June 29th, 2006

Keep Walking

Sad news: Adrian Alun Dennis Exley's body unearthed in RI

The text below, from Andrés Duque's BLOG really says it all -- except how the hell did I get involved with all the reporters?? Read on...

photo by BULLmanX Photography

A couple of hours ago the Associated Press confirmed what a few bloggers had assumed: A body unearthed yesterday from a make-shift grave in Rhode Island has been identified as the remains of missing British tourist Adrian Alun Dennis Exley. Police found the grave after Gary LeBlanc, of Lynn, Massachusetts, committed suicide, leaving a note behind with details as to where to look for Exley's body.

From the moment I heard about his disappearance, something struck me about the case and the absolute silence that followed in media. I'm not sure if it was the fact that Exley had apparently flown to the United States to meet a couple of people he only knew through a leather site on the internet (something that media might have shied away from delving into), or the fact that he was a tourist with few established roots in the United States. The fact is that I only found out about it through community e-mail list postings and blogs.

Over the last couple of days this has changed drastically with the AP and other international agencies picking up on the details. A bit late, if you ask me, and it makes me wonder if such an end could have been prevented had media focused on the case the moment that the Lynn Police Department sent out its missing persons alert back in May.

An autopsy is pending as to the cause of death but the reports leading up to the finding of the body do mention that evidence at LeBlanc's house indicate he was murdered.

Some may say that here at Blabbeando we might focus a bit much on cases of violence in our communities. Maybe it's because we have first-hand experience in losing friends to violence and intimately aware on how these situations affects family and friends.

In any case, this is truly sad and I just hope that his family and friends know that our thoughts are with them.

Back to how/why I'm involved...

I don't like being involved with this terrible tragic event; but it's my duty as a member of the leather community that what truth I know is appropriately shared. When Adrien Exley went missing in April, barely a murmur echoed through the community about it -- the reason I am being interviewed left and right this week is because the news story became hot when it was connected with Gary's suicide note, helping authorities locate Adrien's body. When reporters "Googled" Adrien's name, they found my name in my "call to action postings" on several yahoo sites.

Gary was a member of Wildfire, M.C. -- most of us KNOW where conservative media would have gone with this story if someone hadn't directed it in a more appropriate light. Imagine what the headlines COULD have been, it's frightening that even though I am carefully choosing my words in these interviews that they clip out the most dramatic parts to spin the story in a manner that "sells" more papers or television ads.

This was probably an accident from a sexual scene, not foul play. Gary, if involved with Adrien's death, probably panicked and did the wrong thing.

The points I've been trying to make with the press have been:

  • Regardless of Adrien's sexual orientation, this could have happened to anyone.
  • Although he probably met Gary on a gay internet hook-up site (worldrubbermen.com), the internet is also not to blame.
  • Gay leather social/motorcycle clubs are not deviants, we are charitable organizations that look out for ourselves and our communities.
  • Drugs and alcohol do not mix with "edge play" activities.
  • All persons of all ages should use caution when meeting people on the internet, as well as in clubs and bars. They should follow some common-sense rules (which I provided for them)

    So, as you can see, even though some of the reporters are distorting the story a little, the Boston Globe and other newspapers have been doing a better job at preventing this from becoming a "gay leather internet stalker" type story -- we all know that's not the case here.