Esther Reed / Brooke Henson Identity Theft Case

Caught this article this morning: Woman steals another’s identity, gets into Ivy League.

Brooke Henson was 20-years-old when she went missing seven years ago. Another girl named Esther Reed has been missing for about the same time. During those seven years, Esther, a high school dropout, took on Brooke’s identity and got into Harvard and Columbia using Brooke’s identity.

To be fair to Esther, though, she took the GED (high school equivalency diploma) and SAT (college admission) tests herself only using Brooke’s identity, so she did earn her university spots for the most part, right?

Esther is now missing again, by the way, now that her two identities have been discovered; let’s hope she’s OK somewhere.

Up until now, I’m following. Mostly.

But then two odd facts stand out in the article for very different reasons:

On the serious tip:

(1) Authorities are investigating Esther’s contacts in two of the United States military academies (Navy in Annapolis, MD and Army at West Point, NY) as well as some international money transfers she’s received.

“Officials want to make sure she’s not a spy.”

Really? That was definitely a turn I wasn’t expecting.

It also says the Army is investigating. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the inner workings of high level government, but why is the Army investigating? Don’t we have, like, a Federal Bureau of Investigation or something for things like this?

And doesn’t this involve potential international terrorism? What exactly does Homeland Security do these days?

All I’m saying is that I’m worried that the Army is being overworked, what with the war and all. Maybe someone else could handle the Ivy League mystery.

And on the not so serious tip:

(2) Esther had a high IQ but poor grades in school, so an English teacher encouraged her to join the speech team. None of this is odd to me. The following sentence from the article, though, is: “Reed won competitions with the speech team, and 10 years later her name is still on plaques at the high school.”

What do you mean still? Are plaques normally plated over to make room for new speech team winners? Or, in the spirit of Everything’s About Me, should I be going back to my high school and making sure my name hasn’t been erased from plaques (assuming it’s on any)?

Spies. International Terrorism. High School Plaque Tampering. can be scary in the morning.

5 Beans of Wisdom to “Esther Reed / Brooke Henson Identity Theft Case”
  1. Judith in Umbria

    Each military has an investigative arm, although I think the Marines and the Navy share the Navy’s. Why? Because to get into the inner workings of a military service they will allow only military personnel. Military, in fact, would probably not be responsive to an FBI investigator. FBI files eventually become public. FBI files are nowhere near as secure as military files.
    I’m sure the plaque at your school still says “testa dura.”

  2. sognatrice

    Yes, I know of the investigative arms (I watch JAG!); I suppose I’m just wondering why the Army is really involved at all. Apparently the authorities in SC called the Army, but why them? I mean, it would seem (and this is assuming a certain logic, so right there, I know I’m off) that the appropriate branch would deal with a given situation and not just whoever happened to be called. Maybe it was a purely alphabetical decision?

    Thanks for the assurance on the plaque, btw. I’m breathing easier now.

  3. ViVi

    Didn’t you know? Homeland Security is at the airport, confiscating your lip gloss. *sigh*

    I think the plaque thing is just a bad bit of reporting – “where her name can still be seen today” or something of the like might have been better.

  4. Christine

    I don’t get why the army would be involved at all unless they’re checking out why Esther had any contacts within the military? Maybe there’s something shady there? Hmmm…

  5. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    I wouldn’t be shocked if Lifetime made a movie about this. 🙂

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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