Daisy Hayes | Provided photo

Reclaiming missing woman’s body from landfill right thing to do

SHARE Reclaiming missing woman’s body from landfill right thing to do
SHARE Reclaiming missing woman’s body from landfill right thing to do

There are some things that you can bury in your mind and forget.

Not being able to put a loved one to rest is not one of them.

That is why when a soldier is killed on foreign soil, the government makes every effort to return that soldier’s body to the family no matter how long it takes.

On Monday, the remains of a World War II soldier, Army Pfc. Lewis E. Price, reported missing in action in November 1944, were returned to his family in Tennessee.

Forensic anthropologists used DNA, dental and anthropological analyses to determine that an unknown soldier’s remains matched Price.

Seventy-four years after his death, Price will be buried with full military honors.

It obviously took a lot of effort to give this family closure. But there’s no question that giving these military families peace of mind is the right thing to do.

In some ways, the survivors of heinous crimes are like those military families.

When a loved one disappears due to foul play and that person’s body is hidden or, in the case of Daisy Hayes, allegedly dumped in a landfill, relatives are left not only grieving but also agonizing over their inability to give the victim a proper burial.

Hayes’ daughter, Teresa Smith, hardly sleeps at night.

“They haven’t said anything else about searching for her body. Thanksgiving is coming up and it is really hard to try to maintain and just get through the holidays. To know that her body is out there somewhere is devastating. I was crying this morning,” Smith told me.

On Nov. 1, Jimmy Jackson, Hayes’ ex-boyfriend who lived in the same apartment building, was charged with first-degree murder.

Police allege Jackson killed Hayes, stuffed her body in a suitcase and tossed the suitcase in a dumpster.

That’s an image that will haunt Hayes’ relatives for the rest of their lives.

Although Smith has asked prosecutors and police detectives to search an Indiana landfill for her mother’s remains, both law enforcement agencies put her off.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office has said the Chicago Police Department is the investigating agency and should conduct the search.

Anthony Guglielmi, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, said previously the department had not searched the landfill because detectives wanted to talk to Jackson first.

In an email Monday, Guglielmi noted the case was charged and the offender is pending trial for murder.

“There are no search efforts underway as detectives were able to secure criminal charges without the discovery of Ms. Hayes’ body,” he said.

As daunting as a landfill search would be, it is actually not all that unusual.

For instance, police in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, enlisted help from the local sheriff’s office, nearby police departments and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to search through hundreds of tons of trash to find the body of a missing 14-year-old, Skylar Bentley.

Police in Roseboro, N.C., conducted a massive search of a landfill in Sampson County when a man went missing under suspicious circumstances.

In Bristol, Tenn., all it took was an abandoned bicycle and backpack left beside a dumpster for the Bristol Tennessee Police Department to launch a search of a landfill that included the local fire department. No body was found.

And in Phoenix, Ariz., police searched an area in a landfill that was 500 feet long, 120 feet wide and 14 feet deep hoping to find the remains of Christine Mustafa, a 34-year-old mother that had been missing five months. Officials estimated the nine-week search would cost more than $1 million in labor and equipment, the Arizona Republic reported.

There were also landfill searches for missing persons in Baltimore and Florida.

In this instance, prosecutors have argued that they “don’t need a body to prosecute,” which is true. But everyone knows it is harder to get a conviction when there is no body.

Worst yet, Chicago has a history of people getting away with grisly murders, especially when the victim is female. The broken bodies of women have turned up in abandoned cars, garages and dumpsters, and too many of these homicides have remained unsolved.

The person who did this to Hayes didn’t have a shred of humanity left.

But we do.

Bring Daisy Hayes home.

This may not be a military war, but it is a war nonetheless.

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