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"The Doe Network" : International Center for Unidentified & Missing Persons
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Doe Network Member Profiles : Jade Melindez

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Tenacious File Searcher….seeks to fill the voids of personal loss.

Our featured member this week is Jade Melindez, our Arizona Area Director.

First shying away from the selection as featured member.. a trademark for Jade…we twisted her arm.

It’s not meant to embarrass but to honor our greatest treasures….the backbones of the org. Jade fits that profile and became a member back in the early months of 2003 after having spent some time in the group as an observer.

In 1998 her youngest son, Carlos, died. He was born with Down Syndrome and congenital heart & lung disease. Life with a special needs child is more than a challenge. But in spite of it all, Jade realizes she was "blessed to have had this very special little boy in my life for 14 years." She describes her son as a gentle soul with a cherub face that smiled at life even in the hardest times.

"He kept me grounded in ways that I can hardly explain. He taught me lessons in life that I would have never known otherwise. I came to realize he was an angel sent from heaven to care for me not the other way around, me caring for him. When he died on July 24th 1998 my whole world collapsed. I thought at first that I would surely die from the weight of the overwhelming, gut wrenching physical and emotional pain. As the long empty days passed I realized with greater horror that I would not die but instead would live the rest of my life feeling this horrible sense of emptiness and this deep gut wrenching pain."

There are many of us here who share a pain. "The journey of grief is a personal one. In a family it is individually personal. Every family member is consumed in their own pain and grief." It’s good to know that her loss was not in vane. As she seeks to fill the voids in her life….she helps to fill the voids in others lives.

Once her son had passed, Jade felt so vulnerable that it unlocked a memory from her past. Plagued by nightmares and vague memories of the murder of her grandfather, an unsolved murder she witnessed as a child. Jade, no longer having to care for Carlos, found she had some time on her hands, went online to seek some sort of resolution.

She soon found the cold cases discussion group and sought direction from individuals who had research tips. Jade felt a degree of acceptance like never before as she had found friends that in some cases were in similar situations. She immediately became hooked on the Doe Network.

"Just before Christmas 2003 I received word from law enforcement that another members match I had sent in was a match. I guess God decided someone would go home for Christmas. It is a rather mixed blessing when a member makes a match. On one hand we are sad that a family will get the news they dreaded yet on the other hand they will no longer deal with the torment of the unknowns and can provide the memorial service for that loved one that is dignified and some resolution to the waiting."

For Jade, the Doe Network has "…been a refuge. A place where I have been able to feel grounded and have a purpose to fulfill." She proudly admits that she has found "a place that reminds me everyday that we can do anything together....."

Jade, thank you for your heart. Your grandfather and son Carlos would be proud of how you chose to honor their lives by seeking to help others. She learned that unsolved homicides were not uncommon and that the effects of an unsolved homicide were "far reaching in the ability to devastate individuals and families." As we seek to honor you in this profile….your words honor us as well.

Author: Todd Matthews


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