Missing loved ones not forgotten at conference

Missing loved ones not forgotten at conference

Dozens of families gathered Monday at the 6th annual Never Forgotten Arkansas Takes Action event to discuss their concerns and problems with missing person's experts.

The event was hosted by the Arkansas Attorney General's Office.

According to KATV, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said, "Time will never heal the hurt and uncertainty these families feel every hour of every day, But it is my mission each year that these families walk away from the Never Forgotten event with a sense of support that their state and members of law enforcement have not and will not ever forget their loved one."

A two-hour panel was held for families of missing loved ones to learn about resources available from the experts, including the FBI and Arkansas State Police.

The frequent question asked, "What about when your loved one is over the age of 18?"

Many families sighted the lack of resources and how police prioritize case.

Laurie Jernigan's 18-year-old daughter went missing in 2015, and she said she was told numerous times by police, "Little Rock has such high crime rate that I've been told numerous times, 'Laurie' we've got homicides and we just can't deal with that now."

Another attendee, Rebecca Glenn, whose brother went missing at the age of 38 in 2000, said it took her local police department 4 1/2 years to file a missing person's report.  Glenn went on to say police told her as long as there wasn't foul play suspected, it's a person's right to disappear.

Gay Smither, said the days never get easier.

Her daughter went missing, and her body was found 17 days later.

"There's no such thing as closure. That's a media made up word and I wish you would stop using it because it doesn't exist," said Smither. "You scab over…and the scab gets a little thicker, but every now and then you bleed and that's as good as it gets."

Smither has since founded the Laura Recovery Center, and continues to help others.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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