“Missing in Colorado”


An event for the families of missing persons

ALAMOSA – According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI), as of August 1, 2022, there are a total of 1,329 active cases of missing persons in the state of Colorado. Of those 1,329 active cases, close to 700 involve people who have been missing for at least one year, with several people who have been missing for decades. The oldest case on record involves a person who has been missing since 1933.

Of those 1,329 active cases of missing persons, 20 went missing in the San Luis Valley, not necessarily meaning the person was a resident of the valley but, instead, the report of a missing person was filed with a law enforcement agency located in the valley. 

While the situation is often reported in terms of “cases”, each one of those cases signifies a person who, in the majority of situations, has a family or friends grieving their absence and living in hope that, one day, that person will be found. 

That awareness of what many families experience when a loved one goes missing is the driving force behind an event known as “Missing in Colorado”, hosted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and scheduled to take place in Denver on Saturday. 

“The Missing in Colorado event and others like it are critical in bringing awareness to the issue, and most important to meet the families and friends of the missing and to provide support,” said CBI Director John Camper. “Another component of these events is to update records of the missing where possible. By ensuring the accuracy and completeness of the records, investigators increase the chances of bringing these loved ones home.” 

“To have a person go missing is a very difficult experience – for both families and friends and law enforcement, too,” Audrey Simpkins told the Valley Courier in an interview on Thursday. Simpkins is an Investigative Analyst in the Major Crimes Division of the Colorado Department of Safety. 

“And missing doesn’t always mean deceased,” she said. “Missing means that they haven’t connected with family or friends for a long enough period of time that the nature of how often they would be in contact has changed. Sometimes, a person may have run away from home for a few days or even a few weeks and then they show back up.

“But when someone is gone for three, six or nine months, we realize that we may need to look for them in a different way. Maybe then we need to switch to more of a recovery mode and see if we have collected all of the information that we need to confirm things down the road, such as dental records or DNA samples from family members to put in a database. Something that, if a person is discovered somewhere else, they can be identified. Like I said, it can be a very difficult experience.” 

With that in mind, “Missing in Colorado” will offer a number of resources for impacted families. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with investigators, share information such as photos, dental records, DNA, etc., and enter information about their loved ones into a national missing person database.  

A support group will be part of a luncheon to provide additional resources for families. The luncheon will be for families only from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

As part of the event, organizers will host a partner fair where families of the missing can learn of resources that are available to help families through this difficult process. Groups participating in the partner fair include the Boulder County Coroner, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives representatives, NamUs, CBI Cold Case Unit, Victim Advocates, Age Progression, Unidentified Person display statewide, Facial Reconstruction, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons. 

Spanish speakers will be available at the event. 

There are several options available for families who may not be able to attend the event. 

If family members want to sit in virtually on the luncheon, they need to contact Audrey Simpkins at Audrey.simpkins.state.co.us before 4 pm to be sent a link where they can attend via zoom.

Also, if family members want to add additional information – such as a photo or some other way to identify their missing family - to the individual’s file, they should contact the law enforcement agency where they reported the missing person. 

CBI also offers a comprehensive website listing a variety of missing person resources. That website can be reached by going to https://cbi.colorado.gov/missing-persons-resource-page.

Families should also know that, if they are in need of support, they can contact the victim advocates with the local law enforcement agency to see if they have ongoing support groups or, if they prefer, Simpkins can refer them to the monthly support group hosted by CBI.

Saturday’s event will be held at the Lowry Conference Center (1061 Akron Way, Bldg. 697, Denver, CO), 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022.

Additionally, the CBI’s Cold Case Database has 407 missing persons cases listed where the party has been missing for three years or more. That database can be found at (https://apps.colorado.gov/apps/coldcase/index.html)

 

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