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"The Doe Network" : International Center for Unidentified & Missing Persons
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Doe Network Member Profiles : Mary Palmer

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Fate Intervenes

This weeks featured member is Mary Palmer. Mary is one of our Area Directors that represents Alabama, Missouri and Florida.

Mary is just one of many of us who feel an extremely strong bond. Mary states, "The Doe Network is my family, and much like my blood family many miles separate us, we do not speak everyday but know we are there if and when we are needed."

Mary first became aware of missing persons in 1990, after an abusive marriage ended in divorce. She found herself working at P.J.'s One Stop in Columbus Mississippi and sleeping on a pool table. Mary had no idea that on November 20, 1986 Madeline Ponds
disappeared from the same store, working the same shift. It was not until Madeline's family approached Mary through a mutual friend that all was revealed.

Strangers drawn together by fate, the family had sought Mary's help in learning what happened to Madeline, or "Midge" as they had nicknamed her. They hoped that Mary working in the same environment might happen across valuable information. They took her to their home and showed her pictures of "Midge" and said they know she would not run away. Advising Mary of their suspicions, they cautioned her to take care.

The impact of that was profound and a seed was planted in Mary's heart. "I remember that day, praying that God would help me somehow to find out what happened. And that I would be able to get my life together to help with finding missing persons. At that point in my life it would indeed be a miracle! "

Memories of an abusive childhood at one time caused Mary to turn to alcohol to try to escape having to face the past. But Mary did more than endure, she survived. "I thought my life as over, all trust was gone and that it would be impossible to ever accomplish or achieve anything in life. That belief lead me down some tough roads, however by the grace of God the sunshine came again, with the rainbow."

Though the years passed slowly, fate began to guide Mary's steps. Many years later after remarriage and 2 years of private investigating school, Mary got a computer. She remembered Madeline's family and wondered if I could find anything about the case on the Internet. Now holding a Private Investigating license and after prayer had the name of my business "Abraham Investigations".

Remembering Madeline and her own troubled past Mary wanted to specialize in missing and victimized children. About to stumble upon a wake up call as she had no idea the numbers of the missing and the vastness of the problem, Mary went online in her search for answers.

While searching for information she found Madeline's case file on the Doe Network and started searching for a match for her. She soon joined the Doe Network and ColdCases and they provided a much needed support system.

Fighting the pain of Fibromyalgia with physical therapy, Mary continues as an Area Director, and she seeks to further her knowledge by paralegal course. Advised to avoid stress Mary insists this type of work is "'... a different kind of stress".

So Mary keeps the faith and remembers Madeline, "In the past two years I've found that Madeline keeps touching my life somehow." In her continued contact with the family, Mary was provided with the photo of Madeline in her prom gown featured on her case file.

"The teams that I've been blessed to work with are outstanding and together we all work to be able to have more time to look for matches, but knowing that the support work we do is valuable to the group as a whole. Each of us bring a gift to the group, a talent that works together as one body, one voice to make a difference." beams Mary with pride.

Thanks Mary for your endurance and commitment to so many of the victims and those of us that you call "family". When we count our will certainly be one of them.

Author: Todd Matthews


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