Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday's Super Site

Today's site is The Doe Network: International Center for Unidentified and Missing Persons. (Warning: The Doe Network site contains information that can be disturbing, so please browse at your own risk.)

"The Doe Network is a volunteer organization devoted to assisting Law Enforcement in solving cold cases concerning Unexplained Disappearances and Unidentified Victims from North America, Australia and Europe." (from their mission statement on the About page)

I first discovered this site while doing research for one of my novels. Not only is this a worthwhile endeavor - every human being deserves to be reunited with their identity, even years after their death - but... and I admit to being ashamed to say it... it's a source for story ideas.

Of course, by writing a fictional tale about one of these lost souls, we can share their story. We can give these unknown humans a voice. And maybe by writing about their deaths, we can help shed light on their deaths. (Or maybe I'm just finding ways to justify using these tragedies as story ideas... I don't know.)

If you browse through the Network's indexes, you will find information about these unknown persons - sometimes pictures and sometimes just basic descriptions and often just bare guesses about the physical makeup of who a person might have been based on the remains discovered. I never would've thought there would be so many...

I know this site isn't the happiest place to be, but I think it's necessary - and not just in a writerly sort of way.

There are literally hundreds of people listed in their 'Hot Case Index'. Each one was a person with a family who loved them and who wonders what happened. Just looking through the cases makes me want to do something to help these people, but I don't know anything. Maybe by posting about it here, someone else will know something.

Additionally, while browsing through the site, I came across their 'Missing Persons Checklist'. If you suspect a loved one has gone missing, it provides information on what to do and when to do it. Heaven forbid this should happen to anyone we know or love, but if it should, having this information will help those left behind deal with the disappearance and may help find the missing person.

Truth be told, I started today's Super Site post with the intention of just throwing this out for those of us who write suspense, as a place to glean story ideas and do research. While I've been writing this, I find myself horrified by the thought that there are people who've been missing for decades - and bodies without an identity for just as long. I'm disturbed by the images of clay models created to try and make a human face from skeletal remains. And I'm dismayed that mankind has not risen above this.

This isn't necessarily what one would call a Super Site. This is a series of tragedies, but it deserves to be mentioned. It deserves to be passed around so together we can maybe help some families find closure and some deceased find a final resting place.

Be safe out there everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment