Missing in Milwaukee: Resources available to families of missing people

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It's been more than one year without answers. 

"The not knowing is the worst," Kat Kruck said.

Kat Kruck told CBS 58 she's been searching for her son Alex Kruck since he went missing in July 2020. He was last seen living in a house in Milwaukee.

"I've talked to dozens of his friends, and nobody has seen him in a year and a half, not a glimpse of him. (They) have heard nothing from him. He's just vanished," Kat Kruck said.

It's a story Biana Williams has heard before.

"It happens every day. Not only that, it happens multiple times all through the United States, even especially here in Milwaukee," Williams said. 

Williams runs the Cry for Help Foundation in Milwaukee, helping people with necessities. Sometimes what people need most is help finding a loved one.

"It breaks my heart because it's somebody's daughter, somebody's loved one," Williams said. "It's like, they out here and we don't know where they're at."

The Milwaukee Police Department's (MPD) Sensitive Crimes Division handles missing person cases. The criteria of a missing person is outlined on the department's new website.

"I like to tell the citizens that you know that missing person a lot better than the officer. So, any information you can give," MPD Officer Keyona Vines said.

Vines said more often than not, missing cases are solved relatively quickly.

"The public is a great help," Vines said. "They've helped us find many of our missing."

The public and social media played a leading role in finding Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old from Florida who went missing while documenting a trip with her fiancé online.

"Everybody should get that kind (of attention), but it just doesn't happen," Kruck said.

Experts said social media can be a great help for finding missing people.

Facebook provided Kruck with information she wouldn't have found elsewhere, but it can be limited to the connections and reach someone has.

"When that person who goes missing has, you know, 1,000 followers, 10,000, 100,000, 1 million followers, that makes it even more of the public interest," Director of Digital Arts and Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Marc Tasman said.

The spotlight on Petito's case shined a light on the lack of attention other missing people receive, especially people of color.

"What if when someone is missing in the African American community, we get the same exposure?" Williams said. "I was hurt, but I believe times are changing, because we are starting to get more light shined on what's going on."

Williams said she will continue to be a resource for missing people in her community, but thinks it will take more people who care to make a difference.

"We need more people on the ground doing the work. We need more people who are not just willing to do the work, but share the work," Williams said.

Having those resources is the only way Kruck feels she'll ever find her son.

"He's my son, and I love him," Kruck said.

For more information on how to report a missing person in Milwaukee, click here

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