11/22/05 Seeking the Missing Among the Dead Part II
In the first installment, I mentioned that the Doe Network is one organization which seeks the missing among the dead. One of their volunteers wrote to me and explained why she does this unpleasant and tedious work:
"I'm glad it didn't turn out to be a positive match with Jason. In some ways, it might have been for the better because at least then you would have known his fate. I feel your grief. I read every word in his story, and it brought me to tears, even more so when I heard his voice. You know he did exist and you know he was so very real to you because he was your flesh and blood, your son you carried in your womb for nine months, the child you watched grow up seeing all his firsts like walking and talking .
That is what hurts so much when I try to match someone, because I feel their pain. I might not have been through it myself, but I don't have to because I love my children with all my heart and soul. I imagine what it would be like to be in your shoes and every parent out there with a missing child. That pain is very real, like someone stumbling upon a body of a person, (child/adult) and for years no one ever knows who this person/child ever was. That child was someone's son, daughter, mother, father, sister or brother . It was someone's loved one that just disappeared off the face of the earth one day, just like Jason.
That's what keeps me pushing for answers, just as you push for answers. Your search for Jason continues everyday of your life. I push for them to have a name and they deserve to be brought home. Even if justice doesn't happen, they at least deserve to be found.....and named."
When she speaks of being glad that we didn't have a postive match on Jason, she is referring to the painful time in the summer of 2004, when we thought that an UID might be him. We had to then play that awful "waiting game", while trying to pretend that something like this wasn't happening to us. I wrote about this experience here:
I want to thank each and every DOE Network volunteer for doing this work, this labour of love, for us. I know it is not easy. I, too, have searched the endless sea of faces, wondering who was out there looking for them and if I would find Jason among them.
In order to start to grasp the true extent of this national tragedy, you will need to read this article in full. It is lengthy, but this is needed to aid in your understanding of this issue.
These are not "crib notes", but highlights of what you just read. Re-reading them will help you retain the information, so that as our three family stories unfold, you will only then understand why we need your help.....why we need action.
"Missing-person experts estimate that the bodies of 40,000 to 50,000 unidentified men, women and children were found by police during the past 50 years. These John, Jane and Baby Does were sent to local coroners and medical examiners for examination and then anonymously buried or cremated. "
"Few states or local governments require that Doe cases be reported to any outside agency, and most coroners lack authority - and even the necessary computer links - to report directly to the FBI, the study found. "
"FBI records show 5,729 active Doe cases, only an eighth of what experts believe the actual number is. "
Tomorrow, we'll begin with Susan and Jennifer's story. Yes, this is the same Susan and Jennifer as mentioned in the article, and Jennifer is still missing.