MEDFORD, Ore. — The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is working on the identification of the remains found over the weekend in a remote area outside of Central Point, but as this investigation continues, eight other missing persons’ cases remain unsolved in Southern Oregon.
The missing person cases in Southern Oregon range from only a few weeks old to a few decades old. No matter how long ago the missing person was last seen, Medford Police say the investigation never ends. A memorial in a quiet Phoenix Cemetery marks where Tommy Kelly now rests.Tommy was a missing person before his remains were found in Southern Oregon.
“The not knowing is the worst,” said Vicki Kelly, Tommy’s mom. “We waited for a year and a half until my son’s remains were found. even though it wasn’t the answer we had hoped for it did help us to find our resolution.”
Vicki Kelly now works with families of missing children through the Tommy Foundation and says big changes have been made since her son’s disappearance. Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau says a missing persons report can be filed at any time.
“The most critical time to investigate these missing persons cases is right when they turn up missing,” explained Lt. Budreau.
Lt. Budreau says a wide variety of information can be found in a missing person’s file, ranging from habits to statements from family members. DNA is now a big factor in investigations as well.
“We take standards of dna from two family members and we submit that to one organization called the University of North Texas and they keep the dna for all missing persons throughout the United States,” said Lt. Budreau.
Kelly says she is an advocate for the DNA samples and says it can help bring answers to families still searching for a loved one.
“Ask that their voluntary family reference sample DNA be taken, so that it can be matched in case unidentified human remains are found,” said Kelly.
Kelly also said she knows first hand how heart wrenching missing person’s case are to family and friends.
“Any child missing is a child at risk and if you have a missing loved one, it can be as anguishing because everyone is someone’s child,” she said.
Three of the cases in Southern Oregon have cars that were also never located. Medford Police say finding a vehicle would be important to establish a preliminary search area.