The Missing Americans Project

Looking for People and Answers

All Blog Posts (618)

How much more do we need to endure and how many more need to go through this blind?

I am sitting here after a long day or working thinking to myself in frustration simply... Why? Typically I have always been a positive and optimistic person and never thought of asking myself that question since I my belief is strong in a thought that everyone has the ability to attempt a "rebuild" of their life when bad things occur... However, sitting through my first Christmas not only without my father to call or write to but having the reason I can't do those things not be because of… Continue

Added by Joseph Dunsavage Jr on December 30, 2009 at 5:57pm — 1 Comment

Leo Finley, 28, Missing on Roatan Since Christmas Morning

This is all I have so far: Leo, from Columbia, Mo., was working at the Royal Playa (owned by close family friends). He apparently took their boat out in the early hours of Christmas morning and was not seen again. His parents are on Roatan now and I will be sharing resources with them and information with the Project as I learn more.

Please keep Leo and his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on December 30, 2009 at 2:56pm — No Comments

1st holiday without Joe

It's been a rough one for all of us. Still hard to fathom. Let's hope 2010 is a better year than 09

Added by Ed Dunsavage on December 30, 2009 at 2:33pm — 1 Comment

Christmas Bittersweet

Our family just made it through our first Christmas without our beloved Ron or "Opa" as our grandson calls him.

Keeping my focus on the true meaning of Christmas, helped me manage this Holiday Season. It was very bittersweet, because we are such a close family, Ron's absence seemed magnified. I tried to change up everything, from the way I decorated, to the food we ate, to the timing of our get togethers. Still, at the end of the day, Ron was not there. His booming voice and laughter were… Continue

Added by Cynthia Scheepstra on December 26, 2009 at 4:07pm — No Comments

I am not alone....

My thoughts and prayers are with the other families and friends with missing family members.
I know this is the most difficult of the "firsts"...and the one that we all go through at the same time.
Families of Joe, David , Michael and all the families with missing loved ones....Blessings to you and hopefully 2010 will give us some answers to our questions about what happened to them.

Added by Cynthia Scheepstra on December 26, 2009 at 4:00pm — 1 Comment

Missing Isn't Very Merry

Going through all the "firsts" without our missing friends and family members is tough, and it doesn't get much easier as time passes. I remember how hard the "first" Christmas without my Dad was; and the "first" of his birthdays without him as well. This year, the crew of the Pair of Docs will mark their "first" Christmas without our dear friend Joe Dunsavage. On behalf of the crew, we hope the spirit of Chrismas gives comfort to the Dunsavage family - especially Joe's children. You're in our… Continue

Added by Bob McIntyre on December 22, 2009 at 5:43pm — 1 Comment

Rah-Rah Travel Journalism Kills

Stories like this one In the Heart of Central America: Why now is the time to go to Honduras are part of the problem. By minimizing the dangers in these Third World tourist destinations, they lead travelers to feel a false sense of comfort and security. I posted a comment on the story (let's see if it stays there) and would encourage all members of the Missing Americans Project to do the same.

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on December 4, 2009 at 1:51pm — No Comments

Making some noise

As soon as I got home, I started emailing my Congressman, and Senators who have shown interest in the past. Within 2 hours I had responses from all of them. I gave them my US Consulate Agent's contact information. Apparently they contacted her, because I had an email in my box yesterday morning addressed to me as well as the Congressman and Senators. The US Consulate in Merida, Mx has not been contacted by The Netherlands. She asked that we give her contact information to the Dutch authorities… Continue

Added by Cynthia Scheepstra on November 1, 2009 at 7:54am — No Comments

Re: Ronald Scheepstra-wife's trip to The Netherlands


I travelled to The Netherlands, where my husband Ronald is from. I go here this time to attend a Rememberance Gathering for him. We had 71 visitors. It was not a sad affair. It was more like a party with a few tears. We remembered the Ron that everyone loved. Remembered how funny he was, how stubborn he was and how much he loved to fly fish.

I remembered what a wonderful husband he was and how much I miss him. Being here in Holland I see him everywhere I look....I… Continue

Added by Cynthia Scheepstra on October 30, 2009 at 10:08pm — 6 Comments

Looking for Organizations That Can Be of Help in a Search? Try the Catholic Church

Here is a great resource: The entire Catholic Church hierarchy, broken out by country and diocese: . Thanks, Bob Mac, for sharing this. One of the things this project is trying to do is compile such resource lists, so, PLEASE, everybody, pass along your lists of organizations that you have found helpful or believe would be helpful in these situations.

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 30, 2009 at 2:24pm — No Comments

Costa Rica Paper: Gimelfarb & Dixon Only Most Recent Young Men to Disappear

According to A.M. Costa Rica, David Gimelfarb and Michael Dixon are only the most recent young male tourists to vanish in the vicinity.

The newspaper report says Craig Snell was last seen walking on the beach south of Tamarindo (which is where Michael Dixon was last seen). Snell had lived the past five years in Ostional and was described as well liked. Snell left his computer on when he departed his home in Ostional, as well… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 30, 2009 at 11:00am — No Comments

Help Find Michael Dixon

We don't know much at this point except that Michael Dixon vanished on Oct. 19 in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica, about 50 miles from where David Gimelfarb disappeared.

Here's the timeline as we know it right now:

October 15 Michael gets a bag stolen close to La Fortuna and he loses his phone charger

October 18 Michael checks into the Villas Macondo (… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 29, 2009 at 4:30pm — 4 Comments

Assembling Your Team

A logistical plan for successful search campaigns: Assembling your Team

There is no way to effectively manage these searches on your own. A team approach will be more efficient and will help to keep you healthy. As mentioned in the first posting. No person expects these situations to last beyond the first couple of days. This makes it difficult for people to plan ahead since they must simultaneously accept that this may be an extended situation. All I can say is hope for the best but… Continue

Added by Jeffrey S. Brehm on October 19, 2009 at 6:56pm — 1 Comment

The Embassy Doesn't Care If Your Loved One Is Found

I know this sounds harsh, and I don't mean it to impugn the compassion of any individuals who work in U.S. Embassies, but if you believe (as I did before my brother disappeared) that looking after the safety and well-being of individual Americans is part of the Embassy's mandate, this is an illusion you have to get over immediately. It will only lead you to greater frustration and cause you to waste precious time in the early hours and days of your search.

As far as I can tell,… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 16, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Job 1: Don't Get Lost in the First Place

There is a tendency in cases of missing adults (other than Alzheimer's patients) to blame the victim, especially if they disappear in an exotic region. The two most common presumptions are that they either engineered their own disappearance and are now sipping an umbrella drink on a beach somewhere or that they were somehow involved in something they ought not to have been and it backfired. This is a convenient narrative that lets its purveyors off the hook of their humanity: "Yeah, I feel bad… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 14, 2009 at 10:30am — 8 Comments

A logistical plan for successful search campaigns.


A logistical plan for successful search campaigns

When a person goes missing in a foreign country the hours will fly by and days can quickly turn into weeks then months. You will become overwhelmed by the flow of information and may quickly become disorganized. Little notes scattered about, important names and numbers written on the back of napkin. As time… Continue

Added by Jeffrey S. Brehm on October 13, 2009 at 3:31pm — 1 Comment

Why Just Americans? Why Just Those Lost in Foreign Countries?

I struggle with these questions in defining the scope of the project. The one thing I've learned in the search for Joe and for answers about Joe's disappearance is that people disappear everywhere and the resources and attention applied to finding them are woefully limited. I remember talking to a lady who runs a water taxi service in Belize (one of the hundreds of calls I made into the region just to get a sense as to whether people were aware of and alert to Joe's situation). The woman… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 12, 2009 at 9:18am — No Comments

The Missing Americans Project: Getting Started

My brother, Joe Dunsavage, disappeared in the waters off the island of Roatan, Honduras, on May 10, 2009. I will be telling his story -- and my family's -- as this project progresses. But what is The Missing Americans Project?

As my family has struggled with our own loss, we also have had the opportunity to meet with other families who are contending with similar losses. Along the way we have learned things that might be of help to families in similar situations. Most important, we… Continue

Added by Jeff Dunsavage on October 11, 2009 at 3:00pm — No Comments

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