Last year I came to a peak in my obsession with True Crime. I had read every book, listened to every podcast, and discussed every case to death. My “hobby” led me to make career decisions leading to my current position as a dispatcher at a Police Department in Utah. I was happy to consume these terrible stories for my own entertainment and didn’t think twice about it for decades.

Until 2019. I began volunteering for the Utah Cold Case Coalition and We Help The Missing organizations in doing research and putting together flyers. I enjoyed the work and the people involved. It was only at that time that I realized “True Crime” is more than just a sensational television genre – it was the lives of these people I was researching.

I had volunteered to put together flyers on the anniversary, birthday, and holidays for a loved one who’d gone missing. When creating those flyers I had to stop several times and come to terms with the reality that this person, whose picture I was editing, had been missing for twenty-six years. And another who’d been missing for one.

These stories suddenly became intensely real to me. The grief, frustration, and unbelievable trauma that these people and their families go through was apparent in their pleas to these organizations for help and they were only trying to bring more attention to their missing and murdered loved ones.

Why had I focused so deeply on learning every detail about famous serial killers? Why did I think it was okay to get entertainment from a person’s literal nightmare? I realized that I wanted to do better. To be better.

I started TNTM specifically to pull all of the available information from several databases into one place. In my research it was always frustrating to see cases listed on NamUs, Utah’s BCI lists, but not on Charley Project, or any combination of the three. This is a personal project for me to make this research easier for myself and for anyone else looking at Utah cases.

I hope you, too, can help us bring the focus to where it truly belongs – on The Names That Matter.