Navigating Our Site
Update - Winter 2010
The Kristen Foundation www.kristenfoundation.org has once again provided funding to place billboards in the San Francisco Bay area. These billboards show three photos of Kristen, highlight the $50,000 reward, and request that any tips be called in to a special FBI toll-free number. We’ve checked with the FBI and they are getting call-ins every day. No major breakthrough to report (yet), but we hold on to our belief that one day a person with key information will decide it’s time to share what they know and help us bring Kristen home.
Some people seem surprised to learn that after 13 years we still make the effort to stir things up and make new appeals for information that can help us find out what happened to Kristen. Our response is to ask the question, “Is there ever a time that you can stop searching?” Anyone who has a missing loved one knows that the answer is no there isn’t. You move on with your lives, you find joy and fulfillment in what you do, you enjoy the company of family and friends, but you continue to search for as long as it takes. Kristen deserves no less.
Follow this link to read Kevin Fagan's "Renewed effort to find Kristen Modafferi" article in the March 3, 2010 San Francisco Chronicle. Below is the layout of the latest billboard, as well as an actual site photo in San Francisco.
Latest Billboard Layout
A site photo in San Francisco
Update - Summer 2006
We gathered together once again as a family to remember Kristen on June 23rd - nine years since her disappearance in San Francisco. We are ever-hopeful that the reclassification of our case as a Criminal Kidnapping - greatly increasing the role of the FBI to do whatever it takes to move this investigation forward - will lead us to answers. We are grateful to so many who continue to reach out to us to let us know that Kristen will not be forgotten. Here are two such messages that touched us in a special way.
From Laura of the NC State University Park Scholarship Foundation in a letter dated June 26, 2006...
Dear Debbie & Bob:
A faculty member brought to my attention the article in the Charlotte Observer about Kristen. I wanted to write you and let you know that we too consider Kristen part of the Park Scholarship family. We have her photograph hanging in the hallway at the entrance to our offices and I see her picture every day.
Each year as we graduate a class I think about Kristen and what she might be doing had she graduated from NC State. We have not forgotten her and I wanted you to know that.
From Stacey in Brooklyn, New York, who wrote in our guestbook...
June is not an easy month. I was just checking around for updates and wanted you to know that I think of you all often and with tremendous affection. She was a force, and would be *so* proud of your activism and the law that was passed in her name. Now as ever, she could be the one to defy expectations.
In my wildest dreams I imagine that this will be resolved with some absurd plot twist that would honor all of the ridiculous memories I have of her. In waking life I simply remain hopeful, and am grateful that she is still so present in my mind after so many years. We can all find comfort in the fact that someone as vibrant as Kristen could NEVER fade.
With love to all you Mods, Stacey
Update - Spring 2006
Both the FBI and the Oakland Police have assigned new investigators, who are sifting through boxes of documents accumulated over the past eight years, and planning an escalated effort to find answers. Our daughter’s case has been reclassified as a criminal kidnapping case, which will pave the way for a proactive and broad-based investigation and allow for thorough processing of leads – anywhere – not confined to the Bay area.
We are very pleased with the renewed focus on finding out what happened to Kristen when she vanished without a trace on June 23, 1997. It has always been our contention that she was the victim of a crime, and that someone, perhaps still living in the Bay area, has information that could break this case. To help spread the word, with the help of the Kristen Foundation, we have posted new Billboards, on Bryant Street in San Francisco near the Hall of Justice, and on Washington Street in Oakland near the Oakland Police Station. There is also a full size Billboard at the 9th Street exit of the Oakland Bay Bridge entering San Francisco.
We are appealing to anyone seeing the message on these billboards to use the power of the Internet to spread the word about Kristen by forwarding our information to friends, relatives, co-workers, anyone. The more people who become aware of Kristen’s case, the better chance we have to reach someone who can help by making a phone call "tip" to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE LOST.
Update - Summer 2005
We just returned from a trip to DC and then on to the West Coast. Our agenda in Washington included a visit at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Eight years ago, when Kristen went missing, we were turned away by NCMEC because Kristen had turned 18 years old, and was considered an adult. They have since changed their charter to age 21, and as a result Kristen's case can now receive the full benefits of the investigative resources available from NCMEC.
What this means is that the investigative resources in the Bay area, including the Oakland Police, the San Francisco Police and the FBI can work our case with a strong assist from the National Center. In our meetings with law enforcement in the Bay area, we got a good sense that there is no drop off in their determination to solve this case, and there is also the willingness on their part to brainstorm ideas and work up a plan with NCMEC's help to move forward from here. .
One thing that you do when you have a missing loved one is pay attention to other families that are in the same situation. We are encouraged to hear that there has been an arrest made in the cold case of a young man from Lagrange, Georgia, who vanished in 1976 and has not been seen nor heard from since. That's nearly 30 years! His family, now elderly, continues to wait for answers about what happened to their son on that fateful day. Though we hope and pray that it will not take this long to get answers about Kristen, it does serve to let people know that these cases can be broken open even after this amount of time. It also shows that no matter how long people are missing, the media and general interest may move away, but there is a family who NEVER forgets.
We get a lot of guestbook entries, most of which offer prayers and encouragement, and we gain strength and resolve to keep up the search for Kristen from knowing that others truly care. Every so often we get a little gem like the one below. A silly thing, for sure, but very Kristen-like...but notice that it made a "big impact" on this person. Kristen had the ability to make a lasting impression on you, even in the most subtle ways. That's why we can never give up hope.
Guestbook message to the Family of Kristen Modafferi:
I knew Kristen from Studio at the School of Design and from living in Sullivan. I cannot go to IHOP without thinking about how she would flavor her coffee with the pancake syrups. It is just one of the amazing things about her that seem so small but make a big impact. I think about her and about you all often. Please take comfort in knowing Kristen has made an impact on all of those that have ever had the good fortune of knowing her.
A friend from Studio at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC USA -
Kristen Age-Progressed to Age 25
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has done an age-progressed photo of Kristen. Shown on the right, it is our best guess at what Kristen would look like today, at age 25.
The FBI in Oakland, California has been teaming up with the Oakland police with regard to the investigation into Kristen’s disappearance. The case remains on “active” status, and several possible scenarios that could explain what happened to Kristen are being explored.
The working case file continues to grow, and we remain hopeful that answers are just around the corner.
The Kristen Foundation
The following press release has been circulating in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Our neighbor and friend, Joan Petruski, has been the driving force behind the expanding role of the non-profit Kristen Foundation named in honor of our daughter.
Debbie and I, as well as other parents and relatives of endangered missing adults owe a debt of gratitude to Joan for recognizing the need for this foundation and for seeing it through to its present status as a source of help for many victim families. On top of that, the Crystal Ball fundraiser is a very enjoyable event, and an extremely worthy cause. To any of you who can arrange to be in Charlotte on the 13th of March, we cordially invite you to join us at the Crystal Ball.
Bob and Debbie Modafferi
THE KRISTEN FOUNDATION will host the Fourth Annual Crystal Ball, a formal dinner dance and silent auction on Saturday, March 13th from 7:00pm to 1:00am at the Adam's Mark Hotel, 555 S. McDowell Street, Charlotte, North Carolina. Entertainment will be provided by a 5-piece dance band, "Déjà vu", as well as guest entertainer Jerry Cummings, from Branson, Missouri, and other surprise guest performances. Tickets can be ordered by calling Joan Petruski at 704-996-5066 or 704-846-7408.
The Kristen Foundation: This foundation is named for Kristen Modafferi, a young student from Charlotte, North Carolina, who disappeared without a trace nearly seven years ago while working and studying for the summer in San Francisco. Kristen's disappearance is classified as an at-risk abduction by law enforcement. Proceeds from fund-raising efforts, such as the Crystal Ball, help defray expenses such as private investigations, billboards and other media often necessary to launch an effective search.
The foundation is now actively assisting 10 families by providing financial assistance for search-related expenses to help find at-risk missing adults.
Reader's Digest Feature Article
The story of Kristen's disappearance is in the December issue of Reader's Digest. This well known magazine has a circulation of 13.1 million readers and is published worldwide in 19 languages. To say we are pleased that Kristen's story is now reaching this global audience would be a huge understatement. This is the kind of exposure we have tried for years to get, because this is our best chance of reaching someone who may have the answer to what happened to our daughter on June 23, 1997. Reader's Digest does not accept articles from the general public, so we owe a dept of gratitude to writer Matt Birkbeck for taking an interest in our case and writing the story for Reader's Digest.
The article does, for the most part, accurately describe the events surrounding Kristen's disappearance, but a few points need to be clarified:
First and foremost, we got the call from Griffin Cherry, who told us that Kristen had been missing for 3 days, but he placed the call after we left a message asking Kristen to call home. We have no way of knowing how much more time may have passed had we not made that initial contact. The first 24 hours are crucial after someone goes missing... we had no idea... no one bothered to call us.
Kristen did a great deal of research before she told us about her plan to live, work, and attend classes in the San Francisco Bay area. She was very excited about the summer work/study adventure that was an integral part of her scholarship program. She presented us with a very convincing case that she was prepared to live on her own for the summer in a beautiful city. We made the decision to let her go. It wasn't an easy decision, or one we took lightly.
In hindsight it is probably true that Kristen may have been too trusting of the people she met in the three short weeks she was in San Francisco. The article states as fact that she took "casual car pool" rides to commute to work. We know she took the BART trains to work... it is only speculation that she tried other options like the casual car pool. We also don't know if Kristen placed the classified ad. There are many young people in San Francisco looking for friends with common interests. We have no proof that Kristen actually wrote and submitted this ad.
Kristen's Law was the culmination of a lot of work by dedicated and caring people who responded to our call for help at a time when none was available for missing persons who had reached the age of 18. Kristen always said she wanted to make a difference in the world. We believe that Kristen's Law will make a difference for other families searching for their at-risk adult loved ones.
We're back from another trip to the San Francisco area, but this trip was a little different. Our goal is always the same...to think of good, meaningful things to do while in the bay area that could lead us in a new direction, or turn up a vital clue that would point out at long last what happened to Kristen...six years ago...when she left her job at the coffee shop in the Crocker Galleria on June 23, 1997.
This trip was different because we asked for a moment of hope, a weekly message offered on the radio by a local Charlotte minister. He knew about Kristen's disappearance and was kind enough to deliver to our family a personal offering of hope and encouragement, and peace and comfort. What happened next was nothing short of amazing.
Over the next few days, we were contacted first by the FBI, then by a TV Producer for the ABC series "Vanished", and next by an investigative reporter doing an in-depth story on missing adults for Reader's Digest. In all these instances there is a renewed focus on Kristen's disappearance, on understanding what was done in the early days after she went missing, and more importantly, what wasn't done that should have been done. The Vanished ABC-TV Special will be televised on July 21st, and the Reader's Digest story is scheduled for publication in December.
All of this unexpected attention strengthens our faith that there is a greater power behind the minister's message. The effects can be measured in terms of stepped up FBI involvement and a great deal more national exposure covering Kristen's case. The objective of the FBI is to find out who knows something significant about what happened to Kristen but has not come forward. The national exposure serves a similar purpose, to reveal investigative areas that may have been glossed over or overlooked completely, allowing the ongoing investigation to "zoom in" on these target areas. We are very pleased that so much new effort is being put forth to break through the impasse we have been struggling with for the last six years.
The final piece of good news involves a man from California who has been deeply affected, as a family man and father, by what has happened to us and to other families faced with a missing loved one. He is making a very generous offer in an attempt to convince those with important information to find the courage to come forward now. He is a good man with a kind heart who feels compelled to try to help. Read more at www.findkristen.com.
Recently the story of your amazing motorcycle trip was forwarded to us, and I must tell you that we enjoyed reading about your adventure riding from the state of Washington all the way through Central America to Panama. You have a gift for writing and it comes through in your descriptions of the "bumps" in the road that you encountered along the journey. I have no doubt that Kristen would have been impressed with your sense of adventure, although I can't help wondering how much you put yourself at risk to make this trek all by yourself.
Kristen was in San Francisco to work and study for the summer in June of 1997. She had won a full-ride academic scholarship to North Carolina State University and had finished her freshman year in the School of Design. She loved writing too, and art, and music, and was planning to take photography classes at the University of California at Berkeley. Kristen also wanted to experience life to the fullest while in the Bay area, and so when she wasn't working, she would explore San Francisco and look for things to do and see.
She was new to the area and didn't have a lot of friends there yet, but that didn't keep her housebound when there was a spectacular city scene out there calling her name. So quite often, Kristen would go forth alone evenings and into the night, returning to the room she rented in Oakland in time to get a few hours sleep before she started her morning shift at Spinelli's Coffee Shop in the financial district of San Francisco. Just three weeks after she arrived on June 23, 1997, Kristen went to work at Spinelli's, clocked out at around 3:45 pm, and…disappeared!
We are convinced that she is not a runaway. She left a paycheck behind, most of her belongings were left at the Oakland house, and she never attempted to get a refund for the $900 photography class at Berkeley that she had paid for with her own savings. Kristen had a wonderful relationship with her family, and was especially close to her 3 sisters. She had very close friends back home. Nearly six years later, we still don't know what happened to her.
One of your stops along your journey was Granada, Nicaragua. Coincidentally, we have been corresponding for many months now with a man who firmly believes that he actually met Kristen in May of 2000 in this same small town in Central America. To this day, he remains convinced that the girl he met was Kristen, and we have been trying very hard to get proof that he is right. We have made inquiries and posted Kristen's photo in key locations in Central America, but no one else has come forward. So many people pass through a tourist-friendly place like Granada, it's hard to remember a specific face. Could the young woman in Granada, Nicaragua actually have been Kristen? We know first hand that there are many look-alikes out there. And if it is true, it opens up a lot of questions as to what could have happened to her mentally to make her feel that she can no longer come home to her family, or even make contact.
When I read your story of your adventure, it made me think of Kristen. She wanted so much to experience life to its fullest, to go beyond what was considered normal and commonplace. She wanted to make a difference in the world. She would have found you to be a soul mate, I think.
With that said, I hope you will read more about Kristen and forward our website link www.modlink.com/kristen to any contacts you may know in Central America. We wonder if she could still be alive, and just doesn't know how to come home. Could Kristen have passed through the same small town as you, so far away from home? Is life just a series of unrelated random coincidences, or are our lives driven by more than just chance? Maybe there is a grand master plan that ties everything together...we can only hope and pray for some answers soon.
Bob and Debbie Modafferi
(Webmaster note: The referenced story about Beth Whitman's journey can be found at Travel Lady Magazine.)
What do you do when your daughter is reported missing? You naturally do everything you possibly can to find out what happened, to check out every clue, and question every contact. Your heart aches, but your brain assures you that this won't last long, that she will be found very soon and everything will be as it once was, with only a bad memory to try to erase, like it was a bad dream. It is hard to imagine that days, weeks, months, and years of searching for answers can go by, and we still are asking the same question, "What happened to Kristen on June 23, 1997? Somebody knows…why won't they come forward?"
Some of our long-time supporters during our long search have been wondering why updates posted on this website have become fewer and farther between. Does this mean we have given up? Have we reached the point in our search for our daughter that we don't have any more ideas? Have we hit the wall?
Rest assured that is not the case. The fact is that we maintain frequent contact with law enforcement and private investigators, and we are constantly re-traveling old paths and exploring new ones in an ongoing effort to find answers. The question is not whether we will get these answers, but when we will get these answers. God only knows for sure, but we do have faith, and that keeps us going strong.
So why don't we keep posting monthly, weekly or even daily updates? As much as we appreciate the sincere interest that each and every one of you has in knowing what is going on in our search for Kristen, there is a very real potential downside to revealing too much…showing our hand so to speak. We have never doubted that someone knows what happened to Kristen on June 23, 1997. As time marches on it appears that this someone is totally devoid of a conscience and any sense of doing what is morally right. So we have made a conscious decision not to outline every new step our investigators are taking, or what the latest piece of evidence is, or what's the latest word on the street that could ultimately expose those who know. We have faith. Good things are happening behind the scenes. When the time is right, those responsible for Kristen's disappearance will be brought to justice and we will have our answers.
Meanwhile, we carry on with our lives. Not a day goes by without thinking of Kristen, but we are a strong family, and we have our lives and each other. And we have the support of friends as well, and the prayers of many all over the world.
So let this be the latest update, bringing us one step closer, when the time is right, to the final update.
Debbie and I just returned from another trip to the San Francisco Bay area. June 23, 2002 was the 5 year anniversary of Kristen's disappearance. We met with the Oakland Police, who have assigned 2 additional men to our case. Once again we were guests on the local Fox network TV show "Mornings on 2", and we made an appeal to the people of the Bay area that has become our "call to arms" on these west coast trips. We asked that anyone who may have a piece of information about Kristen during the late afternoon and evening hours on Monday, June 23, 1997, regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant this information may be, to please come forward and let us know what they know. Our family and the police still feel that more than one person knows what happened, and we need them to find the courage and conscience to come forward. The "blond woman", seen with Kristen at 3:45 on the afternoon of June 23rd on the upper deck of the Crocker Galleria, is one key piece to the puzzle who has yet to identify herself. Who is she, and why won't she call our toll free tip line (800-690-FIND) and help our family find peace and closure?
The Oakland Tribune interviewed us and published a nice update article with a large color photo of Kristen on July 3rd. Oakland Tribune Article
Our friend, Dennis Mahan, has been putting together a very detailed "time-line" oriented website about Kristen's disappearance. He has remained very active in trying to come up with new and innovative ways to find our daughter. You can access this site at www.findkristen.com.
July 16, 2001
The reenactment of our daughter Kristen's disappearance will be televised nationally on the TV Show Unsolved Mysteries this coming Friday, July 20, 2001, on the Lifetime Channel. Check your local listings for the scheduled times in your area. Viewers will be asked to call in tips (1-800-690-FIND) about what could have happened to Kristen on June 23, 1997, in San Francisco.
We were also expecting national exposure through People Magazine in their current issue. Unfortunately, People Magazine chose to go with the more "sensational" story all over the news these days - Chandra Levy. While we certainly sympathize with her family and hope and pray that they find their missing daughter, we think it's a shame that so much media attention is centered around this story mainly because of the potential scandal involving Chandra and Congressman Condit. So many other families with missing loved ones find it nearly impossible to keep their story alive through the media. And unless you can keep the story alive, you will not be able to keep the search and investigation alive. The role of the media is critical in finding a missing person.
John Walsh of America's Most Wanted told a national TV audience last Saturday night that when his son disappeared, there was no National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). His story resulted in the formation of NCMEC. He went on to say that there is now legislation in the works to help missing at-risk adults, but he failed to mention the name of this legislation - Kristen's Law. We are sure it was an oversight, but a costly one. We need the national coverage of Kristen's Law more than ever because it is now going before the Appropriations Committee for funding. With this necessary funding, Kristen's Law becomes a real working piece of legislation that can help ALL missing persons who are over the age of 18 and classified at-risk endangered. (Read more about Kristen's Law by scrolling further down on this page, i.e., the November, 2000 section.)
John Walsh said that there are thousands of missing adults, some who choose to disappear, but many who do not. Their families are devastated and desperately need help. We need the support of the TV and print media to move Kristen's Law quickly through the Appropriations Committee so that it can start helping these families.
You can also help us, and the families of other missing adults, by writing to magazines like People, Time, and Newsweek, and to national TV Shows like Good Morning America, 20/20, Nightline, PrimeTime, and World News Tonight. Urge them to devote time and energy to stories like Kristen's Law that can truly make a difference in the lives of many families with missing loved ones throughout the United States.
Please pick up a copy of People Magazine's upcoming issue, scheduled to be on the newsstands starting this Friday or Saturday (July 13 or 14). Our daughter, Kristen, is one of several young people currently missing under mysterious and at-risk circumstances who will be profiled in a feature story. People Magazine reaches a great number of readers both in the USA and abroad. We are hoping that this extra exposure will reach someone who may be willing and able to help us with our search by calling (800) 690-FIND with any information they may have about Kristen. Even a seemingly small or unrelated tip could make a big difference.
Also, on or about July 31st, the story of Kristen's disappearance will be reenacted on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries. The exact date has not been finalized, but we have been told that it is tentatively set for July 31, 2001.
Finally, additional billboards are now up in the San Francisco Bay area asking "Who Abducted Kristen Modafferi on June 23, 1997." A $50,000 reward is offered for information leading to her recovery.Please spread the word about People Magazine's upcoming issue and also about Unsolved Mysteries later this month. The more people that know about our daughter, the better chance we have of finding her. Thank you for your willingness to help.
The "Blond Woman Connection" remains a mystery. We are appealing to the tenants of San Francisco's Crocker Galleria Mall, and to the employees and patrons of the shops in the Crocker Galleria to read this accounting of what took place late in the day on June 23, 1997, the day Kristen disappeared.
It was reported by several employees of Spinelli's Coffee Shop (now Tully's) that they noticed Kristen in the company of a blond woman around 3:45 in the afternoon on June 23, 1997. Kristen was wearing her green Jansport backpack, and the blond woman with her had a similar backpack. They were standing near each other on the second floor of the Crocker Galleria, which at this time of the day was nearly empty. We believe that Kristen may have prearranged to meet with this blond woman after her shift at Spinelli's ended at 3:00 PM. They may have traveled together to the Sutro Park/Land's End Beach area that evening, a destination that Kristen had mentioned earlier that day to her coworkers that she was interested in seeing. Kristen has not been seen or heard from since that sighting on the second floor landing of the Crocker Galleria.
We have made many appeals through the Bay area media for this blond woman to come forward to tell what she knows about her encounter with Kristen. She very possibly could hold a single clue that could give us answers as to what actually happened. No one has come forward, and so this potentially valuable piece to the puzzle remains, like Kristen, missing.
If anyone, anywhere, has knowledge of who this blond woman may be, please forward this information to Officer Patrick Mahanay of the Oakland Police Department at (510) 238-3641. Thank you.
The Modafferi Family
While we continue to pray for a break in the ongoing search for our daughter, Kristen, we are pleased to report that the non-profit Friends of Kristen Missing Person's Foundation continues to grow and extend support to other families with missing loved ones. The Foundation's initial fundraiser, the "For the Love of a Child Community Cookbook" has been well received by individuals and also some corporations who this Holiday Season gave copies to their employees as gifts. Many thanks to those who purchased these cookbooks. Please know that your dollars will go a long way to help victim families.
Anyone wishing to place an order for the "For the Love of a Child Community Cookbook", please click on either of the linked book titles, above, for ordering details.
The Friends of Kristen Missing Persons Foundation will host the 1st Annual Crystal Ball Dinner Dance and Fundraiser at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Charlotte, NC, on Saturday, March 3, 2001. This gala event will include Hors d'oeuvres and Cocktails from 7 to 8pm, followed by Dinner and Dancing from 8pm until Midnight, featuring Golden Oldies and Classic Rock 'n' Roll performed live by the "Smashing Briefcases". An assortment of very nice "prizes", donated by Charlotte area merchants, businessmen, and professional organizations, will be on display in the hotel lobby, where you can bid for them via a "Silent Auction".
It is the goal of the Friends of Kristen Missing Persons Foundation use its resources to continue to expand the scope and breadth of its Charter to help additional families facing the harsh reality of a missing loved one. To believe that abductions of our loved ones only affects "the other guy" is naive... the reality is it can happen to anyone at any time.
The Crystal Ball will go a long way to helping the Foundation achieve its goal. Tickets are $70 Per Person, or $700 to reserve a Table for Ten. Dress is semi-formal, with black tie optional. For Reservations and for additional information, call 704-846-7408.
On Thursday, November 09, 2000, President Clinton signed into law Kristen's Act (H.R.2780). This new law is named in honor of our daughter, Kristen Modafferi, a North Carolina State University School of Design honors student who arrived in San Francisco to study photography on June 1, 1997, and who disappeared without a trace three weeks later on June 23, 1997. Kristen was 18 years old at the time, and when we, Kristen's parents, asked for help from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, we were turned away because their charter limits the use of their extensive search and recovery resources to missing persons under the age of 18. Kristen's Law is the culmination of 3½ years of effort to push through legislation to form a federally funded national clearinghouse for missing adults. The mission of this new organization is to make comprehensive search and recovery resources available to families of missing adults who are classified at-risk/endangered by law enforcement.
Kristen's Law acknowledges a very real and serious problem - the ever increasing number of abductions of our sons and daughters, many of whom are venturing out "on their own" for the first time. Kristen's Law will not be saddled with an "under 18" age limitation and will bring much needed support and assistance to families faced with the loss of a missing adult loved one.
A White House statement has been released to the media stressing the importance and timeliness of this new law. TV coverage is being stepped up in San Francisco to once again appeal to someone who may have knowledge of what happened to Kristen on June 23, 1997 to find it in his or her heart to come forward now. It's time for Kristen to come home to her family.
The Modafferi family will be presented with a copy of Kristen's Law and the pen used by the President to sign the bill into law.
MSNBC will be launching a new show on Missing Persons on October 6, 2000 and October 7, 2000.
The first episode will feature Kristen's story. Our investigations team has been very tight-lipped about their progress in determining Kristen's contacts and actions just prior to her disappearance on June 23, 1997. It is our understanding that relevant new information will be released during the airing of the show on both nights.
Please check your local listings for the time of the MSNBC telecast in your viewing area.
Many of you who have been following the story of our missing daughter Kristen have been wondering what is happening lately, as there hasn't been an update in several months. Please be assured that we are in no way giving up or even slowing down in our efforts to find Kristen. The investigation into her disappearance is still underway, and will continue for as long as it takes. Thank you for your prayers and support of our family.
One major reason for putting updates "on hold" is that our investigators have cautioned us that because the Internet is "open" to anyone with access to a computer, it is possible, maybe even probable, that someone responsible for Kristen's disappearance may also be monitoring how the investigation is progressing. We obviously don't want to share information that could help anyone that could be the perpetrator of this crime. We want you to know that we feel that the investigation is progressing and that we have every confidence in the team that is working very hard to find our daughter.
The "Friends of Kristen Missing Persons Foundation" is gaining momentum thanks to your contributions and support of the community cookbook fundraiser. If you haven't yet gotten a cookbook, they can be ordered via our online order form. The recipes are the "favorites" of many families and the proceeds will be put to good use to aid the search for at-risk/endangered missing persons age 18 or over.
The Kristen Act will be debated before the House subcommittee in September, and we have been invited to tell Kristen's story. We are encouraged by the feedback we are getting from our contacts in Washington DC. You can help insure that this bill becomes law by writing your Senators and Representatives and asking them to vote in favor of HR # 2780. Ask them to abolish the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's "under 18" age limit and make federal funds available for ALL missing persons that are classified at-risk/endangered by law enforcement, regardless of age.
Kristen's Act (H.R. 2780) which was launched several months ago in the House of Representatives by Sue Myrick (R, NC), has now been introduced in the Senate, by John Edwards (D, NC). We are encouraged by the progress of this important legislation and are optimistic that it will ultimately become Kristen's Law. We urge you to continue to write letters in support of Kristen's Law, which will make a difference for the rising number of missing persons over the age of 18 in our country. Please write your congressmen and senators to voice your support. (See our Support Letter page).
Our "For the Love of a Child, a Community's Cookbook" fundraiser has been very well received to date, and it has been extended to channel funds into our newly formed non-profit foundation called "The Kristen Modafferi Foundation for Missing Persons". The money that we are able to raise through cookbook sales, and through future fundraisers, will be used to benefit all missing persons who are over age 18 at the time of their disappearance, and who are classified at-risk endangered by law enforcement.
As a family, we are determined to continue the search for our missing daughter for as long as it takes. We are comforted that positive things like Kristen's Act and The Kristen Modafferi Foundation for Missing Persons have come into existence to benefit others in Kristen's name.
January, 2000We are working very hard to see that Kristen's Act (HR 2780) becomes law, because no one should have to hear that their missing loved one is too old to receive help from our tax-supported National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as we did when our daughter Kristen disappeared three weeks after her 18th birthday. A substantial number of "over-18" missing persons are classified at-risk/endangered by law enforcement, and they need and deserve the same level of federal assistance that missing children receive.
Nothing can be more cruel and devastating than to have our government turn a cold shoulder to the people desperately searching for their missing loved one. The missing victim should not be categorized by age; he or she is still someone's son, daughter, sister, brother, mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, or close friend.
Kristen's Act will make a difference for the rising number of missing persons of all ages in our country. Please write your congressmen and senators to voice your support (click here to go to the Support Letter page).
As we approach our third Christmas without Kristen, our family is once again filled with many mixed emotions. This was the favorite time of year for Kristen and her sisters, and we have many wonderful memories of Christmases Past. Kristen added joy and spontaneity to the holiday season. The "Magic" of Christmas was very real to Kristen, and she made sure it truly was a magical time, especially for Meghan, who was 7 years old when Kristen disappeared. We will make the most of Christmas Present, and count our blessings this holiday season. Christmas Future still holds hope, and with that hope comes our commitment to keep fighting to find the answers that must be out there.
As a family we have renewed our commitment to carry forward the investigation of our daughter's disappearance. As we enter Year 2000, we intend to channel even more of our energy and resources to finding Kristen. We continue to rely heavily on the support of our family, friends and the many, many concerned and caring people that have gotten to know about Kristen. We couldn't do this without you.
We have something new to tell you about. A new cookbook, entitled "For the Love of a Child, a Community's Cookbook" has been published by Joan Petruski. It has Kristen's photo on the cover, and contains over 500 family favorite recipes submitted by people from all over the country. Proceeds from the sale of these books initially will be used to help offset the ongoing investigative costs for our search for Kristen. Joan has also established The Kristen Foundation and uses fundraisers like this one to help other families who have missing adult loved ones who have been classified at-risk and endangered.
The cookbook is pictured here. The cost is $15.00 each, which is tax deductible, plus $2.00 for shipping costs. Please print out the order form and refer to it for full details on how to order.
If your church or civic group would like to help out by selling these cookbooks, they can be drop shipped in quantity (30 books to a box). Please contact Joan Petruski at (704) 846-7408.
Once again we are grateful for your support and prayers. God Bless You All, this holiday season and especially you, Kristen.
Bob, Debbie, Allison, Lauren, and Meghan Modafferi
Kristen's Act (HR Bill #2780) has gone through the initial phase of the legislative process. We have been told that it will voted upon early next year (2000) and has a very good chance of becoming law. The net result will be to allocate federal funds to help find over age 18 missing persons who are classified as endangered/at-risk by law enforcement. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was unable to be of any help to us when Kristen went missing because she had just passed her 18th birthday, even though the circumstances of her disappearance indicate that she was abducted.
Kristen's Act will insure that no one else will be turned away under these circumstances because of age. Thanks to all of you who have supported our family and especially those who signed the "Kristen Petition" that helped get this important piece of legislation off to a good start.
Stephanie Wing of San Francisco has organized a walk-a-thon on November 20, 1999 at 10:00 am to benefit Kristen and other missing children and adults. Several families who have a loved one missing will be participating in this Walk For Awareness, a 5K walk starting and finishing at the Cliff House near San Francisco's Ocean Beach. Walkers are encouraged to pass out flyers and posters during the walk, which is intended to call attention to the increasing number of abductions that have been occuring on the streets of our cities, suburbs, and rural towns. The news media will be present to cover this event. If you can participate, please call Stephanie Wing at (925) 551-8152 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Kristen traveled around the Bay area, she wore a green Jansport backpack. It has never been found, and a photo of the backpack is shown here... note the black mesh pocket, which is somewhat less common than most backpacks seen on young people moving around the city and countryside. We think that if the backpack is found, it may give us some clues as to what happened to Kristen when she vanished without a trace on June 23, 1997. Please check out the photo carefully.
North Carolina Representative Sue Myrick is encouraged with the initial progress of Kristen's Act. If successful, federal funding would be allocated annually to help search for missing adults who are classified endangered/at-risk by law enforcement.
We are hoping to be able to once again place some "Who Abducted Kristen Modafferi" billboards in the Bay area. We believe that the best way to reach the person or persons who can help us find Kristen is to keep her story alive. Billboards are a good way to deliver our family's appeal for help in finding our missing girl.
We were among the many people appalled with the news that Cary Stayner had murdered (beheaded!) the young woman naturalist in Yosemite. And now he has confessed to the murders of the three women tourists earlier this year! How can such monsters walk the streets of our cities and countryside and suddenly commit such gastly crimes? We may never know the answer since these acts are so reprehensible to anyone with any conscience and respect for human life.
The police are doing a "time line" on Cary Stayner to see if he was anywhere near San Francisco in June of 1997. We have no reason to believe at this point that he had anything to do with Kristen's disappearance, but his whereabouts must be verified back in the summer of 1997 to rule him out as a suspect.
The efforts we have made to get legislation passed to help "over 18" persons who go missing is starting to yield some results. "Kristen's Act" has been issued a number, HR 2780, and was introduced to Congress on August 5th. After going through the procedural debates in the House, it will be introduced to the Senate in September. So, hopefully, some good will come out of this ordeal to help other families who find themselves searching for a missing "adult" loved one.
Even after months have passed since the airing of the America's Most Wanted segment on Kristen's disappearace, the police continue to get phone calls. The police are encouraged that the bits of new data that continue to hit their desks will ultimately form a pattern that solves the puzzle of what happened to Kristen back on June 23, 1997. Time (and paranoia) will eventually wear down those who are guilty, and we will get the answers we need and deserve.
We just returned from another trip to the San Francisco Bay area. NASCAR driver Darrell LaMoure competed in a grueling race and his #17 racecar had Kristen's larger than life-sized photo on the hood for all the spectators (and ESPN cameras) to see. While Darrell didn't win this race, his dedication to the cause of helping to find missing children makes him a clear winner as far as our family is concerned. We enjoyed spending time with Darrell "behind the scenes" at the speedway. America's Most Wanted was on hand to tape footage of the race to include as part of a planned update on Kristen's story (air date not yet determined).
Darrell LaMoure's car with Kristen's picture on hood.
We also spent a day with the families of three of Bob's cousins, who live not far from San Francisco. In previous trips we were unable to set aside enough time to get together; this time we did, and it was very nice, especially, to have all the kids get to know each other better. They of course have been staying very close to the search for Kristen and will continue to support us as we look for answers.
Family on the West Coast
Kristen had a pair of very distinctive shoes which we believe she was wearing at the time of her disappearance, back on June 23, 1997. The brand is "Fly London" and they have laces both in front and behind the heel. They also have an imprint of a fly on the soles of each shoe. We now have a photo of these shoes, which is reproduced below. If you have seen these shoes (or anyone wearing them), please call 1-800-VANISHED with details.
The "Fly London" Shoes Kristen may have been wearing
The police are continuing to get phone call "tips", increasing the chances that evidence will surface that will one way or another determine who is connected in any way to Kristen's disappearance back on June 23, 1997. The Oakland police feel that Jon Onuma and Jill Lampo, residents of the Bay area at the time of Kristen's abduction, may know something about what happened. Both claim that they know nothing about her disappearance.
Thank you all for your ongoing prayers and support. The search will continue for as long as it takes.
America's Most Wanted led off their show on May 22nd with Kristen's story. The focus was on the man who for the past two years the police have not been able to "rule out" as someone who may know something about Kristen's abduction and subsequent disappearance. His name is Jon Onuma.
We know that a personal ad appeared in a June '97 San Francisco newspaper, requesting "Friends, female seeking friends, to share activities, who enjoy music, photography, working out, walks, coffee, or simply the beach, exploring the Bay area! Interested, call me." Did Kristen place this ad? We just don't know. All records have been purged at the newspaper. Numerous attempts to see if anyone would come forward and claim this ad as their own also failed.
The response to the show was very good. Over 70 tips were phoned in, and using the information provided, the police were able to locate Jon Onuma in Hawaii. They subsequently spoke with him on the telephone and have plans to meet face to face with him in the near future.
It is important to state here why law enforcement wants to question Onuma regarding Kristen's disappearance. First, shortly after Kristen went missing on June 23, 1997, an anonymous tip was phoned in to a San Francisco TV station. The caller said that two women at a local YMCA had abducted Kristen, that she had been killed, and her body could be found under a bridge in the Point Reyes area of Marin County. When the police questioned the two women, they found that they were not involved with Kristen's disappearance. The women were able to name Jon Onuma as the person who likely phoned in the tip. He had been harassing them over work related problems that involved his girlfriend. When the police confronted Onuma, he at first denied, but later admitted making the call for the purpose of trying to get these women in trouble. The second incident involved a woman who stated that Jon Onuma had been beating her, and said he would have to kill her. According to her recounting of the story, he then said, "Now you know what happened to Kristen Modafferi".
Because of his statements, Jon Onuma cannot be ruled out as someone who may know something about Kristen's disappearance. He may have information that can help solve the case. Below (left) is a photo of Jon Onuma that was released on America's Most Wanted. The other likeness (right) was taken off his web site. Soon after the publicity about Kristen reached a peak after her June 23, 1997 disappearance, the web site was closed down. Coincidence? Or not?
Photos of Jon Onuma...
...from AMW ...from his now defunct web site
Our thanks to the staff of America's Most Wanted for the excellent piece they put together to bring previously unreleased information of the case of our missing daughter to the forefront. We tried countless times to get our story told on America's Most Wanted, and we are hopeful that the show will make a difference for us, as it has for many others.
America's Most Wanted will be airing an updated TV segment about Kristen on Saturday, May 22, 1999. The show wll focus on the events leading to her mysterious disappearance on June 23, 1997. What went wrong that changed the life of a bright, ambitious, full of life college girl, and at the same time changed forever the lives of her family and everyone who knew our daughter? The AMW reporters spent many hours interviewing family, friends, and law enforcement. Much of the information that has been compiled has not been aired before. The expanded coverage will mean that viewers of the show will have a better chance to know Kristen, and to know that one of her goals was to make a positive difference in this world. And she truly was making a difference, until that fateful Monday in June, 1997, just 3 weeks past her 18th birthday. Someone knows what happened to shatter Kristen's hopes and dreams. We hope and pray that this show will make a difference, and inspire someone who has been holding back information, hoping that the case would be solved without their involvement, to realize that they must do the right thing, and give us the tip that we need to get answers about what happened to our daughter Kristen.
We now have help from NASCAR. A campaign called "Racing for the Missing" has been initiated to focus attention on the plight of missing persons. Kristen's photo (along with other missing) has been displayed on the transporter of NASCAR driver Darrell LaMoure (soon to be on the hood of his car). He will be racing in the SF Bay area on June 27, 1999. Many thanks, Darrell.
On March 25, 1999, Debbie and I spent the day meeting with several Senators and Congressmen in Washington, DC. Our goal was to bring in the Kristen Petitions (over 15,000 signatures!) and ask for support for new legislation that would allow funding to help missing persons regardless of their age. Currently, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children gets $8,000,000 annually of our tax dollars to fund the search for missing children, provided that they are under age 18 at the time they disappear. Our search for our daughter, Kristen, was severely hampered because she was 3 weeks past her 18th birthday when she was abducted in San Francisco on June 23, 1997. We hope to change the laws so that other parents who get the terrible news that their (over 18) daughters and sons are missing can get help from agencies dedicated to spread the word about their disappearance and organize search efforts.
We met with legislators from North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, and California and are pleased to report that they were very supportive of doing whatever it takes to modify existing laws to help older missing persons, particularly if they are considered "at risk" and "endangered" by law enforcement.
The following day, March 26th, we visited the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to learn about their procedures and resources to find missing young people. They have been in existence for 15 years and are well equipped to aid law enforcement. Particularly impressive was their state of the art technology to network data very quickly and to do specialized techniques such as computer-aided age progression.
Kym Pasqualini runs an organization based in Phoenix, Arizona called Nation's Missing Children Organization and Center for Missing Adults. We are supporting her efforts to introduce legislation that would name her organization as the "clearing house" for missing adults, and insure that federal funding is made available on an annual basis. The Washington DC based National Center also is very supportive of Kym's goal to help find the many at risk (over age 18) women and men that vanish without a trace every day in our country. There is also a parallel effort underway that would allow the National Center to more actively work on endangered missing person cases in which the victim is between the age of 18 and 21.
USA Today published an article on Wednesday, March 24th about the problems families must deal with when an older child goes missing, and it included information about our daughter and about our efforts in Washington.
The following day we were contacted by the Leeza Gibbons Show and were invited to appear on a show they were planning on missing children and how far some families are willing to go to find their loved ones. The show also featured Jens Sund, husband of Carole Sund and father of Julie Sund, who, along with family friend Silvina Pelosso, were found murdered recently near Yosemite National Park. Also on the show was Carole Carrington, Carole Sund's mother and Julie's grandmother, and Michael and Alice Williams, whose 13 year old daughter Christina was abducted in June, 1998, triggering a massive FBI search, eventually leading to the discovery of her remains several months later, not far from her home. Denise Smart, mother of college student Kristin Smart, still missing since disappearing from the Cal Poly Tech Campus in San Luis Obispo in 1996, was another guest sharing her story, and an FBI agent profiled the type of criminal that preys on innocent young people. The show was taped on March 30st and aired on March 31st.
We hope this national publicity will help our search for Kristen and also make a difference for the families of other missing persons.
Debbie and I will be in Washington, DC later this month. Our primary reason for this trip is to meet with several legislators regarding authoring and sponsoring a new bill that would allocate annual federal funding to support a national clearing house for missing young people (over age 18) and missing adults. We have compiled approximately 15,000 signatures in a document we circulated, called the Kristen Petition after our daughter, who had turned 18 just three weeks before she disappeared in San Francisco on June 23, 1997. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children currently gets 100% of the federal funds that are earmarked for missing children, but their charter will not allow them to take on cases when the victim is "over 18" at the time of their disappearance. The growing number of "at risk" missing young adults and older men and women demands a federally funded "Center" that addresses these cases. We will be with Kym Pasqualini who is the founder of Nations Missing Children Organization and Center for Missing Adults. Her organization has gotten support from the existing National Center and is currently well- positioned to become the clearing house for older missing persons. Congressman Sue Myrick of North Carolina has agreed to author the bill, and we have gotten good indications so far that we will get the support we need to move it along, so we are well on our way to reach our goal.
We also want to meet with John Walsh, of America's Most Wanted. We know he is familiar with Kristen's case, and his TV show has helped "break" many cases that have been seemingly impossible to solve. In June it will be two years since Kristen's disappearance, and we are no closer to being able to identify and charge a suspect, or even to piece together what happened to our daughter after she left her job on June 23, 1997. God willing, America's Most Wanted will make a difference.
Debbie and I recently returned from our 6th trip to the San Francisco Bay area. Meeting again with the Oakland Police, Sgt. John Bradley, and Officer Patrick Mahanay, we discussed a possible suspect that has been linked to several unrelated crimes in San Francisco. To help expedite the process of determining if this suspect had anything to do with Kristen's disappearance, we met with the San Francisco District Attorney, Terrance Hallinan, and Assistant DA Linda Klee.
We spent about an hour in the DA's office; our major goal was to get a commitment from this office that they will work closely and expeditiously with the Oakland Police to move forward together in the investigation of Kristen's disappearance. We feel there is strength in numbers and we are working hard to form strong links between separate and distinct law enforcement agencies in searching for answers in our case. We will continue to monitor how well our goal is being accomplished. It is vital that the abduction of our daughter, Kristen Modafferi, on June 23, 1997, remains at a very high priority.
We are as committed as ever to finding Kristen, and our efforts will not cease until we succeed in finding her and bringing those responsible for her abduction to justice. We have also started a billboard campaign in the Bay area that will place "Who Abducted Kristen Modafferi" messages in locations throughout San Francisco and the East Bay. The billboards are designed to stress our commitment to find Kristen and to encourage those with knowledge of her disappearance to speak up now. The reward to help accomplish this end has been increased to $50,000.
We also visited a maximum security prison in Vacaville, California, to participate in a program sponsored by a group called V.O.R.G. (Victims Offenders Reconciliation Group). The purpose of this encounter with inmates was to tell our story and determine if the "prison underground" of information may yield some answers for us. It was surprising how many "lifers" were moved by the plight of missing children and their families, and many approached us and said they would "ask around" and try to help us.
Note: Any breaking news stories will probably be carried by The Charlotte Observer. Feel free to visit their site and do a keyword search on Kristen Modafferi.
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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