FindCarrie - AGH - Missing & Murdered Person Blog

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Midwestern Coalition For the Missing & Murdered

Just a few weeks ago, Patti Bishop had mentioned to me a meeting that was going to be held in Indiana where several mothers were going to support another family of a missing woman, Niqui McCown who vanished on July 22, 2001. With Carrie’s 10 year anniversary date approaching, I just didn’t know if I felt up to going, but Patti’s encouragement changed my mind there at the last minute. (Pictured left back left - Spartanburg Police Detectives, Front Left, psychic detective "Kelly" and mother of missing daughter Becky Marzo - Karren Kraemer)

I met Patti Bishop several years back on Court TV just as I’ve met others who have missing loved ones. Patti’s step daughter, Karen Jo Smith vanished under the same circumstances as Carrie. They just as the Culberson’s were able to get a conviction without the body. They just like us are not satisfied because that last piece of the puzzle is missing and they’ve been cheated of the grieving process due to the lack of the remains.

Total strangers, but only speaking on the telephone a few times, I met Patti Bishop and we all rode back to the hotel where all the others were gathering. Most of us had never met before, but what is so odd, is how we all can just pick up and start talking to one another with no problem at all. We all have a common goal and some of us have a deeper connection – that being the loss of a child. (Pictured left - detectives, family members, advocates, and others gather before dinner @ Niqui McCown's rememberance dinner)

I was amazed at the gracious law enforcement officials who traveled all the way from South Carolina to support one family who has a son who was murdered with three others in a motorcycle shop. Coming out of their own realm to sit down and talk to us and work with us on our issues and concerns. They were not the only ones, others in attendance were a District Attorney, the Mayor in the town where Karen Jo Smith’s killer was convicted, and so many others who have decided that this is unacceptable, and we have to put a stop to violence and by showing up to an event like this is a step in the direction to helping stop these things.

Some of the others occupants of the hotel I observed were watching our group either in thinking we were weirdoes or they were genuinely interested in what we were doing. This all goes back to the conversation that a very dear friend and mentor of mine told me one time when I was upset about a comment someone had made to me about my work with the missing. He says, “Jill, you know something…. Our group is not the same as the average Joe and why should we be? People are either going to get it, or they won’t. With this, there’ll be no grey area”. And that is so very true. So, when one of the families of the missing or murdered say to me, my friends I used to have won’t talk to me anymore, they don’t know how to handle me. I say to them, how can they understand? They’ll either try or they won’t. (pictured top left - Debra Culberson, Me "FindCarrie" and Patti Bishop - stepmom of Missing - Karen Jo Smith)

We never know what can happen in life and what will come our way. As the minister told us in his prayer as he closed the service for Niqui. He said that just like with boxing, we may have been knocked down, but that does not mean we are out for good. We have an army and that army is so strong with positive reinforcement that I have no doubts with our hard work and the grace of God we will find these missing people and we will solve these murders. We are stronger than ever. Love to all my dear friends who came to Indiana this weekend, and that includes the four legged angels who walk beside us in search of those missing and lost loved ones. Not all of God’s angels are in heaven. (This is me with Jersey Joe, a blood hound with Advanced K9 who works in conjunction with Missing & Exploited Children who attended the special event for Niqui McCown Saturday night)

Additional Links

See All Photos From this Event HERE
Help Find Karen Jo Smith
Missing & Exploited Children
5 years later: Still hoping, praying Daughter of Niqui finds joy in celebration


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