NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC - (WECT) - A local non-profit getting national attention this weekend. Hundreds of those searching for missing persons and law enforcement officers came together for the Cue Center's 9th Missing Persons Conference.
Many said when they realized a loved one was missing they didn't know what steps to take or who to turn to for support. They said a conference like this shows them that they are not alone.
"I don't know, I just feel like I'm in my element here," said Dylan LaMadrid, who has been searching for her former partner, Kathy, since 2004. "These are my people, they have my back and they feel my pain."
More than 240 experts and family members came together to share tips. Those in attendance had the chance to talk with coroners, law enforcement officials and people with the Department of Homeland Security.
For LaMadrid, it wasn't just a chance to lean on others for support, but also a chance to learn how to support others.
According to the president of the center's Board of Directors, in 2012, the Cue Center starting appointing state directors to help bring the center's services to states throughout the nation. Right now 15 states are covered, but they are hoping to have all 50 states represented in the next two years.
LaMadrid was appointed to represent California earlier this month, she says she hopes to help others who are going through similar situations.
"Every thought that you can imagine starts racing through your mind," recalls LaMadrid. "Every question, you wonder what happened? Where are they at? Will they be mad if I get the media involved? Am I jumping the gun here? I didn't know then that I wasn't jumping the gun, I didn't know what to do."
Events took place from Friday to Sunday. On Saturday night, there was a candlelight vigil.