Missing Persons virtual conference addresses 'nation's silent mass disaster'

Topics featured include domestic and international kidnapping, prosecuting 'no body' cases, difficult witnesses and forensics

By Police1 Staff

PITTSBURGH — The Missing Persons Division of the Western Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Development Center (WPSARDC) is sponsoring an online conference on missing persons on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

The event features international and national speakers with expertise in missing persons cases including:

  • Tad DiBiase, “The No Body Guy,” who specializes in prosecuting no body cases
  • Cyril H. Wecht, MD, JD, international forensics expert
  • Patrick Atkinson, president and founder of the International Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons
  • Judith Yates, criminologist and true crime author

The conference will also include personal stories from families of missing persons.

“Missing persons cases have been called the nation’s silent mass disaster,” said Tracy Pampena, director of the Missing Persons Division of WPSARDC. “More than 600,000 persons go missing every year in the United States and Pennsylvania has the tenth highest number of open cases in the country. While many of those individuals are eventually found alive, thousands more remain missing. Police detectives, private investigators, medical examiners, coroners, and others who are involved in these cases will find a wealth of information from our conference. Our panel of experts will cover topics such as human trafficking, domestic and international kidnapping, prosecuting 'no body' cases, difficult witnesses, forensics, and much more.”

Pampena added that the Missing Persons Conference will also be highly informative for criminology students, true crime buffs and families of missing persons.

The registration cost for the entire conference is $100. Attendees can also register for individual workshops, at a cost of $30 per speaker. As an additional bonus, the first 250 registrants for the entire conference will be eligible to win a raffle for a trip valued at $6,000 wherever you choose to travel. The cost of the conference is tax-deductible as WPSARDC is a Pittsburgh nonprofit 501c(3) organization.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Missing Persons Division of WPSARDC. All of the funds raised will be used for DNA testing, billboards, flyers, cash rewards, physical searches and use of cadaver dogs.

“Our team helps law enforcement departments that are either understaffed or don’t have cold case teams,” said Pampena. “We conduct research, fund DNA testing, distribute flyers, facilitate physical searches and raise cash rewards, among other services. We also assist families that are starting the process of searching for a loved one who is reported missing.

To register for this event, visit www.wpsardc.org/missing-persons-conference. For more information, email tracy@otmhpa.org.


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