I bet you believe that if your loved one went missing all you would have to do is walk down to the police station and they would put out an all points bulletin, jump into their police cars with their sirens on and go look for your loved one.
I bet you even believe that a rescue team would rush to the last known location of your loved one and walk for hours searching, and maybe a helicopter or two would show up.
I hate to tell you this, but it doesn't happen like that. When there is no foul play involved, that person that you love with all your heart is stripped of their individuality and becomes a statistic.
Families don't know this until it happens to them.
Yesterday, the Missing Person Examiner got a call from Trayce Kinkel. She begins to tell me that she doesn't understand why her missing husband is getting no media.
"Matthew Green is on the news and they have a full search team out for him, but no one is looking for my husband," said Trayce. "Matthew Green and him look the same and have glasses, but nobody is looking for him."
Sadly, I have heard this before, but instead of just sharing Charlie's info and flyer, this time I want to try and get across to the public that there is so much more that we all can do.
As Trayce talked to me, and told me her story, I could see her in my mind's eye, sitting alone on the edge of a bed in the dark, reaching out to a stranger to help her find her husband.
To fully understand what a husband or wife goes through, you have to imagine for one moment that you are at home waiting for your spouse to come home from work and it is getting later and later. You call and they don't answer. You call their job and find out they didn't make it to work. You call the police and they take a report and that is it. You wait. Day in and day out you wait.
The media won't write your story and blame it on the police and the police haven't put out any public notice your loved one is missing. They tell you, your spouse is an adult and they can leave if they want to, no matter how many times you try to convince them that your loved one wouldn't just leave. This is where it becomes hard and the disconnect begins. Proving to the police that your loved one didn't leave on purpose. From your point of view they would never walk out, but from their point of view, they have seen case after case of missing persons that the families swears would never go missing, turn up, even years later, because they selfishly decided to move on with their lives and not tell their family.
What do you do next? You try social media, but after a handful of people that show their support, that road comes to a dead end. People care, but they don't know what to do anymore than you do.
The birds keep singing and the sun keeps rising, and you keep wondering whatever happened to your husband or wife. Are they lying in a ditch waiting for you to find them or are they gone forever? How do you even go forward without then? When do you go forward without them?
Repeat this scenario over and over again in America for the men and women that disappear with no signs of foul play.
Repeat this scenario for all the wives and husbands and moms and dads that are left with no help in finding their missing loved one.
If you are a private investigator, a retired police officer, a search and rescue group, an armchair detective, a college student looking for an idea for a term paper or a private citizen with no prior skills in finding missing people, it doesn't matter, these missing people and their families need you.
If you can donate time to look in to the case of their missing loved one and see if you can come up with some ideas or answers that these people so desperately need, please do.
Take the initiative. Look over all the cases on the Missing Persons of America website or on the Missing Persons of America Facebook page and take one and do the research. See if you can help dig up some information that will help find these missing people. Donate 8-hours a month or even 8-hours a year to see if you can dig up some clues as to what happened to them.
Just the other day, I read that one lone woman was able to find a senior couple that had gotten lost. She saw the flyer on Facebook for a missing husband and wife, Vern and Elaine Schweistha who were in their 80's. When she realized they were lost near her town in Princeton she took her car and began driving the back roads. She eventually located them on a remote gravel farm road, reports Mashable.com. "They'd run out of gas and had not eaten or drunk anything for two days." They were only hours away from their last breath.
Please let this unknown woman's actions inspire you to help. Whether you pick a cold case and do the research or grab the most recent missing person case and drive the back roads looking for them, you have brought hope back to these families that they are not alone, that yes, America is the best country with the best people in the whole world, that would donate their spare time searching for another human being to help strengthen the core of our nation by strengthening our love for each other.
Please take a moment to show your support to Trayce by liking her husbands missing person page; Missing Man Charles Kinkel. If you can help her look for him, all the better.