BOSTON - At the grand staircase in the state house, a State Police Honor Guard stood watch Monday.
Not for a dignitary, but for the dozens of missing and murdered children in Massachusetts.
In the past, this event was hosted by the family of Molly Bish, the Warren lifeguard murdered 19 years ago.
This year, the focus is on the unresolved cases of children who are missing and murdered. Some of these cases go back decades.
Event organizer Melanie Perkins McLaughlin was a childhood friend of Andy Puglisi, who vanished from a Lawrence swimming pool in 1976.
"These are children that we love and we care about and they still are not brought home. And the people that love and care about these children are never going to give up," Perkins McLaughlin said.
This is happening at a time when momentum is shifting towards solving these crimes. Several bills are filed to give law enforcement better investigative tools and to use DNA technology.
Last week, the Boston Police Department announced it is doubling the size of its cold case squad.
In Middlesex County this year, the district attorney created an unresolved case unit, which started work in January.
These cases take a toll on families. That's why State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin has been privately meeting victims' families. Her sister was murdered in 1986, it was unsolved until 2018.
"Even after 31 years, people ask, 'why are you still trying? They are never going to solve your sister's case.' You have to have hope. there is somebody out there that knows," Col. Gilpin said.
She's urging families to not give up. Even though many of these cases have gone unresolved for decades there is renewed hope that this new renewed attention can lead to results.
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