Monica Caison has spent the past twenty years working to bring justice to families of missing persons.
She founded the CUE Center for Missing Persons in 1994, after several close personal encounters with the families of missing people.
"I've been directly affected by missing persons and I see the anguish of the unknown fate the families go through - that anguish just waiting, not knowing where their loved one is, what's happening, what's going on, and they just want a resolve," Caison said.
Today, she has a network of nearly 15,000 volunteers across the country who work on thousands of unsolved cases.
New cases are reported to the CUE Center daily – sometimes by family members, sometimes by law enforcement.
Caison deals with runaways, the lost, even cases involving foul play.
"The ones that obviously you have to search right away are the ones that get pushed up to the top immediately," She said. "We also plan and stay three and four months booked ahead on cold cases with investigators across the country."
She and her volunteers work with law enforcement using their own search tools and manpower, but what she considers most critical is her relationship with the family members.
"There's no one through the process from the time that you actually make the report with police and actually help you walk until you get resolve," she said. "And that's what our organization strives to do is fill that gap."
And she's done so with cases like Zachary Malinowski of Aynor. The 19 year old went missing on August 25, 2013.
Zachary is still missing, but his step dad Lonnie Jordan says the CUE Center has been with him and his family every step of the way. So when volunteers are searching for other missing people, like 20 year old Heather Elvis, he feels called to help.
"We could never pay back the peace of mind they've given us," Jordan said. "I needed to come out so that I can do what I can because Zach still hasn't been found yet, and he could be here."
The CUE Center is a non-profit organization that relies entirely on donations. None of the volunteers, including Caison, receive a paycheck.
It's hope that keeps volunteers going, determined to leave no stone unturned.
"I mean this is a new year, and a lot of these parents are already coming into the new year with a missing child and they need a resolution," Caison said.
The CUE Center for Missing Persons will hold several searches for missing 20 year old Heather Elvis of Myrtle Beach. Crews will search Friday, January 3 through Sunday, January 5 starting at 9 a.m. each day on Tidewater Road in Myrtle Beach. For more information on how to get involved, click here.
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