In August 2012, I published an article with Yahoo! titled Spouses Vanishing Without a Trace. One case that remained fresh in my mind, was that of Patricia Viola. Her case hits close to home as I currently reside in New Jersey, where I lived all of my life. Patricia Viola was a wife and mother from Bogota, New Jersey who vanished without a trace one day before Valentine’s Day in 2001. All her personal items were left behind at her home. Recently, the Patricia Viola case has taken a new turn.
Patricia Viola, New Jersey – Remains Found
Hopeful for several years Patricia Viola would be found alive; the Viola family was saddened with the news that partial remains found several years ago matched those of Patricia Viola. The Viola family was just given this information in September 2012; the match was confirmed through DNA testing. However, the Patricia Viola case remains open as her disappearance remains a mystery. Her husband, James, shocked and upset over this recent news has never given up hope. In fact, Mr. Viola worked hard with local politicians to pass Patricia’s Law which was signed into law by New Jersey Governor Corzine during January 2008.
James Viola worked approximately three years to get Patricia’s Law passed. There are many vital parts to Patricia’s law, three of which outlined here:
- All missing person reports are to be accepted immediately by the police without refusal
- A DNA reference sample is to be taken from immediate family members for analysis and entry into key databases
- Law enforcement is able to decide if the case is high-risk taking prompt action
Tips if a loved one “goes missing”
First and foremost, if a minor goes missing report it immediately. There is “no waiting” period to report a missing person, especially if the individual is a minor. The state of New Jersey follows an Amber Alert Plan. The amber alert is broadcasted via radio, television, or through other relevant sources. An amber alert is placed on a case when it is believed that a child is in immediate danger and or abducted.
Whether an adult or child goes missing always remember to dial 911 to report the missing person. Try to remain calm so that you are able to tell the authorities details. A detailed description including the individuals clothing and last known location is helpful.
Contact family members and friends to see if the missing individual has attempted to communicate with them. Also, determine a plan of action so that all involved parties will know what to do if the missing person does try and communicate with them in the near future.
Some other helpful tips are check bank accounts and phone records immediately. Doing so may also help determine the person’s last known whereabouts. Utilize social media sites to spread information. Many individuals graciously pass along data and someone somewhere may recognize your loved one.
Please note: Individuals are able to sign up to receive amber alerts via text message by following instructions found here: Wireless Amber Alerts.
North Jersey.com: Remains identified as those of a Bogota woman
Missing Person’s DNA Project
New Jersey: Amber Alert