|Updated: 5/25/2012 10:20 pm
||Published: 5/25/2012 9:55 pm
There are nearly 400 missing persons cases reported each year where most are solved and 1% to 2% are gone without a trace.
The dozens of unsolved cases date back to 1972 but perhaps not much longer.
Facebook has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for investigators and for families who miss their loved ones.
"Sometimes you have to start with nothing and see where it takes you," said Tulsa Police Department Missing Persons detective Margaret Loveall.
This week a Tulsa Police Department intern uploaded images of the unsolved missing persons cases.
The hope is for the cases that have gone dead will find new life at the speed of the internet.
"This is Karen Heim and her car ended up in Texas,” said Loveall.
Ms. Heim went missing in 2004.
TPD is following up on more than 30 people who have vanished since the 1970’s.
"When you have something like this, when you can't find any trace, then you think something has happened to her,” said Tom McCaslin.
He hasn’t talked to his 48-year-old daughter April, since March.
She is bipolar and she had stopped taking her medication. He didn’t what she said on the telephone could have been a lead.
"They were messing with her,” said Mr. McCaslin.
He regrets not keeping her on the line.
"I thought she was having an episode. I made a mistake,” said Mr. McCaslin.
He’s torn up her room looking for clues. His suspicions grew when he learned after her disappearance a friend April was stayed with committed suicide.
She didn’t have a driver’s license but her bank account showed she paid for gas in Okmulgee in February. That was the last time any money was taken out of her account.
"She's not using her funds for anything it's like she's dropped off the planet. That really bothers me,” said Mr. McCaslin.
It bothers investigators too. That’s why the Department is now using its TPD Missing Persons Facebook page to put cases in front of countless people.
“Information is immediately shared one or two times or 20 or 30 times within the first 24 hours,” said Loveall.
Officers said there’s a network of people devoted to following missing persons cases.
"They make connections and we get messages all the time, ‘hey I think you should look at this, I think you should look at that. This might be the person.’ A lot of times they are right,” said Loveall.
Mr. McCaslin is a veteran of World War II and he prays it takes him to his daughter who he can’t bear to lose.
"This is the worst, it really is,” said McCaslin.
Each picture TPD posts on its Facebook page includes a folder which detectives are working to fill with more information about each person to help solve their case.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) also plays an important role in helping to solve more than one out of three missing persons cases in Oklahoma.
"We have had several matches in that system,” said Loveall.
Oklahoma law enforcement agencies are not required to submit familial DNA in a missing persons case but TPD has been doing it for years.
In 2011, Oklahoma Department of Corrections and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations started a program that allows any family of the missing to submit their DNA to help solve missing persons cases for free.