I have spent the last almost 24 years looking for my missing son. He vanished into thin air one night in November 1996. We don’t have any idea why.
I have met many families and friends of the missing over the years at events.. I have kept in touch with many through social media but it’s not always been possible to continue to meet up and really connect.
However, lockdown due to Covid, created something positive! Working from home, the Missing People Charity kept the lights on for us in the UK. Weekly online Zoom meeting for families to meet up and chat in a safe space, facilitated a platform to allow us share our experience and form a bond. Community and communication are essential to help us know we are not alone and there are others who really do understand the strain and anxiety of ambiguous loss (Dr Pauline Boss). Keeping in touch, using online meeting apps, has brought us together in real time from around the globe creating a true feeling of community.
Regardless of which country you may be dealing with the uncertainty of a missing loved one, the emotions, the obstacles and journey are the same. Recently I reached out to contacts in America to help someone from the UK who has a family member missing in the States. The response was immediate caring & supportive with advice and offers of help with open arms.
Although we may often feel desolate and alone in our journey, we are not alone as there exists, albeit sadly, a huge community of people around the globe who understand this torment of ‘not knowing’.
An international approach is what the team at Locate International are putting into practice. Run by ex law enforcement offices with a impressive resume of knowledge and skills around the missing issue, teamed up with several universities in the UK and overseas. Taking cases that stagnated into cold cases, under their guidance, criminology students will review to see if all possible leads have been considered. Taking any information back to the appropriate police forces to consider further investigation.
It’s heartening to know there is support for this issue which is vast and encompasses many issues behind the individual cases - some leave because they need to and some are unexplained. Either way it is a drain on police resources and basically a social issue needing grass roots intervention in many cases. Police can’t fully apply themselves to these cases hence the hopeful support provided by services surrounding the issues might help stem that tide.
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