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Prepared by Jack Wang at 314-340-4163

July 29, 2008 12:00 AM
MoDOT Spotlights St. Louis Area Missing Persons On Project REST Poster Campaign

     ST. LOUIS- For many Missouri families, each day brings new reminders that a family member is missing. Whether a child or an adult, these missing persons leave a large void. The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri Department of Transportation are committed to helping these families recover their lost loved ones through a new statewide poster campaign, "Project REST -- REcovering the loST."

The newest  "Project REST-REcovering the loST" poster is displayed at two St. Louis metro area locations: the St. Clair rest area on Interstate 44 in Franklin County and the Tourist Information Center on Interstate 270 at Riverview Drive west of the Chain of Rocks Bridge. This poster highlights four missing persons cases, including: Nancy Leah Brannon, a 34-year-old female missing from Shrewsbury since November 1986; Christian Ferguson, a 9-year-old male missing from St. Louis since June 2003; Jessica Nicole Lewis, a 15-year-old female missing from St. Louis since April 2006; and Robin Kerry, a 19-year-old female missing from St. Louis since April 1991.

A copy of this poster can be viewed at: www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/DDCC/Units/MissingPersonsJuvenileUnit/Documents/ProjectRestChainofRocks0708.pdf

The agencies jointly implemented the project in June. The first "Project REST" poster is displayed at the Boonville rest area on Interstate 70, located at the 104-mile marker. The remaining 16 posters will be completed and displayed in the near future.

"Project REST" spotlights missing persons from throughout Missouri on posters at all MoDOT rest areas. The posters include both missing children and missing adults. "The Patrol understands the impact a missing person has on a family," said Sergeant Keverne L. McCollum, supervisor of the Patrol's Missing Persons Unit. "Regardless of age or circumstance, a missing family member is a devastating occurrence."

As of May 1, 2008, a total of 1,436 Missourians were reported missing, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Crime Information Center. This included 540 juveniles (anyone under the age of 17) and 896 adults (anyone age 17 and older).

MoDOT currently maintains 19 rest areas and welcome centers throughout Missouri. Located on seven different interstates, each site encompasses a different region of the state.

"More than 24 million people visit our rest areas each year, so they provide the perfect sites for the ‘Project REST' posters," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "We understand public information is crucial to solving missing persons cases. The more public viewing each poster gets, the better the chances of bringing someone home."

Cooperating to find missing individuals is nothing new for the Patrol and MoDOT. Both agencies, as well as Missouri broadcasters, currently work hand-in-hand to inform the public of missing and abducted children via the statewide Amber Alert program. When the Patrol issues an Amber Alert, MoDOT uses its 48 message boards along Interstates 70 and 44 to alert the public. In addition to Amber Alerts, the Patrol has an Endangered Person Advisory, which is issued for missing adults, as well as children who do not qualify for the statewide Amber Alert. Through May 23, 2008, the Patrol has issued five Endangered Person Advisories. Each of these advisories concluded with the location of the missing individual. No statewide Amber Alerts have been required during 2008.

"This is an innovative way to share information about missing persons," said Colonel James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "It is hoped this partnership between the Patrol and MoDOT will help recover missing children or adults. As we all know, the first few hours are crucial in the recovery of a missing person."

For more information regarding the Missouri Missing Persons Clearinghouse, please visit the Patrol's website at www.mshp.dps.mo.gov./ For more information regarding MoDOT and MoDOT's rest areas and welcome centers, please visit www.modot.mo.gov/



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