LONDON, OHIO — Dana Forney points to the clay head that rests on a table behind her and can't quite stop the quiver in her voice as she explains why the macabre display was there.
"Somebody out there somewhere knows who she is," said Forney, a supervisor in the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the Ohio Attorney General's Office's Bureau of Criminal Investigation. "Somebody out there once loved her. We need to find them."
Then she points to the poster behind her in the office, the one with dozens of faces eerily staring back at her.
"They are parents and sons and sisters and friends," she said. "And they are all somewhere."
The clay head was a model made from a scan of one of the 107 sets of remains found over the years across Ohio and that are still unidentified and unclaimed, but for which an anthropologist has been able to indicate some age and characteristic identifiers. And the faces on the poster are some of the 1,357 adults and children listed as missing in Ohio as of 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Finding answers for even one of those families is what makes the second annual "Ohio Missing Persons Day" on Sunday so important, Forney said.
The event, set for 1 to 4 p.m. at Battelle, 505 King Ave. on the north side of Columbus, will feature information available about those unidentified remains. That includes the subject of the clay head in Forney's office, which represents the body of a woman between 33 and 60 years old that was found partially wrapped in a blanket near a playground at an apartment complex in Cincinnati on May 31, 2018.
It will also highlight the latest DNA technologies available to solve missing-persons cases, and people related to someone missing can give their own DNA for Ohio's Project Link, which uses science to identify remains and offer families and investigators answers.
Those who attend can get crisis support and be linked to resources, talk with law enforcement officials and the county coroner. They can also bring information they think might help investigators, stroll through a memory garden honoring the missing, and gather for a candlelight vigil.
The idea for the special day introduced last year came from an analyst at BCI who pointed out that much attention is paid to children who are missing, but that adults can seem forgotten or overlooked.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said advances in DNA testing, improved forensics and better methods for sketching and sculpting unidentified remains all should make solving cases easier for BCI's Missing Persons Unit. But too often, those who love someone who disappears are reluctant to make a report. That's troublesome because time is of the essence for investigators.
Hallie Dreyer, a forensic scientist with BCI, said Sunday's event is important for those who have wondered for months or even years about a loved one.
"These families who have someone missing just want to be heard," Forney said. "We want them to know we remember their loved one and are working hard to find them answers."