Manhattan woman looks to reunite families with missing loved ones through technology

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Stephanie Coplen sees more than just the faces on missing person flyers. She also sees families in agony, searching for their loved ones who have gone missing.

“When I saw there was a need to get more exposure for the missing persons, then it just started evolving to this,” Coplen said.

She started the non-profit Media for the Missing, where she uses technology to increase public awareness about those who have gone missing. It’s an idea she says was actually inspired by a TV show.

“It was through a case my mom and I were watching on TV,” Coplen said. “My mom was basically like ‘Whatever happened to them?’, and so I went to look it up and that’s when I discovered all the missing persons organizations and missing persons.”

With no background in technology or law enforcement, Coplen set out to create a way to give the public easy access to information about missing person cases from around the country.

“We’re starting with phase one which is the kiosk method,” said Coplen. “Basically, it’s going to rotate missing persons information. It’s through a live stream method. We’re getting our information through NamUs. That’s the government repository for missing and unidentified persons.”

The kiosk allows you to scroll through the flyer, pause and find out more information on any of the cases, all with a simple touch of a finger.

“The hope is that once the system gets completed, especially starting with the kiosk, that people will start being identified, reunited, found,” said Coplen.

Coplen said it’s been a long road to get to this point.

“If I give up now, then how am I serving the families?” said Coplen.

But, the possibility of reuniting families is what keeps her going.

These are just some of many that are still missing.

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