Friday, June 23, 2017

How We Found A Missing Person

We saw her just as we were about to walk to our car.

It was around midnight on March 18, 2015 on busy Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. My sister Julie and I had just eaten a late night dinner and were going to head home. We were surprised to see the band Zowie Bowie playing on the 3rd Street Stage, so we stayed to watch them do their last set.

As we were dancing with about 200 other people I looked to my left and saw a woman alone. She was short and a little slow on her feet but smiling and attempting to dance a little. I kept my eye on her because she seemed older than the crowd and perhaps mentally challenged. She had approached a few young guys and was watching them and tried to dance with them a bit. They seemed like they were kind to her and let her hang with them so all seemed ok. My sister Julie was watching the whole scene too. At that point though we looked away and when I looked back a couple minutes later they were all out of my range of sight so I forgot about it.

The next morning I was reading my daily newspaper, the Las Vegas Review Journal, (yes I still read the actual newspaper every day). I noticed a small article along the left side of one of the pages. It was a short paragraph about a local missing woman. There was no photo but the description said she was short and about 60 years old, mentally disabled (could not read or write), and a diabetic. She had been wearing blue and tan clothing and was missing for eight days now. She lived with her sister who was looking for her. This woman had gotten on a bus during the previous week, (on Wednesday March 12) , and hadn't been seen since.

The realization came over me that this may be the same woman we had seen the night before!

So when my sister Julie, (who was visiting from Minnesota) woke up, I told her I had a very important question. I asked if she remembered seeing a woman last night and I described her. She said, "Yes, near the D Casino watching the band. She was wearing light blue and tan clothing."

After this I pretty much knew it was her, but it seemed so unlikely that she'd been missing for a week and we were the ones who accidentally found her. But it was possible so I called the number in the article. It was the North Las Vegas Police station.  I asked one question, "The lady who is missing that you mentioned in the paper this morning, is she African American?" The woman who answered said yes. I said, "We saw her, my sister and I, last night just after midnight on Fremont Street." Then I gave her the details and was transferred to another person who I told everything to, who then transferred me to a voice mail for Detective Sherry Bishop. I repeated to her voice mail what I knew.

A few days later I got a call from the same Detective Bishop to thank me for our help and let me know Audrey was safe at home. She had been found sleeping in a church near where we last saw her, shortly after our call on March 19!!  

My friend Lori Hall of Red Rock Search and Rescue later told me that what we'd experienced is what they call a "confirmed sighting," and that law enforcement takes this seriously and acts on it immediately. I'm so glad they do and that in this case they did because they helped two sisters reunite, and it made my sister Julie and I very happy that we'd been a part of it all.

Audrey Pamela Thrash
Many times you hear of people who were missing (sometimes abducted) and they say they were out in public many times but nobody noticed them, or maybe they did and didn't know they were a missing person. What should you do if you see someone who may be in this situation and might need help? I know that every missing person doesn't necessarily want to be found, but I have to go with the belief that the majority do.

Here are the websites you can go to to see if someone is listed as a missing person.

National Missing & Unidentified Persons System

FBI Missing and Kidnapped Persons website (This is not for most wanted, we are not looking for criminals here).

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Someone is Missing website

Missing Persons of America

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