New York State Museum Hosts Annual Missing Persons Day

A man who has become a leader in promoting awareness of missing persons as a result of having a missing loved one in his own family will tell his moving story to families and friends of abducted children and other missing persons at the 11th annual Missing Persons’ Day ceremony Saturday, April 9 at the New York State Museum.

A father of four, Frank Williams has devoted himself to working on behalf of missing persons ever since one of his own children went missing. The child was eventually safely recovered. In addition to sharing his personal story, Williams will talk about his work as president of the advisory board of the National Center for Missing Children—NY/Mohawk Valley Office and chairman of the annual Ride for Missing Children.

The Missing Persons’ event is held in conjunction with Missing Persons’ Day, which is observed annually on April 6th, Suzanne Lyall’s birthday. The former SUNY Albany student has been missing since March 2, 1998.

Prior to Williams’ speech, a ceremony will be held in the Museum’s Huxley Theater, beginning at 1 p.m., with Assemblyman James Tedisco as master of ceremonies. It will include a talk by Doug and Mary Lyall, the parents of Suzanne Lyall, who will discuss the Center for Hope, the Ballston Spa-based non-profit organization they founded. This will be followed by remarks by Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and other notables.

Following the speeches and presentations, members of families with missing loved ones will place wreaths of yellow roses and hold a candlelight vigil at the Missing Persons’ Remembrance monument, located on the southeast corner of Madison and Swan Streets. Constructed in 2006, the monument features an eternal flame to “light the way home” for the missing.

Jim Viola, a filmmaker and husband of Patricia Viola, who has been missing from Bogata, New Jersey since 2001, will present several short videos about a variety of missing persons’ cases. The New York State Police, the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), and other organizations will be present during the event to hand out literature and answer parents’ questions.

During the morning of April 9, nearly 200 survivors and friends of missing persons, are expected to attend a private morning session exclusively for the families and missing person organizations, sponsored by the Center for Hope.

“Imagine one of the people that you love most disappears,” said Mary Lyall. “There is no goodbye, no letter or last phone call. There is only silence and an empty place in your heart that can’t be filled by anything or anyone but that person. This is the reality that families and friends of the missing must face every day. The annual Missing Persons’ Day event offers the families the hope, support and guidance they need to cope with this reality.”

Established in 1836, the State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located at the Empire State Plaza on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free and the Museum is fully accessible.

Further information about Museum programs and exhibits can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov

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