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By John Last
JAMESTOWN, NY (Eire News Now) – Merry Williams, of Jamestown, New York, has many reasons to feel good. She is expecting her second child any time now. She also is the founder of a network of volunteers that has been very successful in helping families find loved ones who become missing.
Merry is the founder of the Western New York Missing and Unidentified Persons Network. She launched the group last year after some of her siblings went missing. She says the experience of finding a missing loved one could make a person feel scared, frustrated, and alone.
“So, I wanted to be that person for other families that can kind of help them step their way through all of the process,” Merry says.
Merry says there’s a misconception that a person must be missing 48 hours before police take any action. Merry and her group help worried friends and family members file a missing person report. The group also works with the news media to get that information out quickly. Most importantly, those worried friends and family members know something is getting done and that they are not alone.
“We have some really amazing volunteers that stop what they’re doing when somebody is reported or I ask for assistance. They will print and hang fliers across town, go driving around the city checking certain blocks, questioning people as to if they know anything.”
There’s an anonymous email for those who do not want to deal with the police. Merry also uses all methods of social media to post pictures and information.
“The minute that I post, people are saying ‘What can I do to help?’ A lot of our group members are families that have been through it previously and have had a missing person.”
The network has expanded from Jamestown to other cities such as Olean, Niagara Falls, Rochester, and Buffalo. Merry says she also works with Pennsylvania residents and police departments. There’s been some sad endings. But mostly, the cases end with success and happiness.
“We don’t give up hope until there is a final answer or we have found or located that missing person. We remain hopeful,” Merry says.
The anonymous email for the network is email@example.com. More information on the group can be found on its Facebook page.