/6/2005 3:00:00 PM
Family, friends cling to hope that Molly Dattilo will be found alive
Courier Staff Writer
“We seek answers that someone has.” The hope is that “hearts will be moved and the answers will be found. The Rev. Rick Draper
This evening marks one year since Molly Dattilo was last seen, a year of agony for her family and friends, a year of outpouring of care and support from strangers, a year of getting tips and following leads for the sheriff’s deputies assigned to the case just outside Indianapolis.
After a year of searching, distributing posters, posting billboards, holding vigils, gathering rallies, sponsoring run-walk events, getting the word out in newspaper and television stories, and handing out fliers, including nearly 1,000 distributed to residents at Westlake Apartments where Molly Dattilo lived with her brother Nicholas, the message is still this: Somebody knows what happened to Molly Dattilo.
“People that have information have a responsibility” to come forward for“closure and peace and also to protect others from being taken,” Kendra Skidmore, Dattilo’s sister, said Saturday on a Fox News Network program.
The Rev. Rick Draper of Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Madison voiced a similar thought during the opening of a 24-hour vigil last night at Christ Episcopal, 506 Mulberry St.
“We seek answers that someone has,” he said. The hope, he said, is that“hearts will be moved and the answers will be found.”
A year of seeking but not finding answers has been discouraging, with the public’s support a source of comfort, said Skidmore, who lives in Utah and was unable to come to Madison for the vigil.
“At first you have pain and agony to deal with all the time,” Skidmore said. Not seeing results from an effort would bring “discouragement and then despair right on top of it.”
Their spirits have been lifted “when the community has done something or we get a lot of support,” she said. “That really does help. People don’t realize it. Thank you.
“I know we wouldn’t have gotten this far without the support from family, friends, the community, CUE Center.” The CUE Center, based in North Carolina, went to Indianapolis in early June and conducted a professional search that included rounding up search dogs from the area and plotting the search area using global positioning satellite.
“It means a tremendous amount,” she said. “It really has helped.”
Skidmore said she is always looking for a new angle to pursue, because she cannot do otherwise.
“I called Mom and I said, “How can I give up on somebody I love? .... What next? What do I do next?”
Even though the many ways of putting attention on the search for Molly Dattilo haven’t brought her home, “It’s all worth it,” Skidmore said.
The Marion County sheriff’s detective assigned to the Dattilo case said on the Fox program that Molly Dattilo’s disappearance is still considered a missing-persons case but that she has “not ruled out foul play.”
The detective, Catherine Byron, however, wouldn’t say whether she has any suspects. The family had been told there was a “person of interest,” but she didn’t refer to that.
The first two times the host of the Fox News program asked if there was a suspect, Byron said, “I have talked to a number of people in this case and I continue to talk to anyone with information.”
The third time the host asked, she said, “I can’t answer that question right now.”
Byron said she gets “daily tips and leads” that she follows.
Relatives and friends still express hope that Dattilo will be found alive.
“I have hope that we eventually will have answers in Molly’s case,” Skidmore told the Fox News host. “We’re still hanging on, still looking. It gets pretty discouraging at times.”
Mayor Al Huntington, who spoke at the first segment of the 24-hour vigil, said he has hope.
“When somebody is missing, it’s like we’re not whole,” Huntington said. “We have one piece missing. We have one piece missing that we want to find for the peace of the Dattilo family. I haven’t given up hope that we are going to find Molly and find her alive, and come back to her community and her family. ... We need to be praying every day for Molly and remember her family in our prayers.”
About a dozen people attended the first segment of the vigil, including Fred and Cherie Dattilo, Molly Dattilo’s parents. She is the youngest of their nine children.
A recording of “Inscription of Hope” - based on words Jews wrote on a wall in Germany - was played at the vigil because it was one of Molly Dattilo’s favorite songs, said family friend Karen Modisett. The song is about having hope and includes the lyrics:
“May there someday be sunshine. May there someday be happiness. May there someday be love. May there someday be peace.”
Tonight at the 7 p.m. vigil, two more of her favorite songs also will be played, “One Moment in Time” and “I Believe I Can Fly,” Modisett said.
Publicity about Dattilo’s disappearance has been a large component of the effort to find her, and news that a 24-hour vigil had been scheduled spurred publicity. WISH-TV in Indianapolis broadcast live from Westlake Apartments from 5 to 8 a.m. today, featuring Modisett, Katianne Goins, Kathy Goins and Amy Dattilo, a cousin of Molly Dattilo. This morning, Dan Dattilo and Kathy Goins drove to Louisville to be on a 6 a.m. news show. “She doesn’t have a voice right now, so that’s why we’re here,” Amy Dattilo said in Indianapolis.
At the opening segment of the vigil, family friend Kathy Goins read an e-mail from Erin Elizabeth Blasdel, whom she said was Molly Dattilo’s best friend in high school. After writing about her shock upon learning that Dattilo was missing, Blasdel wrote late last month, “Now I want to share some of my thoughts about Molly. She taught me a lot about one of the most important elements to this pilgrimage of life and that being the importance of placing value on relationships. Molly loved all people. She reached out to them in the way I imagine Christ reaching out to all of his children. Sometimes, in my personal journey, I have gotten caught up in my studies or have allowed the most insignificant things to consume my mind and time. I admit that I often fall short of making time for the people that I love or for the person down the street without a shirt on his back or a place to call home. Real tragedy is happening abroad and on our terrain. Lives are suddenly lost, go into whirlwinds of confusion and despair, or go missing without a trace. After the news of Molly’s disappearance, I remember falling into indifference that evening when it came to the latest drink offered at Starbucks or how I was going to allocate time for this fatigued body to sleep. My attention turned to the importance of relationships.”
Blasdel, who is in graduate school in Virginia, wrote that she called her family to tell them she loved them
“I realized that evening that tomorrow will worry about itself as is stated in Matthew 6:34 and that while I do have responsibilities that come with today, I can never forget that the most important responsibility is to love God and to love my neighbors. How I spend my time and what consumes my mind is evidence as to whether I’m successfully carrying out these greatest and most precious responsibilities. This is all to say that the memories I have of Molly remind me that I must make time for people and to show them that they are lovable because they are children of the King. I believe that Molly was an epitome of how to be an instrument of God’s beautiful love.”
Churches, religion-based groups and individuals signed up for all but two of the 24 hours to have even just one person or a group at Christ Episcopal Church through midnight tonight. Some, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church the Dattilos go to, signed up for more than one time slot. Christ Episcopal opened the vigil and will close it, and in-between will have evensong at 6 p.m. and a service similar to the opening segment at 7 p.m.
Rev. Draper patterned the first hour of the vigil after “the monastic hours” in which prayers filled the days of those in a monastery. In addition to the prayers he led, there was a prayer in the program for the vigil: “Pray for Molly in all circumstances, pray for her parents, siblings, extended family and friends, pray for anyone involved in her disappearance, pray for law officials who are helping, and maybe not helping as much as we would like, in pursuit to find her. Pray for others who are missing. Pray for the volunteers who keep Molly’s absence in people’s hearts and minds, pray for the Madison community, pray for the Indianapolis community, pray for all young people of all ages: safety from those who would harm them. Pray for the conscience of our nation, pray for the value of lives, pray for peace and strength when Molly is found.”