I'd never heard of the Community United Effort before, but the North Carolina-based group's Center for Missing Persons has planned a national tour where they'll travel to different cities and publicize missing-persons cases. Their schedule includes a few rallies here in Missouri later this month.
The Kansas City stop will be for several local missing people: Shirley McKeown, Sam and Lindsey Porter, Jody Ledkins, Jon Van Dyke, and Summer Shipp; it's set for 5 p.m. June 14 at Mill Creek Park. Another rally is scheduled the same day at 12:30 p.m. in Craig, Mo., for Branson Perry, who was last seen in 2001.
Monica Caison is the group's founder. This is the fourth year that CUE's done a tour like this, she said. The first was designed to promote one case; volunteers followed the path of a missing woman, based on her credit-card receipts, to get her story in the public eye. They got a lot of attention from media across the country -- as well as families and friends of other missing people, who were trying to publicize their cases.
"The whole concept is we're giving these people national attention," Caison said. While local attention is important, national coverage is key, too -- she's seen a lot of cases where somebody from several states away has been able to provide crucial info because they had been traveling through the area when an abduction occurred.
File photos of Branson Perry and Summer Shipp