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xx Ryan Katcher - Has Been Found :(
« Thread started on: Sep 10th, 2004, 1:04pm »

Ryan Katcher was dropped off at his residence after attending a party at around 2 a.m., on November 5, 2000. That was the last time anyone has seen him. Please visit his website for more information.

Ryan Katcher Website:
www.findryan.com

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xx 2 Years Later No Leads 10-28-02
« Reply #1 on: Sep 18th, 2004, 7:18pm »

OAKWOOD – Nearly two years ago, a blond, blue-eyed Ryan Katcher left his home in the middle of the night. His whereabouts are still a mystery.
The 5-foot-6-inch, 160 pound, 19-year- old University of Illinois student returned to his rural Oakwood home around 2 a.m. Nov. 5, 2000, after being driven home by a friend.
When his mother, Linda Katcher, arose that morning, her son and his black Ford F-150 truck seemingly had disappeared into thin air.
Not a day goes by that Katcher doesn't wonder when “the” clue will turn up that will give her some answers. In the meantime, Katcher plans to spend the milestone out of town visiting her daughter.
“It's just too hard being here,” Katcher said.

Read Complete Article:
http://www.news-gazette.com/story.cfm?number=12590
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xx Re: Ryan Katcher - Nov. 5, 2000
« Reply #2 on: Sep 18th, 2004, 7:20pm »

Photographs of Ryan Katcher and Case Description
http://www.co.vermilion.il.us/ema/SAR/Former%20Oakwood%20Student%20Ryan%20Katcher%20Missing.htm
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xx Ryan Katcher Remembered 12-11-2000
« Reply #3 on: Oct 14th, 2004, 08:41am »

Friends and family members of Ryan Katcher gathered by candlelight to share stories and prayers at a vigil held Sunday night.

Katcher, a sophomore in commerce, has been missing since Nov. 5. He was last seen at 2 a.m. in Oakwood, Ill., when a friend dropped him off at his parents' home. Katcher is 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes, according to the Web site set up to help find him, www.findryan.com. Katcher's truck, a black Ford F150 with a tinted back window, is still missing. The license plate is 44 EZ GO, according to the Web site.

Stephanie Katcher, Ryan's older sister, said she hoped the vigil would give comfort to Ryan's friends.

"There are a lot of kids who Ryan went to school with who haven't gotten the support they need," Katcher said. "They need to heal a little bit."

Most people in the room cried as Katcher's mother pleaded with everyone to continue praying for Ryan's return. Katcher's roommates, sister and pastor read poems and passages from the Bible to about 70 people.

"I feel a lot more hopeful," said Misha Dutt, sophomore in commerce, after the vigil. "I feel like other people have given me a sense of hope and inspiration."

Katcher's friends said they hadn't been able to express their fear and sadness, and the vigil gave them a chance to do this.

"It's faith and support and a little bit of hope," Stephanie Katcher said.

The vigil also reminded students to be on the lookout for any clues surrounding Katcher's disappearance.

"It's still to get the word out, and then it's spiritual to try to help people deal with it," said Mike Nelson, Katcher's roommate.

Lisa Mamakos, sophomore in applied life studies, said even though she didn't know Katcher well, the vigil made her understand people haven't lost hope of finding him.

"I think it's good that people talk about what's going on," Mamakos said. "It sends the message that we are still looking for him."

Katcher said students should remember her brother's disappearance as they travel home during vacation.

"They can basically talk about it to everyone," Stephanie Katcher said. "If they keep their eyes peeled, they might see something suspicious."

Katcher added that students should always be watching for strange activities because thousands of people are missing, not just her brother.

The search for Ryan continues, despite the discontinuation of the foot search, Stephanie Katcher said.

Anyone with information can contact the Vermilion County Sheriff's Department at (217) 442-4080.
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xx For Ryan on Nov 5, 2004
« Reply #4 on: Nov 5th, 2004, 04:38am »

It was four years ago today that Ryan Katcher came home from a party that he was attending with friends and then he and his Ford truck vanished without a trace. May answers be found for Ryan's disappearance soon. He is loved and missed by many.

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xx Katcher missing 4 years
« Reply #5 on: Nov 10th, 2004, 08:17am »

OAKWOOD — Ryan Katcher disappeared four years ago today.

His mother, Linda Katcher Griffith, is as determined to find him today as she was four years ago.

"I want people to not forget Ryan is still missing, and I want them to know people have not quit searching," she said. "I want others to help me keep searching. That is my hope."

Her son was 19 years old when he disappeared Nov. 5, 2000, while returning to his rural Oakwood home from an early-morning party.

A sophomore at the University of Illinois, Katcher had returned home for the weekend and had gone to a party with friends.

Around 2 p.m., a friend drove Katcher home. That was the last time Katcher and his pickup truck were seen.

In her efforts to find him, Griffith has posted numerous posters, distributed flyers to different groups hiking through rural areas, worked with McLane Midwest to affix posters of her son on their semi-trailers and appeared on different television shows to nationally publicize his disappearance.

Recently, she was involved with a Provena United Samaritans Medical Center fingerprinting project at a health fair.

"I fingerprinted hundreds of kids," she said.

She thinks parents should consider fingerprinting older children heading off to college.

"I think fingerprinting is important for all ages of people," she said "It's something you don't think about when you send your kids to college. I am not here to scare people, but I do think we could be smarter when it comes to education and safety."

Griffith said Taylor's Flower Shop this year will create a special wreath to remember her son and other missing children. The wreath, titled "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, How I Wonder Where You Are," will be displayed at the Festival of Trees Nov. 13-17 at the David S. Palmer Arena.

This year, she also linked up with Project Jason to get posters of her son distributed to traveling truck drivers.

"I am so thankful of people who continue to search," she said. "We are still continuing the search, and police continue to follow their leads. It's not a cold case. Even though it's been four years, people haven't given up."

Rod Kaag, interim chief investigator for the Vermilion County Sheriff's Department, said Katcher's disappearance remains an open investigation.

"Anytime we get any leads, we follow up on them," Kaag said.

Katcher is listed as a missing person with the National Crime Information Center. His physical characteristics have been entered in the NCIC computer system, so county investigators will be contacted if a body or skeleton matching Katcher's description is found anywhere in the United States.

Katcher is a white male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 170 pounds and has short blond hair. He was last seen wearing dark blue jeans, a black jacket and gray tennis shoes.

Also missing is Katcher's black 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck with a long bed and license plate 44EZGO
http://www.dancomnews.com/articles/2004/11/05/news/news02.txt
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xx For Ryan on Feb. 4, 2005
« Reply #6 on: Feb 3rd, 2005, 11:17pm »

I wanted to say that I am thinking of Ryan Katcher today on his 24th birthday. Ryan is still missing, but he has never been forgotten. May answers be found soon for his whereabouts. I know that he is loved and missed by many.

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xx Mother of missing son helps to organize SAFE progr
« Reply #7 on: Mar 30th, 2005, 05:54am »

DANVILLE – When Linda Griffith was considering an activity to honor her son, missing person Ryan Katcher, she wanted to help the community take off its "blinders" about personal safety awareness.
"I've always thought we could do more to protect people and keep them from becoming a victim," said Griffith of Oakwood, whose 19-year-old son disappeared on Nov. 5, 2000. "I don't want one more person or another mom to be like me."
Now Griffith is helping to organize a program called SAFE – Safety Awareness for Everyone. It includes a presentation on April 7 and a self-defense workshop on April 9.
The events are part of local activities timed to National Crime Victims Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. They are sponsored by the Ryan Katcher Fund and Your Family Resource Connection, formerly the YWCA.
At the presentation, Griffith will share the story of her son's disappearance. "I don't know that Ryan was an abductee," she said. "But I've seen enough abductions on TV, and there are 98,000 missing persons (in the United States). People can go missing or get abducted from your community. I want people to realize (that) this can happen to you. Don't have blinders on."
When Griffith contacted Your Family Resource Connection at 201 N. Hazel St., Danville, with her idea of a self-defense class, the social service's staff were eager to get onboard.
"We see so many victims," said Kris Hord, director of client services. Her agency provides counseling and resources to sexual assault and abuse victims. "This is a way to take a proactive approach."
"People tend to think, 'This won't happen to me,'" added Tom Dilts, program and physical activities director for the agency. "We're here to tell you (that) it can happen to you, and we'd like to you at least have the knowledge to help you be prepared."
Griffith said she also hopes to debunk some popular myths. "I talk to many women on safety," she said. "They'll say, 'I don't go out after dark. I don't go to those types of places.' (Violence) can happen during the day. People can be hurt in a church parking lot.
"Sexual predators don't live in jail; they live next door to you," she said. "We're not trying to scare anyone. We're trying to keep them safe. We want them to be prepared, so they have a safety plan for when they're getting into their car at church or at the grocery store."
The self-defense workshop will be led by Dilts, Bill Shannon and Becky Shannon, who are trained in martial arts.
"It's something I've wanted to do for the last couple of years," Dilts said.
Dilts said he would like to take the presentation and self defense workshop to schools, businesses, churches and community groups.
http://www.news-gazette.com/localnews/story.cfm?Number=17951
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xx For Ryan on 11-5-05
« Reply #8 on: Nov 5th, 2005, 6:42pm »

Thinking of Ryan today on this 5 year anniversary since he vanished. Hoping for answers soon. He's still missing but not forgotten.

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xx Missing student’s mom asks for standard policy
« Reply #9 on: Feb 2nd, 2006, 7:10pm »

By Chris Lusvardi

Ryan Katcher’s birthday is Saturday, but he won’t be home to celebrate it. He has been missing for more than five years.
His mother, Linda Katcher Griffith, tearfully asked state lawmakers Wednesday to establish procedures that could help find her son and other missing people like him.


Reps. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, and Bill Black, R-Danville, are calling for police to accept reports of missing people, regardless of age, without delay so that searches can begin right away.

A concern for families and lawmakers is that police respond to reports of missing people differently based on factors such as the person’s age. They say police sometimes delay searches or calling in the FBI for adults because they question whether it was the missing person’s choice to disappear, which they have the right to do.

“What we’re trying to do under this legislation is to see that when a missing-persons report is filed that there is no reason not to take it,” Brady said during a House committee hearing.

Griffith, who works as a nurse, hopes the proposal helps other mothers if their children are missing.

“Everything in there outlines what you can do, so if I’m talking to another mom that has a missing (child), I can assure them that there’s a plan and that things will get expedited faster,” she said.

http://www.qctimes.net/articles/2006/02/02/news/state/doc43e1b3b4e80ca041998847.txt
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xx For Ryan on 2-4-06
« Reply #10 on: Feb 4th, 2006, 9:30pm »

Thinking of Ryan on his birthday. Hoping for answers soon for his disappearance. He's still missing but not forgotten.

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xx Ryan Katcher`s Mom Says There`s New Hope to Find H
« Reply #11 on: May 11th, 2006, 08:59am »

The mom of a missing teen from Oakwood hopes DNA evidence will help find her son. Ryan Katcher was last seen at a party in Oakwood in November 2000. Since then, efforts to find him and his black pickup truck haven`t turned up anything. His mom recently submitted Ryan`s old comb, razor, and contact lenses in hopes DNA could help solve the case. She says there are around 40,000 unidentified body remains that don`t have a DNA match. She says she isn`t putting a timetable on when she hopes to hear if there`s a match.

http://www.wcia.com/news/default.asp?mode=shownews&id=4293
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xx Body of student missing since '00 found in pond
« Reply #12 on: Jul 26th, 2006, 06:41am »

OAKWOOD, Ill. -- The body of a University of Illinois student who vanished more than five years ago has been found in his pickup truck, which was discovered submerged in a Kickapoo State Park pond, Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said Tuesday night.

The truck belonging to Ryan Katcher was located Monday in about 50 feet of water by emergency workers experimenting with new equipment, Hartshorn said.
The truck was found in an area that had been searched after Katcher disappeared.

Katcher was a 19-year-old sophomore at the U. of I. at Urbana-Champaign in November 2000 when, on a trip home for the weekend, he disappeared after a friend dropped him off at his rural Oakwood home.

After Katcher's disappearance, authorities conducted an extensive search, while his family and friends distributed fliers in a two-county area.

Katcher's mother, Linda Griffith, was featured last year in a Tribune article about a DNA database devoted to missing persons.
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xx Mom's 5-year ordeal ends with the discovery of bod
« Reply #13 on: Jul 27th, 2006, 08:53am »

By Tom Rybarczyk
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 27, 2006



OAKWOOD, Ill. -- In the five years since her son vanished, Linda Griffith had searched the area around Clear Pond more than 100 times and dined at the restaurant that overlooks it.

As she sat listening to music and enjoying the company of friends at the cafe in Kickapoo State Park, her son's body--unknown to her--rested in a watery grave less than 100 feet away.
Divers recovered Ryan Katcher's body Tuesday night in his Ford F-150 truck, the place where police believe he has been sealed since Nov. 5, 2000.

"I can't believe we sat at this restaurant so many times, and we were staring at his truck in the water," an emotional Griffith said Wednesday. "Now, I know Ryan is safe."

Searchers were testing new sonar equipment for the first time Monday when they stumbled upon Katcher's truck, said Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn. They had used their old sonar on dozens of bodies of water throughout the county, including the strip-mine where they found Katcher's truck, about 100 feet from Kickapoo Park Road.

Griffith said she never knew if there would be a final outcome to her quest to find her 19-year-old son. Appearances on national television talk shows, speaking to a psychic and the initial two-week manhunt had netted nothing.

But her efforts caught the attention of state police, who selected her to attend a meeting in Denver last fall as their representative at a conference on how DNA can help find the missing.

As an activist for missing persons, Griffith spoke excitedly Wednesday about the latest advance in sonar, which she hopes will help with future searches. She already has contacted a missing persons organization about the technology.

"I am hoping we can learn from this," Griffith said. "I am hoping something good can come out of the bad. ... I am hoping more parents can use this equipment to find their missing children."

Instead of sending signals down into the depths of water, the new type of sonar sends signals sideways, creating a panoramic picture.

Katcher's truck sat about 40 feet deep on the clay, silt-laden decline of the mine, stored in water that measured 33 degrees in late July, the sheriff said.

"That's helped preserve the body a little bit," Hartshorn said. "That's going to be helpful in determining what happened."

An autopsy was scheduled in Bloomington, but the results were not available Wednesday evening. Hartshorn declined to speculate on how Katcher got into the pond.

Friends originally told investigators that Katcher, a University of Illinois sophomore, had gotten a ride home from a party at a friend's house about 2 a.m. It is unclear why he left his Oakwood home, but the winding road he took was a shortcut back to his friend's and the party, the sheriff said.

For Hartshorn, his department and the east-Central Illinois community, the discovery of Katcher's body ends a gut-wrenching five years.

"There hasn't been a month that has gone by that we haven't tracked down some kind of tip on this case," he said. "It's hard to find a person around here who hasn't closely thought about Ryan."

At Clear Pond on Wednesday, visitors brought flowers, dropping them in the water in memory of Katcher.

Robin Bloomfield-Webb of neighboring Newtown came to say a prayer for the young man she never knew. She, like many others, had kept an eye out for the young man as she walked through the woods and along the banks of the park's stripmines.

"It's been in our hearts and our minds all the time," she said as she grasped flowers close to her chest. "That's about all we can do now."

She stood in the tracks of where the tow truck had hauled out Katcher's truck. It was in mint condition with both windows rolled up. His body was in the passenger's seat, clothed in the same garb he wore the night of the party, with his Tennessee Volunteers hat in his lap, his mother said. Time had worn out the cloth, but the brim remained.

The passenger door was locked, but Katcher's was not--that was the way he always kept it, she said with a smile.

"I feel blessed that we did not have to wait to find out" if it was him, said Griffith, 52. She said she always hoped he'd return, that he'd run away because of the stress of his father's death and school. Griffith, who later remarried, never planned a funeral.

Now, faced with the realization that he is gone forever, Griffith, a nurse, compared her family's journey to that of a grave illness.

"It's like cancer," said Griffith, still wearing a purple "Find Ryan" bracelet Wednesday. "It eats the family up inside while it's going on, but when it's over there is almost a sense of relief."

http://tinyurl.com/q943b
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xx Coroner says Illinois student missing 5 1/2 years
« Reply #14 on: Jul 31st, 2006, 12:54pm »

OAKWOOD, Ill. (AP) -- The mother of a college student who had been missing for 5 1/2 years said Thursday she was "overwhelmed by the grief" of knowing her son drowned after his truck went into a state park pond, yet she felt her prayers had been answered.
"It was truly a miracle, a God-sent miracle," Linda Katcher Griffith said of the discovery of her son Ryan's body Tuesday about 50 feet deep in the cold, murky pond at Kickapoo State Park. "It might not be the answer that you wanted, but it brought Ryan home and that's all I can ask for."

Katcher's body, well preserved in water that was only 33-34 degrees when it was found, showed no evidence of foul play and it was clear that he had drowned, Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson said.

"There are no injuries anywhere on Ryan Katcher," she told reporters. "It is our sincere hope that these findings will finally put to rest all the speculation and rumors that have been surrounding this case for the past 5 1/2 years."

Johnson said obtaining any toxicology results was impossible because of the length of time the body was submerged.

Katcher was a 19-year-old University of Illinois sophomore when he disappeared in November 2000. He was last seen by a friend who had dropped him off at his rural Oakwood home, not far from Kickapoo State Park, after a party.

His mother said she had heard numerous tips, rumors and allegations about her son while she was searching for him over the years.

"We have had so much trouble with people telling us where Ryan was murdered, where Ryan was killed, where Ryan was buried. I wish there was a law to put those people in jail," Griffith said.

She said she never wavered in her hope that her son would "walk through the door at some time," but she understood the odds.

"You don't think there's much water in Vermilion County until you put the map down and start looking, or start looking for a boy and a truck. It might as well be the Atlantic Ocean," Griffith said.

The pickup was discovered Monday in about 50 feet of water by emergency workers who were experimenting with new sonar equipment in the pond. The truck was positioned at a downward angle, the doors were closed, windows shut, ignition in the on position and the gearshift was in drive, Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said.

When the pickup was pulled from the water Tuesday it was found to be undamaged, "no scratches, even, on the side of the truck," he said. So learning exactly what happened is unlikely.

"We're not going to ever know for sure because we cannot have Ryan's side of the story," Hartshorn said. "Whether it was falling asleep or whether it was losing control of the truck, we don't have those answers."

Griffith said she planned to hold a visitation Tuesday and her son's funeral Wednesday.

"The sad thing is now the search for Ryan is over, the good thing is Ryan is home," she said. "I prayed for one thing all along. Not who did it, what did it or where did it (happen). I only prayed for one thing, and that was ... Ryan would be brought home."

http://mywebtimes.com/ottnews/archives/ottawa/sections.cgi?prcss=display&id=264618
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