DeKALB – Sue Olsen’s worst fear came true when her 26-year-old son disappeared from a DeKalb bar and never came home.
Now, nine years after Bradley Olsen’s disappearance, his mother continues to line the streets with his photograph and the question that has never left her: “Do you know what happened to Bradley?”
“This is unbelievable,” Sue Olsen said. “Days and weeks and months and years just turn into your worst nightmare.”
On Sunday, Sue Olsen will join the families of missing people across Illinois as they mourn the 20th anniversary of Rachel Marie Mellon Skemp’s disappearance.
The then-13-year-old was last known to be at her Bolingbrook home in 1996.
The gathering will take place at BJ Ward Elementary School, 200 Recreation Drive, Bolingbrook, and will include a balloon release and a reading of the names of 200 missing people, including Bradley Olsen.
“Just imagine waking up and coming home and realizing that you’re loved one is gone and you can’t find them,” Sue Olsen said.
In 2010, DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller issued a presumptive death certificate for Bradley Olsen, at the family’s request. But police have never stopped looking into his disappearance, and regularly get new information, the case’s lead detective, DeKalb police Cmdr. Bob Redel said.
“We’re still looking into the case. We’re still interviewing people,” he said. “We’re constantly getting tips. Every month, every month and a half, somebody will call with information that we’ll look into.”
Sue Olsen will speak at the memorial Sunday, along with Casandra Cales, whose sister, Stacy, has been missing since 2007, Shelia Bradley-Smith, whose two nieces, Diamond and Tionda, have been missing from Chicago since 2001, Amy Michelle McGinn, whose father has been missing from Bolingbrook since 1996, Jeff Skemp, Rachelle’s Marie Mellon Skemp’s father, and Sharonrose Zane-Neu, whose sister, April has been missing from Frankfurt since 1977.
“People of all ages all races, color, creed – everybody goes missing,” Sue Olsen said. “It could happen to any family.”
Every poster, billboard and banner she erects in Bradley’s memory has gotten her one step closer to finding the truth about her son’s disappearance, she said.
Redel encourages anyone with information about Bradley Olsen or any other missing person to come forward, no matter the circumstance.
“The public can help so much with these cases,” Sue Olsen said. “Don’t ever think that any little bit of information is not big enough to help.”