- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2000

The Michele Dorr investigation provokes more response

I want to thank your newspaper for having the courage to write the truth about the other side of the investigation into the death of Michele Dorr, as described in J. Zumwalt's commentary "It takes a village to save a child," Feb. 13. For many of us who were part of the search for Michele, by the mother's invitation, Mr. Zumwalt's letter reflected the untold truth of the past 14 years regarding this case. I saw evidence being submitted and ignored that pointed to Hadden Clark as Michelle's murderer more than 14 years ago. I believe that Laura Houghteling and other possible victims might be alive today if the evidence had been handled in a more professional manner. I saw firsthand how Michele's parents interfered with the police investigation. The enmity between the parents was deep long before Carl Dorr neglected to watch over Michele on May 30, 1986. It is a good reminder to us all that abuse of children is not always about abduction at the hands of a stranger. I watched while the mother, Dorothy "Dee Dee" Appleby, in her anger told everyone within hearing that Mr. Dorr was the murderer and refused to accept Clark as the killer in 1986 and while Mr. Dorr admitted to that charge at times, just to assuage his terrible guilt and grief. I lived through the histrionics of faked suicide attempts, his and hers, lying to the authorities and real threats made against each other. Though my sympathies lay with Mrs. Appleby initially, I gradually realized that not many of the parties involved with the investigation really were thinking of Michele.

There was light at the end of this whole mess. Mr. Dorr, in a quest for atonement, was relentless in pursuing the answer to his daughter's disappearance. Out of the ashes of censure and despair, two investigators asked by the mother to assist in the investigation decided that no more children should go missing ever again. They knew children had to be armed with the knowledge to keep them safe because this case clearly demonstrated what we see every day: Parents and police are not always around to protect children. Dennis McCarthy and Edward Jagen made sure there would be millions of kids alive who would be capable of foiling abduction attempts instead of the opposite as happened to Michele at the hands of monster Hadden Clark. Again, I applaud your courage. You did not let the generally accepted lies surrounding this case become your truth.



Confusion reigns regarding Confederate flags

In my 15 years of re-enacting the Civil War in the Washington area, I have learned that most people know little about Confederate flags. Occasionally I will speak up on the matter for my friends in gray despite the fact that I re-enact as a Union soldier. (The fellows in blue.)

On Page C7 of the Sunday Times, you miscaptioned a photograph. That rectangular flag flying over the South Carolina Capitol building is not, in fact, the Confederate battle flag. It is the naval ensign, which flew on Confederate battleships. The battle flag is of the same design, but it is square.

By the way, neither the rectangular flag nor the square one is the Stars and Bars. That's another Confederate flag entirely. It is regrettable that extremist groups have appropriated the naval ensign for their own purposes, but I think banning flags does not repudiate racism; it is merely an act of a different kind of intolerance.



Crime in the NFL

If the changing of the guard in the NFL this winter didn't get you down, it should have. Gone are Tom Landry, Walter Payton and Derrick Thomas. Retired or nearing retirement are John Elway, Darrell Green, Steve Young and Reggie White. All are present or future Hall of Famers on and off the field, and all were or are models of the highest order.

The only current NFL players making headlines are Rae Carruth and Ray Lewis, and not because they broke any records (unless the NFL keeps stats on most yards gained running from the police). We are not talking point shaving, theft or substance abuse. These guys are accused of committing murder.

Would Pete Rozell have put up with this? You have to believe these offenses would have prompted an unequivocal condemnation from the former commissioner, with the punishment being permanent banishment from the league if proven true. This is not to impugn the leadership of Paul Tagliabue, but it is painfully clear that more saber rattling needs to be done lest the NFL turn into a repository for criminals.



The only disregard for truth lies with the Maryland prosecutor

My Feb. 13 Commentary piece, "It takes a village to save a child," was critical of police investigators in the 1986 Michele Dorr case who chose to press the pursuit of the murdered girl's father rather than the real perpetrator, Hadden Clark, identified to police by two private investigators as the killer. Fourteen years later, Clark was convicted of Michele's murder. On Feb. 18, Debbie Dwyer, assistant prosecutor in the Clark case, wrote a letter to the editor citing my "complete disregard for the truth about Edward Jagen and the role he played" as one of the private investigators in searching for Michele's killer. Sadly, the lesson in my article was lost on Miss Dwyer only the collective effort of the community to work together will prevent future Hadden Clarks from claiming young victims. She chooses to make personal attacks against Mr. Jagen, perhaps motivated by her own concerns about how her office handled Michele's case. Such attacks continue to make truth the other victim in this case. If Miss Dwyer is interested in the truth, I propose the following challenge, to which Mr. Jagen is agreeable. Mr. Jagen and the police investigators involved in the Dorr case will voluntarily submit to a privately administered polygraph examination to determine whether evidence pointing to Hadden Clark as a suspect was made available to the Montgomery County police in 1986. If the results of the test indicate I am not correct in my claim, I will be happy to publish a retraction in this newspaper; if the results support what I said in my Feb. 13 column, Miss Dwyer will retract her allegations. All that is at stake here is the truth. My only question to Miss Dwyer is whether she is prepared to deal with it.



U.S. president should not waste time in Pakistan

Ben Barber's Feb. 16 article "Diplomat urges Clinton not to bypass his nation" sympathetically portrays efforts being undertaken by Pakistan's chief executive to curb terrorist activity in his country by muzzling incendiary elements in society and banning public displays of guns. While such moves should be applauded, they are but short-term fixes, no doubt being used to entice President Clinton to stop over. They are, however, incapable of seriously addressing the systemic and endemic problems and abuses facing the Pakistani government and society.

Furthermore, because it has yet to be determined whether Gen. Parvez Musharraf has the power and will to reign in the terrorist forces as the United States wants, any self-promoted efforts to this end should be viewed as suspect by American officials. In an inflammatory speech given in Azad Kashmir two weeks ago, Gen. Musharraf called for the reorganization and regrouping of indigenous terrorist cells in order to better coordinate their attacks on Indian Kashmir. This week, in a move disturbingly reminiscent of the Afghan jihad, the general said his country would soon "launch an intensive campaign to inform the Arab masses about the atrocities being perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces on the innocent Kashmiris" and about the "Indo-Israeli military threat to Pakistan's nuclear program."

Gen. Musharraf clearly is playing to the crowd in a feeble attempt to shore up support across the globe. However, until he can deliver a singular message on fighting terrorism and de-escalating regional tensions, the general and his government should not be viewed as reliable interlocutors. The president's time should not be wasted on their palaver.



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