WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It's been 15 years since someone kidnapped and murdered Amber Hagerman, in Arlington, Texas.
It was that case which led to the creation of the national missing child alert system that bears her name, the Amber Alert. But the disappearance of three other people years before Amber's death, before the Amber Alert was created, is what led Monica Caison to create the CUE Center for Missing Persons.
"There was just such a need," said Caison. "There was no missing persons adult centers, we were one of the first in the country, number four I believe, so we really handled a lot of issues concerning adults."
The CUE Center began its official work in 1994, and one of the more famous cases that cue has worked on was the case of Peggy Carr.
"I think that case was, we consider that as our landmark case, it really exposed our organization," explained Caison. "It taught us everything the family needs first hand, everything that investigators need first hand, as well as the search effort."
Caison said that case ended with a recovery so they also walked through the grieving process with the family.
"Our organization grew by leaps and bounds from that one case, so it re focused our energy and sight on what we were going to do for the families there on," said Caison.
This week, Caison is in South Carolina, assisting in the search for a missing teenager, Brittanee Drexel, last seen in the Myrtle Beach area.
Since its beginning, the CUE Center has helped more than 9,000 families in what is often the most confusing and desperate times of their lives.
"Justice has to be served so it takes advocates to continue the journey with the families, and as for me, I will do it as long as I can," said Caison.
What was simply a dream, name and purpose in 1994 is now a nationally recognized center that answers hundreds of calls for help each year.
For her continued efforts in helping to find missing people and providing assistance to their family members, WECT names Monica Caison as our January Cape Fear Hero.
Copyright 2011 WECT. All rights reserved.