Nancy Grace’s goal: Find 50 people in 50 days
January 17th, 2011
08:46 PM ET

Nancy Grace’s goal: Find 50 people in 50 days

Nancy Grace's new show, "Nancy Grace: America's Missing," debuts tonight on HLN.

Nancy is dedicated to finding missing persons in the United States.  The program, which relies heavily upon audience participation, urges viewers to find people as well as bring attention to victims whose stories never made it to the airwaves.

Nancy and her team are utilizing social media, CNN iReport, phone lines and their show to achieve the goal of finding 50 people in 50 days.

Tonight’s debut program will feature the case of  Lindsey Baum, a 10-year-old girl from Washington state who went missing in 2009 as she walked home from a friend’s house.

CNN spoke to Nancy just prior to the show’s live premiere.

CNN: What inspired you to focus your show solely on missing persons?

Nancy Grace: Well, you’re in the news business just like us - although I don’t really think of myself that way, I think of myself more as a prosecutor - and our news cycle chews somebody and spits them out every 24 hours. And I get it. I’m not trashing that because there’s more news to report that people want to know, need to know and should know.

I understand that you can’t stay with a case forever. You’ve got to pick up and move on to the next group of people that need your help. But this is a real chance to go back and pick up those pieces and put them back together again.

When I was prosecuting, I got the satisfaction of being called in on a crime scene, helping to analyze and process the scene, investigate it, take it to the grand jury… after conviction, take it myself to an appeals court and argue it. I could see the end. I would take the case to fruition.

We don’t get to do that. We cover cases as long as there’s news, and when there’s not news anymore, we move on to cases that have news, more people that need to be found. Many of them stick in my mind and in my heart; and my EP [Executive Producer], Dean Sicoli, same way. And my staff, same way. We saw this as an opportunity to try and go back and look at the cases that remain unsolved and try again.

CNN: Does each installment of "America's Missing" focus on one missing person?

Grace: Yes, exactly. 50 people in 50 nights.

CNN: Are you featuring both missing children and adults, male and female?

Grace: Oh yes. We’re across the board.

CNN: Did the missing persons have to have gone missing recently, or is there no timeframe?

Grace: Absolutely no timeframe. In fact, tonight we may lead off with the case of a female child who’s just gone missing and then go into the main story that we’re covering just so we can get it out there.

CNN: Do you think the show's "beat the clock" sort of mentality will stir up a sense of urgency regarding cases that otherwise may have gone forgotten?

Grace: We hope so. That’s our goal.

CNN: If someone has a loved one who is missing, what can they do to get their story out there?

Grace: They can contact us. That’s actually how we found out about many of these cases. Just e-mail me or call the show [1-877-NANCY-01]. If people have cases, or know of cases, that no one’s covering - we’ll cover them.

CNN: What would you say to someone with a missing friend or family member who has lost all hope of finding their loved one either because too much time has passed or due to grim statistics?

Grace: I always use examples; for instance, Elizabeth Smart. Also, in a case that we covered recently, a little girl got taken along the eastern seaboard but a viewer saw her in California with her abductor who was panhandling in front of a 7-11. A woman called in and sure enough it was her [the missing girl]. She was found alive! It does happen!

And I would also tell anyone: Don’t just rely on law enforcement. They’re just as overloaded as everybody else in this world. They’re just as swamped. You get out there, you make the difference.

And, frankly, what’s more important than that is what you do up front when it comes to letting your children play outside or letting your children play unsupervised. Avoid a missing child incident before it happens. For instance, we did the HLN digital fingerprinting. Have information on file and ready for police if they need it. To this day, in my own neighborhood, I see children walking around from one place to the next by themselves. That’s not okay. Also, be careful at pick-ups and drop-off locations at school and after school activities.

Of course there’s always the aberration. Remember the Erin Runnion case? Her daughter, [5-year-old] Samantha Runnion, was right there in the front yard with the grandmother inside looking out the window and she got taken out of the front yard. It does happen, but a lot of this is avoidable. There are ways to protect, and that’s the message I want to get out.

"Nancy Grace: America's Missing" airs at 9 p.m. ET immediately following Grace's other program, "Nancy Grace" on HLN.

Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.

soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. meinRIo

    If she could just find one person – someone ti fix her hair and make-up – that would be awesome. Okay, two people – the second could provide her with some quality voice lessons – urgh – her tone, accent and inflection are just grating.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tim

    Fingernails on a chalkboard .

    January 18, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. GatorALLin

    So what is the big difference between this show focus and what AMW show does every time? I have been amazed at what AMW has done year after year..... maybe this is doing the same thing from a slightly different angle....? I do like that she is making this her focus.... I think there are tons of armchair detectives that want to help or do have good ideas or things to share. I think the one big thing that is missing from AMW and even this show is that there is no easy way to donate to a particular case or family. Check out who makes it easy for anyone to donate to a cause they believe in or want to be part of. Why not do this through the Nancy Grace effort and take finding people to the next level by allowing anyone in the world to pitch in with $1 or more.....that will also bring more resources to help find these people. I could donate $50 and give something to every one of the 50 cases. What if 10,000 people thought the same way.....anything is possible...Everything is possible!

    January 18, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Jaime

      You can donate to the CUE center run by Monica Caison or you can go to your local authorities and ask them if they have accessed the NAMUS database.(most law enforcement agencies havent done this. You can view the Charley Project. You can also look into donating to the Doe Network run by Todd Miller. If you specifically want to help locate kidnapped parentally abducted children donate to AAFLC. The American Association for Lost Children. Hope this helps.

      January 27, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. GatorALLin

    I think that once you donate $1 (or more) that you are more likely to follow a case in the future....or that in doing so on a website it would email update you new info as it happens to stay in touch (vs wait for the TV show updates only). I think that if you can connect with more people on more levels to these important missing persons cases then they have a better chance of being solved. I hope that in cases that are new and there is a higher chance of finding someone alive they need to focus on them first! Many of these are likely to be body recoveries and I hope once they are found that Nancy can focus on what clues were missed early we can learn from them and make progress on the next case. The idea that we should leave the search and rescue or investigation only or mostly to the cops is shown to be a "violation of expectations" in so many cases (Mitrice Richardson).

    January 18, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. meagain

    I watch the Nancy Grace show often. She is tough, and I've heard many people say they don't like her. I see her as a former prosecutor and she projects that mode on her program. I remember when she was a prosecutor in Atlanta, I think, and her nickname was Amazing Grace because she NEVER lost a case. She is tough as nails and her heart is in the right place. She speaks for victims that are not able to speak for themselves, especially children. I LOVE her program. I wish she was the DA in my town. Too many criminals here are turned back out on the streets to commit more and more crimes.

    January 18, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      This is why people do not like Nancy Grace, because she is just about ratings, she is pompous.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clara

      Nancy never lost a case. Do you know how many of her cases were reversed on appeal???

      March 14, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. GatorALLin

    ....on a side note..... I wish this show also had even a bigger mission than just finding 50 people in 50 days.... I wish that every single person who went to jail and or prison would get their DNA put on file in a world-wide database. Not just the violent criminals, but EVERY single one. I think in solving these 50 cases that DNA will prove a critical factor if nothing more than eliminating people and focusing in on the real bad guys. Imagine if we chose Not to get fingerprints on criminals....Imagine if we got only fingerprints on violent criminals...what a joke that would be....yet we fail to get DNA on most criminals. If cost is any issue, then make it a law that criminals pay the costs in your processing fees. Nancy Grace I challenge you to make this happen in 1 state and then let it spread from there. As more states do this, more crimes will be solved. I think there are tons of criminals caught for small crimes (but not the big ones) where DNA would catch them on bigger crimes. I would think twice about doing a crime knowing my DNA was on file... As for cost concerns please appreciate that the cost of DNA is always going down and the speed of this process going up. With more of it being done this will only get better. How many thousands of crimes would have been solved already if DNA was on file for all criminals? DNA even helps protect those that were wrongly accused...I think so many should get behind this for all the right reasons. Nancy Grace..I hope you pick an ultimate goal for your show beyond just these first 50 if you want to make a big impact think big. Thanks in advance for considering....

    January 18, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. ironsman

    How about adding these people to the list?
    1) Jimmy Hoffa
    2) Judge Crater
    3) Amelia Earhart

    January 18, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • John Ross

      4.Abe bagota.
      Abe we miss you

      February 26, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      I'm sure Nasty Grace could come up with a few theories. Wouldn't be any truth to them but she could do it. No one will be found on her theories. It's a shame no one will be found based on this nut buddy, helmet head woman.

      July 6, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sharon Versland

    Can you lease help the family of Timothy Scott Roundstone Jr, age 20. He has been missing from Billings, MT since Nov 25.
    This is the link to the article in the Billlings Gazette
    Thank you very much Nancy.
    Sharon Versland
    Billings, MT

    January 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Trina

    I say Thank You Nancy Grace for all that you do to help find missing children, they need a strong voice to help them find their way back to their families, and you are that voice, so thank you an God Bless You !!!

    January 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Marilyn Haines

    I hope as a mod. I never left some comments as above go thru the forums. This is such joyous, unbelievable news:

    January 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michelle Carnaghi

    James (JJ) Willman has been missing since November 27th 2010. He was supposed to go to work at 4:30am and never showed up and no one has seen or heard from him since. His car was found that Tuesday with missing plates. He is from Woodson Terrace, MO. JJ is 19 years old and has dirty blonde hair, is 5'10" and weighs 130lbs. Anyone with any information is to call the police at 314-427-5858. There was a benefit held for him over the weekend and there was a lot of money raised to help with his awareness, a reward, and to help with an investigator. If you could please provide any kind of help it would be greatly appreciated. We have fliers and posters as well. You can also find his father, Jim Willman, and his Aunt, Jan Willman, on facebook.

    Thanks So Much!!!

    January 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teresa Sapienza

      I'm not sure where we go on here to add a Missing Person case, maybe someone can e-mail me back?
      My Father John Sapienza has been Missing since 1997
      Thanks in Advance
      Teresa Sapienza

      January 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jan willman

      Thanks for posting this here Michelle. Here is the link to J.J's CNN ireport.

      February 10, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tammy Scott


    January 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rose

    I was just watching tonights show on Jennifer Kesee. I wondered if anyone noticed on the video of the person dumping the car that the white shirt looks very similar to one worn in the service fields such as a baker, hotel service, etc. Also if they think that the person that abducted her is from the area are they continuing to watch the videos at her condo and at the place the car was dumped? It this person is in the area they may reappear in other videos. ....Just a thought....wondered if anyone else thought of this?

    January 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Judy'sSisterMaureen

    Hi – I have been looking for my sister since she went missing 11/30/1980. There was never any big national push – because she was 19 when she vanished. To all the naysayers who are ragging on Nancy Grace – shame on you. You want to do something positive? Get on board and help find missing people. My sister has been missing for THIRTY years. It has been my life's work to find her. I don't have the financial resources to take out ads in the paper – or I would – she wasn't an "interesting case" so was never picked up by any of the shows that look for people. Her bones have never been found. Maybe she's alive somewhere? I hope I learn the truth someday. WHERE ARE YOU JUDY?? <3

    January 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Judy'sSisterMaureen

    here's my sister's Facebook page. "still looking for Judy"

    January 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Maureen I dont know you or your sister – but I am located fairly close to Baltimore MD and will continue to look for and pray for your sister and you, your family and loved ones.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
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