HARRISBURG – In an effort to bring more attention to the hundreds of cases of adult missing persons across Pennsylvania, Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne) authored legislation approved by the House establishing May 13 as Missing Adult Persons Day in the Commonwealth and joined a press conference highlighting the disappearance of a local Wayne County native missing since 2006.
“The case of Shelva Rafte, who has been missing since May 2006, is a personal one for me, since I knew Shelva and I know her family,” said Major. “Her family is desperate to find out what happened to her so that they may have some closure on this heart-breaking case. Having a loved one suddenly disappear is a tragic experience. The not knowing how or why of the situation – to know if they left of their own free will or by criminal means – is enough to consume the minds of those searching for the missing for a lifetime.”
More than 200 adults from Pennsylvania are currently among the missing. Underlying causes of missing adult person cases can include mental illness, addiction, abduction, natural disasters and intentional disappearance. To further add to the difficulty in tracking down a missing adult is that the reporting of their absence is voluntary, and in cases where they are reported missing, it can often take law enforcement days or weeks to begin an investigation with often limited crime scene or forensic evidence.
Major said she recognizes both federal and state legislation is necessary to close existing loopholes in the law and increase the coordination among the leading national missing person organizations so that families can more easily navigate the systems and access critical information.
“My hope is that further awareness of the hundreds of missing adult persons across this state will spark a conversation and increase support for enhance reporting, date sharing and investigation so that we may find more answered for the families and loved ones left behind,” said Major.
Representative Sandra Major
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman