CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Suzanne Lyall disappeared from UAlbany in 1998. Her mother, Mary Lyall, started the Center of Hope based out of Ballston Spa.
“We decided that we were going to help other people who were in our same shoes. Nobody knew what to do, or where to go,” Mary said, “and it evolved eventually into Missing Persons Day.”
Mary chose April 6th, Suzanne’s birthday, for the occasion. For years, Mary and Senator Jim Tedisco held an event on this day to raise awareness for Suzanne’s case, and others, like the case of Audrey May Herron, a Greene County woman who went missing under suspicious circumstances in 2002. Her daughter, Sonsia Court, used to attend Missing Person’s Day in Albany.
“Unfortunately, we are the voice for our missing loved ones. Nobody else is going to keep their story out there except for us,” Court told NEWS10.
Mary Lyall has not held the event the past few years because of COVID-19. She hopes to bring it back next year. In the meantime, the Missing Persons Remembrance Site in Albany that Mary created with her husband, Doug, burns an eternal flame, which is meant to both literally and figuratively provide the light home.
“You’ve got to keep the name out there. You’ve got to keep the face out there, because just the littlest evidence or indication of somebody who saw something,” Tedisco said, “if you keep it active, you can find your missing person.”
Mary Lyall shares advice to families in the early stages of looking for a missing loved one.
“You really have to find some kind of a clue, and just keep working at it, and see if that’s going to pan out,” she said.