Archive | resources

America’s Most Wanted: My Story

WASHINGTON – When an adult goes missing, the case often doesn’t get the same level of attention focused on missing children.

Now, “America’s Most Wanted” is starting something new to give families of those missing adults, help in their search.


America’s Most Wanted

America’s Most Wanted | My Story

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)

About MyStory:
AMW gets hundreds of letters each month from viewers who are seeking justice. Often, AMW is their last hope and the letter they send us might be the most important they have ever written. Like each writer, every My Story is different. Yet they all share a common bond — the search for justice.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

New missing persons database NamUs starts solving cases

Good article highlighting the benefits of NamUs.  If you have a missing loved one, I highly suggest you create a profile for them on NamUs.


NamUs Website

Karen, a homemaker and mother of two from Indiana, has long had trouble falling asleep. About five years ago, to help herself wind down, she started going through missing persons sites on the Web, trying to match a person who had vanished with a John or Jane Doe whose remains had been found but whose name still remained a mystery.

When she started her informal cure for insomnia, Karen had to switch back and forth between an array of various sites – those that had information on missing persons, and those that had information on unidentified remains.

As of this year, Karen didn’t have to switch back and forth anymore. The National Forensic Science Technology Center, which is located in Largo, launched the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs. It contains two databases – one for unidentified remains and one for missing persons – and search engines the general public can use to find a match.

Last month, Karen got a hit on the system, according to officials with the technology center.

In the unidentified remains database, she spotted a sketch of a facial reconstruction performed after a woman’s skeletal remains turned up some five years ago, outside Albuquerque, N.M.

Then she started going through the missing persons database and matched the sketch with the photograph of Sonia Lente, a 44-year-old Native American, who was last seen in the company of a man two years earlier, leaving a bar within city limits.

NamUs, which costs a little more than $4 million and is funded by the National Institute of Justice, solves a few problems, said Kevin Lothridge, chief executive officer for the technology center.

Perhaps most importantly, it centralizes into a single national database information that typically has been scattered among different states and jurisdictions. That allowed a cyber sleuth like Karen to make a match in a missing persons case on the other side of the country.

It is also what Lothridge calls “public addressable,” which means members of the public can access the database and conduct searches, much in the same way they do on Google or Craigslist. Historically, only law enforcement agencies had access to crime-solving databases, and with some databases that is still the case, such as those containing fingerprints and DNA.

Anyone who wants to create a profile of a loved one on NamUs can do so, and the information entered can be anything that identifies someone – a family photograph, a picture of a tattoo, the serial number on a breast implant, dental records, prosthetic devices, jewelry or clothing. The better the information, the stronger the strength of the missing person’s profile, he said.

For example, Jennifer Kesse – who was abducted in Orlando in 2006 and hasn’t been seen since — has an exceptionally strong missing person’s profile, with a score of 5, the highest attainable.

On it her father has noted her eye color can change from green to blue, depending on the kind of contact lenses she is wearing, and that she has a tattoo of a four-leaf clover on her left hip at the panty line. Her profile also has her dental records and notes her DNA is available.

A missing person’s profile is not automatically posted; rather, it is flagged. Then one of the program’s seven regional administrators the country can check with the law enforcement agency handling the missing person’s case to make sure the profile is legitimate, Lothridge said. Once that step is taken, the profile goes online.

Once it is online, a family member – or a cyber sleuth like Karen – can start conducting searches on the site. If, for instance, a mother knows her daughter had a tattoo of a clover leaf on the small of her back, she can conduct a query to see if anyone has turned up who had the same type of tattoo.

“No one wants to find them more than a family member,” said Billy Young, the NamUs coordinator.

If the family member or cyber sleuth thinks he or she has a match, she can then call the regional administrator or the appropriate law enforcement agency and suggest they take the next step – take a look at fingerprints or DNA, if they are available, to see if the presumed match can be corroborated, Lothridge said.

NamUs has odontologists throughout the country to compare dental records. If the DNA of a loved one isn’t immediately available, NamUs will work to get it, perhaps off the missing person’s toothbrush, through an arrangement with the University of North Texas. The university sends kits to the law enforcement agency in charge of the missing person’s case, and an investigator or technician tries to get a DNA sample for the database.

Karen got her match through hardcore sleuthing, but this month NamUs started a program that automatically cross-references information from the missing persons database with information in the unidentified remains database.

The hope is that, as time goes on, more and more cases involving missing persons and unidentified remains will be entered into NamUs. In the United States, there are an estimated 100,000 active missing cases, and more than 40,000 cases involving unidentified remains, according to the technology center.

By comparison, there were only 4,951 unidentified persons entered into NamUs as of May, 2009, and only 1,497 missing persons.

To read the entire article, go to

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Save the National Center for Missing Adults

Who would you turn to if your loved one went missing? The Police? The mainstream media? If that was your answer you have a rude awakening coming to you. Police departments are either way too understaffed, un-educated or just focusing on high profile cases. If your missing loved one was over the age of 18, police may say they have every right to “disappear”. And the media, you can forget about it, unless your loved one falls into a certain category like Caylee Anthony or Natalie Hollaway, then you’re probably not going to have any luck getting any attention or help from them.

Thankfully, for 15 years there has been the National Center for Missing Adults. The NCMA is a division of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization, Inc. (NMCO) a 501c(3) non-profit organization, formally established after the passage of Kristen’s Law (H.R. 2780) by the United States Congress on October 26th, 2000. The NCMA operates as the national clearinghouse for missing adults, providing services and coordination between various government agencies, law enforcement, media, and families of missing adults. NCMA also maintains a national database of thousands of missing adults determined to be “endangered” or otherwise at-risk in the US. But not for long.

Since 2005, NCMA has been waiting for Congress to reauthorize Kristen’s Act to provide the funding so crucially needed to continue its work. Due to its failure, the country’s only national clearinghouse and missing adult database is in such extreme distress some believe only a miracle can save it. NCMA founder, Kym Pasqualini and her small staff of less than 5 volunteers, have kept the agency alive despite many difficulties including critical shortage and loss of funding, in 2006 they were

financially forced to vacate and close the doors of the facility they had operated from for nearly ten years

and going 2 years without pay and mounting debt, in order to continue providing services to those in need. Time is dangerously close to running out for NCMA. To make matters even graver still, Kym (a single mother) is facing eviction.

This doesn’t seem right to me. Not for anyone but especially not for Kym and the National Center for Missing Adults! The loss of the NCMA would mean no more support for families of the missing!

How can this happen?

Days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast region, Bureau of Justice Assistance; United States Department of Justice (DOJ) requested the immediate assistance of the National Center for Missing Adults. In the weeks following, NCMA received 13,502 reports related to Hurricane Katrina and Rita, in addition to cases normally registered with the agency involving missing adults who are determined by the investigating law enforcement agency to be “at risk” due to diminished mental capacity, physical disability, medical conditions, suspected foul play or suspicious circumstances of the disappearance. NCMA resolved 99.8% of all reports with costs to the agency in excess of $250,000 and depleted the agency’s non-federal reserve of funds. NCMA has only received $50,000 to cover the work they did at the request of the Dept. of Justice. The DOJ still hasn’t released the funds owed to the NCMA for their work related to Hurricane Katrina.

We cannot allow this valuable resource to die.

I feel strongly about this as my own friend, Lily Aramburo, went missing and has been gone for almost 2 years now. Following Lily’s disappearance, I contacted NCMA. Tanya, the volunteer who assisted us, was working from home on these cases because of the agency’s funding situation. Despite these obstacles, she was comforting, professional and understanding. She was steadfast in her efforts contacting law enforcement in order to get Lilly’s case confirmed and didn’t stop until she finally succeeded. I’ve had the privilege of working with Kym and her faithful team of volunteers. I admire them for their selfless efforts on behalf of our missing loved ones and the families who are left behind, searching for them.

My goal is to show Kym that people do care, we recognize their work is valuable. The NCMA doesn’t need to wait for a MIRACLE

It’s within our power to save the National Center for Missing Adults. I urge you to stand with me and help in any way you possibly can. What can you do to help, you ask?

First and foremost they need money! Click on the FirstGiving fundraising widget below and visit my NCMA Fundraising Page Tax-deductible donations can be made online safely and securely through FirstGiving.

The NCMA accepts donations on their website as well. You can give as little as $5 using Google Checkout. Or if you prefer to send a check directly to NCMA, please mail to:

National Center for Missing Adults
PO Box 6389
Glendale, AZ 85312 US

If you commit to giving just $5 (the cost of a Starbucks coffee) we would be that much closer to achieving the goal.

If you can’t give money, no problem. Maybe someone you know can. Share this post via your email list and IM.

Do you use Twitter?

Follow the NCMA! Share this post and ask your friends and followers to retweet it (Join the NCMA RT RALLY starting NOW!).

Are you on Facebook, Myspace, Ning, or other social networking sites?

On Facebook, support the NCMA by setting your status to display a short message with a link to this post. Join the NCMA Facebook Group and invite everyone you know. Use your social networks to spread the word!
You can get your very own fundraising widget or badge to add on your profile and encourage others to do the same.

Do you have a blog or website?

There are several ways to help by using your blog/website:
1. Place the FirstGiving Fundraising Widget or badge on your site
2. Take a few minutes to write a post about the crisis, link to this and include the NCMA donation page
3. Add the NCMA badge on your site

I hope you take this opportunity to turn your compassion into action. Help save the National Center for Missing Adults and prevent thousands of families from being negatively affected.

Here’s an article about Kym Pasqualini and NCMA recently published in the Phoenix Times, “The National Center for Missing Adults’ Funding Was Slashed by the Feds, but Volunteers Are Keeping It Alive” By Sarah Fenske.

Don’t forget to bookmark, Stumble and share this post far and wide! RT on Twitter! Link to post! Get the widget, get the badge, share on your social networks and most importantly, GIVE GENEROUSLY & SPREAD THE WORD!


Resources for Finding Missing Persons

Please read my guest post on the Subliminal Pixels blog entitled “Free Online Resources for Finding Missing Persons.” It is a first post in a series detailing how to use Social Media to raise awareness for charitable causes, specifically for raising awareness and finding missing persons.  In the coming posts I will go into much more specific detail on tips and techniques used to do this. Please follow the link to read the full post.

Comments and Stumbles are appreciated!!


Free Online Resources for Finding Missing Persons Using Social Media

I thought I’d give you (my regular readers) the heads up, I have a guest post on the Subliminal Pixels BlogFree Online Resources For Finding Missing Persons Using Social Media

I’ve had so much to share with you these past few days and week but haven’t had much time to post. I’m working on a few projects and awareness campaigns.cements:

  • Justice Interrupted Show featuring Lilly Aramburo’s case has been scheduled for Tuesday, Sept 9, 2008 at 10:10 PM Central Standard Time or 11:10 Eastern Standard Time (whatever your time zone) Please call in with your questions. I hope you are able to listen. I’ll be updating you all with the most current info about her case.

  • We have created a new Lilly Aramburo Milk Carton. I urge all families with a missing loved one to use this free service. My Milk Carton is a free resource that allows you to create a milk carton for your missing loved one. It’s very easy to use, all you need to do is register for your free account, submit the information and pictures about the missing person in the form provided and you’re all set. The pictures must be smaller than 2MB in size to upload. It takes between 24-48 hours. Using a milk carton to aid in your search is a playful and catchy way to get serious attention and have your missing person noticed.
  • I’ve saved the best for last. Next week, the Miami New Times is publishing an article about Lilly!!! That’s right, an article on the front page of our independent newspaper, Miami New Times! I’m sure it will help her case in many ways. Finally, Miami residents will get to know her story. I think it will be published next Wednesday night or Thursday morning, I’ll keep you posted. I’m rejoicing!! Thanks, Frank and Miami New Times!! Love you guys=)

Don’t forget to let me know what your thoughts are my latest post! Free Online Resources for Finding Missing Persons Using Social Media


The Birth of Justice Interrupted Crime Investigation Radio Network

I have some exciting news to share with you. Published Author and Victims Advocate, Susan Murphy Milano, Stacy Dittrich, a law enforcement officer and Robin Sax, a sex-crimes D.A – joined forces to create the Justice Interrupted Crime Investigation Network. The focus of their alliance is to provide justice to victims of unsolved murders, rape, abducted children, family violence, missing person cases, domestic violence, cold cases and crimes against children. All three women have worked tirelessly for victims. I trust they will bring much needed attention to many important cases that have been ignored by traditional media and remained unsolved.

Personally, I am relieved. As the Spokesperson, for a missing mother, I know from experience how frustrating it is to get media attention. I know what it’s like to spend endless hours making phone calls to the press, emailing newspapers, radio stations and news channels, contacting anyone having the ability to publish a story. All in vain. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that media (especially locally) suffer from Missing White Woman Syndrome. There is a clear bias. Media attention has everything to do with the right race, age, social class and gender. Otherwise, don’t expect them to cover your story. Notice that most women who get plastered all over the news are usually attractive, white, and middle to upper-class. Things would have turned out very differently if Lilly had white skin and came from a wealthy family. The Miami Herald doesn’t care about a Hispanic woman who lived in Kendall and went missing.

UPDATE 12/20/08 and WARNING
Since this post, I’ve learned that Susan Murphy-Milano is not to be trusted. For more info on my experience with Susan, please see my Sincerest Apology to Christen You see, I was lied to by Susan. She told me she had evidence (GPS and credit card records) which proved Christen Pacheco (Lilly’s fiance) was responsible for her murder. All lies…

*Please be very careful if you’re thinking of going to Justice Interrupted for help.*


How To Make Civil Servants Work for You!

Never Give Up
Originally uploaded by GregPC

By David Van Norman – Civil Servant.


Including, but not limited to, Coroners and Cops

“The Taxpayer Speech:

“Matthew was, and still may be, a taxpayer. His family are taxpayers. YOU are a taxpayer. They (or you, on their behalf) needn’t go begging, hat in hand, for information. He, they, and you, have already paid for that service! You support, by paying taxes and purchasing goods and services in the community (anywhere), the infrastructure of government, which includes law enforcement organizations. You paid for my training and experience (regardless of where you live) for me to learn what I know, and for the investigators in Whatever County to do what they do. You pay for the gas that propels their cars and the computers on which they type their reports. You, as a taxpayer, citizen, victim, loved-one of a victim, or private advocate acting on behalf of the family, have EVERY RIGHT to expect professionalism, and adherence to the rules of professional conduct. If you don’t get that, someone needs to loose their job!

“Law enforcement, like most organizations, has a political side. A deputy investigator, patrolman or detective will not be concerned with the political aspect of failing to do what needed to be done. They are insulated from above by layers of supervision. A sergeant is higher up the supervisory chain, but only a few have aspirations to rise into management. By the time a police officer is promoted to lieutenant, and certainly by captain or chief, politics is about all there is. The weakest link, believe it or not, is the department chief or Sheriff. A chief is generally an appointed position (serving at the pleasure of the county administration), while the sheriff or coroner is generally elected. Either way, scandal will end their careers (and does, on a daily basis) in a heartbeat. No matter how high-and-mighty I think I am, there is always someone higher, and mightier, than me, who understands that he (or she) is held in place by a fickle public.

“Law enforcement, by its very nature, can be intimidating to deal with. But, the fact is that law enforcement has more to fear from you than you from them. Provided you plan your contacts with them, and don’t expect the moon, you should be able to assist the family.

“I appreciate that it is difficult to communicate effectively with law enforcement or other forensic specialists. There are legitimate reasons that some information cannot be released to the public. No one knows who you are – you may be the murderer. But, if your salutation is professional, and includes a concise statement of who you are, and why you are calling – and if it sounds as though you make these calls on behalf of families 20 times a day, your credibility goes up.

“One of the reasons I use email so much, is that it gives the receiver a sense of solidity – having something in hand (or at least in a computer) that verifies the sender’s veracity. My signature block is chock full of junk, but anyone reading it knows they can check me out – I’m inviting them to! My emails are designed to overwhelm. I intentionally front-load everything. It presents in the minds eye a bulldozer that WILL NOT STOP. I want them to see me coming, take me seriously, and comply with my requests. I want them to know that if they don’t comply, I won’t be ignored. Not everybody gets that message… the first time. That’s another advantage of the email format, I just send the same message with SECOND REQUEST at the end of the subject line, with the original message attached (date-time stamped), and CC it to the receiver’s supervisor. That generally gets the job done.

“My standard advice is that during your legitimate inquiries, if anyone refuses to answer your questions, you should “walk up” the chain of command – at each level asking if it is the policy and practice of the subordinate to ignore inquiries from the grieving families of decedents.

“I recommend that you call the agency, and start your inquiry with an investigator – and hook him (or her). Then tell them that you have constructed an email with information about the missing person that you would like to send to him (or her) for ‘forwarding to the most appropriate authority within your department.'”

I’d like to thank Mr. David Van Norman for allowing me to publish his advice. It is my sincere wish that everyone who reads this post benefits from it, like I did.


National Center for Missing Adults needs funding. Please help support the NCMA

I have a deep appreciation and admiration for the National Center for Missing Adults. I’m sure you know who they are but for those that don’t I’ll fill you in. They are a division of Nation’s Missing Children Organization, Inc. (NMCO) – a 501c (3) non-profit organization working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs. The National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA) was formally established after the passage of Kristen’s Law (H.R. 2780) by the 106th United States Congress on October 26th, 2000 (S11181). As directed by H.R. 2780, NCMA operates as the national clearinghouse for missing adults, providing services and coordination between various government agencies, law enforcement, media, and most importantly – the families of missing adults. NCMA also maintains a national database of missing adults determined to be “endangered” or otherwise at-risk.

The NCMA is in desperate need of funding. If you have the means to help financially, please consider sending a donation. You can use their automated and secure credit card donation system, and help to make your funds go further by significantly reducing processing and administrative costs.
You can also Donate by Phone. Call them at (800) 690-FIND or (602) 749-2000, extension #113, to make a credit card contribution over the telephone during normal business hours.

Another great way to help the NCMA is by becoming an advocate by contacting congress and encouraging others to do the same. Click here for more info on becoming an advocate and writing to congress.