When Jeff Skemp (father of missing teen Rachel Mellon) was buying groceries a few years ago at Cub Foods, his grandson noticed a picture on a bench near the checkout line.
"My grandson was three at the time and has never met Rachel and he doesn't really understand what happened to her. He pulled on my shirt and said 'Papa, there' my Auntie!' And there she was watching us pack our groceries. It reduced me to tears," Skemp said.
"It made me realize that so many people still care about my daughter after all these years," Skemp said. Skemp is very grateful to the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation for helping to keep his daughter Rachel's case information before the public.
Rachel Marie Mellon has been missing from Bolingbrook, Illinois for twenty years. Rachel was part of the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation's "Sitting With An Angel" Program. Craig and Pam Akers started the now closed Foundation when their son Shawn Hornbeck disappeared without a trace. [Shawn has since been found alive].
"Rachel, like my son Shawn, seems to have simply vanished off the face of the earth. We know that to simply vanish without a trace is not possible," Craig Akers said before Shawn was recovered. "Someone is responsible for her disappearance. Someone has information about what happened to Rachel. We appeal to anyone that has any information whatsoever about Rachel's disappearance to please come forward and help us bring this Angel home."
As part of the Foundation's "Sitting With An Angel" program, advertisers sponsored benches including both advertising and information about missing children. Benches were placed inside or in front of high traffic business establishments, such as grocery stores, so that as many as people as possible can see the information.
Illinois benches containing Rachel's case information and picture were placed in Pontiac, Downers Grove, Springfield, and Joliet. Years ago, Skemp spoke at the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation's Bench Dedication for Rachel in front of the Cub Foods located at 1212 75th Street in Downers Grove.
"Somebody out there knows something and that's why keeping her name out there is important. Someday, someone is going to remember something, someone is going to have a conscience, and hopefully, we can bring Rachel home."