Last weekend, more than 150 people attended a special Missing in New Jersey event at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

According to State Police Lt. Louis Andrinopoulos, the event was successful on several levels.

“I think it was a great day for all these families. We were able to bring everybody together to share their stories and commemorate their loved ones. They heard words of hope and encouragement,” he said.

Andrinopoulos said the event also gave law enforcement officials the opportunity to make sure family members understand that “we haven’t forgotten about their loved ones, and we’re still going to be moving forward with these investigations.”

Officials at the event were also able to get some new information about individuals who haven’t been heard from in at least 30 days.

“We were able to collect over 15 DNA samples along with dental records, information on dentists, medical records,” he said.

“It’s the kind of evidence that will hopefully we will use to follow up cases on.”

Andrinopoulos said the exposure the event generated was very positive, and a whole new experience.

“In all my time in this unit, this was the first time we went to the mainstream media and brought to the forefront what these families face,” he said.

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He stressed even though the event is over, it’s not too late for individuals to come forward and give information about someone who is missing, even if they have been hesitant to do so in the past.

“You always need the first piece and you need the last piece, and without the first piece of the puzzle, we’re not aware of what’s going on, we aren’t able to investigate it, and we surely can’t solve it,” he said.

The state does not have any kind of a 24-hour waiting period to report someone as missing.

“If you know about something, report it, and let law enforcement determine what we need to do with it or what cannot be done with it.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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