'Never Forgotten': State agencies stop in Jonesboro to help families of the missing

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Representatives from the Arkansas State Crime Lab, Arkansas State Police, the FBI and the National Unidentified and Missing Persons System were in Region 8 Thursday to assist families in finding missing loved ones.

Mike Williams and his wife Debbie have not heard from Debbie's sister Nancy in 15 years.

"She used to contact us on a regular basis. For her to just abruptly quit calling, coming by, the last time we heard (from her) she called from San Antonio, TX," Mike said. "I thought I'd just come up here and take advantage of all the agencies in one place."

"If something has happened to (Nancy), then the family, her mother, and sisters and brothers need to know exactly what has happened."

The Jonesboro couple attended "Never Forgotten: Arkansas Takes Action", which was hosted by the office of Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, hoping law enforcement will be able to track Nancy with the information they submitted to police.

Families were encouraged to bring as much information as possible about the missing relatives, such as police reports, photographs and dental records.  Forensic analysts were also available to take DNA samples. Every service was free of charge.

Attorney General's Office Communications Director Cindy Murphy says the multi-agency partnership has been beneficial for family members, even though the outcomes of many investigations are not what they hope to hear.

"Last summer we were able to match some remains found in Memphis with a gentleman who went missing from Earle. His name's Tommy Lee Newingham," she said. "Every case is different. Yes, with some of the cases we expect that the person is probably deceased."

"We have over a hundred sets of skeletal remains at the Arkansas Medical Examiner's Office."

The Arkansas Attorney General's Office will host two more missing persons events. The next session will be Thursday, October 24, at the University of Arkansas at Monticello from 4-7 p.m. The final event will be in Hope, Arkansas. The exact location, date and time have yet to be determined.

For more information call Chris Edwards, the Arkansas State Crime Lab Unidentified Human Remains and Missing Persons Coordinator at (501) 227-5936.

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