Manhattan missing persons organization gains national attention

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It’s every parent’s worst nightmare – your child goes missing. For one man that nightmare is a reality. A Manhattan-based organization is trying to make the search for missing people easier.

Every day, Donald Ross wears a pin close to his heart. Six years ago he answered the phone call that changed his life forever, when his 19-year-old son Jesse went missing on a school trip in Chicago.

“It was just a major shock, like an earth quake or something,” Ross says.

As he continues to search for his son, the Missouri native joins others in Manhattan to support Stephanie Coplen – the founder of Media for the Missing.

“Recognition through repetition,” Coplen says, “If you see something enough, there’s a chance that eventually you’ll recognize it and that’s the whole point.”

This begins a tour across the country promoting a system she’s come up with to plaster these faces in grocery stores, at visitor centers, and on billboards.

“If certain areas of displays can help identify over 10,000 people, imagine what a system of over 100,000 display areas, imagine what that’s going to generate,” Coplen says.

FBI agent of 25 years Michael Tabman says law enforcement needs the public’s help to bring these people home.

“It’s just a way to remember not Jesse Ross but for all the missing and to remind people they’re still out there and they need the attention,” Tabman says, “’cause it’s easy to forget if we don’t remind everybody.”

Slowly but surely, Coplen is gaining support.

“I will push it like crazy,” says one supporter, Maureen Reintjes, “Whatever I can do to make it a success I’ll do it.”

For Ross, this system is hope, not just for Jesse but for each of the 2.5 million missing people across the country.

“Every missing person needs to be accounted for,” says Ross.

The last step before this system can be implemented is to establish a headquarters for Media for the Missing.


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