FAIRFIELD, Ohio - It has been six months since anyone has seen 22-year old Katelyn Markham. The college student disappeared from her home in Fairfield on August 13, 2011.
Volunteers say they don't want people to forget about Markham, so they launched "Operation Valentine".
"We're going to try to paint the city with missing posters all over just as our valentine to Katelyn that someone loves her and cares," said Shari Crystal, one of the volunteers. Several hundred new posters were donated to the effort by Bethart Printers in Hamilton and another anonymous business.
The volunteers also hope the reward money will bring in tips. It was doubled last week when Cincinnati restaurant owner Jeff Ruby donated $25,000 to the reward fund, bringing it to $50,000.
Posters are being hung in businesses and on utility poles through out Fairfield, Hamilton and beyond. Volunteers say they hope the posters will generate leads for police to find Markham.
"It's just to make a statement," said Sandee Beckett, another volunteer. "Please, take a look at it and if you know of somebody who knows something, or you do yourself, please come forward and bring this information so that it can be put to rest," she urged.
Markham was last seen at her townhouse on Dorshire Drive in Fairfield. She was gone along with her red cellphone. There have been several organized searches to try to locate her, including efforts by Texas EquuSearch which specializes in organizing searches for missing people.
However, all of those efforts have been unsuccessful thus far. Volunteers fear the interest in Markham's disappearance is waning. They wanted to re-introduce the posters with the new reward amount prominently displayed and in areas outside of Fairfield.
"They're being spanned out more than just the Fairfield area, which I think is vitally important," said Beckett.
"Money talks," said Crystal, "She needs to come home. It's been six months."
Fairfield Police say this is an active and ongoing investigation. They say as information continues to come in, they follow up on it. An investigator is assigned to the case full-time.
Meanwhile, Texas EquuSearch had named Jeff Ruby to its board of directors.
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