Voice Platform and Support Network for Families of Missing and Victims of Crime
***Once again I'm posting the whole article as this is full of people I know and/or are Peace4 members. Peace4 is command central for Billy's Law and huge promoters of NamUs as our founder (Sara) and most of us admins either are a part of NamUs or have gone through Academy. So since I'm copying this please make sure you click the link and go over to the website where this article resides. The click stats help news agencies to write more about the missing and the issues surrounding the world of the missing, thank you! http://www.the-daily-record.com/news/article/5108473 While there THANK the writer!
Maureen O'Donnell Sanchez - Peace4 Member - Sister of missing Judith "Judy" O'Donnell
By BOBBY WARREN
WOOSTER -- When Illinois resident Maureen O'Donnell Sanchez read about an effort to uncover more human bones in Rittman, one thought raced through her mind: Are the remains from her sister who went missing 30 years ago.
Sanchez saw The Daily Record story about a team of forensic anthropologists searching a wooded area off of South Main Street in Rittman on Friday.
Her sister, Judith "Judy" O'Donnell, was last seen face-to-face by family members in 1980 in Baltimore. While it would be the last time a personal connection was made with O'Donnell, 19 years old at the time, Sanchez and another family member are confident they both saw images of her on separate television newscasts in 1981. The first in January during a story about Ronald Reagan's inaugural ball, and the other in December about a sanitation-workers strike in New York.
"Whenever I see stories ... I think maybe this is the one," Sanchez said during a telephone interview Monday. She was living in Oswego, N.Y., when her sister went missing, and she now resides in Oswego, Ill.
"I haven't given up," Sanchez said. "I don't know how many local police precincts I have called. I can't tell you how many times I have woken up in the middle of the night and feel my sister is somewhere -- never properly buried.
"I would love to put up a headstone and put her to rest properly," she added.
Sanchez is not the only one hoping the human bones discovered in Rittman by police on Sept. 26 will provide some sense of closure.
Sgt. Roger Pauley of the Rittman Police Department said he has a couple of calls everyday from people wanting to know if the remains might be from their loved ones, and many of those calls are from the Cleveland area.
Susan Ryan's family is among those searching for an answer. Ryan went missing in June 2010. After the bones were discovered in Rittman, Helen Ryan-Zimmel, sent a fax to the police about her mother, included in the paperwork was a missing person's report from the Wooster Police Department.
"(The stories) tend to keep you going," Ryan-Zimmel said. "There are times you want to stop because you don't know what to do."
Dennis Dirkmaat, chairman of the Forensic Sciences Department at Mercyhurst College, Erie, Pa., led the search of the Rittman site, which is where Morton Salt has mines. While Dirkmaat has not yet reached a definitive conclusion, his initial determination was the bones were "male-like" because of the size of the femur, and the person was probably older due to the condition of some of the teeth recovered.
Even though the remains in Rittman might not close the door for Ryan-Zimmel, she said she continues to push "because if it's not mom, it's somebody else."
Since her mother's disappearance more than a year ago, Ryan-Zimmel has attended numerous workshops and meetings about missing people. Through those interactions, she has met so many people who are also looking for clues and answers about a family member's whereabouts.
"You become like family," Ryan-Zimmel said. "They help you, and you help them."
Ryan-Zimmel and Sanchez are proponents of NamUs (www.findthemissing.org), the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Both said they want to see more law enforcement agencies and families use the database.
Ryan-Zimmel said the Wooster Police helped her get her information on NamUs and Ohio does a good job of using it. Any family member can start a profile on NamUs, as long as there is a police report, she added.
The two are also pushing for Congress to pass Billy's Law, or Help Find the Missing Act, legislation that will allow for information in the National Criminal Identification Center and NamUs databases to be linked together. It is named after Billy Smolinski, 34, who went missing from Waterbury, Conn., in 2004.
Pauley said it is not uncommon for remains from a victim to be found miles apart.
Sometimes, if the evidence is found in different jurisdictions, then it can be difficult for the information to get from one agency to another, Ryan-Zimmel said. The databases will help connect the dots, she added.
"For everyone that is missing, there is somebody looking," Ryan-Zimmel said, adding the issue is an epidemic. "A lot are simple runaways, but when someone has vanished, you have to keep speaking up."
Wooster Police Capt. John Quicci said the department has started to use NamUsto get as much information posted as possible.
"A lot of anthropologists and osteologists use the system," Quicci said. Additionally, NamUs provides a number of free services through the National Institute of Justice.
The Wooster Police Department is also using the National Dental Image Repository, where it sends dental records so other agencies can look at the images.
"With Susan Ryan, we entered here into NCIC, NaMus and the NDIR system," Quicci said. "She's out there with the tools we have."
About 4,400 unidentified remains are found every year and more than 1,000 of these continue to be unidentified after a year, according to the NamUs website. There are about 100,000 active missing person cases at one time. As of August 2011, there were 8,164 unidentified persons records were in the system, and 8,266 missing persons records in the database.
Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or email@example.com. He's @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.
can someone tell me exactly where this Rittman Police Dept. is? And a contact number for me to call to see if this could be my brother Walter Smith, jr. Tom? Please.
also Thank you so very much for always keeping all of us updated with posts and emails. you are such a blessing to myself and so very very many.