Saturday, February 15, 2014

Meet Our Team: Board Member, Mary Weir

On September 24, 2005, Samantha Bonnell got up during the middle of a movie and ran out of the theatre.  No one knew why, or where she went.  At least that’s the story her mother, Mary Weir, was told when Samantha’s boyfriend phoned her.  No one ever saw or heard from Samantha again.
Mary Weir tried to file a missing persons report with the State of Alaska where Mary resided.  Since Samantha had been traveling in California, Alaska would not take the report.  On February 23, 2006, Mary received word from law enforcement in Hanahan, South Carolina that Samantha’s luggage had been found.  With the assistance of law enforcement in South Carolina, Alaska finally took a missing persons report for Samantha. 
Months went by with no word as to where Samantha was or what happened to her.  Mary spent days, nights, weeks, months scouring over unidentified profiles and sketches, trying to find her daughter.  It was a task her family didn’t want her pursuing. Samantha had not called in over a year.  Mary knew something happened to her child.  Mary looked time and time again at varying images, but one in particular kept calling her back.  It didn’t resemble Samantha exactly, but was close enough for Mary to pick up the phone and call the coroner’s office to inquire.
After some additional confusion between law enforcement agencies, Mary forwarded her daughter’s dental records to San Bernardino County, California.  After the coroner viewed those records, Mary learned that Jane Doe #17 who died on September 24, 2005 was in fact her daughter, Samantha Bonnell. 
The disappearance of Samantha Bonnell is just one story out of tens of thousands. 
Mary knows that viewing forensic sketches is the last thing any parent should have to endure, yet it was a sketch that brought her to find her child.   With that knowledge, Mary Weir joined Can You Identify Me as a founding Board Member to ensure that there are properly educated Forensic Artists and attainable forensic art services available to coroners across the country.  She knows that had San Bernardino not employed the artist, she might still be looking for her daughter.  

May the spirit of Samantha Bonnell
always shine the path for others to find their way home. 

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