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Families of Colonial Parkway murder victims cancel public search

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Posted at 5:35 PM, May 27, 2010
and last updated 2012-03-01 11:47:49-05

Families of the Colonial Parkway victims have canceled the public search for the remains of two missing people, blaming the National Park Service for crippling the effort.

NewsChannel 3 just got the news from angered family members.

For weeks, Joyce Call has been organizing the biggest effort yet to find her missing brother. Keith Call and friend Cassandra Hailey were among four couples taken by the Colonial Parkway killer more that 20 years ago. But unlike the others, their bodies were never found.

“The community wants to know what happened, too,” Call said.

From the community she’d recruited volunteer searchers, filled out the applications, and got the permits for the searched planned for June 5th. And then yesterday evening, she got a phone call.

“They’re talking about preserving their lands and we’re talking about human beings.”

The Colonial Parkway is a well-traveled road, but just beyond the shoulders the terrain grows dense. It’s the kind of landscape that can hide secrets for decades. That’s why the families hoped for dozens, maybe hundreds, of volunteers to comb these woods, swamps and beaches. But the park service said that was too many people, and the answer was no.

James Perry said the Park Service decided to allow only search-dog teams, and not the army of volunteers the family is expecting.

“One thing we don’t want to do in a national park is interfere with the visitor experience,” Perry said.

He would not say how many searchers they’d allow, but here’s what they told Call.

“They said 15 all together, which is ridiculous. Our families combined are bigger than that.”

Now she has to contact the more than 100 people who asked to help and tell them no thanks. It’s another setback for a family that’s endured disappointment 22 years.

“I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t want to be a part of helping getting this solved,” Joyce said.

Five cadavar dogs and their handlers have volunteered to search. And now, only a few family members can join in.