17th annual missing persons conference taking place this weekend

To assist families, a volunteer group located in Wilmington offers services nationwide to help those that are searching for loved ones.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 10:48 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Each year, the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons on average receives more than 10,000 missing person reports.

To assist families, a volunteer group located in Wilmington offers services nationwide to help those that are searching for loved ones.

The Community United Effort (CUE) Center for Missing Persons was founded in 1994. Since then, they have helped over 12,000 families in what can be the most confusing and desperate time of their lives.

According to the N.C. Center for Missing Persons, there are over 400 active missing persons cases in the state. Additionally, since the start of the year, there have been more than 3,200 total cases.

This marks the 16th year of the CUE conference, with three years missed due to the COVID pandemic.

The organization seeks to bring people together, share stories and provide a safe place where victims and their families can be supported.

For many, the biggest takeaway is understanding both sides of a missing persons case: families and the law enforcement investigating the case.

“They get to hear what law enforcement has to go through to even get some things through the red tape to help them. I think it helps law enforcement to be able to hear that raw, you know, instead of coming in when they’re angry saying ‘why aren’t you doing more’, but they get to hear the raw emotions of what the families actually go through behind the scenes, in between the searches and in between the meetings or phone calls,” said Monica Caison, founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons.

A Wilmington case that has gone unsolved for almost 17 years has family members still seeking answers and justice.

Allison Jackson-Foy went missing in 2006 and her body was recovered two years later, however, there have been no arrests for her disappearance and death.

On July 30, 2006, Allison was calling a cab from a bar on Carolina Beach Road. Someone came in and announced that her cab had arrived, and she walked out with that person. That was the last time she was seen alive.

Her remains were discovered in a wooded area about three miles away in 2008.

Allison’s sister, Lisa Valentino, has attended every CUE Center conference for the last decade, serving as a listening ear and supporting other people who are going through the same thing she has.

But she hasn’t given up on getting justice for her sister.

“I’m pleading with anybody in the Wilmington area, who remembers the story, who might have been at Junction Pub and Billiards that night. If you remember something now, even if it’s small, please come forward. So that my family and her children, we can have a final resolution, have justice, a good outcome and charge someone who’s responsible for her murder,” said Valentino.

The conference is being held at the Holiday Inn at 5032 Market St. in Wilmington and will be going on throughout the weekend. Registration is closed and they are not taking any more sign-ups.

The CUE Center is always looking for more volunteers, and they have other events coming up. You can find more information on their website.