Assemblyman partners with parents of Suzanne Lyall, leading Saratoga County-based beverage distributor, Saratoga County Sheriff, and local restaurants on new round of coasters to generate tips on what led 8 Capital Region residents to go missing
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today joined with Doug and Mary Lyall of the Center for Hope, DeCrescente Distributing Company and Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo, to launch a new round of “Coasters for Hope” to help find Capital Region missing persons and solve several cold cases.
More than 25,000 “Coasters for Hope” drink coasters featuring pictures and information about eight new local missing persons will be printed and distributed by DeCrescente to restaurants and taverns across the Capital Region in this initial order. In 2013-14, more than 50,000 coasters were distributed in the program’s first year.
The public-private partnership to create and distribute drink coasters to help find missing persons is the first of its kind in the Northeast.
Each drink coaster has a number where people can anonymously call or text a tip to law enforcement about a missing person’s case. A crucial tool in solving these cases is keeping information about missing persons in the public eye.
“To not know the fate of a loved one who has gone missing can lead families to a quiet desperation of anger, frustration and deep sadness. However improbable it might seem, one tip could help law enforcement solve a missing persons cold case and no matter how improbable it might seem, perhaps even help a missing person come home. If someone sees one of these Coasters for Hope at their neighborhood restaurant or tavern then they may know something that could lead to a major break in a missing persons case,” said Tedisco.
“Restaurants and bars can be high-traffic areas, and people there like to talk, our belief is to get the word out as far and wide as you can, whether it's within the criminal element or the general population,” said Mary Lyall of the Center for Hope, whose daughter Suzanne Lyall, a UAlbany student, has been missing since 1998.
“We are very proud to sponsor the second ‘Coasters for Hope’ Program. These coasters provide a visible resource to raise awareness in our communities about missing people. By distributing these coasters at our local retailers, our hope is to help ease the pain and uncertainty for families dealing with the disappearance of a loved one. Just one tip could possibly help solve a missing person’s case,” said C.J. DeCrescente, President of DeCrescente Distributing Company.
“I’m delighted to work with Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, the Lyall Family and the Center for Hope and DeCrescente Distributing to support Coasters for Hope to help generate tips that may lead to answers to a missing persons case. The more people who see this information the more likely it could jog someone’s memory and help us solve a cold case,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo.
Coasters will be distributed by DeCrescente to Capital Region restaurants and taverns featuring information about the following Capital Region missing persons:
- Agnes “Ginger” Shoe, age 37, last seen in Glenville in 1979.
- Christina White, age 19, an unsolved 2005 homicide in Milton.
- Erica Franolich, age 26, last seen in Middleburgh in 1986.
- Robert Gutkaiss, age 15, an unsolved 1983 homicide in Stephentown.
- Audrey May Herron, age 31, missing from Catskill since 2002.
- Amanda King, age 27, missing from Glenville since 2013.
- Kathleen Kolodziej, age 17, an unsolved homicide in Cobleskill from 1974.
- Robert Sanfelice, age 33, missing from Albany since 1984.
To submit an anonymous tip about these or any other missing persons case, call 1-800-448-3847; text NYMISSING (+Tip) to 274637; or visit www.troopers.ny.gov and click on CrimeTip Link.
Digital copies of the coasters are attached.
Tedisco, a long-time advocate on issues related to missing children, sponsors with the Lyalls and the Center for Hope, the annual New York State Missing Persons Day commemoration. As Chair of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Missing Children, Tedisco authored and passed landmark non-custodial release legislation to protect children from being abducted. Tedisco, working with the late Governor Mario Cuomo, initiated a program to place the pictures of missing children on Thruway toll tickets, enabling New York to become the first state in the nation to use its transportation system to find missing persons. Following years of research, legislation and statewide public hearings, he authored a book entitled, “Missing Children: A psychological approach to understanding the causes and consequences of stranger and non-stranger abduction of children.”
In 2001, the Lyalls established the Center for Hope with the idea of providing assistance to others affected by a similar loss. The Center for Hope, Inc. is a not for profit 501(c)3 organization with the mission of providing resources to educate, assist and support families and friends coping with the pain and uncertainty surrounding the disappearance of a loved one. For more information, visit www.hope4themissing.org.