Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jason Jolkowski: Missing persons bill pending in state legislature

The article is more about the bill and missing/unidentified persons cases in general than about Jason, but it is very informative.

Missing person cases in Nebraska go unsolved
By: Jon Burleson
07/02/2008
Updated 07/12/2008 05:06:03 AM EDT
In Douglas County, law enforcement
lists 1,850 people missing. About half the cases involve children.
On June13,
2001, Jason Jolkowski, then 19, became a statistic. Since that day, his mother,
Kelly, has been striving to make him more than that to lawmakers.
"Nobody knows how big an issue this is," Jolkowski said. "Those who are
missing are more than a height, weight, hair and eye color. They are
people."
After laboring on behalf of missing persons for the last seven years,
Jolkowski has mobilized a new effort to get law enforcement the tools they need
to help families of the missing. Campaign for the Missing is a grassroots effort
to pass legislation in each state that will serve to improve the law enforcement
community's ability to locate and ensure a safe return of missing persons.
"This is so needed," she said. "Things fall through the cracks. Families
aren't told to get vital pieces of information that could help them solve the
case."
The campaign's central focus will address the national problems of missing
persons and the identification of human remains and provide the framework for
improving law enforcement's response. It will also improve the collection of
critical information about missing persons, prioritize high-risk missing persons
cases and ensure prompt dissemination of critical information to other law
enforcement agencies and the public that can improve the likelihood of a safe
return.
"Most law enforcement officers are not trained in missing persons cases,"
Jolkowski said. "Some police academies don't even teach about missing persons
investigations."
The Department of Justice, working with federal, state and local law
enforcement; coroners and medical examiners; victim advocates; forensic
scientists; key policymakers; and family members who have lived through this
tragic experience, developed the legislation to be presented in the Nebraska
Unicameral.
The bill made it mandatory for law enforcement to follow certain procedures
at the beginning of a missing persons case. Certain steps need to be taken in a
specific order and resources must be allocated to assist, Jolkowski said.
"Nobody told me to get his toothbrush or his comb," she said, "and by the
time I knew, it was too late."
On almost a daily basis, unidentified bodies are found across the country.
Over the last year, law enforcement agencies have reported from 40-50,000 bodies
with no means to identify them, Jolkowski said. These bodies are usually buried
or even cremated with no DNA saved for the possibility of a future
identification.
"The families of those missing live in a horrible limbo of not knowing,"
Jolkowski said. "These families need an answer and this legislation could help
provide an answer."
Having run into a roadblock in the last Unicameral session, Jolkowski has
been waiting patiently for the next session. Patience is something she has
developed over the last seven years.
But, she has not been idle. Jolkowski has been working with Nebraska
legislators, such as Steve Lathrop and Brad Ashford to move the bill forward
this time around.
"Last time, I was told that the $50,000 needed to run the program each year
wasn't available," she said. "I feel that if Nebraskans knew how many people go
missing each year, they would be willing to help find them."
If you are interested in helping make a difference in the lives of
thousands of missing persons and their families, send an email to campaignforthemissing@projectjason.org.
If you know anything about what happened to Jason, please call the Omaha Police Department at (402) 444-5818 or (402) 444-5690.

Project Jason is conducting a special fundraising campaign in honor of Jason's 27th birthday, and they are already more than 2/3 of the way to their goal! For more information, see http://www.projectjason.org/forums/index.php?topic=3021.0.
You can also "adopt" Jason through Project Jason's "Adopt a Missing Person" program. Learn more about this at http://www.projectjason.org/adopt.html.
Photo and age progression of Jason from his poster.

1 comment:

Mrsrhuda said...

To Anyone Who Reads This:

My name is Miranda Rhuda. I am 25 years old and I am from Ohio.
In 1996, my mother Joyce Darlene Patterson, age 53, went missing from Ohio.
Since that time, I have continually searched for her with no assistance and no outcome. Recently, I found public records with her name and date of birth listed online. She is in Phoenix (somewhere). The last address given to the police in September 2007, was 813 W. Madison Street. This address is an industrial building which is boarded up. I know this because a man named Jeff Knapp, who is doing homeless ministries, has assisted me in checking it out.

I believe that she may be homeless. She may be a drifter. In the past, she has been an alcoholic and has had very serious mental issues. I really need to find her for family reasons and mostly so that I can get her off the streets and get her treatment. There is no reason for her to be homeless and/or stealing to provide for herself. She is 5 ft. tall, 117 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes. Her Date of Birth is 07/18/1956.

I am enclosing pictures of her. I would appreciate any help that you may be able to give me. If you could please post this somewhere or forward it on to someone who may be able to help me, I would greatly appreciate it.

If you or anyone else, has any information, please send me an email at misswriter415@aol.com I can also be reached by mail at the following: Miranda N. Rhuda, 415 Dewey Street, Sandusky, Ohio, 44870.

Thank you and God Bless,
Miranda Rhuda