Saturday, December 31, 2005

12/31/05 Sundays of Hope for Week of 1/1--1/7/06

For this 1st week of the new year, I would like us all to pray for several things.

-More participants for our Campaign for the Missing 2006 and success for this campaign in each state.

-Reunion miracles for many of our families in 2006.

-Continued strength to go on for families who do not receive that miracle.

-Strength to go on for families who must deal with the pain of finding their missing loved one deceased.

-That all persons/organizations involved be given the tools, resources, and wisdom needed to better assist families of the missing.

-That our partners, Law Enforcement and the media, be guided to give appropriate and equalized aid to missing person's cases.

-Help our lawmakers to be open to our pleas for better systems that aid and protect all citizens.

-May persons who live a violent, harmful, or unstable lifestyle be given the help they need to become productive members of society.

-Guide family members to closer, healthy relationships with each other so that no person would feel a need to leave willingly and with notice.

-Protect the missing and encourage/allow them to make contact with their families.

-For those missing who are deceased and unidentified, may authorities be provided with the the neccesary tools and information to reveal their identity so these families will have their answers.

-Success for those persons who work behind the scenes to make advances in technology and resources that will strenghten the current methods and systems that pertain to the cause.

-For Project Jason and its volunteers, that we may do His Will in all things and be guided in every action and deed.

-That each day brings us closer to the answers we seek. May those of us who live in the not knowing be able to take turn away from our own negative emotions and reach out to others.

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

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

Friday, December 30, 2005

12/30/05 I"ll be Home for Christmas--Conclusion

While our Jason wasn't home for Christmas, I knew somewhere out there that surely some family received a miracle of having their loved one back home for this very special day. It was unlikely it would be a family we knew. After all, we had experienced the early arrival Christmas miracle when Erik Buran was found safe and returned to his loving father.

On the night after Christmas, the phone rang. It was a mother of a missing 17 year-old boy. He had been missing for a couple of months. I had been working with her for several weeks, giving suggestions and resources, and trying my best to instill hope. She called me to tell me that her son had come home two days before Christmas. She was so happy. I was glad for her. She wasn't sure what the future would hold for them, but he was home, and they were communicating. Based upon what I knew of the case, I was surprised he had come back, not because of anything at home, but because of his personality and free-spirited nature. She was one of the fortunate ones. She had her Christmas miracle.

In addition, one of our Sundays of Hope campaigns, baby Jaylan Simmons, was found safe. His father received the joyous news right before Christmas. He traveled out of state to pick him up. He wasn't with him on Christmas Day, but there is no doubt that just knowing his son was safe and that they would be together again soon put him on cloud nine.

You can read more about Jaylan's recovery here:

One family did not receive the Christmas miracle they had hoped for in that their father, Alzheimer's patient James Mintle, would be found safe. Instead, James went "home" for Christmas. He was found on Christmas Day, having died of exposure.

Details are in several news stories on our forum:

I’m sure there were many other Christmas miracles all over the world, and not just ones for families of missing persons. I am grateful for these miracles, and most of all for the miracle that did occur in the homes of all who believe.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

12/28/05 I’ll be Home for Christmas—Part I

We enjoyed Christmas Day, which we spent with the family back in our hometown. I didn’t have any emotional difficulties because of Jason’s absence throughout the course of our visit. He was remembered in our prayers as we prepared to eat our meal.

On the trip back home, a dense fog enveloped the road and made the driving rather stressful. Mile after mile, it clung to the ground, making me weary from the intense focus on the road ahead. My speed decreased as the visibility weakened. Some cars were still going the speed limit, and a few, like me, were going slower.

I kept hoping that the fog would lift. It was hard to believe it covered such a great distance and persisted for that period of time. I was tired of driving in it. The temptation to pull over was great, but I knew that it would be highly unlikely that the fog would lift just because I took a break from it. I had to keep on going, even though my hands ached from gripping the wheel and my eyes felt the strain.

As the miles slipped away, and I came closer to our destination, I began to wonder if I had slowed down for a reason that had nothing to do with the fog. Christmas was almost over. Somewhere, somehow, I knew that a family would receive the Christmas miracle of having a missing loved one come home. I knew that I might not ever know who it was, or what the circumstances would be, but just that it would happen. I also knew that the odds were astronomical that the miracle, this particular miracle, would happen to me and my family.

I was still miles away from home, but I could visualize our front porch, shrouded in darkness and shadows. I could see a person sitting on the porch, waiting. Reality came creeping back in and the person disappeared, leaving the shadows behind. I could then visualize walking in the house, and hearing the phone ring. I would run to the phone, and it would be him. Reality, however, only brought silence.

It occurred to me that the drive home in the fog paralleled my life. Even though I could not see much of the road ahead, I knew it was there. My faith told me it existed. There would be twists and turns and bumps, and no matter what came of it, I would need to keep going. Pulling over and giving up was not an option. It would not be easy, but I could do it. I could continue to live in the not knowing.

As we pulled into the driveway, Bing Crosby sang the last refrain to a well known Christmas song: “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams......”

We entered the dark house and carried in our packages. Nothing had changed since we had left.

“I’ll be Home for Christmas” will continue on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

12/27/05 A Christmas Star

This is a piece I wrote on December 23, 2002, which was 3 years to the day after my father's death, and a year and a half after Jason's disappearance. I took the last couple of days off, but wanted to share this today as my Christmas message to you.

A Christmas Star

The woman looked out the window and her gaze rested upon the twinkling lights of the neighbor’s Christmas tree. She smiled as she recalled a Christmas that seemed like a lifetime ago. She could see herself back then, all those years ago, almost as if she was watching a movie. Her hair now had subtle streaks of gray and her face showed lines that represented the passing of time and life’s tribulations.

She sat back down and allowed the movie to play in her mind’s eye. She saw a young woman with two active boys, preparing for the family’s Christmas holiday. The children were underfoot as she decorated the home and the tree. The boys’ faces glowed with excitement as the tree came to life and was lit for the first time. She wrapped the gifts, taking care that each present would bring joy to the recipient. She worked through the day and long into the night to make sure everything would be ready for the big day. She hadn’t yet taken the time to reflect upon the significance of the day itself. Midnight came and went. The woman grew weary and still had much to do.

She was glad that the children were fast asleep, as she knew that had they been awake and seeking her attentions, she would have a difficult time in meeting their needs. She wished her work was done, so that she could crawl under the warm covers of her bed. Christmas seemed like such a chore with all of the extra obligations that it presented. It seemed more like a day to get through rather than a day to relish. She wished it weren’t that way, but she seemed to be resigned to that fact.

She donned her coat and gloves to go out into the bitter cold to take the wrappings out to the garbage so that the children wouldn’t see the evidence that Santa was very close by year around. She would have much preferred to skip this chore, but it had to be done. The intense cold permeated through each layer of clothing the instant she stepped outdoors. Her step quickened and she kept her head down as she made her way through the back yard.

She then noticed a very bright light that penetrated the cold, still darkness of that night. She had not turned on any outside lights, so she sought out the source of the intense illumination. She saw it just as she walked by the garage and past the trees that blocked her view of the night sky.

There, in the heavens, was a huge star, unequaled in brightness by any other star in the pitch black sky. The woman stopped and stared, no longer feeling the brunt of the cold wind that blew. In fact, she would have described that moment as one in which she felt radiating warmth that defied all the laws of nature. She was transported back in time without going anywhere at all simply by gazing at the star.

She could see the weary travelers as they ventured far and deep into a foreign land to look upon the face of a newborn child. She could see the parents of the infant watching over Him, perhaps not yet fully understanding the significance of the event of His birth to the entire universe, past, present, and future. The face of the child radiated pure love. She saw the greatest love the world has ever known, or will know.

The woman reflected upon the revelation that our God would love us so much that He would come to us as a helpless human child. Her heart warmed at that simple, yet powerful thought. It was hard for her to avert her eyes from the beauty of the star and return to the house. It only had taken just a moment in time, but the vision stirred within her and brought to light the true meaning of the season. Love is the reason, and nothing else matters; not the trimmings, festive decorations, nor the feasts galore, only love.

The older woman sat back in her chair, reflecting on that night so many years distant. The love that radiated forth had not dimmed and the knowledge of the true reason for the season still remained close in her heart. Another Christmas had arrived, bringing with it all the joys of this life and the love of a newborn child, the Saviour, Christ the Lord.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

12/24/05 Sundays of Hope--Christmas Week 2005

I’d been thinking for weeks now who to feature on Sundays of Hope for this special Christmas week. No one person came to mind in a strong fashion. My thoughts were to have a general for all of the missing prayer request. While we can and should do that, an event occurred this week which pointed me to the right choice.

A mother received a phone call about her daughter, who has been missing for over a year now. It was the type of phone call that you want to get and don’t want to get, all at the same time. The mother was told of one of the first real leads on her daughter’s disappearance. The horrifying aspect of it is the fact that there is now a known tie between her daughter and an accused murderer.

This call came only days before Christmas. I can imagine the agonizing waiting for the family as they wait to hear any news as to whether or not his man had more to do with Joanna Rogers than a few shared email communications.

It is for this reason that I selected Joanna as this week’s Sunday of Hope campaign. Her family needs prayers right now perhaps more than at any time since she disappeared.

The family of missing Tara Grinstead said it well: “The holidays should serve to remind us to share our love with one another. As you share these days with your family and friends, please stop and take a moment to count your blessings. Be sure to say "I love you" to each and every person important to you. The touch of another who cares for you is worth more than the most extravagant present. Give your hugs freely. Please take the time to make a call to the ones you love but cannot be with this weekend. The gift of your loving voice will be treasured as much as the most carefully chosen gift. Remind yourself of the reason for this holiday and let it fill your heart with hope and the knowledge that God is with us even in the dark days ~ and perhaps more so on those days.”

You may find more information about the lead on Joanna here:

Previous stories about Joanna include:

Joanna’s physical description:

Case Type: Endangered Missing
DOB: Jun 25, 1987
Sex: Female
Missing Date: May 4, 2004
Race: White
Age Now: 18
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
Weight: 125 lbs (57 kg)
Hair Color: Red
Eye Color: Hazel
Missing City: LUBBOCK
Missing State : TX
Missing Country: United States

Printable poster:

Lubbock County Sheriff's Office (Texas) 1-806-775-1601

Joanna’s mother, Kathy, asked to pass along this message:

“We wish to thank all of those who have offered prayers and support for our family during this time. It has been a great comfort to us. We ask that folks offer special prayers for Sgt. Greg Parrott, Investigator Anthony McAdoo, Special Agent Shannon Fish, and United Response Directors Dana Ames and Sheila Holland, these are the people who have put their hearts and souls into finding Joanna and are now as much a part of our family as my own parents. They too suffer with us."

Please sign Joanna’s guestbook:

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

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

Friday, December 23, 2005

12/23/05 Return of the Cold Case King

Our friend, Gerald Nance, Senior Cold Case Manager at NCMEC, took the time to answer some additional questions I had stemming from the answers he gave to the first set of interview questions. Gerald is one of the most respected and experienced cold case managers in the US.

Please read the original interviews with Gerald, which are very informative for anyone who has a missing loved one, or takes an interest in our cause.

The reference to the previous answer given by Gerald is in italics. My follow-up questions are in blue. My comments are in purple.

"…..we have had success in finding children alive after 25 to 30 years."

Can you tell any stories about this type of success story specifically, even if you have to change names & locations?

One child was taken as an infant. Abduction of infants are usually by people who want to raise a child, yet they cannot bear one. In cases like this, the child, now an adult, has no knowledge of the real family.

There was another case of a girl who, when she was 15, was reported by her dad as being kidnapped by a motorcycle gang. The case was before the Federal Child Search Assistance Act. It was reported to the police and then closed for what reason, no one there today can figure.

Kidnappings by motorcycle gangs are rare. Most often, the girl leaves voluntarily. I had a good feeling she was still out there. It took some digging, she had married twice (name changes) and had reversed her middle and first name, but I found her a couple of states over from where she last was seen by her folks. When I contacted her, it is like many that I find after a period of time, they did not want the family to know of their whereabouts. I tell the parents I work with that this happens but if they give me permission, I can give out the parents address. Everyone, including this girl, says ok, but don't you (me) tell them. But also, in every case I have had, the child calls within a few weeks. Granted these cases are rare, but it does show that no matter how long they have been missing, there is always a chance.

"… foot in the world on the day the child disappeared.."

Any suggestions as to how they step out of that world? Have you seen various ways in which this has occurred? You mention becoming active in the cause, but for a person whose personality has always been passive, is there something they can do to step out?

I wish I knew of a magic technique. I have asked doctors and counselors the same thing and get either blank stares back or some psychobabble crap that I think means this is everyone for themselves. Most of the ones I have seen move forward have used this terrible experience much like you have--starting to educate others, inflame others to the fact this is a real problem. Most people are not that strong a personality to become a leader of a movement or a group, but being passionate about something in your life, I think, helps heal.

I believe that in helping others, I have a healing of sorts. While this wound will never completely heal even if we were to be given the answer to Jason’s fate, I feel like I can move on when I look beyond myself and my sorrows. I know that not everyone is an activist. Some of you may be quiet participants, and perhaps spend time praying for others. There are many ways a person can reach out. It may not necessarily be in the cause. Doing some other type of volunteer work may be more suited to certain individuals. Working within the cause may be too painful for them as it is a constant reminder of their loss. Just as the ways we deal with this vary, so will be the ways that we find to move out of being stuck in the world on the day our loved one disappeared.


How close have the artists come to the real thing when the child is found?

Real close. When there are good reference photographs (photo of mom and dad when they were at the age of what you are aging the child to), the likeness is well over 90%. It is not much lower if you only have one parent as a reference photo, or when you have to go to siblings.

The most difficult one is when the child is under three. Rather than a true age enhancement, the artist will often do a composite, but this requires good reference photos of both mom and dad.

Please take advantage of the FREE benefit of having an age progression done. If your missing loved one is still alive, we need to know who we are looking for. Appearance will change as the person ages. NCMEC will do free age progressions on registered persons through age 20, and Project Edan will do them on missing person age 21 and older. (This is the age at the time of the disappearance.) When preparing to do the age progression, provide photos if possible of the parents of the missing person at about the same age the person is now. If an age progression is done without asking you for these photos, ask for a re-do.

"European countries and other countries around the world do it this way..."

Any brief examples of their laws or what they do that could be translated to a usable format here?

Most other countries, there is no difference between a missing adult or a missing child. Everything is geared to risk factors and a missing person is judged at high risk, moderate risk, low risk. What is important here is any one missing who is judged at high risk, all the forces of the police and the military become mobilized in a search effort, to include satellite information. You can take the worst cases from here and never find one that would match the efforts given in the same or lesser case overseas. We are supposed to be the world leader in everything, but countries out do us in efforts to protect kids, find missing persons, and identify deceased unknowns. As a society, that is what really shows our true priorities, and it is not with missing or unidentified persons.

The model legislation takes a step in the right direction as it uses a risk factor rating system. It will at least begin the process of change in the way how LE responds in missing persons cases. Please be sure to read about our campaign to get this legislation passed in all 50 states:

"My experience is the majority of adults who disappear, disappear as a result of foul play...."

Are there any stats behind this, or is this the calculation based upon your cases? I think that many people are looking for stats, wondering if in their heads they can say "gone 1 year, X % chance of being deceased...gone 2 years, X % chance, etc.

There are no stats I am aware of that can determine a connection between length of time gone vs alive or deceased. Everyone makes a big deal in this country about privacy of the individuals, they could sue us (I hear that a lot). Other countries, anyone can report anyone missing and regardless of the circumstances, a case must be open. My opinion is too many agencies use the "privacy" deal as an excuse to not do anything. In every missing person (adult) that I was involved in, the adult was either a fugitive from justice and therefore missing, or the victim of foul play. I had one case and one case only where the guy disappeared and faked his death to start a new life. Even in that case, since he had faked his death, would someone not want to investigate it? I hear so much from the cops about how busy they are with the new stuff. True, new stuff happens all the time, but that too is a cop out. They do not get credit for cases not solved and nothing is harder to solve than a long term missing or unidentified person.

The model legislation, as mentioned above, mandates that LE open a case on missing adults upon request.

DNA Analysis

My understanding is that the FBI submission takes many months longer than the TX U submission. Is that your understanding, too?

Yes, but even the NTU facilities are being over taxed. Too much work and not enough hands to do it. In the Texas lab, that is all they do. At the FBI, most of the work is criminal work needed for trials and investigations.

Families of the missing: Be sure to read these sections on the original blog posting.

Will the experience with Katrina change the way you do or view any aspects of your job?

Not me personally. I would hope there are some lessons learned here for the Center so things don't end up becoming a life of its own and that the intake criteria would not be the same. Most of the time here for me is spent working on missing vs deceased unknowns, and that is pretty much what I was and still am doing for Katrina. What I do not like is how my other cases suffer, but we have to do what is in front of us, and Katrina was most certainly in front of not only us, but the world. I hope we all do better if there is a next time.

"96% of that group resolves itself in a few days."

So, 96% of the 96% are resolved nearly right away? Would this be within 1-2 weeks?

"This is very difficult if the child has run away in the past. In some states, it is not a crime to be a runaway,"

Do you have a list of states where it is not against the law to be a runaway? If it is not against the law there, then the police don't have to do anything other than the NCIC entry? That seems SO wrong!

I have elected to sort of combine these last two. There are two problems with assessing the risk criteria of children who are runaways. First is if the child has runaway (and returned) in the past. Roughly 96% of runaway kids are resolved quickly, and by that I mean in about a week. The child comes home on their own, parents track them down, police actually account for a lot of them, some are even found hanging around their school, go figure. These two issues allow for police to "play the odds" and in other words, not do too much since most of the time, the kid is found or returns on his or her own, and they are not harmed.

It would almost be better for the effort if this percentage wasn't so high, but it is and that is good. I think there are still about 17 states where it is not a crime to be a runaway. This means all the police can and will do is take a report and enter the child into NCIC and if the parent is lucky and gets a lead on her own, have the police go to the address and pick the child up. In TX for example, the age reason to them is 16. If your 16 year old runs away from MO and is caught in TX, all the police will do is suggest he call home. No pick up unless there is a warrant. It is even worse in Washington State, not only will they not pick them up, but social programs make living "on the street" not really living on the street. Free housing, free meals, eye care, dental care, health clinics and even a massage if his little butt hurts from sitting on the park bench all day.

Interested persons living in TX or WA should ask their elected officials what it would take to reverse these laws.

Police will tell you that trying to track every runaway would take away from the child who is really abducted. Problem with that is, if you allow the police to make the assessment, all of them would be runaways except for the ones who are very young, and those that have witnesses to the abduction.

In law enforcement, there is a pecking order, or food chain if you prefer. In almost every department, the bottom three are missing kids, missing adults, and unidentified remains that were not a result of a homicide. It is so sad, that a social issue that concerns every parent and family in the US hardly is a ripple to the ones who are charged to protect and serve.

It is sad indeed, and this is what we are fighting for: to change current attitudes and procedures that effect lives. Help us make a start on this:

Thank you, Gerald, once again for taking time from your busy schedule to answer these questions, and thank you for all you do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

12/20/05 Campaign for the Missing 2006 Participant List

Updated on 1/9/06

Here is the latest participant list for Campaign for the Missing 2006. We still have many states to fill, plus, I would liike to see more than one person in states other than the smallest ones.

Please read all about this campaign:

State by state participants:

AL: Kathleen Avant: Friend of missing LaQuanta Riley

AR: Lesley Graham, Friend of Project Jason and the missing

AZ: Amy Dattilo, Cousin of missing Molly Dattilo

CA: Carol Caputo, Sister of recovered missing person and friend of Project Jason
CA: Jannel Rap, Founder of, sister of missing Gina Bos
CA: Sabrina Ford, Friend of missing Wallace Richards
CA: Keri Dattilo, Cousin of missing Molly Dattilo
CA: Libba Phillips, Founder of Outpost for Hope

CO: Robert Bristow, Friend of the missing, has found that the model is already in progress there.

CT: Janice Smolinski, Mother of missing Billy Smolinski

FL: Joaquin Burgos, Grandfather of missing Claudia Perez
FL: Patricia Totillo, Team Leader for K-9 Search and Rescue

GA: Pat Pellom, Friend of missing/found deceased Bill Patterson
GA: Tina Howard, Friend of the missing
GA: Alayne Adams, Cousin of missing Leslie Adams

IA: Julie Hansen, Friend of Project Jason and the missing

IL: Linda Griffiths, Mother of missing Ryan Katcher

IN: Patti Bishop, Stepmother of missing Karen Jo Smith
IN: Nina Eaglin-Alcorn, Cousin of missing Molly Dattilo

KS: Linda Black, Friend of the missing

KY: Carrie O' Shea, Friend of Keri Dattilo

MD: The Maryland Missing organization states that the model is in progress there.

ME: Red, Friend of the Missing and Co-Publisher of
ME: Shari Money, Friend of the missing

MI: Todd Bruchnak, Son of missing/found deceased Alex Bruchnak
MI: Krystin Ryder, DOE Network Area Director Team Member
MI: Wendy Mazoway, Doe Network volunteer

MO: Elizabeth Rivera, Mother of missing Elsha Rivera
MO: Tammy Navinskey, Mother of missing Ashley Martinez
MO: Brandy Shipp, Daughter of missing Summer Shipp
MO: Vicki Loux, Mother of missing Mark Hamilton

NC: Monica Caison, Founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons
NC: Kara Roberts, Sister of missing Leah Roberts

NE: Shelly Mlnarik, Mother of recovered missing child, Katlyn
NE: Michele Sells, Daughter of missing Melvin
NE: Melissa Harris, Mother of Amber Harris

NH: Louise Holmburg, Aunt of missing Lorne Boulet, Jr.

NJ: Jim Viola, Husband of missing Patricia Viola

NM: Jack Wilkerson, Father of missing Jennifer Wilkerson

NY: Dawn Popluhar, Friend of missing/murdered Lori Leonard

OH: Deborah, Friend of the missing
OH: Marcia Duning, Friend of the missing, owner of Angels that Care website
OH: Tara, Friend of the family of missing Amanda Berry

OK: Phillip Harris, Father of missing Justin Harris
OK: Linda Miller, Mother of missing Jeffrey Ben

OR: Robert Bristow, Friend of the missing

SC: Donna Parent, Mother of missing Brandy Hanna

SD: Nicole Shiffrar, DOE Network volunteer, friend of the missing

TN: Kathy Holloway, Mother of missing Jennifer and granddaughter Adrianna
TN: Shelley Brown, Founder of Tennessee Alliance for Families of the Missing
TN: Phelicia Morris, Daughter of missing Janie Lindsey
TN: Judy Downes, Grandmother of missing Christopher "Michael" Pierce
TN: Stacy Hunter, Friend of the missing and of Judy Downes

TX: Georgianna Kirk, Mother of Julianna Kirk
TX: Sheila Holland and Dana Ames, Founders of United Response Search and Rescue Team
TX: Rachel Carrasco, Sister of missing Monica Carrasco
TX: Kathy Carrasco, Mother of missing Monica Carrasco

UT: David, Brother of missing Elsha Rivera

VA: Susan Harris, Friend of Project Jason and mother of recovered missing son
VA: Melissa Phelps, Doe Network Area Director, friend of the missing
VA: Jennifer Treadway, Friend of the missing

WA: Michelle Baker, Project Jason volunteer and friend of the missing
WA: Dawna Bennett, Project Jason volunteer and friend of the missing

WI: Lori Resor, Friend of missing Justin Harris

We have 34 states with participants, so we still need your help. Please read the original Campaign for the Missing 2006 link for more information.

Thank you to those who have stepped forward and are willing to do what they have never done before out of love for their fellow man. Anything is possible!

12/20/05 Dealing with the Holidays

This is a piece about dealing with the holidays written for TEAM Hope and republished with permission. You may find it helpful.

Circumstances and situations do color life.
But you have been given the mind to choose what the color shall be.

Helpful thoughts and insights about the grief process and coping with the holidays:

People respond to grief and loss in different ways. Each person's experience of the loss, like each grief experience, will be unique. Everyone has their own way of coping.

Recognize the differences in coping styles and allow people to have their own way of expressing grief, unless the methods become self-destructive. It may be helpful to explain to family and friends how you are choosing to cope.

Be aware that it can be difficult for spouses and families experiencing the same loss to understand how different grief responses can occur. Respect the differences.

Allow yourself to feel and express sadness, anger or loneliness. The holidays do not eliminate the reasons for feeling these emotions and they may overstress your feelings.

For most people it is important to find a balance between honoring past traditions associated with the lost loved one and developing new ones. Some traditions may be too painful to continue. You can begin new traditions in memory of the loved one lost as solution to deciding whether to celebrate past traditions. Alternatively you can start brand new holiday traditions to reflect the change or the passage of time.

It is important to carefully consider any changes in traditions and make conscious decisions about how to handle them. If appropriate make it a family decision. Explain the changes to other family members and friends.

Plan a remembrance or find a special way of honoring the loved one lost:

Share favorite stories or memories about the person who has died.
Serve that person's favorite food or holiday dish.
Offer a toast, or say a prayer at the start of a family meal.
Hang a special ornament.
Listen to their favorite music.
Light a candle.
Hang a stocking for the loved one.
Let people include notes of remembrance.
Look at photos or videos from past holidays.
Plant a tree.
Establish a scholarship.
Dedicate a bench or plaque.
Adopt a needy family or donate to a homeless or animal shelter for the holidays.
Donate the money that would have been spent on a gift to their favorite cause.
Publish an ad in the local paper.
Write letters or a journal to the loved one to express your feelings.
Explore other ways of "Creatively Expressing Grief" Find a new way of celebrating—observe the holidays in a new place.

Volunteer. Helping others can be very healing. There are many worthy organizations that could use your time or the money.

Take time to care for yourself, to be alone with your thoughts, in remembrance or in prayer.

Many find solace in their religious beliefs and/or spiritual connections. Talk with clergy, spiritual counselors. Attend a service. Try to stay in the present and look to the future rather than dwelling on the past. Reflect on what is significant to you and still positive about life.

While it’s normal for the holidays and other special occasions to intensify feelings of sadness and loneliness, it’s important to take special notice of physical and emotional changes. Watch your referrals for persisting or maladaptive grief responses to their loss. To help yourselves, please ask a friend or relative to be mindful and notice if you are exhibiting any persistent or acute responses to our loss.

When to Be Concerned

The Holiday Blues tend to be short-lived lasting a few days to a few weeks around the holiday season. The emotions—sadness, loneliness, depression, anxiety—usually subside after the holidays once a daily routine is resumed. However, if the symptoms of hopelessness and depression last for more than two weeks, persist past the holidays, or intensify during the season, a simple case of the blues may really be a case of clinical depression. Concerning symptoms include:

Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
Sleeping too much or too little, middle-of-the night or early morning waking
Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
Irritability or restlessness
Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
Fatigue or loss of energy
Thoughts of death or suicide
Feeling inappropriate guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness

A person experiencing the blues consistently over several weeks should seek professional help from physicians, mental healthcare providers, clergy, crisis lines, support groups, or mental health centers. Talking with a professional or taking a mental health screening test can help assess whether it's the blues or depression. Those with suicidal thoughts or ideation need to seek immediate care with their physician, crisis line or the nearest hospital emergency department.

Monday, December 19, 2005

12/19/05 Little Boys Lost at Christmastime

There was a little boy sitting a few pews in front of me at Mass on Saturday night. He came in with his guardians after I had already been seated. I noticed him almost right away because he reminded me of Jason at that age. He had slightly unruly hair, and his ears peeked out from under the brown waves. For some reason, he turned around and looked right at me as if he knew me, and then he smiled brightly. I smiled back at him as if we had a secret between us. Now and then during Mass, he would turn around and look right into my eyes and smile.

I wished I could turn back the clock and go back to a Christmas past when a little boy named Jason would have been seated at Mass between me and Jim. I recalled one Christmas Mass we attended. At a point when all was quiet in the very crowded church, Jason passed gas. Of course, everyone was looking at us. I held the missal close to my face and tried hard not to start laughing. Oh, what I would give to relive that moment again just to have him close by.

Seeing the little boy who looked like Jason reminded me of what I have lost. It is especially difficult at this time of year when families are all together celebrating. He’s the only one who is not present in this way.

Recently, I told two friends of mine who both have a terminally ill loved one that my prayer for them was for the loved one to make it past Christmas before they left this life. I did not want them to have a Christmas with a death in the family as I did when my father died unexpectedly two days before Christmas 1999.

On Sunday, we received a phone call from a relative. Death had come into the Jolkowski family with no warning. Our nephew, John Elrod, had died from complications of diabetes. He was only 32 years old. While I took in the words and the meaning, it didn’t sink in for a period of time.

Later in the day, I called to the family home to see how everyone was doing. I spoke with John’s mother, my sister-in-law, Sue. Everyone in the family back in our hometown had gathered to support her. They were looking through old photos, choosing ones to display at his service. Her voice cracked as she spoke. It occurred to me that both of us had two sons, and that both of us had lost the older one, although in different ways.

Sue was in good hands, not just because the family was there, but also because my mother-in-law, who had also lost her eldest son, Mike, to death many years ago, was with her. Of all the people there, she would understand in a way no one else could. I spoke to her on the phone, too, but by that time, I was unable to express myself properly.

After that, it seemed as if the pain was flowing through the phone and right into my heart. I felt the pain of all of our losses, and most especially, the recent one. Now another son would be absent from our Christmas celebration.

Times like this prompt a lesson learned from a favorite childhood Christmas cartoon, The Grinch That Stole Christmas. It didn’t matter that the Grinch had taken everything from the residents of Who-Ville. He took their presents, their food, and their gifts. He left them with nothing, but still they celebrated the meaning of the day with glad hearts.

The story doesn’t tell of loss due to death, but yet if it had, the bells would still ring and it would be Christmas Day. The world would still celebrate the birth of the Saviour.

Our faith tells us that this life is not the one for which we were meant.

I think we’ll hear another bell this year. I like to think that it is John who is ringing it.

This is the only file photo I have of John. He was the ring bearer at our wedding. Jim’s brother Mike, is second from the right.

On Tuesday, I will update the State participant list for the Campaign for the Missing 2006. I will also post a piece about handling grief during the holidays in respect to having a missing loved one. This can also be applied in other grief situations, such as the one faced by our family this year.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

12/17/05 Sundays of Hope and Miracle of the 13th

Lorne Boulet, Jr. is this week's Sundays of Hope campaign missing person. Please pray for Lorne and his family this week. (Lorne was found deceased.)

Lorne's story was originally featured here:

As told in the story, his Aunt Louise continues to work tirelessly to keep Lorne's face in the public eye as a means to find him. As we know, it is very difficult to gain media attention for missing adult males, and it seems to be even more difficult to get attention for the mentally ill missing. Louise has never been able to get media interest from outside their local area.

Louise had a mini miracle the other day. Out of the blue, she received a call from a Boston Globe reporter. He told her he had run across Lorne's story on the Internet and wanted to include him in with a story about a Boston area missing man who also is mentally ill. Louise could hardly contain her excitement about getting Lorne's story in a larger scale print media. (The story could run any day now. When it does, I will post the link here.)

The reporter did an interview with me after speaking with Louise. I was thrilled to hear that she had been interviewed. I was on my lunch break at work and had just completed a local TV station interview when I received word about this. It was December 13th, which marked 4 1/2 years since Jason disappeared.

I did not realize until last night that I did get my Miracle of the 13th this month after all. As Paul Harvey says: "Now you know the rest of the story." I called Louise to talk about the interview and she told me something I didn't know before. The reporter had found Lorne's story on the Internet and then found Louise, but the missing piece of the story is that he had found it right here on Voice for the Missing! I was very happy that Lorne's story will get more attention. I was also happy that things had some full circle in relation to my reason for starting the blog. I had started it out of frustration at lack of media attention for missing adults, and in particular the males. After I said goodbye to Louise, it came to me that this was the Miracle of the 13th.

More about the Miracle of the 13th:

Louise wrote the following letter, asking for our help in another matter. Over a year ago, I wrote to the NH State Police, as did many of our peers, but still nothing has changed. Read Louise's letter for the details:

"I am writing to ask for your help.

On a number of occasions, I have written and called the telephone number to the NH State Police, found on the following website, to express my concern that my nephew, Lorne Boulet, and others missing here in NH are not listed on the State Police missing persons page of their website. I contacted the Governor last year, which lead to a phone conversation between myself and a member of the State Police. I was told that this would be looked into and that there did not seem to be any reason why Lorne shouldn't be added.

As I stated, that was a year ago and nothing has been done.

Here is the link to the site...

Upon visiting this site, you will notice that there are only 3 cases listed. I am very thankful for that, however, there are 19 cases that I have found. Those numbers are Unexceptable.
I have created as a place to feature those that are missing from New Hampshire. It isn't much, but something to send around.

Would you please forward the site that I have created to remember those missing here in NH?
Would you also consider writing to the address on the NH State Police site listed above? Maybe ask that they add the missing or at least the blogspot link.

All of the Missing deserve the same consideration ~ To be REMEMBERED!

Many thanks for your help in this matter!

Happy Holidays!

Keeping the Faith,
Aunt of Missing NH Man, Lorne Boulet"

Please consider sending a letter to the NHSP, asking that all of the missing be added and the site be kept updated.

Here is Lorne's physical data:

Name: Lorne Richard Boulet Jr.
Classification: Endangered Missing Adult
Alias / Nickname: LB
Date of Birth: 1980-03-27
Date Missing: 2001-07-29
From City/State: Chichester, NH
Missing From (Country): USA
Age at Time of Disappearance: 21
Gender: Male
Race: White
Height: 70 inches
Weight: 220 pounds
Hair Color: Sandy
Eye Color: Blue
Complexion: Medium

Identifying Characteristics: Scar over each eyebrow, scar on middle of forehead, missing upper left front tooth, partial tribal band tattoo with a "cross" in the center on right bicep, pierced left ear.

Clothing: White long sleeved fleece pullover, black fleece pants, black sandals.

Circumstances of Disappearance: Unknown. Lorne was last seen between 5:30pm and 6:30pm at his residence near the 40 block of Perry Brook Rd. in Chichester, NH. He left the residence to go for a walk but never returned. Lorne has a medical condition.

Investigative Agency:
Chichester Police Department
Phone: (603) 798-4911
Investigative Case #: 21-26-80

A printable poster of Lorne can be found here:

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

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

Thursday, December 15, 2005

12/15/05 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.I

f you would like an automated email sent to you that contains instructions, links, and a prototype letter to send to media, write to

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:

f 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
Read our Voice for the Missing Blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

12/14/05 New to This Blog?

Note to my regular readers: I am posting my monthlies today and tomorrow while I continue to work on the Campaign for the Missing 2006. I will update the Campaign post with the states we have found helpers in as they sign up. Remember, even if someone else is signed up for your state, the more sponsorship we get for the proposed bill, the greater the odds of passage.

Tonight is our Project Jason board members Christmas dinner. Please remember in your prayers the people who work hard behind the scenes to make this all possible.

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 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:

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

12/13/05 Campaign for the Missing 2006

Campaign for the Missing 2006

It has a name now: Campaign for the Missing 2006.

When I first began my recent series about UID’s and the lost missing, I hadn’t planned on making this a formal campaign. I was merely going to remind people of the existence of the state model legislation again. Somewhere along the way as I was writing this, the idea picked up steam, and then solidified in my mind. It became more than just another gentle reminder as I had done before. Even though I already knew the stories I was presenting, something new sprang forth in putting them in writing.

Today, I present Campaign for the Missing 2006 to you. It really is no coincidence that a quick look at today’s calendar shows the number 13. That is the stark reality of loss staring me in the face. This day marks four and one half years since Jason disappeared. It is proper in every way that I launch this campaign now. He would want this, I am sure.

What is Campaign for the Missing 2006?

Campaign for the Missing 2006 is a grassroots effort to pass legislation in each state that will serve to improve the law enforcement community's ability to locate and ensure a safe return of missing persons. It will address the national problems of missing persons and the identification of human remains and provide the framework for improving law enforcement's response. It will also improve the collection of critical information about missing persons, prioritize high-risk missing persons cases, and ensure prompt dissemination of critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public that can improve the likelihood of a safe return.

The Department of Justice, working with Federal, State, and local law enforcement; coroners and medical examiners; victim advocates; forensic scientists; key policymakers; and family members who have lived through this tragic experience, developed the model to be presented in each state’s legislature.

What do I need to do?

The campaign seeks persons in each state who are willing to write to their own district’s elected official to ask for sponsorship. This is more than a letter writing campaign. Please read all of the information presented before making your committment.

These are the basic steps involved:

1) If you are interested in helping make a difference in the lives of thousands of missing persons and their families, send an email to Give us your name and the state in which you live.
2) Look up the name and contact information for your state senator. This is the official who works with state law rather than federal. You may look up your representative here
3) Send either via email or US mail the prepared letter you will find at the end of this posting to that representative. You are asking them to sponsor this bill and to present it to the senate.
4) If you get a negative response, write to other senators until sponsorship is obtained. (My hope is that there will be more than one person in each state working on this, so that no one person is working on it.)

The following is a simplified version of how the process flows in Nebraska. This may vary slightly state to state. The senator’s aides in your state will be very willing to explain the process to you.

When a senator agrees to sponsor the bill, they will need to have their legislative aides research to ensure that nothing in the model will supersede current state law. If there are sections of the model already in place, those sections can be removed. A determination of fiscal (financial) impact may be prepared by the aides or other state employees.

When we find multiple senators to sponsor the bill in a single state, we can inform them who the original sponsor is, so that their offices can work together to research before the model goes to the writers. Any changes made are then presented to the campaign helpers in each state for approval. We will also help with this.

The model and additions/corrections/deletions is forwarded to the state’s bill writers. Each state has certain language/formats that bills are written in. After the bill is written, another check should take place to ensure there are no errors.

The bill is now scheduled to be introduced to the legislature. It is assigned a number. After presentation, the bill is forwarded to a committee. After that point, a public hearing is scheduled.

At the hearing, interested citizens are invited to testify before the committee members. In NE, you can speak for up to 5 minutes. There may be persons or groups present who are testifying against the bill. The committee can opt to ask the citizens who testify questions about the bill. If you volunteer to assist with the campaign, you are not required to testify. We will be able to assist in locating families of the missing and representatives of organizations who are willing to do this.

After the hearing, the committee can “kill” the bill, take no action, or pass it out of committee to be debated upon by all of the senators at a later date.

Once passed out of the committee, the bill is debated twice, and if passed, will go to the governor. He/She can either sign it or veto it.

Assuming success, you now have a law! (The law does not take effect upon signing.)

There are two additions I wish to see in this bill. I will be working on the exact wording while those who are helping are securing a sponsor. The slightly altered bill should be forwarded to the sponsor at that time to submit for research. I will have this available in PDF file format.

The additions I wish to add include:

The law enforcement agency, 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.

I cannot begin to tell you how often this does not occur, leaving families not knowing where to turn to receive much needed assistance. Utilizing LE is only one piece of the puzzle. Families need the resources, support, and awareness these agencies provide.

In respect to missing persons who are deceased and then identified:

Agencies handling the remains of a missing person who is now deceased must notify the LE agency handling the missing person’s case. Documented efforts must be made to locate family members of the deceased person to inform them of the death and location of the remains of their family member.

This is a sample letter you may use to send to your state senator to ask for sponsorship of the model legislation:

Dear Senator _________,

It has come to my attention that there is a very real and growing problem here in the state of ____________.

Each year, families in __________ struggle with the agony of having to report a missing loved one. Far too often missing persons investigations grow cold, leaving many to cope with this loss. Historically, the law enforcement community's ability to locate and ensure a safe return of those missing has been hampered by an inability to share resources and information when conducting investigations and identifying remains.

In collaboration with experts representing State and local law enforcement, policymakers, forensic scientists, medical examiners and coroners, and crime victims, the U.S. Department of Justice has developed model State legislation. This model legislation seeks to address the national problems of missing persons and the identification of human remains. For cases involving missing persons, law enforcement's ability to locate and ensure a safe return must be improved. Law enforcement must be granted additional tools to identify high-risk missing persons cases and promptly disseminate critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public. This model legislation provides framework for improving law enforcement's response.

It suggests ways States can improve the collection of critical information about missing persons, prioritize high-risk missing persons cases, and ensure prompt dissemination of critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public that can improve the likelihood of a safe return. At the same time, this model legislation suggests an approach for collecting information during the missing persons reporting process that can later be used to help identify human remains.

The model legislation will also ensure that information that could help identify human remains is promptly collected and reported to national databases. Specifically, the model legislation suggests a mechanism for improving death scene investigations, centralizing within the State the reporting of unidentified remains, ensuring the delivery of human remains to an entity that can conduct an appropriate examination, ensuring the timely reporting of identifying information to national databases, and maximizing available resources that can reduce the cost of identifications.

There are an estimated 40,000-50,000 unidentified deceased persons in the US. Many of these persons may be reported missing, but without the model legislation in place as law, this number will continue to grow. This leaves families of the missing without answers, sometimes for years, and unfortunately, sometimes forever.

With more than 100,000+ missing persons cases open in the US, it is clear that we must place more importance upon actions taken that will decrease this number. We are, after all, not talking about numbers, but about human beings. These missing persons are loved and missed by their families. We need to take swift and firm action to put into place laws which will give these families hope and increase the number who come back home.

As my state representative, I ask you to strongly consider sponsoring this bill in the next legislative session. Thank you.



Link to text of model legislation:

So, the question now remains: Are you willing to take action to help the families you read about on this blog and the countless thousands of other families who live in the “not knowing”? What if it was your son, daughter, mother, father, brother, or sister?

What if you were me and you did not know if your own son was a body lying in a morgue somewhere? What if you were me and you wondered if you would ever see your child again?

I am but one voice for the missing, crying out not just for myself and my son, but for all of those who are not among us, and are close to our hearts.

While it may seem an insurmountable task to get the model legislation passed in all 50 states, that doesn’t matter to me. If we do not try, then we will never succeed. If we do try, then we have a chance.

There is always hope.

For new readers who did not follow the series that inspired this campaign, these are the direct links to those stories.

Stories which explain and review the model legislation:

The story of a mother and a missing daughter and the mother's efforts to change national law:

A Love Story is the tale of one woman's fight to find the man she loves and the system which hid him from her:

Todd's story is a sad example of the attitude towards the dead based upon their lifestyle:

Seeking the Missing Among the Dead is the introduction to the series:

Monday, December 12, 2005

12/12/05 Taking Action--Conclusion

Today’s post concludes discussion of the DOJ’s state model legislation. It does not conclude the series. On Tuesday, I will be making a formal request of you and laying the groundwork on how to proceed for persons who are going to help propel this forward.

Since my last post, we now have interested persons in the following states: TN, FL, CA, MI, and WA.

The model legislation is located on this page:

Today, I ran across a news article online which spoke of the model. Please read it and return.
It is the last post on the thread about missing person Tony Allen:

Let’s continue review of the model:



(A) DEFINITION. A high-risk missing person(s) is an individual whose whereabouts are not currently known and the circumstances indicate that the individual may be at risk of injury or death. The circumstances that indicate that an individual is a “high-risk missing person(s)” include any of the following, but are not limited to:

(1) The person(s) is missing as a result of a stranger abduction;
(2) The person(s) is missing under suspicious circumstances;
(3) The person(s) is missing under unknown circumstances;
(4) The person(s) is missing under known dangerous circumstances;
(5) The person(s) is missing more than thirty (30) days;
(6) The person(s) has already been designated as a “high-risk missing person(s)” by another law enforcement agency;
(7) There is evidence that the person(s) is at risk because:

(A) The person(s) missing is in need of medical attention, or prescription medication;
(B) The person(s) missing does not have a pattern of running away or disappearing;
(C) The person(s) missing may have been abducted by non-custodial parent;
(D) The person(s) missing is mentally impaired;
(E) The person(s) missing is a person under the age of twenty-one;
(F) The person(s) missing has been the subject of past threats or acts of violence.

(8) Any other factor that may, in the judgment of the law enforcement official, determine that the missing person may be at risk.

Regular blog readers will probably think of cases stories they have read in which if the new criteria had been applied, there could have been a change in the outcome. Swift action is needed in these cases. Waiting days, weeks, and sometimes never getting aid, means more cold cases, more families with no answers, and potentially, more criminals running free.


(1) Upon initial receipt of a missing person(s) report, the law enforcement agency shall immediately determine whether there is a basis to determine that the person(s) missing is a high-risk missing person(s);
(2) If a law enforcement agency has previously determined that a missing person(s) is not a high-risk missing person(s), but obtains new information, it shall immediately determine whether the information provided to the law enforcement agency indicates that the person(s) missing is a high-risk missing person(s);
(3) Risk assessments identified in this subsection shall be performed no later than ___ hours after the initial missing person(s) report or the new information was provided to the law enforcement agency.
(4) Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to establish written protocols for the handling of missing person(s) cases to accomplish the purpose of this act.


(1) When the law enforcement agency determines that the missing person(s) is a high-risk missing person(s) it shall notify [specify here the central state agency responsible for handling missing person(s) cases and notifying law enforcement agencies of missing person(s)]. It shall immediately provide to the [specify here the central state agency] the information most likely to aid in the location and safe return of the high-risk missing person(s). It shall provide as soon as practicable all other information obtained relating to the missing person(s) case;
(2) The [specify here the central state agency] shall promptly immediately notify all law enforcement agencies within the State and surrounding region of the information that will aid in the prompt location and safe return of the high-risk missing person(s);
(3) The local law enforcement agencies who receive the notification from the State agency specified in subsection
(2) shall notify officers to “be on the look out” for the missing person(s) or a suspected abductor;

One must wonder how many cases this could effect. I can think of several persons this could have effected which should have been classified as high risk, thus provoking immediate notification.

(4) The responding local law enforcement agency shall immediately enter all collected information relating to the missing person(s) case in available State and Federal databases. If the responding local law enforcement agency does not have the capability to enter this data directly in the State and Federal databases, the [specify the central state agency] shall immediately enter all collected information relating to the missing person(s) case in available State and Federal databases. The information shall be provided to in accordance with applicable guidelines relating to the databases. The information shall be entered as follows:

(A) A missing person(s) report in high-risk missing person(s) cases (and relevant information provided in the report) shall be entered in the National Crime Information Center database immediately, by no more than 2 hours of the determination that the missing person is a high-risk missing person; All other missing person(s) reports (and relevant information provided in the report) shall be entered within one day after the missing person(s) report is received. Supplemental information is high-risk missing person(s) cases should be entered as soon as practicable;
(B) All DNA profiles shall be uploaded into the missing persons databases of the State DNA Index System (SDIS) and National DNA Index System (NDIS) after completion of the DNA analysis and other procedures required for database entry;
(C) Information relevant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program shall be entered as soon as possible.

(5) The [specify the central state agency] shall ensure that person(s) entering data relating to medical or dental records in State or Federal databases are specifically trained to understand and correctly enter the information sought by these databases. The [specify the central agency] is strongly encouraged to either use person(s) with specific expertise in
medical or dental records for this purpose or consult with the [specify here a chief medical examiner, forensic anthropologist, or an odontologist] to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information entered into the State and Federal databases;

It may sound like a mundane chore, but the entering of data into these federal systems in a concise manner is very important. When data is not entered properly, matches that could have occurred do not occur. More families then continue to live in the “not knowing” when there was an answer for them.

(6) Pursuant to any applicable State criteria, local law enforcement agencies should also provide for the prompt use of an Amber Alert or public dissemination of photographs in appropriate high risk cases;

Anyone heard of Erik Buran?

The next section covers UID issues:



(This section states that the central state agency will ensure that local LE have been provided training and/or information in regards to proper death scene handling.)


(A) After performing any death scene investigation deemed appropriate under the circumstances, the official with custody of the human remains shall ensure that the human remains are delivered to [specify here appropriate coroner or medical examiner];
(B) Any person with custody of human remains that are not identified within 24 hours of discovery shall promptly notify the [specify central state agency] of the location of those remains;
(C) If the person with custody of remains cannot determine whether or not the remains found are human, it shall notify the [specify central state agency] of the existence of possible human remains.

This was one of the “fall between the cracks” items discussed in Philadelphia in April. It is rarely required to report these findings to a governing state agency. There were horror stories told about boxes of bones in the back room and even a human skull on a desk!


(1) If the official with custody of the human remains is not a medical
examiner, the official shall promptly transfer the unidentified remains to
the [specify the medical examiner agency qualified to examine human
remains for the purpose of identification] with responsibility for seeking to
determine the identity of the human remains;
(2) Not withstanding any other action deemed appropriate for the handling of
the human remains, the medical examiner shall make reasonable attempts
to promptly identify human remains. These actions may include but not
are limited to obtaining:

(A) Photographs of the human remains (prior to an autopsy);
(B) Dental or skeletal X-rays;
(C) Photographs of items found with the human remains;
(D) Fingerprints from the remains (if possible);
(E) Sample[s] of tissue suitable for DNA typing (if possible);
(F) Sample[s] of whole bone and/or hair suitable for DNA typing;
(G) Any other information that may support identification efforts.

(3) No medical examiner or any other person shall, dispose of, or engage in
actions that will materially affect the unidentified human remains before
the medical examiner obtains—

(A) Samples suitable for DNA identification, archiving;
(B) Photographs of the unidentified person/human remains; and
(C) All other appropriate steps for identification have been exhausted;

(4) Cremation of unidentified human remains is prohibited.

Todd would have been able to bring Alex home if the model had been in place. Remember the pauper’s graves and also the 200 urns buried in the common grave from Todd and Pat’s stories? How many more UID’s are in these two locations alone?

(5) The medical examiner, coroner, or the [agency designated by the central
state law enforcement agency] shall make reasonable efforts to obtain
prompt DNA analysis of biological samples, if the human remains have
not been identified by other means within 30 days.
(6) The medical examiner, coroner, or the [agency designated by the central
state law enforcement agency] shall seek support from appropriate State
and Federal agencies for human remains identification efforts. Such
support may include, but is not be limited to, available mitochondrial or
nuclear DNA testing, federal grants for DNA testing, or Federal grants for
crime laboratory or medical examiner office improvement;
(7) The [medical examiner or other agency designated by central state law
enforcement agency] shall promptly enter information in Federal and State
databases that can aid in the identification of missing person(s).

If I could wave a very powerful magic wand and have all UID’s DNA in the database, plus the DNA of all missing persons or their family members, I wonder how many would then be resolved. How many families would then have their answer? I emphasize that this is no overnight solution, but the longer we delay in taking action to have the magic wand waved, the longer it will be for the answers and the more prolonged the suffering of these families.

Information shall be entered into Federal databases as follows:

(A) Information for the National Crime Information Center within [X]
(B) DNA profiles and information shall be entered into the National
DNA Index System (NDIS) within five business days after the
completion of the DNA analysis and procedures necessary for the
entry of the DNA profile; and
(C) Information sought by the Violent Criminal Apprehension
Program database as soon as practicable.

(8) If medical examiner office personnel do not input the data directly into the
Federal databases, the [specify the central state agency] shall consult with
the medical examiners office to ensure appropriate training of the data
entry personnel and the establishment of a quality assurance protocol for
ensuring the ongoing quality of data entered in the Federal and State
(9) Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted to preclude any medical examiner
office, the [central state law enforcement agency], or a local law
enforcement agency from pursuing other efforts to identify unidentified
human remains including efforts to publicize information, descriptions or
photographs that may aid in the identification of the unidentified remains,
allow family members to identify missing person(s), and seek to protect
the dignity of the missing person(s).

I wonder what would happen if an agency did a press release on all UID’s as appropriate, how many more might be identified. We know there are many more UID’s than the ones we hear about.

This is a summary of the model as presented by the DOJ.

Each year families in the United States struggle with the agony of having to report a missing loved one. Far too often, missing persons investigations grow cold leaving many to cope with the loss of a loved one without closure. Historically, law enforcement community’s ability to locate and ensure a safe return of those missing has been hampered by an inability to share resources and information when conducting investigations and identifying remains. This model state legislation seeks to address this significant national problem as it relates to reporting persons as missing and the identification of human remains.

For cases involving missing persons, law enforcement’s ability to locate and ensure a safe return must be improved. This can occur if law enforcement is granted additional tools to identify high-risk missing persons cases and can promptly disseminate critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public. This model legislation provides a framework for improving law enforcement’s response in this regard.

Sec XXX.1. Missing Person(s) Reports. This section provides a proposed statutory scheme that ensures that missing persons reports are promptly taken by law enforcement. National experts on the issues of missing persons and identification have reported that some law enforcement policies are inadvertently impeding the collection of missing persons information.

Subsections XXX.1(1)–(2) ensure that any family member or interested person will have multiple options available to make a missing persons report. For jurisdictions covering large geographic areas, the legislation may need to require law enforcement agencies to accept missing persons reports by phone.

Subsection XXX.1(3) encourages the collection of specific information that is most likely to aid in the location, swift return, or identification of the missing person. At the same time, this section provides a scheme that allows immediate collection of information likely to be available to the reporting person.

Subsection XXX.1(4) provides for notification to persons making law enforcement reports, family members and loved ones about law enforcement efforts for missing person cases generally and, to the extent appropriate, provides information relating to their specific missing person.

Subsections XXX.1(4)(B)–(C) ensure the collection within 30 days of additional information or samples that can aid in the identification of human remains.

Section XXX.2. Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting of Missing Persons(s) Information. After the collection of critical information, law enforcement agencies need to be able to analyze it promptly to determine whether the missing person is at risk of immediate harm. This section establishes a mechanism for determining high-risk missing persons cases and disseminating critical information to other law enforcement agencies and the public that can help locate the missing person. The dissemination strategy for high-risk cases maximizes the use of national databases, ensures prompt dissemination of information to patrolling officers, and encourages the use of Amber Alerts (proven to be highly effective in promptly locating abducted juveniles).

Specifically, subsections XXX.2(1)(A)–(B) provide a mechanism for promptly making an assessment whether the missing person is a “high-risk missing person.”

Subsection XXX.2(C) provides for the centralized and prompt reporting of a high-risk missing person, the notification of appropriate local law enforcement agencies of the high-risk missing person, and encourages patrolling officers to seek to locate the high-risk missing person and abductor. If the central state agency official in subsection XXX.2(C)(2) is not staffed 24 hours a day, the statute should specify how this notification will be accomplished.

Subsection XXX.2(C)(4) ensures prompt reporting of essential information to national and State databases.

Subsection XXX.2(C)(6) encourages the use of specially trained person who can enter information in the national databases (as national experts have reported that data entry of this forensic and medical information requires specialized training).

Subsection XXX.2(C)(6) also encourages the use of Amber Alerts to locate promptly high-risk missing juveniles.

Section XXX.3. Reporting of Unidentified Persons/Human Remains.
Section XXX.3 and Section XXX.4 together provide a step-by-step approach for improving the collection, analysis and dissemination of information that will aid in the identification of human remains.

Subsection XXX.3(1) seeks to improve death scene investigations through increased dissemination of best practice information, publications and notification of training opportunities.

Subsection XXX.3(2) seeks to ensure that remains are delivered to appropriate agencies and that there is centralized reporting for the state of the existence of unidentified human remains.

Section XXX.4 Unidentified Persons/Human Remains Identification Responsibilities.
Subsection XXX.4(1) seeks to ensure that unidentified remains are transferred to a medical examiners office, as that office would be most likely to possess the expertise necessary for an identification.

Subsection XXX.4(2) ensures reasonable means are pursued by the medical examiner to make an identification.

Section XXX.4.(3) ensures that the remains of unidentified persons are protected from cremation or other actions until the medical examiner conducts an examination and collects of samples to assist in the identification investigation.

Section XXX.4(4) encourages that State agencies to seek available support from appropriate Federal agencies for the identification effort. (Currently, such support is available through the National Institute of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Additional information relating to available resources can be found at

Section XXX.4(5) and (6) ensures that information critical to identification efforts is entered into existing Federal databases.

Section XXX.4(7) makes clear that other identification efforts should be examined and pursued, if appropriate. For more information on this and other issues, please visit

On Tuesday, I am going to request that you do something you may have never done before in your entire life. I can promise you that doing this will not hurt you. I can also promise that in doing this, you may stop the hurting for someone else.

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