The fact that there are as many as 100,000 missing persons in the country at one time is terribly sad to me. The fact that Ron Tammen is one of them, and has been since 1953, breaks my heart. I feel a personal connection to Tammen merely through our alma mater, Miami University. I’ll graduate in 2012, but Tammen will have never received a diploma … although I like to think there’s still a chance.
In addition to missing persons, there are 4,400 unidentified remains found every year – 1,000 of which remain unidentified after one year. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) have even more numbers on their website. I can’t help but think about the missing persons’ family and friends, and how helpless they could feel not knowing where their friend or loved one is, if they are okay, when they’ll know what happened to that person, why they left or why they were taken from them … the emotions are overwhelming for me to think about – I can’t imagine losing someone this way, even if it was temporarily.
Every so often I check in on Katelyn Markham, who went missing from her townhouse in Fairfield in August. WKRC in Cincinnati published a story where Katelyn’s father was interviewed about a benefit for his daughter October 22 that would generate money for the search groups that would be invited back. On October 20, WLWT published a story that said Katelyn was still missing.
What happened to these people? How can we help their families and friends? NamUs is one effort, journalism is another – Jerry Mitchell is an investigative reporter at The Clarion-Ledger in Mississippi who continues to be a watchdog for (often times) cold murder cases from the civil rights era and has prompted the arrests of several Klansmen and officials looking deeper into these crimes. And people like Virginia Braden, a licensed private investigator and victim’s advocate in Kentucky, are incredible.
I don’t have all the answers, but I know it can’t hurt to write a post like this, or share a story on Facebook or Twitter.