It has been close to a year since I wrote my cover story about Lilly Aramburo, a 24-year-old single mother and drug addict who disappeared from her boyfriend’s apartment June 1, 2007. Today, there is still no trace of her, but friend Janet Forte presses on with her social mediacrusade to find out what happened to Aramburo.
There has been some progress. Joe Carrillo, a private investigator who helped Miami Police nab the Shenandoah Rapist, volunteered to help Forte track down leads. On a recent afternoon, Carillo met with me to give an update on his investgation, which he is doing free of charge.
A former bodyguard for Latin boy pop band Menudo, Carrillo stands over six feet tall and has a gleaming bald head à la Kojak.
He informed me he believes Christen Pacheco, Aramburo’s boyfriend, had nothing to do with her disappearance. “He was telling the truth when he said Lilly left his apartment after they got into an arguement,” Carrillo notes.
Carrillo says he interviewed two of Aramburo’s friends, who told him about a house at 35 Percival Ave. in Coconut Grove, at the time a known flop house where Aramburo and her pals smoked crack. Carrillo says he recieved another tip that Aramburo, after leaving Pacheco’s apartment, went to that house where she was allegedly killed by three individuals she knew, including a drug dealer who has a murder conviction.
I’ve chosen not to disclose their names until I’ve had an opportunity to verify Carrillo’s claims.
Carrillo says he provided the names of the three men to Miami-Dade Police detectives investigating Aramburo’s disappearance on four occassions. “They haven’t done squat,” Carrillo says.
This Sunday at 6 p.m., Forte will lead a march from CocoWalk to 35 Percival Ave., where she will hold a candlelight vigil in Aramburo’s honor.
I’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time researching missing persons, especially in Florida. I’ve probably visited most police department websites in the state. I leave feeling terribly disappointed most of the time. It’s frustrating to visit a police website for info on their missing person cases only to realize they are nowhere to be found. In the digital age, there’s no excuse for police departments NOT to keep their current Amber Alerts, missing person cases and unsolved homicides posted on their websites. You would think something so important would not get overlooked! On that note, I’d like to share a few examples of what I consider good and bad.
City of Miami Police Department: their website has a link to their missing person cases. However, they don’t keep in updated. They’ve been displaying the same 2 missing person cases since 2007!
Miami Dade Police: they update their site from time to time but…(and this is a big one) on their missing persons page, they have NO information about their open/unsolved cases! Instead, they have a handful of links to sites that are not part of MDPD and a search engine below that.
If police departments want to close more cases they’re going to have to be more effective than the examples above.
This agency is doing an excellent job integrating news, videos, open missing person cases and their unidentified victims. I’m referring to the one and only Broward Sherriff’s Office. The BSO website is user-friendly and includes news, videos, sexual offender search, missing persons, victim services, safety tips, and more. I appreciate that it’s updated frequently with their current missing person cases and “Operation Found and Forgotten“. This effort by Broward Sherriff’s Office to identify their Jane and John Does can be very effective. They have a much better chance of identifing their victims. Follow this link and look at the photos. (You can report your tips to Crime Stoppers of Broward County anonymously at by calling (954)493-TIPS, toll free at (866)493-TIPS or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org/webtips.html)
Police should embrace social media wholeheartedly. Using online social networks have many advantages. It’s the most effective way to disseminate information expediently at no cost. You can use the sites to distribute Amber Alerts, missing person alerts, press releases, breaking news, events, crime prevention etc. These social sites allow for people to share information, videos, and photos easily, disseminating information faster than traditional ways. Police departments should be using YouTube as well.
Take a look at BSO’s site. Follow their lead. Get with times and learn to use social networking sites to communicate and engage!
For those of you who may have doubts about the power of social media (specifically Twitter) please read on. And to those of you who use Twitter, next time you see a missing child or missing person alert, please consider re-tweeting it.
The following article is written by Mari Kurisato from the Denver Examiner.
After nearly a week of being missing, Jennifer Frisina was found safe and returned home to her family, due in large part to efforts like the folks who submitted comments in the original Examiner.com story, Facebook, Twitter, and other internet outlets to raise awareness and keep the pressure on. Even as commenters in the story were asking if this was a hoax, I phoned Arapahoe County Sheriff Investigator Lieutenant Curti looking for Bruce Isaccson to confirm the story. He confirmed the story, and thanked me for my interest, stating that he would get back to me when he knew anything further. Through no fault of his own Lieutenant Curti didn’t get back to me until later that day, but he did call.Though efforts were spreading across the internet, I can only write about what I knew happened.(UPDATED: I’m getting several reports that many others than listed here helped contribute to the effort. This includes @AlohaArleen and @NashvilleDebbi amongst others. This list is by no way inclusive of everyone who helped, just the indiviuals that I saw in the busy rush of events yesterday.)Coordinating with the efforts of other Twitters, including @SoulGeek, @BuzzEdition, @TheExpert @AbsolutelyTrue and most crucially Denver’s own @Zaibatsu, Reg Saddler, people were able to saturate the social media service and catch the attention of CBS 4 News Denver, via @cbs4denver who broadcast the story on the 5 o’clock news yesterday.CBS 4 Denver reporter Terry Jessup reported on that report that the Sheriff’s Office “did receive an unusual amount of what he (the investigating officer) called ‘blogosphere calls’ at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office”The alerts continued for some time on Twitter. And then at 7:33pm, Linda Frisina, the family spokesperson and Jennifer’s grandmother, sent this last night via email:She’s been found…details to comeI called Linda soon after and got an exhausted confirmation–Linda sounded like she had been fielding calls from the whole planet, and maybe she had been. So I hopped back on the Twitter service, and flashed this out to everyone who had been helping send out the alertsJUST RECIEVED EMAIL FROM LINDA FRISINA THAT JENNIFER FRISINA HAS BEEN FOUND. NO DETAILS YET.which I then forwarded to CBS 4 News’ Assignment Editor Misty Montano who was able to confirm the story and get an update on their 10 o’clock newscast.If anyone had any doubt what role services like Twitter, Facebook, and other internet outlets are playing in cooperative news telling, this story may cast aside some doubt. And because it began with Frank Frisina reaching out, I thought I would let him have the last word, taken from an email sent to me at 3:38 AM:SHE IS HOME! SAFE AND UNHARMED!
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
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. Please 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.
I hope you take this opportunity to turn your compassion into action by donating to Help Save the National Center for Missing Adults…prevent thousands of families and missing people from being negatively affected and losing their only national resource. You can also help tremendously by signing the Support the National Center for Missing Adults petition.
Dear friends, I was recently surprised to find Lilly Aramburo listed on a site called Missing Minorities Campaign. How awesome! It’s a great site and very helpful for the benefit of missing minorities. As we all know, missing minorities rarely make the news. And if they do, they don’t receive the same type of in depth coverage. (God knows how hard I’ve tried to get media coverage for Lilly!) But with sites like Missing Minorities Campaign and others using the internet to advocate for missing people, the more eyes we have looking out for our loved ones and the better chances we have of finding them.
Although most of us live very busy, sometimes hectic lives, a little time and effort goes a long way. You’d be surprised to know how easy it is to help. As I always do when I find a website, blog or organization doing good works, I stumbled their site, bookmarked it and shared it on Twitter and a few other networking sites and aggregators like Friendfeed. And it really helps! After reading the stories of the missing people on the Missing Minorities site and others, it’s very helpful to DIGG or STUMBLE the story or share on whatever social network and news submission sites you use. I joined their community, as well. After all, that’s what social networking is all about: community.
Emillie Hoyt is MISSING. She vanished without a trace January 2006. She may have traveled to Fort Lauderdale from Highland Beach, FL.
Description: Alias: Emmy Date of Birth: Oct. 7, 1982 Missing Since: Jan 2006 Missing City: Highland Beach Missing State: Florida Age: 23 Gender: Female Race: White Height: 5ft 6in Weight: 110 lbs (aprox) Hair Color: Light brown Hair (other): May be dyed blonde Eye Color: Brown Complexion: Fair
Please to take a good look at her picture and go to the Flickr Missing Persons Group to see more pictures of Emillie. Her family needs to know the truth. No one vanishes into thin air. Someone out there has to know something. Please do the right thing and come forward if you know anything about Emillie Hoyt’s disappearance. Contact Det. Bob Devito at 561-266-5800.
You can help find Emillie by joining her Facebook Group and adding as a friend on myspace. If you use Twitter, you can follow @emilliesbrother. As you could imagine, they are desperate to find Emillie. The holidays are especially difficult for families dealing with the loss of a missing loved one. Please don’t forget about them. All missing persons deserve to be found.
Dear friends, a few weeks ago, I made some changes to this blog. Have you noticed the red Say No To Violence Widget? I hope you have noticed it and signed your name.
There are less than 2 weeks to go before UNIFEM will hand over all signatures to the Say NO to Violence against Women campaign to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. So far, more than 580,000 people have added their names. This is an enormous show of support, yet we are still aiming for 1 million signatures. If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to sign your name to the petition.
Please spread the word further and encourage 3 friends to sign up.
Ask them to join an ever-growing movement of people who demand that violence against women be a top priority for governments around the world at:
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=)
Come join me in social media networking sites and help raise awareness for the missing. I began my advocacy efforts for Lilly last year. Since then, I have created some groups and would be honored if you joined me. Social media can be very helpful. Join in the conversation and you’ll see.
My absolute favorite social networking tool is Twitter. Twitter is a real-time tool for “micro-blogging” or posting very short updates, comments or thoughts. It is very popular and a very good idea for those with a missing family member or friend. You can reach a wide audience if you use it wisely. If you’re already using Twitter, be sure to follow me @yogini.
I created this Missing Persons Room on Friendfeed. Please join and start submitting news articles about missing people. It’s a really cool news agrregator. You’re going to love it. http://friendfeed.com/rooms/missing-persons