What Can The Jermain Charlo Missing Person Case Tell Us About The Effort To Find Rebekah Barsotti?

by Travis Mateer

Over the weekend I binge-listened to the podcast STOLEN about the Jermain Charlo missing person case. I was aware of this podcast last April, when I participated in a homeless camp clean-up (where I found an ID of a young Native woman in the trash) and even tried reaching out to the journalist who parachuted in and out to do this story, Connie Walker, but never heard back.

Well, after listening to how DEEPLY INVOLVED Lowell Hochhalter was in the investigation of Jermain Charlo, I sent Connie Walker another email with the subject line “platforming Lowell Hochhalter”. From my email:

The reason I am asking these questions is because Lowell Hochhalter was allowed to sit-in on an official police interview of Jermain’s ex-boyfriend, Michael DeFrance, and even boasted about shaking this dude down, post interview, for additional information.

If that wasn’t odd enough, the family of Jermain Charlo gave Hochhalter access to Jermain’s diary. Why? So he could provide his “expert” analysis that Jermain was a good looking woman who knew how to apply her makeup, making her quite “marketable” to traffickers, in Lowell Hochhalter’s humble estimation?

As I listened to Lowell Hochhalter describe how his group swept in to augment the seemingly sparse resources of law enforcement, and the praise he received from desperate family members happy for ANY help–and knowing Hochhalter has AN OFFICIAL ROLE with the Sheriff’s Department–I kept thinking of narrative control and con-artistry.

So here’s my question: Did Connie Walker waltz in to Montana to get conned by narrative control gatekeepers?

Another narrative controller involved in this podcast is Guy Baker, the former Missoula detective who got national media attention for his central role in Jon Krakauer’s treatment of Missoula’s rape scandal. Baker seems VERY helpful at first, taking Connie Walker to Dixon Agency and introducing her to family members of Jermain himself. But is he?

While Walker does express some skepticism about what Baker might be omitting, the fact is, as an outsider, Connie Walker is somewhat beholden to official narrative controllers for her story. To get beyond that gatekeeper control, Walker would need to immerse herself for a longer period of time, but that wasn’t the scope of her media project.

If Connie Walker was still paying attention to the LifeGuards she provided some free marketing to as she made an exclusive media product for Spotify, I would ask her what she thought about this group’s no-show for Rebekah Barsotti.

Was this guy just too busy getting filmed by Lowell in an alleyway to bother doing the job the LifeGuard Group pays him to do?

This image of Joe Danzer comes from a very weird video uploaded by the LifeGuard Group in which Joe tells his origin story.

There he was, dressed all in black and full of hate, when he was plucked from McDonalds by a stranger who saw something more in young Joe, something promising.

Was Joe’s fast food savior Lowell Hochhalter? I don’t know, nor can I confirm that that is Lowell reflecting in Joe’s sunglass lenses, but based just on the slick hairstyle, I’d say it’s a match (from the follicle all the way down to the French fry, if you know what I mean).

Watch the video and judge for yourself what’s going on here.

Now, maybe I’m feeling a little too close to all this because I ALSO wear mostly all black and I ALSO find alleyways to be fascinating places where broken people lurk with their greasy haircuts and savior complexes.

In fact, to demonstrate how knowledgeable I am about alleyways, I can tell you this particular alleyway, where Joe is doing his thing for the camera, is a VERY NICE one, where pretty art from the Radius Gallery gives broken people something to aspire to. At one point you can see the Florence building in the background, where the LifeGuard Group has an office. So this alley is close to home.

If you go just one block north (alleyway-speaking) that is the stretch of alleyway where Jermain Charlo is filmed by Missoula Housing Authority cameras on the last night she is known to be alive and freely able to communicate with the outside world.

Her path that night, from bar to bar, took her from the Dark Horse, to the Golden Rose, to the Badlander, then gone.

I’m glad Connie Walker didn’t need finding by these LifeGuards and detectives who were SO SURE they were going to be successful finding Jermain…but, alas, Missoula County Sheriff dogs weren’t good enough, the Fed dogs Guy Baker ordered took four months to arrive, and therefore the lab results on the bloody clothes found somewhere only the authorities know about were inconclusive.


Better luck next time, guys!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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