Facebook page fuels investigative editor’s work on missing persons

Police indifference and incompetence in the handling of adult missing persons cases was the first major topic Michelle Tuccitto Sullo tackled after she was named to the new position of investigative editor at the New Haven Register in December.

Among the tools she used in reporting the story was to set up a “Missing in Connecticut” Facebook page.

At first, it was used just to post links to the stories Michelle was writing. But there is a whole community of family and friends of missing persons who organize themselves through social media and the web, and they almost literally took over the page. Since then, it has been dominated by family members exchanging information and links with each other. It’s been a virtual support group. And it’s connected Michelle with new sources and new leads in pursuing the topic.

And Michelle’s reporting is starting to pay off. On February 15, the Connecticut State Police announced the formation of a special unit dedicated to missing persons cases.

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About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo is group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen, Connecticut Magazine and weeklies including the Litchfield County Times and West Hartford News. Previously, he served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for Yardley, Pennsylvania-based Journal Register Company, Foothills Media Group's parent company. DeRienzo serves on the board of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and has served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Way of Northwest Connecticut and was named one of the "50 Most Influential People in Litchfield County" by Litchfield Magazine. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010.
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