In December of 2014, just a little over a week before Christmas, Amanda Caudill disappeared. She departed, leaving only a handwritten note and taking nothing with her but her cell phone.
In December of 2014, just a little over a week before Christmas, Amanda Caudill disappeared. She departed, leaving only a handwritten note and taking nothing with her but her cell phone. The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department swept the area with the help of family and concerned citizens, even implementing a K-9 unit search. And while the Sheriff’s Department reported no signs of foul play, tow years later, there is still no sign of Amanda.
Cases like Amanda’s are surprisingly common throughout the country. In Missouri alone, the state highway patrol currently reports over 1000 missing persons, with many of these being young adults. They go missing for a wide variety of reasons, and each case is as unique as the individual who’s disappeared; but the common thread between them is the people they leave behind to worry and search for them after they’re gone.
Many of these loved ones turn to Missouri Missing, a state and federal recognized non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for these missing people, and doing all they can to find them. Missouri Missing’s executive board is staffed by those who are or have been affected by a missing loved one and have their hearts deeply invested in the reports that come their way.
Marianne Asher-Chapman is the co-founder of Missouri Missing, and spends her mornings making and printing out flyers decorated with the faces of loved ones who can’t be found. She works with the families of the missing to spread awareness for the individuals, and does her best each day to shorten the pain these families are feeling. It is a feeling that she and the rest of the Missouri Missing staff are all too familiar.
Marianne’s own daughter went missing over thirteen years ago, driving her to help others in the same situation. She said even years later she still keeps her eye out for any sign of her daughter, and every once and a while, still finds reason to hope for her return. Marianne said that even when people have been missing for years, their loved ones still look for them.
“There is a misconception out there about missing persons,” said Marianne. “Sometimes people think they want to be missing and don’t want to be found. No one wants to go missing. If they do go missing, it’s because there’s a problem somewhere.”
Marianne spoke from the family’s point of view, sharing what it’s like to be a part of a loved one’s disappearance, and what people can do to assist them in such a difficult situation.
“The families are desperate and frantic, especially in the beginning,” said Marianne. “We need to be respectful and help any way we can.” Spreading awareness through word of mouth and social media is key to any search, according to Marianne. Simply sharing the search online can allow more people to be involved, but the most important way to help is to keep your eyes open, and to be aware yourself.
The Missouri Missing organization promotes several campaigns to raise awareness for the state’s missing individuals. For example, they started a campaign raising hunter’s awareness of the issue, using them as their eyes and ears in the woods and other outdoor areas, staying alert for signs of any missing person.
According to Marianne, anyone can be of help to the cause just by staying alert and speaking out about a missing person’s disappearance.
“It’s about working together,” she said.
There will be a benefit to raise awareness for Amanda Caudill’s disappearance. Those who are interested and willing to help can visit the Public House Brewery in St. James on February 18, from 6 to 9 p.m., for the “Let’s Bring Her Home” awareness and fundraising event. According to a press release from Missouri Missing, the event is to “re-ignite awareness on…Amanda Caudill’s behalf and for all those who have not made it home.” There will be T-shirts and a silent auction in her honor with all proceeds going to Missouri Missing.
“We look forward to this benefit and hope to see a good turnout for Amanda, she needs all the help we can give her,” Marianne said. “I would like people to attend the benefit—it would be great to have that support.” She encourages people to weigh in on the effort even if they can’t attend.
Amanda was last noted as 5’8”, and 145 pounds with blue eyes. Those with any information can contact Missouri Missing at 573-619-8100, or the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office at 573-775-2125.