Thursday, September 08, 2005

9/8/05 A Miracle in the Making?

Update on 7/23/06: We were never able to locate "Bubba", however there is still very real hope for Mark. Someday, we'll be able to tell you more about it.

You are being invited along on what we hope and pray will end up as a miracle of a reunion.

You may recall the story I posted on August 4th, entitled "I Long to See Your Face". It tells the story of a mother, Vicki, whose adult son, Mark Hamilton, has been missing for 11 years. In that story, Vicki was the recipient of a small miracle, and that was getting Mark listed as a missing person. He had been removed as an active case after being spotted in Florida in January. Authorities did not understand the seriousness of his mental illness and how that played a part in his being missing. Before you read this update, you should go back and read the original story first. The wonder of what may be happening here will be clearer if you would do that.

Mark was placed on our Come Home program just weeks ago. Come Home is the 1st ever national missing person's locator program which seeks the missing among the homeless. As it was a near certainty that Mark was living a homeless lifestyle due to his illness, we placed him on the program. On August 16th, our Come Home participants, which consist of homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and related entities, were given notification of Mark's campaign, and asked to print and display his poster.

We also ask you to print and display it for reasons we'll explain in a moment.

Last Friday, September 2nd, a homeless preacher named Bubba picked up another homeless man and gave him a ride to a town in Colorado named Pagosa Springs. Bubba owns a jeep, but little more. He goes to the soup kitchen in a nearby community on a daily basis to help with the meals. This particular soup kitchen is one of our Come Home participants.

The next time Bubba went to the soup kitchen, he spoke with a worker there, a woman named Kim. In their conversation, Bubba mentioned that he had given a ride to a homeless man. (As soon as I speak to Kim, and with her permission, I will let you know the location of the soup kitchen.) Kim interrupted Bubba, and went to get the Come Home poster she had posted. She showed it to Bubba, and asked if the man he spoke of was the same man as shown on the poster, Mark Hamilton. Bubba said a very astonished "yes".

The two of them were amazed. Kim called the law enforcement contact listed on the poster and let them know what had happened. The detective was also shocked at this odd and coincidental chain of events. He called Vicki, who was speechless. Could this be her Mark?

If you have been reading our stories, you have probably noticed that frequently, the families of missing loved ones describe the emotional ups and downs as like being on a roller coaster ride. Just the day to day emotions of this type of loss can be like a harrowing ride. When something like today's events occur, the ride intensifies dramatically.

Vicki knows that she needs to try to be "neutral" about this sighting. If you get your hopes up too high, and then you find out it is not your missing loved one, then you fall much harder. It is difficult to pick yourself back up and go on once again.

On Friday, Kim will have Bubba contact Vicki so that she can try to ascertain if it was indeed Mark, and if he gave any clues to where he might be headed. The unfortunate thing, as Vicki is well aware, is that it was a week ago when these events transpired. Mark might still be in the area, or he could be several states away. Even so, Vicki will not give up hope that she can and will find Mark.

Because of his illness, he may not truly understand what it means to be homeless and that his family is looking for him. He may feel compelled to keep moving. Mark has been reported to ride on freight trains and to hitch rides. He likes to be near the ocean and does not like cold weather. There have been reports of him being in NY, VI, FL, and CA. Vicki's gut instinct told her that Mark was going to CA, L.A. specifically, but she has nothing to substantiate this, other then those first thoughts and the reports from the past.

We hope that Bubba will come to the soup kitchen and call Vicki. She is very anxious to speak to him to get as much information as possible. Any tips or clues she gets from speaking to him will be shared with us and with law enforcement. Project Jason is not an investigative agency, but based upon the details, we can give suggestions and resources as needed.

We ask that you, our readers, our angels, and our seeking eyes, to help in any way that you can. We need to get Mark's poster out there, and ensure that as many law enforcement agencies, shelters, and soup kitchens in this area and in a path to L.A. see his information. Authorities need to understand that he is a mentally ill person, and even if he seems fine, effort should be made to see if he will go with them long enough for them to contact the detective in St Louis (the phone number is on the poster) and for him to agree to go in for an evaluation.

We hope that Bubba will be able to tell Vicki something definitive about Mark's future travels. It may be possible that he is not headed west. As we receive additional information, we will post it here.

It just seems as if there are too many "coincidences" in this story for something good NOT to occur. Vicki agrees.

So, please God, can you make this miracle happen for Vicki? It's been a very long time for her to be without Mark, and to go to bed each night hoping and wondering.

Additional photos and information can be found here:

Update, late Friday night: Bubba did not show up at the soup kitchen today. We will have to wait until he does to find out more information about his passenger.

Update, Tuesday morning: Bubba has not been coming to the soup kitchen for reasons unknown. Hopefully, he will return soon. Vicki is still in the midst of contacting law enforcement for additional details. Law enforcement in that area has placed posters. We'll keep our hopes alive, always.


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