By: Uncovered Staff

The Charley Project Map and Meaghan Good

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUS) database reports that more than 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year. While many are located quickly—often alive and unharmed—thousands remain missing, relying on law enforcement and media to dedicate available resources in order to raise awareness and conduct investigations aimed at finding those missing persons.

Unfortunately, resources are limited, and many cases don’t garner the attention they deserve.

Since 1980, more than 200,000 cases of the missing and murdered have gone cold, and their likelihood of being solved increasingly depends on support from community members and advocates who can shine a light on them.

Uncovered knows this crisis all too well, which is why we’re using the power of the community to uncover answers and bring hope to the families of the missing or murdered.

We’re not alone in this mission.

If you’re a researcher that spends hours every day or every week on the internet looking for clues in cold cases, you’ve most definitely found yourself on The Charley Project’s website.

Since its inception in 2004, The Charley Project has made a name for itself as a phenomenal resource for unsolved case. Have you ever wondered what the backstory is for the database?

What Is The Charley Project?

The Charley Project maintains a database of cold case profiles on more than 14,000 missing persons in the United States. In order to be eligible for a listing on The Charley Project’s website, a person must be missing for at least one year. While The Charley Project does not actively investigate cases, it seeks to raise awareness and provide publicity to cases of people who might otherwise be overlooked by mass media and/or law enforcement.

Meet Meaghan Good

Meaghan Good grew up in a tiny Ohio town eleven miles from the nearest traffic light. Despite being in a small town with no personal experience with a missing loved one, Meaghan was incredibly empathetic, and became interested in missing persons in her teenage years. She’d spent hours falling down case rabbit-holes.

The Charley Project was founded by Meaghan on October 12, 2004, shortly after Meaghan turned 19 years old.

After taking an interest in missing persons cases and striking up a friendship with Jennifer Marra (who founded the Missing Persons Cold Case Network, MPCCN), Meaghan assumed leadership of MPCCN when Jennifer resigned. Eventually, she re-launched it as The Charley Project in order to “… catalog as much information as possible about as many cases as possible into a database as a publicity / investigative aid for the public and law enforcement to help solve cases.”

Meaghan credits her ability to maintain intense focus while collecting reliable cold case data to her autism spectrum disorder — something she was diagnosed with when she was 23.

Since founding The Charley Project, she has put her unique ability to good use in researching cold cases and building a massive, curated database of case files that others can use to streamline their own investigations.

The Charley Project name was inspired by a missing person case from 1874, in which a four-year-old boy named Charles “Charley” Brewster Ross was kidnapped from his home in Pennsylvania and never seen again.

Even though his case was highly publicized shortly after his disappearance, the attention faded over time, and now his case is mostly unknown. Meaghan founded The Charley Project to help ensure other missing persons cases receive as much attention and publicity as possible so that those who are missing can be found.

Notable Milestones

As detailed on The Charley Project website, these are some key milestones in the site’s history:

  • October 12, 2004: Charley Project founded
  • January 28, 2005: Alphabetical indexes of cases added
  • January 31, 2005: Criteria for case inclusion added
  • March 23, 2005: Linking banners added
  • March 25, 2005: Recommended books added
  • April 1, 2005: Chronological indexes of cases added
  • December 16, 2008: Charley Project Blog created
  • September 2009: Charley Project Twitter feed created
  • March 16, 2012: Charley Project Facebook account created

Check out The Charley Project’s database.

 


 

Together We Can Build a Community. Our team is taking publicly available data and creating timelines, pulling maps, organizing sources, and visualizing cold cases for more eyes and collective impact.

We're building a community for advocates, citizen detectives, and true crime enthusiasts to use your skills to crowdsource the gaps in unsolved cases to help uncover answers—join the Uncovered community!