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The Search for Kristen...
Kristen had completed her freshman year in the School of Design at North Carolina State University, one of a close knit group of twenty-five students on full academic scholarship through the Park Foundation. Kristen was encouraged, like her fellow students, to plan an enriching "summer experience", either domestically or abroad, and be prepared to share the adventure with the group of Park Scholars on returning to NC State University for their sophomore year.
Kristen had researched and planned a summer filled with life experiences in a big city, San Francisco, where she would work, live on her own, and take photography courses at the University of California at Berkeley to compliment her design major. Departing for San Francisco on her 18th birthday, on June 1, 1997, she found employment Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Spinelli's Coffee Shop in the financial district of downtown San Francisco. She had just started a second job on weekends at the Cafe Museo at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She was planning to start class at Berkeley on June 24, 1997. The day before, June 23, 1997,Kristen left work after her shift at Spinelli's, and completely disappeared without a trace. The case remains unsolved, but the determination of all of us to find the answers we need remains intact.
Efforts to search for clues about what happened to Kristen continue, including talking to people on the streets, handing out countless "Help Us Find Kristen" flyers, revisiting the areas we believe Kristen had gone to during the three weeks before she disappeared. We, Kristen's parents, greatly appreciate the cooperation of our TV, radio, and newspaper contacts; they are instrumental in keeping Kristen's story alive. We have spread the word via the Internet, and through daily Email correspondence with members of the Kristen Search Team, which consists of Law Enforcement, Private Investigators, friends, neighbors, and many, many concerned parents of young girls and boys who are outraged that crimes like this are being committed against our children. Billboards are another means that we will use to make sure that Kristen is a familiar face to people driving their cars or riding the city buses. Someone knows what happened, and we will not give up on our goal to find that person.
We were featured speakers at the annual Missing Children's Day, an event designed to increase National awareness of the plight of missing children, to seek ways to enact legislation to help find missing children, and to keep hope alive for parents and families going through the trauma of having a missing loved one. The Vanished Children's Alliance, Child Quest International, 3 Children, and the Nation's Missing Children's Organization continue to work very hard to publicize details about Kristen and other missing persons -primarily by printing and sending out flyers to organizations and businesses throughout the country. The toll-free number of the Vanished Children's Alliance is the tip line that we have been using, asking anyone with information about what happened to Kristen after work at Spinelli's Coffee Shop on June 23, 1997, to call 1-(800)- VANISHED, anytime, day or night.
Kristen had a very good relationship with her parents and sisters, and was very excited about continuing her chosen program in Industrial Design back at North Carolina State in the fall of 1997. She left a $400 paycheck behind at Spinelli's, and she had paid for her planned course at the University of California at Berkeley ($925) out of her own savings.
We fear that Kristen is still at risk, unable to contact her family or friends. One other possible explanation is that she could have suffered a head injury, causing amnesia or some other mental trauma that has incapacitated her to the point that she can't remember her past, or is unable to think clearly enough to contact her family. In any event, we cling to the hope that she is still alive and we remain very proactive in the search to find her.
Our young men and women entering college are encouraged to venture out on "summer experiences". Companies looking for top prospects to hire seek out the creative students that have shown independence and initiative. Parents of these children realize that they too could someday get a phone call that their child is missing, just like we did. We gain strength as a family through your support and prayers, and we thank you for your kindness and generosity in getting involved in the Search for Kristen.
Do You Have Information? Please do the right thing.
Call the Oakland Police Department:
Officer Dan Castanho (510) 238-3641 or Officer Pat Mahanay (510) 238-7910
or, to remain anonymous, call 1-800-VANISHED (or 1-800-826-4743).
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