Tuesday, September 06, 2005

9/6/05 The Ecstasy and the Agony

Updated: Lorne was found deceased. Please see his aunt's site for him for additional information. It is linked at the bottom of this entry.

If you turn the title around you have the name of a famous book/movie about Michelangelo’s struggle in painting the Sistine Chapel. It is a story about faith and determination.

Our story is also about faith and determination. While we won’t end up with a famous artistic masterpiece to view at the end of the story, what we will see is a masterpiece of love.

Our "Michelangelo" is a determined woman of faith named Louise Holmburg. For more than four years, Louise has devoted her spare time to the search for her missing nephew, Lorne Boulet, Jr. of Chichester, NH.

The drug Ecstasy changed Lorne’s life forever and brought about an unending agony for his family when he disappeared on July 29, 2001. Louise volunteered her time and efforts as his advocate, tirelessly working to find him.

Lorne was not unlike other young men his age. His mother, Evelyn, describes him as a carefree youth: “Lorne graduated from Pembroke Academy in 1998. He was 18 when he graduated high school, a typical teen age boy, snow boarding, playing basketball, swimming, boxing, and just hanging out with friends. Lorne was not judgmental and liked helping others. He seemed to have lots of friends and was very popular. He of course, loved nice clothes and fine jewelry.”

That’s when things began to change. Evelyn continues the story: “After Lorne graduated from High School, he was invited to a New Year's Eve Party on December 31, 1998. This is when Lorne took his first hit of Ecstasy. Apparently Lorne used this drug for four months on a regular basis. Then, on April 29, 1999, we received a phone call from him saying he needed his dad. He was at the Home Depot on Loudon Road in Concord, about 12 miles from his home in Chichester. About 30 minutes later, I received a call from my husband saying Lorne was not himself and I needed to come right away. When I got to Loudon Road, Lorne was walking down the highway with one hand holding his eye open saying that he was special, had powers, and that I was evil and had to go. We did not know what to do. The police arrived and he was arrested, charged with destruction of property, possession, and resisting arrest. This was the first time Lorne had ever been arrested.

I feel it is important for people to know the dangers of Ecstasy and other drugs available to our children. We had no idea of what Lorne had been taking nor had we ever heard of Ecstasy. Now, unfortunately, we can say we know what this is and it can destroy a life.”

Eventually, Lorne was diagnosed as being Schizophrenic. His behaviors varied. He often was very child-like, and became very close to his Aunt, Louise, and her three sons. Lorne loved his young cousins and took them to Amusement Parks, Trick-or-Treating, swimming, snow boarding, and visited with them just to be together. Lorne taught the boys about respect, peer pressure, and the dangers of drug use. Louise, Lorne, and her sons grew even closer.

Lorne had a habit of taking a walk every evening. Evelyn Boulet recalls that last walk:
“On July 29, 2001, around 6:00 PM, Lorne went for a walk with nothing other than his white fleece shirt, black fleece pants, and sandals. This was the last time we saw Lorne.”

Louise didn’t find out right away: “I did not find out that Lorne was missing for four days. It was summer vacation and my children were all home. Lorne's mom, my sister, called and said that they could not find Lorne. I stood at my table not understanding until she explained that he went for a walk and never returned. I said I'd be right there and drove the hour and fifteen minute drive to find that saying, "It will never happen to us", just did. I truly believed we would find him. How big is this world anyway?”

After Lorne became missing, Louise began to educate herself on the things she could do to help find him. One of the most bitter pills to swallow other than the fact he is missing, is the lack of media attention for missing adult males. “A needle in a hay stack has a better chance of being found then a missing man with little media coverage,” Louise explains. “Isn't it obvious why the media takes to certain cases? Do NOT misunderstand me, ALL cases deserve attention, however, young ~ beautiful women get great exposure.

What about the young man who suffers from a mental illness? I feel, that Lorne, being a once popular High School graduate, going from loving "nice clothes and fine jewelry" to being a "child at heart" Schizophrenic, could spotlight the missing mentally ill. This could help others who are going through the same thing and could possibly prevent this from happening to someone else's loved one suffering from a mental illness.

I am happy for those families that gain national media attention, however, the number of missing persons is great and those who gain coverage is small. There needs to be more coverage for ALL, even at a small amount, than for a small amount to get ALL the attention. How can you place value on what case takes priority? Are not all missing persons someone's child?”

Louise is not exaggerating in about the lack of media attention. Of the last 7 missing adult cases that Project Jason sent press releases out on, only one resulted in a story. The majority of these cases involved mental illness. Are we as a society still trying to sweep mental illness under the carpet? If anything, these cases need more help because of the mental illness.

Louise has valid fears for Lorne’s safety. While Lorne is a good sized young man, his illness makes him vulnerable. ‘I think Lorne’s mind, because of being ill, got the best of him, in the sense of him not quite knowing reality or the lack there of. I do not believe he had any INTENTIONS of not returning home. He may not realize how long he has been gone, nor the pain we feel. My greatest fear is his susceptibility to life's dangers; weather or even unkind individuals. I truly wish I understood the details of Schizophrenia before Lorne's walk that fateful evening. I believe that by being more aware of his illness and how it affects the mind, maybe all of us involved in Lorne's life could have realized the possibilities.”

Louise may not have realized or understood what happened to her nephew and why, but she didn’t let this deter her in her efforts to find him and create awareness for his story.

Since Lorne’s disappearance, Louise has accomplished the following:
* Placed him on websites all over the Internet.
* Built and maintained a website for him

* Detailed her van, along with both of his parents and one uncle's vehicle with Lorne's photo and information.
* Posted fliers and handed out information
* Created photo buttons to wear
* Held vigils
* Attended missing person's events, conferences, vigils, etc.
* Mailed and emailed fliers/ mailers
* Added his photo and information, on labels for outgoing mail
* Wears t-shirts with his information and photo

Louise’s determination and creativity don’t end with that list. She also created the unique “Walking Them Home” program, which combines physical exercise with awareness for the missing. Louise is also in the process of contacting all law enforcement agencies nationwide with Lorne’s information. It doesn’t matter to her that this project is a huge task. She only wants to find her nephew.

There is something she asks of us: “Please look at Lorne's face and know that there is a life behind his photo. All it takes is for one person to recognize Lorne and we could be reunited as a family once again. He is loved and missed so very much. Also, PLEASE, if you think that you have seen Lorne, but are uncertain to whether or not it is actually him, call the authorities. It does NOT hurt anyone to be wrong. It can, however, reunite a family should you be right. Close your eyes and think, while feeling with your heart, "What if this was MY child?" Would you want answers? If you answer *yes*, know that all of us living this feel the same. Yes, We Want Answers.”

It would be wonderful if there could be a miracle for this family. They deserve to be relieved of their agony and to experience an ecstasy that comes from within. The visual of their reunion would be much more beautiful than a painted ceiling.


A video made of Lorne:



Blogger blogger among many said...

You write so eloquently.

The problem of so little media attention for the missing is dismaying to say the least.

Sometimes I think too much credit is given to the NCMEC. I believe they have become too bureaucratic.

But I digress...

I wonder if you have thought to send out missing posters/information regarding the missing mentally ill across the country to the various county mental health clinics, as well as board and care homes.

Just a thought...

1:05 AM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

Thank you, blogger.

The problem is two fold: privacy laws surrounding adults, and HIPPA laws. Most mental health professionals won't touch this. If Lorne, or any other missing mentally ill person was in a facility somewhere, and someone realizes he is a reported missing person, they need not tell anyone, and in fact, are bound in their positions NOT to tell.

We do have a few mental health facilities and providers on our Come Home participant list. In the future, we do have planned to see if we can get more facilities involved. They, however, must not be afraid of the HIPPA Laws, and want more to do the right thing in these cases.


7:29 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

My heart is with Lorne and his family. His Aunt Louise has also touched many lives, including mine. She is such a kind person. She organized a balloon release for Jennifer and Adrianna on March 25th of this year to mark one year of them missing. To her it did not matter that she is so far away from me or that it would NOT generate any media attention for Jenn and Nina, but it was done from her heart, to help bring comfort to my family and let us know that my girls were thought of by many. She later sent me pictures that literally brought me to tears, knowing that all these people, far away, cared about my children. I have Lorne's imagae bored into my memory and I look for him everywhere I go, I just hope that he will return to his loving family soon.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorne is loved and missed by so many of us over at Crime & Justice. I have even run the risk of being thought odd myself by stopping several times over the years to ask a young man if he might be Lorne. Someday, I truly believe, someone will stop the right young man and it will be our loved Lorne. We will all genuinely rejoice when that happens

1:26 PM  
Blogger FindLorne said...

Thank you Kelly for your help and support.

I would like to share that along with sending Lorne's information to Law Enforcement Agencies across our country, I also do contact any and all Medical Facilities that I can find; whether it be a clinic, hospital, nursing homes, etc..
I hope that someone has seen Lorne and will find the compassion in their heart to contact us after viewing his website, but as Kelly mentioned, there are Laws.
Please consider visiting Lorne's website and scrolling down on the Home Page to view and sign the Petition regarding this concern. This is known as the Audrey Nerenberg Act, which is not yet passed, but is NEEDED.
Thank you, EVERYONE for all of your support.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Tanya (Sarcione) Davis said...

Lorne was a wonderful person and those of us who knew him miss him very much. He changed so much as a result of the ecstacy. I also look for him everywhere and have turned around to get a good look at men walking to see if it is him. My prayers are with the family especially in light of recent events.

8:28 AM  
Blogger FindLorne said...

I want to send out a heartfelt "thank you" to all that have cared so much about Lorne, over the past 5+ years.

Though Lorne has been recovered, I will never forget all of the wonderful people that I have met. Without all of you, the rough road that we all travel down, would be a lot worse.

Thank you and know that you made a difference in my life.

With hugs and prayers,

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Louise, You were so supportive when my brother first went missing,I was soo sad to hear about Lorne.. My thoughts have been with you always since then... There are so many missing...My heart aches for the families.

11:14 PM  

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