http://www.clarionledger.com/article...in+Mississippi

The void in Margarite Owens' heart makes it almost impossible for her to know peace.

She recites a single question over and over again - day and night - with no one able to give her an answer.
Where is her father?
Owens, 52, of Holly Bluff has carried frustration on her shoulders for more than two years as she has searched for her father, Jessie Edwards. Edwards, 78, was last seen on Nov. 4, 2007.
"You don't just disappear off the face of the Earth in a small town like Holly Bluff," she said. "Someone knows something. All we want is someone to help us, someone to step up and say something."
Owens is not alone.
There are 98,058 unresolved missing persons cases nationwide, and 551 of those cases are in Mississippi, according the FBI National Crime Information Center. The FBI also has 18 unidentified bodies on record in the state.
Comparatively, Georgia has 1,900 missing persons cases, Tennessee has 1,051 and Louisiana has about 3,100.
"Homicide is the No. 1 cause of death for the unidentified and one of the primary reasons for missing people," said Todd Matthews, spokesman for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. "It's usually someone in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they run into an element they never expected."
Matthews said most missing persons reports are made around the holiday season. Family members sometimes will call authorities after several failed attempts to reach a relative.
For Edwards, family members saw him hours before he went missing.
Edwards, a lifelong farmer, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and was still recovering from the death of his wife the year before.
Owens said Edwards was last seen by a family member who fell asleep on his couch around 2 a.m. When she woke up at 6 a.m., Edwards was gone.
Family members searched their farm and were later assisted by the Yazoo County Sheriff's Department.
The next day, Owens said she was told by two men that Edwards was seen walking down a road 30 miles outside of town. Since then, a number of stories have come forth about what may have happened to him.

Owens believes she has not received much help from authorities. She said they have not followed up leads that may point to his death being a homicide.

A $2,500 reward the family has put up for information in the case has generated few leads. The family does not have a picture of Edwards.
"The people around here know more than what they're telling. I believe in my heart they know what happened to my father," Owens said.
Recently elected Yazoo County Sheriff Tommy Vaughan said his department has placed a high priority on the Edwards case as well as the 1992 disappearance of Kenny Strickland.
"This is not a closed case by any means. I know she's gotten upset because it looks like the case has come to a standstill," he said. "But I made a promise we're going to keep looking into it."
Danny Bolden of Greenville knows the anxiety of having a missing family member. For two weeks in November 2007, police searched for his stepdaughter, Latasha Norman, a 20-year-old Jackson State University student.
On Nov. 29, 2007, Norman's body was found stabbed to death in a wooded field in Jackson. Her ex-boyfriend, Stanley Cole, 25, has been charged with murder.
"My heart goes out to anyone who has a loved one missing because they will have no peace. It's not a day that goes by they're not going to think about that person," Bolden said. "I can only imagine what it's like if they've been missing for years. It has to be a miserable feeling."
Bolden said families with missing relatives should continue to push law enforcement and reach out to those willing to help in the search.
During the two weeks Norman was missing, Bolden's family posted signs, passed out fliers and contacted local media.
"You've got to keep kicking and screaming. No matter how it looks, don't give up. Somebody knows something," Bolden said.
U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., recently sponsored legislation, House Bill 3695, that would allow the FBI and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System to create a centralized public database for all missing persons and unidentified cases.

There are likely thousands of more missing persons cases across the country not recorded by the FBI, because not all law enforcement agencies report them to the FBI, Matthews said.

He said the legislation would allow the public to access many of the missing persons cases not made public by the FBI. This would increase the chances of solving some of those cases.
"Right now, there is so much red tape that gets in the way of data exchange," Matthews said. "This bill would take down that door and create a responsible route for information to travel to the public."
The void in Margarite Owens' heart makes it almost impossible for her to know peace.
She recites a single question over and over again - day and night - with no one able to give her an answer.
Where is her father?
Owens, 52, of Holly Bluff has carried frustration on her shoulders for more than two years as she has searched for her father, Jesse Edwards. Edwards, 78, who was last seen on Nov. 4, 2007.
"You don't just disappear off the face of the Earth in a small town like Holly Bluff," she said. "Someone knows something. All we want is someone to help us, someone to step up and say something."
Owens is not alone.
There are 98,058 unresolved missing person cases nationwide, and 551 of those cases are in Mississippi, according the FBI National Crime Information Center. The FBI also has 18 unidentified bodies on record in the state.
Comparatively, Georgia has 1,900 missing person cases, Tennessee has 1,051 and Louisiana has about 3,100.
"Homicide is the No. 1 cause of death for the unidentified and one of the primary reasons for missing people," said Todd Matthews, spokesman for the National Missing and Unidentified Person System. "It's usually someone in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they run into an element they never expected."
Matthews said most missing person reports are made around the holiday season. Family members sometimes will call authorities after several failed attempts to reach a relative.
For Edwards, family members saw him hours before he went missing.


Edwards, a lifelong farmer, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and was still healing from the death of his wife the year before.

Owen said Edwards was last seen by a family member sleeping on his couch around 2 a.m. When she woke up at 6 a.m., Edwards was gone.
Family members searched their farm and was later assisted by the Yazoo County Sheriff's Department.
The next day, Owens said she was told by two men that Edwards was seen walking down a road 30 miles outside of town. Since then, a number of stories have come forth about what may have happened to him.
Owens believes she has not received much help from authorities. She said they have not followed up leads that may point to his death being a homicide.
A $2,500 reward the family has put up for information in the case has generated few leads. The family does not have a picture of Edwards.
"The people around here know more than what they're telling. I believe in my heart they know what happened to my father," Owens said.
Recently elected Yazoo County Sheriff Tommy Vaughan said his department has placed a high priority on the Edwards case as well as the 1992 disappearance of Kenny Strickland.
"This is not a closed case by any means. I know she's gotten upset because it looks like the case has come to a standstill," he said. "But I made a promise we're going to keep looking into it."
Danny Bolden of Greenville knows the anxiety of having a missing family member. For two weeks in November 2007, police searched for his stepdaughter, Latasha Norman, a 20-year-old Jackson State University student.
On Nov. 29, 2007, Norman's was found stabbed to death in a wooded field in Jackson. Her ex-boyfriend, Stanley Cole, 25, has been charged with murder.
"My heart goes out to anyone who has a loved one missing because they will have no peace. It's not a day that goes by they're not going to think about that person," Bolden said. "I can only imagine what it's like if they've been missing for years. It has to be a miserable feeling."
Bolden said families with missing relatives should continue to push law enforcement and reach out to those willing to help in the search.

During the two weeks Norman was missing, Bolden's family posted signs, passed out flyers and contacted local media.

"You've got to keep kicking and screaming. No matter how it looks, don't give up. Somebody knows something," Bolden said.
U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, D-Connecticut, recently sponsored legislation, House Bill 3695, that would allow the FBI and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System to create a centralized public database for all missing persons and unidentified cases.
There are likely thousands of more missing person cases across the country not recorded by the FBI, because not all law enforcement agencies report them to the FBI, Matthews said.
He said the legislation would allow the public to access many of the missing person cases not made public by the FBI. This would increase the chances of solving some of those cases.
"Right now, there is so much red tape that gets in the way of data exchange," Matthews said. "This bill would take down that door and create a responsible route for information to travel to the public."