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Follow up: American McGee's sister disappearance

Mercy Covington is still missing; McGee has looked into private investigators after Police turn down aid

Last week, American McGee went public with news of his sister's disappearance. According to McGee, his sister was last seen being dropped off at her home in November, but he had not heard from her since. Since the Dallas Police Department was hesitant to put any resources forward, McGee turned to social media for aid.

"They've told Mercy's mother, 'Go look for her on your own.'"
-American McGee, via Facebook

Since then, McGee's Facebook has flooded with support - particularly by Gamergate members. Unfortunately, the local police have only responded poorly to the increased attention. According to McGee, the police believe that Mercy ran off on her own, and that there is no reason for further investigation - despite 30 days of absence, death threats which included personal information, and suspicious evidence found at her home.

"All of her bedding was removed from the bed and taken away. It's vanished. It's suspected someone took it to hide something. A suspicious SMS was also sent from Mercy's cell phone to her mother - apparently someone pretending to be Mercy."

-American McGee, Facebook

According to American McGee, the person who sent the death threats to him has had a strong history of being an anti-Gamergate subscriber, and while the connection between the threats and disappearance are not clear, it is clear that this is the first threat made to him that mentioned his sister by name. McGee has also made it clear that he does not wish to make this a political situation. He cares little for the anti-Gamergate or Gamergate situation, and wishes only for his sister's return. His mentions of either side of the Gamergate debate are - as he states - to make the search "easier" for those looking for her. He also wishes that the Dallas PD would take Mercy's disappearance more seriously.

As of today (December 7th, 2015), Mercy is still missing. McGee made the following post on his Facebook page:

 

To everyone who has helped spread awareness about the disappearance of Mercy Covington, I want to say, Thank You. You're...

Posted by American McGee on Sunday, December 6, 2015

In this post, McGee states that the Dallas Police Department has finally increased its efforts in investigating the case of Mercy's disappearance, and it also lists his letter to begin a vetting process toward hiring a P.I. agency. In an earlier post he also mentioned that he started a Facebook page dedicated to Mercy's disappearance which can be found here.

While the situation itself has not developed much, and McGee is holding plenty of information close to his chest for the sake of his sister's safety, Gamergate has heard the message. According to /r/KotakuinAction, Gamergate members have launched an effort to get this news into the press. In the thread, pro-Gamergate moderators have made it their goal to get Mercy home safe. Among their current goals are:

  • Get the press aware of the situation, and that nothing is being done about it
  • Get the Department of Justice involved with the officers not doing their job
  • Keep using the #findmercy hashtag to get it trending
  • Keep pressuring the DPD and the Dallas FBI

The thread also lists various contact informations for news groups, law enforcement agencies, and others.

On the surface, Gamergate certainly seems to be living up to their pledge of breaking down the biases of the media - which certainly seems to be the case here, as I am one of the few reporters who are fully covering this story. Many sites that have been known to focus on the Gamergate controversy have made no mention of this case, of anti-Gamergate or its alleged actions, which could be seen as a direct bias of these groups. Meanwhile anti-Gamergate has continued to harass McGee on Facebook through the comments, claiming this has been fabricated.

The situation is certainly looking bleak, and I hope that McGee's sister can return home in one piece. We can only hope that the passing days will reveal more information as to Mercy's whereabouts. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for future updates, as I will continue to follow this story every week as it progresses.

Published Dec. 8th 2015
  • Will_1221
    Shows you how the anti-Gamergate "feminists" treat REAL female victims. Seems they care more about fictional characters and unharmed attention seekers than they do victims of actual crimes and violence.

    But FYI, when the police refuse to investigate a disappearance like this, it's usually because they already know who did it and it's either a rich, powerful person, a police C.I., a friend or family member of a cop, or a cop themself.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    I'm not entirely certain that the "feminists" you allude to are responsible for this at all. After all, we are still on the grounds that they are suspects, not culprits - at least, not yet. This could be similar to a post where a revenge-porn poster used the Gamergate name to get publicity, yet was completely unrelated. Until we have an arrest, we may never know.

    That said, if it is an action committed by anti-Gamergate followers then we certainly would have reason to scrutinize the group with equal - if not more - prejudice than Gamergate previously faced with their own scandal.

    As for the investigation, that is within the realm of possibility, I suppose. It certainly seems that they are hiding *something* since they really did not want the publicity. However, with that said it could be an honest case of "she might get in more trouble as a result of this" since there have been cases where kidnappers with no murderous intentions kill out of fear. A "I'm screwed anyway" kinda clause.
  • Will_1221
    I didn't mean to imply that they were the perpetrators, although it's certainly possible. Just that whenever a woman is the ACTUAL victim of an ACTUAL crime, instead of offering sympathy, they offer nothing but insults and allegations of "she's faking it"
  • Jay Ricciardi
    Contributor
    It is important to not jump to conclusions. There are many reasons for missing persons cases to arise and they, fortunately, rarely have to do with foul play. While this is an unfortunate circumstance, blanket blaming a group of people is not constructive.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    I'm not outruling it, but I'm not supporting it. As with any criminal case I tend to stay neutral. I'm not a fan of innocent until proven guilty, but I'm not a fan of guilty until proven innocent either. I am in a perpetual grey area, an enigma in human thought, the true "I really don't care either way". All I really care about in this case is that no harm comes to anybody in the end - if possible.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Hopefully this gets resolved soon. Blanket blaming hurts everyone. However, I also agree with Will_1221 insofar as people shouldn't be making "it's a fake claim" comments. It helps no one, and frankly I feel like that should be grounds for suspicion.

    Then again, my own made up system of law in my head is far from traditional. :P
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    While this is sad, it is encouraging to see the community banding together in an attempt to help.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Hopefully other video game media groups pick up on this story soon. I had expected Kotaku to jump onto this since it involves Gamergate, but I'm starting to think Gamergate might be onto something when they said that Kotaku is heavily biased against them. Publishing something anti-Gamergate might be involved with - particularly something criminal in nature - would be a terrible hit to their viewership.

    That said, I hope this gets more coverage. No one deserves to be victimized over such trivial matters if this is indeed the work of anti-Gamergate followers.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    I actually send this in as a news tip to several of the major sites a little earlier. A story like this needs to be shared, no matter the implications to anyone's little group. This is a human life and a mother.

    Hopefully this resolves soon.
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    Wow... looks like gaming news just became as depressing as the other depressing news.

    This really sucks... which is the most polite way of saying that. Why do people take things this far? If she was or wasn't kidnapped isn't the question, it's more why did she run away or why was she kidnapped (depending what happened).
    But people... why?!
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Give people an idea to subscribe to, and someone among them will radicalize it to the most literal and extreme point they can. That's pretty much the gist of it. She doesn't seem to have any reason to run away - at least according to McGee and her Facebook profile that was made public by him - so that seems like an unlikely case. Whether or not anti-Gamergate followers are involved is another question entirely, as anti-Gamergate - like Gamergate - is not an institutionalized group.

    Hopefully this ends well, but as my own officer buddy has said time and time again with these kinds of cases: each passing day is one more step toward finding a dead body, if anything at all. I really hope the latter is not the case.

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