Wisconsin’s 196 missing persons represented by pinwheels at awareness event

Local News

196 pinwheels were placed on the lawn of the Public Safety Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College Saturday.

Each of those pinwheels represents a life that was paused abruptly when a person went missing.

There are 196 recorded missing persons in the State of Wisconsin, including Victoria Prokopovitz, who went missing back in April 2013.

As the fifth anniversary of Prokopovitz’s disappearance approaches, her daughter, Marsha Loritz, reflects on all that has changed.

“My life was tipped upside down,” she said.

Through the nightmare, Loritz found a mission.

“I started to realize how many other people are missing,” she said. “It’s kind of just become a passion to raise awareness for these other people and support them.”

That’s why she started Wisconsin Missing Persons Advocacy Inc, a nonprofit organization that helps provide a community to the families of missing persons, and to bring awareness to the rest of the world.

Jenna Wood, whose niece has been missing for 19 years, first reached out to Loritz after seeing her on TV in 2014. 

“Before that, except for my family, I did not know anybody else who had a missing family member,” Wood said. “And that can leave you feeling very lonely.”

And for those who do not know what it is like to have a missing loved one, the group aims to keep the missing in their minds.

“It’s important to keep the public reminded that these people are still missing and these families are still missing these people,” Loritz said.

The group is joining with several other organizations to host the Fourth Annual Missing Persons Awareness Event on April 7from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Public Safety Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College.

The event will feature guest speakers, including Patty Wetterling, mother of abducted Jacob Wetterling, McGruff the Crime Dog, Child I.D. Kits, K-9 Greeters, Search and Rescue Teams, Raffles, Silent Auctions, and refreshments.

For more information on the event, click here.

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