WLOX Special Report: Identifying John & Jane Doe Part 2 - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX Special Report: Identifying John & Jane Doe Part 2

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SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Ellen Leach works a full time job at a local store, she has no background in law enforcement, but has helped solve several unidentified persons cases.

"Every day after work, this is what I do," Leach said. "I go onto the site and try to make matches. I try to get cases, I email people, I snail mail people. It's just a lot of work."

Her passion for doing this stems from her own personal tragedy.

"Two of my cousins went missing back in the 90s," Leach said. "They were found deceased, but that was when I started looking at missing sites; I was trying to find my cousins."

In 2009, she started a website called Mississippi Missing and Unidentified Persons - the first and only list of its kind in the state.

"It's that sense of loss and that these people don't know what happened to their loved ones or their friends, and it's just to get closure for them, so they know what happened, know where they were," Leach said.

She has more than 140 missing people listed on her website and 53 unidentified people.

"I monitor them all the time so I can help them find them," Leach said.

The more people that see the pictures and details about the victims, the better chance detectives have to solve the case.

Pascagoula Detective Darren Versiga said, "Sometimes in our cases the smallest little bit of information is the last piece of information that I needed. And it could be anything - a time, a date, anything."

Harrison County Crime Scene Investigator Kristi Johnson said, "Just know that if you send us information, we will look into it and we will figure it out."

Across South Mississippi, law enforcement agencies are taking another look at cold cases and sharing information amongst one another.

"We are here for them if they need help or we have resources that they don't or they have resources that we don't," Johnson said. "We can all work together and get these cases solved."

But investigators also need help from you. Detectives urge anyone who is missing a loved one to call police, even if they have been missing for a long time.

"I really hope that one day we can find at the least, the very least, find out who these people are and bring them home to their families," Johnson said.

Without a missing persons report or someone looking for these people, there's very little hope that the unidentified victims will ever get their name back.

Leach has helped eight families find out what happened to their loved ones. You can help, too. Take a look at her website, Mississippi Missing and Unidentified Persons: http://www.mmup.info/

If you have any information about the victims, you are asked to call Detective Versiga at (228) 762-2211 or Kristi Johnson at (228) 896-0664. You can also leave an anonymous tip on Harrison County Sheriff's Department website: http://www.harrisoncountysheriff.com/department-divisions/operations-division/cold-case-files/

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  • WLOX Special Report: Identifying John & Jane Doe Part 2More>>

  • WLOX Special Report: Identifying John & Jane Doe

    WLOX Special Report: Identifying John & Jane Doe

    Wednesday, February 26 2014 2:28 PM EST2014-02-26 19:28:53 GMT
    Across the country there are approximately 40,000 unidentified human remains according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, at least 53 are in our state.More >>
    Across the country there are approximately 40,000 unidentified human remains according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, at least 53 are in our state. We explore what is being done in South Mississippi to give these victims their names back.More >>
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