EAST LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Michigan State Police (MSP) is raising awareness about Michigan’s missing persons with its annual Missing in Michigan event.

This year’s session will take place on May 25 from 1 to 4 PM at Madonna University in Livonia. The event is free and open to the public.

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“This is a wonderful way to honor the families of the missing while also bringing attention to this serious issue,” said Jolene Hardesty, Missing Persons Coordinator. “Sharing stories and information is helpful. You never know what detail could help bring someone home.”

Families of missing persons who wish to commemorate their loved ones are encouraged to register in advance by emailing MissingInMichigan@gmail.com. A private event for these families will be held at 9 AM and requires an RSVP.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared May as Missing Persons Awareness Month to highlight the roughly 94,000 active missing persons cases across the country. In Michigan, there are roughly 3,500 to 4,000 missing persons reported to police at any given time. Of those Michigan cases, approximately one-third are children under the age of 18.

“Few circumstances are more devastating to a family than the unknown whereabouts of a loved one,” Whitmer said in her proclamation. “In the blink of an eye, a family’s dynamic can change drastically when they are thrust into a chaos they are usually not equipped to handle.”

MSP is encouraging Michiganders to educate themselves on what to do if a loved one goes missing. They urge families to be prepared to answer police questions about age, physical features, and time since last seen. They also recommend finding a recent photo and keeping recent living spaces untouched to preserve evidence. More information can be found at the Missing Persons website.

Michigan News Source reporter J.P. Isbell is receiving an award at this event for her work on a story published on February 3.