Today, I turned on my computer and this popped up on my desktop— unbidden by me— my brother's Las Vegas Missing Person's report and his nameus.gov identification number. This is 7 years after my great labours to secure both. It just happened on a new computer where I had never opened up this contact file.
You don't get a missing persons report 25 years after someone goes missing without a great deal of sweat and toil. I still have the big binder with all the research but seeing this was like going around north Las Vegas all over again following the police homeless liaison, Officer Mary, and a few other cop cars, and seeing all the passed out bodies, the untold human waste, literally littering street after street. They were happy to take me around in the early hours because they said it was unusual for someone to look for a homeless brother.
I had to secure the missing person's report in order to have my DNA uploaded into the Namus.gov database. And to get the missing person's report, I had to go to Las Vegas. A place I do not prefer.
For the uninitiated, and face it, most of us want to be, this is a national database of John and Jane Does buried in unmarked, unsung, usually paupers' graves. I really believed I was going to find my brother alive but homeless after 25 years but I had stumbled on this website and a former cop from the town were I was living, me in Lakeland and her on a great Northwest prairie.
That I ever consented to give my DNA in the first place was how smart this former Lakeland cop and then Namus.gov administrator truly is. When I began my search for my brother, a Las Vegas coroner told me to look at this website after gingerly bringing up paupers graves to me. So, I noodled around and found a 6'2" man who was apparently buff but who did not have a head included in his grave. Intrigued, I emailed and got Janet, the solver of a famous Lakeland cold case.
She called me. We chatted. She told me I needed a missing person's police report. She kept in touch with me over a two month period while I did my research, speed dialled every agency there is, and generally neglected my other jobs. Right when I was about to leave for Vegas, she called me. She asked if she could send a police technician to my home and take a swab. I was distracted-busy but said yes because by that time, Janet had become my "friend." sending me a book or two from Amazon, giving me advice, and chatting about what was then my new town, the lovely, the charming Lakeland, Florida.
So, there it is. The facts that hit you on any random Tuesday, years later. He was such a cute kid and his purity of heart is there. It's a light that never goes out.