Sunday, July 29, 2007

7/29/07 A Boy and His Dog

There isn't much that can separate a boy and his dog, especially when they literally grew up together.

Tommy Kelly and his dog Screwball were a pair like that.

On January 26, 1999, 17 year-old Tommy disappeared from his home in Oregon. His remains were found in a nearby orchard creek bed on June 12, 2000, almost 18 months later.

Screwball just turned 18 years old and was in very poor health. His vet recommended he be put to sleep. Tommy’s dog was an important connection for Vicki to her son Tommy. With mixed feelings, Vicki took Screwball for his last vet visit.

When someone you love is missing, or has passed away, in Tommy's case, possessions of theirs, especially something living, become ties to that person. Losing that possesion, opens wounds that may have partially healed, or at least that'd been set aside, as life goes on.

Vicki Kelly, Tommy's mother, shared the moving story about a very special dog with us:

"Tommy’s 18 yr old basset hound Screwball has traveled to "Rainbow Bridge", where I know Tommy is waiting for him. He was such a special and loyal dog. The day after Tommy went missing, we noticed that Screwball was no where to be found. Because we so hysterical trying to locate Tommy, we called the pound and hoped Screwball would return. The next day we saw a sign down the road from us saying “Found Basset Hound”. It was Screwball. He had walked 2 miles in freezing January weather.

We brought him home, but later that night when we let him out to do his “biz” again he disappeared and a few hours later the same people where he was found called again and said Screwball was back. We were forced to chain him, and didn’t understand why he kept taking off until 2 days later when the news did a story on Tommy’s disappearance. The house he kept going to turned out to be where Tommy was last seen alive.

Screwball became famous in the news here as the dog who searched for his boy. Screwball was at Tommy's funeral, wearing a bow tie collar, and he laid in front of the coffin during the whole service. It was like he knew, I know he knew.

As I said my goodbye, I told him it was time, he was finally going to find his boy, and to please give his boy licks of love from his Mom.
Goodbyes are so hard, but I know he and Tommy are again playing together.

It is amazing the connection and special bond we humans can have with a pet.

Until we meet again Leopold Napoleon Screwball”

As a result of their experience of having a missing child, the Kelly family formed the Tommy Foundation to help parents deal with the loss of a child, and to show them how to search, and to cope.

Vicki said, "When Tommy's remains were recovered, we made a vow to be a voice for missing children and child safety. We had the choice to either let it destroy us and become reactive, or become proactive." In May of 2001, on National Missing Children's Day, the Oregon legislature passed the Tommy Laws and they formed the Tommy Foundation. The Tommy Laws require police to be trained in how to search for missing children.

Vicki Kelly, along with Project Jason Campaign for the Missing volunteer Robert Bristow, helped pass the model legislation in Oregon earlier this year.

To learn more about the organization named after Tommy, please visit the Tommy Foundation.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

7/26/07 A Family's Sorrow

Great news! (9/6/07)

We are pleased to announce that Megan Soske was recovered due to the efforts of Project Jason and NCMEC. After you finish reading this story, please click here for the good news story.

There are thousands upon thousands of missing person stories out there. This is just one of them. We also ponder the same question as Sandra: "Why didn't I know this?" As noted in her story, we are doing everything possible to make sure they know.

No family should be in the position of waiting 30 months for assistance, let alone 30 minutes.

A Family's Sorrow

By Sandra Soske, grandmother of missing Megan Soske
(Project Jason received permission from Sandra to repost.)

It was just before midnight when she snuck out of the house. It was probably not her intention to disappear, but taking the keys and attempting to borrow the truck without permission must have spooked her. There were other, more pressing problems in her life that may have contributed to her flight but her family doesn't know them. Thirty months later, she is still missing.

For families from California to Georgia, from Maine to Washington, the scenario may be somewhat different but the dilemma is real. A loved one, a son or daughter, a mother, a brother or sister or father, have gone missing and haven't been heard from in days, months, years. There may be a brief blip on the evening news, an article in the local paper about them, but unless the situation seems unusual or threatening, they all but disappear from public view.

Someone out there knows where they may be.

All local law enforcement will take a missing person's report if it is a child. Many will eventually file a report on a person over seventeen. If, as in Megan's case, she has done this before, the person filing the missing person's report encounters aggravation and derision. She is seventeen. She has a history of problems. She'll be back.

What many families do not know is that there are many other resources out there. After thirty months of worry and desperation, I am just learning about them. And what I have learned should be shared with every family across our great nation.

I found by using my server's search engine. It was the best search I've ever done. I have finally reached someone who cares.

With just a few keystrokes, I have Megan registered with a national organization. The founder, Kelly Jolkowski, a mother of a missing nineteen year old (at the time he disappeared in 2001) has personally responded to my listing of Megan as a missing person. I never expected that. She has given me the many agencies I have listed below. She has given me hope that someone out there may have seen my little girl.

"Federal law mandates that all missing children, age 17 and under, are reported to their state's missing children clearinghouse," Kelly Jolkowski told me in an email recently. In Georgia, that would be the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. She also told me of Suzanne's Law, signed by President Bush in 2003, mandating that "anyone age 20 and under at the time of their disappearance is to be entered in the NCIC. Missing person's ages 18-20 can be added to NCMEC's case roster and receive benefits IF the LE agency makes the call to NCMEC."
Law enforcement may not be aware of or have the training to follow those mandates. Therefore, Georgia law enforcement (the state where I live) does not file a seventeen year old minor with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Here, she is considered an adult.

Although I believe they should register minors with the NCMEC as well as their state's missing person's clearinghouse, the Campaign for the Missing, a grassroots effort to pass legislation in each and every state that affects how missing persons cases are handled, and Project Jason, who wrote the amendment, want all law enforcement to "...upon acceptance of a missing persons report, shall inform the reporting citizen of one of two resources, based upon the age of the missing person. If the missing person is age 17 or under, contact information for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children shall be given. If the missing person is age 18 or older, contact information for the National Center for Missing Adults shall be given."

It only takes fifteen minutes and the call is free. 1-800-THE-LOST. Why didn't I learn about them until now?

Once a missing minor is filed with NCMEC, law enforcement are notified, she or he is on the internet and posters are distributed. Your loved one will not be forgotten.

Also, your missing person should be listed with NCIC, the National Crime Information Center, a FBI information database for law enforcement. As of December, 2006, NCIC had 110,484 active missing person records. 58,763 are juveniles under the age of eighteen. Records are retained indefinitely unless/until the missing person is located or canceled by the reporting agency.

Ask your law enforcement office if your loved one is being listed. Up to three million young people run away every year. The National Runaway Switchboard can help both at-risk youth and parents of runaway children. 3,324 crisis calls were made by Georgia teens and parents during the calendar year 2006. If your child is a runaway, or is thinking of running away, call 1-800-621-4000.

The National Center for Missing Adults is a clearinghouse of information accessible by the general public. NCMA works with government agencies, law enforcement, and most particularly, the families of missing adults. Their website,, profiles missing adults. They also provide training to law enforcement. Call 1-800-690-FIND if your loved one has gone missing.

There are many agencies and organizations available to help you in your quest of locating a missing person. Go online, visit your local library, talk with law enforcement. Contact your local newspaper and TV news desk. Get the information out there. Get their picture out there.
Every available resource should be utilized by both law enforcement and the families of the missing. Law enforcement should be trained and willing to share information about the agencies and organizations dedicated to locating a missing loved one regardless of their perception of the case. Ask questions, demand answers. Do not give up.

And most importantly, be aware of those around you. One of them may be a missing person.

Have you seen Megan Montgomary Soske? She is now nineteen. She is 5'7" tall and weighs approximately 125 lbs. She has long brown hair and green eyes. She was last seen in Augusta, Georgia and may be in North or South Carolina.

Megan's case listed on our forum:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

7/21/07 The Untold Story: Awaiting DNA, Part XIII

Please see this post for an explanation and introduction before reading:

In the Aftermath

After we had a big push on our new ID kits, I received the letter you see below, which certainly illustrates the importance of the kits. Having the kit possibly saved this young woman’s life. The letter was written by her mother. All names and locations have been changed to protect this young woman's identity.

"My name is Melinda and I post on the Parent’s Forum as Melinda1976. I've followed your story, and have your family, and Jason, in my prayers every day. I appreciate that you've used your painful experience to alert others of the plight of the missing. We found out first hand last year, at this time, how quickly your life can change. Our intelligent, thoughtful, loving teenage daughter was naive enough to be drawn into an "internet relationship". We were careful about her time on the internet.....never thought that this would happen to her......but this 19 year old boy was a lot more cunning.

She sent him airfare and he came to town to "score". She was, supposedly, watching a movie in the family room (unbeknowst to me she left through the front door at this time), I was upstairs when the phone rang and she said that she wouldn't be home that night. I got her to tell me where she was before she hung up. ! ! How I managed to remember to immediately call 911 is beyond me....but I did. The police just missed her, and, again, she was gone. I called her friends right away, and one of them had the e-mail address for this creep.

The state police showed up for a picture of her, fingerprints (I had them) and told me that, hopefully, she'd make it home. The state trooper, bless his heart, made a phone call, then another and was able to track the guy from one hotel to another. Fortunately for us, someone at the hotel saw the shuttle that they took to a mall nearby. The state trooper called mall security, gave a description of our daughter, and asked them to please look for her. By the time we arrived at the mall she, and the companion, were in custody at the mall security office. (The guy had waited until she had turned 16, so we couldn't file any charges against him.) "He" was told to get back on a plane, and go

We took our only child back home....counting our blessings along the way. This whole story would have turned out differently, had it not been for Trooper Gonzalez and his persistence. We found out that our daughter was suffering from clinical depression, and with medication and therapy, she is, once again, an "A" student, has a happy outlook, and focuses on her real friends (no more internet unless I'm in the room).

I feel extremely fortunate that we found her so quickly that night. I thank God every day that she's with us, and pray for those that are missing to find their way home. And, finally, God bless you for all that you do in bringing information to others.

Because of your story, I had kept a recent photo of our daughter with her statistics, and fingerprints, in an envelope....never thinking that I'd have to use it. But when I needed it, it was, thank you Kelly."

Here's an update about this young woman:

"Our daughter, now 18, is doing great. She is a senior in High School, an honor student, is involved in speech and debate (and recently won a state competition for this and will be going on to Nationals) and, more important, is a happy, healthy young woman. She still sees a therapist every two months, is still on her medication but, most of all, realizes just how fortunate she was to be found. She has, only recently, begun to instant message her friends on the computer........and realizes how short her "friend list" should be when it comes to the internet. She has a lot of plans for her future......including a major in Psychology, so that she may help others, too.

Again, Kelly......God bless you for your and your family are always in my thoughts and prayers."

Had this mother not had our Project Jason ID Kit filled out, things could have turned out much differently. Time is critical in these cases, and when you have all the vital data ready to go for Law Enforcement, it can make a difference.

You can download a Personal ID Kit free at our website at

Everyone needs one, whether they are 6, 16, or 66.

Don't say it can't happen to you or someone in your family.

That's what I thought, too.

To be continued.........................

Friday, July 20, 2007

7/20/07 Free Law Enforcement Training

Dear Families, Supporters, and Friends of Project Jason,

We are pleased to announce that we have begun to provide law enforcement (LE) training by professional instructors, available in the form of audio files. These audio files can be accessed 24 hours a day on our website at There is no charge to utilize this training.

We began our ongoing series with a 4-part program about DNA and CODIS as it pertains to solving missing persons cases. As you know, it is critical that LE make use of the available technologies and systems in place. Obtaining DNA samples from the family members of missing persons (or DNA from the missing persons themselves) in an attempt to match them to DNA from unidentified remains is one method of finding the answers about our missing loves ones, resolving cold cases, and solving crimes.

Our presenters for the DNA training are Dr. Arthur Eisenberg and George Adams from the Center for Human Identification (CHI) at North Texas University. Dr. Eisenberg pioneered much of today's DNA testing protocol and is one of the world's leading DNA scientists. "First and foremost, there never should be a human remain, a skeletal remain of anyone's loved one that would be buried or cremated without the retention of a DNA sample for analysis. If those samples are in CODIS, there's always a chance." Dr. Eisenberg stated.

George Adams is the LE liaison for the CHI, has many years of law enforcement experience and regularly conducts training for the CHI. "Once you enter a sample into CODIS, you're not working within your jurisdiction, you're working within the jurisdictions of everyone entering samples into CODIS", said George Adams. "You are bringing in so much power into your investigation. It is explosive. If we can get everyone to do this, these samples will be matched, they will be made, and the sooner we match them the sooner the law enforcement can identify who the perpetrator is, and take him off the streets."

More detailed biographies along with the audio training files can be found on the Law Enforcement Training page at

Each audio segment is approximately 30 minutes long.

Topics covered in the DNA training modules:

History and types of DNA

Best practices for obtaining DNA samples

CODIS and State Databases

Importance of Chain of Custody

CHI Services

The nationwide crisis and the need for these processes to become standard procedure
While this information will be helpful for the families of the missing and organizations which serve them, the main goal is to disseminate this information to LE. You may feel free to forward this notice to all interested persons.

For families of the missing and organizations which serve them, all 4 parts will be of interest, but there are several messages of hope and encouragement in the last section. Working together, we can accomplish so much. There is always hope!

If you have a missing loved one, and do not have either their DNA in CODIS or yours, Part II discusses steps for you, and then your LE, to take.

Quick technical tips for playing audio files:

Double-clicking on the audio file on the site will download it to your PC. It may begin to play nearly immediatetely, or may take several minutes to download, depending upon which audio players you have on your PC and how you have them set up.

You can also download the files to a MP-3 player or an IPOD.

Note: Persons using dial-up internet may encounter difficulties in playing the files.

Direct links to the audio files:

Part I:
Part II:
Part III:
Part IV:

We will add more LE training on a regular basis covering a variety of topics.

Please forward this notice to interested persons, including law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, and other families of missing persons.

Kelly Jolkowski, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder, Project Jason
Free Online Counseling for Families of the Missing

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

7/17/07 The Untold Story: Awaiting DNA, Part XII

Please see this post for an explanation and introduction before reading:

In the Aftermath

Some of the after story was that we no longer called our ID Kits “Child ID Kits”. These were now called Personal ID Kits and we campaigned to get adults as well as children to have one. We even gave one to the governor of Nebraska.

This is piece I wrote and made public after we had recovered from our ordeal:


My letter today has two goals: To share some news of hope for my own family with you and to also share a difficult aspect of our story, one in which we hope will have an impact on how you view the topic of identification.

Some of you may have a missing loved one and some of you may not. Regardless, the same loving advice applies: Get yourself an ID kit, such as the one available for free download from our site, fill it out and keep it in a safe place in the event you (or any other family member) were to become missing. Make sure everyone in your family has one, whether they are 6 months old, 6 years old, or 60 years old, age matters not.

As a person in our situation would be, we are keenly aware of the need for ID kits, commonly thought of as child id kits. We never had one filled out for our own missing son, Jason, nor for ourselves as parents. We never knew to have fingerprints, dental records, or DNA samples for the event that he would be missing and we might need to use that information to identify him. We thought it would never happen to us, but it did.

Now a chain of events has transpired that makes us all the more fervent in our campaign to strongly encourage people of all ages to have id kits. There are no more excuses. There can be no more delays. Of course the odds of having two missing persons in one family are great, but no one person is immune. Couple this with the knowledge that a child disappears every 37 seconds in America, how can one ignore this? (Keep in mind that close to that many adults disappear, but stats are not always kept on adults, so no one knows for certain.)

In June of 2004, we went on a tour of Nebraska for Project Jason, handing out our child id kits and meeting the public. On the 6th day of the 7 day tour, June 18th, I received a call from our police detective asking if we had Jason’s dental records. This is the call that every family member of a missing loved one dreads. It can only mean one thing: A body has been found that the authorities think is Jason.

There have been many times that bodies were located in our area, but we never had a call like this. In answer to the dental records question, we had none, as Jason has strong teeth and I was remiss as a parent in getting him regular checkups. I could not recall where he went to the dentist as a child. We also had no fingerprints and no DNA. We never knew to get these things taken care of when he first disappeared. No one told us to save his comb or toothbrush. No one offered to capture fingerprints off his possessions. We had nothing other than the ability to give our own DNA samples to be matched against the DNA of the body in question.

There was a John Doe located in California who was found last Fall. An online researcher saw his sketch on a website and reported it to our police as a possible match for Jason. This young man was brutally murdered. You do not want to know those details. The coroner had been shown Jason’s photos, and we were told he thought it was him. Our police detective and the crime lab tech came to our home that very evening to get our DNA samples. They didn’t want to alarm us, but it seemed that they thought there was a good chance it was him, too, otherwise they would not have run the DNA, which was rather costly.

For the next two and one half weeks, we waited for these results, hoping and praying that this man was not Jason. If Jason was dead, we could do nothing to change that, but we did not want him to be the person who suffered this awful fate. I will not go into the details of the waiting, other than to share the great pain it caused. It was difficult to get through each day. We prayed for the strength to keep going, despite the horrifying thought that we might become the parents of a murdered child, rather than a missing child, and never have any answers to the mystery of our son’s disappearance.

The thought of Jason possibly having to go through a death like this nearly made us physically ill. We decided early on in the waiting that even though this was our private matter and our private suffering, that it would not be right to keep it to ourselves when we could use it to educate others. That person was not Jason. We are back to square one of this unique waiting that we must do. In the meantime, we do what we feel God desires of us in taking our experiences and using it to help others. Jason would want this, too.

We do not want anyone to feel sorry for us. What we want is for people to listen to us.

Again, regardless of your age, and the age of ALL family members, get yourself an id kit and fill it out. Most local Law Enforcement will add your fingerprints to the kit. Take strands of hair with the root attached and place it in an envelope and attach it to the kit. If you do not know where your dental records are, find out.

If we had only had fingerprints or dental records, we could have found out that same day that the John Doe was not Jason and been spared the agony of this wait. If you are a family member of a missing person, and it is not too late to do so, make sure you have fingerprints, dental records and something for a DNA sample.

We have revised our id kit to reflect the importance of all elements needed for identification, plus our challenge to get people of all ages to understand the need. You can download a kit here:

Thank you for taking the time to listen to me today, and please take action immediately because as we never would have imagined ourselves to be in this position, we are, and in just a few more seconds, someone else will be, too.

To be continued..............

Go to Part XIII:

Monday, July 16, 2007

7/16/07 Healing Harbor: A Free Counseling Service offered by Project Jason

Project Jason is pleased to announce the opening of Healing Harbor.

Healing Harbor is a free service provided to families of the missing by nonprofit organization Project Jason and Duane Bowers, LPC.

Families of the missing suffer a unique tragedy, one with which many professional counselors do not have the training or experience to be able to properly service their clients. In addition, many families do not have the financial means to seek professional counseling. Duane is one of the nation’s most qualified counselors in regards to issues faced by these families, and we are honored to have him with us to answer your questions.

Healing Harbor can provide answers and assistance on a variety of emotional issues that effect family members of missing persons. This assistance may provide the boost needed for that family member to deal with and adapt to the situation without seeking counseling. (Please keep in mind that Healing Harbor should not be viewed as a substitute for individual, private counseling if needed.)

Families of the missing who elect to participate in Healing Harbor are invited to post their question to Duane in our private forum area. These questions may cover any topic of interest in respect to emotional issues that relate to having a missing person in their life.

If you are a family member of a missing person, and would like to take advantage of this service, please register at our forum, located at

After registration, simply follow the instructions in the verification email you will receive, and then let us know that you have registered, so we can grant permissions for you to enter the special forum area. Email us with your username, the name of the missing loved one, and your relationship to them. After verification, we’ll open up access to Healing Harbor to you.

The Healing Harbor forum is:
Posting Guidelines, FAQ's, and other pertinent information:
The Waiting List and Questions area:

We hope that you will find healing in our safe harbor.

With Hope for all of our Missing Loved Ones,

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

Saturday, July 14, 2007

7/14/07 The Untold Story: Awaiting DNA, Part XI

Please see this post for an explanation and introduction before reading:

Part XI: (*Names and places have been changed)

Wednesday, July 6th:

Thanks to the “lift” I received, I was able to get through another day at work. At 4pm, my cell phone rang. It was Carl Roberts. He said he had the DNA test results. If he said he wanted to come over to the house, I would already know the answer. He did not and said the test was negative.

It is hard to pin down those feelings that washed over me at that point. I was so relieved. I wanted to jump out of my chair, but I knew I had to be low-key. We talked about what would happen if there was a next time in regards to the timeframe. He said they would always bring the Doe’s DNA sample here, and as ours is now done, it should be days for the results. I hope it never happens again, but it was good to know that we would never have to go through such a long wait in the dark again.

Two and a half weeks is not a very long time in the scheme of things, but when the wait is to uncover the identity of someone who may be your dead child, it was an eternity. I will not be able to forget John Doe. Who is he? Does his family miss him like we miss Jason? Is anyone looking for him? I hope that someday I would spot a missing person’s photo which matches his, and that his family would have him back, just so that they wouldn’t have the waiting. I could now very easily imagine their anguish upon hearing about his fate, and I still prayed that he did not suffer much.

After the call, I had to get up and walk away. All of the pain, fears, and anxieties of the past 2 ½ weeks welled up inside me and spilled over. This was now over, and I had to switch gears back to the same waiting we had been doing for three years. It took some time to sink in, however, and the pain was still under the surface, making it difficult to speak of with others. I think it’s going to take some time to be able to talk about it, but we will, because to keep this inside would not potentially benefit anyone, or stir them to take action when it comes to all ages having ID kits. I don’t know exactly how we are going to use this story, and I know that it will come to me. Others will help, too, as they will have the perspective of an “outsider”.

God has and will continue to show the way.

End of original diary

What's Next: The aftermath.

To be continued...............................

Go to Part XII:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

7/12/07 The Untold Story: Awaiting DNA, Part X

Please see this post for an explanation and introduction before reading:

Just as a reminder, a dramatized version of the diary was recorded using volunteer voice talents. If you’d like to listen to the diary only before reading the end of the series on the blog, here are the links to the audio files.

There are two parts:

Part X: (*Names and places have been changed)

Tuesday, July 5th:

I was having trouble at work with my emotions again. The waiting was really wearing on me and spilling over into the physical realm, which was certainly not surprising. I had told my boss and asked him to hold it in the strictest confidence, and only because I was afraid I might suddenly have to leave, either due to getting that results phone call, or because I had to have a good cry. One of my peers knew something was wrong, but I could not burden her because of her own problems, such as her mother’s terminal illness for one.

That afternoon, I became physically ill, and I thought I was going to vomit. The waiting was taking its toll. I was also having doubts again about my feelings in regards to John Doe’s identity. I was thinking about his death again.

That same day, Jim was asking his boss for the last two weeks of July off, as he truly thought we would be attending Jason’s funeral. He could not even finish asking his boss about the time off request. He could not talk about it. The pain was just too great.

I was very close to walking out that day, but waited it out, and ate some chicken noodle soup. (Ah, the old king of the comfort foods) I felt better and was able to get through the day.

Oddly enough, that evening, I suddenly felt “lifted”. That is the only way I can describe it. I felt very strong again, and that I would be able to make it through the next week or two, no matter how long it took. It came to me that the prayers for me had been answered in my renewed strength.

To be continued........................

Go to Part XI:

Friday, July 06, 2007

7/6/07 The Untold Story: Awaiting DNA, Part IX

Please see this post for an explanation and introduction before reading:

Part IX: (*Names and places have been changed)

Thursday, July 1-Monday July 5th:

I called Oceanview directly about the toenail and blood type. I find out that a female (*Deputy Hunter) is in charge of this case here. She is probably the person I spoke to the other time I called there, the one who told me about the “European” look. She was not in, so I talked to some woman, who was nice enough, but could not really do much for me. She said she would pose my questions to Deputy Hunter later today about checking the toenail and the possibility of drawing blood. She then told me to call back if I don't hear anything within a WEEK. A WEEK? I wanted to scream. The body is still there, (another contradictory piece of info) so why would it take a week to do any of these things? She had our home phone and my cell phone with instructions to call. I was as clear as I could be about trying to eliminate things faster so we do not have to wait.

That afternoon, I spent about 3 hours tracking down Marcia, the DNA crime lab tech. I had no idea where she was other than the *Nebraska DNA Lab. I researched online and did not find her in any of the DNA Lab’s staff directory. That took over an hour. Then I hit the jackpot by deciding to read an old newspaper article about DNA processing for a rape trial. The article mentioned the crime lab and that it can take up to nine months, but is free. As an aside it mentioned the DNA lab in Omaha. I picked up the phone book and called various numbers until I found the DNA Lab here. I asked for Marcia Randolph and had to once again be transferred and call more numbers. Someone commented that no one ever called for her. I had found her.

So, we had to go through the back doors and find ways to get some answers we wanted, even though the people who were supposed to provide these answers seemed ok with us waiting and wondering. Thanks to Mike revealing the crime lab lady's name, I was able to track her down and actually talk to a live person. Marcia Randolph is from the Forensics Lab and she was the one doing our samples. She received a blood sample from the John Doe yesterday and said it will take two weeks to process his and ours. She said she could not tell me the results, but if we haven't heard anything after that two weeks to call her and she will tell me when she sent the DNA report (at the police dept) and to whom she sent it. I asked her if she could do the blood typing and she said it is not allowed. She said that would be up to Oceanview.

If we could get Oceanview to check the toenail and draw blood (IF THERE IS ANY IN HIM) those were the only other avenues I could pursue at that time to potentially lessen the wait.

I guess we should feel "lucky" that it will only be 2 more weeks. I was doing some reading on DNA testing for crime purposes, and the waits are usually much longer. I was grateful for that.

I decided to give Oceanview a chance to call me about the toenail and the blood typing. They did not, and before I knew it, the long 4th of July weekend had arrived. There would be no more answers forthcoming and we would have to steel ourselves for another long weekend of not knowing.

On Sunday, Michael & I went to Grand Island to visit the family for the 4th. We could not tell them and had to pretend everything was “normal”, well “normal” to us anyway. I had wanted to share this news with several people, as I felt like I needed the support. There were days when I just needed a hug, but we could not burden others with our wait, and Jim was afraid that if we told too many people, it would slip to the press. We did not want that, nor to be gossip fodder, nor to have others feel sorry for us. We just wanted this to be over.

We had a nice visit, and the time away from home helped lessen the reminders that we were playing this awful waiting game.

To be continued.........................

Go to Part X:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

7/5/07 The Untold Story: Awaiting DNA, Part VIII

Please see this post for an explanation and introduction before reading:

Part VIII: (*Names and places have been changed)

Monday-Wednesday, June 28-30

On Monday, June 28th, I wrote to Mike:

Good morning,

Can you see if you have the blood type on record today? I would thinkthey would have that kind of info in an easy to retrieve method.

Thank you.

Kelly Jolkowski

And after yet another day of waiting, I received the following reply:


I'm sorry for not getting back to you right away, I'm off onMonday's. I just got off the phone with the Coroner's Office and theytold me that blood type is not available. The Coroners Office is sending a sample today to the University of Nebraska for comparison. We should have an answer soon.

Detective Mike Monroe

I wrote back on the same day:

Thank you so much, Mike.

If the blood is being sent here, I would guess it could be a couple of weeks to find out the type? Do we know anything about the toenail yet? I would think when they gather all the data about the body that blood type would be among the available data. Given that it is apparently not, I would strongly suggest that it routinely become a part of that data set for people like us who would nothing better than to quickly eliminate these John Does as being their loved one. I know you don't have anything to do with that, of course, and I am venting in a sense. This waiting is very difficult. Thank you for any and all info you can share.

PS: Is the sample they are sending for the DNA, or did they already send that?

I then received this reply:


I have a message into the Coroners Office about the unique toe.I have not heard from them yet. I would expect the blood type and DNAprofile to be a priority on unidentified victim cases. I do not have the information to comment on this particular case. I cannot say how long the DNA comparison will take. Marcia from the Nebraska DNA Lab told me that it would take a few weeks compared to several months quoted by the Nebraska and California state labs.

Detective Mike Monroe

On June 30th, I replied:

Good morning, Mike,

I certainly don't wish to be a thorn in your side, but when you get in contact with Oceanview, I would like to clarify whether or not the body is still there, as I have conflicting information about that. If the body is still there, I would think that someone could check the toenail quickly and even draw blood to check the type. Regardless, it would be a good thing to clarify the status of the body just the same.

Do you have contact info for Marcia?

Thank you.

Kelly Jolkowski

Late on that same day, he responded:


I was told that the Oceanview County Coroners Office is in possession of the body. I have asked for information on the toe and have not heard from them on this. This is out of my control. The blood typing and DNA profiling, from what I understand, will be done at the Nebraska DNA Lab. The Coroners Office advised me that 30%-40% of the population has type O blood and this test would not be conclusive. I wish that this process was set up in a way that would offer faster answers to your questions.

If I can be of more help, let me know.

Detective Mike Monroe

My last correspondence with him (June 30) was:


Thank you for that information. I do understand that this is out of your control. I appreciate that you have checked on things and responded. I know you will let me know if you get additional/new information.

Kelly Jolkowski

I sensed that he was getting annoyed with me. He wasn’t in my shoes, so how could he even begin to comprehend what this waiting was like? I noticed he never gave me Marcia at the DNA labs contact info, but that wasn’t going to stop me from finding out anything to eliminate John Doe as being our Jason.

Mike was right about the O blood type, but what he didn’t know is that I had found out through the Red Cross that Jim’s blood type was B, the more rare type. A types closely followed O’s in percentage of the population. I was an O. An O and a B cannot produce an A type child. If we found out that John Doe was an A, he was not Jason. Why was this so difficult?

To be continued.................

Go to Part IX:

Monday, July 02, 2007

7/2/07 The Untold Story: Awaiting DNA, Part VII

Please see this post for an explanation and introduction before reading:

Part VII: (*Names and places have been changed)

Friday, June 25th:

Thursday came and went. On Friday, I had a dentist appointment at 10:30, and in trying to be patient, I waited until I came home to call them. Now that I had their direct lines, I was going to call them every day until I was given the answers I needed. Of course, it went right into voicemail, so I left a message.

Not long after, I checked my work email remotely, and found a reply from him. He wrote:


I was not the case agent on this case when this person was found so I may not have the exact answers that you are looking for. Iwill do my best. As far as the DNA is concerned, this is handled by the Oceanview County Coroners Office. I have heard different estimations on how long it will take to process and compare the DNA, 2 to 6 months. Iwould suspect that the time delay in California is different from Nebraska because of the number of cases. I will do what I can to expedite this.

I talked with *Marcia Randolph from the *Nebraska DNA lab and she is working with the Coroners Office here to obtain a DNA sample for comparison to try and expedite this. I believe that the European look may have come from the type ofclothing that this person was wearing. His shoes were unique and made inEurope. I cannot comment on the ear shape because I did not see this person and cannot tell from the photographs. I did a measurement comparison on this persons shoes and it matched a size 11. Shoe sizes can be off one to two shoe sizes between different manufacturers. The dental record on the website was done by the coroner at the time of the autopsy. From review, it says that there was visible dental work done. I understand that your son had no dental work done up until the time ofhis disappearance. This would mean that he had dental work done after his disappearance or this is not a match. I cannot give you an answer about the bad toe. I will look into this.

I can only imagine the agony that you must be going through. I hope that I have answered some of your questions. Let me know what else I can do for you.

Detective Mike Monroe
Oakview Police Department
Oakview, Ca

I wrote back and said:


I am not at work, but just accessed my email there remotely and saw your reply. You may have sent that before I left you a voicemail message. Thank you for finding out what you did. Can you find out the blood type, please? I now have our blood types, so knowing his could eliminate him as being Jason. It would take a load off our mind if his was not compatible and we could find that out without going through another weekend. As far as the dental work goes, if Jason had dental work as a child, it was not extensive; otherwise I think I would remember it.

In gratitude,

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

I found out our blood types by calling the Red Cross. You would think that the doctor’s office would have it, but they do not. Oddly enough, the Red Cross was in the phone book close to Jim’s doctor’s name; otherwise, I don’t know that I would have thought of it. Now if we could just find out this young man’s blood type. I also now knew which types were not possible, based on our blood types.

The clock ticked on, hour after hour, but still the phone did not ring, nor did I get an email with this answer.

I was invited to the birthday party of a friend that evening, and I planned on going. I occupied myself that afternoon by preparing a gag gift, as it was his 40th birthday. At 7:00, I was at the party, and still no call. It was 5pm California time. I focused on my friend and other acquaintances there and considering everything, had a pretty good time. It was good for me to be around people with regular lives, talking about regular things. I'm almost jealous of that at times. I’m sure that is an entirely normal way to feel. No one else there has to think about whether or not their child is dead. What a strange life we now have. As soon as I left the party, the feelings of sadness came again, knowing we would have to go through another weekend of the waiting.

To be continued............................

Go to Part VIII:

7/2/07 The Goverment Steps in for the Missing and Unidentified!

This is the best news in a long time! While it's not the magic pill for all the ails us in our cause, it's a huge step forward to help find our missing loved ones and give a name to the unidentified.

Government Assistance for Cases of Missing and Unidentified Persons


Initiative Will Include Database to Provide National Search and Match of Unidentified Human Remains with Records of Missing Persons

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice today announced the launch of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Initiative (NamUs) to provide the nation's medical examiners, coroners, victim advocates, law enforcement agencies and the general public with the ability to simultaneously search the records of missing persons and unidentified human remains in an effort to solve cases.

"Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has emphasized the importance of providing families and law enforcement with the important information that is often critical to solving missing person and unidentified dead cases," said Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). "OJP is proud to lead in addressing this critical problem and fulfilling the request of the Attorney General to improve this nation's ability to identify the missing and put names to the unidentified dead."

Developed by the National Institute of Justice; OJP's research, development, and evaluation component, NamUs provides a national database for unidentified remains for the use of medical examiners and coroners. Ultimately, NamUs will link records from the unidentified remains database with missing persons records through a search and matching tool. NamUs will also serve as a national repository for information on unidentified remains, and missing persons and the resources from around the country. It will be designed to facilitate the work of the diverse community of individuals and organizations who investigate missing and unidentified persons. The NamUs Web site is located at

The vast majority of unidentified remains cases are currently inaccessible for law enforcement investigative purposes, and are not available to the general public. NamUs will provide an additional tool for law enforcement; and access for medical examiners, coroners, missing person clearinghouses, and the public to track and solve these cases.

The creation of NamUs was motivated by an overwhelming need for a central reporting system for unidentified remains cases. Once complete, NamUs will provide access nationally to clearinghouse capabilities for reporting, locating and matching missing persons records to unidentified remains records. NamUs will use matching formulas that continuously search for similarities between missing person and unidentified person records. Individuals will be able to search the NamUs database using characteristics such as demographics, anthropologic assessments, dental information and distinct body features.

The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking Office (SMART). More information can be found at

Be sure to check out the corresponding sites:

This website was developed and is maintained as a public service project of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) and The International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME). It is designed to assist in the identification of deceased persons whose names and identities have not yet been established. It includes cases from throughout the United States. is being designed to improve the quality and quantity of missing persons data and to simplify the reporting and management of missing persons cases for the justice community and the general public. Law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, and other members of the justice community as well as family members are able to log on to the database to enter data regarding missing persons. The system also provides access to a clearinghouse capability for missing persons that is available not only to law enforcement, but also to the general public.

Kelly Jolkowski,
Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder,
Project Jason
Forum for News and Information
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