Friday, November 2, 2007

Billy Smolinski: mother continues activism, Music for the Missing


She's On A Mission For The Missing
October 26, 2007
You know those
sad stories about missing persons and mothers and fathers who can't stop talking
about sons or daughters who have vanished?
I listen, change the channel, and move on. Don't you?
And that, said Janice Smolinski - the mother of a missing Waterbury man -
is the problem. People, police included, don't take these cases seriously
It's too easy to think of them in Hawaii or just hiding out, fleeing
a life gone sour. As a result precious time is wasted, evidence is lost and
connections are missed.
Janice's son Billy disappeared on Aug. 24, 2004. It took weeks before
police treated Billy Smolinski as anything more than a routine case of
young-guy-feeling-his-oats. Fingerprints weren't taken, DNA samples were lost or
Janice Smolinski believes Billy, 31 when he vanished, is almost certainly
dead. There have been no arrests. Critical information about him still has not
been entered into nationwide law enforcement computer databases.
"I've learned that our system is much less organized," said Smolinski,
whose burning intensity is there in her small dark eyes that keep staring back
at me, unblinking. She is a mother who won't forget, who has taken on a cause
larger than her own loss.
"You have to question everything," Smolinski told me.
Would you believe that the real world isn't like an episode of "CSI?" You
can't punch up a computer file and find the answer.
There are more than 100,000 missing persons cases across the country and
about 40,000 unidentified bodies out there. A federally funded national database
that matches DNA of the missing and the found bodies has but a few thousand
The truth is that investigators often never collect DNA of relatives of the
missing and from the thousands of bodies that turn up.
Fingerprints, dental records and other important "markers" also could be
entered into another national database.
"Most of it is not getting entered. It's just a matter of participation and
understanding," said William Hagmaier, executive director of the International
Homicide Investigators Association. "Those databases can solve a whole lot of
Responding - a little - to Smolinski, state legislators passed a lukewarm
law this year that sets guidelines for police investigators to follow when a
missing person report comes in.
"It won't be mandated. It will be recommended," said state Rep. Vickie
Nardello, whose district includes Janice Smolinski's hometown of Cheshire.
"There is agreement that clearly we need change."
Smolinski and others such as George Adams, who runs the University of North
Texas Center for Human Identification, say police must be required to take
Adams' program collects the DNA data and enters it into the national
database. It is woefully underutilized, even though the federal government pays
for everything down to the swab kits used to collect DNA samples.
"This is simple and practical and it doesn't cost anything," Adams
Smolinski, meanwhile, keeps up her campaign, meeting with politicians and
activists and connecting to a national network of families of missing
It won't bring Billy back, but it could bring changes that lead to the
arrest of violent criminals.
"Good has to come out of bad here," Smolinski vowed. "I can't sit back and
watch this happen. I'm just going to keep on pushing until something
Rick Green's column appears on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at


Music for the missing
Jodi Griffith will perform tonight at the Beachcomber
in Quincy. (Ken Burg)
By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff November 1,
Two local singer-songwriters - Jodi Griffith of Weymouth and Grace
Morrison of Wareham - will perform tonight at the Beachcomber in Quincy as part
of the Squeaky Wheel Tour, a national concert series that raises awareness about
missing people.
During the show, they will ask attendees to post fliers in
their communities to help find three New Englanders.
One is from Quincy: a
14-year-old girl named Soomaiiah Quraiishi. She was last seen on April 13, 2001.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, authorities
believe she was abducted by a family member and taken overseas, perhaps to
Lebanon, Syria, or Pakistan.
The Squeaky Wheel Tour is an annual event that
was founded in 2001 by Jannel Rap, a singer-songwriter from southern California.
The concert series and website ( were established in honor of her sister, Gina Bos,
who vanished on Oct. 17, 2000.
Griffith got involved in the Squeaky Wheel
Tour about a month ago, after she received an e-mail from Rap.
"I jumped at
the opportunity because this is one of my goals in life, to help people with my
music," said Griffith.
The other two missing people who will be highlighted
at tonight's concert are William Paul Smolinski Jr. and Mary Edna Badaracco -
both from Connecticut.
Smolinski was 31 when he disappeared on Aug. 24, 2004.
He was last seen at his home on Holly Street in Waterbury, Conn., and his
personal belongings were left behind at his home. He was never seen
Badaracco was 38 when she disappeared on Aug. 20, 1984. She would now
be 61. She was last seen at her home in Sherman, Conn., and her husband reported
her missing when he returned home from work. Her car was still at the house, its
windshield smashed. A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to
the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Badaracco's
Griffith has been posting fliers about the coming show and
missing person posters at businesses and schools in Quincy and Weymouth. "When I
was handing out fliers, there were a lot of people concerned about the people
who are missing," she said.
She's hoping tonight's show will generate more
buzz around these three missing people, and uncover information that can help
investigators locate them. "I've gotten a lot of feedback," she said. "I think
it will generate some response."
The show is free and starts 9 p.m. The
Beachcomber is at 797 Quincy Shore Drive, in Quincy. For more information, visit
Anyone with
information about Quraiishi should contact the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or the Quincy Police Department at
Emily Sweeney can be reached at
If you know anything about the disappearance of William Smolinski, please call the New Haven FBI at (203) 777-6311. You can also email tips to or "snail mail" them to
P.O. Box 123, Cheshire, CT 06410.
Billy's website:
You can download and print a poster of Billy at, or print one from if you do not have PDF capabilities.
Photo of Billy from his NCMA poster.

No comments: