Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Missouri miracle" gives other families hope

**This post discusses Georgina DeJesus (Ohio), Jason Jolkowski (Nebraska), Cherrie Ann Mahan (Pennsylvania), and Tanya Kach (Pennsylvania), as well as Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby (Missouri).**

If you've paid even a little bit of attention to the news this past week, you have heard the story of the miraculous recovery of Ben Ownby, who disappeared while getting off the school bus earlier this month, and the even more miraculous recovery of Shawn Hornbeck, who went missing while riding his bike in October 2002. But if by some chance you haven't, you can easily find the information online. One good post on it, although it focuses more on Shawn, is at http://findcarrie.blogspot.com/2007/01/discovery-of-shawn-hornbeck.html.

Anyway, logically, this news causes other people with missing loved ones to hope that maybe their family member can be found safe, too. I am posting here a few articles on just that, the renewed hope, which relate to people I have previously posted on this blog.
The first is from http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=61675&provider=gnews:

Finding missing children gives a Cleveland family renewed hope
Kristin Anderson
Created: 1/13/2007 5:31:06 PM
Updated:1/14/2007 5:46:45 AM
Missouri case is bringing hope to many families with missing children, including
one on the West side of Cleveland.
Felix and Nancy have been glued to their
t-v for a week --- hoping, and praying for the missing boys and their families
in Missouri.
Watching them reunite is bringing a roller coaster of emotions.
"It's a miracle that they found these two young boys, I cried almost all
night," said Gina's Father, Felix.
"That gives us all, other parents, hope to stand up stronger and never give
up that hope because you never know, like now, you never know," said Gina's
Mother, Nancy.
In April of 2004, their youngest daughter, 14-year old Gina DeJesus
disappeared while walking home from her school, Wilbur Wright in Cleveland.An
intense search turned up nothing.
A year later the FBI released a sketch of a possible suspect, while the
community showed their support by building a mound of stuffed animals outside
Gina's window.
Her parents have never given up hope of finding their little girl alive,
just like the parents in Missouri.
"Amazing, it's hard right now for me to find the exact words I want to say,
my feelings, I know someday I know I'll go through it," said Nancy.
Gina's bedroom is now filled with angels, and candles that have been
burning since she disappeared.
Her dad is still wearing his special t-shirt that says in Spanish, "Go with
As with the Missouri case -- Gina's parents encourage the community to call
in any tips that they might remember from April of 2004.
"Think, because anything that comes back to your mind may open this case
and break it open, that way we can bring my child home," said Felix.
Gina's parents say the FBI is still getting tips about her
If you have any information about this case you can call the FBI or
Cleveland Police.
Gina's parents also say they're going to fight to keep sexual predators
locked up -- so they don't have the opportunity to strike again.

The next is from http://www.ketv.com/family/10754128/detail.html:

Missouri Boys' Discovery Fuels Hope For Omaha Mother
Kelly Jolkowsi Watches
Boys' Reunion With Interest
POSTED: 3:36 pm CST January 15, 2007
5:16 pm CST January 15, 2007
This Story
Print This

OMAHA, Neb. -- A local mother said Monday that the discovery of two
boys in Missouri gives her hope that she'll find her own son.
Jolkowski disappeared more than five years ago at age 19. His mother, Kelly, has
been tracking the case of Shawn Hornbeck in Missouri for years.
On Friday,
police found Hornbeck and Ben Ownby, 13, another missing boy, in the home of
41-year-old Michael Devlin. Shawn was 11 when he disappeared in 2002.
has been arrested and jailed on $1 million bond. He was awaiting arraignment on
one charge of kidnapping but more charges are likely, authorities said.
was shocked. I thought it sounded too good to be true," Kelly Jolkowski said on
Monday. "I did think that Shawn was most likely dead because of his age, and it
sounded like he was abducted, and it had been so long."
Jolkowski monitors
hundreds of missing persons cases through ProjectJason, the organization she founded that helps families
of the missing.
"You can't help but picture the possibility of your own
reunion in your mind, too," Jolkowski said.
Despite hefty reward offers and
all of her resources, Jolkowski and police still don't have a clue in Jason's
"It just seems to be the most clueless case I know of. A lot
of cases they have some indication of this happened versus that happened. But we
have no indication whatsoever," she said.
Jolkowski counsels people to be
aware of their surroundings.
"Look at the faces of the missing. You never
know if you might see them somewhere," she said. "When we hear about these
stories we know that just because they've been missing for awhile, even though
most people think the odds are against them, we still have hope."
Jason helps families of the missing all over the United States, but Jolkowski
said that despite the number of missing people in the Omaha area, she rarely
gets calls from families in Omaha.

The next is from the Anderson Cooper 360 blog:

Monday, January 15, 2007
Have you seen Cherrie Mahan?
Their stories
are eerily similar, but only one, so far, has a happy ending.When Ben Ownby
disappeared in Missouri last week, Janice McKinney, a Pennsylvania woman, shed
some tears at the thought of what he and his family must have been going
through. Janice, after all, can relate. Her daughter, then 8-year-old Cherrie
Mahan, was kidnapped more than two decades ago after getting off her school bus,
just like Ben Ownby.Cherrie, who now would be 30 years old, hasn't been seen
since.Like in Ben's case, there was a witness who saw a vehicle. A student from
Cherrie's bus described a blue van with a snowcapped mountain and a skier
painted on the side of it. Investigators never found the van. Janice McKinney
lives with terrible guilt. It was the first time she hadn't picked up her
daughter at the bus stop. She had given her permission to walk the 300 feet from
the bus to her driveway.Next month marks the 22nd anniversary of Cherrie's
disappearance. She's happy that William Ben Ownby and another young boy, Shawn
Hornbeck, were found. Janice told me it gives her hope that one day she'll have
her little girl back too. "Twenty-two years later, I'm still searching for any
kind of answer," she said.As it turns out, Cherrie was the little girl who
helped put a real face on missing kids. Hers was the first to appear on those
"Have you seen me?" fliers you get in your mailbox.
here for pictures of Cherrie

Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent:
3:39 PM ET
So far 18 people have commented on that post--some with well wishes for Cherrie's family, others who have gone through similar experiences.

And finally, some of you may have already thought of Tanya Kach's story when you heard this wonderful news. She had been missing for 10 years until she disclosed her identity to a store clerk last March. Her perspective on the situation, as a former missing child herself, can be read at http://kdka.com/local/local_story_015151847.html.

All photos from the Charley Project (http://www.charleyproject.org/)

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