Tuesday, January 31, 2006

1/31/06 Tell Me Who I Am

Lately, I have run across several cases of children who were abducted as youngsters many, many, years ago. Sometimes the case details give you hope that these children were taken to start a new life, and they are not victims of foul play. In this type of abduction, the abductor will typically convince the child that the parents (or rightful caregivers) are dead or do not want to care for the child anymore. Young children may not discern truth from lies, and may come to believe what they have been told. Years go by and they go on with their lives, most often with new names and fading memories of a past not spoken about or one that is falsified.

I would like to ask you to look at your friends, co-workers, and anyone else you come into contact with on a regular basis. I believe that a good percentage of these persons may be alive, and we need your eyes to find help them. We need you to take part in telling them who they are. It is not, of course, suggested that you confront such a person with this information, but instead immediately call the LE agency listed and give them as much information as you can about the person. Let them handle it.

I will publish new segments for "Tell Me Who I Am" as I run across these cases.

I thank you for caring about the missing.

(Angela was found safe.)

The first in the series is a lovely young woman, Angela Brummond, who is from my home state of Nebraska. She was abducted by her grandmother, Sharon Lee Brummond on August 1st 1980. This took place in Dakota City, NE. Angela was only 5 years old.

A FBI warrant for Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution was issued for Sharon Brummond on February 17, 1987. Alias last names that may be used include Swick and Berg. Sharon has a scar on her left knee and an appendectomy scar.

Angela has brown hair and hazel eyes. She is now 29 years old. Her DOB is 5/31/76.

Sharon's DOB is 3/16/40. She has brown hair and brown eyes, weighs 145 and is 5' 1".

If you see either Angela or Sharon, please call the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Iowa) - Missing Persons Unit, 1-712-258-1920, or your local FBI office.

If there were to be any updates in the case, they will be located at:

Monday, January 30, 2006

1/30/06 An Invitation

Last year, we attended the 1st ever missing person's organization/families conference put on by our friend Monica Caison and her organization, The Cue Center. (www.ncmissingpersons.org) This year, Monica and Cue are preparing once again for the conference, entitled "Our Journey Continues”, The 2nd Annual National Round Table Conference 2006." I am very honored to have been selected to speak, along with my friend Robert Cooke, father of missing Rachel Cooke, at the vigil portion of this event.

I am posting this invitation and information here to reach other families of the missing and organization who may not be aware of the conference. Monica tells me attendance should top last year's and she also reports many new attendees.

If it is possible for families of the missing to attend, the information presented will be very valuable to them in dealing with their own loved one's case. You also cannot put a price tag on meeting other families who truly understand what it is like to lose someone in this way. I wish we could send some of the families we work for who cannot afford to go, but our small budget could never come close to allowing for that. Maybe someday......

Here is Monica's invitation:

"Dear Supporter,

The CUE Center for Missing Persons, a nonprofit volunteer organization in Wilmington, N.C., is organizing its second annual conference to bring together people from across the country whose shared goal is to find missing people, Identify and provide support to their families and loved ones.

This is the second time these groups and individuals will meet in North Carolina to network and to benefit from each other’s expertise. The conference will include a number of professional education lectures and discussions that will enhance all attendees’ ability to work more effectively on behalf of the missing.

I would personally like to invite you, or a representative of your organization, to attend this exciting and educational event. Among this year’s speakers and lecturers will be:

· Dr. Maurice Godwin “Solvability Factors in Child Abductions”

· James Dunn “Trail of Blood’ Author – Crime Scene Investigations

· Elena Pezzuto “Ceremony of Grief” : MSW, LCSW “Integrative Psychotherapy”

(There will be others, which will be announced at a later date.)

The conference will also feature workshops on DNA Technology, Forensic Art/Reconstruction, Scent/Search Technique, and Identification Process/UNID and more; which will help all of us learn the latest techniques for finding the missing. You may visit our website for daily updates at:
www.ncmissingpersons.org, click on the button labeled conference.

Because our attendance estimates were surpassed last year, we anticipate great participation this year, and I encourage you to register early! The conference will be held March 24, 25 and 26 of 2006 in Wilmington, N.C.

We will assist you with shuttle service upon your arrival and departure of the airport and other events planned. Accommodations, materials and meals are include in you registration fee of $120.00 for the 3-day event. Attendees may depart from the conference upon it closing at 3:00 pm, March 26, 2006. If you remain over night for Sunday please contact our center for arrangements.

In addition to the conference, CUE Center will host its Annual National Candle Light Vigil on Saturday Night of the conference weekend; on the waterfront of downtown Wilmington, area. Hundreds of those who remain missing will be featured on the wall, scheduled to be unveiled. Among some of the special guest speakers and ceremony events are Kelly Jolkowski from Project Jason, NE, Robert Cooke representing Rachel Alert Network, TX. The program will also include area vocalist Mallory Malter and guest vocalist Jannel Rap from G.I.N.A., CA.


Advocates - Families of the Missing - Law Officials – Counselors - Groups/Agencies - Individuals who want to educate their communities concerning the missing – Search Volunteers/Groups - Organizations who work for the Missing or Unidentified.

WHERE - Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites 160 Van Campen Blvd. Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 392-3227
(Additional - Facility Usage Marriott Hotel) directly across the street

DATES – March 24, 25 & 26 of 2006
Fee: $120.00 includes all meals, accommodations, conference materials and certificates

OTHER – Shuttle service will be provided to attendees upon airport - arrival/departure and events.

I look forward to seeing you in March! In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or ideas.

As we remain in search of the missing,
Monica Caison


Sunday, January 29, 2006

1/29/06 5 Years for Jeffrey

(Jeffrey was found deceased.)

Today marks the 5 year anniversary of Jeffrey Ben's disappearance. Please remember his family in your thoughts and prayers. Go to his website and sign his guestbook.


The story we wrote about Jeffrey:


Thank you.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

1/28/06 New Cases This Week

I am suspending the Sundays of Hope program. I wish it had taken off, but it did not. I only had one person tell me they were doing this and several told me they prayed on their own for any featured missing person. I will instead use the weekend post to highlight some of the new cases we are working on. I will choose one child and one adult case. If we do not have a new child case to highlight, as it sometimes happens, I will post two adults cases. As there are many organizations which assist in child cases, but few for adults, we have a tendency to get more new adults cases.

DOB: Mar 30, 1976
Missing: May 9, 1994
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
Eyes: Brown
Race: Black
Age Now: 29
Sex: Female
Weight: 120 lbs (54 kg)
Hair: Black
Missing From:PINE BLUFF, AR

Cleashindra was last seen at approximately 10:30pm on May 9, 1994. She was wearing a two piece short set with navy blue stripes and polka dots, white cosk, and white tennis shoes. She has a surgical scar behind her right knee and one of her front teeth is slightly chipped.


Arkansas Missing Children Services Program
Office of the Attorney General
323 Center St., Ste. 200
Little Rock, AR 72201
501-682-1020 or 1-800-448-3014

OR the Pine Bluff Police Department 501-543-5100

Family Website: http://www.arwar.org/Cleashindra_Hall.html

From the website:

"The circumstances of Clea's disappearance are suspicious. She was last seen by her employer, Dr.Larry Amos, who's office is located in his home at 5309 Faucet Road, Pine Bluff, AR. Clea called her mother at around 8pm too check in. She told her mom that she would call her when her shift was over so that her mother could pick her up. The call never came. Her mother phoned Larry Amos and was told that Clea left work at approximately 8:30pm when her ride arrived but he didn't see who she supposedly left with. She was not a troubled teen and all was well within the family. Clea was excited about her upcoming prom, graduation, and college. She was ranked number one in her class and was scheduled to give the commencement address at her graduation which was just a few weeks away. She is NOT a runaway.

It has been 10 years since her disappearance but her family has remained diligent in their search. Every month they publish her photograph in the local paper and plead for information. She is so loved and so very missed by her parents and brothers. It is so heart breaking that such a beautiful, intelligent, young woman is lost to us. It is not only a loss for this family but for the entire community. Clea deserves justice. Someone, some where knows where she is. Someone, somewhere has information that may help this grieving family. Someone, somewhere has the courage and the strength to come forward. Please contact us with ANY information, even if it seems trivial it could be a piece of the puzzle. Grant this family and community peace. We need your help."

More news and information on Clea as it becomes available:

Name: Kevin Daniel Elkins
Classification: Endangered Missing Adult
Alias / Nickname: Bird, Birdman
Date of Birth: 1961-12-06
Date Missing: 2005-09-14
From City/State: Eugene, OR Missing
From (Country): USA
Age at Time of Disappearance: 43
Gender: Male
Race: White
Height: 73 inches
Weight: 150 pounds
Hair Color: Sandy
Hair (Other): Curly.
Eye Color: Hazel
Complexion: Light
Glasses/Contacts Description: Possibly wearing glasses with plastic frames.

Identifying Characteristics: Tracheostomy scar on neck, gastrostomy scar at left side of torso, pierced left ear, previously fractured collarbone, previously fractured pelvis.

Circumstances of Disappearance: Unknown. Kevin was last seen at approximately 11:00am picking up his weekly money at the bank in the vicinity of 10th and Oak St. in Eugene, OR. He has a medical condition.

Investigative Agency:
Eugene Police Department
Phone: (541) 682-5111
Investigative Case #: 05-19335

More news and information on Kevin as it becomes available:

Friday, January 27, 2006

1/27/06 A Meeting in Indiana

This is a followup to yesterday's post about Keri Dattilo meeting with several Indiana senators about the model legislation we are trying to pass in every state in our Campaign for the Missing. What you see below is an edited version of her report. Things are looking good for families of the missing in Indiana, thanks to Keri her cousin, Nina, and many others. It is a joy to see this team coming together and action in several states. Next week, it's on to California!

"This morning, Megan, her Aunt Jill, and myself met with 5 senators from Indiana. Senator Sipes said that she "had hoped more would attend", but they must have been busy passing other bills! I had prepared an introduction and used the model to point out case specifics of Molly's investigation, thus far. (thank you Kelly for the talk last night because it helped me prepare and focus, tremendously. also, thank you to Robert and Susan for your well wishes.) Megan and Jill added imput that was of great value too.

We were received very well. They were very attentative and asked many questions, both about the model and Molly's case. We were in the meeting for over an hour and if they didn't have to attend other meetings, I think they would have stayed longer, judging by their questions and considerations.

We have their attention. They are interested in passing this bill. They said that we are late in the game right now, but Senator Sipes is going to talk to the chair for their committee. She is hoping that he can somehow get this put into the laws this year. If not, she wants to do a study committee this summer. If it is not possible to get it done this year, then 2007 should be the year. She did mention that it is a budget year and there will be more money available. She has encouraged us to check in with her soon. ..soon meaning, next week.

We focused mainly on the "high risk missing persons" just because Molly falls under that category and there were so many examples that I was able to use, stating that if these laws were implemented at the time of Molly's disappearance that we may be closer to finding her, or may have possibly found her already.

They were very interested in wanting to get the police to give families of the missing resources once they have placed a missing persons report. That was a huge conversation, as well as obtaining DNA in a quick fashion. I mentioned that had the sheriff's dept. had Molly's DNA at the time a body was found, we may have not had to have been contacted to get Molly's dental records and then left to wait 3 weeks to wonder if it was her or not. They could have had the records, check to see if it was a match, and then been given an answer in a reasonable amount of time.

The main items that were stressed to them is that things need to be done correctly and methodically, in order to save time, evidence, unneeded hardship, and money.

One of the senators who is the senator for Molly's hometown of Madison, did say, "There is nothing in this legislation that penalizes" law enforcement for not following through.

I feel pretty good about the whole meeting. it was truely a great experience. I said to megan when we were driving home that I was much too nervous last night. Speaking at the meeting was much easier than I thought. (It must have been due to all the great support from everyone and God)"

Amen to that, Keri.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

1/26/06 A Hero in the Making

This morning Keri Dattilo is going to do something she has never done in her entire life. She is going to take a step towards getting a law passed in her home state of Indiana.

Keri’s cousin, Molly Dattilo is missing and has been since July 6 of 2004, from Madison, IN.

Keri came forward when I launched the Campaign for the Missing 2006 this past December.

Not only did she volunteer herself, but she recruited two other cousins, Amy of AZ, and Nina of IN. Keri is representing CA, as that is now her place of residence. Keri was back home in Indiana on an extended visit when Nina received word that the senator she had contacted wanted to arrange a meeting to talk about the model legislation that we are pushing on a state level. (Campaign for the Missing) Nina was unable to attend, but Keri could. Several state senators will be in attendance, along with other state officials.

As Keri has never done something like this before, she came to the team of campaign volunteers and received tips on making an impact in the meeting. She spent hours reading and re-reading the model and made packets of information to give to the meeting attendees, including information about Molly.

I called Keri personally and we spoke at length about the model, the meeting, and what to expect. We looked at how we could relate Molly’s story to the model, and to pinpoint specific mandates that could have had an effect on the way her case was handled.

As one would expect, Keri was a little nervous thinking about the meeting, but she grew more confident as the evening wore on. She understood the potential impact the model will have for future missing person’s cases in Indiana. She felt empowered and convinced that nothing is impossible when you have a passion burning inside of you.

Just as Jason’s disappearance ignited something inside of me that I did not know existed, so too did Molly’s for Keri.

Keri said: “I’m just a video editor.” and I said “I’m just an ordinary lady from Nebraska.” It really doesn’t matter who we are in the end. What matters is that in working together, we can make an impact in the future for all of the families who will have a person they love disappear. It is a bonus that we can do it to honor our missing loved ones.

Keri inspired me because of her willingness to tackle the model head on, and without fear of the unknown. She put her trust in our team to help her and in the Lord to guide her.

Molly will be proud.

After this week, Keri returns to CA, and will be meeting with her own Senator’s aide on Monday.

For more information about Molly Dattilo, please see:

A special thanks to one of our team members, Robert Bristow of CO, for being an exemplary volunteer, and to Nina for the great start in Indiana and her future work to pass this law.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

1/25/06 On Angels Wings We'll Go

Thanks to one of our "earth angels", we will be traveling to WI to attend a missing person's training conference in early February. I mention it now because there may be someone reading this who could benefit from attending and is not aware of the conference. It's not too late to sign up.

It is a blessing and privlege for us to go. One of our board members, Rita Baughman, and I will be in attendance. The conference is put on by Fox Valley Technical College, which is recognized by the federal government, NCMEC, NCMA and others, as the premier training institute for issues related to missing persons. They do the compassion (and other) training for LE which teaches them proper handling of missing person's cases in respect to interaction with the families.

We are excited about this opportunity to increase our knowledge base and better serve the families of the missing. The training will cover the following topics. I have marked the ones of keen interest to us, although all of the training will be valuable.

*Missing Persons: Defining the Federal Government's Role
*Victim Impact Perspective
Safe Return Program
Project ALERT
Human Trafficking
Wisconsin Amber Alert System
National Alzheimer's Association, Safe Return Program
*Wisconsin DNA Databank and CODIS
*Responding to Tragedy: Development of a Community Intervention Team
A Fraudulent Report: The Case of the Missing College Student
*The Private Investigator: A Resource for the Family
*Investigating Missing Adults: Case Development
The School Resource Officer's (SROs) Role in Responding to Child Victimization
*A National Resource: The National Center for Missing Adults
Authority Rape: Sexual Victimization of Children by People in Authority Positions
YES Safety Programs
*Legal Considerations for Investigating and Developing a Missing Adult Case
*What the Media Wants: Getting Your Story Told!!
*Situational Analysis of Missing Adults
*Creating a Climate of Healing: It's a Requirement

Attending the conference will increase our understanding of investigative procedures, which in turn will help us help our families with their LE relations and perhaps prompt more thorough investigation. While we remain a non-investigative agency, understanding what goes on behind the scenes will strengthen our ability to provide resources and support, as per our mission statement.

It will be good to renew acquantances while there with Kym Pasqualini, founder of the NCMA, and Magi Bish, mother of missing/murdered Molly Bish, and co-founder of the Molly Bish Foundation. I will also get to see my good friend, Robert Cooke, father of missing Rachel Cooke, and founder of the Rachel Alert Network. He gives a talk towards the end of the conference.

I also plan on, as time permits, getting to know any other missing person's family members or representatives of organizations in attendance, and let them know about the Campaign for the Missing and what/who Project Jason is all about.

Information about the conference, which is entitled "Uniting the Search for Missing Children and Adults: Providing a Voice for Those Who Have Vanished" can be found here:


Interestingly enough, one of the speeches is called "The Voice of the Missing is Us!".

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

1/24/06 Just Say No to Stranger Danger Training

Are your children still being taught "stranger danger"? If so, inform your schools or local LE to instead teach awareness of "situations and actions". I can't recall his name, but there was a little boy missing in a remote area for a number of days. He hid from the searchers because they were stangers! He could have died because he took the "stranger danger" teaching a little too far.

I was very pleased to see this new NCMEC brochure which covers this very topic. This is what you should be teaching your children, so "just say no" to "stranger danger" training.



As a society, our efforts to prevent crimes committed against children have not kept pace with the increasing vulnerability of our children. After hearing the tragic stories about abducted or
exploited children, most parents and guardians are surprised to learn many crimes committed
against children can be prevented. This brochure is about child protection.

The most important key to child safety is effective communication with your child. Remember,
children who do not feel they are listened to or who do not think their needs are met in the home are more vulnerable to abduction or exploitation. The first step you should take is to establish an atmosphere in the home in which your child feels truly comfortable in discussing sensitive matters and relating experiences in which someone may have approached the child in an inappropriate manner or way that made the child feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. The simple truth is children are often too afraid or confused to report their experiences and fears.

Unfortunately the rising awareness of crimes committed against children has left many families with a real sense of fear. You and your child need to be careful and aware, but you do not need to be afraid. Talk to your child in a calm and reassuring manner, being careful not to discuss the frightening details of what might happen to a child who does not follow the safety guidelines.


“Stay away from strangers” is a popular warning to children to prevent abduction or exploitation. Unfortunately, however, many children are abducted or exploited by people who have some type of familiarity with them but who may or may not be known to the child’s parents or guardians.

The term stranger suggests a concept children do not understand and is one that ignores what we do know about the people who commit crimes against children. Children may believe they should only be aware of individuals who have an unusual or slovenly appearance. Instead, it is more appropriateb to teach children to be on the lookout for certain kinds of situations or actions rather than certain kinds of individuals.

Children can be raised to be polite and friendly, but it is okay for them to be suspicious of any adult asking for assistance. Children help other children, but there is no need for them to be assisting adults, nor should adults request assistance from children.

Children should not be asked to touch anyone in the areas of their body that would be covered by a bathing suit or allow anyone to touch them in those areas. Often exploiters or abductors initiate a seemingly innocent contact with the victim. They may try to get to know the children and befriend them. They use subtle approaches that both parents or guardians and children should be aware of. Children should learn to stay away from individuals in vehicles, and they should know it is okay to say no — even to an adult.

Since children are often reared to respect adult authority and never be a tattletale, parents and guardians should explain why the child’s personal safety is more important than being polite. Children should also be taught to tell a trusted adult and there will always be someone who can help them.

Remember, a clear, calm, and reassuring message about situations and actions to lookout for is easier for a child to understand than a particular profile or image of a “stranger.”


Know where your children are at all times. Be familiar with their friends and daily activities.
Be sensitive to changes in your children’s behavior; they are a signal you should sit down and talk to your children about what caused the changes.

Be alert to a teenager or adult who is paying an unusual amount of attention to your children or
giving them inappropriate or expensive gifts.

Teach your children to trust their own feelings, and assure them they have the right to say no
to what they sense is wrong.

Listen carefully to your children’s fears, and be supportive in all your discussions with them.

Teach your children that no one should approach or touch them in a way that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. If someone does, they should immediately tell you.

Be diligent about babysitters and any other individuals who have custody of your children.
Obtain references from people you trust and see if you can access background screening information about these individuals. Many states provide access to sex-offender registries and
criminal histories.


As soon as your children can articulate a sentence, they can begin the process of learning
how to protect themselves against abduction and exploitation.

Children should be taught If you are in a public place, and you get separated from your parents or guardians, don’t wander around looking for them. Go to a uniformed law-enforcement or
security officer, store salesperson or person in the information booth with a nametag, or a mother with children and quickly tell the person you have lost your family and need help finding them.

You should not get into a vehicle or go anywhere with any person unless your parents or guardians have told you it is okay to do so on that day. If someone follows you in a vehicle, stay away from him or her and turn around and go in the opposite direction. You should not get close to any vehicle, unless your parent, guardian, or a trusted adult accompanies you. If someone is following you on foot, run away as fast as you can and tell a trusted adult what happened.

Grownups and others who need help should not be asking children for help, they should be asking older people. No one should be asking you for directions, asking you to help look for something like a “lost puppy,” or telling you your mother or father is in trouble and he or she will take you to them.

If someone tries to take you somewhere, quickly get away from him (or her) and yell or scream, “This man (woman) is trying to take me away” or “This person is not my father (mother).” If someone tries to grab you, make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.

You should try to take a friend with you, and never go places alone. Always ask your parents’ or guardians’ permission to leave the yard or play area or go into someone’s home. Never hitchhike. Don’t ride home with anyone unless your parents or guardians have told you it is okay to do so on that day.

If someone wants to take your picture, tell him or her no and tell your parents, guardians, or
other trusted adults. No one should touch you in the parts of the body that would be covered by a bathing suit, nor should you touch anyone else in those areas. Your body is special and private.

You can be assertive, and you have the right to say no to someone who tries to take you somewhere; touch you; or make you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused in any way.


Sexual exploitation should not be confused with physical contacts that are true expressions of
affection. A warm and healthy relationship can exist if adults respect the child and place
reasonable limits on their physical interaction. Child molesting is often a repeat crime. Many children are victimized a number of times. The reality of sexual exploitation is that often the child is very scared, uncomfortable, confused, and unwilling to talk about the experience to parents, guardians, teachers, or anyone else. But they will talk if you have already established an atmosphere of trust and support in your home where your child will feel free to talk without fear of accusation, blame, or guilt.

Parents and guardians should be alert to these indicators of sexual exploitation Changes in
behavior, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, fearfulness, and excessive crying. Bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed or other sleep disturbances. Acting out inappropriate sexual activity or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters. A sudden acting out of feelings or aggressive or rebellious behavior. Regression to infantile behavior. A fear of certain places, people, or activities, especially being alone with certain people.

Children should not be forced to give affection to an adult or teenager if they do not want to do so. Be alert to signs your child is trying to avoid someone and listen carefully when your child tells you how he or she feels about someone. Pain, itching, bleeding, fluid, or rawness in the private areas.


Because children cannot lookout for themselves, it is our responsibility to lookout for them. Every home and school should establish a program that effectively teaches children about
safety and protection measures. As a parent or guardian, you should take an active interest in your children and listen to them. Teach your children they can be assertive in order to protect themselves against abduction and exploitation.

If you would like additional materials regarding child safety, please write to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Charles B. Wang International Children’s Building,
699 Prince Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3175 or visit

If you have information about the location of a missing child, please call 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678). The TTY line is 1-800-826-7653.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2005-MC-CX-K024 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and 1-800-THE-LOST® are registered service marks of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Copyright © 1985 and 2005 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. All rights reserved. Design: Graphix, Inc. Illustration: McLean & Friends/Martin Pate The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has developed a publication titled, Guidelines for Programs to Reduce Child Victimization: A Resource for Communities When Choosing a Program to Teach Personal Safety to Children that is available
upon request.

And, most importantly, make your home a place of trust and support that fulfills your child’s needs — so he or she won’t seek attention and support from someone else.

This post meets all the requirements for NCMEC's reprint policy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

1/23/06 Shay has Gone Home

Beautiful Shay Lynn Eisenhardt was one of the earlier cases we assisted with after we started Project Jason. She had been missing since July of 2003, and we started working with her advocate, Jill Shirah, in March of 2004.

Jill was Shay’s best friend, and they grew up together in Michigan. Jill worked hard to get Shay’s information distributed to various organizations and sites. She organized a prayer vigil for Shay and also helped write the biography for our Adopt a Missing Person program, of which Shay took part. Shay’s mother, Linda, was raising her grandchildren while they searched and wondered what happened to this lovely young mother. They knew that she would not just disappear, lose contact, and leave her two boys behind. They were right.

Shay’s remains were found recently very close to where she disappeared. At this time, authorities do not know the cause of death. She was identified through dental records.

News articles and updates on Shay can be found at http://www.truckingboards.com/trucking/upload/showthread.php?t=7047

To honor her life, I am publishing her Adopt a Missing Person bio here. I came to know Shay through Jill and Linda. She will be missed.

“Shay Lynn (Fuhrman) Eisenhardt graced our lives May 29th, 1972 @ 11:35 a.m. at Bronson Methodist Hospital, the only child of Linda Sue Taylor. Shay started life with Mother Linda and Father Roger L. Fuhrman in Portage, Michigan. Shay was daddy's little girl often seen carrying her doll by the hair following Roger, with their Bulldog, Spud, following Shay.

Shay attended preschool at Child Development Center; Cherry St; Kalamazoo, Michigan, there she was a flower girl for the wedding of her teacher. Elementary, Middle and High School were in the Portage, Comstock and Plainwell areas. As a young teen, Shay modeled for a fashion show at Jacobson’s dept. store. She loved styling her hair and experimenting with make-up and fashion. At an early age she was meticulous about her appearance, always wanting to look her best.

She was a Brownie scout, and her mother Linda was the troop leader. While living in Plainwell at age 9, Shay entered a huge black rooster belonging to a friend, Don Furtah, in the Allegan County Fair. She won the Blue Ribbon. Shay attended St Catherine’s church where she was baptized and completed catechism. As an adult, Shay attended Kalamazoo Valley Family Church.

When in her late teens, Shay and her friend flew to Alaska near Juno to stay with her friend’s aunt. The girls spent the summer working in a fish packing company. An adventurer, Shay loved camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing, hunting and tubing . Shay spent a lot of time on Long Lake summer after summer with a close group of friends. Shay surrounded herself with friends and loved ones. She enjoyed holidays, particularly Halloween and Christmas, decorating her home, dressing up to trick or treat or cooking with a holiday theme. Shay loved feeding people.

She cherished her sons Jacob, 14, whom she called her “man” and Kaleb 8, “her baby” because he was her last. Shay loved being pregnant and wanted more children. She loved her boys and was a devoted and nurturing mother. She enjoyed teaching her sons about nature as they walked the trails of Al Sabo Preserve. Camped for extended periods, and showed Jacob how to tube behind a boat at the lake. Shay kept extensive photo records of her children’s lives which she had been assembling individual albums for each of her sons before her disappearance.

Shay had expressed a desire to become a nurse, as she enjoyed her work at an assisted living facility in Kalamazoo. She listened eagerly when residents reminisced and stories of days gone by in another time and life. Shay loved her music. She enjoyed variety, blues, rock, country, reggae and new age to name but a few.

While living in Battle Creek, Shay walked to the library to find music and books to interest her sons. She wanted to pass on her love of reading to her boys.

Shay filled the room with her mere presence. Her smile and laughter were genuine, her hugs fierce, her emotions deep. She is loved and missed desperately by her sons, her mother, family and friends.”

Saturday, January 21, 2006

1/21/06 New Cases This Week

I am suspending the Sundays of Hope program. I wish it had taken off, but it did not. I only had one person tell me they were doing this and several told me they prayed on their own for any featured missing person. I will instead use the weekend post to highlight some of the new cases we are working on. I will choose one child and one adult case. If we do not have a new child case to highlight, as it sometimes happens, I will post two adults cases. As there are many organizations which assist in child cases, but few for adults, we have a tendency to get more new adults cases.

Both persons featured here have been found safe so their information has been removed.

Friday, January 20, 2006

1/20/06 From the Archives

My Note: I wrote this in June of 2002 and posted it on Jason's website. This was about one year before Project Jason became an idea in my head, and one year after Jason disappeared.

We're here in this place I never thought we would be. We're a family with a long term missing loved one. Reminders of Jason seem to be all around us. We see someone wearing a Chicago Cubs Hat or a Denver Broncos T-shirt, & we think of him. We go to the grocery store & see one of his favorite foods & we think of him. Every time we pull into our driveway & see his car sitting there, we think of him. A song on the radio brings him to mind. Someone asks about him. A woman in a car rolls down her window to tell me that they pray for him daily & that they haven't forgotten about him. We see a poster of him in a business. I am told that a family has his photo on their refrigerator & that they pray for him daily. The children ask their mother: "Has that boy come home yet?"

There is such a void in our hearts & in our family unit, one that can't be filled by anything other than his being back here with us. If he is still alive, he's almost 21 years old now. Has he grown taller? Does he look different? We want so much to know that he's safe & happy.

He's missed so many events & changes in the last year. His younger brother is growing up. He's grown several inches & his voice has changed. He misses Jason & could use a big brother during these teenage years. We wish with all our hearts that he had his big brother back to share with the kind of things that brothers share.

The holidays, particularly Christmas, were difficult. We tried to focus on the reason for the season, but in the end there was no denying that the best Earthly gift we could have received was not to be. Family members said prayers for Jason before the Christmas meal & just saying the words to the prayers was excruciating. At another gathering, videos of Christmases past played on, and it was much too difficult to see Jason & not have him there. We are grateful that those videos exist, but it was too painful to watch on that day.

Looking out the window on a bitterly cold day, we couldn't help but wonder if our son was safe & warm. Thankfully, the Winter was mild & didn't drag on. Spring arrived, & along with the budding trees came hope renewed.

Someone once asked me about bitterness with all that has happened. We all probably know someone that has become bitter. Their face is drawn & they have lost the ability to experience joy. To become a bitter person because life has its difficulties seems entirely selfish. That person robs themselves & their loved ones of the happiness they could experience. There are so many people with heavier crosses to bear than ours.

One of the great Saints, Alphonsus Liguori, explains a very difficult concept to grasp, that is happiness in the face of adversity. He relates a story about a monk: "Externally his religious observance was the same as that of the other monks, but he had attained such sanctity that the mere touch of his garments healed the sick. Marveling at these deeds, since his life was no more exemplary than the lives of the other monks, the superior asked him one day what was the cause of these miracles.

He replied that he too was mystified and was at a loss how to account for such happenings. "What devotions do you practice?" asked the abbot. He answered that there was little or nothing special that he did beyond making a great deal of willing only what God willed, and that God had given him the grace of abandoning his will totally to the will of God."Prosperity does not lift me up, nor adversity cast me down," added the monk. "I direct all my prayers to the end that God's will may be done fully in me and by me." "That raid that our enemies made against the monastery the other day, in which our stores were plundered, our granaries put to the torch and our cattle driven off -- did not this misfortune cause you any resentment?" queried the abbot."No, Father," came the reply. "On the contrary, I returned thanks to God -- as is my custom in such circumstances -- fully persuaded that God does all things, or permits all that happens, for his glory and for our greater good; thus I am always at peace, no matter what happens."

Seeing such conformity with the will of God, the abbot no longer wondered why the monk worked so many miracles."The Saint explains further: "Acting according to this pattern, one not only becomes holy but also enjoys perpetual serenity in this life. Alphonsus the Great, King of Aragon, being asked one day whom he considered the happiest person in the world, answered: "He who abandons himself to the will of God and accepts all things, prosperous and adverse, as coming from his hands.'' "To those that love God, all things work together unto good." Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God.

Afflictions do not mar their serenity, because by accepting misfortune, they know they give pleasure to their beloved Lord: "Whatever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad." Indeed, what can be more satisfactory to a person than to experience the fulfillment of all his desires? This is the happy lot of the man who wills only what God wills, because everything that happens, save sin, happens through the will of God."

While it is very difficult to accept that it may be God's Will that we do not find our son, we must. We try as Saint Alphonsus explains, to find the good in what we perceive to be misfortune. If only one person that reads this website finds their faith in God rekindled, there is much joy in that one sinner returning home. If one family of a missing loved one uses an idea from the site that assists them in any way, there is joy in that. If we can overcome great odds to get a comprehensive law for the missing passed in Nebraska, that will benefit many for years to come.

Another mother of a missing young adult son once told me that in order to be able to do the things that we must do in the long-term search for our son, we must be healthy. We took that advice to heart & our family is on the road to better health. Has this event not occurred, no doubt we would still be entrenched in our previous poor habits.

Most importantly, our spiritual life has improved as we go through the human struggle of acceptance of God's Will. These are examples of the good found in adversity. Of course, we want nothing more than to find Jason, but if that is not to be, or not to be at this time, we must accept that & give thanks for the good that has come of it. We remind ourselves of all of our blessings, which are many. We thank God for giving us the strength & the graces necessary to carry this cross. As it is said, He never gives us more than we can bear.

….And on we go.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

1/19/06 How Can I Help?

This post is repeated monthly for new readers.

There are many things that can be done to assist families of missing persons. I will outline those here and add on to this monthly with more ideas.

Things you can do without cost:

For those who believe, prayer for both the missing person and for the family is very important. If the missing person is alive, they may be struggling with basic needs and/or the psychological issues in their life. The left behind family members need prayers to help them deal with the numerous issues that come with having a loved one become missing. There is strong scientific evidence that prayer can make a difference. I can tell you that it does.

For families who have websites with guestbooks, be sure to sign the guestbook, as the family is uplifted by these messages of hope and support. You never can underestimate the effect doing this has. You can also email the link to the website to others, asking them to send it on after signing the guestbook.

Important note:

Please be responsible when forwarding emails about missing persons. Some are hoaxes and some are about missing persons who have already been found. Do not forward one unless you are sure it is a valid, open case. You can read more about how to check for this here:

You can help us bring awareness for ALL missing persons by emailing all media, local and national, asking for coverage of the missing person’s story.

If a certain missing person’s story makes the national news, and is featured on a regular basis by the local media, contact them and remind them of the missing person(s) in their own area. Often, these missing persons may get little to no coverage. You can also do this if you notice the broadcast of news that should not take precedence over people, such as stories about missing animals.

If you would like an automated email sent to you that contains instructions, links, and a prototype letter to send to media, write to mediacampaign@projectjason.org

Things you can do for a minimal cost:

Poster placement is proven to be a key method to bring awareness to the case and reunite families. Many printable posters are available online. Both NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) and NCMA (National Center for Missing Adults) have posters on all missing persons. Many other sites have posters as well. Most family websites will have one to print.

It is important to keep posters up in the area where the missing person was last seen, but we also must remember that we are a very mobile society, and if the missing person is alive, they can very quickly move to another part of the country. There are very few cases in which it is a certainty that the missing person is in a specific area.

Project Jason has printable posters available at these sites:

A few family sites also have printable labels you can affix to packages you mail. You can also make business size cards to hand out. You can see examples of these here: http://www.findheaven.net/flyers.htmI

If these are not provided for the missing person you wish to assist, you can make them yourself, using the ones on the page above as a template, or by designing your own.

You can also participate in our Adopt a Missing Person program. For the price of a self-addressed stamped mailer, you can choose one or several missing persons to adopt. You will be sent a photo button to wear and a personal bio, so that you can share their story with others. Wear the button on your purse, backpack, or coat, and give these families hope that they will be reunited.

If a family of a missing person lives in your area, and they hold a fundraiser for their reward fund, you can attend or volunteer to help with the event.

Things you can do for varied costs:

If the family has a reward or search fund, donate to it. Depending on the situation, they might also establish a trust or other fund to care for children of the missing person.If you are already in touch with the family, or know an organization which can, (Project Jason if it is a case shown on our Faces page) inquire as to their needs. Those needs could vary. They may need a number of posters printed up and sent to them for poster campaigns in their area.

If you have a talent, and want to use that talent to help, contact an organization handling their case. The family may be very happy to have a fundraiser, such as a concert, put on for them. Persons who sell products, such as home interiors, can offer a percentage of their profits during a particular sales period. There are many creative things that can be done to help.

It is not recommended to donate personal goods, just items that pertain to the search.

Please keep in mind that donating money or other items to a missing person’s family is not tax deductible as they are not a nonprofit organization. If the family happens to run a nonprofit organization, donations that are intended for their missing loved one must be given directly to the family, and are not tax deductible. A donation made to the organization cannot be used specifically for their missing family member, but is tax deductible if they have nonprofit status granted by the IRS.

And finally, we ask you to help us help them:

We also need your help financially in order to continue our work. The competition for charitable dollars is fierce and small nonprofits such as Project Jason depend strictly on the generosity of the public. We are an all-volunteer force. There is no paid staff and little overhead. Our phone bill is one of our largest expenses.

I dislike posting this because I never want to give the impression we're all about money, but the realities of it are that we just don't get many donations. We have many, many plans we would like to bring to fruition, but it's going to take money to accomplish those things.So, if you like what we're doing, please help. If you would prefer, please take a look at the good missing person's organizations in your area, and help them. There are many of us who are small and struggling.

Donations can be mailed to:

Project Jason
PO Box 3035
Omaha, NE 68103

Thank you for anything you can do for our cause!

Kelly Jolkowski, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder,
Project Jason

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

1/18/06 A New Year Begins

Tonight, Project Jason will have its annual planning meeting with bi-annual elections. We'll pray for guidance as we work together to come up with ideas for the new year that will improve our organization, and in turn help those whom we serve. Please pray for us as we undertake this task.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

1/17/06 Victory for Mentally Ill Missing Adult Males

We're pleased for Lorne's & James' families that they were one of several featured missing adults in this Boston Globe article. This is great media coverage for them and the other mentally ill missing adult males who are ignored by the media.

Both Lorne's and James' stories were found by the reporter on the Project Jason Voice for the Missing blog. He then made contact with the families. This personally makes me happy because the reason I started the blog was out of frustration at these cases being ignored by the media over and over again. We are finally heard as a voice for the missing!

Michael Jarvi, Patrick Bowman, and Michael Hogan have also been featured on the blog and/or on our awareness programs.

We want to thank the reporter, Scott Allen, for his care of concern in doing the story. He was quite sincere in his compassion. May the story bring the needed answers for these families.



Thousands of mentally ill people vanish every year, barely noticed except by families and friends

By Scott Allen, Globe Staff January 16, 2006

"Lorne Boulet Jr.'s disappearance came without warning. The childlike, schizophrenic man left his New Hampshire home for a walk one summer afternoon more than four years ago and simply never returned.

James Rowe veered between giddiness and sobs in his last phone conversation with his sister as he described the way a July 2004 conference on personal growth had changed him. Over the next few days, the Colorado restaurant owner abandoned his vehicle, shaved his head, and walked into the woods -- and his family hasn't heard from him since.

Michael Hogan, a shy man with obsessive compulsive disorder, left his job in Vermont one day, saying he needed to be alone. Eight months later, his mother is still so convinced he will call that she's left this message on her answering machine: ''Michael, if this is you, please let me know how I can contact you. . . . I miss you so much."

Boulet, Rowe, and Hogan are among thousands of mentally ill men and women who disappear each year -- barely noticed outside of their families and a clutch of organizations devoted to keeping their hopes alive. Their advocates believe that most of the 8,000 missing adults listed by the FBI as ''endangered" or ''disabled" suffer from some kind of mental illness and may have experienced a psychological break with reality that prompts them to abandon their former lives or attempt suicide.

The missing tend to be men, and their mental health problems run the gamut from sudden breakdowns in the face of adversity to chronic illnesses such as schizophrenia, which can cause delusions or feelings of paranoia. Bipolar disorder, which causes wide mood swings, also accounts for some of the disappearances; its victims follow unpredictable impulses.

PHOTO GALLERY: Missing and mentally ill:

''Usually there is some sort of inner logic" when people with mental illness flee, ''even though it seems strange to other people," said Dr. Dost Ongur, director of the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder program at McLean Hospital. ''They might say they need to enroll in the armed services because they really need to go to Iraq to help America when everybody else says, 'You're 65 and you've got a bad back. It doesn't sound like a good idea.' "

The disappearance of an adult -- especially a man -- doesn't usually trigger the intensive communitywide searches that law enforcement agencies launch for missing children. Their disappearance doesn't automatically stir fears of foul play, so police are sometimes slow to investigate thoroughly. And adults can legally leave their lives behind, even if they are not thinking clearly.

''An adult has the right to be missing," said Roy Weise, senior adviser at the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services, which maintains the national list of missing people. ''The wife may think he's missing, but he may be right where he wants to be." Hospitals and homeless shelters, which often house mentally ill people, are caught in a bind, too, needing to protect clients' privacy when desperate loved ones inquire about them. ''If a family member calls me up and says, 'I'm looking for my brother,' we will get a message to that person," said John Yazwinski of Father Bill's Place homeless shelter in Quincy. But, he adds, it's up to the shelter resident whether to respond.

As a result, family members can feel like they're carrying out the search by themselves, circulating ''missing" flyers, maintaining websites, raising reward money, and passing along tips to law enforcement officials.

Louise Holmburg of Bristol, N.H., has turned her van into a traveling billboard about her nephew Boulet, complete with his picture on the side and an e-mail address (findlorne@yahoo.com) for tips. She said people often assume that because Boulet is 25 and weighs more than 200 pounds, he can take care of himself, but ''he's a kid at heart. . . . My best guess would be that his mind got the best of him and he walked away."

Holmburg, like other relatives of missing people with mental illness, is bitter at the lack of public interest compared with the intense focus on sensational cases like ''runaway bride" Jennifer Wilbanks, who initially claimed she had been abducted before admitting she fled because of anxiety about her wedding.

Officials at Project Jason, a Nebraska organization that spotlights missing people, said the media have covered only one of their last seven press releases about a missing adult, most of whom have mental illness.

Once mentally ill people leave their home area, advocates say, they're unlikely to be located unless police stop them by chance and run their name through the FBI's National Criminal Information Center, which has a list of missing people that is available only to law enforcement agencies.

The private National Center for Missing Adults maintains the most extensive publicly available list (www.theyaremissed.org ), but its site includes only about 1,173 names, and only a fraction of those are mentally ill.

''Not only is it like looking for a needle in a haystack, but there's a million haystacks and you're blindfolded," said Kelly Jolkowski, founder of Project Jason (www.projectjason.org ), named after her 19-year-old son, who did not have a history of mental illness but disappeared from his Nebraska driveway in 2001. ''There really aren't a lot of resources for missing adults."

Many families get discouraged about the lack of progress -- and even interest -- in finding their loved one. People who have been diagnosed with mental illness are likely to be off their medications, making them more unpredictable as the weeks drag on -- and more likely to hurt themselves. Up to 40 percent of people with schizophrenia attempt suicide at some point, and people with major mental illnesses are more likely to abuse drugs, putting their safety further at risk.

James Bowman of Kiamesha Lake, N.Y., suspects that his son is dead, a year and a half after he left their home in the middle of the night. Patrick Bowman, who would now be 47, suffers from bipolar disorder, which subjected him to wide and unpredictable mood swings, his father said, a problem made worse by a cocaine addiction.

''Whatever happened to him is limited only by your imagination," said the elder Bowman. ''The only thing I want is that he's not suffering."

FBI officials said the situation for families is far from hopeless. Law enforcement agencies check their database 5 million times daily, including for routine background checks of people stopped for traffic violations. Agency officials estimate that police checks of the FBI list helped in the recovery of 50,000 missing adults and children last year, though only a small fraction of that number were mentally ill adults.

Police say they take the disappearance of adults very seriously when there are doubts about the person's safety. For instance, Corpus Christi, Texas, police conducted helicopter searches of a remote beach last month where a depressed man abandoned his car after leaving a suicide note. Samuel Young Chong had dropped out of college without telling his parents, who apparently triggered Chong's disappearance when they came for what they believed would be his graduation.

Mike Walsh, commander of criminal investigations for the Corpus Christi police, said, ''We were expecting, based on the rhetoric, that we were going to find a body. Instead, police ultimately traced Chong to Los Angeles, allowing a relative to find him at an Internet cafe there and persuade him to return home.

But for every missing person like Chong, whose case has a happy ending, there are many more like Michael Jarvi of Naselle, Wash., a man with schizophrenia last seen before he abandoned his Ford Escort in an Oregon trailer park in March 2002. His parents received word from a DVD club recently that Jarvi's membership has been paid through April 2005, suggesting that he's still alive, but most of the other supposed tips have gone nowhere.

''How do you even guess where he is?" said Jarvi's father, James Jarvi. ''Every day you think about it, but you've just got to hope for the best.""

Lorne Boulet on the blog:


James Rowe on the blog:


Mike Hogan on the blog:


Michael Jarvi on the blog:


Monday, January 16, 2006

1/16/06 Miracles, Movies, and Television Shows

I believe that miracles come in all sizes and types. Some come out of the blue and are completely unexpected, and some are prayed for and hoped for, so therefore, may not be a surprise, although these are certainly a joy and blessing. Some sneak in unnoticed and some take time to be complete, much like a delicate fruit ripening on the vine.

I believe it is acceptable to pray for one, but never to demand or even expect it. Often times, there is help in procuring a miracle from earthly sources.

This past Friday the 13th was a quiet day, mostly spent at home. It marked another month since we last saw Jason so many years ago now. There were no miracles occurring on that day, at least none of which I knew.

That evening, my husband and son were both at work and I was home alone. I had rented a movie and it was due to be returned, so I thought it seemed like a good time to watch it and take a break from my work.

The movie was called “Saint Ralph”. It is a Canadian film released last year. I had never heard of it before, but it sounded interesting when I picked it up at the rental store.

It is the story of a 14 year-old boy whose mother has cancer and whose father died many years before. The boy is mischievous, and is always getting into some sort of trouble at the Catholic boys school he attends. He nearly gets himself expelled on more than one occasion.

His mother goes into a coma, and it appears she may never awaken. The boy, Ralph, asks the priests how to get a miracle. Ralph wants a miracle to happen, which he believes will prompt his mother to come out of the coma.

Once again, he gets into trouble, and for his punishment, he is forced to work out with the school’s track and field team. It is here that he comes to believe that he can train for the Boston Marathon and win it, thus securing his miracle and bringing his mother out of her coma.

When his classmates learn of his beliefs, he is ridiculed, but Ralph doesn’t waiver in his efforts to train for the event. After a time, one of his teachers, Father Hibbert, sees the boy’s determination and talent, and decides to coach him. So, in this story, a miracle, or a potential one, gets help from other earthly citizens.

I rarely get tears in my eyes while watching a movie, but this one was different. It may have been the day in part, or the subject matter of the movie, and it also may have been the plain fact that it was just a darn good underdog story, to which I can relate. I won’t tell you how it ends, as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone who might decide to watch it. (not suitable for younger children)

The theme of earthly helpers in making miracles, whether small miracles or not, is ever-present in my work for Project Jason, and for all of those whom I interact with while doing this work.

Recently, we were pleased to announce that we are a referring agency for the television show “Missing” the nationally-syndicated weekly series from Telco Productions, Inc. http://www.usamissing.com/ This is a 30 minute show which features profiles of both missing children and adults from across the USA. This is the only show of this kind that we know of. Others have tried and failed to bring this type of show to the market. Others are still trying.

The success of a show like this depends on viewership. If advertisers feel there are sufficient viewers, they will advertise, which keeps the show going. It’s all about ratings.

While the show is on in numerous markets, as seen on this page http://www.usamissing.com/findus.htm , the air times are often not the best. In Omaha, it now airs at 4:30am. In several other cities, it is on in the middle of the night.

There are two main reasons, other than the inconvenience for those of us who already watch, to work for change in this regard.

1) Better air times means more viewers which in turn brings in more advertising revenue, which supports the show and keeps it on air.
2) Better air times means more viewers which means that more of these missing persons have a chance of location because of the exposure the show brings for their story.

What better reason to work together to help the show than the latter?

I asked the producer, Larry Dunn, with whom I correspond, to shed some light on what we can do to help. He responded:

“Calls and letters from viewers to the Program Director or General Manager of a station asking them to carry or to improve the time period of "Missing" can be very, very effective--the more letters, the better! Getting a local business interested in sponsoring the program is a great way to help get "Missing" on the air in a decent time period. Car dealerships are the lifeblood of local station advertising, so any connections there can be a big help. The bottom line to every Program Director is ratings, so getting as many people as possible to watch the show on a regular basis is a real help.

This is the time of year when stations are working on their schedules for next fall, so letters and petitions would be most effective over the next month or so.”

I ask our activist readers to take the time to check and see if "Missing" airs in your area. If it does, and it is on at a poor time, write or call the station as Larry suggests. If none of the stations in your area carry the show, write to them or call, asking them to carry it. Information of interest to station managers and advertisers can be found at http://www.telcoproductions.com/

For persons who want to be helpers in making miracles that may possibly be responsible for even greater miracles, Larry has the following message:

“I would like to thank all the law enforcement agencies, missing persons organizations, broadcasters, sponsors, viewers and concerned individuals who have worked so hard to make "Missing" a success. Since its debut in the fall of 2003, "Missing" has featured more than 800 missing persons cases--we are happy to report that more than 300 of those missing individuals have been located. As we look forward to our fourth season this fall, we hope to place "Missing" on more stations and in better time periods, to bring greater attention to the plight of missing persons and their families. Thank you for your continuing support of "Missing".

Larry Dunn,
Producer, "Missing"
Telco Productions, Inc.”

Personally, I’d much rather write a letter or make a phone call than run in the Boston Marathon as Ralph did in “Saint Ralph”. Regardless of the method or means, miracles are always possible. I believe.

Friday, January 13, 2006

1/13/06 Lady in Blue

Gloria Coppola has had over 25 years of law enforcement experience. She truly cares about the missing and the people she serves. We could use more individuals like her serving. What follows is an interview with Gloria, wherein we try to tackle several of the most commonly asked questions from families of the missing. We also gain some understanding of what her work is like, which may aid us in working with our own LE agencies.

1) What is your background?

I started off as a police officer with the Niskayuna Police Department (Schenectady County) from 1980 until 1983. In 1983, I was hired by the New York State Police. Currently, I'm assigned to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) as an Investigator in Troop G’s Major Crimes Unit near Albany, NY. Prior to Major Crimes, I was a field investigator at the New Scotland barracks in southern Albany County; and previous to that I was assigned to the Forensic Investigative Center’s ViCAP Unit (Violent Criminal Analysis Program) which focuses on seeking patterns and similarities in homicides and sexual assaults in New York State, in addition to investigating and matching Missing Persons cases with Unidentified Deceased cases. Since I transferred from VICAP, I became the designated Troop G representative.

As a trooper, I was assigned uniform patrol, in addition to a two year undercover assignment in a street level narcotics unit. As far as education goes, I have an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY; a Bachelors Degree in Criminology/Sociology from the State University College at Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh, NY; and a Master’s Degree in Social Policy from Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, NY. I'm also a member of the Crisis Negotiators' Unit, in addition to being a polygraph examiner.

2) How did you get into law enforcement?

Growing up, I always thought I'd become a teacher. As high school graduation neared, I was looking into becoming an airline stewardess! I figured that I should get a couple years of college, so I looked into the curriculum of a nearby community college. The school had a good criminal justice program, and as I always had an interest in homicide since I was a kid, I enrolled in college. The rest is history.

3) What is your current position, and what are your duties?

In October 2003, I was transferred to the Major Crimes Unit at Troop G headquarters in Loudonville, NY. The unit is made up of five Investigators and two Senior Investigators. We respond to any police agency's request for assistance, mostly in homicide investigation. Our main duty is to coordinate the lead desk, and to assist with interviews. Our unit covers Troop G, which is made up of ten counties.

4) How did you meet Kelly Jolkowski, and what did you do for her that was above the call of duty?

I met Kelly at "Missing Persons' Day" in New York. This event is hosted by the "Center for HOPE" which the Lyall family started after their daughter Suzanne went missing on April 6, 1998. At their request, I've assisted as a presenter at Missing Persons Day for the last few years. Kelly was the keynote speaker at the 2005 Missing Persons' Day. We spoke briefly, however have kept in touch by email. We spoke about her son Jason's disappearance, and with her permission, I contacted the investigating agency, and shared some information and strategies.

5) What is a typical day like? How about a non-typical day?

There's no expectation of working a typical day versus working a non-typical day. A normal day for me is to arrive at work by 8AM. If our unit isn't involved in a current death investigation, we work individually on our assigned cold cases. Typically, we could be doing polygraphs on trooper applicants or criminal cases. We're on call 24-7.

6) What is a common stereotype in regards to someone in your field that you'd like to dismantle?

A common stereotype that I've observed over the years is that we, as law enforcement, are callous and don't care about the victims or their families. In reality, many of us put hours into these investigations, and identify too easily with the victim and/or their families. We know how important it is to remain as objective as possible to conduct a productive investigation.

7) What ideas do we get from television about law enforcement (LE) that are not accurate?

That we solve our cases within an hour. Unfortunately, it just doesn't happen that way.

That there's a 24 or 48 hour waiting period to report someone missing.

Also, that if a family member is focused on in a person's disappearance, it's because we have no other suspects. Sometimes the public doesn't realize that when a person goes missing, law enforcement have to start with the victim and move outward. For example: Did the victim runaway, or choose to "disappear"? Then the members of the victim's family, non-family members, and the possibility of stranger involvement would be pursued. Ideally, these elements should be looked at concurrently to save critical time.

I disagree with the "epidemic of stranger danger". Most abductors and abusers are known to the parent or child. Instead of the "don't talk to stranger" mentality, adults should focus on honing children's' skills for being safe, but not scared. Children should be taught to identify adults, even if they are strangers, who might be able to help them. Most missing children are runaways and children who have been abducted by a non-custodial parent. The number of abductions by strangers varies between 200 and 300 a year. The number of murders by strangers, remain about 50 a year.

8) Can you describe some of the various federal data base systems that would/could be used in a missing person's case? What should family members of a missing person know about these systems? When should they be utilized?

Ensure that the missing person has been entered into the national database of missing people called NCIC (National Crime Information Center) by law enforcement.

In 2000, the FBI Laboratory Division initiated the National Missing Person DNA Database for the identification of missing and unidentified persons. DNA profiles can be entered using biological relatives of the missing and unidentified human remains. When a sample is collected, it can be uploaded into the FBI's CODIS data base. This becomes even more important, if the person has been missing for an extended time. Police agencies can obtain the necessary information and consent forms through the FBI.

VICAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) is a nationwide data information center used by law enforcement designed to collect, collate, and analyze crimes of violence which include: solved or unsolved homicides, missing persons where the circumstances indicate a strong possibility of foul play and the victim is still missing, unidentified deceased persons, and sexual assault cases.

Also, in 2002, the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA) in Phoenix, Arizona, was formally established. It acts as a national clearinghouse for missing adults that also offers programs, resources, and assistance to the families of missing adults, in addition to support for law enforcement in their searches for missing persons. Also, the DOE Network (http://www.doenetwork.org/) is a volunteer organization devoted to cold cases regarding disappearances and unidentified subjects from North America, Australia, and Europe. Membership includes Medical Examiners, Law Enforcement, private investigators, and everyday people.

9) Can you give any advise to family members if they are experiencing difficulties in communicating with law enforcement (lack of communication, perceived attitudes)?

Liaison with the victim's family is a crucial area of the investigation that is often neglected. It is directed toward assisting the emotional needs of the family members as they experience this devastating ordeal, and keeping channels of communication open. The family's assistance is needed to gain information about the victim, and for other investigative needs.

Sometimes during long terms investigations, the family will withdraw cooperation, becoming frustrated due to their perception of lack of progress. That's why it's so important for police to keep family appraised of certain aspects of the investigation, so that their cooperation will continue, and that rapport and trust will continue to build. Ask to have a detective assigned as a direct liaison to your family. Sometimes a police agency or district attorney's office can offer a crime victim specialist or other contact, who is not the lead investigator to offer updates or answer questions regarding police activities at their residence, the use of polygraph, preparation for various phone calls, necessity of resolving the issue of parents and family members as possible suspects, elements of the search, media attention, and possible reward offers.

10) Is it wrong to tell a family of a missing adult or a runway that nothing can be done, except to wait? How should a family respond if that is what is told to them? Shouldn't law enforcement at least personally interview all family members, friends, and acquaintances of the missing person? If they refuse, is there nothing more a family can do from an investigative standpoint, other than to hire a PI, which some cannot afford to do?

There are times when leads slow down. However, I think it's inaccurate to say that ALL you can do is wait, because law enforcement can always monitor daily police bulletins for similar cases, or perhaps potential matches. Plus telling them to "just wait," diminishes a family's hope. Although it's imperative to interview the family, friends, and acquaintances of the missing, in certain cases (such as repeat runaways and non-custodial abductions), you aren't always going to see it done (although it's a fact that the victims are at risk).

11) How can one balance protecting the case and the information/leads and satisfying the needs of the family to be informed?

I think if law enforcement can meet with the family to update them on any activity (or lack of), they won't feel "out of the loop". Unfortunately, police agencies are usually understaffed, and as a case becomes cold, their priorities gravitate towards their current cases.

12) How can you make a family in crisis understand that you cannot share all of the case details?

Law enforcement, while being sensitive to the emotional needs of family members, MUST be objective in assessing the situation for the possibility of foul play. In Michael Connell's article, "Investigator, Know Thyself," he states that any excessive influence of subjective feelings, prejudice, or interpretation can handicap an investigation.

13) When LE says they are working on specific leads and yet nothing ever gets done, what recourse does the family have?

Unfortunately, the police can run dozens, even hundreds or thousands of leads, without successfully closing a case. It doesn't mean that they aren't doing their job. I believe the family should generate reward posters, if possible, and keep the case in the media.

14) Are our expectations of LE too high in some cases?


15) If a shortage of manpower causes some of the lack of LE attention paid to these cases, how can we remedy that?

Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). They sometimes can assist law enforcement in filing missing person reports, verifying data concerning missing children that have been entered into the FBI's NCIC computer system, and sending publications to assist them in missing child cases. They interact with various state clearing houses and organizations, creating networks that can provide national and worldwide assistance to law enforcement and family members.

Contact "Project Alert" which was created by the NCMEC for law enforcement agencies who require on site assistance with missing children cases, consists of volunteers, consisting of retired law enforcement professionals who make themselves available at no cost. They'll assist with searches and media strategies.

My Note: For adult cases, contact the National Center for Missing Adults.

16) What might we come to understand about the frustrations experienced by LE that would help us to be more understanding of what they go through when working these cases?

It's frustrating because initially law enforcement wants to rule out family and acquaintances as possible suspects. Sometimes the family doesn't understand why the police are asking a lot of questions, ask for DNA, or a polygraph. It's important to help them clear you, so that they can go forward from there. Many people don't realize that very few children are abducted by complete strangers. The police are just doing their job. That is also why the list of family associates is so important.

17) Does LE become hardened because of their work to the emotions of the family of a missing person?

Hardened in a sense that they've seen the worst of the worst, however most will expect and understand the various emotions of the missing person's family. However, this does not mean that they will lose their objectiveness, which is needed to effectively conduct an investigation.

18) Tell about a case you worked on that was the most challenging and also difficult emotionally (preferably a missing person's case on this one and the one below). Tell about a case you worked on that had a happy ending.

Without going into specifics, I've helped to identify three unidentified persons (one living and two deceased). I felt satisfaction in knowing that it brought a sense of closure to both of their families, however I think that "closure" is not an entirely appropriate word because even in finally bringing home your loved one (and possibly arresting a responsible party), does not necessarily bring a family the peace and innocence that it had before their lives changed forever.

19) Is there any other advise you can give to families of the missing that we haven't covered?

Stay in touch with others going through similar circumstances. Not only can they provide information, they also can offer support, which is so important. Become knowledgeable about missing person organizations, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in addition to the National Center for Missing Adults. Remember, knowledge is power.
Also, remember to use the media. Publicity is a key factor in locating missing people and providing law enforcement information on missing people.

20) Is there a message of hope you wish to convey to these families?

There's always hope in developing information on your missing loved ones. Cases have been closed after thirty years and forty years. Never give up hope.

Thank you, Gloria, for taking time out of your busy day to share this valuable information and srategies with us. May you be blessed abundantly.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

1/12/06 Coming on Friday

Coming on Friday: A veteran law enforcement officer answers many of the questions commonly asked by the families of the missing.

I've been busy working on our Campaign for the Missing 2006. Our participant list keeps growing, but we still need more help.

Please see

Thank you for caring about the missing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

1/10/06 New to this Blog?

Thank you for visiting our blog. It's not like any other on the Internet. This is a grass roots effort to bring awareness for the missing persons who are not featured on the national news. Some are not even featured by their own local media. Awareness is key to location of missing persons, so we encourage you to keep reading, and send our link to all of your friends and family.

Just in case you've never read a blog before, if you notice over to your right, there are Archives listed. If you click on the Archives, you can go back to the beginning of our blog, and read all of the stories.

You'll also notice a Comments button below each post. If you are registered with Blogger, then you may post a comment. If you are not registered, and have a comment, you may email it to blogcomments@projectjason.org

Due to the volume of email, you may not necessarily receive a reply, but do know that we appreciate the fact that you took the time to write to us. Suggested reading from the archives to better understand our purpose:
http://voice4themissing.blogspot.com/2005/07/why-are-we-here.html http://voice4themissing.blogspot.com/2005/07/all-about-underdogs.html

Thank you for joining us here and for doing what you can to help us help others.

Monday, January 09, 2006

1/9/06 A Simple Question for Law Enforcement

When an officer takes a missing person's report, does he/she as a required part of the process, give the family any referrals to the main national missing person's organizations?


If the missing person is between the ages of 0 and 17, give the contact information for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) 1-800-THE-LOST www.missingkids.com

If the missing person is age 18 or above, give the contact information for the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA) 1-800-690-FIND www.theyaremissed.org

I suspect this does not happen nearly as often as it should. In a perfect world, it would happen 100% of the time. I would even accept if it could happen 75% of the time, although I would still want to improve this, and find ways to do it.

Why is this important?

Almost all persons who are faced with having a missing loved one do not know where to start, or what to do. Precious time is wasted if they think there isn't much they can do, or if their efforts are misguided.

Law Enforcement (LE) is not a "one-stop shopping center" when it comes to doing legwork on a missing person's case. They aren't going to start a diary of all calls, hang posters, assist you with an awareness event, or any number of steps that you should take. By the time a friend or co-worker suggests a reputable resource two weeks later, it may be too late.

I know that sounds very harsh, but it is true. What happens in the beginning and the steps taken by both LE and the family are critical. If LE doesn't give the family a resource, then their odds of success decrease. LE and the family are a team, with the family cooperating with LE as they probe into the family and missing person's background and any evidence so they can handle the investigation.

How often does this happen?

For the most part, when speaking to families of the missing nationwide, and asking them if LE gave them a referral, we find they did not. More often, in children's cases, one will be given, but it is rare in adult cases. No, this is not scientific data, but what I will present next certainly qualifies.

Jason's Law, which we passed last year, mandated the creation of a missing person's clearinghouse in Nebraska to cover both adult and child cases. Currently, there are 410 cases on the website. Out of those 410, 6 cases are registered with NCMEC and 4 with NCMA. That's a total of 10 cases out of 410 listed. That tells me that in 97% of the cases, the families are NOT given a referral. This is unacceptable.

I understand that it may be possible that some families are given the referral and do nothing with it, but do you really think that's a large percentage? I don't think so. I can't imagine not making a toll free phone call to try to get any and all help possible for a missing loved one.

I don't know if the percentage will be as high in your state. You will not have a way to know unless you have access to data about the total of open missing person's cases in your state and then compare it to the number of cases shown in NCMEC and NCMA.

Who can make this change?

This is not the fault of the state. This error lies in local LE's hands. They must add it as a part of the written procedure that covers taking a missing person's report. It is so important that I added it to the state model legislation that we are trying to get passed in each state in our Campaign for the Missing 2006.

In the meantime, we can make an impact on this issue. I want you to think about something. I want you to put yourself in our shoes, and imagine your loved one is missing and you must call LE and make a report. Imagine NOT being given that resource. Your heart is pounding and your stomach is tied in knots as your fears for your missing loved one grow stronger as the hands on the clock tick away, oblivious to your pain. You don't know where to turn or what to do. You need someone NOW to be a calming voice and tell you. You sure can't think straight on your own. You need help.

In the perfect world, you take a deep breath and pick up the phone. You dial the number the officer gave you. Soon you will be talking with someone who can help; someone who can give you those first steps to take.

In order to get closer to the perfect world scenario, we need people who will be willing to make a couple of phone calls. Call your local police department and your county's sheriffs department. Ask them if this is a policy when taking a missing person's report. Explain to them why it is important and ask them to please consider it.

Be thankful you are not calling them to report your loved one as missing. Think of as a free insurance policy that you are asking them to put into place. It could be you, after all, making that frightening call, and needing the help.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

1/8/06 Sundays of Hope for 1/8--1/14/06

Janice Smolinski is the mother of missing Billy Smolinski. I was touched that she wanted to reach out from beyond her personal pain and help others through our Campaign for the Missing 2006.

Janice wrote this as her introduction to the other campaign volunteers:

"I am from Connecticut, and am the mom of missing son William Smolinski Jr. He has been missing since August 24th 2004 and at the time of his disappearance he was 31 years old. Since day one, we have hit so many walls, been shunned, appeased, and passed on to the next official. We found almost no participation except for one caring officer, who could not do it all himself.

I come from a very close knit family and friends, so God has blessed us with many caring people that helped with the ground search, plus the cadaver dogs were called in by Billys sister, our only remaning child, Paula. There was no police involvement in any of these endeavors to try and find out what happened to Billy. Luminal test, DNA, and dental records were requested for and performed by the caring officer.

My husband, Bill Sr. and I have spoken with the Chief of Police, Mayor, States Attorney, our own Attorney General, FBI, whose remarks were "We are only homeland security-- local police will have to handle it in CT".

We have also contacted Senators director, state police different levels of authority,local news media, and local newspapers. All except for our own local newspaper did not take this situation seriously, and local television stations had minimal coverage.

To this day we continue, always to trying find the right official to help with our missing loved one. Billy was a caring person, NO alcohol, No drugs, and no police arrests. He was a hard working individual maintaining two jobs.

I feel we need desperate changes in this country and when I saw the wonderful things Kelly is trying to achieve, I feel compelled to get involved so others may not have to endure the uncaring treatment given by the authorities and others of influence.

Every person is God's child and there should be NO exception, ALL efforts must be taken immediately and maybe the outcome in these situations could turn out to be happy endings for the families of missing loved ones. Kelly, thank you for building the foundation so we can grasp on, give it our all, link all our states together with a common goal. This is a serious matter lets join hands, things can be accomplished in numbers. It can be done!!"

Billy's missing and physical data:

Name: William Paul Smolinski, Jr.
Classification: Endangered Missing Adult
Alias / Nickname: Bill, Billy
Date of Birth: 1973-01-14
Date Missing: 2004-08-24
From City/State: Waterbury, CT
Missing From (Country): USA
Age at Time of Disappearance: 31
Gender: Male
Race: White
Height: 71 inches
Weight: 200 pounds
Hair Color: Lt. Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Complexion: Medium

Identifying Characteristics:
Pierced left ear, tattoo of a blue "cross" with an orange outline on left shoulder, tattoo of a blue "cross" with the name "Pruitt" in the cross on right forearm, bowlegged.

Small diamond earring worn in left ear, rope style gold chain necklace with a gold "cross" pendent.

Circumstances of Disappearance:
Unknown. William was last seen at his residence in the vicinity of the 100 block of Holly St. in Waterbury, CT. All of his personal belongings were left behind.

Investigative Agency:
Waterbury Police Department
Phone: (203) 574-6941
Investigative Case #: 04-71025

Billy's website: http://smolinski.4ourangel.com/

A printable poster can be found here:

More news about Billy is on our forum:

Sundays of Hope is a weekly prayer campaign for the missing. The week of universal prayer for the featured person extends from Sunday-Saturday. We encourage you to get involved with your worship community, prayer group, other club or organization. Print posters from the link provided and make available to interested persons in your group. Let us know that your worship community or other group is participating by sending an email to sundaysofhope@projectjason.org

Please include the name of your church or group, the city, and the state. Thank you.
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