She profiled each of them, providing as much information as the authorities had been able to gather: age, gender, injuries, what they were wearing, where they were found, what they had in their pockets. There is “The Girl With the Peach Tattoo,” a woman who was found dismembered in a garbage bag in Hempstead Lake State Park thirteen years ago. And “The Man in the Median,” found on the Northern State Parkway at least twenty-six years after his death: only a skeleton, tattered clothes, and a gold watch remained.

Alongside the story of each cold case, the Long Island Press printed the photographs of the victims’ tattoos, their clothing, and their facial reconstruction illustrations—all in an effort to trigger a reader’s memory.

Gallucci didn’t stop when her story came out. She carried stacks of the issue with her and left them everywhere she went, even taking trips to Manhattan and upstate towns to distribute them there, hoping the Long Island cases she described could be connected to missing-persons cases elsewhere. She said she was haunted by the thought that these victims would remain nameless, and that their killers would get away with murder.

She’ll never know how many tips to police hotlines came in as a result of her story. But as Tony Evelina, an area director for the a volunteer advocacy group The Doe Network, told Gallucci for her article, publicity is the key to identifying unnamed victims. “You’ve got to keep them in the spotlight constantly,” he said. “You can’t let people forget.” Gallucci earns her LAUREL for shining that light.

 

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner