Monday, November 12, 2007

Our prayers Go to the Ford family. . . & all families of the missing!

Uncommon bond: Mother of missing local woman addresses gathering in memory of slain girl

By Ra'Vae Edwards
News Tribune

Since the disappearance of her daughter almost five months ago, Peggy Florence has worked diligently to form an organization to reach out to all people in Missouri who suffer the loss of a missing person.

On Sunday, Florence drove to Stella to gather with supporters to pay tribute to 9-year-old Rowan Ford, who was reportedly raped and killed by her stepfather and his friend last week.

At the request of Ford's family, Florence spoke to the many supporters who gathered at the Stella Baptist Church. She offered gratitude and thanks for the outpouring of support to Ford's family.

“Having the community support that you have here is wonderful,” Florence said. “It is important for all families who have missing loved ones to have this type of support. Your community deserves to be rewarded for all you have done.”

If all communities would rally in support of all missing persons, Florence said, it would not only fill a need for families who are suffering a tragic loss, but might also assist law enforcement in investigating the whereabouts of the person reported missing.

“When your loved one goes missing, it is one of the hardest things to deal with,” she said. “Knowing they are out there somewhere, knowing they are in possible danger and they need your help is the worst feeling.

“Combine that with knowing you can't help and I don't believe there is anything worse. Not having to deal with it alone is very helpful.”

Although her trip to Stella was not planned, nor was her speech, Florence said she made the trip because she understood what Ford's mother, Colleen Spears, suffered through for nearly a week of not knowing where her daughter was.

“I know in part what Colleen is going through,” Florence said. “Although we haven't located my daughter yet, I am there myself. It's been a long five months without her and I wanted Colleen to know that she isn't alone.

“There are many missing people out there and their families need to know they have our support.”

Florence said she made the trip to let Colleen Spears know she is being supported both at home and from afar.

“All of the members of our organization sent their condolences to her,” Florence said. “And she needed to know we will all be here for her through this hardship.”

An official memorial service for Ford will be held at the Baptist Church in Neosho on Wednesday.


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