WILMINGTON, N.C. (WCBD) – For the 13th year, volunteers from the North Carolina-based CUE Center for Missing Persons will travel across the U.S. to raise awareness of missing children and adults. This year, the team will visit the southeastern states to attend rally stops hosted by various officials, families and friends; the public and media are encouraged to attend. CUE will distribute press kits containing valuable information about unidentified people, missing persons, and unsolved homicides that need attention.
“After a significant period of time passes, many cases fade from the public’s radar, but for the families and friends of a missing person, the nightmare continues – every minute of every day their loved one is absent,” said CUE Founder Monica Caison, who is leading the caravan of volunteers. “We are traveling across the country to remind communities that many, many cases still need resolution, and these families of the missing still need our help – and the community’s help – to bring their loved ones home,” she added.
This year’s On the Road to Remember Tour will depart North Carolina on Friday, October 20. Over the next eight days, CUE volunteers will travel more than 3,200 road miles through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Hundreds of volunteers, family members of the missing, law enforcement representatives, groups, and public officials will take part in various legs of the tour, which will include 23 rally stops. The tour is slated to highlight 90 cases, with additional local cases to be featured at various stops along the way.
The first stop will be to remember Charleston woman Brandy Hanna. She disappeared in May of 2005 and was officially pronounced dead in 2013. Officials believe she was a victim of a homicide but her body was never found.
Her remembrance will be held at North Charleston City Hall between 5:30pm and 6:30pm Saturday, October 21st.
The second stop will be a candlelight vigil held in memory for Marjorie “Gayle” McCaffrey. The West Ashley woman went missing over five years ago. Officials arrested her husband on an obstruction of justice charge, but he has since been released.
Her event will be held at the YMCA off Garder road in West Ashley at 7:30pm Saturday night.
On Saturday, October 28, volunteers will return to a “welcome home” finale stop in Wilmington, where the public can meet volunteers, learn about cases and the CUE Center, become acquainted with other community groups, and enjoy local car club displays. There will be free games and rides for children, as well as a southern pig pickin’ and live music. The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at Honda Suzuki of Wilmington, located at 5725 Market Street.
“Each year, as we begin preparing for the tour, we are reminded of the overwhelming number of unsolved cases across the country when all of the requests start flooding in. But sadly, we can only focus on a certain number each year,” Mrs. Caison said. “The cases we feature are just a handful of the more than 600,000 estimated missing persons cases reported annually across the country, but we are confident we will make a difference in those we represent,” CUE’s founder added.
Created to generate new interest in cold cases of missing people across the nation, the tour was inspired by the 2004 disappearance of North Carolina college student Leah Roberts (left), whose cross-country road-trip of self-exploration ended with authorities finding her wrecked and abandoned vehicle, but not Leah. Leah’s case went cold and interest faded until CUE volunteers set out on a grueling 14-day trip to retrace her route to the Pacific Northwest. In the years that followed, it only seemed right to keep hope alive for other families across the country who voiced the need for more help, and the tour idea was born.