The 10th Annual National Missing Persons Tour Dates: October 3rd thru 12th
SEE BELOW FOR ROUTE, SCHEDULE (TIMES AND DATES), FEATURED CASE LINEUP AND MORE…..
This year’s honoree is Michael “Austin Davis”, Missing from Jacksonville, Florida
2013 On The Road To Remember Tour Press Release HERE
Tour: North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama
It’s that time again when the CUE Center for Missing Persons begins their annual awareness campaign concerning missing person cases across the country. The route each year is designed from the request that come in and once the addresses are complete dates, times of arrival for rally stops will be announced. Route submissions are close at this time unless a request is literally along the tour travel. Anyone interested volunteering, sponsorship or hosting a stop should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (910) 232-1687 (910) 343-1131
WHAT IS A RALLY STOP?
A rally stop is a place that is pre set by anyone who wishes to host one “see below” for suggested 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 your time to bring an awareness to your community of missing persons.
WHAT ARE SOME IDEAS FOR A RALLY STOP?
Candle light or prayer vigils, clothes line display project, lantern launch
Balloon release, flower toss, butterfly release, roadside displays or demonstrations
Display Board, Banners, Signs, Marques
Guest Speakers; law enforcement, town/state dignitaries, community leaders, pastor, etc.
Tribute performances (vocal or dance)
Tables set up for displays of missing persons photos and information
Public event or safety activities
Invite the families of unsolved homicide, missing, public, family, friends and media (our team will aid in media coverage)
The most important thing is to be creative in your rally stop
WHAT TYPE OF LOCATIONS HAVE BEEN USED FOR RALLY STOPS?
Police – Sheriff or police departments
Government agencies, i.e. Mayor, town hall
Parking lots of stores that have frontage or businesses alike
Home of the families of the missing
Parks of any kind or large grassy areas
Local churches, schools, community buildings
National Tour Purpose and Inspiration
The annual tour was created to generate new interest in cold cases of missing people across our nation. The inspiration came in 2004 from the case of North Carolina college student Leah Roberts, who had gone on a cross-country trip of self-exploration. Her wrecked and abandoned vehicle was found, but Leah is still missing. Leah’s case went cold and interest faded until CUE volunteers set out on a grueling 14-day trip to retrace her route and inform the media of all those who were missing in the path of the tour. In the years to follow, it only seemed right to keep hope alive after families across the country voiced the need for more help and supported the tour idea.
National Tour Objective
The national road tour, called “On the Road to Remember,” is an awareness campaign that focuses 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.
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 has 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. And finally, each tour some of the missing featured have been found from various efforts, which is the main reason we conduct 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 DO I NEED TO SUBMIT MY MISSING PERSON
All vital stats on missing person
Agency and law enforcement contact numbers and web sites concerning missing person
Written consent for your missing person to be featured in the national tour line up
Date & time of Stop/Hosted By Address City
Stop address’s listed below
10/03/13 at 10:30 AM Hosted by Harlan Chavis- Laurinburg Sheriff Dept- 212 Biggs Street- Laurinburg, NC 28353
10/03/13 at 3:30 PM Hosted by Buddy Powell- Phyllis Memorial Garden-310 Ash St -Woodland, NC 27897
Morgan Harrngton | Alexis Murphy | Missing/Unsolved
10/04/13 at 2:00 PM Hosted by Save The Next Girl 1147 Keys Chruch Rd Shipman, VA 22971
10/04/13 at 7:00 PM Hosted by Beverly Barnhill – Century Automotive 808 North Main St Lexington, NC 27292
10/05/2013 at 10:00 AM Hosted by Rick Morrison Corner of Corporate and International 4601 Corporate Drive Concord, NC 28027
10/05/13 at 2:00 PM Hosted by Tim Shelton Spartanburg City Hall 145 West Broad St Spartanburg, SC 29306
10/06/13 at 1:30 PM Hosted by Riverfront Park 213 Commerce St. (Go through the tunnel ( under the big sign”Riverfront Park and then to the left to the Gazebo) Montgomery,AL 36104
10/07/13 at 3:30 PM Hosted by John Luther Hancock County Sheriff Office 8450 Hwy 90 Bay Saint Louis ,MS
James Aaron Toole
10/08/13 at 10:00 AM Hosted by Ashley Morrow Clarion Hotel 2195 Ross Clark Circle Dothan, AL 36307
Jerry Michael Williams
10/08/13 at 3:00 PM Hosted by Stephanie White Hurricane Grill and Wings 6800 Thomasville Rd Tallahassee, Fl 32312
10/08/13 at 7:00 PM Hosted by Stefani Mitchell at Home Depot 215 SW Home Depot Dr -Lake City FL 32055
10/09/13 at 10:00 AM Hosted by Donna Scharrett Anderson Park 39699 USHwy 19 North Shelter #1 Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
10/09/13 at 2:30 PM Hosted by Marcia Williams Corner of 111th and Vandabilt Naples, FL
10/09/13 at 7:00 PM Hosted by Teresa Halliday Duffy’s Super Play 1600 NW Courtyard Circle Port St Lucie, FL 34986
Michael Austin Davis
10/10/13 at 2:30 PM Hosted by Christy Davis Memorial Park 1620 Riverside Avenue Jacksonville, FL 32204
10/11/13 at 10:30 AM Hosted by Cypress Faulk Church 5152 N Brewington Rd Manning, SC 29102
10/11/13 at 3:00 PM Hosted by Gail Soles Blount’s Furniture Store 201 W Main Street Andrews , SC 29510
10/12/13 at 10:00 AM Hosted by Aynor Park North Main St Aynor, SC 29511
Escort into Wilmington for Grand Finale
10/12/13 at 1:30 PM- Billy Goats II – 8951 Ocean Highway East Leland, NC 28457
All NC Cases
10/12/13 at 2:00 PM- Billy Goats II – 6324 Market Street Wilmington, NC 28403
Grand Finale Happenings
Click on flyer to enlarge
CUE Center for Missing Persons
PO Box 12714
Wilmington, NC 28405
(910) 343-1131 (910) 232-1687
Join us for our upcoming national conference for missing persons and all who work in the arena from advocating, volunteering, investigation, search and rescue and the identification process of those who are lost. This event is open to all who support the mission of finding a resolution for families who have suffered a missing loved one and are or have been a victim of crime.
THE CONFERENCE CONCLUDES ON SUNDAY, MARCH 23rd @ 1:00 pm
Please share this information with anyone who may work in the arena:
◊ Advocacy cocerning missing persons, families left behinnd or homicide victim
◊ Service agencies, non profit organization, law enforcement, search teams/groups, private investigators, coroner or those who work in the indentifcation process
◊ Volunteers who are interested in training and becoming more involved
To learn more about CUE Center for Missing Persons please visit us at our web site www.ncmissingpersons.org or email us email@example.com
This award is given to an individual, who has suffered the loss of a loved one by being a missing person, victim of homicide or one that has survived the cruelties from intimate partner violence. This award recognizes the survivor that has healed and who has risen above to contribute oneself to those who remain in need of guidance, empowerment, support and who continually holds a devotion to the cause.
The loss of Susan has been felt across the nation, she was a true supporters of the missing and the CUE organization. She remains truly missed by all.
SORC Meeting – Thursday, March 20, 2014
State Outreach Coordinators Meeting: Closed to the public, this meeting is for directors 9:00 am 5:00 pm (Lunch will be served during meeting)
To learn more about the program and get involved please contact CUE Center anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-232-1687
TRAINING – Thursday, March 20, 2014 (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm)
ASHI CPR Pro Course:
4 hour CPR Pro class will teach you adult, child and infant CPR, conscious and unconscious obstructed airway, use of an AED. Hands-on skills will be taught and evaluated as well as a written exam.
In 1987 I began my career with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and started teaching part time at the law enforcement academy in 1994. My real passion was teaching and in 1999 I left LCSO and became a full time instructor at the law enforcement academy. In 2002 I became the Medical First Responder Program Coordinator at the Florida Public Safety Institute/Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy.
I’m a CPR and First Aid Instructor/Instructor Trainer and a Training Center Director for the American Safety and Health Institute. I have trained thousands of law enforcement, corrections and probation officers over the years in CPR and First Aid. I am a member of the First Response K-9 Search Team in Tallahassee, Florida and a recent addition to the list of CUE Center State Outreach Coordinators.
Karin Bergholm is a retired, Florida Law Enforcement officer, after proudly serving for 27.5 years. After retirement in 2012, she became a member of CUE and First Response Search Team, in Tallahassee. Karin is a certified, adjunct instructor of CPR and First Responder for police recruits at The Florida Public Safety Institute, located near Tallahassee, Fl.
Karin is also in the process of training K-9 Trooper (a rescue dog) in the discipline of Human Remains Detection.
Registration check in for conference attendees: 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Note: The main hall entrance to the ballroom will remain open (Thursday) all day and evening hours for any participant or sponsor to set up items, informational handouts, missing person information or visuals, table display, banners, etc. When checking into the conference please request the person in charge for this area to help you in whatever you may need to assist you for a smooth process. You can also ship your items to the CUE Center, please be advised that the hotel will not handle items delivered to the hotel.
THE CONFERENCE CONCLUDES ON SUNDAY, MARCH 23rd @ 1:00 pm with a round table open floor discussion, presentation of your conference plaque and a catered lunch.
Please share this information to anyone in this line of advocacy or missing person work, family of a missing person or homicide victim. To learn more about CUE Center for Missing Persons please visit us at our web site www.ncmissingpersons.org or email us email@example.com
NOTICE: (This conference is a pre – registration conference ONLY) please contact our center for details, thank you.
Download and print Registration Application form below
Submit Registration: Mailing Address (CUE) PO Box 12714 Wilmington, NC 28405
Ph: (910) 343-1131 or (910) 232-1687 Fax: (910) 399-6137
Location: Holiday Inn Conference Center
Note: Do not contact the hotel to register, the CUE Center for Missing Persons is responsible for submission of the rooming list and providing airport travel arrangements of all conference attendees.
Want to become a 2014 sponsor?
Download your packet here for printing forms, please mail them with your check payable to:
CUE Center For Missing Persons
PO Box 12714
Wilmington, NC 28405
CUE Conference Official Photographer
Carrie Eigbrett is an energetic, professional photographer specializing in nature, landscape & macro photography as well as on-location photo sessions for all ages. Her passion is in capturing your memories while showing your true personality. Carrie resides in and serves the Rochester and Fingerlakes, New York area.
Friday Night Conference Attendee Party
Martha has entertained CUE conference attendees and sponsors for the last five years and will return again, known as the ‘QUEEN OF KARAOKE’. Martha has won many titles such as Mrs SC Congeniality, best karaoke entertainer in the Tabor City Yam Festival and brings a needed relief to many with her music. She joined the CUE family when Alice Donovan went missing and later became good friemds with her daughters. She wanted to do something more to help out and help others who have a missing person. Over the years she has meet many families of the missing including Dawn Drexel, who daughter Brittanee remains missing and became loyal to the cause. The gift of making people happy is what she offers, even if for a moment, to see a smile on the faces who have suffered such a great loss. This year will be a reminder for Martha as she recognizes the anniversary of the loss of her mother and being with CUE for another birthday.
Proclamation & Letters (2014)
Meet The 2014 Sponsors…more to come!
TRAINING SESSION – INSTRUCTORS
Instructor – Ray Bechard
Topic: Forced Labor Around the Globe
Raymond Bechard is an Author, Producer and Human Rights Advocate. He has worked to end injustice against all people for over twenty years. Bechard often advises social justice organizations in their mission to bring hope and encouragement to the world.
Among other writings he is the author of the recently published books, “The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America,” (TheBerlinTurnpike.com) which is a close, historical examination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and its place within all American communities, and “Unspeakable: The Truth Behind the World’s Fastest Growing Crime,” an expose of Child Trafficking in all its forms around the globe.
Bechard also began and is the Executive Director of Men Against Prostitution And Trafficking (MENAPAT.org), the first anti-human trafficking Political Action Committee in America. Now, he is producing “Honor Bound,” a television series telling the previously untold stories of the US military’s humanitarian work throughout the world. (HonorBound.tv) http://raymondbechard.blogspot.com
Instructor – Holly Hughes
Topic: Social Media and the Law
For 10 years Attorney Holly Hughes has served as a Senior Assistant District Attorney with the Fulton County District Attorney’s office in Atlanta, GA where she prosecuted some of the most high-profile cases in the United States, including working on the murder case against Ray Lewis, superstar with the Baltimore Ravens. Holly Hughes was a triple threat prosecuting homicides, hate crimes and high profile felony cases.
Prior to making a name for herself as a tough big-city prosecutor, she also worked as an attorney specializing in Discrimination and Civil Rights.
Holly Hughes has hosted the highly popular “Nancy Grace Show” on CNN Headline News Channel, and continues to appear as a frequent guest on the program as well as appearing as an expert witness on Swift Justice with Nancy Grace. She appeared on Court TV as a frequent commentator and legal analyst since 2003 and on Tru TV’s “In Session” and CNN HLN’s “Prime News.”
With hundreds of media appearances Holly Hughes is qualified as an expert in high profile litigation and criminal procedure with the Cold Case Research Institute of Georgia. She is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges, universities, law schools and conferences. She’s honored in Madison Avenue’s Who’s Who of Young Professionals.
After ten years with the DA’s Office, Holly Hughes is now in private practice in Atlanta, handling criminal defense and civil litigation. http://hollybhughes.com
Topic: How “Throwaway” People Become Cold Cases
With over 25 years of experience,education and a background in law enforcement , Sheryl McCollum is currently the Director of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute, which is a collaboration between Auburn University Montgomery, Faulkner University and Bauder College. This collaboration brings together researchers, practitioners, students and the criminal justice community to develop new capabilities and work collectively to advance research, training and techniques in solving cold cases. The objectives of CCIRI are to provide the means, resources and guidance for Criminal Justice students throughout all Kaplan Higher Education to determine the solvability of actual unsolved crimes.
Topic Guest Speakers
Topic: Statement Analysis as an Investigative Tool
Peter Hyatt is a civil investigator who has conducted more than 2,500 interviews including children’s interviews. He uses Statement Analysis is his work, and teaches Statement Analysis in Interviewing. www.statement-analysis.blogspot.com
Gaétane Borders, Peas in Their Pods
Topic: What’s Race Got to Do With It? My Child is Missing!
Gaétane Borders is a psychologist, writer and speaker with 20 years of experience, and has devoted her life to making an impact in the lives of families. She is an advocate of children rights, and works tirelessly to help parents achieve healthy, harmonious, and emotionally stable environments for children.
As President of Peas in Their Pods, Gaétane helps to spread awareness about the epidemic of child abduction, and aims to arm parents with the knowledge necessary to prevent such tragedies. Through her advocacy work, Gaétane has sparked conversations regarding the disparate manner in which missing children of color are reported in the media.
Her dedication to empowering and helping parents has made her sought after, as she is often asked to contribute her expertise on radio shows, magazines and television programs. She has been featured on the Maury Povich Show, CNN News Room, CBS The Early Show, Real Savvy Moms, and has written articles for Essence.com, and various other publications. Gaétane has also been a regular contributor to the Nancy Grace Show, as well as a frequent guest parenting expert on Fox’s The Morning Show.
Dr. Scott Bonn
Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Criminology, media expert, public speaker, frequent guest analyst and commentator, and author of the critically acclaimed book, “Mass Deception.” He is an expert on state crime and serial killers.
Topic Title: Unsolved Not Forgotten
Karen Beaudin is the published author of A Child is Missing-a true story and professional speaker. She addresses the subject of unsolved murders, the missing and unresolved deaths to law enforcement at homicide training sessions around the United States and in universities to criminal law students.
She’s an advocate for Cold Case Units and the creation of websites that list the unsolved, the missing and unresolved deaths in every state. These websites can provide valuable information to law enforcement and makes available a place to leave anonymous tips. They also assure victims families that their loved one has not been forgotten. Recently Karen spoke at four Homicide Initiative Training Sessions in Ohio for the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. In 2009 she and her sisters were influential in establishing New Hampshire’s first Cold Case Unit. During Victims’ Rights Week, 2010, the Gloddy family received a certificate of appreciation from Governor John Lynch for their outstanding service on behalf of victims’ of crime.
In 2012 the Ohio Attorney General recognized Karen for her advocacy in promoting Cold Case Units. The Fraternal Order Of Police in Ohio acknowledged her valuable contribution to Ohio’s law enforcement community and the Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative. Karen has designed the Victims of Violent Crimes Bracelet for those affected by violent crimes. Information:
A portion of the profits goes to organizations that support victims of violent crimes and their families
Elaine Pagliaro, Assistant Executive Director at the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, retired from the Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Division of Scientific Services, Forensic Science Laboratory as Acting Director, where she worked in Criminalistics and Forensic Biology for almost 30 years. During that time, Ms. Pagliaro was involved in most of the major criminal investigations in Connecticut and in cases of national prominence, such as the Penney Serra and Martha Moxley murders, the Michael Ross serial murders, the investigation of the death of Vincent Foster and the infamous “Woodchipper Murder” case.
She has qualified as an expert witness in the areas of forensic biochemistry, forensic DNA analysis, hair examination, and crime scene reconstruction in Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Louisiana and in Federal court. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Science, a Life Member Awardee of the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists, and served on the Connecticut Commission for the Standardization of the Collection of Sexual Assault Evidence. Recently she served on the committee that wrote and revised the training videos on sexual assault for the State of Connecticut. Ms. Pagliaro has authored numerous publications on forensic science for professional journals and has presented at national and international symposia. A recent book, Forensic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice, which she co-edited with Drs. Rita Hammer and Barbara Moynihan, received a best advanced practice book award from the American Journal of Nursing.
A summa cum laude graduate of the Quinnipiac University School of Law, Ms. Pagliaro is a member of the bar in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and the Federal District of New Hampshire. Ms. Pagliaro is an adjunct faculty member at several Connecticut universities and colleges, including Quinnipiac University, where she instructs students of criminal justice and the law, and the University of New Haven.
Victims Hours Presentations
Speaker are the families of the case featured above “Their loved one and the struggles in an unforgiven journey
National Candle Light Service
The annual service is hosted by the CUE Center for Missing Persons in honor of those once missing, now recovered. Families from across the country attend the water front ceremony seeking comfort, supporting the thousands who remain missing in “the unveiling of the wall”. Come and join those left behind for a beautiful tribute along Wilmington’s Cape Fear River front victim testimonies, musical dedication and so much more. Candles will be provided. The service is a part of the weekend long national conference 2014.
Saturday March 22, 2014 Time: 7:30 pm (Open to the public and candles will be provided)
Riverfront Park, Downtown Wilmington Waterfront
Mistress of Ceremony - Sandra McClammy “The Midday Miss on Coast97.3″
Sandra McClammy aka “Sandra, The Midday Miss” was born and raised in Wilmington, NC. A graduate of the city’s inner city high school, New Hanover High, and the city’s college, UNCW has afforded her an excellent balance. As a teen growing up in the “hood” she vowed to never forget her roots and to grow socially in a manner by which she could have a conversation with anyone. As she grew into an adult, she learned how it is essential to recognize and embrace the desperate educational, social and economic conditions that affect young people. Today she has placed herself in the educational arena and entertainment world and thus educates youth via “edutainment”.
As a dancer and radio personality, Sandra understands how movement and music can provide solstice to the soul. With this Sandra also believes that as an educator it is critical to study and understand how we as adults can continue to help youth succeed despite the overwhelming odds against them. They must believe that they have a significant role in our society. Sandra is a UNCW graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature & Language and a Master’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Among the many boards and committees she serves on from the UNCW Alumni Board of Directors as Vice- Chair, to the Black Arts Alliance of Wilmington, she is also a proud member of the Wilmington Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. As a member of worldwide DJ coalition, Core DJs, she is the host and the producer of the syndicated CORE DJ Radio Show. For Cumulus Broadcasting she is the music director and midday host on COAST 97.3. Sandra has been in radio for 17 years.
Guest Speaker – “Where Do I Turn Too”
She founded Justice for Citizens to promote victim support; support victim-oriented legislation through citizen involvement; monitor the courts to report on the enforcement of existing laws; reform the judicial process to favor the victims and the community and increase public awareness of the judicial system.
Birdie served on North Carolina Victim Assistance Network Board thirteen years. Member of NC Interagency Council; Criminal Justice Partnership Program – Brunswick County; Child Fatality Task Force – Brunswick County; Governor’ Crime Commission – Victim’s Rights Study Group. Among numerous awards received – 2005 National Volunteer for Victims Award presented at the 2005 National Crime Victims Rights Week Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. and in 2013, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award.
Reading of the Poem Dedication - Sheree Justus
Vocal Tribute “Come Home” by One Republic
Allison has traveled the Southeast performing with the Charlotte Childrens Choir. The highlight of her performance history thus far was singing at The White House in Washington, D.C. in 2011.
Allison has been a member of the missing persons community since her grandfather Billy Pound disappeared in November 2010. It is her honor to be a part of this conference.
National Prayer – Pastor Angie Davis
Reverend Angie Davis is fully ordained as a minister of the gospel. She has been in many positions of leadership in and outside of the church. Her present position is as an ordained Elder at Inspirational House of Praise in Leland, NC, where she is also the Praise and Worship leader. She is passionate in her endeavor of preaching and teaching the gospel as well as being a spiritual counselor to those in need. She is also employed with local Ophthalmologist, Dr. Laura Harris, where she is the Surgical Coordinator. At present, she has been committed to officiating the National Candlelight Vigil Prayer for CUE for many years. It is her prayer that God will give the families comfort and courage as well as Hope through the Word of God and the knowledge that He is always there to lift them up. She is the mother of two children, Matt and Hannah. The grandmother of three, Caleb, Kameron and Savannah. She resides in in Winnabow, NC.
One Purpose, recording artist from Spartanburg S.C. The group consists of the Reverend Darrell Smith, pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Gaffney SC, Minister Mekesha Watson, three sisters, Jackie Peake Thompson, Jocelyn Peake, Jeanette Peake Porter and a good friend- Donna McDowell (not pictured).
Singing is in their blood. The three sisters along with their cousin– Reverend Darrell Smith began singing at a very young age as part of the church choir at their church Shiloh Baptist in Pauline SC, under the direction of the sisters mother Minnie Peake. They were introduced to Minister Watson (whose father is also a preacher: Reverend George Watson) in 1995 when the sisters father Reverend J. Lewis Peake became the pastor of the church Watson attended. Donna McDowell has been with the group for almost two years.
The group released their first Gospel CD in 2012 entitled “Wait”. Over one thousand copies were sold within six months of their release date. One Purpose is currently preparing to go back into the studio to record their second CD, expecting to be released in the Fall of 2014. The purpose of their ministry is to uplift people and draw them closer to Christ and to each other. They have traveled extensively ministering through songs to do just that.
God has made provisions for them to share the stage with gospel greats such as Tommy Ellison’s Legendary Singing Stars, Doc McKenzie & The Hi-Lites, Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC’s, Harvey Watkins Jr. & The Canton Spirituals, The Jackson Southernaires, Luther Barnes, The Swanee Quintets, Keith “Wonderboy “Johnson, Pea Bo Bryson and The McDonald Sisters. All their success, they owe to God and acknowledge that without Him, they are nothing and can do nothing.
“ ONE PURPOSE, A MINISTRY WITH A PURPOSE “
Unveiling of the Wall – Candle Light Service Honorees & Families
Throughout all stages of a missing persons investigation, up to the point of its positive or negative resolution, there is only one verifiable victim: the family of that missing person. The missing person might have been abducted, or worse, but from the moment that someone considers the absence of a loved one to necessitate a 911 call, the family that makes that call is going to be caught in a whirlpool of fear, panic and helplessness that most people dont understand and law enforcement officials rarely have the resources to address in any sustained way.
In Wilmington, however, these families have an advocate, a fierce, hands-on assistant in the search for missing loved ones. Her name is Monica Caison, and shes the founder and director of the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for Missing Persons, a nonprofit organization based in Wilmington, which, since 1994, has been aggressive in its attempts to keep missing person cases from going “cold” or “inactive.” By marshalling nationwide resources that include law enforcement personnel and an army of volunteers, the CUE Center has been instrumental in returning loved ones to their families, creating a sort of template for families confronted by such a loss, a blueprint for action that combines elements of the actual search process with a powerful family support tool hope.
“Shes tops, as far as Im concerned,” says Marc Benson, a private investigator, former detective in the New Hanover County Sheriffs Department, recent candidate for the sheriffs job and the host of Blue Line Radio on The Big Talker (106.3 FM). “I first ran into her 16 or 17 years ago, when I was a detective sergeant in the Sheriffs Department.”
Bensons first impression of Caison left him thinking she was just a “soccer mom,” doing what she could to find people whod gone missing thinking, too, “Good for her, but were the professionals here, so dont call us, well call you.”
In the spring of 1998, Benson found himself re-assessing his original impressions of Caison and her organization. In April of that year, 32-year-old bride-to-be Peggy Carr was abducted from a mall parking lot in Wilmington. One day, she was here; the next day, she was not. Shed disappeared quickly and completely, and lacking evidence to the contrary, law enforcement officials considered the possibility that her disappearance, in spite of her impending marriage, was voluntary. Without a clue to work on, the investigation languished. Displeased with this sort of response from law enforcement officials, Peggys mother called Monica Caison, whose private phone remains the direct line to what was then the fledgling and relatively unknown CUE Center for Missing Persons. Seven months after Peggys disappearance, Caison and her volunteer army were instrumental in discovering the whereabouts of Carrs remains in Bladen County.
“It became a multi-state investigation, a national media case,” says Caison, “and it taught us everything. We worked side by side with law enforcement, set up a 24-hour tip line. The FBI would pick up our logs. We were learning, too. It was the first time, really, that the full weight of the resources (we had) came to bear. We kept (the case) in the public eye, just kept plugging and plugging, constantly searching. It was our landmark case.”
More important than Caisons literal presence beating the bushes, actually searching was the support she gave to the family.
“Monica would just sit for hours and comfort me,” said Peggy Carrs mother in an interview for People magazine in March 2009, months after her daughters body had been discovered.
“My respect for her increased because of the presence she had with that family,” says Benson, who, at the time, was looking on from the Sheriff Departments sidelines, because it was a Wilmington PD case. “She went up there (to Bladen County) with volunteers and canvassed the area with pictures. She made sure that everybody up there looked at every little detail (coming out of the investigation). I was quite impressed with the resources she was able to pull together.”
What is so striking about Monica Caisons work with the CUE Center is the individual, up-close-and-personal effort she invests in countless, physical searches for these people, and the tireless campaign she wages to keep families in the loop of any ongoing investigation. Law enforcement agencies, from the local to the national, may falter during an investigation, due to a lack of either resources or will, but from the moment the CUE Center and, specifically, Monica Caison steps aboard, families are assured that their missing loved one will not, in Monicas lifetime, be forgotten until theyre found. In most cases (though not all), the outcome is not good. Caison is more often than not searching for a body, and she is known for a stubborn, relentless and often un-appreciated approach to any obstacles in her way.