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"The Doe Network" : International Center for Unidentified & Missing Persons
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Doe Network : "A Year in Reflection"

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During the Thanksgiving holiday, I've had some time to reflect on some of our cases from the past year. Most importantly, I've thought about the cases that turned out better than we could have hoped. We've had three cases within the Doe Network itself in which the missing were found alive and well. I am sure their families are rejoicing this day. However, all three of those cases were situations where the person chose to disappear and the reasons for that can still be valid all these years later. No matter what the outcome though, their families must be overjoyed.

Then, there are cases like Elizabeth Smart. Due to the circumstances surrounding her abduction, I'm sure not many people really expected a happy ending. Who would have known for most of those months she was missing, she was within miles of her house, and within miles of all those people looking for her. Cases like that one give so much hope. She was alive, she was well, and she was being held emotionally captive right there in her own backyard.

There must be other cases like that one. There must be other children, other men, other women who are just holding their breath waiting for rescue. As we spend our time trying to match does, we must not forget to keep looking for them, keep photos circulating, keep hope high. Just as the people who saw Elizabeth on the street that day, we can be the ones who can bring a child home.

I recall a case several years ago where a toddler was abducted from or near her home. The case went years without good leads until an alert official in Puerto Rico noticed something strange about a mother who was attempting to register her child for school. It turned out this was not her child at all, but that baby abducted from the US so many years before. It only took a small amount of research for this official sent the right tip to the right authorities. It was enough to send a child back to her grieving parents. What a gift those parents were given that year.

I am so very thankful for cases like those. It's a reminder during this holiday season that there are miracles.

Author: Dana Gonzalez





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