Families of missing men hope for closure

May 28, 2009 Illinois State Police revealed Wednesday that human remains found last week along the river near Channahon are those of a man, not a woman.

Why do the cases of missing men fail to captivate the public in the same way those of missing women like Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic? It's a question the families of several men have been asking for a few years now. At least two have hope that the discovery along the Des Plaines will finally bring them some answers.

"Right now my head is going 'Yes, it could be John. It could be John. It could be John,' " said Tom Spira, missing man's brother.

Hope from dreadful discovery. It's a strange mix of emotions with which few can relate. John Spira's family is among them. The St. Charles man went missing from West Chicago in February of 2007. With the human remains found along the Des Plaines River last week, it is the eight time in two years that they've wondered if an unidentified body could be John's.

"I just want this to be over," said Tom Spira. "Intellectually, I've come to the fact he's gone. I've dealt with that but the gaping hole doesn't tell me when, why, how, the reason?"

Twenty-nine-year-old Brad Olsen was last seen trying to find a ride home from a bar near DeKalb nearly two-and-a-half years ago. Like the remains found last week, he too was wearing jeans when he disappeared.

"I immediately had to sit down and I just had totally sick, anxiety feeling," said Sue Olsen, missing man's mother.

"You just go into this high anxiety with a lot of hope that this is finally it," Olsen said in a telephone interview.

Both families have rallied volunteers to search for the missing men. They've set up websites pleading for tips.

And they've shared the pain of not knowing right along with relatives of Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic. But they've done it largely out of the spotlight, engaged in a quiet, but desperate search for answers.

"Whoever it is. There will be some family out there whether it's mine, or John's, that'll have a piece of closure anyway, so my heart is with everybody," said Sue Olsen.

Late Thursday, the DuPage County Sheriff's office told ABC7 DNA testing on the Des Plaines River body confirms it is not that of John Spira. But there are countless other missing men whose families are still wondering if this is their loved one.



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