As I'm sure is the case with most people, I always find it so unsettling when I read or hear about missing persons cases, especially the cases that remain unsolved for years after the person goes missing.

Those disturbing memories were mustered up again recently, when a comparison of DNA found that some human remains found in Pennsylvania were in fact those of George Rymko, a Waterbury man who had been missing since 2011. Although I'm sure it ultimately wasn't the outcome they had hoped for, I'd be willing to bet that his family was, at the very least, able to find some closure.

Having been raised in the Waterbury area, I always felt haunted by the billboards and flyers that commanded the community to help turn up the whereabouts of Billy Smolinski — the young man whose missing persons case had his face plastered all over the country that summer before I headed off to college. I always felt so terrible for Billy's friends and family because it was so obvious that they loved him so much. By all accounts, he was a great guy.

Then, as I was watching some show on TV with my wife and low and behold, there was the story of Billy Smolinski. My wife's obsession with the Investigation Discovery channel often leaves me sick to my stomach, but this time, it got me thinking. I wondered how many other active missing persons cases were going on.

After searching the Waterbury Police Department's website, I saw the faces of these six people:

  • Marisela Pino

    Sex: Female

    Race: Hispanic

    Height: 4'5"

    Weight: 85 lbs.

    Eyes: Brown

    Hair: Brown

    Missing Since: 3/13/06

    Police say that Marisela was last seen in the area of Walnut St. and Walnut Ave. at Nash's Pizza.  She was 11-years-old when she went missing. The photo shown is an aged progressed photo of how she may look now.

     

  • Antonio Gomez

    Sex: Male

    Race: Hispanic

    Height: 5'6"

    Weight: 185 lbs.

    Eyes: Brown

    Hair: Black

     

    Missing Since: 3/20/93

    Police say that Antonio Gomez may have left Waterbury for Mexico.

  • Bernadine Paul

    Sex: Female

    Race: White

    Height: 5'3"

    Weight: 115 lbs.

    Eyes: Brown

    Hair: Brown

    Missing Since: 6/7/2000

    Police say that Bernadine was last seen outside of Bradlees department store on Chase Ave., which is now Target. She has a cross tattooed on her left hand between her thumb and index finger and a mole on her upper lip.

  • Ervis Mecollari

    Sex: Male

    Race: White

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 190 lbs.

    Eyes: Brown

    Hair: Brown

    Missing Since: 12/20/08

    Police say that Mecollari is wanted for the homicide of his neighbor.

  • Tamara Barriga

    Sex: Female

    Race: African American

    Height: 5'3"

    Weight: 140 lbs.

    Eyes: Brown

    Hair: Brown

    Missing Since: 6/13/08

  • William Paul Smolinski Jr.

    Sex: Male

    Race: White

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 200 lbs.

    Eyes: Blue

    Hair: Brown

    Missing Since: 8/24/04

    Over the years, the case of Billy Smolinski has gained a myriad of media coverage both locally and nationally.  Police say that he was last seen at his home at 130 Holly Street in Waterbury.