Yakima Woman Helped Ohio Families Search for Missing Teens - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Woman Helped Ohio Families Search for Missing Teens

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- For nearly a decade, a woman now living in Yakima, helped two Ohio families hold on to hope that their daughters were still alive.

Kelly Murphy runs a non-profit organization called Project Jason. On their website, hundreds of missing persons cases from across the U.S., and up until this week, pictures of Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus. Two Ohio women who went missing years ago, but were finally freed this week.

"I was really shocked that they were alive. Of course, very happy for those families," Kelly said.

She remembers getting the call in 2004 from Amanda Berry's family. Their daughter went missing the year before and there was no trace of her.

Kelly says that was one of the first cases her organization helped with, providing support for the Berry and Dejesus families over the years, and working to get the word out.
"In the case of Amanda and Gina, we made photo buttons for them. We also had websites for both of the girls. So for all these years, we've had a website for them to bring awareness for their cases," Kelly said.

It's a personal cause for Kelly. Her son, Jason went missing about 12 years ago.

"When he went missing we didn't have anyone there to basically hold our hand and tell us what to do," Kelly said.

So now, she helps other families with missing loved ones. Like the family of Larry Riegel, a Yakima man who disappeared in 2009.

"We didn't know where to go to, who to talk to or anything. So, hooking in with Kelly, she was wonderful," said Susan Vaughn, Larry Riegel's sister.

Kelly says they have over 300 active cases on ProjectJason.org.

If you'd like more information on the work they're doing, or how to help the non-profit organization, click here.