Families whose loved ones have gone missing came together at a weekend-long conference held by the CUE Center for Missing Persons. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
Families whose loved ones have gone missing came together at a weekend-long conference held by the CUE Center for Missing Persons. This year's annual National Missing Persons Conference focused on "Embracing Dignity and Courage," something the center's founder said is more difficult in the age of social media.
"You used to only deal with your local community, and now it's like you're dealing with the whole world when you have a missing person. There's a lot of people that come forward and have opinions that aren't warranted, they don't know the situation and that puts families through a lot," Monica Caison said.
Victims of crime, search and recovery teams, law enforcement, volunteers, and public agencies attended workshops and heard guest speakers. Saturday night, the center held a candlelight vigil for families to come together.
Conference attendee Monica Button said her son Neiko Lisi has been missing for more than five years. She said he left their home in New York in 2011, and there's been almost no trace of him since. She said other families at the conference understand what she's going through better than anyone.
“I’m not the only one who has experienced problems with law enforcement, and I’m not the only person who sits and cries in the dark by myself. To know that I belong to this family that none of us wants to belong to is comforting,” Button said.
Button added that she keeps her cell phone on her at all times, hoping to hear from Neiko. The car he left their home in was found last year, but Button said she will continue to search until he's home.
“Right now I have hope. But I look at a lot of people at this conference, and they don’t have the hope anymore,” she said.
Button said she shares her story to try and raise awareness about the amount of families in her situation. She asks all communities to work together to find missing people.