Protection Under the Dome: Is Your State Capitol a Safe Place? 

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It’s a “sign of the times” so they say…being cautious and proactive against future violence.  After 9-11 in our neighboring state of New York and the horrible massacre in Newtown, CT in 2012, you would think that we would have caught up with other states. However, it appears that public buildings for the public’s use and enjoyment was a primary reason against installing metal detectors at our historic and palatial looking State Capitol  (constructed between 1872 and 1879). But perhaps, “the public’s right to enter’” should be safeguarded as much as possible in 2015.

“For decades, legislators in Connecticut resisted recommendations by police to add metal detectors as a permanent feature at the Capitol and Legislative Office Building.”

A little history regarding the registered historic landmark: the Connecticut State Capitol 

The Capitol was opened in 1878 and stands in the picturesque setting of Bushnell Park. (Construction 1872 -1879). Designed by Richard M. Upjohn, a cathedral architect, this High Victorian Gothic style statehouse was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1971 and underwent a restoration between 1979 and 1989.The exterior marble from East Canaan, Connecticut and granite from Westerly, Rhode Island is accented by a gold leaf dome. The interior floors of the Capitol are inlaid with white marble and red slate from Connecticut and colored marble from Italy. The stenciling, stained-glass windows and light fixtures were designed by Boston interior decorator William James McPherson.  This beautiful and unique building houses the executive offices and legislative chambers of the state, as well as historical memorabilia including statues of Nathan Hale, “The Genius of Connecticut” and Governor William Buckingham.

How Does Your State Stack Up with Security?

According to a 2007 survey in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. All three have metal detectors, as do Pennsylvania and New Jersey. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, there are metal detectors installed at 23 state Capitols, in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.    All three have metal detectors, as do Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Some State Capitols screen all visitors with the metal detectors, while others such as California exempt state employees and legislators.

According to a CT NewsJunkie.com article, during Governor Malloy’s second inaugural address at the beginning of the legislative session on January 6, 2015, “every Capitol Police officer and security technician was on duty.” No incidents were reported.

In Connecticut, some state employees and all legislators are exempted from screening by the metal detectors.  Rather, they may use their badges to get through the turnstiles or vestibules to get into the building. (Hmmm! Who are the exempted employees and why? Suppose they did this at airports?)

In terms of overall traffic, legislators, staff, and the nearly 150,000 annual visitors  including   more than 25,000 school children visit the State Capitol Complex and our beautiful  “over the top” cherry wood and marble Legislative Office Building.

Since 1999, upgrades have included: installation of cameras and video equipment, a card access system, increase in staffing of capitol state police, implementing a security technician program, installing garage gate arm access and emergency call boxes, implementing an emergency warden program, (i.e. emergency management building personnel knowledgeable about proper procedures),  mandatory staff  intruder drill training and workplace violence training.

It all sounds impressive BUT… in February 6, 2002 it all went wrong! According to a Hartford Courant article, a report with the following information was issued to legislative leaders, but not to the public! ‘Too embarrassing! I was just into my third year as a state employee when this occurred….

  • Police swarmed the state Capitol complex in response to a report of a gunman on a roof;
  • Some employees of the Legislative Office Building weren’t notified the building was being evacuated, and no one made use of a public address system to direct the hundreds of people who were “locked down” inside the Capitol;
  • “Several lapses” in the police response were described as “an uneven enforcement of the lockdown and a lack of communication between police and legislative leaders and staff.”
  • Hundreds of people were evacuated from the Legislative Office Building and detained in the adjacent Capitol in the hours after the legislative session opened Feb. 6th. *** Two women told police they saw a machine-gun toting man on the roof of the office building’s garage.
  • THE TRUTH – It was a videographer with a hand-held camera.   But, it might have been just as they described!
  • Capitol police admitted that an evacuation at the Capitol complex had “not been tried or practiced before,”
  • Joint training sessions were needed to familiarize state and local police with the government complex. A “lack of communication” between all parties could have been eliminated if only they would have made use of use of public address systems, e-mails and a formal chain of contact.
  • Additional problems included:  insufficient radio communication between the police, a SWAT team, armed military police and the “Trooper One” helicopter, which hovered overhead.
  • The primary concerns expressed by employees centered around the evacuation and lockdown procedures…. Workers in the office building library and maintenance workers in the basement were not notified by police that the building was being evacuated. During the Capitol lockdown, when all doors should have been secured some people were seen exiting and leaving the grounds, potentially in the line of fire of a “potential sniper.”
  • Interestingly, as reported by the Hartford Courant, “a search of the garage turned up evidence that police initially thought could be connected to the reported gunman — a “ski-mask type hat” and three vehicles that they considered suspicious. But by 6:30 p.m., the garage was deemed safe. A half-hour later, an attorney contacted state police on behalf of the rooftop cameraman, suggesting a misidentification had occurred.   (What??  An attorney was representing the cameraman in 30 minutes?? LOL How convenient for him!)
  • Children in the on-site day care center for children of state employees remained safe. However, an upgraded phone system with a message light for emergency calls was recommended.
  • To this day, I can attest to any public meeting in the LOB, “a script” concerning emerge procedures is always read at the outset.  And…. To this day, I believe that no one is allowed to park or have access to the upper floor of the LOB garage!

January 10, 2010, in Austin Texas:

  • Twenty–four year old Fausto Cardenas, was identified as the shooter after firing several shots from a small-caliber handgun on the Capitol steps.
  • Although beginning in 2009, visitors to the House and Senate galleries were asked to pass through metal detectors outside the third-floor galleries to watch legislative action in those chambers nothing had been done to secure the entrances to the Capitol.
  • Governor Rick Perry had received endorsements from the National Rifle Association and the Texas State Rifle Association. His response was: “I’m always up for looking at new ways to protect our citizens, but the last thing I want is for the Texas Capitol to turn into DFW Airport.” (So what else is new??)
  • Another incident “may have forced the hand that fed Governor Perry” when in May 2010, another man was arrested for dropping an eight-inch knife on the floor during a committee meeting.
  • According to AR15.com,”Home of the Black Rifle,” as of their post on Friday, May 21, 2010,  Tourists entering the Texas Capitol during the start of the new security procedures thought “metal detectors were a good idea ***until they found out people with concealed handgun permits are not required to surrender their firearms at the door.
  • “People with licenses still can carry guns in the building, so what’s the point? Why are you putting up metal detectors, some people inquired. Just before noon, perhaps only one in 20 people entering the building through the south entrance had to go through the metal detectors. A special line was set up for school groups, people with concealed handgun permits and people with state-issued building passes. A computer is set up for troopers to check the status of handgun permits.”

Does this make any sense to you?  I say, no guns, period in the Capitol except for law enforcement.

Definition- Conceal and Carry law –

Concealed carry or carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) is the practice of carrying a weapon (such as a handgun) in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or in close proximity. Not all weapons that fall under CCW controls are lethal. For example, in Florida, carrying pepper spray in more than a specified volume (2 oz.) of chemical requires a CCW permit. Whereas, anyone may legally carry a smaller, so-called, “self-defense chemical spray” device hidden on their person without a CCW permit.

Texas Requirements Conceal- Carry Weapons: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/RSD/CHL/faqs/index.htm

  • The Concealed Handgun Law sets out the eligibility criteria that must be met. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age (unless active duty military) and must meet Federal qualifications to purchase a handgun.  A number of factors may make you ineligible to obtain a license, such as: felony convictions and some misdemeanor convictions, including charges that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication; pending criminal charges; chemical or alcohol dependency; certain types of psychological diagnoses protective or restraining orders, and defaults on state or city taxes, governmental fees, or child support.  Eligibility requirements can be found in GC §411.172.You must also submit a completed application, pay the required fees and submit all of the required supplemental forms and materials.

Conclusion:

I suppose we all have our preferences as to what makes us feel most secure based upon our culture, upbringing and experience. However, can we not draw the line and hand over the guns when it comes to our public places of assembly, learning, law making and human civility?

Although we know that humans are not at all civil when it comes to the use of violent crime as a means to “settle differences,” I prefer to think that “a gun in your pocket,” particularly in public places designed for our citizenry to come together as one, is not the path for “the ordinary citizen”, not at all.

 

References: http://ctmirror.org/2014/01/17/sign-of-times-metal-detectors-coming-to-connecticut-capitol/

http://www.cga.ct.gov/capitoltours/

http://www.ct.gov/dmhas/lib/dmhas/legislative/SCPD_Press_Release_1-17-2014_.pdf

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/opening_day_inauguration_test_new_security_measures_at_capitol/

http://www.ehs.washington.edu/fsoemerprep/evacwardduties.shtm

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Perry-rebuffs-call-for-Capitol-metal-detectors-1696334.php

http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=8&f=8&t=410900

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry_in_the_United_States

Who is a Missing Person? 

who is a missing person?

This question came across social media to me recently and the question had me thinking about all the permutations of “the missing.” Is there a true definition? Is there an official “Journal of the Missing”, published monthly and doled out to all library shelves at University libraries? A quick internet search revealed nothing.  This is a niche that few have studied in any depth with the exception of grass root non-profit organizations. They, in fact, are the experts with honed skills through “being in the trenches “and figuring out what truly is needed, how to assist the families of the missing, building collaborations with law enforcement and other organizations in order to do everything possible to effect a rescue versus a search for remains.  The CUE Center for Missing Persons stands out among such organizations.

At its core, how do we know someone is missing?

On a personal level, I believe that if someone cares for another person, has a personal tie to them, and that person has not been located in several hours, to days, months, years,  that is a “heart definition” of a missing person. Are there people who go missing intentionally? YES!  Are there people who go missing unintentionally by virtue of circumstances beyond their control? Yes! Should we judge as to if their gone missing status was preventable? NEVER, because one mis-step or series of bad decisions and we could be there is “a New York minute!

Legal Definition (According to US Legal.com) A missing person is a person 18 years old or older whose disappearance is possibly not voluntary, or a child whose whereabouts are unknown to the child’s legal custodian, the circumstances of whose absence indicate that:

  1. The child did not voluntarily leave the care and control of the custodian, and the taking of the child was not authorized by law; or
  2. The child voluntarily left the care and control of the child’s legal custodian without the custodian’s consent and without intent to return.
  3. State agencies work to coordinate reports of missing persons with federal agencies, such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
  4. In states with an Amber Alert Plan, parents of a missing or abducted child can contact their local police or sheriff’s department to file a Missing Person Report. If a child is missing and believed to be in danger, there is no 24-hour waiting period.  The law enforcement agency will immediately enter information about the missing child into the Missing Person’s database and the National Crime Information Center’s Missing Person File.

Participating law enforcement agencies can request an Amber Alert if their investigation determines that the child’s disappearance meets the Amber Alert criteria.

Types and Examples of Missing Persons:

Every missing person is somebody’s child…

Other Categories:

We also have men and women missing as a consequence of prostitution, “survival on the street” essentially often hiding in plain sight, fighting their demons, trying to survive.

Another huge category of the missing is attributed to Intimate Partner Violence. We need only to go to SusanMurphy-Milano.Com to see the thousands of examples she left for us!

And on and on….

Suffice it to say, the reasons for going missing are many and varied. If we care for humanity, our hearts are big enough to hold all of the reasons. It matters not why in the final analysis. It only matters that we find them and help them back to a “new normal.”

CUE Center for Missing PersonsIf you know of a missing person, please file a report with the police and then contact the CUE Center for Missing persons, a national non-profit organization.  To support their work: http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/donate/

 

Who is a Missing Person?

 

Confessions: Cleansing the Heart

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There are so many circumstances under which so many people confess….

This blog is not an attempt to chronicle all serial killers, or even one killer’s confessions, or a discussion of false accusations or wrongful convictions. To try to compile such information in one shot, this writer would just faint away in exhaustion. However, my point is to present a smattering of different kinds of confessions, as such emotions are intriguing to me and hopefully to other readers.

Homicide confessions

Tommy Lynn Sells, convicted serial killer . Says he does not want to “Come out here and say a bag of hoo-hoo” to quote his own words from a transcript of a 2004 “20/20 interview.” (He has claimed responsibility for over 70 murders across the United States!)   However, that’s what prolific serial killers do. They are so convoluted in their descriptions and mix up events that you never know what’s really going on.  Are they trying to be coy? Are they trying to fool interviewers? Or, do they really, just don’t remember the accumulated impact of their crimes?

Diane Fanning uncovered the truth and brought justice for  accused mother Julie Rea Harper and her son Joel. In the early morning hours of Oct. 13, 1997, Julie Rea was sleeping in her home when she was awakened by a scream. Concerned about her son, Joel, she went to investigate and yelled his name, but his bed was empty. Julie said she then struggled with a masked intruder, chasing him through the house, bursting through two glass doors and into the backyard.  Then, she said, the intruder walked away, removing the mask under a street light before vanishing into the night.

Within minutes, police arrived. Julie had a bruise over her eye and a gash on her arm. Police immediately searched her home and found Joel dead, his T-shirt bloody from multiple stab wounds to his chest.

Why didn’t they believe her? Well, they were sloppy in their initial investigation and trial and there was a messy divorce, and perhaps “the intruder in the middle of the night” just seemed so unbelievable.

Then there was another victim in the ring of terror by Sells who survived. On December 31, 1999, 10-year-old Krystal Surles was staying at the house of a friend, 13-year-old Kaylene ‘Katy’ Harris, when she was attacked by a man in the bedroom where the two girls were sleeping. She had just witnessed Kaylene having her throat slashed, when the man grabbed her and cut her throat. Pretending to be dead, she stayed still until she could escape and get help from the next door neighbor.

She survived and was able to assist in the conviction of Sells.

The actual retrial began in summer 2006. The court ruled that serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells’ confession would be permitted as evidence in her new trial, despite questions about its credibility. Meanwhile, the court ruled that some of the damaging testimony from Rea Harper’s ex-husband would not be allowed.

The Defense attorney, Ron Safer, maintained that Rea Harper’s first lawyer had been in over his head and that despite evidence to the contrary, police had unjustly focused on her as their prime suspect from the very beginning.

“All you have to do is examine the physical evidence and the circumstantial evidence for a concentrated couple of days,” he said, “and you can reach no other conclusion but Julie was 100 percent innocent.-    115_TTWnewcover

Enter true crime writer and researcher Diane Fanning, who saw Rea Harper’s story on “20/20″ and found herself moved by her proclamation of innocence.

Diane was finishing a book on the brutal history of Tommy Lynn Sells, who was a death row serial killer with a history of drug addiction. She corresponded with Sells, and mentioned her doubts about Rea Harper’s conviction. (Through the Window)

Diane said, “I didn’t tell him who she was, I didn’t tell him where it happened, I didn’t tell him when it happened, nothing,” And he popped back with a letter and said, ‘Was that murder you were talking about one that happened two days before the one I did in Springfield, Mo.? Say maybe on the 13th?'”

What was it about a timeline that didn’t make sense? Joel was killed Oct. 13th- two days before police say Sells had raped and murdered 13-year-old Stephanie Mahaney in nearby Springfield, Missouri.

A Second Look and a Second Chance at Justice 

The Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University and the Chicago law firm Schiff Hardin decided to represent her in her appeal pro bono and would spend in time and money- The equivalent of $1 million on her defense.

“A taste” of what one of Tommy Lynn’s Sells Confession was like:

For the entire transcript with 20/20 See link- http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=784420&page=1&singlePage=true

INTERVIEWER

Did you commit the murder of the boy in Lawrenceville?

TOMMY

I committed a murder two days before, the Springfield murder. I know this. Is it this murder you’re talking about? I’m assuming, got a good shot at it. You know. But, but to be-

INTERVIEWER

Can you tell me, Tommy, what you remember about that murder?

TOMMY

Next to nothing. And, and I tried talking to Bob [NAME UNCLEAR] about this, and uh, y’all, y’all come here in forty-five minutes and you want me to disclose a murder investigation that, I’ve sat through many, and it takes hours. And, and y’all just want me to try to say that I’ve done something that I’m not a hundred percent sure; I’m not even forty percent sure. I know I committed a murder two days before Springfield…

INTERVIEWER

Can you tell me what you do remember about that?

TOMMY

I remember getting in a fight with a woman. Well, not a fight, but a struggle.

INTERVIEWER

Where was that? At a diner? At a restaurant-

TOMMY

No, no, during the murder.

INTERVIEWER

During the murder?

TOMMY

Right. OK. And I thought it was her that I killed. But apparently it wasn’t. Now, y’all saying it’s a boy, and, and you know, it wasn’t like I asked for a name and, and, you know, I just went in to a dark room and started cutting. Or stabbing.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember why you went to that particular house?

TOMMY

Well, see, I wouldn’t say I had the right house, but I’m not even sure if I went to the right house. Uh.

INTERVIEWER

Were you looking for someone or something?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

What were you looking for?

TOMMY

I was looking for a woman, uh, that, that I had got into an argument with at a little convenience store earlier that day. And I had followed her, and thinking this is where she lives. No, go figure that. You know, it’s, it sounds awful coincidental, and the finger sure points to that one. You know. But, but before I say, yeah, I did something; I want to know I did it. I just don’t want to come out here and say, uh, a bag of hoo-hoo, and say this is what you want to hear, this is what I want to tell you. I’m, I’m, and you understand what I’m saying?

And…on and on….

Through Diane’s unrelenting pursuits and meticulous research, in 2011 Diane Fanning received the prestigious Defenders of the Innocents Award.

Status of Tommy Lynn Sells:  Sells was executed in Texas on April 3, 2014, at 6:27 p.m. CST by lethal injection. He declined to make a final statement.

Intimate Partner Violence

In 1991, after years of domestic violence, Geraldine Kelly shot and killed her husband and stored his body in a freezer at their home in Ventura, California. She told her young children that their father died in a car accident. Seven years later moving back to Somerville Massachusetts, she had the body driven across country stored in a local storage facility in Somerville. In 2004, 13 years after the murder Kelly was gravely ill with breast cancer and confessed to her daughter that she had killed her father claiming he abused her for years and told her where to find his body. The body was mummified but identified as John Kelly based on distinctive tattoos he was known to have including a panther, a Kewpie doll and a skull. The cause of death was a gunshot to the back of the head.

Lock Ness Monster Photo

In 1934 a doctor named Robert Kenneth Wilson offered a picture to the Daily Mail newspaper. Wilson told the newspaper he noticed something moving in Loch Ness, stopped his car to take the photo. Wilson refused to have his name associated with it so the photo became known simply as “The Surgeon’s Photo.” For decades this photo was considered to be the best evidence of the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. In 1994 at the age of 93 and near death Christian Spurling confessed that the surgeon’s photo taken 60 years ago was a hoax and the mastermind behind it was his Stepfather Marmaduke Wetherell.

Confessed to: the Murder of William Desmond Taylor

William Desmond Taylor was an actor and a top US film director of silent films in the early days of Hollywood. He was to death in 1922 it became one of Hollywood’s most famous mysteries

In 1964, 42 years after the murder a reclusive old woman living in the Hollywood Hills was suffering from a heart attack and summoned her neighbor. she asked for a priest to confess but when no Priest was available she began to make her confession to her neighbor. As she was dying on her kitchen floor she said she was a silent film actress by the name of Margaret Gibson and that she shot and killed a man named William Desmond Taylor. She is alleged to have been involved romantically with Taylor but a motive as to why she killed him was never mentioned.

The Violin Story: In 1936 Polish virtuoso Hall Huberman was performing at Carnegie Hall and decided to switch the Stradivarius he was playing in the first half of his performance to his newly acquired Guarnerius violin. After the intermission the Stradivarius was stolen out of his dressing room by 20-year-old Julian Altman who was a New York nightclub musician.

Altman went on to become a violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. and performed for Presidents and politicians with the stolen Stradivarius for many years. In 1985, 49 years after the theft, Julian Altman who was in prison for child molestation and gravely ill confessed to his wife that he had stolen the violin. He then instructed his wife where to find the Stradivarius at the couple’s home. Along with the Stradivarius, she found newspaper clippings recounting the theft. In 1987 his wife returned the Stradivarius to Lloyds of London in exchange for a $263,000 finder’s fee.

Romantic Confessions of Love…  Okay- Proposals: “That One Thing”

This says it all! 8 minutes of bliss!  http://www.wimp.com/romanticproposal/

 

 

 

References: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2931404&page=1&singlePage=true

http://crime.about.com/od/serial/fl/Tommy-Lynn-Sells.htm

http://www.dianefanning.com/truecrimebooks/throughthewindow.html

http://listverse.com/2009/09/29/top-10-fascinating-deathbed-confessions/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deathbed_confession

http://www.wimp.com/romanticproposal/

 

On the Road to Remember 2014 in Connecticut

I am a fine person in my own right with talents, and skills and hope for the future!

I am a person of every, race, creed, color, age, gender and ethnicity or circumstance.

I may have veered off the most direct or safest path…or someone else may have taken control such that my future is not what I wanted it to be.

However, I know that I am valued and loved and deserve the dignity of a rich and full life without judgment passed by others.

I am a missing person from this our state, or one of the 49 other states. 

I am someone’s child. 

Donna R. Gore “LadyJustice”

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I am happy to be embraced by the Cue Center for Missing Persons, for I know they will assist my family and law enforcement with every resource available.

Thank you for coming to hear my story.

There are many things that will be said about this year’s 2014 CUE Center for Missing Persons On the Road to Remember Tour. However, I tend to gravitate to special moments capturing humanity.

Why I was selected to be a potential tour stop, I do not know, I do remember the captivating description at the microphone offered by Monica about this tour and her heartache when particular locations have to be denied; among thousands of missing adults across this country, why families would have to clamor for attention is beyond all understanding.

Why media does not expand their definition of “breaking news” to include our ever-expanding list of “broken hearts for the missing” in Connecticut, even when there is no car crash, new murder, or other story of import to cover, I do not understand. (A New Haven Police photographer and a New Haven Register photographer were the exceptions- THANK YOU!)

Although the planning of this event began many months ago with many starts and  stops along the way, this  “perpetual plan ahead Coordinator” learned that an event could look like a choreographed ballet- complete with butterflies, ribbons, and balloons in a short time.

Life is about timing and in the end, the stately Connecticut State Police Museum and Education Center was the perfect venue and backdrop for our hosting. On May 29, 1903, Governor Abiram Chamberlain signed House Bill #247 which authorized the creation of the Connecticut State Police, the first of its kind in the country.

1901262_704453792973980_5124058894255109536_nAs I parked my car about 8:30 a.m. waiting for everyone else to arrive in the presence of the morning dew and brilliant sunshine, I wondered what this would turn out to be.  Would the families come? Would law enforcement come? Would the media come? Would we be ready when Monica and her staff arrived?  Not to worry! Not easy for a person who wants such things to be “near perfect.”

The detectives of the Connecticut State Police, particularly, Tonya Campagnone and her team, and Sergeant Elisa Tuozzoli and colleagues, Ann Mays and Jessica Agosto of the New Haven Missing Persons Unit, soon arrived to assist in unpacking my cram-filled car. A stress fracture did not keep this Coordinator down in the least! In fact, I couldn’t recall feeling pain-maybe because I was focusing on other people’s pain. What a great healing method!

Where to put things? Better here, or over there? Do we have enough tables?  Food and drink generously donated by New Haven restaurants and real bathroom facilities, were relative luxuries on this grueling journey.

NamUS posters told the story before the families arrived. Their photos haunted me. I wondered what was their back story of which few spoke.

Families represented at event:

  • Evelyn Frisco- Missing since June 2004; New Haven, Contact New Haven Police- 203-946-6316- 5’2” Family present at event;
  • Jose Ortiz, Missing since December 2005- New Haven; Contact New Haven Police  203-946-6316; Family present at event;
  • Jerry Dolphin- 20 years old; Missing since October 1994- New Haven; Contact New Haven Police; Family present at event;
  • William Paul Smolinski, Jr – Missing since August 2004-Waterbury; Contact New Haven CT FBI 203-777-6311, Case # 62D-NH-44785; NamUS MP # 43;
  • Lisa Calvo- 40 years old; Missing since October 2005;  Height-4’11” Contact New Haven Police; Family present at event;
  • Bernadine Paul – 38 years old; Hispanic; Missing since June 2000; Contact Waterbury Police -203-574-6941; Case # 00-45074;                            NamUS MP # 392; ;
  • Ande Fan- Asian Male 5’4” Missing since August 2004- New Haven; Contact New Haven Police;
  • Marquita Jones – Missing since Summer of 2011- Hill area of  New Haven;  Contact New Haven Police;   5’ 2” Nicknames – “Keighia,” “Kecia,” “Luv.” Quita Luv
  • Mary E. Badaracco- 53 years old,  Missing since August 1984; Sherman, CT; Contact your local law enforcement Case # A84277483; NamUS MP # 303; Family came after event; $50,000 Reward for more information;
  • Janice K. Pocket- 7 years old, Missing since July 1973- Tolland, CT ;  Contact CT State Police 860-779-4940; Case # 000000014; NamUS # 2555;
  • Debra Lee Speckler- Missing since July 1968-Vernon CT: Contact Vernon Police Department – 860-872-9126 ext. 289; Case # C-3710-68-J;                NamUS MP # 5426;
  • Lisa Joy White – Missing since November 1974-Vernon, CT; Contact Vernon Police Department – 860-872-9126 ext. 289; Case # 000000019; NamUS MP # 2559
  • Alyssiah Wiley-  20 years old;  Previously Missing—in Bridgeport  Remains located in Trumbull, CT in May 2013; Mother Corrinna Martin attended event.

New families were especially forthcoming while speaking both publically and one on one. Corrinna spoke of “establishing an intimate relationship of cooperation with their law enforcement”; hopes to locate daughter Evelyn Frisco, long missing, before her mother, Janet dies.

Others spoke of the evils of drugs, how Jerry Dolphin was on the threshold of new ventures and how this event tearfully opened wounds; the quest to find Billy Smolinski and the importance of NamUS legislation.

Retired State Police officer Jerry Longo was visibly moved and couldn’t take his eyes off of former 7-year-old Janice Pocket’s poster- missing while looking for butterflies. He stated soberly to me, “I remember her. I worked this case.”

A wonderful give and take was noted between families, law enforcement and Cue Members.  A  make shift “Memory wall” was set up along the ancient 1920 brick edifice behind the Museum, consisting of quilted swatches of missing persons around the country as well as the vivid CUE Road Tour color collage with all of the faces of the missing emblazoned on the poster just waiting for Monica and hope to arrive at their stop!

The visuals were quite powerful; a custom-made multicolored ribbon and butterfly tree, yellow butterfly badges for families to wear and yellow balloons that went careering into the heavens to join others.1925292_735282959875593_6019599327779758457_n

As a new Coordinator, I marveled at the way CUE Center Founder, Monica Caison, was able to instantly engage new families and provide comfort. I tried to keep my distance when I saw this happen.  I too was able to do the same with guests and as a veteran homicide survivor. It made me feel so good!

My one regret was that I was unable to get a photo with Monica. There was no time to talk or bond with a new Coordinator, unfortunately.  We did tour the Museum together for a few minutes in which she enthusiastically took photos and interacted with staff.

An honorable mention must be given for her dedicated staff of volunteers who helped navigate. They make it all come together with good humor considering their many duties, fatigue,“ and the road ahead.”  Elisa, David and Janeanne were gracious, as was Harlan Chavis who parted by saying, “See ya’ at the Conference.”

No story would be complete without a postscript or two:

As I was just about to depart, Beth Profeta, daughter of missing Mary Badaracco, rolled down her car window and announced, “She was here for the event.” I identified myself, (as I had not seen her in a few years). She was frazzled, mad and disappointed that she had “gone off course and gotten lost.”  We spent the next hour or so talking at the end of the Complex’s driveway, staged a few photos on her car hood and up against “a mighty oak tree” of dear mother, Mary Badaracco.

Cars were whizzing up the driveway to other buildings except for a distinguished looking gentleman approaching, proudly wearing a CT State Police cap and riding an adult three-wheeled tricycle.  He introduced himself, struck up a conversation with us, said he lived up the hill and this was part of his “stomping grounds.” I can’t recall his name, but he did proudly share with us that he was 99 years old and rode his bike on the grounds daily!

AMEN! The perfect ending to a perfect day!

On the Road to Remember 2014 in Connecticut