If there's one post that's guaranteed to spread like wildfire over Facebook, it's a missing persons post, especially in regional communities.
How could they not?
You can feel the fingers of fear clutch at your chest as you read about someone's child, brother, sister, parent, and imagine someone you love out there in the wild world, cut off and alone.
In towns where everyone knows everyone and a stranger sticks out a mile, it's not so unreasonable to believe that just maybe, someone has seen them.
Thankfully, most of the time these posts have a happy ending. They (and the police) do their job; families are reunited safely.
Sometimes they don't. On those occasions, the holes left behind by the missing feel more like craters, forever altering the landscape of a community.
If you are a subscriber of the Newcastle Herald you've probably been following closely, as the masthead itself has, the case of the local NSW Hunter Valley family who's son went missing in remote Queensland.
The coroners report is likely of cold comfort to the family, missing a son.
Down south, NSW Wollongong man Kevin Docherty thinks of his missing twin sister every day, and makes regular appeals for information about what may have happened to her.
But for those missing loved ones there is hope.
There was an "extraordinary response" to a DNA program which was trialled on the NSW mid-north coast to help find missing people.
Run earlier in the year it has now been rolled out on the South Coast as well, giving hope to families who have little.
It is a welcome step forward for those who feel their loved ones have been forgotten after the initial flurry of Facebook posts die down.
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