Make the call!

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, March 17, 2015

They were ordinary people, living their daily lives, simple and carefree as found among the majority of those residing in rural northeastern North Carolina.

Shawn Alston was walking home after attending a weekend party. He was scheduled to start a new job the very next day.

Robert Moore Sr. is a school teacher and coach that worked his way up the educational ladder to become a principal.

Shonda Stansbury is the mother of four children. She is best described as an outgoing and friendly person.

Likewise, Amy Bridgeman is a mother of two children. She is also an outwardly friendly individual, willing to help anyone in need.

18-year-old Jalessa Reynolds was en route to the public library in Scotland Neck.

Daniel Moses loved the rural life. He tinkered with vehicles and is famous for his home-cooked pork barbecue.

What do all these local individuals have in common? They all are missing….here one minute, and gone the next. Each case, dating as far back as 1996 for Mr. Moore, has baffled local law enforcement for years. Those lawmen have tracked down each and every lead. The trails have grown cold.

Six people living within roughly 30 miles of each other simply vanished without a trace. How can that be? Typically, if criminal activity is involved, there are clues left behind.

Despite the best efforts of the Halifax and Northampton County Sheriff’s Offices, with assistance from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, these six cases, none with a connection, remain unsolved. Even the offering of reward money in some of these cases, the presence of cash has failed to open the lips of those who may know something about how and why these people went missing.

On Saturday in front of the family and friends of the missing, all gathered inside the Northampton County Cultural & Wellness Center where a prayer vigil was conducted for the missing, there were several pleas for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to step in and offer their expertise.

But how does one go about asking for federal help at the local county level? The chain of command typically begins with local law enforcement seeking the aid of their state’s bureau of investigation. The SBI can seek the FBI’s assistance, as can the U.S. Attorney’s office within the jurisdiction.

While the FBI’s main mission is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, those agents are also charged with upholding and enforcing the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.

The FBI has authority to investigate specific crimes, and they fall within two categories: (1) National Security Priorities, which include counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and cyber crimes; and (2) Criminal Priorities, which include public corruption, civil rights, organized crime, white-collar crime, and major theft/violent crime.

Do these local six cases match any of the aforementioned criteria that would prompt the FBI to step in? If so, who makes that decision to send national manpower our way?

Whoever is responsible for making that call, we implore them to do so immediately. These six families are begging for closure. Our local law enforcement agencies, each who perform an outstanding job with extremely limited resources, need help now in solving these cases before we read about the next local person who has vanished into thin air.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald