Taking a deep breath, Jannel starts from the beginning. “It all started 12 years ago, Oct. 17 when my sister Gina Bos was playing at an open mike night in Lincoln, Neb. She walked out with her guitar when the event was finished, and that was the last she was ever seen.” Her guitar was left behind in the trunk of her car parked outside the pub.
While in Lincoln, Jannel recounts the story of her sister’s disappearance to me 12 years to the day Gina vanished. She returns to Lincoln on every anniversary of Gina's vanishing. Searching for more than 10 years was not a quest Jannel imagined. Upon hearing the news, she thought she would fly home, find her sister and that would be that.
But after six months of steadfastly hunting for her 40-year-old sister, who was also a singer/songwriter, Jannel says she realized her hope was futile. The year Gina disappeared, 2000, more than 850,000 missing persons reports were filed. Out of those reports, only a handful made national news, Jannel says, and that handful did not include Gina’s case. There wasn’t enough scandal or story behind it, and there were no suspects.
“I knocked on every national media door and they said, ‘We’re sorry, but we can’t help you,’” Jannel says. “Out of necessity and out of my own skill, I asked how can I take my own skills and what I’ve been doing my whole life and help others, because I can’t find my own sister so maybe I can at least help get media for someone else’s family.”
She contacted fellow musicians and asked them to report on the missing during their performances, and that very first year, someone was found, an outcome Jannel didn’t anticipate because she hadn’t located Gina.
In 2001, Jannel established the GINA for Missing Persons FOUNDation, and five years later began the Squeaky Wheel Tour, an annual concert series that takes place around the world, striving to raise awareness for missing persons. The tour has performed all over the nation and in 14 countries across the globe and musicians such as Maroon 5, Eddie Money and Susan Gibson have contributed to the cause. The GINA FOUNDation has also been featured in the 2002 and 2005 Grammy Awards.
The first year of the Squeaky Wheel Tour, the organization put 13 faces of the missing on the cover of a CD with music collected from various artists. Three days after the New York City concert, a man missing from Indianapolis, one of the faces pictured on the CD cover art, came across the CD and returned home, a revelation that “propelled” Jannel forward.
“We would like to get as many people to see these missing people in Amarillo and remember them, and embrace them, and keep an eye out for them,” says Yvonne Perea, band member of hONEyhoUSe and a longtime friend of Jannel’s. “Janell’s organization has found so many missing people by word of mouth, by looking at [pictures], remembering their faces, and remembering things about them and passing it on… The more eyes, the better."
Yvonne was a friend of Gina’s, and the day Jannel informed her of the tragedy is ingrained in her memory. She was unable to contact her former band member for a few days, but once she finally heard her voice, what she uttered was unbelievable.
“She said, ‘I’m in the fields of Nebraska looking for my sister.’ I remember that moment so clearly. It was a stomach-dropping moment, like, 'Wait a minute. What? This isn’t real.’ But it’s definitely real.”
Although the Amarillo concert tomorrow night is the first time Jannel has performed with hONEyhoUSe, she and Yvonne have collaborated before. Several years ago while Yvonne was on tour with Jannel in Oregon, the organization made buttons of pictures of the missing. Today, the button of a man Yvonne remembers as Michael, rests among the contents of her truck. “I still, every once in a while, come across his little pin that I wore and I just can’t throw it away,” she divulges. “I can’t toss it because he’s still missing. It’s important.”
Yvonne, along with her band mates Hillary Smith and Mandy Buchanan, as well as Jannel will read about five missing persons in Amarillo, including Monica Appleton, Jessica Delgadillo, Fred Moseley, Brandy Noble and Dorien Thomas, their dates of disappearance ranging from 1996 to 2010, ages 9 to 29.
At the concert, Jannel will ask five different audience members to “adopt” one of the missing persons discussed. Those audience members are then asked to make fliers and pass them out. Jannel says that she finds more success and effort when someone is able to take ownership of the person, rather than just seeing a picture and assuming someone else will take charge of the effort.
“We’re hoping to shed a little light on the local missing and maybe some tips will come in,” says Jannel, whose organization has helped find more than 1,100 missing persons through a collective effort of law enforcement, nonprofits, the media, listeners and family members. “It does work. That one flier is the one that makes a difference.”
Gina’s case remains unsolved, yet Jannel has not wavered in her efforts to find others who are missing. Yvonne praises her endurance and faith, and she hopes audience members can share in the organization's endeavors.
“I think that Jannel’s mission is, every person that’s missing deserves to be talked about,” Yvonne explains. “They deserve to be profiled. In my opinion, in the way I look at Jannel, that is her mission. She is nonstop. She is a force. It has blown me away that she is still 150 percent on the forefront of this 12 years later.”
To view information on the five missing persons to be profiled at the event, please see our photo gallery above.
FAST FACTS Who: hONEyhoUSe and Jannel Rap Where: The Fibonnaci Building, 3306 SW 6th When: Doors open at 7 p.m.; show begins at 7:30 p.m. Info: A $10 donation is suggested. For reservations, call 367-9088. For more information on the GINA for Missing Persons FOUNDations, visit 411gina.org. For more information on hONEyhoUSe, visit honeyhouse.me/home.html.
by Drew Belle Zerby
After graduating from LSU in 2009, Drew Belle worked as a page designer in north Louisiana until moving to Amarillo and joining AGN Media in late 2010. In her spare time, she loves to read, travel and spout out useless movie trivia.