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Candlelight vigil held for Joe Hartsoe

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Five weeks ago, Joe Hartsoe dropped his laundry off at a relative’s house and has not been seen since. His family and friends have not given up hope for his safe return.

Family and friends of Joseph Hartsoe, missing since Nov. 26, 2013 gather for a candlelight vigil / Photo by Roger Starkey

Family and friends of Joseph Hartsoe, missing since Nov. 26, 2013 gather for a candlelight vigil / Photo by Roger Starkey

Between 50-75 people attended a candlelight vigil for Hartsoe Monday. On a bitterly cold night, some came to light a candle before moving on, many stayed huddled together to show support for the Hartsoe family.

Tanya Rivoire, Hartsoe’s cousin, arranged the vigil at the Family Video in Collinsville, across the street from the apartment in which Hartsoe lived. “With all of us out here, I’m hoping someone with a heart will come forward,” Rivoire said. “People don’t just vanish and no one knows anything.”

Hartsoe’s mother, Wanda, hoped someone would see the vigil and come forward. “Somebody knows something, and they’re just not talking,” Wanda said.

The missing person case for Hartsoe had lost steam, but police have received new leads in the past week, Collinsville Police Department Detective Mark Kuechle said. Police continue to follow the leads, but they have nothing concrete, Kuechle said.

When Wanda is not searching for clues to her son’s disappearance, she is at work, hoping to keep her mind occupied. “It’s doesn’t do me any good to sit at home and think about it when there is nothing I can do,” Wanda said.

Wanda’s co-workers at Illinois SW Orthopedics LTD braved the cold for the woman they consider to be part of their family. Mary Belz, Pam Marasti, LeAnne Moseley and Lorena Perez all admired their co-worker’s ability to get through a difficult time.

“She has an amazing amount of strength. I don’t know where it comes from,” Moseley said.

Shawn Durham has known Hartsoe since they were young children. Durham received a message from Hartsoe in the early morning hours of Nov. 25, the last day he was seen, asking if Durham wanted to do something later that day. Durham has not heard from Hartsoe since.

“It all just doesn’t add up,” Durham said.

Hartsoe was wearing a grey t-shirt, dark blue jacket and dark grey coat at the time of his disappearance. Anyone with information on Hartsoe’s whereabouts is asked to contact Kuechle at (618) 344-2131, extension 5138. Information can also be provided anonymously by calling (618) 301-4444.

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