Whenever someone vanishes, I confess I am not optimistic that the person will return home alive.
I try and be optimistic -- especially so that we can use the influence of the media to keep pressure on the authorities to keep looking -- but the odds seem to be much against it. The Audrey Seiler case and Elizabeth Smart cases have provided some evidence that people do return, but for the most part, the news is never good.
This weekend was a particularly sad one. Two stories that “On the Record” has covered ended in bad news. I supposed few expected Dru Sjodin (search) to return alive since no one had heard from her since November 22. But I did have some hope for a segment we had Friday night. Here is the wire story that I read Sunday:
(Augusta, Georgia-AP) -- The body of a pregnant Augusta, Georgia woman kidnapped during a burglary has been found in South Carolina. An Augusta man has been charged with the murder. Richmond County Sheriff's homicide investigator Richard Roundtree says 25-year-old Ronald Francis Burke was arrested today and charged with murder, kidnapping and burglary. Roundtree says interviews with Burke on Friday led police 30 miles from Augusta, Georgia to a wooded area in South Carolina's Edgefield County where the body of 29-year-old Tamara Dunstan was found. Roundtree says Burke is an ex-boyfriend of Dunstan's sister. Dustan was three months pregnant with her first child. She had been missing since Thursday when she went to her mother's Augusta home. Authorities say she arrived while a burglary was in progress. Dunstan's cause of death was ---not-- immediately released.
Since we cover so many stories on our show, we often don't get to do as many follow up stories or tell you what other viewers are saying. Here is an e-mail from a viewer about the missing Lacrosse, Wisconsin student found in the Mississippi last week. We had done a story on him when he first disappeared after being in a bar. I have received dozens of e-mails from people who live in the Lacross area who are convinced there is a serial killer there but that the police either won't admit it or are not talking.
E-mail No. 1
Greta, Last Wednesday you aired a small segment on Jared Dion, the missing college student in lacrosse, Wisconsin. Unfortunately Jared was found dead in the Mississippi river on Thursday April 15. This would only sound like a tragedy except Jared is 1 in a long string of unsolved deaths in Lacrosse the past 7 years. Jared is one of 5 young men in his early 20's to be found, apparently drowned, in the river that divides Wisconsin and Minnesota. There seem to be way too many coincidences to keep me feeling safe. Police chief Ed Kondracki is assuring everyone that this is unrelated to the past drownings, but it is a majority belief that there is a serial killer out here. I have grown up in this town and feel like 2 or 3 drownings are suspicious but 5 young men with the same characteristics is something to worry about! Have you heard anything about this? I believe it is an interesting story that needs someone’s attention.
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