Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time Piece

These notes trace time spent by Nicole Vienneau who disappeared within 48 hours of arriving in a city for the first time. Narrowing down the window of time, narrows down the perimeter of possibilities. The top half strips out proper names and details to focus only on window of time. The bottom half shows the details.
Window of Time
Within 44 hours of arriving in a city where she’d never been, (Jacqueline) Nicole Vienneau vanished.
She’d spent a day trip 61 km outside this city (spotted for hours reading a book), leaving only a 36-38 hour window in the city where she was last seen.
In this city, she likely slept 13-16 hours at her hotel (2 nights), assuming she made it through the second night. That left only a 20-25 hour window for her to vanish, in a place she’d never been, among people she’d only just met.
In that 20-25 hour window, her family and her fiancé accounted for 8 activities inside/outside the hotel in public view.
That left only a 9-16 hour window for her disappear outside her hotel bed away from the public.
Within that 9-16 hour window, it's likely much of it was in public view at a tourist hotel or on busy public streets. That left only a tiny sliver of time not in public view for her to disappear.
* * *
The Details
These were the assumptions to narrow the window of time.
44 hour Window
To peg the 44-hour window, Nicole’s handwritten diary reported she’d arrived in Hama, Syria, Thursday “early afternoon” on March 29, 2007, at Cairo Hotel.
A graveyard shift hotel clerk was last to report seeing her 8:30 am, Saturday, March 31, in the Cairo Hotel lobby.
There's no more than 1pm Thursday to 9am Saturday in this window which equals 44 hours.
No one reported seeing her outside the hotel after this window. Her email was never used again since the night before. Her bank accounts were never used again.
36-38 hour Window
Her last corroborated activities were on Friday when Nicole spent a day trip in Apamea (61 km away) later returning to Hama by sunset (her last diary entry), where she was last seen.
Her return trip to Apamea probably took 2-3 hours (if by bus and walking). She spent a few hours in Apamea, spotted reading a book and exploring. In total (including travel), I estimate she spent 6-8 hrs outside of Hama (her last known location).
The directionality of her Friday trip to Apamea likely meant she was not heading that way again on Saturday.
That left only 36-38 hours she spent in Hama where she wrote by hand of a planned trip (see red) to go to Beehive Houses in Sarouj and a castle at Qasr Ibn Wardan. The hotel clerk said she was heading there on Saturday. She also wrote of the Dead Cities, another trip that could only be done same day by car.
20-25 hour Window
Nicole is officially registered for two nights at Cairo Hotel (March 29, March 30). If she made it through the 2nd night, she likely slept 13-16 hours in her bed.
That left up to only 20-25 hours outside of her Cairo Hotel bed for a disappearance in Hama.
9-16 hour Window
The perimeter for those 20-25 hours left for her disappearance outside of her hotel bed can be divided between: 1) Inside Cairo Hotel and 2) Outside Cairo Hotel.
In that window of time, her family and fiancé accounted for 8 activities in public view.
Inside Cairo Hotel (8hrs):
1) Her diary noted she spent time checking in Thursday afternoon and got settled.
2) She hung out in the lobby at night with American tourists named Meredith Fox, Barbara Law and Catherine Lu (registered Friday March 30, 2007) who recommended Beehive Houses in Sarouj. Graveyard shift hotel clerk working Friday-Saturday said he saw her hang out with "Americans" just before 11:30 pm on Friday.
3) Hotel clerk said she spent time Saturday morning in the lobby getting instructions to Hama bus stop for Al Hamra to get to Beehive Houses in Sarouj and castle at Qasr Ibn Wardan. It's a 15-20 minute walk to the bus stop from the hotel. The instructions were for some reason left in her hotel room. There's been no other Saturday morning sighting. The clerk's report (uncorroborated) is the only sighting that day.
4) She spent time tediously copying by hand instructions to Beehive Houses at Sarouj and to castle at Qasr Ibn Wardan. These were for some reason left behind her in room.
5) She was okay Friday Morning in hotel before going to Apamea and until sunset in her return to Hama. There are no signs of duress in her diary which ends at sunset on Friday (around 8pm). She would vanish within 13 hours.
6) Graveyard shift hotel clerk said he saw her 830 am on Saturday heading to bus stop. He also said she declined hotel car service to her destination (due to cost). No one else said they saw her that day.
Outside Cairo Hotel (2-3 hours)
1) She wrote in her diary she sawsunset on Friday night.
2) She had failed hotmail login session on Friday at 8:30pm
That left only a window of 9-14 hours when she was not in view of someone else. Given both inside/outside the hotel was very public, very little time in that window would be private.
That window of time is so small for a first time encounter for any kind of abduction. Likewise for the window of time in her bed. This narrowed down the possibilities.
This is how much the timeline perimeter has been narrowed.
The Elusive "Outside Cairo Hotel" Witness
Elusive Swiss witness Amine Benyahia (yet to surface after 5 years) would significantly help narrow down what happened outside. He used a car service next door to Nicole's hotel at Riad Hotel (but was not registered there). He was the only tourist heading to Qasr Ibn Wardan on March 31, 2007. He was the only tourist registered there. He paid for a hotel car service shared by Nicole's hotel. He wrote he was born 1984 in Algeria to Abbas Benyahia and Monica. The gatekeeper said he was Swiss and had 2007 passport no. 01939205. Nicole wrote in her diary that she had dinner March 14, 2007, with a Swiss man in Damascus (90 minutes away). It's unknown if Amine Benyahia is the "Swiss" man she wrote of. But neither has surfaced after 5 years. Amine Benyahia's name in Arabic and English are both very Google-able with this story.

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