Missing Young Adults
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is not only dedicated to helping families and law enforcement when it comes to cases involving missing children, but also cases involving young adults- ages 18, 19 and 20. The PROTECT Act of 2003 contains a provision, known as Suzanne’s Law, that recognizes the U.S. Congress’ concern for the safety of missing young adults. With the passing of this provision, and at the request law enforcement, NCMEC resources can also be utilized in cases involving missing 18, 19 and 20-year-old individuals.
Suzanne’s Law was put into place in part by the tireless efforts of Mary and Doug Lyall whose 19-year-old daughter Suzanne Lyall disappeared as she was heading back to her dorm room at the State University of New York in Albany. Suzanne, “Suzy,” Lyall has been missing since March 2, 1998.
When Suzy disappeared, anyone over the age of 18 was considered an adult and therefore was not listed as missing with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The Lyalls felt their 19-year-old daughter should be considered a missing child and fought hard for what became known as “Suzanne’s Law.”
“When Suzy first went missing, we had nowhere to turn,” said Mary Lyall, explaining why she fought for Suzanne’s Law, which has helped many searching families. “We were ordinary everyday people and didn’t realize we could have such an impact.”
As of March 2, 2021, NCMEC had 330 active cases involving missing young adults.
19-year-old James “Martin” Roberts was last seen on April 21, 2016 at a bus stop near the Appalachian State University Convocation Center in Boone, North Carolina. At the time of his disappearance, Martin did not have his cell phone with him nor did he have access to a vehicle. There is no explanation for his sudden loss of contact with loved ones, which makes his case even more troubling for his family members. Martin would now be 24 years old. Anyone with information about James Martin Roberts is asked to contact 1-800-THE-LOST or the Boone Police Department at 828-268-6900.
The last time anyone saw Tyarra Williams was on Jan. 7, 2016. The 19-year-old was outside of her family’s apartment complex in Greensboro, North Carolina with her brother and boyfriend. She mentioned that she was going to walk to a friend’s house nearby and would return shortly, but Tyarra vanished without a trace. Tyarra was due to start taking classes at a nearby community college and had arranged to go school shopping with her mother the following day. With plans that indicating that Tyarra was looking toward the future, her sudden disappearance was alarming. Tyarra would now be 24years old. Anyone with information about Tyarra Williams is asked to contact 1-800-THE-LOST or the Greensboro Police at 336-373-2222.
Mary Lyall will never stop looking for her daughter until she finds the answers she desperately needs. Mary is also a member of NCMEC’s Team HOPE, an army of volunteers who have had a missing or exploited child and work with other families going through similarly tough times.