BENTON, Ark. — About 500 Arkansans remain missing throughout the state.
The state and their families say they’ll never be forgotten.
Law enforcement officers and families who are looking for them met at the 8th Never Forgotten event in Benton.
“These families are coming together, supporting one another. We’ve also been training law enforcement officers from across the state because we want Arkansas’ missing to know that they are not forgotten. We want those families to know that we have not forgotten their loved ones,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said.
They discussed challenges in locating the missing and solutions.
“We can use more technology, phones, internet, anything to track someone down,” Rutledge said.
Families of victims whose bodies have been found also attend, like Luci Murray and her husband.
“A great support. It gives us comfort that the state, the local people, there’s so much being done around the state,” Murray said.
Murray said her stepson's body was found in 2018, but it’s still important to support others.
“Our son James, he was found. We didn’t get the outcome we had hoped for. But, his remains were found and we have closure now,” Murray said.
Luci wants other families to leave with one thing.
“Hope and comfort knowing that there’s something to be done and something is being done,” Murray said.
This year Act 920 was passed, which makes law enforcement take an educational role on the use of databases that locate missing people.
“Today is one of the first days where the education part of this event is rolled out to law enforcement. So, to me, it’s critical for Arkansas moving forward,” Director of the State Crime Lab. Kermit Channel said.
Families are even able to submit DNA samples to those databases to help locate their loved ones.
“It’s only searched against unidentified human remains or other things, again, not only in Arkansas but around the country,” Channel said.
This year the event saw its largest turnout with 30 families showing up.
For more resources on locating missing persons visit: https://www.neverforgotten.ar.gov/