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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Annual vigil offers comfort to families of missing persons

NAUGATUCK >> Family and friends of missing persons can set up displays about their loved ones this year at the annual vigil "A Night of Hope," planned to mark the state's Missing Persons Day.
The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 25 on the Green on Church Street in Naugatuck. If it rains, the event will move indoors to the Naugatuck Town Hall, 229 Church St.
"Every year we try to bring together families of missing loved ones, and the public is always welcome," said Janice Smolinski of Cheshire. "It will be a night of peace, hope, support and learning."
The event, sponsored by the Smolinski family and the LostNMissing Inc. organization, is free and open to all.
Smolinski's son, William Smolinski Jr. of Waterbury, disappeared Aug. 24, 2004, at the age of 31. Police have said they believe he was the victim of foul play.
The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception's Ladies Guild in Waterbury has offered to make hand-made prayer blankets for a few families who are in need of prayer and peace, Janice Smolinski said. These will be presented at the event.
Janet Frisco of New Haven, whose daughter Evelyn Frisco disappeared in June 2004, said she goes to the event every year. Police have said Evelyn Frisco, who was 42 when she vanished, is presumed dead.
"They have my daughter's pictures and photos of others who are missing" at the event, Janet Frisco said. "It makes you feel better to go to the vigil because there are others in the same situation."
Space will be available for families to set up displays to bring awareness about their missing loved one. There will also be singing and refreshments.
"Butterflies will be released, as legend says they bring wishes to heaven," Smolinski said.
Sgt. James Thomas, who heads the state police's Missing Persons Unit, has been invited to speak about the unit's work and progress in solving missing persons cases.
State Rep. David Labriola, R-Oxford, said the event typically attracts more than 100 participants.

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