WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Families whose loved ones are currently missing came together downtown this afternoon to offer support to each other as the CUE Center for Missing Persons wrapped up its cross country tour in Wilmington.
The mission of the CUE Center, which stands for Community United Effort, is to help find the missing and provide support to their families.
Dwayne Baker spent the afternoon barbequing for people whose loved ones have vanished, something he’s all too familiar with.
His son, Travis, went missing in 2007. Baker spent two painful years wondering where his son was before he was later found dead.
Baker says leaning on people from the CUE Center is emotionally beneficial, as they can relate to him.
“You don’t know which way to turn, where to go,” said Baker. “I mean…if you didn’t use or turn to another thing, you’d lose your mind.”
Lisa Valentino, like Baker, came out to support those who are still missing loved ones. Her sister was found dead in a ditch a few years ago.
“One part of our journey is over,” said Valentino. “We have a resolution. We know where my sister is. But [then] there’s peace. That part still needs to be solved.”
Kara Roberts says the CUE Center offers more than just emotional support. Her sister, Leah, has been missing for almost 12 years. “They pick up where the police left off,” she said. “They collaborate with law enforcement when possible. Do searches, generate media, and just are advocates for the missing.”
Roberts also says the national tour helped bring unsolved missing persons cases back into the public eye.
For Baker, one thing that keeps him going is helping others to act on the missing’s behalf.
“Without us, the missing don’t have a voice…without people like the CUE Center, and us as family members, to help them,” he said.