Thursday, July 10, 2014

10 Years Later: Mobile Press-Register article: Jillian Kramer and Sheriff Hoss Mack Discredit the Mother

The article below was created a few months after Mobile Press Register journalist Jillian Kramer contacted me after reading my first blog.  The blog was created to expose what I believe is coverup, corruption and fraud regarding the disappearance and reported death of my son, Gerard J. Sniffen, III.  With my attempts to expose this story, I have suffered intimidation and was even threatened through my attorney who advised me to take down that blog.  He said that I and my remaining children could be killed, and that there was so much money against me I could never hope to get the truth.

Ms. Kramer was very personable, sympathetic and nice. I cooperated with her and provided her with information she was seeking.  She said she would "hit the ground running" and research, get documents, etc.   I had asked Ms. Kramer that if she wrote an article would she be so kind as to allow me to proof read it for errors before its publication because I wanted to make sure the details were correct.  There was only one telephone conversation with Jillian Kramer. She never called back for more information.

I had no idea she would head directly to the office of Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack, and it appears speaking with Sheriff Mack was quite possibly the substance of her entire investigation.  After reading the article I wondered whether it was Ms. Kramer or Hoss Mack, deputy in charge of the John Doe investigation, who initiated it.

In 1998, Huey Mack, Sr., the Baldwin County Coroner, was the father of Deputy Hoss Mack.  Both men had been involved in my son's identification, body storage, and the details of the death, etc.  It was Huey Mack, Sr. who gave me much information via telephone, and I was grateful for it as Hoss Mack and John Garner at the sheriff's office were rude and stonewalled my attempts to get the files.

About six months after speaking with Ms. Kramer on the phone, an article was published without my knowledge or notification between Christmas and New Years in the Mobile Press Register.  Jillian's investigative "piece" was so slanted and loaded with errors that I couldn't believe it was published in a legitimate newspaper.
 In the article, I am not referenced with respect as a Mother, family member nor parent, nor even as Ms. Looney, but as "Looney says" and "Looney this" or "Looney  that" eight times, with obvious disrespect for my family and maiden name bordering ridicule.
A newspaper or published article will often set-in-stone or validate a story to the general public even if the facts are incorrect. 
The article:

Sealing the Coffin Shut–– with the Media.

A newspaper or published article will often set-in-stone or validate a story to the general public even if the facts are incorrect.  The media industry is extremely powerful in creating history and recording it, sometimes to the detriment of those of us who have been victimized by bad reporting.

There are several errors in this article listed below, the article stating:

"Gerard Sniffen III broke into a Baldwin County trailer home"  -  should say a John Doe broke in because the body went unidentified for nearly two weeks, until identified by Hoss Mack in his office,  with his personal comparison of prints with Officer Bryars.  My son had never stolen anything in his life, and is from an affluent railroad executive's family.   There is no way he would have committed robbery.  Besides his paternal grandmother had just given him  $750.00 before he disappeared. He had plenty of money and his father at the time, was actively seeking and involved in a very nasty Cobb County, Georgia divorce.

"discarded his Tommy Hilfiger clothes" - According to the police reports, the Hilfiger clothing was found neatly folded just inside the entrance door of the trailer.

"womens sweatpants and a camouflage jacket" - Police reports indicate a Crenshaw Machine Shop t-shirt.  The owner of the trailer and shirt was Crenshaw who owned the machine shop.  Personal research indicates one of the witnesses, Alan Singleton, a next door neighbor, had been involved and acquitted in a huge, Alabama/ Sandini drug smuggling operation with his truck and the plane "Aruba Star" years ago.  Online records indicate some members of the Crenshaw family have a history of questionable conduct.

"18-year-old" - In 1998, Gerard J. Sniffen, III was 20 years old

"Georgia native" - Gerard J. Sniffen, III was born in Roanoke, Virginia and lived in Virginia from 1978 - 1985 when the family was transferred away from Virginia by Norfolk Southern Railroad.

"swigs of whiskey" - the autopsy report showed no trace of alcohol

"gun rack" - the police report said the gun was taken from between the bed and chester drawer

"shot himself through the mouth" - autopsy report indicates neck wound

"It was Dec. 8, 1999" - police reports indicate the John Doe was found Dec. 9

"countless documents" - (?) The Baldwin County police reports I have in possession number sixteen pages.  The number of forensics file pages I have is sixteen pages  Two to three dozen Alabama pages may be an appropriate reference, but not "countless" documents.

"In all conversations I've had with her." -  untrue, Hoss Mack and Corporal John Garner stonewalled my attempts to get police records, refused to provide them to me and were very rude.  I did not speak to either of them a few times at the most because they demanded a court order and subpoena to deliver the police PUBLIC records to me, the victim's mother.
In 2004, six years after my son disappeared, I was finally able to get my son's police records after speaking directly with Sheriff James B. Johnson on the telephone.  I had been lead to believe that Hoss Mack and John Garner were in charge, and had no idea that  with Lieutenants and Corporals and a military styled department that an actual Sheriff, even existed. James B. Johnson was the actual  sheriff.
"Talked to Looney nearly a dozen times" - untrue, no reason to contact them when they would not deliver the police records.

"Deputies sent his prints to every state until they found a match in Georgia"   They should have found the match minutes after entering fingerprints of the John Doe in the N.C.I.C. system, since there was already a Georgia record.  Police reports indicate Hoss Mack identified them manually in his office and then notified A.B.I.

"The teenager had been charged in Roswell, Ga a few years before in a drug related offense."  - born 4/21/78, he was NOT an underage teenager at the time he was pulled over by police in Roswell, Ga.,  (6/17/96), but over age 18, so his prints should have been recorded in the NCIC system.

Hoss Mack was the investigating deputy in charge of this case.  Hoss Mack's father, Huey Mack, Sr.  who supposedly stored the body, was the coroner.

After the incident, at least three politically connected people moved up:

Investigating deputy in charge, Hoss Mack became sheriff.

Julia Goodin, forensics examiner who signed but did not perform the autopsy, moved to Iowa to the highest paying position in the state, according to one online publication.  I spoke with her later and she went to her black book saying that she did not perform his autopsy and said that I would have trouble locating the woman who did it, who had moved to another job. Contrary to Hoss Mack's and John Garner's reports, Dr. Goodin also said that she did not attend the crime scene, and that it was not the job of forensics examiners to attend crime scenes.

Judge Lyn Stuart, who released the body to the father the same day they were jailing the mother in Georgia, became an Alabama supreme court justice.  As the body was released by Judge Stuart to the father and said to be stored in Georgia for a week, I was arrested by Cobb County, Georgia police and jailed, and then arrested again by Houston County, Georgia police and held in a Georgia state hospital past the 72-hour order almost 7 days, which prevented my identification of my son's body.

Was Ms. Kramer and the Mobile Press-Register on a special mission to discredit the mother of Gerard J. Sniffen, III?  If not, and if the article was created for genuine concern for a grieving mother, family and lost son, then why didn't she mention the boy's father, Assistant Vice President in charge of Communications and Signals for Norfolk Southern Railroad? During the period of the Gerard Sniffen III death the parents were in the midst of a nasty divorce and the mother was being arrested, falsely accused and incarcerated in Georgia by the plaintiff, the boy's powerful and wealthy father who, according to police records, never gave either of three police departments Norfolk Southern's telephone number nor the fact that he was a railroad executive.

Did Ms. Kramer research this?  When Sheriff Hoss Mack finally made a match of the fingerprints in his office, he spoke with Mr. Sniffen on the telephone.  Why didn't he speak with the mother?  Why wasn't Mr. Sniffen mentioned in the article written by Ms. Kramer?

It should be noted that in none of the police reports in Cobb CountyCoweta County, Ga., nor Baldwin County, Al. regarding my son's disappearance, nor in Mobile Press Register's article, was mention ever made that this "whiskey swigging" thief was the son of an Assistant Vice President of Norfolk Southern Railroad.   Even the railroad should be alarmed for all of its employees, executives and their children of the mishandling of this disappearance.

Could it have been kidnapping?

The disappearance included a desperate phone call for help from a pay phone and a car found with  two flat tires on interstate.  Nothing was stolen from the vehicle and Georgia police should have suspected or at least considered kidnapping.  Any corporate executive would be concerned on hearing the story, and the railroad should have been concerned for the children upper management. Did they even know one of their executives had a missing son–– one who had been missing for nearly two weeks?

Had the father, Gerard J. "Gerry" Sniffen, Jr. given police his railroad employment information, and office telephone number, would the police have considered kidnapping when the boy was first reported missing?  Would the search have been more intense during the two-week period before a body was identified?
Overwhelming evidence proves my son did not die in Baldwin County, Alabama.  When Ms. Kramer contacted me, because she said she'd read my blog, this evidence was discussed.  I believed she, as an investigative journalist, intended to get to the truth.  After reading the article, I realized the truth was probably never her motive at all.
I have regretted ever speaking with Ms. Kramer and have advised others to be very cautious when interested journalists and hired writers approach them to convey their stories to the public.

A year or so after this article was published, when I read what Hoss Mack had reported about one of his own deputies who had been killed by a train, I realized that something was very wrong with his handling of cases and his ability to deal with death, tragedy and the media.

Having contributed to a small newspaper in N.C. years ago as a political cartoonist I had learned how very political and powerful they can be.  It was years later with the Mobile Press Register article I learned how shoddy, negligent, disrespectful and slanted–– even corrupt that information reporting can be.

The article was reported to the Dart Center, and anyone who suffers from this form of abuse by news media should consider this and other organizations who scrutinize news sources for signs of abuse or unethical behavior.

Lt. Commander
Garmen M. Looney, Sr. USN, WWII
The article was published online and by judging by my blog traffic, was surely published in the newspaper.  Filled with errors it also creates a slant in portraying an unstable "loony" mother who cannot accept reality.  It has been difficult for me having the maiden name Looney to combat my opponents' attempts to discredit me.

The surname Looney is an honorable name, an old American colonial name, in fact, my father and  ancestors participated American military successes, paid taxes and were upstanding citizens from the time they joined other colonists of Southwest Virginia in the 1700's.  Yet I am referred to not with respect as a Mother, family member nor parent, nor even as Ms. Looney, but as "Looney says" and "Looney this" or "Looney  that" eight times, with disrespect bordering ridicule.

For so-called journalist, Jillian Kramer and Baldwin County, Alabama Sheriff Hoss Mack please view this photo my late father, Lt. Commander Garmen Montell Looney, Sr, USN, WWII, a pilot and highly respected man who risked his life for you and your family. Why would anyone or the Mobile-Press Register be publicly disrespectful of this man's name, or his daughter or grandson?  His father spent 40 years serving Norfolk and Western Railroad and never missed a day's work.   His ancestors fought every war for this country.

Had he reached the ranks of executive and attained all the power and money there,  he still never would have had his wife and the mother of his children falsely accused and incarcerated in any jail or shackled and taken to a state hospital to prevent her from identifying their son's dead body.  And he never would have trashed or ridiculed anyone's family publicly.

The Looney family of Virginia has always been a good, honest family.
No decent American family should buckle under to power and money,
public corruption and crime, nor tolerate trashy, disrespectful, fallacious news reporting.

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