According to Virginia State Police, as of April 22, there are more than 600 people in the Commonwealth missing. In an effort to keep that number from growing, this coming Saturday will mark a new day for Virginia - Missing Persons Day.
Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the designation Monday morning (4/24) while surrounded by advocates and public safety officials at the Virgnia Emergency Operations Center. The proposal designates April 29th Missing Persons Day. “And the good news is, this will now be in perpetuity,” Governor McAuliffe said. “So, every April 29th going forward will be recognized here in the Commonwealth of Virginia as Missing Persons Day.”
McAuliffe told the crowd the resolution's main purpose is to increase public awareness and assistance.
The Governor was accompanied by a pair of women from the organization Help Save the Next Girl. Gil Harrington co-founded the national non-profit after her daughter Morgan went missing in 2009. Although Morgan Harrington’s body was found after she was reported missing, her mother Gil says the worst part were the 101 days between reporting her missing and discovering her remains. She described the experience as horrific.
“It is terribly debilitating to simultaneously brace for disaster and try to maintain some hope,” Harrington said.
That’s the aspect Fairfax Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) - who sponsored the missing persons joint resolution - found most compelling. She says she brought the resolution to the House of Delegates after being approached by Harrington.
“I was proud to sponsor House Joint Resolution 612 during the 2017 General Assembly session,” Filler-Corn said at the presentation, “and I’d like to commend my colleagues in the House and Senate for supporting this legislation unanimously.”