The Washington State Patrol will unveil its latest Homeward Bound semi-trailer on June 5 featuring Alyssa McLemore, who has been missing since April 9, 2009, when she was last seen in Kent.
The Homeward Bound program, in partnership with Kam-Way Trucking, uses the high visibility of commercial vehicles to increase awareness surrounding missing individuals in hopes of obtaining leads regarding possible whereabouts from the public.
Since the program was established in 2005, three missing persons featured on trucks have been recovered, according to the State Patrol. The trucks have featured 28 individuals. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one out of six children are recovered due to the public viewing a picture.
The truck will be unveiled in front of the State Capitol in Olympia, between the Capitol Building and the Temple of Justice.
McLemore went missing at age 21. She is a young Native American and the state Legislature recently passed a law that increases the focus on the plight of missing women in Native American communities.
Kent detectives discovered early on in the investigation that at about 9:15 p.m. April 10, someone called 911 from McLemore’s cellphone. A female voice was heard asking for help before the call ended.
The phone did not have a GPS sensor, so the general location of where the call originated is unknown. The phone number listed on 911 records indicated McLemore as the owner of the phone. The phone was out of service a few days after the 911 call and no longer took phone messages.
“It was very unlike her not to be in communication with her family,” said the lead detective at the time.
When McLemore disappeared, she left behind her 3-year-old daughter, mother, grandmother and sister.
McLemore, unemployed at the time of her disappearance, lived with her grandmother, mother and daughter in Kent. She attended Kent-Meridian High School for about a year before dropping out.
The Homeward Bound Program was started by Trooper Renee Padgett in 2005 while working in the WSP Commercial Vehicle Division. Padgett worked then with Gordon Trucking with a vision that posters of missing children displayed on the side of semi-trailers travelling around the country could bring much needed awareness and possibly aid in recovery.
Padgett lost a long battle to cancer in the intervening years but representatives of her family will be present in her honor at the unveiling as well as members of McLemore’s family, tribal representatives in honor of McLemore’s cultural roots, Kam-Way Transportation leaders, WSP Chief John R. Batiste, Kent Police Department investigators and legislators supporting missing person recovery efforts and the recently passed legislation that gives greater focus to missing Native American women.