Search for missing persons expands

Jean Bédard used to broadcast on the radio to people, now he's trying to find them through the Internet, pamphlets and, hopefully, on television.

Bédard, who's created two French and two English websites ( enfantsdisparus.ca, adultsdisparus.com, childrenrescue.ca and missingadult.info) to help locate missing persons, continues to expand his efforts.

"I want to create a group of about 25 volunteers who will assist police in searching (missing people)," Bédard said on Friday.

His efforts have been mostly solitary since 2007, when he woke up with a newfound mission to assist in the search for a Trois-Rivieres, Que. girl, Cedrika Provencher.

That led to the creation of www.enfantsdisparu.ca.

He said it continues to disturb him that about 68,000 persons -- including runaways -- are reported missing every year.

Bédard has been encouraged by the feedback he's received, not just from local city, provincial and RCMP police, but from the FBI and Interpol.

"I get 148 emails a week from from FBI (for missing person cases)," he said.

"I've been told we are the only group that offers sites for both missing children and adults."

FEDERAL APPROVAL

Bédard took a big step over the summer when he received federal approval for a non-profit organization: L'Association des Enfants et Adults Disparus Corporation.

Through the association, Bédard has asked MP Guy Lauzon to lobby the federal Ministry of Public Safety for a startup fund.

The money will be used to equip the volunteer service, with a van, an office and even a search and rescue dog.

"I'm hoping that an owner of a building will come forward and give us free space," Bédard said, adding all of the association's work has been conducted out of his home.

He was also meeting MPP Jim Brownell to see if the provincial government could provide a search and rescue specialist who could provide training for his prospective group.

The association has also been given the okay to seek donations, which can be placed at the Desjardins Caisse de Populaire on Pitt Street and Montreal Road.

In the meantime, he's waiting for a decision from the Canadian Radio Television Corp. on his application for TV channel that will broadcast information on missing persons.

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