Kathy Sue Wilcox may have been missing for 42 years, but more than that many people cared to remember her.
A gathering organized by those who have been pushing to bring attention to Allegan County’s oldest missing persons case had about 50 friends, family and others at Northside Park in Otsego Thursday, July 17.
“I’m blown away,” said Karen Ortegel, Wilcox’s sister. “I worried they wouldn’t come.”
Ortegel, came from her home in Montana, said she found the event different than she’d thought, or feared.
“It’s been very different than what I thought,” Ortegel said. “I thought I’d cry the whole time, but I’ve been too busy talking to people.”
She spent the evening speaking to person after person, hearing different things about her sister. A box for people to add memories on notes was also offered.
Shannon Froeber, the Otsego native who went about raising interest in the case after learning about it a few years ago, said she was glad to be there.
“I’d hope someone would do it for me if I went missing,” Froeber said. “Keep bringing me up.”
Otsego Police Department Det. Bruce Beckman is the officer assigned to the case. He attended and spoke to the crowd.
“I’m here asking for information,” Beckman said. “If someone hasn’t said something in the last 40 years, now’s the time to do it.”
Beckman said he hoped someone would be moved to come forward.
“I’ve always been told it’s not a secret if two people know about it,” he said.
Anyone with information can contact Beckman and the Otsego Police Department at (269) 692-6111 or call Silent Observer at 1-855-SILENT-O.
David Schock, who runs the website Delayed Justice, repeated the truism “Somebody knows something” as he spoke and talked about hope.
“There’s no such thing as false hope,” Schock said. “If it’s hope, it’s true.
“It can be dashed or disappointed, but hope is always worth having.”