Friday, July 04, 2008

Missing Person Day in Missouri

Missing Person Day
DAR Newspaper
Poplar Bluff Missouri
June 17, 2008

Missing Persons Day
2 area women to be recalled at ceremony
Staff Writer

Two area women will be featured this afternoon in Jefferson City on Missouri’s first ever Missing and Unidentified
Persons Awareness Day.
Mary Grobe was 74 when she went missing Sept. 27, 2003 from her Poplar Bluff home. Teresa Butler disappeared from her Risco home Jan. 25, 2006, leaving behind two young sons.
Grobe’s daughter, Joyce Caldwell, will be present for today’s ceremony in the Missouri
State Capitol first floor Rotunda.
She will join other family members of the missing and law enforcement officials to honor all of the missing and unidentified
persons in Missouri.
“The average person has no idea what it is like to go through something like this. The average person doesn’t know how many cases there are in the state and, quite honestly, how little is being done,” said Caldwell, a St. Louis resident. “We are really trying to increase awareness.”
As of June 1, there were 1,462 missing persons and at least 48
unidentified bodies in Missouri,
according to the National Crime Information Center.
Missouri Missing, a Jefferson
City-based not for profit, asked
Gov. Matt Blunt in April to declare June 17 as official Missing and Unidentified Persons
Awareness Day for the state.
Information about the missing and unidentified will be
made available to those at a ceremony this afternoon in the Capitol building. Missouri Missing also plans to offer adult
identification kits, including a
living will for the missing, DNA swabs, fingerprinting and information booklets.
Caldwell helped pass a bill that expanded the Amber Alert to include adults who go missing under mysterious circumstances. She is currently working with
state officials to pass a bill that
would prevent law enforcement from refusing to take a missing persons report and give families of the missing the opportunity to donate DNA to a database used for reference when trying identify bodies.
There are as many as 40,000
unidentified bodies nationwide,
according to the National Institute of Justice. DNA from only a small portion of those victims has been entered in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
“Investigators have sent me pictures of corpses and asked if it is my mother,” Caldwell said. “That is very emotional. I have to say it is not my mother, but I also have to think, ‘Who does she belong to?’”
“Science has made tremendous advances, but these are not being utilized,” she continued. “Hopefully, we can get a law passed that would make (voluntary) DNA collection a routine part of a missing persons case, like in other states.”
It has been five years since
Caldwell has seen her mother. She used to have nightmares about where her mother was, but said she has come to accept her mother isn’t in pain anymore. Caldwell takes comfort now in helping others.
“My mom made me a strong person,” Caldwell said. “I try to look at the big picture. Even if my mom’s case is not solved, it really is healing to know I can help others if they should be so unfortunate as to be in this position.”
Missouri Missing was created in 2007 by the mothers of two missing women. The organization seeks to educate families of the missing on procedure and resources available, educate the public about the plight of the missing and the families left behind and assist law enforcement by providing information, according to the organization.
Information and photos of Missouri missing persons, including Mary Grobe and Teresa Butler, can be found at their web site,

Again we ask SHARRON PAYNE, Where is Mary Lee Grobe?


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