Local man hasn#039;t given up on missing person report

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2003

The picture has been on the wall at the Austin-Mower County law Enforcement Center for some time now.

It shows a middle-aged woman smiling at the camera. Another picture shows the car she was driving.

Carol Gunderson is still missing. She was last seen at the Lucky Seven Convenience Store on Oct. 7 in Chisholm.

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Happens all the time. People disappear. Children are snatched, adults kidnapped. The abductions are frightening and frustrating at the same time.

When a recalcitrant teenager runs away from home, he/she is missing until they are found skipping school at a friend's house.

When a vulnerable adult wanders away from a nursing home, it's scary for loved ones until that person is found on the door step of the home they gave up for residential care.

Different circumstances, same results. Panic, then relief.

Frustrating, too, are the husbands who leave wives or the wives

who leave husbands.

Now, there's another missing person, who could become a picture on the wall of a police station somewhere.

Jennifer Norman has been entered into the national crime information computer system as a missing person because of suspicious circumstances.

The 21-year-old Austin woman is described as 5 feet 2 inches tall with long, dark hair embedded with gold streaks. She is also described as an African-American, weighing 140 pounds, who speaks with a Texas accent.

On her right shoulder, she has a tattoo of the word "love" in Japanese.

On her right upper chest, she has the tattoo of a Playboy bunny.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact the Austin Police Department at 437-9400.

When Tony Curtis Norman got out of the Mower County Jail Thursday, the first thing he did was go to the local newspaper.

"I want to find this woman," he said plain and simple. "She's my wife and she's been missing since April 17. She's just as important as anybody else who's missing."

After telling his story, Norman went to the law enforcement center to check on the search for his wife.

The Austin Police Department is treating it as a legitimate missing persons report, according to Police Chief Paul M. Philipp. But beyond entering the data in the computer system, there's nothing more that can be done in Austin.

There are dozens of Web sites on the Internet about missing persons.

One of them offers a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the disappearance of 22 women from the lower mainland region of British Columbia, Canada.

The web site, Missing Links, also lists over 50 other names of people who vanished, disappeared,

are considered parental

abducted or considered homicide victims.

Another Web site, Missing Persons Register, is in trouble itself and will be missing soon unless it gets a sponsor.

Norman's search for his wife is handicapped on several fronts. Because she is 21, she is an adult and can travel freely.

There are others.

The husband, who is 36, and his wife moved to Austin a year ago from Waco, Texas. Married for a year, they have a 5-year-old son, who stays with relatives in Texas.

The husband is unemployed, he said, due to disabilities from Sickle Cell Anemia. Neither did his wife work. They lived in a boarding house in Austin.

"The last time I saw Jennifer was April 17," he said. "We had an argument that night, but we were trying to patch up our differences."

Then begins a tale of female acquaintances of his wife's, who were employed as exotic dancers and who went to South Dakota for a job.

Norman was arrested when the van and its occupants returned to Austin, he said, "Because all I did was have the keys to the van in my possession." The rest of the story is fuzzy to his memory.

The van and its occupants, including his wife, then apparently left for Milwaukee, Wis.

"There's been no calls, no cards, no letters, no nothin'," he said. "No other relatives of her's know anything about her either."

The complications also include past separations of the 36-year-old man and his 21 year old wife.

"The most she's ever been missing like this before is two days at a time," he said. "She can't drive. She don't know how to drive and she doesn't know anybody in Milwaukee."

Norman was told the circumstance around the disappearance -- exotic dangers, van trip to South Dakota, etc. -- could suggest a hoax.

At a time when so many persons are listed as missing and when so many children and adults are never fund or found dead, Norman insist he is telling the truth and that his wife is being held against her wishes."

"It's a feeling that I have. I can't shake it," he said.

According to the husband, his wife left all of her identification behind, including IDs that have her using the last name "Brinkley."

"As far as we are concerned it's a legitimate report," said Austin Police Chief Paul M. Philipp. "She is presumed missing."

According to the Philipp, it's been longer than the minimum 48 hours required for an authentic missing persons report to be made and her name has been entered into the computer as a person believed to be endangered or missing under suspicious circumstances.

What can the husband do in the meantime? "I'm praying my heart out," he said.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at