Looking Past the Word “Missing:” 2017 National Missing Persons Conference

Luke 2:7 says about Mary giving birth to Jesus, “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn” (New King James Version).

Such is the case with many missing persons. There is no room at the inn, figuratively or literally.

People on the fringes of life didn’t ask to be there. They came into this world, supposedly with an equal chance, until the forces of life were thrust upon them. In past generations, it was doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief as the saying goes. Today, our youth aspire to the tech world, financial services, and emergency services. But what if the world has not prepared you to function properly, despite your dreams? What happens in the aftermath?

We become the casualties of circumstances, as CUE Center for Missing Persons Founder, Monica Caison so aptly observes.  In 2017, there are so many challenges in life. The pace of life, the stress, the expectations are grueling. For those who do not have the wherewithal, the resources, the education, or the support of family and friends, they are destined to get lost in the black hole of existence. What might befall them is the daily reality of what makes the CUE Center for Missing Persons tick.

There are categories of those who go missing; those whose life ends by homicide, those afflicted with mental illness, those who are homeless, those who are kicked out of the house because of their sexual orientation, those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, those who are homeless. One example is veterans, the elderly, and those with chronic medical issues.

Some of the realities include families are often ill-equipped to help once a missing person with a “casualty of life problem” arises.  Such victims begin the path of no return and become part of the escalating missing person pool.  Government assistance is hopelessly bureaucratic with access very difficult.  People are poor, live in rural areas and they do not know what to do, nor how to access information. Often they are embarrassed to ask for assistance. Many people are prideful and decide to fend for themselves. However, when we examine these realities, many are excuses.  Families want the problem to just go away and put forth a minimum of effort. Homeless shelters warehouse people for a few hours and provide band-aid measures like a meal. Counselors expect homicide survivors to heal in six sessions because that’s all that insurance will cover. Men are literally left out in the cold, even when they choose to seek shelter, as women with children are seen as the priority. The list goes on and on.

Embracing Dignity and Courage

These were the lasting impressions as we ended the final morning session of the 2017 CUE Center for Missing Persons Annual Conference, “Embracing Dignity and Courage.”   There were multiple examples of this theme permeating the Conference.

The CUE Center proves dignity and a safe haven for families who are left to their own devices without direction or hope. We NEVER make false promises that their loved one will definitely be located.  However, they are educated and given the tools to carry on in a family centered, the non-profit organization whose skills, dedication and longevity are unmatched.

Victims become survivors and advocates in the long haul nature in the missing persons arena. Without even realizing, there is power in belonging to a club in which no one wants membership. It may take a few months or a year or more. Such families move through their grief and take on the task of guiding others emotionally, providing a lifeline to new members when they are emotionally ready.

No contribution is too small or goes unnoticed in the collective sense. The commitment runs the gamut from tracking calls, to creating vivid informational posters for all to see, to performing case management, holding fundraising events, doing promotion, public relations, conference planning, coordinating ground searches, gathering search and rescue resources and equipment, collaborating with local law enforcement, training police departments and school children alike about aspects of missing persons, recruiting State Outreach Coordinators across the country and countless other functions, matching talent with tasks.

The Victims Hour

You can hear a pin drop.  Selected family members are invited to courageously tell their story of their loved one’s disappearance in order to provide a sense of release, camaraderie and to illustrate that the club has many members and they too share the need for a lifeline and a means to just keep afloat.

Peggy Carr’s case was the first one that gave national notice to the CUE Center. Mother Penny Britton gave a moving portrayal of their story so many years ago and the legacy built since 1988  http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/index.php?s=Peggy+Carr

Monica Button, the mother of Nieko Lisi who went missing in Addison, New York in September 2011, gave the most heart wrenching, angry, grief-stricken, obsession driven account of her efforts for justice. Neiko, who by all accounts was a good son, but with imperfections, remains missing. http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/index.php?s=Nieko+Lisi

Cynthia Day’s recovered remains ended a 26-year wait for her family as a result of comparing cases. The discovery of a box of bones and a thumbprint that may yield a sense of resolution for the multi-generational family who appeared before the conferenced audience.   http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/index.php?s=cynthia+Day+

The National Candlelight Service

This is a take your breath away event combining spirituality, prayer, music, inspirational speeches, acknowledging award recipients, and families who are on the Wall of Remembrance. Hope is Everlasting!  This year, as in the past, the skies opened up adjacent to the Cape Fear River, mixed with tear drops. But the ever-resourceful staff literally picked up the ceremony and accouterments and we continued at the hotel.

How many people do you know who live in a town with a population of 106,500 (2016-17) who also have earned the respect of law enforcement and other community leaders that take the time to personally welcome us and provide an escort by the Sheriff’s Department?  Our escort included sirens blaring and cars race along the entire route to our Riverside Candlelight Vigil. It is a sight to behold! However, it demonstrates the pride and respect shown to Monica Caison, missing persons’ families and all those involved.

Presentations and Classes

Among the many impressive presentations, was the Norma Peterson’s Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit. The Document the Abuse program, addresses the needs of all intimate partner violence victims. My heart was filled with pride to note that Norma Peterson, the sister in law of Stacy Peterson, was now carrying the torch to benefit others in a much wider scope!  http://documenttheabuse.com

And yes, children are involved. They are our future to carry on the organization, and the mission of good works for missing persons, good works for all in their daily lives!

Monica CaisonQuote-

“Only in the Beat of the heart can a count be measured, similar to the step one takes in a search for the lost.” 

Donate to the Community United Effort Center for Missing Persons-  (2016 Top Rated Great Non-Profit) http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/donate/




To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity.Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.com


“Red and Rosy Versus Red Flags”- The Story of Intimate Partner Violence Behind Closed Doors




There are crosses to bear and then THERE ARE CROSSES TO BEAR!   One never knows how life will turn out as a parent.  You have hopes and dreams for your children; you seemingly do all the right things to raise your children to put them on a good path. Your children go on their way; they pursue their interests, marry and carry on happily.  However, when children realize that they have made a bad decision that cannot be rectified, they often try to keep it together, to “paint a rosy picture,” for their parents and the world, to save face, not to disappoint those who sacrificed for them. Friends often do not share the secrets.  There are red flags – control, isolation, belittling, abuse, and the ultimate- the act of murder.  This is an all too common and heartbreaking real life drama for which no one is ever prepared!

Such is the situation for thousands of families….

However, among them, one particular family is making a difference for others after the loss of their beloved daughter Liza to intimate partner homicide.  Doug Warner of Charleston, South Carolina, Founder of Liza’s Lifeline http://lizaslifelinesc.org/what-we-do/ is such a man, a father who grieves.  Through his loss, he and his family carry on by paying it forward to the next victim in order to pave the way for a real opportunity for safety, an opportunity Liza didn’t have when it counted most.


Listen to the Podcast

  • Public Service Announcement –Intimate Partner Violence by Amy Robinson
  • Introduction to our guest
  • The beginning of the story… Thanksgiving 2003, “A mother knows….”
  • Albany New York and setting her sights on New York City- a blossoming career
  • An unwilling husband “With issues”
  • Smothering, a rape and telling police, “No, I can handle this”
  • Delilah’s commentary on the epidemic of IPV, the red flags and the benefits of using the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit; and an issue that is passed from generation to generation.  “The circumstances very rarely change, but the way we react, that’s where we have to come together and make the changes… “
  • Promises not to tell Dad…and seeking temporary refuge
  • Wednesday to Friday– in restraints, checking out of a mental health facility and then murder
  • “I had a feeling…” There should be a law that children should always outlive their parents”
  • Russell – a trail of misdeeds and violence in his past
  • In hindsight-The importance of background checks
  • That poor family …  and then we became “that poor family”
  • A talented woman with literally a thousand clients as a beautician
  • A history of Liza’s Lifeline – How people can work together to accomplish a great organization
  • A lesson- How organizations can coalesce versus competing against each other
  • Fantastic organizations working well together
  • Getting a person out of harm’s way QUICKLY…Whatever it takes
  • Delilah on “filling out the paperwork and then getting sent out on the street”
  • South Carolina is still the number one state in the nation for homicide against women…and it continues
  • Tri County Victims Council – Their job doesn’t end at 5 pm…It’s 24/7
  • A stark contrast- there’s nothing in certain counties versus the Medical University of South Carolina
  • Helping people and pointing them in the right direction makes the difference… An inspirational story to illustrate the point
  • Other good works associated with Liza’s Lifeline…
  • Pet Helpers… What’s it all about?
  • My Sister’s House and their pet program: http://mysistershouse.org/about-us/
  • http://lizaslifelinesc.org/ways-to-give/ongoing-fundraisers/
  • Discussion of major fundraisers via Zonta International http://www.zontaofcharleston.com/zonta-international/
  • Golf, golf, golf -It’s NOT easy to coordinate a tournament
  • What does the future look like for Liza’s Lifeline?
  • Doug discusses his feelings re lack of a court trial- “He took care of it himself…”
  • Delilah commends Doug and his work… “So often a survivor pulls it all together to pay it forward to help the next person”
  • Ladyjustice comments on the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre…
  • Ladyjustice asks for Doug’s advice regarding spotting the red flags
  • Doug’s parting story- My grandfather beat my grandmother, my Mom beat my Dad…and it stops with me” – EDUCATION IS NEEDED
  • Another PSA by Amy Robinson


Contact Information:

Liza’s Lifeline

PO Box 80546

Charleston, SC 29416

Email: lizaslifeline@gmail.com



Questions, Questions, Questions


  • What was the timeline of this crime?
  • Has the incidence and circumstances of domestic violence changed over the years?
  • What was the mindset and behaviors of Liza’s husband Russell months prior to and leading up to her murder?
  • What was the measure of respect and love for Liza that became so clear at her funeral?
  • What were the reasons for the change in their relationship?
  • What profession assisted Doug to begin Liza’s Lifeline in an expedient manner?
  • What makes Liza’s Lifeline unlike from other DV organizations?
  • Why can’t other organizations do what Doug’s organization
  • does?
  • What services do Survivors of Homicide offer in South Carolina?
  • What is the significance of pets with domestic violence?
  • Who is Jane Polk?
  • What is involved with their GALA in January?
  • What red flags do we all need to be aware of?
  • What are the “startling statistics” regarding domestic violence/IPV?

“Red and Rosy Versus Red Flags”-

The Story of  Intimate Partner Violence Behind Closed Doors


What’s Love Got to Do with “It” (With Murder?)


Audrey Carlson’s perseverance, positive outlook and spiritual intuitiveness defy the hard facts of her life…She is a mother….  a mother of two daughters …and now is a mother of one earthly child. However, don’t let that fool you…. Her daughter, Elizabeth Anne, maintains a vibrancy in Audrey’s life and the lives of many others in so many ways!

The details of the planned murder, which occurred in 2002 are devastating and beyond imagination.  Audrey’s words frequently harkened back to the refrain, “We’ll never know….. about the murder” …..

HOWEVER, we do know “the greatest disease of mankind is a lack of love for children,” as stated by Audrey and internationally known Bernie Segal, MD, and author. Need we say more about the person who helped shape the aftermath for Audrey and her family? http://www.gaiamtv.com/video/exceptional-patients-dr-bernie-siegel

Join us on “Shattered Lives” for a love filled hour… Yes… Love….as it appears that the Carlson’s have moved past anger and consciously chosen to focus on the positive!          How wonderful!


  • Introduction to “Shattered Lives” via use of Domestic Violence PSAs  by Amy Robinson


    Audrey Carlson

  • http://imaginepublicity.com/2013/10/04/voice-actress-amy-robinson-creates-domestic-violence-psas/ 1-800-789-SAFE
  • http://www.documenttheabuse.com/index.html
  • Introduction to our guest
  • “Painting a picture” of who Elizabeth was as a person
  • The beginnings of a dance career beginning at age two…
  • “Coming alive” with musical theater…
  • A senior in high school – a pivotal moment … A frustration converted to a reality via a father’s memory
  • http://elizabethannecarlsonscholarship.com/application.html
  • A scholarship is based on talent…. Not “need”
  • Animal interests too!
  • No “full ride scholarships” in the theater arts…. If you’re not a child prodigy
  • A local talent explosion going on to Hartt School of Music   and many others
  • http://harttweb.hartford.edu/about/default.aspx
  • The infrastructure and operations of Elizabeth’s Foundation…
  • United Way of Central and Northeastern CT  http://www.unitedwayinc.org/give
  • #AG1164
  • Contact Information and Donation Information:  http://elizabethannecarlsonscholarship.com/contact.html
  • Synchronicity from  a caring  Scholarship Candidate
  • Carolyn Kirsch at age 72…   http://www.broadwayworld.com/connecticut/article/Newington-Mainstages-DRIVING-MISS-DAISY-Starring-Carolyn-Kirsch-Opens-This-Weekend-20120911
  • The Belle K. Ribicoff Prize… http://harttweb.hartford.edu/news/default.aspx?story=8152&year=2012
  • Free workshops for students in high school, college with Carolyn teaching                     the “triple threat” sing, dance, and act…
  • Darryl Tooks-  Teacher & Performing Artist: http://www.newenglandmorning.com/artist.htm
  • Audrey: “I never question her presence …and she is the fuel within me”
  • Murder on that fateful day, May 22, 2002…
  • An appointment  with the psychiatrist – depression and a breakup
  • Jonathan Carney – the Veterinarian
  • What was the significance of Kansas State University?
  • “Accepting” the break-up in February
  • No one believed…. the threat
  • During court a revelation about a former act of violence with a former girlfriend – RED FLAG!!!
  • Domestic Violence PSA – So appropriate at this juncture….
  • Delilah’s commentary about intimate partner violence and the planning aspect
  • Discussion of red flags and fear….
  • Audrey’s offer to go to any school to speak on healthy and unhealthy relationships
  • Back to the scene of the crime… The circumstances-  pockets stuffed with bullets
  • Looking for a passport… a license gone and panic…
  • Going upstairs into  the Master bath
  • A sister’s assistance….
  • Empty, dead eyes and a chase…
  • If someone really wants to be dead…. and a “Thorazine story”
  • A killer’s words…. “I don’t know why this is such a big surprise… “
  • Something terrible has happened you need to come home….Not remembering much that year
  • A father’s coping…
  • Integrative health and healing by Bernie Segal – “You take all the shit in your life, you sprinkle compost on it and you watch what grows….   It’s what we chose to do with it…
  • Discussion of choices and…. an epiphany in her bathroom
  • The spirit word and Elizabeth’s energy…a message
  • The decision to not let Jonathan win….
  • Audrey’s vulnerabilities…. and the Carlson’s coping and adapting
  • Nothing trumps LOVE…Work with Bernie Segal
  • A discussion of evil and DNA… beginning in the womb
  • Bernie’s first assignment to Audrey…
  • A public speaking assignment with the  DOC- SOH Voices program with prisoners
  • A dog’s way of protecting Elizabeth
  • Prisoner’s reports of love …
  • The aftermath…  of her speaking engagement
  • The Happiness Club created by Bernie Segal?  What’s it about?
  • http://happinessclub.com/
  • Let Your Voice Be Heard”  Final DV-IPV PSA


Questions Related to this Radio Broadcast

  • What were the family dynamics of Elizabeth and Leslie Carlson?
  • What were Elizabeth’s double- major career aspirations?
  • Why was it so important to establish a scholarship for students of performing arts?
  • Currently what is the amount of the scholarships offered?
  • What is so unique about the credentials for students in the performing arts in the Greater Hartford area?
  • How much of the funds go directly to students?
  • What was the fundraising offer- workshop and what did it involve?
  • What was the perpetrator doing prior to the murder?
  • Why did Elizabeth decide to break up?
  • What was the pivotal statement-confession that was ignored by professionals?
  • What were Elizabeth’s career plans that never took place?
  • What was Audrey’s advice regarding “trusting your gut” and how to stay safe?
  • What were the criminal acts committed before the murder?
  • What did Leslie do that was so dangerous?
  • What did the Carlson’s neighbor do?
  • Why was this not considered a traditional domestic violence act?
  • What was Audrey’s message to her family while holding each other?
  • According to Bernie Segal, Why do people do bad things?
  • What was the second magical spiritual happening including a bridge?
  • What was Audrey’s ultimate message to prisoners?


The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.





Holding My Hand Through Hell: A Review

“Hey baby it’s a mean ol’ world…

‘Gotta keep your feet on the ground…

‘Gotta have a heart like Jesus…

When the devil come to knock you down…

Trust what’s inside you…

And head’s up for the wrecking ball…

Head’s up for the wrecking ball!”

(Singer-Songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman)

When the trees in your personal forest are so thick with dysfunction and terror… When a propped window held open by a screwdriver is the difference between life and death… When your world is surrounded by constant death threats and acts of violence… What can you do?

Susan Murphy, the “little girl lost” took charge of the situation to rescue her mother. Little did she know at her tender age… in the process of her personal nightmare she would grow up to build a legacy saving thousands of other victims in the grip of intimate partner and family violence for years to come…

To the outside world, hers was the happy home of a decorated police officer. In reality, Susan took on the protector role to shield her mother as best she could… ending in the ultimate acts of murder and suicide committed by her cop monster-father.

Navigating such a childhood consisted of making deals with God in between questioning his existence while others chose to ignore.

“Holding My Hand Through Hell” is so much more than just one women’s story of domestic violence. It is the epitome of hope, courage, strength and survival against all odds.  “The Hell book” is a journey like no other, as told in riveting detail through the words of a child…turned woman.

Like a mismatched tapestry, there is a richness and simplicity in her tale…  But, evil is always in the shadows.

This book is replete with examples of “survival of the fittest” overcoming terror for yet another instance…until the next time, keeping us on “high alert” from the first to the last page… The devastation is palpable, as Susan keeps moving forward regardless of the cost.

As the ultimate survivor, Susan takes her readers into the most intimate places of her existence. As an adult, she does her best to seek stability and sanity as a “regular member of society.” However, the house of horrors always lives within, as she finds comfort and love…in “all the wrong places”, continuing to suffer incredible losses along her path.

As an author, Murphy-Milano is masterful in painting a picture with great depth, emotion and vulnerability. The reader, is literally transformed, viscerally shaken and forever changed… trying to fathom how the unbelievable events are indeed true… but they are….  Everyone who reads “Holding My Hand Through Hell” will come away with their own personal indelible message- guaranteed!

Susan Murphy Milano is a one of a kind role model for victims of violent crime. Her greatest achievement – her own survival… couched in the painful knowledge that she was unable to save her mother in the end… in spite of Herculean efforts. She survived and taught the masses how to survive…and come out alive…in an arena where even angels fear to tread.

To learn more about Susan Murphy Milano and her work, please visit the following sites:





HOLDING MY HAND THROUGH HELL can be ordered from

Ice Cube Press,


Barnes & Noble

and all other online book retailers as well as through your local book stores.