -- an indication of fighting back tears, or choking on the tightening of one's throat brought on by anxiety.

I am fully aware of Wesley Hadsell's criminal record. I'm also more than aware that a person's past isn't always an indicator of their present or future behavior. In other words, I'm not convinced that Wesley's prior run-ins with the law have anything to do with the disappearance of his daughter Anjelica Hadsell. I believe that it's dangerous and unhelpful to set my sights on one aspect or element in this case that may or may not be related. Tunnel vision isn't helpful when this young woman is missing under circumstances that are still, frankly, very shaky and hard to decipher and piece together definitively.

My first impression of Wesley Hadsell was that of a parent who is worried and in grief, because he deep down suspects that he knows what happened to her. Having had more than one discussion with Hadsell, I was able to determine that he suspects someone in particular in AJ's disappearance and even though he wishes he can share all the details, he can't because of the investigation. He seemed really offended that people on the internet were bringing up his criminal past in connection to his daughter's disappearance, and rightfully so. Some of the comments made about him online are going beyond mention of his past, crossing into very personal territory. This is why he seemed dedicated to clarifying his story and sharing as many details as he could.

Until I'm shown something different, I'm going to believe that Wesley Hadsell is a grieving parent who is struggling with the attention this case is getting while trying to push for answers and/or justice. I know this may come as a disappointment to some of the folks out there who believe that Wesley Hadsell is somehow responsible for his 18-year-old daughter's disappearance, but I'm simply choosing to reserve full judgment until I am shown more details in this case. In particular, I'd really like law enforcement in the area to come out with some kind of statements either confirming or denying what Wesley has told me.

So what do I think happened to Anjelica Hadsell?

Piecing together the details her father shared with me, it's apparent that this young woman is not missing voluntarily. I don't believe she left on her own free will, and I don't believe she's avoiding detection while missing voluntarily for all this time. Like her loved ones, I believe that something happened to her. If it's true that her jacket was found in someone's possession, I believe the best bet would be with this individual being a person of interest and potential suspect in her disappearance and possible demise. I think until police come out with evidence that compliments or contrasts against the details that exist so far, this is one of the only logical theories to have -- unless, of course, you're someone who believes that her father had something to do with her disappearance.

What do you think happened to Anjelica Hadsell? Are you someone who believes what her father said on Sunday's podcast, or do you think his interview was full of red flags?

Update 3/21/2015 -- Please read the new update on this case; My thoughts on the arrest of Wesley Hadsell.