How To Make Civil Servants Work for You!


Never Give Up
Originally uploaded by GregPC
By David Van Norman - Civil Servant.

VAN NORMAN'S RULES FOR DEALING WITH CIVIL SERVANTS

Including, but not limited to, Coroners and Cops

"The Taxpayer Speech:

"Matthew was, and still may be, a taxpayer. His family are taxpayers. YOU are a taxpayer. They (or you, on their behalf) needn't go begging, hat in hand, for information. He, they, and you, have already paid for that service! You support, by paying taxes and purchasing goods and services in the community (anywhere), the infrastructure of government, which includes law enforcement organizations. You paid for my training and experience (regardless of where you live) for me to learn what I know, and for the investigators in Whatever County to do what they do. You pay for the gas that propels their cars and the computers on which they type their reports. You, as a taxpayer, citizen, victim, loved-one of a victim, or private advocate acting on behalf of the family, have EVERY RIGHT to expect professionalism, and adherence to the rules of professional conduct. If you don't get that, someone needs to loose their job!

"Law enforcement, like most organizations, has a political side. A deputy investigator, patrolman or detective will not be concerned with the political aspect of failing to do what needed to be done. They are insulated from above by layers of supervision. A sergeant is higher up the supervisory chain, but only a few have aspirations to rise into management. By the time a police officer is promoted to lieutenant, and certainly by captain or chief, politics is about all there is. The weakest link, believe it or not, is the department chief or Sheriff. A chief is generally an appointed position (serving at the pleasure of the county administration), while the sheriff or coroner is generally elected. Either way, scandal will end their careers (and does, on a daily basis) in a heartbeat. No matter how high-and-mighty I think I am, there is always someone higher, and mightier, than me, who understands that he (or she) is held in place by a fickle public.

"Law enforcement, by its very nature, can be intimidating to deal with. But, the fact is that law enforcement has more to fear from you than you from them. Provided you plan your contacts with them, and don't expect the moon, you should be able to assist the family.

"I appreciate that it is difficult to communicate effectively with law enforcement or other forensic specialists. There are legitimate reasons that some information cannot be released to the public. No one knows who you are – you may be the murderer. But, if your salutation is professional, and includes a concise statement of who you are, and why you are calling – and if it sounds as though you make these calls on behalf of families 20 times a day, your credibility goes up.

"One of the reasons I use email so much, is that it gives the receiver a sense of solidity – having something in hand (or at least in a computer) that verifies the sender's veracity. My signature block is chock full of junk, but anyone reading it knows they can check me out – I'm inviting them to! My emails are designed to overwhelm. I intentionally front-load everything. It presents in the minds eye a bulldozer that WILL NOT STOP. I want them to see me coming, take me seriously, and comply with my requests. I want them to know that if they don't comply, I won't be ignored. Not everybody gets that message… the first time. That's another advantage of the email format, I just send the same message with SECOND REQUEST at the end of the subject line, with the original message attached (date-time stamped), and CC it to the receiver's supervisor. That generally gets the job done.

"My standard advice is that during your legitimate inquiries, if anyone refuses to answer your questions, you should "walk up" the chain of command – at each level asking if it is the policy and practice of the subordinate to ignore inquiries from the grieving families of decedents.

"I recommend that you call the agency, and start your inquiry with an investigator – and hook him (or her). Then tell them that you have constructed an email with information about the missing person that you would like to send to him (or her) for 'forwarding to the most appropriate authority within your department.'"


I'd like to thank Mr. David Van Norman for allowing me to publish his advice. It is my sincere wish that everyone who reads this post benefits from it, like I did.

Everything You Need to Know When Your Loved One Goes Missing


I have to share this very insightful article written by David Van Norman, a San Bernardino County deputy coroner's investigator. It is entitled “WHAT EVERY FAMILY MUST KNOW”. Everyone that has a missing loved one, should take a moment to read this. It's very valuable information coming from a man whose life mission is to "teach families to submit samples to be tested for DNA -- such as a toothbrush or T-shirt -- when they report someone missing." Mr. Van Norman deserves praise for his dedication. Here is a must watch video about his work in San Bernadino County.

WHAT EVERY FAMILY MUST KNOW:
When a loved one is reported missing there is every right to expect that some large law enforcement investigative machine trundles into action; police fan out in all directions, and the search is on for the missing person. I am sorry to say that nothing can be further from the truth!

In the real world missing-person detectives are overwhelmed by the shear volume of missing persons cases and a plethora of other investigative duties, including investigating rapes, assaults, burglaries, etc. Most detectives receive no special training in missing persons investigation, which is unfortunate in light of the fact that the missing person assignment is like no other type of law enforcement duty – requiring an entirely different kind of focus and skill set.

This is the reality. We can cry about it, or we understand what to do about it! Until federal and state legislation catches up and mandates every law enforcement agency in the country investigate missing person cases properly, it is up to you to make the right choices and ensure that what must be done, is done correctly.

WHAT EVERY FAMILY MUST DO:
We must ensure that if a loved one is missing that we put everything into play that will ensure that they are detected when they appear on law enforcement’s radar. We must erect “Velcro Walls” in cyberspace; walls created from identifier records that relate to the missing person, and catch hold of corresponding identifier records for an unidentified person ANYWHERE in the United States (or beyond).

The fact is that a vast majority of missing persons return on their own, without any intervention by law enforcement (which is another reason that some police officers are loath to dedicate time and resources to a missing person, particularly runaways – believing that 95% of the time they just come home anyway!). However, for that small percentage that do not return, we all know that they are on this planet somewhere, and that they are either actively hiding from us, need our help, or are ignorant of our search for them.

It is estimated that there are over 40,000 unidentified persons under investigation across the US. This is a staggering number. Even more staggering is that only about 7,000 are being actively entered into the FBI’s NCIC (the National Crime Information Center)! Although most of the unidentified persons are deceased, it is estimated that as many as 30% to 40% are living. Some are unwilling to identify themselves; they are actively hiding from us. Some are unable to identify themselves; they are confused by Alzheimer’s, incapacitated by mental disability, or by injury – or they are dead. Whatever the reason, alive or not, how can it be that these persons have not been identified? How many must be on the rolls of the 111,000 active long-term missing persons cases in the US?

This is why:
Forget what you saw on last night’s episode of CSI! There are only three scientifically-acceptable ways to identify someone who is either unwilling or unable to identify themselves: fingerprints, dental records, and DNA.

Notice I did not mention photographs. It isn’t that photographs do not have their uses; statistically one in six missing persons returns home as a direct result of a photograph on a poster or a website. It is just that they do the unidentified person investigator no good. No competent investigator will swear in a court of law that a photograph matches a decedent – there are far too many post-mortem changes, and too many people appear similar. That mug-shot may be probable cause to stop a suspect, but that officer will next confirm the identity with fingerprints, or by some other means.

Keep the photographs on the posters and websites, but the only type of imaging that is of any use to a forensic investigator is a “smiling” photograph depicting the missing person’s teeth, or a “talking” video, showing the missing person’s teeth. Those can be compared to an unidentified person’s teeth by a forensic dentist.

Fingerprints, dental records, and DNA! These are the critical minimum records that must be submitted into law enforcement’s searchable databases.

Currently, on average missing persons records across the United States include the following records at the following rates:

Fingerprints – Less than 1%
Dental Records – About 4%
DNA – Much less than 1%
No wonder there are 40,000 unidentified persons!

CRITICAL FIRST STEP:
The first step is the most critical: The missing loved one MUST be reported missing to a law enforcement agency, and that agency MUST enter the record into NCIC (the National Crime Information Center). This must happen IMMEDIATELY. Federal law prohibits the establishment of a waiting period to report someone missing. I don’t care if the person was last seen walking out the door ten minutes ago- they are gone now!

There is a “logic convention” in law enforcement that the person should be reported missing to the agency with jurisdiction over the place of residence. The reasoning seems to be that a person is likely to return to familiar locations, such as home. However, serious consideration should be given to the location that the person was last seen – particularly if the story is that the person was seen being bundled into the back seat of a blacked-out Mafia car! In California Penal Code 14205 is specific: “All local police and sheriffs' departments shall accept any report of a missing person, including runaways, without delay and shall give priority to the handling of these reports over the handling of reports relating to crimes involving property… the reports shall be submitted within four hours after acceptance to NCIC via CLETS.” Technically that means that it doesn’t matter whether the person was never in California, and was last seen on the Space Shuttle! If the phone rings at a police station in California, and a person is missing, the report should be taken. It doesn’t matter if little Jenny has just run away for the 10th time – for all we know, this time she ran straight into the arms of Jack the Ripper! The family will encounter some typical law enforcement attitudes: “There is no law against being missing!” True, but there isn’t any law against taking the report – and in fact, at least in California, there is a law against NOT taking the report! “There is no evidence that anything bad has happened.” True, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence! Since Jenny is missing we have no reason to believe she is safe, either. Unless the investigator believes that she is in the Penthouse Suite at the local Holiday Inn, eating bon-bons and sipping ice tea, then she is probably living on the streets with every scum-sucking ba***rd in society trolling like sharks for little girls just like her! Take the report and get the information broadcasting in NCIC!

Nothing happens without the NCIC record. The NCIC computer chugs away all night long looking for matches between unidentified and missing person records. If a possible match is found between two records, a teletype is sent to both agencies. We receive approximately 1,500 of these match-ups per year for San Bernardino’s 250 long term unidentified person cases. It is then up to the agencies to compare the identifier records, IF they were collected.

If one or the other record is not in NCIC, there IS NO WAY TO MATCH THEM TOGETHER!

THE IDENTIFIERS:
The family MUST assist law enforcement in locating, securing, and submitting these records. Not only must they assist, but they must sometimes INSIST that law enforcement take these records, AND they must make sure that these records are properly submitted into the searchable databases. Many law enforcement investigators I speak to across the country do not know what must be done with these records. This is what must happen:

FINGERPRINTS
The missing person’s fingerprints may be located via a wide variety of sources, including (but not limited to): arrests, employment and background applications, military service, and even through check-cashing facilities and social services. If the missing person in California had ever applied for a driver’s license or identification card, a right thumbprint is available to law enforcement at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The fingerprints (yes, even the single thumbprint) should be “registered” (not just “run”) into Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS - State) AND the Integrated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS - FBI). Many investigators are under the impression that only criminal fingerprint records may be “registered” into AFIS. The fact is that AFIS is a database to be used for law enforcement purposes, and this is one of its purposes!

IAFIS has a much more enlightened and progressive attitude. Fingerprints can be submitted by mail (after submission to AFIS) to the FBI, CJIS Division, in Clarksburg, WV, or by FAX. IAFIS is broken into regions across the United States, each with a regional coordinator (information available on-line at http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/iafis.htm).

Family members should assist the missing person investigator by locating any possible fingerprints sources, and assisting in getting these submitted.

It is critical that the fingerprint record (AFIS and IAFIS) be referenced by tracking number in the NCIC record. Such a comment may be stated as follows: “FINGERPRINTS ON FILE WITH SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SHERIFF CAL-ID (909-890-5000) CAL-ID #9999999.”

DENTAL RECORDS
These records are perishable, and MUST be obtained as soon as possible! California dental and medical providers are only required to maintain these records for 7 years. This sounds like a long time, unless you consider that the missing person may have not seen a dentist for five years, disappeared two years ago, and may not be found for another ten years. Lock down the records NOW!

Order copies – leave original records with dental or medical providers and tell them to “freeze” the file forever. Once obtained, these records must be mailed (or emailed) to your state missing persons clearinghouse. For a list of missing person clearinghouses by state refer to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website:. The NCIC record must be updated to describe the availability of dental X-rays and charts, and the dental characteristics must be coded for entry into the NCIC record:

DENTAL INFORMATION – DXR/Y - DENTAL CHARACTERISTICS (DCH) ARE AVAILABLE
DENTAL CHARACTERISTICS
1X 32X
2MO 31DO
3M 30V
4V 29V
5V 28V
6V 27/
7/ 26/
8/ 25V
9V 24V
10V 23V
11V 22V
12V 21V
13V 20V
14O 19MODF
15DO 18O
16V 17X

These dental characteristics are critical for the quick comparisons and rule-outs by a trained unidentified person investigator by comparing which of the missing person’s teeth have modifications (fillings or other dental work) with the deceased person’s (or unidentified living person’s) teeth. For example, if a missing person has a filling in tooth number 14, and the same tooth for the unidentified person has never been modified – it is a rule out: teeth don’t heal. These dental records (charts and X-rays)should also be entered into The National Dental Image Repository (NDIR), which is available to law enforcement through the FBI’s LEO network (Law Enforcement On-line). The NCIC record should be modified to state the following: “DENTAL X-RAYS AND CHARTS AVAILABLE ON NDIR.” The Unidentified Persons Investigator wouldn’t even need to contact the missing person investigating agency to check the dental X-rays directly.

DNA
The best source of a missing person’s DNA is from the missing person himself (or herself) – referred to as a “direct” DNA sample. Missing persons leave their DNA behind on toothbrushes, shaving razors, hairbrushes, finger and toenail clippings, unwashed clothing, hats, chewing gum, etc. Use your imagination. If these items were not left behind (and even if they were), “reference” DNA samples should be obtained from blood relatives.

The best “reference DNA” would come from the missing person’s identical twin siblings or both biological parents. If one parent is not available, then the available parent (hopefully the mother, because it is the mother that passes down mtDNA) should be sampled, along with as many full siblings as possible.

The sampling procedure is simple; basically a q-tip is swabbed on the inside of the subject’s mouth. But, the sample should not be submitted to just any DNA lab. Since our goal is to have the missing person’s DNA profile to be available for comparison to unidentified persons nationwide, the samples must be entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS - FBI). There are only a few DNA labs certified to complete a DNA profile and submit to CODIS (a list of such labs are available on the CODIS website). California has one: Department of Justice, Missing/Unidentified Persons DNA Program (DOJ-DNA). They accept personal items (toothbrushes, etc.) and buccal swabs. If the missing person was reported to a California law enforcement agency, then regardless of where the missing person’s family member is located, the agency should contact California DOJ and request that the free kits be mailed to the investigator. If the missing person was reported to a law enforcement agency in a state that does not have its own certified lab, then DNA samples may be submitted to either the Federal Bureau of Investigation directly, or to the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas(Phone: 800-763-3147).

On average it will take a period of months for a missing person’s DNA profile to be developed and entered into CODIS. The NCIC record must be updated to describe the availability of a DNA sample in CODIS, including any reference numbers.

NCIC RE-VISITED
After the identifiers have been entered into the searchable databases, I recommend that the family verify that the NCIC record has been updated. The NCIC’s position is that the NCIC teletype is for “Law Enforcement Use Only,” so many investigators will not show this printout to the family. I queried NCIC myself and was told that a copy of the NCIC may not be given to anyone, but that they have no objection to allowing the family to see record in order to verify its accuracy. I recently investigated an unidentified person case for which the identification was delayed 19 months because the Alaska State Police refused to take the missing person case for six months after the mother first reported that the 18 year old girl disappeared (a violation of Alaska State law), and then entered the Date of Last Contact as the date the missing person report was taken, rather than when the girl was last heard from. This effectively eliminated the chance that NCIC would match the two cases, because the girl is reportedly seen six months after she was dead in my Morgue! The 19 months that this mother suffered in fear, not knowing what had happened to her daughter, could have been prevented if the agency had taken the report (as required by law), and certainly shortened by a year had the family been allowed to review the contents of the NCIC record for accuracy. After all, the NCIC record is made up of information PROVIDED BY THE FAMILY.

TEAMWORK
A missing person is too important to be left to one person. Those family members who wish to “leave it to the professionals,” and sit back on the couch to let the police do the work will probably get out of this what they put into it. I prefer the Team Approach, with the family involved in a productive way. We must help law enforcement to accomplish this mission, and if they do not know how, we can show them the way.

Will law enforcement accept your assistance? Perhaps not willingly. We in law enforcement tend to think that we don’t need any help, and some investigators will view the family as hindrance. That’s too bad. The missing person is YOUR LOVED ONE. You may have to be insistent. You may ruffle some feathers. Is there anything more important?

If there is any way that I can assist, please contact me:
David Van Norman
Deputy Coroner Investigator/Unidentified-Missing Persons Coordinator
San Bernardino County Sheriff Department - Coroner Division
175 S. Lena Rd., San Bernardino, CA 92415
Office: 909-387-2978
Desk: 909-388-0159
FAX: 909-387-2989
Email: dvannorman@sbcsd.org

Join us on Flickr, Care2, Friendfeed, and Check out the Picture of Lilly's Back Tattoo!

Thank you, Detective Mancha from Miami Dade Police Department, for providing us with this picture of Lilly's back tattoo. This is the only known picture of it and we are extremely thankful to Det. Mancha for providing it to us.

Anyone with information should immediately contact MDPD at 305-418-7245.

I've used many social networking sites to assist me in my mission of finding Lilly and raising awareness for missing persons. If you have a loved one that's missing, you are invited to join my group on Flickr. The group is focused on missing persons in the United States. Every member is encouraged to upload pictures of missing loved ones (as long as they disappeared within the US). This is a good idea in several aspects. Many people use Flickr. And it's an effective way of raising awareness for the missing.
Join my room in Friendfeed. Members post links to pictures, articles, anything that has to do with missing persons. If you're a social media lover, be sure to join us on various sites across the web. Care2.com. And a community on Mixx.com.
Add Lilly as a friend on myspace and join the group on Facebook and join the cause on Facebook. These are a just few of the ones I use. I'll write an entire post about this in more detail in the near future.

Lilly Aramburo Missing Miami Mother - MIA


I absolutely ADORE this picture. This is how I remember my friend. Smiling, laughing, enjoying the moment.

Lilly vanished, without a trace, on June 1, 2007. Life hasn't been the same. Her mother lives in constant agony, waiting for her daughter's return. Having to raise her grandson under such difficult circumstances is not an easy task. With each day, Lilly's son slowly loses precious memories of his mother. He was 9 months old, last time he saw her smiling face and was held in her warm embrace.

We are asking the community for help - Do you know someone called EJ in Miami? Probably hung out in Coconut Grove by the Pier or Peacock Park and Churchill's Pub in Little Haiti. Do you know Christen Pacheco?

Anyone with info should immediately contact Miami Dade Police - Detective Aaron Mancha at 305-418-7245 or 305-471-8477. You can remain completely anonymous. Or leave a comment on this blog.

To Lilly's Murderer, Your Conscious Must be KILLING You!

Another newly acquired picture of Lilly courtesy of Miami Dade Police Department. With every new picture, sadness tends to overcome me. And all I'm left with are questions.

Christen Pacheco, the man Lilly was engaged to, was one of the last persons to see her alive. He reported her missing, 24 hours after the fact and before ever checking with family or friends. He tried to make it seem as if her intention was to kill herself. He fabricated a tale about Lilly leaving with bungee cords. If it was truly her intention to hang herself or take her own life, her body would have been found by now. My gut feeling screamed murder. But I am not accusing Christen. Although he never behaved like a man suffering due his fiance's disappearance and never made any attempts to find her, he is innocent until proven guilty. However, several criminal profilers, including Clint Van Zandt, and others in the criminal justice field, all agree that police should have seen red flags immediately. They should have questioned her fiance thoroughly. Police should have started investigating at that most critical moment! But instead, they assigned her case to a detective (Detective Aaron Mancha) who was on vacation! Lilly's life was treated as completely inconsequential and meaningless. I often think about why. Was it because she's not white or well off? Was it negligence or something greater and uglier like Missing White Woman Syndrome?

Why is it that after all this time, Miami residents are still unfamiliar with Lilly's case? Because her case has not interested the news media at all. How could it make an enduring news impression, even locally, if media is unresponsive and unwilling to report?



After all this time, I believe her little boy and family, deserve answers. Something happened to Lilly. She did NOT willingly walk away from her son and her life. Lilly would never allow so much time to pass without making a phone call or checking on her son. Someone took her from us. And many of us will not rest until she is found and justice is served for Lilly Aramburo.

Here's a direct statement to her perpetrator: YOUR CONSCIOUS MUST BE KILLING YOU!!!

Lilly Aramburo another picture of the missing mother from Miami

Lilly Aramburo is pictured playing with a cute little black and white doggy. Lilly adored animals. Especially dogs. And kitties.

A Call to ACTION - Congress to discuss Kristen's Act TODAY!


Today July 15 at 2PM, Kristen's Act is getting attention in congress. H.R. 423 would authorize the Attorney General to provide grants for organizations to find missing adults.

* Detailed Summary
* Status of the Legislation
* Points in Favor

Detailed Summary

Kristen's Act Reauthorization of 2007- Directs the Attorney General, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, to make grants to public agencies and/or nonprofit private organizations to: (1) maintain a national resource center and information clearinghouse for missing and unidentified adults; (2) maintain a national, interconnected database for tracking missing adults who are determined by law enforcement to be endangered due to age, diminished mental capacity, or the circumstances of disappearance, when foul play is suspected or circumstances are unknown; (3) coordinate public and private programs that locate or recover missing adults or reunite missing adults with their families; (4) provide assistance and training to law enforcement agencies, State and local governments, elements of the criminal justice system, nonprofit organizations, and individuals in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and treatment of cases involving missing adults; (5) provide assistance to families in locating and recovering missing adults; and (6) assist in public notification and victim advocacy related to missing adults.

Directs the Attorney General, through the Director, to: (1) coordinate Government-funded programs relating to missing adults; and (2) provide the public agencies or nonprofit private organizations receiving grants to maintain a national resource center and information clearinghouse for missing and unidentified adults with access to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center.
Status of the Legislation

Latest Major Action: 2/2/2007: Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

Points in Favor

The FBI recently released statistics for missing persons as of Dec 31, 2007. The report shows that of the roughly 100,000 missing persons cases being tracked by the FBI, ~48% are adults (See DOJ press release, http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel08/ncic2007stats053008.htm and associated report) . The bill renewing funding for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children [NCMEC] was signed by the President on June 3, 2008 (P.L. 110-240) but the companion bill renewing funding for the National Center for Missing Adults [NCMA] awaits action in the House Judiciary Committee. As of this writing, Rep Myrick's bill has 24 cosponsors and no objections to the bill have been voiced.

NCMA has provided essential service to both families and law enforcement agencies for 14 years and is endorsed by over 300 law enforcement agencies. They provided crucial infrastructure and resources in the location and identification of well over 13,000 adults in the national emergency of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The cost of the Katrina effort wiped out the financial reserves of NCMA. HR 423 will restore the resources of an exemplary agency, allowing it to continue to provide a valuable public service.

Please contact your congressperson and let them know how you feel. You must act now. Time is of the essence. You can call your congressperson at 202-224-3121, ask for them by name or provide your zip code and the operator will look up your Representative. Or you can send an email directly by visiting http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/

Below is an example email:
Hi, my name is Melinda, I live in Miami, FL and I have a close family
member that has gone missing. I am calling concerning H.R.423, Kristen's
Act Re-authorization of 2007. This bill provides funding to the NCMA, an
organization which provides support to missing persons and law enforcement
agents. The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security is
holding a hearing on this bill Tuesday July, 15 at 2PM and I want to urge
you to voice your support to the subcommittee before or during this time.

Your support is crucial. If you would like to get more involved, take a look at NCMA'S advocacy page. Also, please sign this petition Online petition - Support the National Center for Missing Adults (HR 423)

Heather Riggio Update




Thankfully, a few media outlets have covered the disappearance of missing 20 year old Heather "Kitty" Riggio.  Heather, a petite blonde, was last seen wearing a pink top, jeans and high heels. On the afternoon of May 6, 2007 she left her family's house in North Miami Beach and got into a white SUV, police say. She has never been seen since.

The Miami Herald wrote a good article about it on today's paper. They have published a series of about 8 or 9 articles about Heather's disappearance. You can find those articles in the Miami Herald archives. The writer, David Ovalle, included information about the Kid Finders Network. 

He writes: "The billboard is being provided to North Miami Beach police by the Kid Finders Network, a West Palm Beach-based volunteer organization run by Sherri and Dennis Milstead. Kid Finders, which relies on donations, provides mobile billboards aimed at finding missing young people. The price of Riggio's mobile billboard -- the printing of the banner and trailer upkeep -- is about $3,000, footed so far by the Milsteads. ''We work off donations and we're still trying to get sponsors,'' Sherri Milstead said.``We're hanging by a shoestring.''
Miami residents and businesses, please support Kid Finders Network. They desperately need corporate sponsors. Or if you are able to make a donation, you can do so by credit card or paypal safe and securely here. Please visit their website for more information. Their work is crucial to finding Heather and so many missing loved ones. They also seek volunteers to drive the mobile billboard.

From the moment I met Sherri and Dennis Millstead from Kid Finders Network, I immediately saw their devotion and personal sacrifice to find the missing. Dennis, kindly offered us a neat little gadget called Safety in a Flash. With Safety In A FLASH you can create missing person flyers, and it has the capabilities to export these files to police or missing person's bureaus. Safety In A FLASH is highly recommended for the Elderly and those suffering with Alzheimer's. Here's a handy screen shot. I think it's a great idea! Every single parent should have one for their kids or elderly parents. You can store birth certificates, pictures, fingerprints, etc. You can order one today for only a $65 donation to Kid Finders Network. Trust me, your family is worth it.

Here's another article and video about Heather on CBS4. (The link is no longer active) And another on WSVN including video. You can find more information about Heather Riggio's case by doing a Google search. There's over 26,000 pages of search results.

From Heather's sister's Myspace page http://www.myspace.com/heathersmissing:
"We want as many people as possible to see her picture and know her story..But we need help..we need people to donate gas money and driving time to keep the billboard running..PLEASE contact Sherry @ 561-333-2779 if you can do anything..anything at all helps..thanks a lot, Lisa".  
Heather's family is torn up and suffering dearly for the return of their precious "Kitty". See more pictures of Heather here. If you have any information, anything at all, please contact North Miami Beach Police at 305-949-5500.

Kid Finders Network and North Miami Beach Police Spotlight Missing Person Heather Riggio



This morning I attended a Press Conference held by the North Miami Beach Police and Kid Finders Network for missing person, Heather "Kitty" Riggio. I was invited by Sherri Milstead, the Executive Director of Kid Finders Network. She learned about Lilly's case and contacted me earlier in the week.

Kid Finders Network is a nonprofit organization which provides mobile billboards to families, organizations and Law Agencies in search of Missing Children and Missing Persons. They provide digital fingerprinting at public events and private sessions where there is 10 or more children. They offer custom websites, assist in searches, door to door flyers and from what I've seen, it seems they would do almost anything to help find a missing human being. They have a mobile billboard (pictured above) with Heather's information and picture on it. It will stay at the police station in North Miami Beach until Monday. After that it will go to the area where Heather was last seen at in Homestead. It will cruise the area, increasing the odds of someone calling with an important tip. The drivers are trained in taking tips, too. You can see my entire set of pictures of the press conference and the mobile billboard by clicking the link under the picture.

Lilly's mom and I could not contain our tears as we watched the press conference taking place. It's interesting because we're not emotional people. But this is an open wound for us. You can't help but feel overwhelmed with compassion for families experiencing the same suffering. It was heartbreaking. But at the same time, I saw the dedication and all the effort put forth by the detectives from North Miami Beach Police Department. What a blessing for Heather's family. I've been following her case and from the start, these detectives have done such a great job. I admire and commend them for their commitment and efforts to find Heather. They were able to get her story featured on America's Most Wanted.

Here is the official press release from the North Miami Beach Police Department. They have it posted on their website:

Topic: Kid Finders Network to Assist in Missing
Persons Case Utilizing Innovative Mobile
Billboard

Date & Time: Friday, July 11th at 11:00 AM at NMBPD,
16901 NE 19 Av.


Narrative: Kid Finders Network will be assisting us with a missing person case where a young female, Heather Riggio, went missing on May 6, 2007 and the public’s help is paramount to helping us find her or find out what happened to her as foul play may be involved. Kid Finders Network is providing an innovative way to assist law enforcement with the recovery of missing persons by providing a mobile billboard that will feature vital information such as photographs of the victim, the areas she frequented, etc. which will be deployed in the area Heather was last seen.

Kid Finders will be at the North Miami Beach Police Department on Friday, July 11th at 11:00 AM with the billboard provided for this case. Representatives from Kid Finders Network as well as NMB Chief Rafael P. Hernandez, Jr. and Lead Case Detective Rich Rand will be present to speak about the case and unveil the highly effective and innovative billboard that will profile this case.

The original missing person flyer that features pictures of Heather Riggio will follow this press release and for information regarding Kid Finders Network you can visit their website at www.kidfindersnetwork.com. For more information regarding this press release please call Detective Rich Rand at 305-218-1234 or Sergeant Warren Hardison.

Social Networking Groups for Missing Persons

Come join me in social media networking sites and help raise awareness for the missing. I began my advocacy efforts for Lilly last year. Since then, I have created some groups and would be honored if you joined me. Social media can be very helpful. Join in the conversation and you'll see.

My absolute favorite social networking tool is Twitter. Twitter is a real-time tool for "micro-blogging" or posting very short updates, comments or thoughts. It is very popular and a very good idea for those with a missing family member or friend. You can reach a wide audience if you use it wisely. If you're already using Twitter, be sure to follow me @yogini.

If you're on Myspace, please add Lilly as a friend. You can help by making her one of your top friends and posting info and links about her on your profile.
http://www.myspace.com/missinglillyaramburo

Join the Find Lilly Cause on Myspace! And please, don't forget to invite all your friends.
http://www.causes.com/myspace/causes/95390?e=749d4

I created this Missing Persons Room on Friendfeed. Please join and start submitting news articles about missing people. It's a really cool news agrregator. You're going to love it.
http://friendfeed.com/rooms/missing-persons

Please join the Help Find Lilly Facebook Group
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=21916321012

There's also a Find Lilly Facebook Cause
http://apps.facebook.com/causes/95328?m=e9565&recruiter_id=3309056

Missing Persons Group on Care2. I've liked this network for a very long time. Great for activists.
http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/MissingPersons

Another blog with information and links about Lilly, missing persons, domestic violence and a wealth of resources.
http://yogini.tumblr.com/

This is a great community on Mixx. You can submit articles about missing people.
http://missingchildrenandmissingpersons.mixx.com/

This is my Missing Persons US Group on Flikr. It is public and free to join. You're encouraged to post pictures and flyers or posters of missing people.
http://www.flickr.com/groups/786046@N24

I hope you join me in reaching out to others. You can make a difference!

Forever grateful to your support!

Miami Police - Nothing Like CSI:Miami or First 48


Recently, I had a conversation with the detective from Lilly's case. It only took a few weeks of daily messages to his voice mail and emails to him and his superiors inside the Miami Dade Police Department.

I was a little frustrated to say the least but very thankful to have the opportunity to seek help in several aspects in the search for Lilly. And more specifically, I had some questions that needed answers.

In the few weeks in which I waited to speak with MDPD, I managed to not only get two Search and Rescue Teams to volunteer, but I tracked down the owners of the property (where the recent tip said she'd be found) called them and received approval for the search. All we were waiting for was MDPD.

Back to the conversation with detective. After almost 3 weeks, not much had been accomplished on their end. According to him, he was out the previous week and nobody handles his cases while he's out. Besides, Lilly's is not his only case (I've heard this mantra over and over again). Nevertheless, I was happy to report that we had 2 SAR teams ready to move and all we needed was their approval. That approval never came. What I got instead was a bunch of excuses.

And since then, I can't help but wonder why the MDPD would not allow two professional Search and Rescue teams from South Florida to help in the search for Lilly? The more I think about it, the less it makes sense.

You would think they would welcome and accept any help that's offered to them since they're so tied up with hundreds of missing persons cases. So busy that it's taken more than 3 weeks to get the ball rolling in order to complete the search at the property where Lilly's remains might be found. Instead, they insist they are fully prepared. They have cadaver dogs...

After an entire year of neglect to her case, now we must rely on them and them only?

And yet, why has it taken this long? Can it really be that the MDPD are that tied up? That it takes them weeks to simply find out who the property owners are? When it took me less than 20 minutes? Trust me, Miami Dade Police are nothing like what you see on CSI:Miami, more like Reno 911.

Honestly, what is it going to take for police to solve this case? Lilly did NOT willingly abandon her child. She did NOT just vanish!  

Does more blood need to spill?

More Than One Entire Year and Lilly is still GONE ~ Desperately Seeking Justice


"Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated." -Lamartine

Since the moment I received the phone call from Lilly's mother, I knew this was going to be a life changing event. Although, I was used to losing touch with Lilly every once and awhile, this was different. The more I learned about the details, the more I knew something was terribly wrong. She'd never abandon her child. Just a few days before she went missing, she wrote journal entries expressing hope and love for her baby and making plans for the future. She was in a treatment center until her scheduled court date. She was clear minded and making an effort to change her life. That day, she was picked up by Christen in the morning, at the treatment center. And the rest is history.

A short time after Lilly disappears, Christen's Cadillac SUV disappears. And Kelly moves in with Christen. According to them, there was another person in the apartment the night Lilly vanished. A guy by the nickname "EJ". It's been more than one year since that night and we still don't know anything about this person. Why have they not come forward? Miami Dade Police have yet to interview any of the people who were there at the condo the night she disappeared.

If you have any information or a tip, please contact Detective Mancha at 305-418-7245. If you know anything about her disappearance and could offer some insight, please email me. This has gone on way too long. Someone out there knows EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO LILLY. I urge you to contact the detective or call the tip line at 305-471-TIPS, you can remain anonymous if need be. Just make the phone call, please. No matter how small a detail, no matter how silly you think it may be, your information could help solve this mystery. It's been a hellish experience for Lilly's family and friends. Please help bring Lilly back home.

For the most recent update on Lilly's case, please read Murder, Money & Power Miami Style. Very raw and unfiltered truth about what we are dealing with in the real life mystery of Lilly Aramburo's disappearance. Please comment and make a quick phone call to the US Attorney's Office at 305-530-7679. It appears the US Attorneys office are the only ones who can properly investigate this case. Also, please continue sending emails to Governor Charlie Crist and media. It makes absolutely no sense that after all this time, not ONE article has been written about Lilly's case in local newspapers like The Miami Herald or Miami New Times. The local news channels are not helping either. It's not due to lack of effort, I testify to that.

Apture

ShareThis