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Case in Cleveland a reminder to hold out hope for missing children

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - As three women were found alive in Cleveland after being missing for years, the workers and volunteers at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were watching the story unfold with a strong sense of connection.

That's because finding and reconnecting missing persons with their loved ones is the outcome they strive for every day at the center. In fact, the center sent out flyers with photos of two of the three missing Ohio women, including ones with age-progressed photos as the years went by.

The volunteers continue to diligently stuff envelopes with photos of missing children from all over the nation and what has happened in Ohio has reinforced what they do and what they believe - that there is always hope.

The mother of 17-year-old Ivory Green, who disappeared from Utica in March, 2004, learned of the safe return of the Ohio women on a Utica city bus on the way to fold flyers at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Tuesday.

"I will never give up hope on Ivory. I just pray and just wait and see what the Lord brings and what comes, that's all you can do," says Smith.

Officials at the National Center are asking people to take another look at the faces of the children on the posters. Many of those children have actually been recovered because a stranger took the time to look at the poster and later recognized the child on it.

There are several missing persons cases that remain open and unsolved, including that of Michelle Hutchings, who went missing in July 2006 and Sara Ann Wood, went missing in August of 1993.

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