FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Thousands of people are reported missing every year. Many of their families spend years never knowing what happened to their loved ones. Thursday, Community United Effort's Center for Missing Persons helped family members and friends of the missing remember them and draw attention to their stories at the Fort Pierce City Marina.
"She's my only sister and I just miss her," said Dona Jean Kapp, talking about her sister, Dori Ann Myers.
Myers hasn't been seen since January 11, 2006. Her Fort Pierce home had been burned to the ground with her dog still inside.
"The not knowing is the hard part," explained Kapp. "We just go day to day to day hoping for some kind of answers. Six years is too long not to know what happened to somebody that you love so much."
Their stories of loss and unanswered mysteries unite them. The Community United Effort's Center for Missing Persons is holding events like this one nationwide. They call it a "Road to Remember."
Teresa Halliday's husband, Nicholas, vanished last year. The family said he had been trying to get help for a drinking problem and had begun hallucinating. His body was found months later in a ditch not far from their Port St. Lucie home. Police did not suspect foul play.
"The fact that I know he's in heaven and he's safe gives me peace," said Halliday, who now dedicates the Facebook page she started to search for her husband to help others find their missing loved ones. "I want that for everyone else. I would love to have them have happy endings and have their loved ones come home safe, but an ending is what they need."
The Community United Effort's Center for Missing Persons strung a clothesline at the marina, displaying the fliers of more than 40 missing people from Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties.
"They are all people that somebody loves," said Kapp. "There are families out there missing the people they care about."
Tony DeFrancesco has been posting fliers since his brother, Patrick, disappeared from his home on Sunrise Drive in Fort Pierce in August 1985.
"We know there are a lot of people out there who know where he is buried in St. Lucie County," he said. "Just help us come forward and find his body. That's all we're asking for."
The victims left behind cast flowers into the water to remember their loved ones and ask the public for their help.
"Someone, somewhere knows something," said Kapp. We hope someone comes forward and tells us what they know."
To learn more about Community United Effort's Center for Missing Persons, go to www.ncmissingpersons.org . To view photos of people missing from South Florida, go to Teresa Halliday's Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000753521300