OCEAN CITY – For the second straight year, Ocean City will play host to a multi-agency rally of sorts for missing and unidentified persons in Maryland with a public awareness event planned on the south end of the Boardwalk scheduled all day tomorrow, Saturday, July 25.
A coalition of Maryland missing persons organizations, advocates, law enforcement agencies and families of the missing will gather on the Boardwalk tomorrow all day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. in an effort to raise awareness about the issue. The coalition includes the Maryland Task Force for Missing and Unidentified Adults and Children along with members of the Maryland Center for Missing Children, the Maryland Missing Persons Network and Porch Light for the Missing.
The intent is to draw attention to the countless number of missing persons in Maryland, some dating back several decades. The Maryland Missing Persons Network currently lists over 200 individuals reported missing in Maryland. The event will feature posters of the state’s missing persons and the latest updates on their cases.
At last year’s event in Ocean City, the public response resulted in new information about three active missing persons cases and organizers are hoping to capitalize on the resort’s large and diverse population during the height of the summer season for a similar result this year.
“It’s nice to know that a city which prides itself on being a wonderful family vacation spot is also concerned about the safety and well-being of all in Maryland,” said Maryland Task Force for Missing and Unidentified Adults and Children spokesperson Darlene Huntsman this week.
Huntsman said the organization hopes people strolling by the event would take the time to look at the posters and the information on the state’s missing persons cases, which could trigger new information about the cases.
“When people see the faces behind the names of the missing, it seems to hit home,” she said. “Maybe it could happen to them and they can learn about what they should do and what resources are out there.”
The public awareness campaign will make new resources available to the public including information about the family reference DNA sample program, which allows families with missing persons to get DNA reference samples into the CODIS computer system. The public will also learn about access to searchable database systems including the Department of Justice Office’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, for example.
The Maryland Missing Persons Network lists information for hundreds of missing persons in every county and jurisdiction in Maryland including a few in Worcester County. Added most recently was Christine Marie Sheddy, now 28, of Bowers Beach, Del. who went missing in Pocomoke in November 2007. Sheddy left her Bowers Beach home on Nov. 13, 2007 with her two boys to visit a couple in Pocomoke she had met through her boyfriend.
The couple went to pick up their own children from school and when they returned, Sheddy was gone but her two boys remained. She has been missing ever since. A massive search effort was conducted in the months after her disappearance, but the case remains unsolved.
Another missing persons case still officially on the books in Worcester is Eduardo Masoller, a Virginia contractor who went missing in Ocean City in February 2005 just three days after arriving in the resort for a contracting job. Ocean City Police accompanied by Masoller’s family members went to the condo where he was staying at the time and discovered a knife and a large amount of blood evidence throughout the unit.
In June 2005, based on the evidence at the condo, a Worcester County judge ruled favorably on a petition to declare Masoller officially deceased, turned the missing person case into a homicide.