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Dakota's Story

Our son, Dakota James, 23 went missing in Pittsburgh, PA on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 and his body was found in the Ohio River on Monday, March 6, 2017. He worked full-time, lived on his own, and was attending college full-time to earn his master’s degree in a city he loved. He was very active in swimming, running, biking, and loved music and dancing. He enjoyed life to the fullest and trusted everyone. His future plans included attending law school, traveling, getting married, and starting a family.


Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we would get the call to say your son is missing.  We struggled on a daily basis trying to find answers-running into red tape and contradicting policies of local agencies and unresponsive authority figures. We did not know where to turn for help.


We want to make changes so that this doesn’t happen to the next family of a missing person.


Over the past 20 years, hundreds of college-aged men across the US have died as the result of undetermined or accidental drownings. While many believe their deaths are just that — accidental — former NYPD detectives Kevin Gannon, Michael Donovan, Anthony Duarte and professor of criminal justice Dr. Lee Gilbertson are convinced that most of these drownings are homicides. 

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