SACRAMENTO -- Law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups gathered at the Missing in California event held at Sacramento State Staurday to help families find missing loved ones.
This event is the first of its kind in Sacramento and it allows families to go through different stations and receive resources that maybe they didn’t have when they first filed a missing persons report.
But, for some families, this is the first time they are filing that report even though they may have a loved one missing from the 70s or 80s.
Hope…when it comes to missing person cases, hope can be lacking, but station by station, families still holding onto hope worked to solve the puzzle.
"We want to give families a venue, a place where they can come make that report, give that information and then we can bring resources to bear to assist them," Paige Kneeland, Deputy Sheriff, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
Through registration, interviews, DNA sampling and scanning of pictures and records, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies provided resources to families to add information to a previously filed case, identify previously unidentified individuals or file a new report.
"I have historical cases. I have cases that have been reported today that occurred in the 80s and 70s that were not initially reported. To be able to kind of help those families now is very fulfilling and purposeful," Kneeland said.
As of January 1, there were almost 20,000 missing persons records for California entered into the national database.
"That number, 20,000, that’s insane. Definitely heartbreaking for sure," said Midsi Sanchez who was kidnapped at age of 8.
Nearly 18 years ago, Sanchez was on that list for 3 days after she was kidnapped on her 8th birthday before she was able to escape on her own.
Today, she joined many advocacy groups outside to help continue to promote hope.
"We do come back. It is possible. I want to send that message…you know, it’s not really a hot topic… so many people are going missing and I’m so grateful their voices are being heard through us. That’s what helps me heal and help me move forward," Sanchez said.
For almost 25 years, Marc Klass has moved forward after his 12-year-old daughter Polly was abducted at knifepoint during a slumber party and was missing for 65 days before she was found dead. Being a part of the first Missing in California event was important to Klaas.
"Means everything to me. It’s what we always wanted to see happen. Its something we wish was happening 25 years ago when my daughter was kidnapped, but you know, better late than never," Klass, president of Klaas Kids Foundation said.