Tour raises awareness for missing persons

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper and Beth Holloway, mother of missing former Mountain Brook student Natalie Holloway, were on hand Wednesday as dozens of people gathered at Oak Mountain State Park to raise awareness for missing persons.

The Community United Effort tour stopped at Oak Mountain as part of the Road to Remember Tour, which began in Roberson County, N.C., and will travel 4,819 miles across the nation before ending 12 days later in New Hanover County, N.C.

In addition to Holloway, who went missing in Aruba on a senior graduation trip in 2005, there are currently more than 100 people from Alabama who are listed as missing.

Paula Thomas attended the event in honor of her sister Pam Biggers, who went missing from her Panama City, Fla., hotel room in 2008 while on a business trip from her Hueytown home.

“Bringing awareness of missing people is huge,” said Thomas. “It’s a full-time job. We all take it one day at a time.”

Chris Cantrell, vice president of the Alabama Private Investigators Association and chief of the Walker County Search and Rescue, said Wednesday’s event, and the entire tour, is a great way to bring awareness to the problem of missing persons in our nation.

“You’d be surprised how many people don’t know there are that many missing persons,” Cantrell said.

To view missing persons in Alabama, go to Community.dps.alabama.gov.

If you have any information about a missing person, contact the Alabama Bureau of Investigation Center for Missing and Exploited Children directly at 1-800-228-7688.