FMPD hosts missing persons event, connecting with searching families

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

Fort Myers Police Department along with other area law enforcement and missing persons groups held an event for families of missing loved ones to connect with those searching for them.

FMPD held the first Missing Person’s Day event in Lee County at Fort Myers High School Saturday.

The event was open to the public for anyone to attend and look at posters of missing people to see if they recognized anyone they knew.

It was also an opportunity to bring old photos, dental records and anything to help find or identify loved ones.

Officers told us some families of known missing people gave them some updated DNA samples at the event. Others let police know about people they haven’t seen in a while and are worried about.

K9 search dogs with their handlers at the Missing Person’s Day event. Credit: For Myers Police Department.

Peace River K9 Search and Rescue let people get to know how they help families look for loved ones. The public had the opportunity to talk with team members about the organizations drones and areas they want to search and get to know the dogs who help look.

“The Cold Case Unit is here because we have several unidentified deceased people,” said Mike Hadsell, president of Peace River K9 Search and Rescue. “Our goal in that is identify them, so we can at least give the families some closure.”

The FMPD crime scene unit also offered free fingerprinting for kids. By having this on file, investigators are already steps ahead to help them get home safely in the event a child goes missing.

Other agencies in attendance included Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers, Cape Coral Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the State Attorney’s Office, Florida Department of Children and Families, District 21 Medical Examiner’s Office and NAMUS (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.)

FMPD told us its research and other agency’s research indicates there are 39 missing people out of Lee County.

Anyone who did not make it and has information on a missing person can call FMPD at 239-321-770 to make a report.

“Mother’s Days are the worst because moms miss their kids,” Hadsell said. “I get a lot of phone calls on Mother’s Days because they’re still missing their kids. These families need to come home.”

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