30 years of waiting and suffering for family of missing Scranton girl


SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It was exactly 30 years ago Friday that an 11-year-old disappeared without a trace in Scranton.

Family members of Jolene Lakey say they have been living a nightmare and just want to know what happened to her.

The cold case starts outside the old Mercy Hospital in Scranton. The facility is now called Regional Hospital of Scranton.

On August 26, 1986, Jolene Lakey was visiting her mother and left to walk to a friend’s house several blocks away but was never seen again.

“This is a living hell,” Lakey’s mother Lois Dunham said.

It has been 30 years of waiting and 30 years of suffering for Lois Dunham and her children.

They are still desperately trying to find out what happened to their daughter and sister, Jolene Lakey.

“It’s like someone is choking us and ringing our necks. It’s horrible,” Dunham said.

An age progression photograph gives some indication of what Jolene Lakey might look like today.

Her family believes somebody knows something.

“At this point, I don’t care how they know or how long they knew or what happened, I just want someone to tell us what happened. I just want to know,” Lakey’s sister Justina Forsythe said.

Back in the 1980s, missing persons flyers were hung all over Scranton but with no luck.

In the past, police named a person-of-interest in Lakey’s disappearance, former Scranton auto mechanic Frank Osellanie.

He was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing another young girl in 1990 but has denied any involvement in Lakey’s case.

While he was never charged, Lakey’s family members think he knows something about the case.

“Frank, if you know anything, tell the truth no matter what happens. We’ve suffered way too long!” Dunham said.

Lakey’s case is so important to Commissioner Pat O’Malley that he created a missing children’s kiosk in her honor on courthouse square in Scranton.

He is now also personally offering $5,000 for anyone with information on the case.

In 30 years, Lakey’s family has been living with so many questions.

“You ask yourself questions like: what could I have done or did she know we loved her?” Forsythe said.

State police say a cold case like this is never closed until it is solved.

Anyone with information should call Pennsylvania State police in Dunmore.

Lamar Advertising is also providing billboards in the near future to highlight Jolene Lakey’s disappearance to help spur possible tips.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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