Archive for category Missing Persons
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”
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.
As 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 Cold Case 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.
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
To date, NamUs, The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, lists approximately 164 registered missing from Connecticut. Other sources are claiming 300+. The true number may be somewhere in between.
ALL families in Connecticut that have a missing person or unsolved homicide are invited to attend. The event is FREE and open to the public.
Please bring pictures, posters, or any mementoes of your loved one to share with the public and the media.
Cue Center for Missing Persons registered cases from Connecticut include:
- Bernadine Paul, from Waterbury, age 38. Missing since year 2000. Circumstances – She went missing at a retail store after making a bank withdrawal.
- Evelyn Frisco, from New Haven, age 42. Missing since 2004. Circumstances – Following a court appearance she was never seen again. (The nature of the court appearance is unknown to this writer.)
- Mary Badarraco, from Sherman, age 53. Missing since 1984. Circumstances – Former husband, Dominic Badarraco, is a person of interest in this case and was also more recently charged with bribing a judge on unrelated charges.
- William P. Smolinski, Jr. from Waterbury, age 31. Missing since 2004. Circumstances – Last Seen at his home in the vicinity of the 100 block of Holly St. in Waterbury, CT. All of his personal belongings were left behind.
Amid the backdrop of tradition, respect, proud history of service, and numerous collectible keepsakes, we hold our On the Road to Remember event on the grounds of the Connecticut State Police Museum (The oldest State Police force in the country!)
Connecticut State Police Museum
294 Colony Street Meriden, CT – (Leo J. Mulcahy Complex)
Director: Jerry Longo
Event with the Cue Center Staff and Families begins at 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Museum Tours available beginning at 9:30 a.m. to approximately 2:00 p.m.
Museum Phone: Call 203.440.3858 for appointments and tour information.
Contact On-Line Form: http://www.cspmuseum.org/contact/onlineform.asp
Media has been invited to interview family members and bring more awareness to all missing person’s cases from our area.
Join us to remember ALL of Connecticut’s MISSING!
The Legacy of Leah Toby Roberts and the “On the Road to Remember Tour“ with the CUE Center for Missing Persons 2014
“There are no good-byes, wherever we are, you’ll always be in my heart”. Anonymous
GONE MISSING at age 23! Leah was an adventurous young woman from Durham, North Carolina who was inspired and grieving. If this combination was flirting with disaster only Leah, her perpetrator(s), and perhaps the well honed experience of Monica Caison, Founder of the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for the Missing would know in their heart of hearts.
Leah Roberts’ story is not a story in the sense of entertainment, rather, it is a true account with certain known facts, but also shrouded in mystery, possibilities, hypotheses, innuendo and lots of unsubstantiated speculation. The fact that CUE Center volunteers decided to “form a caravan” on a grueling 14-day trip to retrace Leah’s route and inform the media of all those who were missing while performing this search, is the heart and soul of the “On Road to Remember Tour” and the reason for this blog.
What is the Road to Remember Tour? In the Words of Monica Caison:
“On the Road to Remember, National tour ” is an awareness campaign focusing on missing persons cases that have gone cold or have not received appropriate media coverage on the local level – much less the national level.. The tour, which travels through many states annually, provides that attention. Each year particular regions of the country are selected with “more interest growing “along the way.
In all cases of missing people, it is vital to inform the public of the missing person’s circumstances quickly and to disseminate that information to the media and the public. In most cases where details are released immediately to the public through an organized campaign, the public brings forth information that aids in the investigation and or the location of the victim. The media plays a significant role in getting the word out on the behalf of the missing person and should be recognized as a vital resource to any investigation.
Interest in many of the cases we have featured in previous tours has been renewed. The media have learned about local cases they were unaware of; case investigations have been renewed, and searches conducted. Information has resulted in new leads in some cases, and has even helped identify an unknown decedent and in 2008 solved a cold case of twenty-eight years. Finally, with each tour, some of the missing persons featured have been found through various efforts. This is the main reason the Cue Center conducts the tour despite the toll it takes on our all-volunteer staff.
It is the belief of the CUE Center for Missing Persons that all investigations, the public, volunteers and the media should work in collaboration on cases involving missing children and adults; until this happens, their will continue to be cases of the missing labeled “cold” or “inactive.”
WHAT IS A RALLY STOP?
A rally stop is a place that is pre set by anyone who wishes to host one for suggested missing person(s). Once a location is secured CUE will inform the host of time and date of arrival. Each stop is one hour and a half long for whatever program the host wishes to have and feature; this is the time to bring an awareness to your community of missing persons.
Returning to Leah Roberts:
Events and known facts will be listed here and perhaps some of the “theories” if only for the purpose of creating legitimate leads, jogging memories or “growing a conscience;”
- Vital Statistics: Caucasian Female; DOB – 7-23-1976; 5’ 6” 130 pounds; sandy blonde hair blue eyes;
- Distinguishing Marks: Pierced ears, dimples, Surgical scar on right hip, metal rod- femur –secondary to previous car accident
- Habits- Lifestyle – Vegetarian, smoker, Fluent Spanish speaker, strong southern dialect;
- Leah spent much time at Cup O’ Joe’s Coffee House
- One person on-line had this to say about this spot on Hillsborough Street: “Well, I spend my Saturday afternoons at Cup A Joe on Hillsborough Street. I sit in the back and smoke cigars and work on my laptop. To me, it’s comfortable and the coffee is strong and the cookies are good, but the clientele can be a little weird. They are interesting to look at, though.” (Driving distance from Durham to Hillsborough is 14 miles). This may have been the correct location;
- Leah dabbled in poetry, and was influenced in outlook at that time in her life by poet, Author, and Journalist, Jack Kerouac. His public persona and his talented works were a contradiction in terms. His 1951 book ‘”On the Road” no doubt inspired Leah as she set out on her adventure to “find herself and her true calling in life after many losses. (From Biography.com: “On the Road,” a barely fictionalized account of these road trips packed with sex, drugs and jazz. Kerouac’s writing of On the Road in 1951 is the stuff of legend: He wrote the entire novel over one three-week bender of frenzied composition, on a single scroll of paper that was 120 feet long.” Jack died in 1969 of alcoholism and an abdominal hemorrhage at age 47.)
When Last Seen:
- Wearing several pieces of gold, diamond and gem jewelry including 14 carat gold earrings, .3 caret ruby stones, 3 rings on her right hand, 14 caret white gold ring set with .45 carat emerald cut diamond with 2 .07 carat baguette diamonds. (Jewelry may have belonged to her deceased Mother)
- Leah left college in Durham, North Carolina during her senior year –Year 2000;
- She left on a cross-country trip on March 9, 2000 and arriving om the west coast in just three days;
- Leah did not share her specific plans (in true adventurous spirit), but did notify her roommate that she was not suicidal;
- Her 1993 white Jeep Cherokee was found down an embankment wrecked without her as driver or passenger ~ 90 miles north of Seattle; The jeep was located on a logging road in Whatcom County, Washington (setting from a Kerouac novel) nine days after she left North Carolina;
- Belongings found and identified: Cat Food, guitar, compact discs, checkbook , movie ticket stub, and $2,500 tucked in the pocket of a pair of pants, credit card and driver’s license,
- Other Observations: No cat was located or signs of foul play, blankets covered the broken windows (as cover from the elements “for someone”);
- Reportedly she spent just $100.00 in eight days of travel;
- Sightings: A witness supposedly observed Leah and called in a tip from at a Texaco gas Station. The man claimed he and his wife observed her 30 moles from the scene of the crash. She was disoriented and did not know her identity. He abruptly ended the call, perhaps out of panic. Police feel this tip was credible. Reports of the Investigation Discovery show, “Disappeared” revealed that her Jeep may have been tampered with– to accelerate on its own;
- In a Foothills Gazette.com article, Monica Caison is quoted as saying, “She could have been abducted as she walked out of there or that she ran into foul play and they staged it.”
- “Theories” & Speculation: Picked up by a passing motorist while injured and disoriented on Mount baker Highway with an unknown assailant driving her vehicle where foul play ensued; Abduction & Kidnapping; Leah “staged the crash and decided to start a new life”; Leah wrecked her jeep, hitchhiked to get help, and was kidnapped by someone, Leah wrecked her jeep, hit her head, and is alive with some sort of amnesia.
Leah was kidnapped sometime before her car crashed, and the kidnapper crashed her car.
- Leah told two men at a bar-restaurant at lunch she was travelling alone; The perpetrator is a mechanic who tampered with her car and fled to Canada with-without her; She spent the night “in nature” and was removed from the car; A sexual sadist was involved as there was no robbery. And on and on…. In the past, Leah’s sister, Kara, stated, “Leah was a young woman who was lost. You know by the time Leah was 22 she had lost both of her parents and here she is on the verge of graduating from college and I think she just really felt lost and didn’t have a lot of direction and I feel like she took this trip as a soul-searching trip…I think she just needed to go and get away to clear her mind.”
- Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office
Det. Mark Joseph
Whatcom County Dispatch Center
Tour Reviews from previous years:
…….. “a success, a blessing, “a perpetual voice for missing persons everywhere.”
“This group of compassionate people who work harder than I ever imagined, stays on top of every detail, and at the same time, has time for the family, letting them know they are being heard, and helps in guiding them through what many have already endured first hand.” (Judi Jordan)
We honor Leah wherever she may be in 2014. We will never give up searching for her! It matters not what her reasons were to experience her adventure in the manner she did. She was a free spirit, wanting to enjoy life until evil stepped in her path and the occurrence of circumstances beyond her control. The Community United Effort stands read to take action and mend hearts all across the nation for missing persons.
I am so proud to be standing with CUE during their stop in New Haven, Connecticut this year as we honor 2014 National Honoree, Donna Ingersoll, missing from Waubesha, Minnesota since 1990.
PLEASE participate and support the Road to Remember Tour when it comes to your geographic location this year! It is vital to recognize these families and to create increased awareness such that loved ones can, at last be located and a sense of resolution achieved.”
IN THE AFTERMATH OF CRIME: For families of the missing and unsolved homicides who need assistance with completing a customized Victim Impact Statement, See link and contact me
“No One Stepped Into Their Path”- the Prophecy of Monica Caison and the CUE Center for Missing Persons
“The silence of ignorance can be deafening and therefore we must break it whenever the opportunity is presented.” Donna R. Gore
The book “The Road Less Traveled” has made publishing history, with more than 10 years on The New York Times bestseller list, sales of more than 7 million copies translation into more than 23 languages. It’s been 36 years since its inception into the publishing world. Author M. Scott Peck’s timeless message concerns the nature of loving relationships and helps to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self. Its opening line is “Life is difficult and the journey to spiritual growth is a long one.” ‘So true…
Although books have their place, I submit to you that no author has made the impact as compared to “the school of hard knocks” on a person-to-person level, touching the flesh, the hearts and souls of humanity than Monica Caison., Founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons.
Monica is a warrior in tune with the woods, the waterways, the alleys, the streets, ultimately the ramshackle lives of those ho “go missing” for inexplicable and heart wrenching reasons. The truly amazing attributes of the CUE Center for the Missing rest with their founding principles and the lack of judgment. No matter what the circumstance, the Cue Center is there to serve.
Particular phrases come to mind – self sacrifice, going way beyond the extra mile …”colorblindness,” volunteerism at its best, compassion, lots of tough love, strategic coordination, crying and laughing in the same conversation, never leaving a person without a “port in the storm.”” Never say never,” “All things are possible with the right plan of action.”
With an eye toward the future as all good CEOs should have, the organization not only carries on, but thrives with dedication and heart, including new projects on the horizon that will increase visibility and education, changing attitudes and putting the focus where it needs to be… on the victims and their families, as human beings deserving of respect, attention and the full complement of resources afforded everyone.
Offering a wide range of free services, CUE has since helped more than 9,000 families in what is often the most confusing and desperate times of their lives. In addition to providing services for the missing and their families, CUE offers college internships and youth mentoring programs.
CUE is entirely donation funded and staffed by volunteers, including Monica Caison, who takes no salary from the organization.
What was simply a dream, name and purpose, is now a nationally-recognized center that answers hundreds of calls for help each year.
Donations to CUE Center are gratefully accepted at their website: http://ncmissingpersons.org
10th Annual National Missing Persons Conference
The Theme: “Breaking the Silence” Victim No More” speaks to breaking the silence by setting family members free to tell their story, educating, the public, law enforcement, and other agencies who have pre-conceived ideas about what it’s like to be a victim, to make the effort to really know who is missing and to communicate with the people who can provide the most assistance without regard to past history.
There is a liberation that a victim experiences and a sense of community and safeguarding when you first “reveal your painful soul” to an audience who well knows what you have experienced. Rather than “living in a fishbowl,” you feel a sense of relief like never before. I bore witness to this in the new connections made this year at the 10th Annual Conference (always a reunion for repeat attendees).
There is always that person who walks in the door not knowing anything about the CUE, having come as a result of a news story, an advertisement, an electronic link, a personal recommendation. No matter how they arrive, it doesn’t take long to feel the magic of camaraderie and Southern hospitality, regardless from what state members travel.
I am thinking of a woman who may have been tormented for answers concerning her mother who tragically went missing by a combination of forces, an athletic spirit for hiking, an iron will to “do it her way” and worsening dementia. Evidently, this was a lethal combination. Does it make it any less heartbreaking that she was participating in a sport she truly loved? Does it make it worse that her daughter had plans to implement her “plan of action” concerning her mother’s worsening memory next week, when next week never came? I do not know. What I do know is that she spoke publicly, seemingly “blossomed like a flower” and came to her own peaceful conclusion with her former major regrets.
Presentations at CUE Center for Missing Persons Conference
- Raymond Bechard- Author, Producer, Human Rights Advocate and Human Trafficking Expert;
- David Sullivan – Retired Sheriff, Lead Instructor for Ground Search & Rescue;
- Dr. Scott Bonn – Professor of Criminology, Media Expert, Author;
- Sheryl McCollum –Law Enforcement Professional, Director of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute
- Peter Hyatt- Civil Investigator and Statement Analysis Expert;
- Gaetane Borders - Psychologist, Writer, Public Speaker and President of “Peas in their Pods”
- Elaine Pagliaro- Assistant Executive Director of the Henry C. Lee Forensics Institute, Forensic Scientist and Attorney;
- Karen Beaudin- Author, Advocate for Cold case Units, Public Speaker and Survivor of the Missing;
- Holly Hughes- Former Senior Assistant DA Fulton County GA; & Legal Analyst;
A good ending to an experience is like the icing on a cake or the ribbon on your favorite gift. Monica delivered just that, as she spoke from the heart about the epidemic of runaway teens.
As a group they tend to evolve into people they would otherwise never become, if not for forces beyond their control; sexual assault, rape, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution escalating to human trafficking, misdemeanor crimes and even felonies in the escape from and the running to something as a means of survival.
Her refrain in telling us many illustrative stories was “No One Stepped into their Path” meaning that no one offered a non-judgmental helping hand to show them a different way, show them their value as a human being with potential and ensure their safety from harm’s way. She seldom took credit as she spoke. Rather, she told of how she was able to peel away the layers, get to the heart of the matter, establish trust and a kernel of understanding, and in the process creating many life long bonds.
It’s like kicking the can down the road. Who will stop and do something about a bad situation rather than make excuses? You can rest assured that Monica Caison and her team will always step into the path when needed!
I, Donna Gore, am the CUE Center State Outreach Coordinator for the State of Connecticut, and I know I will be stepping into the path of many lives in the future!