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Project Jason in the News

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Originally posted on 4/30/2004.

Relatives of missing persons host fund-raising bicycle ride



Relatives of three local missing persons will line an Iowa trail Sunday during an event to raise money for a group that supports such families.

Project Jason, founded by the mother of missing Omahan Jason Jolkowski, will hold its Miles for the Missing Family Bike Ride from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail.

Rebecca Gonzalez, mother of 4-year-old Brendan Gonzalez, who disappeared in January 2003, and the family of Erin Pospisil, who disappeared from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in June 2001 at age 15, will join Jolkowski's family at the event.

The families want to raise awareness of missing persons and share stories about their missing family members, said Kelly Jolkowski, Jason's mother and president of Project Jason.

Gonzalez will be at a rest stop near Mineola, and the Pospisils will be at a rest stop at Silver City, Jolkowski said. She and her husband, Jim Jolkowski, will ride on the trail, she said.

Registration costs $15 per rider. Participants can ride up to 27.8 miles from Council Bluffs to Silver City.

The ride will take place rain or shine. Water will be provided.

Jason Jolkowski was 19 when he was last seen in June 2001 near 48th and Pinkney Streets.

Pospisil was last seen getting into a two-door, early-1990s model, black Chevrolet Cavalier with dark-tinted rear windows. Her family has since moved to Council Bluffs, Kelly Jolkowski said.

Brendan is believed to be dead, but his body has not been found. His father, Ivan Henk, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with his disappearance.

For more information about the bike ride or to register, call Project Jason at 932-0095 or e-mail .

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Originally posted on 5/4/2004

Minding The Missing

Event focuses on awareness of missing children

Families of missing children hit the trail in southwest Iowa Sunday in an effort to keep their names from being forgotten.

How is it possible a bike ride along the Wabash Trace in Mineola, Iowa can offer hope to families with missing loved ones? Ask Kelly Jolkowski and she'll tell you it's everything because this effort, called Miles For The Missing, keeps her son Jason in the forefront and lets others know about Project Jason, an organization Kelly formed for families in need of help.

"I know what it feels like, most people don't know what it feels like. I don't want them to know what it feels like, but you know what, if they get into that circumstance, I wanna be there for them, and I don't want them to go through it alone," said Kelly, whose 19-year-old son Jason disappeared in Omaha June 13, 2001.

It's why the Pospisil family joined the Jolkowskis in their efforts. Their daughter Erin disappeared in Cedar Rapids, Iowa almost three years ago. "It started out as just her and it's gone way beyond that," said mom Carolyn Pospisil. "If we find one kid through the pictures and events we do, that's what's important."

The parents of missing children also want to remind other parents about the importance of child identification kits like those offered by Project Jason.

It asks for an updated photo, your child's description, and a DNA sample in case the situation is ever warranted. "So many people get prepared for bad storms or whatever and stock up on food or water, but they don't think to prepare for emergencies like this," said Rebecca Gonzalez, mother of Brendan Gonzalez, the 4-year-old who was reported missing in Plattsmouth January 6, 2003.

As in the case of other missing children, fliers of Brendan were posted when he disappeared. Prayer vigils have also been held throughout the years for victims and yellow ribbons have been worn. Just like Sunday's bike ride, they are all efforts with one goal in mind, for missing children to find their way back home. "That's really what it's all about, it's about reuniting families," said Kelly Jolkowski.

About 70 people participated in this first Miles For The Missing, double what was expected. Kelly Jolkowski hopes to triple the number next year. For more information on Project Jason, log on to

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Project Jason

Woman leads organization to find missing children

Keeping kids faces visible is most important in finding information

By Melissa Parson


Updated: 10:50 p.m. ET May 03, 2004May 3 - Nearly 2,000 children disappear every day.

The only way to find them is to make sure their faces are seen.One Nebraska woman is making sure that happens.Kelly Jolkowski has started Project Jason - an organization that helps families search for their missing loved ones.

Kelly's son Jason disappeared nearly 3 years ago, but she will never lose her faith to find him.

"Someone knows something, it is just a matter of finding the right person," Jolkowski said.

This belief led Kelly to start Project Jason, an organization providing support for the families of missing persons.

"We felt like God was telling us to help other people in the same situation.So we did a lot of different things along the way," said Jolkowski.

One was to create a Project Jason website.It has an emergency ***istance website that posts information quickly.Kelly said it is a great tool during the first 24 hours.

"Not knowing is really hard.Not knowing is he alive or dead or has somebody done something horrible to him.Is somebody doing something horrible to him now?" said Jolkowski.

The website also has a link to download child id kits.

"Every parent should be ready in case they become the other guy," Jolkowski said.

Kelly works hard on her programs to keep faces out there.She said that is what keeps a search alive.

"There are not any juicy tidbits to give.It is just the story of an ordinary family put into extraordinary circumstances," said Jolkowski.

And what Kelly has done with those extraordinary circumstances is help others - something she said is part of her healing process.

You can visit Project Jason online at you can access free child id kits.And to see Jason's website go to

And if you have any information on any of the missing children contact the National Center for Missing Kids at 1-800-845-5678.

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Missing man's family starts program to help others with missing loved ones

Project Jason created to raise public awareness of missing persons

By Sarah Schulz

A woman whose adult son has been missing for nearly three years has founded a nonprofit organization to help other families with missing loved ones.

Jason Jolkowski was 19 when he disappeared June 13, 2001, while waiting for a ride to work near his parents' home in Omaha. Since then his mother, Kelly, has turned her grief into a source of inspiration for other families whose loved ones have gone missing.

With help from her family, including her mother and her husband's parents who live in Grand Island, Kelly Jolkowski has organized Project Jason. The program aims to create and increase public awareness of missing people through a variety of outreach activities. The organization also provides the families of missing people with resources and support, she said.

The organization, which began Oct. 6, recently had its first big fund-raiser, a bike ride in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The $600 raised at the event will help fund identification kits and the printing of posters and other materials that can be distributed in an attempt to locate missing people, she said.

Project Jason has already ***isted nearly 25 families in several states, she said. When the group is first contacted, Jolkowski said, she and her board members make sure the family has already taken steps to officially list the person as missing, such as calling local law enforcement. The organization also helps families make posters of the missing person, set up a Web site about the person, contact the media and raise awareness about the situation, she said.

Jolkowski has a lot of resources and is able to quickly spread the word that a person is missing. In addition to giving families guidance on where to turn for help, she also "holds their hand" and provides emotional support, she said. She also works to make sure the family members are taking care of themselves during a stressful time and plans to stay in contact with families if a loved one is located.

"Things are never back to normal," she said.

To help get information out there about missing children and adults, Jolkowski founded 18 Wheel Angels in January. Through the volunteer-based program, truckers and other frequent travelers hand out flyers and photos of missing people across the country.

"We targeted truckers because they are good networkers," she said.

Information on missing people has been published in about 10 trucking magazines as well, she said. The articles include instructions on what to do if someone goes missing, such as calling law enforcement, keeping a log of all incoming calls and checking for clues in the person's belongings.

Project Jason has also made identification kit instructions available online at A Spanish language version is also available through the organization. Jolkowski said it is important to keep updated information about and photos of family members, especially children, to provide to law enforcement in case of an emergency. The instructions walk a user through many of the questions law enforcement officers may ask, she said.

Grand Island police Capts. Kerry Mehlin and Robert Falldorf said an organization such as Project Jason can be very helpful to law enforcement when someone is reported missing.

"Any help from the outside is beneficial," Falldorf said.

The majority of the people who go missing in Grand Island return within six to 48 hours and are often cl***ified as runaways who have "issues" at home, Mehlin said. A case like Jason Jolkowski's is rare, he said.

"You never know when it's going to happen to you," Jolkowski said.

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Originally posted on 5/19/2004.

Our press release for May 19, 2004:

Nebraska State Missing Person’s Week, June 13-19, 2004

People who live in Nebraska are used to inclement weather. When we hear about a storm coming, we often rush to the store to get supplies so that we are prepared for the worst. But how often do you hear about families being prepared for the tragedy of losing a child or other loved one? What do we do to prepare for that? How many families are ready?

Every 37 seconds in America, a child disappears. That is an average of 2,000 children per day. In the course of a year, over 850,000 adults and children disappear. Of those 850,000, approximately 97,000 cases will remain open. Almost half of those are adults.

Most families do not know the steps to take when a loved one is missing. Many are not prepared. Project Jason, a nonprofit organization founded by Jim and Kelly Jolkowski, the parents of missing Omaha youth Jason Jolkowski, is working to make sure that all Nebraska families are ready to “weather the storm†of losing a loved one.

On May 19th, Project Jason will have Governor Johanns declare June 13-19th, 2004, as Nebraska State Missing Person’s Week. The ceremony will take place at the State Capital building at 10:30am in the Warner Chamber.

Project Jason will announce the events for State Missing Person’s Week later this month via their website,

“We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and for those who are gone from our sight, but never from our hearts. We give hope to the families of our missing loved ones, and ***ist them in their search.â€ÂÂ


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The State Missing Persons' Weeek proclamation reads as follows:

Nebraska State Missing Person's Week June 13-19, 2004

WHEREAS, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime

Information Center there were 876,213 missing person entries (juveniles and

adults) in the year 2000. An average of 2,001 children disappeared daily,

including children from the state of Nebraska, and

WHEREAS, as of March 31, 2003 there were 97,297 active missing person cases

in the United States. Of those missing, approximately 54,184 are juveniles

and nearly 43,113 were reports of individuals eighteen and older. These

statistics include citizens of the state of Nebraska, and

WHEREAS, in response to these alarming trends, nonprofit organizations such

as Project Jason, were founded for the purpose of educating the public in an

effort to prevent future abductions and disappearances, and to provide

assistance to families of the missing, and

WHEREAS, all missing persons deserve to be searched for regardless of their

age; and

WHEREAS, citizens, media, and law enforcement must be made aware of the

plight of missing persons regardless of their age; and

WHEREAS, families and communities of missing persons should have this week

to offer much needed support and to keep public interest alive active in the

continued search for those missing persons; and

WHEREAS, our awareness, support, efforts, and search for missing persons

must continue, and

WHEREAS, every missing person is someone's son or daughter, father or

mother, brother or sister, husband or wife, and

WHEREAS, the state of Nebraska is committed to the safety and well-being of

all its citizens, both children and adults, and

NOW, THEREFORE I, Mike Johanns, Governor of the state of Nebraska, do hereby

proclaim the week of June 13-19, 2004 as


in Nebraska, and I do hereby urge all citizens to take due note of the


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand, and cause the Great Seal of

the State of Nebraska to be affixed this nineteenth day of May, in the year

of our Lord Two Thousand Four.

Mike Johanns, Governor

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Originally posted on 6/3/2004.

Project Jason in the News

Bands take action for the missing



Missing for three years now, Jason Jolkowski hasn't been forgotten.

Project Jason benefit

-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What: Concert featuring Criteria, Race for Titles, Little Brazil and Kyle Harvey

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sokol Underground, 13th and Martha Streets

How much: $7


On Saturday, four local musical acts will join forces to raise money for the nonprofit Project Jason, which raises awareness of missing persons.

The concert features performances from Criteria, Race for Titles, Little Brazil and Kyle Harvey.

Jolkowski was 19 when he was last seen in June 2001 near 48th and Pinkney Streets.

His parents, Jim and Kelly Jolkowski, founded Project Jason to improve public awareness about missing people, to educate families about what to do if a family member disappears and to support the families of missing people.

Mike Perry, Jolkowski's friend and former colleague at radio station 89.7 the River, is coordinating the concert along with Joe Vavak. Both are owners of Omaha-based Someday Never Records, which is hosting the concert.

Perry, 25, who helped train Jolkowski to be on the air, remembers him as a quiet guy who was friendly to everyone. He was known as J.J. when he worked as a disc jockey at the River.

Perry said all four bands were happy to donate their time and talent.

"It's a worthy cause with realistic strategies for reuniting homeless children with their loved ones," Steve Pedersen, singer-guitarist of rock group Criteria, said of Project Jason.

The fund-raising efforts won't end with Saturday's concert.

Someday Never Records plans to release a compilation CD later this summer with all proceeds from the disc going to Project Jason.

For more information, visit

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Originally posted on 6/11/2004.

Published Friday

June 11, 2004

Missing man's mother has hope

We all know what it's like to miss someone - to long for him or her, to yearn for a touch or the sound of a voice.

But what if the person we miss might never come back?

Sunday will mark three years since Jason Jolkowski left home and headed for work, never to be heard from since. He hasn't called, used his cell phone or drawn money out of his account at an ATM.

He just - disappeared. No clue. No trace.

His mother, Kelly Jolkowski, won't give up. Jason's car still sits in the driveway of the family home near 48th and Pinkney Streets. The family has kept all his possessions.

"I have hope that he is alive," she said. "If you lose hope, you stop looking. That's not fair to the person who is missing or to other family members who love him and miss him."

But at this point, where do you look? Jason, a Benson High grad who worked part time as JJ the deejay at KIWR, wasn't the type to run away.

Kelly is realistic. Though not abandoning hope, she knows she may never see him again.

But she wants to help other families who find themselves in a similar situation. She has started the nonprofit Project Jason (, with a seven-member board. She has asked that the Legislature enact Jason's Law, a statewide missing person's clearinghouse.

And Sunday, the start of Missing Persons Week in Nebraska, she and cohorts embark on tour across the state to encourage people to prepare for the unlikely - the disappearance of a family member.

For example, child ID kits to give to authorities, providing vital information.

"Do people stop and think about preparation and being ready in the unfortunate event a child is missing?" she asks. "No, they really don't.

"When it happens to you, you are put in such a high state of anxiety, can you think straight? It's hard to think of things you need to do."

The week starts with a 9 a.m. Mass at Holy Name Church, where Jason was a lector. The Sunday before his disappearance, he read Scripture from Romans, including: "We gladly suffer because we know that suffering helps us endure."

Kelly has suffered, but she hasn't stopped living. To the contrary, she got her life under control.

She weighed 375 pounds, but began exercising, biking and dieting and lost an incredible 200 pounds. Hence, her self-given nickname, "the incredible shrinking woman."

Kelly, who works in technical support for weather data software, and husband Jim, a warehouse supervisor for Nebraska Furniture Mart, moved from Grand Island to Omaha 13 years ago.

Jason, she said, was close to his family. It would be totally unlike him to run away and not call.

His younger brother, Michael, saw him lugging trash cans to the curb. Jason planned to catch a ride to work at his other job at Fazoli's Restaurant, 80th and Cass Streets.

Police tell her they are baffled.

The best thing, Kelly says, would be for the phone to ring and to hear Jason's voice. Meanwhile, an inner voice tells her to keep working and help families, because lots of others suffer the pain of a disappearance.

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Originally posted on 6/21/2004.



Jun 15, 2004, 21:06

The parents and family members of a young Omaha man missing for three years are turning their grief into action by traveling the state and spreading the word about missing people.

Jim and Kelly Jolkowski were in Alliance Tuesday morning to explain their mission.

They have not seen their 19 year old son Jason since he disappeared on June 13, 2001.

Jason was last seen in the driveway of his parent's house as he was preparing to catch a ride to his part-time job. He has not been seen or heard from since.

The Jolkowski's have formed Project Jason and developed a web site at:

Their mission statement reads as follows:

"Our mission as a non profit organization is to create and increase public awareness of missing people through a variety of outreach and educational activities. Project Jason seeks to bring hope and assistance to families of the missing by providing resources and support."

Nebraska currently has no clearinghouse to provide information about missing persons. On behalf of the Jolkowski's, State Senator Patrick Bourne of Omaha introduced LB 203, Jason's Law, in January, 2003. It creates a missing person's clearinghouse in Nebraska. If passed, the state will gather and disseminate information about missing persons of all ages. The bill remained in the Judiciary Committee for two years. It will be introduced again when the legislature reconvenes in January.

Jolkowski says since the state's budget is tight, it may be some time before the bill is passed and the clearinghouse is created. The state patrol estimates it will cost $49,000 a year to run the program.

In the meantime, Project Jason will help bridge the existing information gap.

Jolkowski describes her missing son as a kind, generous and loving person.

"I feel that because of the way he is, he would rush to open a door for a little old lady," Jolkowski explains. "Project Jason is the type of organization he would have wanted to start or help with."

Jolkowski remains upbeat despite living with a parent's worst nightmare.

"People say one person can't make a difference in the world. How about one person who is not even here and we haven't seen for three years? Look at the difference he's making. Every time we get a child I.D. kit in someone's hands, he's made a difference!"

Jolkowski remains hopeful her missing son will be found. She relates to the Elizabeth Smart case, the Salt Lake City, Utah girl who was found in March, 2003 after missing for nine months.

"She's a classic example of how someday, someone spots them," Jolkowski explains. "That's the kind of thing we look to happen with our families we work with. We look forward to that wonderful reunion."

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August 4, 2004

Grieving Mothers Become Anti-Abduction Crusaders

Run Date: 07/26/04

By Molly M. Ginty

WeNews correspondent

Mothers of missing children are fighting child abduction by launching innovative initiatives. Though their own stories may be painful and unresolved, they are nonetheless ready to deal with the open-ended grief of others.

(WOMENSENEWS)--Each phone message grew more frantic. When Erin Runnion arrived at her office on a July morning in 2002, the California accountant heard a flurry of voicemails from her mother, who was looking after her children that day.

Samantha, Runnion's 5-year-old daughter, was playing in the family's front yard with her best friend when a man approached, said he was looking for a puppy, grabbed Samantha and fled. Neighbors couldn't find the little girl. Neither could the police.

Runnion dashed home to fight her mounting terror and wait by the phone. The painful news wasn't long in coming: within 24 hours, Samantha was found, her lifeless body tossed into a ditch.

The murder made national headlines and plunged Runnion into a six-month depression. When she began to recover, it was to fight back by founding Samantha's PRIDE, a child-watch program in which adult volunteers escort children to school and extracurricular activities. Started in Runnion's home town of Stanton, Samantha's PRIDE has spread to 50 other cities and now enlists 600 volunteers.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an advocacy group based in Alexandria, Va., 797,500 children are reported missing each year--half of them boys and half of them girls.

Though 46 percent of missing children are recovered without incident, 45 percent are runaways, 7 percent are abducted by family members, and up to 2 percent are kidnapped by strangers or acquaintances. Nearly half of the children in the roughly 16,000 cases of non-family abductions are sexually molested by predators. A small percentage--roughly 100 children per year--are murdered by their abductors.

Thanks to grassroots activists like Erin Runnion, the number of children abducted in the United States is on a steady decline. According to the Washington, D.C.-based Federal Bureau of Investigation, the number of stranger abductions averaged 300 per year in the 1980s but has since plummeted to 100 to 150 per year.

"Most of the leading activists in this field are mothers whose children have been reported missing," says Barbara Smith, head of the Bronxville, N.Y.-based Association of Missing and Exploited Children's Organizations, Inc. "Though their children may never be recovered, these women continue fighting against all odds and against all hope. They cope with their loss by making sure this never happens to other families like theirs."

Mothers Turn Pain into Political Action

In April 2003, Congress passed legislation to help states implement the AMBER Plan (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response), a national alert system that airs descriptions of missing children on television and radio networks. As a result of this program, more than 100 abducted children have been safely recovered. But experts estimate that even more missing children have been found thanks to the various educational and preventative efforts of activist mothers who are working to address this crisis. Like the photographs of missing children that have appeared on milk cartons since 1985 (and that were placed there by the National Safety Council, a non-profit advocacy group based in Itasca, Illinois), the work of these women is both innovative and far-reaching.

Some activist mothers, like Magdalen Bish of Warren, Mass., are working to educate children about predators. In June 2000, Bish's 16-year-old daughter Molly was kidnapped from the pool where she worked as a lifeguard. In June 2003, her remains were finally recovered. To protect other children, Magdalen Bish launched the Molly Bish Foundation, which has distributed identification kits and conducted safety presentations at hundreds of schools across New England.

Some mothers, such as Gay Smither of Friendswood, Texas, are working to improve search efforts. After Smither's 12-year-old daughter Laura was abducted and murdered in 1997, she discovered that it's rare for volunteers to search for missing children, as 6,000 community members did in her case. Typically, only a handful of police officers comb the local area for clues. Smither responded to this gap in services by founding the Laura Recovery Center, a non-profit that mobilizes volunteers to search for missing children and that has helped with more than 1,000 cross across the U.S.

Other activists are pushing for stronger law enforcement. Take Vicki Kelly of Phoenix, Ore., and Claudine Ryce of Vero Beach, Fla.

After Kelly's 17-year-old son Tommy was kidnapped in 1999 and killed by an overdose, Kelly successfully lobbied for stricter sentencing for adults convicted of giving drugs to minors. After Ryce's 9-year-old son was abducted and murdered in 1995, Ryce founded the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction, which provides bloodhounds to police looking for missing children.

If a missing boy or girl isn't recovered immediately, child welfare advocates need to broadcast news of his or her disappearance as far and wide as possible. Such is the aim of Kelly Jolkowski of Omaha, Neb. Through Project Jason, a nonprofit named after her 19-year-old son, who has been missing since 2001, Jolkowski gives posters of missing children to truck drivers who post them at rest stops across the United States.

Until a child is recovered, family members must fight to cope with overwhelming stress and anxiety. Helping them is the focus of Team H.O.P.E., a support network based in Philadelphia. Co-founded by Colleen Nick (whose 6-year-old daughter Morgan was abducted from Alma, Ark., in 1995) and Patty Wetterling (whose 11-year-old son Jacob was abducted from St. Joseph, Minn., in 1990), Team H.O.P.E. enlists volunteers--mostly mothers of missing children--to comfort other parents in crisis.

"When your child is missing, people often don't know how to help you or how to react to you," says Abby Potash, Team H.O.P.E.'s program manager. "People may tell you to get on with your life. But how can you? Our volunteers spend hours counseling other parents and assuring them that it's OK to experience the grief and rage they feel."

Mothers Take the Lead in Anti-Abduction Efforts

Since federal law enforcement officers started tracking missing children in 1982, several victims' fathers have become prominent in this national crusade. There is John Walsh, whose 6-year-old son Adam was murdered in Hollywood, Fla., in 1981 and who serves as the host of the television show "America's Most Wanted." There is Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was murdered in Petaluma, California, in 1993 and who went on to found two advocacy organizations based in Saulsalito, California: The KlaasKids Foundation For Children, which provides identification kits to families and anti-crime presentations to communities, and, which makes posters of missing children for national distribution.

Though fathers like Walsh and Klaas are making crucial strides in this field, the vast majority of advocacy work is being done by mothers.

"Women are socialized to be caregivers," says Gay Smither of the Laura Recovery Center. "It's second nature for us to reach out and offer comfort to someone who shares our pain. Women typically process grief by talking through their problems. Men typically process grief by trying to fix things. But when it comes to child abduction, there is no guarantee that things will be fixed or that justice will ever be served."

Regardless of how they choose to campaign against child abduction, mothers of missing children share the same suffering--and the same determination.

"Nothing will ever take away the pain of losing our children," says Erin Runnion of Samantha's PRIDE. "But working to save other missing children helps us give purpose to what would otherwise be senseless and cruel tragedies."

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Group spreads word about missing Spartanburg woman

Posted Monday, September 20, 2004 - 7:45 pm

By Nan Lundeen


SPARTANBURG – Spartanburg Public Safety officials said they have exhausted all leads in searching for resident Tamika Huston, but her family has a new source of hope.

Project Jason  Adopt a Missing Person Program – is spreading the word about the 24-year-old Huston who hasn't been seen by family members since the end of May.

Kelly Jolkowski, president and founder of the Omaha, Neb.-based Project Jason, said, "If it gives the family a sense of hope, which they deserve to have, then that is very important to us."

The nonprofit organization is named after Jolkowski's son who disappeared three years ago at age 19.

By contacting the Web site,, people can order buttons that they can wear showing a picture of the missing person, his or her Web site and a police phone number to call to report information that could be helpful.

"It is important for people to keep looking and to keep their eyes out," Jolkowski said.

Huston's family is offering a $10,000 reward for information on Huston's whereabouts.

Spartanburg Public Safety Capt. Randy C. Hardy characterized Huston's disappearance as suspicious.

Officers found uncashed paychecks and her much-loved dog at her Harvard Street home June 16. Residents of Spartanburg's Barksdale apartments found her car June 20.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Spartanburg Department of Public Safety at 864-596-2035 or CrimeStoppers in Spartanburg at 864-58-CRIME.

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Missing woman's search goes national

From Staff Reports

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Since her disappearance in April, friends and family of Patrice Tamber Endres have used many methods to search for the Forsyth County woman.

The newest effort involves a voluntary program of over-the-road truckers.

A national missing person's locator program, 18 Wheel Angels, is spearheaded by a nonprofit organization, Project Jason. The program enlists the aid of truck drivers and business travelers to place posters of missing persons along their routes as they travel across the country. Participants are asked to go to the 18 Wheel Angels link on the Project Jason Web site at, and download and print as many posters as they can place. Anyone can participate.

Patrice Endres' campaign began on Sept. 16 and will run through Sept. 30.

In addition to the 18 Wheel Angels campaign, Project Jason had added Endres to its Adopt a Missing Person program. Endres' family sent buttons to the organization to have available for people across the country to mail in and request. The person who adopts Patrice also will be mailed an information card, which contains a bio and personal information about Patrice.

Project Jason was founded by Kelly Jolkowski, mother of missing Omaha, Neb., youth Jason Jolkowski.

Jolkowski said that she devotes full-time hours to the project, in addition to working a full-time job.

"I'm always on the Internet looking for new candidates," she said. "Then, I attempt contact with their family and offer our services to them."

The program began in mid-January and features two missing persons per month. More than 7,000 posters have been printed and distributed since the start.

Jolkowski said that while the posters have yet to generate a lead, it continues to keep the missing person's face in the public.

"The success is getting their face out there as many times as you can. The program also gives the family hope by letting them know that people care."

In addition to placing the posters in truck stops and businesses, some owner-operators have posted the photos on their vehicles.

The all volunteer group's mission is to create and increase public awareness of missing people through a variety of outreach and educational activities. Project Jason seeks to bring hope and assistance to families of the missing by providing resources and support.

Endres, 38, has been missing since April 15. She operated Tamber's Trim-N-Tan hair salon on Hwy. 369 in north Forsyth, where she was last seen helping a customer at about 11:35 a.m. She was reported missing 10 minutes later. Endres' car, purse and wallet were left behind, but the salon's cash was missing, according to Forsyth County authorities.

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Buttons put faces on missing adults

By Crystal Bonvillian

Montgomery Advertiser

Eleven-year-old Timothy Davis of Bristol, N.H., has never met LaQuanta Riley, but he carries a button emblazoned with her picture on his backpack every day in the hopes of someday easing her family's suffering.

Riley, now 20, got into a car outside her Montgomery home the night of Dec. 7 and has not been seen since. There have been few leads on her whereabouts. Her disappearance nearly 10 months ago has left many, including her family and the police, baffled.

"We've come to the point now where we've talked to everyone," said Montgomery police Sgt. Scott Martino, a detective working the case. "Right now, she's still considered missing, and we hope for the best. We hope that we'll find her alive and well."

Riley's case has gained new interest, however, in the form of Project Jason, a Nebraska-based organization that helps families of the missing. Kelly Jolkowski, the organization's president, founded the group after her 19-year-old son, Jason Jolkowski, disappeared from outside their Omaha home one June afternoon in 2001.

"There are no indications that he's a runaway to me," Jolkowski said. "But there's no proof of anything happening to him. That's what these families are going through -- the limbo. These families deserve some peace of mind."

Project Jason, which celebrates its first anniversary Oct. 6, began the "Adopt a Missing Person" program June 13, the third anniversary of Jason's disappearance. Riley is one of the adopted.

"These folks have been a blessing," said Pam Riley, LaQuanta's mother. Pam Riley and her aunt, Katie Smith, sat in Riley's living room Friday and talked about the struggle of living without LaQuanta.

A close-up look at the button of the missing woman, LaQuanta Riley.

"The rumors are horrible," said Smith, who raised LaQuanta when a then-16-year-old Pam Riley realized she could not handle a newborn baby. "If you listen to them all, they'll drive you crazy."

The worst rumor dealt with the false discovery of LaQuanta Riley's remains, Smith said. There have also been rumors about the bubbly young woman, who was preparing to go to college, being held captive by abductors.

"I don't take calls from anyone anymore," Pam Riley said. "If they can't call me and tell me they're looking at her face or if they can't tell me they're holding her hand, I don't want to hear from them."

LaQuanta Riley's disappearance is the latest in a string of tragedies the family has faced. Her grandmother -- Pam Riley's mother and Smith's sister -- was murdered in August 1972, when Pam Riley was 4. Her killer has never been caught.

The family was dealt another blow in 1996, when Pam Riley's younger daughter, Kamesha, died of AIDS. She was just 9.

"She was molested when she was about 4," Pam Riley said. "He was HIV-positive and he passed it on to her. 'Quanta is the only daughter I have left."


Below are the steps you can take to adopt LaQuanta Riley or any of the more than 200 people profiled on Project Jason's Web site.

Visit Go through the list of missing people and choose as many as you would like to adopt.

A trip to the post office: Send a self-addressed, stamped bubble mailer to Project Jason, Adopt a Missing Person Program, P.O. Box 3035, Omaha, Neb., 68103.

Is your postage correct? Be sure to check that the proper amount of postage is affixed, depending on the size of your mailer and how many buttons you are requesting. A 4x7 mailer requires two 37-cent stamps, and a 6x9 mailer requires three.

Source: Project Jason

Kamesha's death has made LaQuanta Riley's disappearance that much harder for her four brothers to deal with, her mother said. They declined to be interviewed for this story.

"They won't talk about it," Pam Riley said. "If someone brings it up, they leave the room."

She said that she got involved with Project Jason through a member of a support group. Through Jolkowski's organization, buttons and flyers have been distributed, and LaQuanta Riley's face and information are on numerous Web sites. Earlier this month, LaQuanta's own Web site,, was established.

"Someone has to know something," Pam Riley said. "Montgomery ain't that big and Alabama ain't that big. Somebody saw something."

The family's one hope now is that someone will see a flyer or button with LaQuanta's face on it and come forward.

Timothy Davis' mother, Louise Holmburg, said her son is proud to wear LaQuanta Riley's picture each day.

"Timothy wears the button and tells people about LaQuanta," Holmburg said. "He carries her information sheet with him. It was so cute, he tried to remember it all by heart, but I told him to bring the sheet with him. I told him he didn't want to give people the wrong information."

Like the Riley family, Holmburg is searching for a loved one. Her nephew, Lorne Boulet Jr., a paranoid schizophrenic, disappeared from Chichester, N.H., in July of 2001.

"Even with the age difference, he and Timothy were best friends," Holmburg said. "Most people were leery because of the schizophrenia, but my kids were so young they didn't look at that. Their love for him was unconditional."

As is the love of LaQuanta Riley's family, her mother and great-aunt said.

"If she did leave because of something she thought we wouldn't be understanding about, we want her to know we love her no matter what," Smith said, wiping tears from her eyes. "Bad or good, I love her."

"I just can't wait for 'Quanta to come home so I can hear the whole story," Pam Riley said. "She needs to come home."

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Concert series benefits search for missing people

By Jenna Johnson / Daily Nebraskan

October 20, 2004

The Silver Spoke Saloon in Roca is 15 miles away from the pub in Lincoln where Gina Bos was last seen four years ago this weekend.

It’s 75 miles away from the home in Omaha where Jason Jolkowski was last seen three years ago last June.

Both of these missing people were adults. Both left behind families who still are searching for any sort of an answer.

Both families met at the Silver Spoke on Friday night for a concert to raise money and awareness for the finding of missing people.

“When Gina disappeared, we had no idea the number of people who have disappeared is in the neighborhood of 85,000,†said Von Rap, Bos’ oldest brother. “Even if we had known, we would have never thought it would happen to us.â€ÂÂ

Bos’ sister, Jannel Rap, a singer-songwriter who now lives in Los Angeles, started a non-profit concert series called Greater Information Now Available for Missing Persons, Inc. or GINA.

In the last few years, Rap has organized a TV program in Southern California and more than 70 GINA concerts across the country. Friday’s concert raised about $275.

Jannel Rapwas unable to attend the concert, but her two brothers were present, along with more than 150 people, many of whom knew Bos from her days as a musician.

Friday’s open stage concert was similar to the one Bos attended at Duggan’s Pub the night she disappeared and it brought back memories, Von Rap said.

“You never forget about it,†he said. “It’s always right there in your mind.â€ÂÂ

Kelly Jolkowski came to the concert to distribute information and sign people up to “adopt†missing persons – to learn about their lives and wear buttons displaying their photos.

Jolkowski still is trying to cope with the disappearance of her then 19-year-old son, Jason, who was last seen in the family’s driveway as he was on his way to Benson High School to wait for a ride to his part-time job in 2001.

She founded Project Jason, a non-profit organization that directs families with missing members to the right resources, helps people create an identification file in case they disappear and lobbies the Nebraska Legislature to create a law allowing the compilation of information about those missing.

“There are always more people you can reach,†she said. “The average person has really no idea of the vast scope of things.â€ÂÂ

Although both families are actively trying to inform the public about missing people issues, they are still hoping to find their own also loved ones.

“Our family is scattered across the country,†Von Rap said. “But no matter where we are at, we are still looking for Gina.â€ÂÂ

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Project Jason Press Release


Ohio College Students Arrange 432 Adoptions in 20 Hours

Sometimes, you never know what will happen unless you try. When 19 year-old Danae Leali, a creative writing major at Ashland University in Ohio, first heard about a unique awareness program for missing people called Adopt a Missing Person, she was moved to take action herself. However, that wasn't enough for Danae.

The Adopt a Missing Person program was created by nonprofit organization, Project Jason, which assists families of missing persons and provides education for the public. Families of the missing provide photo buttons of their missing loved one and a personal biography, so that people all over the country can help by "adopting" their missing loved one. Adopters pledge to wear the button and share the story with others to increase the odds of location, and give hope to the families.

When Danae went to the Project Jason website, she decided to adopt 20 year-old Rachel Cooke, missing from Georgetown, TX, since January 10, 2002. She received the button in the mail, and began to share Rachel's story with other students in her dorm, including her friend, Vanessa Wagner. Both Vanessa and Danae felt that missing persons get little exposure, and wanted to do more. Vanessa stated: "These are real people, with hopes and dreams, family and friends, futures and pasts. Deep down I feel that most people want to change the world for the better and if they can start off with a simple project like this, it is one step in the right direction."

They began by soliciting other students in their dorm to adopt other missing people, and the response was so heartening and tremendous, that they decided to expand it to the entire college campus. Danae and Vanessa chose 8 missing persons from the program and went to numerous campus organizations, fraternities, sororities, students, and staff, even going door-to-door for their cause. Within a day, they had close to 200 adoptions secured. By day three of their campaign to help the missing, the two had arranged 432 adoptions!

On Monday, November 22nd, Danae and Vanessa will proudly don their buttons, along with the other 430 persons who opened their hearts to help a family they've never met, many of whom are thousands of miles away. They will hold an all day vigil at the campus chapel, starting at 7am and culminating with a brief ceremony at 9pm. 8 giant cards will be posted, one for each family of the missing, so that attendees can express their thoughts of hope. These will be sent to the families after the vigil. The press and public are invited and encouraged to attend.

Kelly Jolkowski, mother of missing Jason Jolkowski, and founder of Project Jason, explains the impact of the program: "After the police have sifted through the clues in a missing person's case, and have no more leads, what the family has left is hope and awareness. The Adopt a Missing Person program enables people to be able to give these priceless gifts to the families. It helps them get through another day without their loved ones, knowing that a stranger cares. You just never know. The next person to see that face, may hold the key to unlock the mystery of their disappearance and be the catalyst that reunites a family."

To find out additional information about the Adopt a Missing Person program, please see, and click on the "Adopt a Missing Person" link.

The eight missing persons who were adopted during the campaign at Ashland

University are:

Amanda Berry, Cleveland, OH

Georgina DeJesus, Cleveland, OH

Tamika Huston, Spartanburg, SC

Maura Murray, Amherst, MA

Brianna Maitland, Montgomery, VT

Ryan Katcher, Oakwood, IL

Joshua Guimond, Collegeville, MN

Jason Jolkowski, Omaha, NE

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Project Jason’ keeps memory alive for missing kids

Reported by: Lydia Esparra

POSTED: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 7:19:43 AM

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 7:20:45 AM

ASHLAND -- We’ve seen their pictures and have heard their names, the names of our area’s missing kids. Just south of Cleveland, in Ashland, other kids are keeping their memory alive.

At Ashland University Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus are making new friends. It started with an idea from sophomore Danae Leali

“I checked out the missing person’s files and thought it was interesting,†Danae said.

And during that time she came across ‘Project Jason’ dot org. At the website people can ‘sponsor’ a missing person by helping keep their name in the public eye.

The students proudly wear buttons with the pictures of the missing Amanda, Gina, Brianna, Tamika, Maura, Jason, Joshua and Ryan.

“You read things about them and you hear about them and then people start to talk about them on campus,†sophomore, Vanessa Wagener said.

And the campus is talking and worrying, what if it happens to them.

Parent, Maria Myers, says she worries about her daughter in college.

“She calls me to let me know she is OK,†Maria said.

“Because if this happened in my family and I went missing, I can’t imagine how upset my family would be,†freshman, Dlon Benton said.

About a quarter of the students participated in adopt a missing person. That figure is pretty good considering the campus only has about 2,000 students. Even more remarkable is this is the first time its ever been done anywhere across the United States.

For one day Danae and her friends celebrate the lives of the missing. They’ll send cards to all the hurting families and light candles that burn for hope. So one day the light will help guide the missing home.

Danae said she wants to let the families know that there is hope and people are thinking of them.

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Project Jason in the News


"Jason's Law" Reviewed

Proposal would assist search for missing

An Omaha family is pushing for changes in the law to help locate missing persons and they have firsthand knowledge of what's at stake.

Nineteen-year-old Jason Jolkowsi was walking from the family home to Benson High three-and-a-half years ago. That was the last anyone knew of his whereabouts. Investigators have never determined what happened to Jason.

Jim and Kelly Jolkowski are now urging lawmakers to pass Jason's Law, a measure that would create a state repository of information on missing persons.

Kelly Jolkowski says, "We know. We've been there. And we're trying to put this into place so that there's faster assistance; so the state understands the need."

The Nebraska legislature's Judiciary Committee heard the proposal Friday afternoon.

It calls for uniform reporting by law enforcement and a statewide website so the public and police can be aware and watch out for missing persons.

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Grass Roots Effort Launched to Decrease Homeless Population


Omaha, NE: February 18, 2005-- When one woman’s son became missing, she looked for him in the faces of the homeless. Even though it seemed inconceivable that she would find him among the thousands upon thousands of faces, it was not impossible that other missing persons might be found.

It was because of this search that the new and unique national missing person's locator program, Come Home, was developed by nonprofit organization Project Jason.

Project Jason, which assists families of the missing, was founded by Kelly Jolkowski, the mother of missing young adult Jason Jolkowski, of Omaha.

There are an estimated 3.5 million people in the United States who experience homelessness each year. People may become homeless for varied reasons, which include mental illness, addictions, domestic abuse, poverty, trauma, and lack of affordable housing.

Project Jason's mission statement includes creating and increasing public awareness of missing persons. With an estimated 850,000 new cases per year, it remains a challenge to find avenues to reach all facets of society in an effort to locate missing persons. It is not known how many of the homeless may be reported missing persons, but it is a certainty that many are.

In order to reach this segment of the population, the Come Home program was created. The bi-monthly Come Home poster will feature all of the necessary data and contact information about a selected missing person. It will also include a personal message to the missing person from their family. They simply want their loved one to Come Home.

Come Home posters are placed at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other locations where homeless persons gather. Project Jason has a growing database of participating shelters and related organizations nationwide. Twice per month, a new poster is produced and this information relayed via email to Come Home participants nationwide. A link to download and print the poster is available on the Project Jason website, and can also be accessed by the public.

Project Jason believes that working together with the nationwide participants, the Come Home program will help decrease the numbers of missing persons and of the homeless. Somewhere, someone loves them and wants them to Come Home.

A press conference is being held at 1:15pm on Friday, February 18th at the Siena/Francis House homeless shelter in Omaha, NE to announce the roll-out of the Come Home program. Local media may be contacted for assistance with footage of the conference.

For additional information about the program, please email, or call Kelly Jolkowski at 402-932-0095.

The Come Home website is located at

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Published Friday

February 18, 2005

Group starts missing-person campaign



The parents' desperate words call out from the poster:

"Michael, we miss you so much. We miss our walks on the beach. . . . We miss seeing your smiling face. Not knowing where you are or seeing you is so hard. Please come home."

Michael Allen Jarvi, 31, was last seen in March 2002 in Portland, Ore.

He's just one missing person that the Omaha nonprofit group Project Jason hopes to reunite with his family by distributing posters nationwide to places where homeless people gather.

The group will e-mail Internet links to participating agencies twice per month under its new "Come Home" program.

The organizations will then print the posters and hang them where staff members and homeless people can see them.

The posters will initially be put up at more than 1,100 locations in 34 states, including Omaha-area shelters, said Kelly Jolkowski, president and founder of Project Jason.

They will include a photo and physical description of a missing person who's possibly homeless, contact information for investigators and a message from the missing person's family.

Jolkowski said the personal plea is key to the posters.

"We had to reach out," she said. "We had to let them know that no matter what had occurred or how long they've been gone that they are loved and missed."

Jolkowski hopes the fliers will do some good by prompting homeless people to contact their families.

"Our hope is that they will read that and they will think of their family and that they will be encouraged to, if not go home, at least call home," said Jolkowski, whose son Jason has been missing more than 31/2 years.

The public also is invited to distribute the posters. They'll be posted at under the "Come Home" link.

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Reuniting Families

Come Home Project

Posters share the message

Everybody has a home. That's the thought behind a national program started by a local group trying to connect the homeless with family.

It's the Come Home Program, the work of Omaha's Project Jason.

Posters give families a way to try and connect with people like 31-year-old Michael Jarvi. A note from his family reads, "Michael, we miss you so much. We miss our walks on the beach."

Michael is out there somewhere and now, so is his picture.

As part of the Come Home Program, Michael's poster is going up in the Siena Francis House and other shelters across the county.

Siena Francis Director Mike Saklar sees family heartache like this every day.

"It's really a tough situation when you have grandmothers; mothers; sisters; brothers calling and asking about a lost loved one," he says.

Kelly Jolkowski is behind the posters.

She came to a shelter more than three years ago looking for her son, Jason. She is still looking for him but she's also helping other families of the missing.

Kelly says, "What we believe is that even if this missing person, Michael Jarvi, never sees this poster, that some of the other homeless will and at least be encouraged to call home, and maybe even find a way to go home."

Twice a month, more than 1,000 shelters, soup kitchens, crisis centers and other places in 34 states will download the posters that can be reached by anyone at

Saklar says these posters will help him as he tries to help others, like one family that stays with him.

"I felt so bad, because mostly the person who would call me was the grandmother, and they wanted me to pass on how much they loved their grandson," he says.

Now he can tell the family about the posters while another family hopes that Michael will see his picture, get the message and come home.

There is no clearinghouse for missing persons in Nebraska. Project Jason has been working on legislation for that for a couple of years now.

Iowa does have a clearinghouse through its Department of Public Safety Web site ( ) and Council Bluffs also lists missing persons on its police Web site ( ). They have 15 open cases.

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You Can Help Find Missing People


A new national attempt to bring missing family members home and it began on Friday right here in Omaha.

Kelly Jolkowski helped introduce the come home program, a program she helped develop to decrease the number of homeless and missing people.

A picture of a missing person will go up in homeless shelters twice a month. They'll have a message from the missing person's family.

Jolkowski's son Jason disappeared over three years ago. She says she looked to homeless shelters in hopes of finding him.

Jolkowski says, "We believe that among the homeless there's a fair percentage that are actually reported missing people."

Jolkowski's son Jason has never been found.

If you would like more information about the program e-mail

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Internet Project Aims To Bring Homeless Home

Kelly Jolkowski Wants To Link Missing, Families

POSTED: 4:29 pm CST February 18, 2005

UPDATED: 4:34 pm CST February 18, 2005

OMAHA, Neb. -- There are about 2,100 homeless men, women and children in Omaha, the city estimates, and many of them have loved ones looking for them.

The mother of a missing Omaha man launched a new program Friday to try to help unite the homeless with their families. Kelly Jolkowski has spearheaded the use of a new missing persons locator program in Omaha.

Kelly's son, Jason Jolkowski, was last seen in June 2001 while walking from his home to Benson High School. He was supposed to get a ride with a friend because his car was being repaired.

As his mother was searching the Internet for any sign of her son, she had an idea.

"I also looked at all the faces of the homeless. There were so many. I looked at them as I drove down town," Kelly Jolkowski said. "It came to me how we could do this. How we could connect the dots between the missing and the homeless."

The project is called "Come Home" and it will make posters of the nation's missing available on the Internet. It will also target shelters and soup kitchens nationwide. Each poster and entry includes the missing person's picture and a message from loved ones.

"A personal message from their family can trigger something that may allow them to have those thoughts again," said Candace Gregory, with Omaha's Open Door Mission.

At Sienna Francis House, counselors said many homeless go by an alias or have a mental disability.

"Through the course of the year, we get calls from all over the U.S., from mothers, fathers, grandparents who are looking for their lost," said Mike Saklar, with Sienna Francis House.

The shelter always took descriptions over the phone, but it was nearly impossible to match an identity. The Come Home program could help fill the gap.

A new poster will be put on the site twice a month. If your organization would like to receive updates, or if you have a missing loved one you believe may be homeless, e-mail Come Home at You can also call (402) 932-0095.

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Jason's Law passed out of the committee today, so that means, for the 1st time ever, it will make it to the floor to be debated upon by the whole Senate. We will launch our big letter writing campaign when it gets close to the time for the debate. Our Senator's aide will let us know when to start.

Thank you.


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We need your help and we need it now. Please do not put this off, as time is of the essence.

We have fought for three years now to pass Jason’s Law, LB111, which will establish a true Missing Person’s Clearinghouse in the state of Nebraska. Passage of this vital bill will give families of missing persons much needed assistance where currently there is little help when faced with this crisis situation.

Jason’s Law was passed out of the committee and is now up for debate on the senate floor for the very first time. It is IMPERATIVE that you contact your senator to let him/her know that you support this bill. As the bill came up for debate suddenly, there is little time to spare.

We have made this process as simple as possible so that you can help us to get this bill passed. We have a prepared letter that you can copy and paste into an email and send to your local senator. Please feel free to send your own letter or personalize ours.

Please do this right away, as the bill could be debated at any time. We need to reach senators all over the state, so that they are aware of the bill and its importance. Persons living in other states can write too, but our citizens’ input will have much more meaning to them.

In order to accomplish this, we ask you to forward this email to everyone you know who lives in Nebraska, and ask them to forward it to everyone they know living here. Each person needs to look up their local senator and then send the prepared letter to them via email. Occasionally, a senator does not have email. In those cases, please send your letter via US Mail, as we have high hopes that Jason’s Law will progress through the various stages of debate, and that our collective voices will continue to be heard. 25 Votes are needed to pass it to the next level of debate.

The prepared letter is at the end of this email, and you can also find it on Jason’s website: Reading the letter will aid in understanding why we need Jason’s Law.

To locate your local senator, go to Find your city in the list and click on “Email†to send an email or click on “Info†for the US Mail address for your senator.

In Lincoln and Omaha, there is more than one senator. If you live in Lincoln or Omaha and do not know who your senator is, you can click on “Map†and zoom in to see if a particular senator covers your home area. You can also utilize the following maps to determine what district you are in and then find your senator on the link given above.

Lincoln Area Map:

Omaha Area Map:

We’d also like to remind those of you who live in the Omaha area of the Project Jason Open House “More Than Just Volunteeringâ€ÂÂ. This will take place on Wednesday, March 23rd, 7pm, at Swanson Elementary School at 8600 Harney St.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and for your willingness to help us be the voice for those who are not with us, but will be forever in our hearts.


Jim and Kelly Jolkowski, Parents of Missing Omaha Youth, Jason Jolkowski

Founders of Project Jason,

Dear Representative ,

I write to you today on behalf of one of our state's most valuable assets, the family. There is nothing more important to the future of our state than its people, citizens that are well rounded, having that sense of pride of being a member of the larger family of Nebraskans that stems from the good values instilled in us from our individual families. We must work hard together to assist our state's families in any way that we can to ensure continued growth, and that Nebraska always remains "the good life".

Sadly, there is an area lacking in state law that can impact thousands of citizens each year. These citizens include entire families that have a missing loved one, whether that person is a child, or an adult. There are very limited avenues to pursue for families of missing adults. Currently, the only law covering missing persons in the State of Nebraska is the Missing Children Identification Act (Chapter 43, Article 20), LB 333~6, which flags vital statistic records for children age 16 and under. (The Amber Alert is also in place, but that is only activated in the case of known abductions of minors.) Although this is a necessary law, clearly there is much more that can be done, and should be done, to assist our families.

Currently, approximately 38 states have a missing persons clearinghouse, which serves as a means to disseminate information about the missing and to provide assistance to the families of these missing loved ones. Nebraska has no such official clearinghouse, although the Nebraska State Patrol does keep statistics on the missing and assists with basic notification of state law enforcement agencies when a person is reported missing as deemed necessary by local law enforcement.

Our neighbors in Iowa have paved the way in providing a true clearinghouse for missing persons of all ages. LB111 is patterned after the Code of Iowa, Chapter 694. LB111 will provide much needed benefits for families in this crisis situation. The assistance that could be provided by this law includes a 24 hour toll-free hotline to report missing persons, sightings of these persons, and to request general information. Educational materials, as well as a public speakers bureau, and ongoing training for local law enforcement agencies is also included. Most importantly, ongoing public awareness of the plight of the missing, including adults, is emphasized via means of a website, which will feature photos of the missing, descriptions, and vital information regarding their disappearance. A missing persons bulletin will be published monthly and public service announcements distributed weekly. There are many additional services provided, which you can review at the Nebraska Unicameral website.

The typical citizen is not aware of the true scope and magnitude of this problem. National statistics tell us that every 37 seconds, a child disappears. Awareness of the fact that a person is missing is a key to resolution. Just because we don't hear about it on the news, doesn't mean it isn't happening. So many times, these cases get no publicity at all. LB111 will help fill in the gaps and give an equal chance for all missing persons, who are citizens of Nebraska to be seen, then hopefully found safe and be reunited with their family.

I ask you today, as my state representative, to take action to ensure that our families in Nebraska are provided with a means of assistance when faced with the tragedy of a missing loved one, adult, or child. Please give Jason's Law (named after Jason Jolkowski, missing for over three years from Omaha) your utmost consideration and say "YES" to Nebraska families when LB111 is up for your vote. We never know when might find ourselves in this very situation, whether it be a missing child, mother, father, brother, or sister of any age. Thank you.


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A Project Jason Press Release:

4 Families, 4 Mysteries

4 families who have experienced the tragedy of having a missing loved one will come together on Sunday, May 1st to share their stories with dozens of bike riders at the 2nd annual Miles for the Missing Family Bike Ride sponsored by Omaha nonprofit organization, Project Jason.

Riders will meet the family members starting at 9:45am on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail in Council Bluffs, IA. Miles for the Missing is a casual ride, and riders can go distances from 1 mile up to 44. Sag and free water will be provided. Rider cost is $15 each, and children under age 10 ride free.

Families represented at the ride include: Jim and Kelly Jolkowski of Omaha, parents of missing Jason Jolkowski, who disappeared from his Omaha home on June 13, 2001; Carolyn Pospisil, mother of Erin Pospisil, who was last seen in Cedar Rapids, IA on June 6, 2001; Rebecca Gonzalez of Omaha, whose son Brendan was murdered by his father, but his body never recovered; and Kathy Wilson of Omaha. Her husband Greg, disappeared in January of 2005. His body was located in March, but the mystery of his disappearance still remains.

Project Jason members will be present to give away free Personal ID Kits and other safety information for families. They will also explain the services offered and awareness programs available for the missing. Proceeds from the ride enable Project Jason to continue to offer their free services to families of the missing nationwide and provide educational materials to all families.

Jim and Kelly Jolkowski continue to take part not just in local, but in state and national activities to increase public awareness of the missing, and to take steps to strengthen the aid given to these families. In early April, Kelly attended a national conference of missing persons organizations in Wilmington, NC, and was the Keynote Speaker at the New York State Missing Person’s Day. The Jolkowski family is also behind LB111, Jason’s Law, which will establish a Missing Person’s Clearinghouse for all ages in Nebraska. LB111 has passed through 2 of 3 rounds of debate in the state legislature.

Jim, Kelly, and Michael Jolkowski just returned from the Department of Justice’s “National Strategy Meeting: Identifying the Missingâ€ÂÂ, which took place in Philadelphia and brought together hundreds of government officials, forensic scientists, medical examiners, coroners, FBI, law enforcement, and families of missing and murdered loved ones from across the country. A few families of the missing and the murdered were chosen to represent the thousands upon thousands nationwide in this effort for all those involved to meet and put together a strategy to resolve the estimated 100,000 active missing person’s cases and to identify the 40,000 to 50,000 unidentified bodies nationwide. John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted was the Keynote Speaker. The Jolkowskis were able to meet with him briefly and share their experience.

For more information, please see, and click on the Miles for the Missing link, or call Kelly Jolkowski at 402-932-0095 or email:

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