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 SorrowBy 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 lo
cal 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 http://www.projectjason.org/
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, http://www.theyaremissed.org/
, 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: http://projectjason.powweb.com/dpforum/thread.php?id=1105