In talking to the loved ones of young men who have disappeared or have been found deceased, I have been deeply touched to hear stories about what these young men were like in their daily lives. Their humanity, and the gravity of what we've all lost, is something that is seldom touched upon by the media.
Most recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Ryan Buell, friend and roommate to Columbia College student Jay Polhill. Jay's body was recovered from Chicago's Calumet River in March 2010 after he had inexplicably disappeared. Ryan shared with me some recollections of Jay and kindly agreed to write an essay for Footprints. The essay, which will be published shortly, touches upon Jay's warmth, sense of humor, and creative spirit. It also gives us a glimpse into why each one of these cases is important. I hope to post similar essays going forward. Please look for them under "Essays" on the tag cloud.