ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Missing Person Remembrance site in Albany brought people together to shine hope on many ongoing searches for missing persons. A number that according to DNA Investigations founder and president, Tobi Kirschmann, keeps growing. “Every year in just the state of New York there are thousands of people who go missing. A lot of them are found, but some of them are not,” stated Kirschmann.
Kirschmann’s organization helps to bring warmth to cold cases that have gone unsolved for years. “We can take DNA samples and build family trees from them. Which can help identify people that were unknown,” explained Kirschmann.
When it comes to preventing missing persons cases from going cold, 911Missing plans to create an app to keep the community alert. “When somebody goes missing we can simultaneously reach out to law enforcement, families, and the neighborhood on where that person was last seen,” described Rose Cobo, mother of missing person, Chelsea Cobo.
Attendees such as Yvonne Harbers came to the event to both share and hear stories from families who have missing family members. “I feel so much better that I’m not alone. It just brings us all together as a community of finding our loved ones,” stated Harbers.
Harber’s brother, Jeffrey Coonradt, was a member of the military who went missing in December of 1987 from Fort Ord, California. Coonradt was originally considered AWAL, then two years later considered a victim of foul play or murder. “I’m hoping after 35 years that our family gets some answers,” said Harbers.
The event honors the 25th anniversary of Suzanne Lyall’s disappearance. Lyall disappeared from UAlbany back in 1998. Her family turned the negativity from their situation into a way to help others through the Center for Hope.
“They’ve done a multitude of things to turn their personal tragedy into something so positive. Not only for their family, but for other families in New York state,” explained Senator James Tedisco. Tedisco describes the remembrance itself as a larger message the Lyall family have brought together for the community. “It’s not a memorial. It’s a remembrance, because there’s hope here,” said Tedisco.