We reflect back upon our efforts so far on behalf of Maryland's Missing and Unidentified and their families. It seems like it has taken forever to get to this point and then again when we got rolling everything seemed to move so quickly. We have touched many lives with our efforts. We have helped open the eyes and hearts of not only the general population in Maryland but other states as well. We started out with volunteers who have been committed to making a difference, and it shows in our efforts.
Our Collection Of Family Reference Samples / Press Conference in Annapolis, brought together family members, law enforcement, and media to announce that we could end the term cold case in reference to missing persons and unidentified decadents by getting all family reference samples into CODIS. The media was recognized as the most powerful resource to bring the message to all of law enforcement and families across the state. Family reference samples were collected by law enforcement for media's understanding and documenting of how quick, easy, and inexpensive it was to collect from the families. With Mr. George Adams, Missing Persons Program Coordinator- University of North Texas, Center for Human Identification, help we have gained support from the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention. They are working to improve DNA collection on Maryland's Missing and Unidentified as well as being committed to working other angles to allocate resources and/or accountability within agencies to tackle issues that addresses Maryland Missing and Unidentified and their families. We not only educated many within Maryland about the problems but also were contacted by several other groups that wanted to use our model strategy for such an successful event in their states. Our efforts have had a national impact on America's Missing and Unidentified. As Mr. Adams stated, "It is all about building relationships and trust". We need to embrace and appreciate the efforts that all non profits/ groups, law enforcement agencies and government our making on behalf of our missing and unidentified loved ones. We have spoken before groups and organizations to gain support for our efforts and have been rewarded for doing so.
We have been accepted as part of Congressional District Programs, a 501 C3, 509 public charity and share it's federal tax status. We will continue to look for support from fund raising from the public or grants from foundations, government agencies or other third party organizations. We are looking for someone to help with grant writing so if you are interested please contact Cathy, Susan or I. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The Maryland Task Force for the Missing and Unidentified, Adults and Children joined GINA for Missing Persons,"the internationally acclaimed concert series" to raise awareness for those who go missing every year. Singer-songwriter, Gina Bos disappeared on October 17, 2000 after performing at a pub in Nebraska. Gina's story has no scandal or suspects, no hook needed to get national attention. She just vanished. In 2001, Gina's sister, singer-songwriter Jannel Rap organized GINA, bringing together recording artists from all over the country in an effort to raise awareness of all the people who go missing every year. GINA's mission is to bring together media agencies and artists that create an avenue of hope and awareness that can guide people whose family members become missing. GINA's goal is to uncover "missing pieces to find the missing." By opening their hearts and doors, major recording artists and sponsors are promoting an ongoing effort of raising awareness of the missing while being a bridge to all forms of media. Each year, GINA For Missing Persons produces, "The Squeaky Wheel Tour" - a world-wide event consisting of talented musicians performing shows and profiling missing persons in their area. Jannel and her band Clementine actually got together because of the Squeaky Wheel Tour. Clementine headlined 19 shows during the Squeaky Wheel Tour 2007, Oct 17-Nov 4, 2007. This worldwide tour featured several hundred missing people profiled by 100's of artists performing in over 300 events throughout the 50 states and twelve countries. The focus of the event was to gain attention for 100's of missing people in an effort to bring at least ONE home. So far because of the efforts of Gina over 140 people have been found.
The Maryland Task Force planned two events, and featured the following Maryland Missing and Unidentified cases and their families at these events:
Tracie Lynn Mosley
Donald Lee Izzett Jr.
Robert John Bornos
Heather Jean Johnson
Dr. Waldir M. Pedersoli
Katherine O'Neil Anderson
Venu Shobana Dhanaraj
Bernadette Stevenson Caruso
Leann Faulk .
Billy Jean Hall
Jane Doe, Unidentified Deceased Sept. 12, 1976
John Doe, Glen Burnie, Md
Moose Lodge # 1456 hosted the event in Glen Burnie and held a fundraiser for us, it was finally the beginning of some funding for our group! It was a great turn out and the support from all who attended was wonderful. We thank the officers and officials from the Maryland State Police who came on their day off to join us! Thank you for coming and letting us know how important our missing loved ones are to you! A special thank you to Teresa and Cathy for all of their hard work and time. The families and guest speakers that gathered to speak about their loved ones were truly moving to us all. Again a huge thank you to all the hard working members of the Moose Lodge # 1456!
The band "CLEMENTINE" appeared in Maryland at the Squeaky Wheel Tour Event at Hunters Oak Golf Club, Queenstown, Maryland. This Maryland event was filmed as part of a television reality show, showing the efforts made on behalf of the missing during the bands tour. The River Plantation and Hunters Oak Golf Course hosted this event as well as donating the lovely accommodations for the band. The emotions were high at the concert even if the turn out was less than we expected. The families that gathered were moved as Jannel shared her sister Gina's story with us and each family told the story of their missing loved one. It was an experience that all of us will remember. What a wonderful loving group was on that bus! They have a definite place in our hearts forever!
While members of our group went to Washington DC the next day with some band members to speak to members of Congress, Hunters Oak provided the rest of the band lunch and entertainment. They went above and beyond showing them our Maryland hospitality! Thank You Hunters Oak and The River Plantation!
Where do I begin to tell you what it was like for those of us who were involved with the Squeaky Wheel Events, from the countless hours everyone spent putting everything together, printing, collecting, selling tickets etc. to the overwhelming emotion of meeting the band and crew the first time as they pulled up in that incredible bus. Whew, what a feeling that was!
On a sadder note, Susan attended a exhumation of a Jane Doe from 1950 as a Task Force Member, a victims advocate for the Doe and as a family advocate for the family who thinks this might be their loved one. This was very difficult for her and we applaud her efforts on behalf of this family. Hopefully, a family some where will have answers after the DNA is done. Task Force members gathered to say goodbye to Jill Conklin, 23, who disappeared December 12, 2006 from Baltimore, Maryland. She was found deceased on March 26th, 2007. Jill's mother, Gina joined us when we went out to speak about our missing loved ones. Our prayers go out to Gina.
When we had our first meeting a couple came to join us, (they were friends of one of our members) who could have imagined that a year later they would have a family member come up missing! They credit finding their missing sister to the Task Force, but it was Cathy, holding their hands and guiding them that did it. Cathy knew the ropes and told them what they needed to do quickly.An Amber Alert was issued and John's sister was found safe!
This is what we are here for, helping and reaching out to those missing a loved one, either old case or new is what it is all about. We have come so very far in such a short time with a small but wonderfully dedicated group of volunteers! There have been big steps and little steps, happy and sad steps along the way. Everyone brings their own experiences and strengths to our group, each and every one of our contributions is important! We will continue with our mission and goals while dealing with our own hectic lives.