Cook County Missing Persons Project aims to resolve nearly 170 cases dating back decades

New website allows public to view missing person cases in Cook County, submit leads
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Cook County Sheriff's Department announced the Missing Persons Project on Wednesday, aiming to find new information in nearly 170 cases dating back decades.

"Our mother, Viola Martin, has been missing for 11 years, since 2009, and it has been the hardest 11 years my sisters and my family had to face," said Angela Martin-Fields.

She's now hoping the new initiative from the Cook County Sheriff's department will finally bring her mom home. Viola Martin went missing December of 2009 after a family Christmas get together in south suburban Glenwood. She was never seen again.

"We're asking Chicago, our hometown, to please help us," Martin-Fields said. "We're asking the world to help us."

And that's the mission behind the new Missing Person's Project, with nearly 170 cases dating back to 1930.

"Our goal is to help the different families who have had their hearts torn out, families who thought at any moment their loved one will walk through that door," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.

The new effort includes dedicated detectives led by Commander Dion Trotter, whose child rescue unit recently found over 1,000 juveniles missing from DCFS care.

"When you look at what we have today in 2020, 2021, there are some new technologies, new things we can do to help," Trotter said.

"Our hope is some of these cases will be resolved so families will finally have the resolution they never had," Dart added.

For Angela and her sisters, Wednesday's announcement brought renewed hope after 11 long years.

"She's a loving, caring, most genuine person you'll ever meet," Martin-Fields said. "She has great grandkids she hasn't met yet and it's time for us to find her and time to bring her home."

The project's focus right now is on missing person's cases that have gone unresolved for an extended period of time, with initial attention on missing women.

You can see these cases and submit any leads on the Cook County Missing Persons Project website.
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