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Vigil brings together families of missing Hoosiers

At Commons Park on the east side of Indianapolis, 200 small white flags were planted in the grass representing the state's 200 active missing person cases.

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of Hoosier families are looking for closure they may never find. They're looking for missing loved ones they fear are victims of violent crimes.

Saturday night, several dozen came together to support one another and pray for answers. They gathered at Commons Park on the east side of Indianapolis where 200 small white flags were planted in the grass representing the state's 200 active missing person cases.

There were also more placards taped to the park fence with pictures and information on dozens of missing Hoosiers ranging in age from toddlers to older adults.  

Michelle Bender and Cathryne, two women who advocate for families of missing persons, organized the event.

It coincided with what would have been the 57th birthday of Shannon Turner, who disappeared in December of 1997 and was never seen again.  

Her brother Greg Turner drove from Wisconsin to attend. "I can't give up. It's not in me. I get no peace," he said.

The event was held at Commons Park because before it became a park it was home to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. After federal authorities raided the club, charging members with several crimes, it was demolished.

Turner said the compound was the last place his sister was seen before she vanished. Family members believe Shannon's disappearance and probable death involved her then-boyfriend, a leader of the gang.

Greg said of police, "They know 100%.  Everyone admitted it and he admitted it, but without a body, there's no state charges."

Jamie Jo Tate's family arrived at the vigil with a large poster detailing her disappearance. She was last seen on July 31, 2020. Her brother, Robert Livingston, said his family is also certain she too was killed.

"We're just trying to find the remains and some of the people to come forward and tell on each other, so we get justice for her," Livingston said, adding how it's been devastating for the family. "My mom deals with it every day. She'll never be the same," he said.

Also attending, family and friends of loved ones whose bodies had been found but their murders are still unsolved.

Co-organizer Cathryne said she hoped the event brought some comfort to those attending. "The big thing is to build a bond between families," she said. "I think most don't lose hope, but they feel defeated and alone." 

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