If not for a company in Michigan agreeing to house the equipment, it might have been the end.

And then there's the matter of the agency's files. For 15 years, Pasqualini has kept all hard copies in a set of seven lateral file cabinets, each of them six feet tall. They're now in her garage, but Pasqualini has fallen behind on her rent. She worries about finding a new place that's big enough for her family and the cabinets.

Over lunch, Pasqualini showed me a letter that her pre-teen daughter had written on the agency's behalf, begging for financial assistance. Her daughter had addressed it to the only person she could imagine stepping in and making things right: Hannah Montana's dad, Billy Ray Cyrus.

"Her birthday's coming up in nine days and we're about to be evicted," Pasqualini tells me, tears in her eyes. "And yet she keeps telling me, 'Mom, you can't stop. People depend on you.'"

It's unfathomable, talking to Pasqualini and Lauth and Smathers, that Congress hasn't been able to find the time, or the political will, to reauthorize Kristen's Act.

We're talking about $1 million a year. It took Congress so little time — barely two weeks — to scrape together $700 billion, with few strings attached, for the banking industry.

Yet legislators can't manage in four years to get their act together long enough to do the bare minimum for families who are missing someone they love? Appalling.

By now, of course, the agency is in such straits that Pasqualini doesn't think it would qualify, even if the Senate passes Kristen's Act. The grants are supposed to be competitive, and who's going to look twice at an agency with debt and unpaid taxes?

"Up to 2007, I have all our 990s, and it shows our financial stability," she says. "I had a strong agency. People said it was a well-oiled machine." But that's not true anymore, and Pasqualini knows it.

Tom Lauth, the private investigator, tells me that he's given up on Congress. He's waiting for an angel — someone to donate $500,000, enough to help the agency get back on its feet and start operating above the bare minimum again. "Then we'd have a base to go after bigger contributions," he says.

I wanted to laugh at him. A private donation of a half-million dollars in this economy?

But then again, Lauth has just spent a year working a near full-time job for nothing. So has Kym Pasqualini. And if they're willing to do that, to the point of near-financial ruin, who's to say there isn't really an angel out there, an angel with a big fat checkbook?

I'm not waiting for Billy Ray Cyrus to come through. But surely, somebody cares about this agency.

If not, this is definitely the end.

They're taking contributions right now at www.theyaremissed.org.

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4 comments
Dee
Dee

I am impressed by all you do. I am in the process of trying to connect with the missing childrens organization. I mentioned this to my boss and he mentioned to me that our company has made some buttons for your organization, he gave me your name and here I am reading this incredible story. Kym I may have a way to help, its in the infant stages however with such an amazing person as yourself and what you and your volunteers do, it would be wonderful to meet you. and share my idea. To be honest I didn`t realize there was an organization such as National Center for Missing Adults, now I am aware. please contact me if you would like to meet. God Bless you and Everyone who is apart of the National Center for Missing Adults for you are all angels to those you help. Dee in Phoenix Az

Janet Forte
Janet Forte

Wow, I can't believe the sacrifices Kym Pasqualini has made. Thank you so much Kym, Jason, Thomas and all the fine volunteers who are helping the NCMA stay afloat. I'm a huge supporter of the NCMA and had no idea of the crisis they're in. I'd really hate to see them have to close their doors. They benefit too many people to just sit back and not do anything. To start, I've created a Facebook group to support the NCMA, please join if you're on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/home.p...

Also, I've created a fundraiser on Firstgiving, http://www.firstgiving.com/ncm...

I'm also spreading the word on Twitter and numerous social networking sites. I urge everyone to do the same.

Janet Forte (@yogini)Spokesperson for Missing mother, Lilly Aramburohttp://justiceinmiami.blogspot...

kelly
kelly

Appalling is an understatement. Shame on Congress shame on this country. This could happen to you or me Oh wait it did happen to me. My uncle went missing 15 years ago. I had to watch my grandmother pass without saying goodbye to her son. Do you know how that feels. Well there are far more of us out their than this government would like to acknowledge. I worked for NCMA and they helped people the everyday person as well as the wealthy and the poor we had a very diverse group that relied on us and now we are lucky to help a single person. There was a celebrity that had her several members of her family go missing not that long ago Yes they turned up as Homicide victims and then they enter a whole different statistic. However I have about 200 files in my home office that are all Homicides, accidental Deaths and Undetermined causes of death that were all "missing People" at one time. Someone should care other than those affected.

 

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