'Seeking Alaska's Missing' Helps Search for Alaskans
In the wake of tragedy, one man tries to help others
ANCHORAGE - Shanon Lovell hasn't been seen since October 5. That night he was leaving his home in Palmer. He was wearing a red and gray shirt and blue jeans when left about midnight.
After recovering from drug addiction, Lovell had been trying to start a new life. He had just married to a woman he'd me in rehab. He had a baby on the way. But his dad, Steve Lovell, said it looked like the many times before. "They do really well at first, and then you can see it start to relapse."
Before he disappeared, Shanon contacted Steve. He told him he wanted to spend more time with Cyruss, his son. Shanon's 12-year-old son was living with Steve. The state had taken him from his parents because of drug issues when Cyruss was still in diapers. Since that time, Steve said Cyruss had been disappointed too much. He told Shanon he could see him more if he stayed clean for a year.
Steve said it was tough love for a man he knew was better. "Deep down in his heart, he was a loving and kind. What I'd want people to know about him is once he got hooked, he just didn't seem to be strong enough to turn it around."
When he heard his son was missing, Steve feared it could be drug related violence. Despite the reason, he wants to know the truth. "I would like to know exactly what happened no matter how horrid because then we could move on."
Cyruss said, "I would much rather have him walk out from somewhere than have him be gone, but I don't think so." Steve hopes no matter what they find, knowing what happened will help them heal. Cyruss wishes things could be different, "He needed to get better. Not just for him and me and his other family, because it's really hard on us.
Seeking Alaska's Missing, or SAM, wants to help. The group has helped with publicity in this case and others around the state. The founder started the organization because he knew of the particular pain and struggle associated with having a family member missing. James Koenig's daughter was kidnapped and murdered last year. It took over a month for the truth about her to come out, and James said in a phone interview on Friday that there were a lot of things that he could have used help with.
SAM currently provides volunteers to run the Facebook page. Missing persons' families get help having a family representative for the media. The group just earned nonprofit status and it hopes to do other things like help pay the rent of family members who are unable to work while they help with search efforts.
One of the most important things to the Lovells is that SAM doesn't judge the missing person. "They don't care why, they just want to help. If you're a drug addict, the hold you in the same esteem as if you were abducted." Steve said.
Deja Franco is a friend of one of Shanon's family members. She helps the family in reaching out to the public. She said it's important people remember that no matter what happened to him, it's his family that hurts, "He's a human with a heart. He's very caring and he cared about his family very much. He wanted better for himself. He was trying to change his life around."
The Lovells hope by sharing their story, some answers will surface.
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