http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20120923/NEWS/309230045/National-group-highlights-missing-Salem-woman?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CNews%7CsNational group highlights missing Salem woman
9:32 PM, Sep 22, 2012
Written by Kelsey Leavitt
A banner reads: “Kerry Lynelle Johnson missing September 14th 1982”.
Information cards are attached to balloons and released in the hopes that wherever they land, someone might have a clue to finding the missing girl.
The case has been cold for 30 years.
The Community United Effort Center for Missing Persons (CUE) stopped in Salem on Saturday as part of its ninth annual tour. CUE has been operating for 18 years with a mission to bring media attention to unsolved homicides and missing person cases that have gone cold.
“I feel like it’s important to get out in the community and let people know that this is a forever, ongoing issue, and people need to help,” CUE founder Monica Caison said.
Each year the nine-day “On the Road to Remember” tour travels across the United States hoping to spark new leads on selected cases in various regions. Traveling the west coast this year the group chose to highlight Johnson.
She was a Salem resident who had hitchhiked to Reno, Nev., to see a relative. She then hitchhiked to California to see a friend and called her parents from San Jose to say she’d be home by Oct. 1. Johnson, who was 17, was never heard from again.
“We always pick a national honoree to lead the pack,” Caison said, “and the reason we chose her was because she never got any press. Never has.”
Throughout the years, Robert Johnson said, has watched his daughter’s file get passed from police officer to police officer but nothing new has come to light. Each time he’s told that maybe the new officer will have new insight or ideas how to find her but so far there has been nothing.
“Each time they do that it’s like, oh good, good, you know maybe this time, but so far it hasn’t happened. There is just never a closure,” he said.
Connie Backes, the missing girl’s aunt, agrees that there is no closure for something like this. But she is thankful that CUE hasn’t forgotten her niece.
“So many just get lost in the files,” Backes said. “The police don’t have the manpower, the people, or the money to actually look for everybody.”