In an effort to keep the search active for six young men who have gone missing from San Francisco in the past few years, their families are holding a vigil tonight.
Organizers of the candlelight vigil on the Polk Street steps of San Francisco’s City Hall at 7 p.m. hope to shed light on the disappearances of Sean Sidi, 19, Crishtian Hughes, 20, Shawn Dickerson, 24, Cameron Remmer, 31, Jackson Miller, 23, and Paulo Netto, 22.
The vigil will also serve as a memorial for 20-year-old Derrick Shao, who had gone missing on Nov. 7 on his way to school at City College of San Francisco, according to Lynne Ching, mother of missing 19-year-old Sean Sidi.
He was found dead the next week in the waters by the San Leandro Marina.
Ching’s son Sidi went missing in May, and since then Netto, a 22-year-old man visiting San Francisco from Los Angeles who was last in the San Francisco’s Mission District, went missing in October. Hughes went missing in February; Dickerson in December 2011; Remmer in October 2011 and Miller in May 2010.
A joint vigil was held in September in Golden Gate Park for what was then becoming known as the “California Five” for five young men that were missing at that point.
“This is a lot of young men,” Ching said this morning. “We cannot say these disappearances are related” but she said it raises the question of why this is happening so often to young men in San Francisco.
At tonight’s event, which includes family members and supporters of the missing men, Pastor Fred Harrell from the City Church in San Francisco and other community leaders, will speak, she said.
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos was expected at the vigil but due to a scheduling conflict will not be able to attend, Ching said.
She said the vigil is not happening to create hysteria, but to raise public awareness about the disappearances.
She said the vigil is to “give voice to the missing.”
Angeline Hartmann, a spokeswoman for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an organization that has been assisting Ching and her family in the nationwide search for Sidi, said the so-called “phenomenon” of men in their early 20s going missing occurs across the country.
She said although it seems a concentration of these disappearances are happening in San Francisco in recent years, there are similar incidents in many regions.
As to why these missing people cases keep happening, Hartmann said there is no easy explanation and each case is unique.
Those attending the vigil in San Francisco are asked to bring their own battery-operated or real candles and lighters.
Police said today that they have no new information on any of the missing person cases.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News