This weeks featured member is Mary Palmer. Mary
is one of our Area Directors that represents Alabama, Missouri and
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.
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
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
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.
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.
for your endurance and commitment to so many of the victims and those of
us that you call "family". When we count our blessings...you will
certainly be one of them.
Author: Todd Matthews