Mom, who also went by “Marie RiverSun” or Marie Downs, was originally from Fruita, CO, though she later spent most of her years in AZ. She was vivacious, intelligent, and a talented artist and musician. She inspired us, instilling in us a love of books, art, and science.
She faced tremendous challenges in life, and eventually succumbed to a vicious mental illness. After a brief period of treatment, she became homeless and she lost all contact with us, her three children, in 2007. She was last seen alive at age 63, in 2014.
We have decided to donate Mom’s remains to a Forensic Anthropology Department to help other families locate missing loved ones. In the county where she died, there are forty unclaimed bodies found each year — and thousands more around the country. Many more are missing and never found. Most of them are mentally ill, homeless, and/or victims of human trafficking. Often, laws meant to protect patients’ rights and privacy prevent family members from getting these individuals the help they need. It is our hope that we can bring awareness to this issue and help more missing persons cases get investigated and solved.
What We Need
Mom did not have any assets or money and this little family is left to cover all related expenses. We are asking for a small donation from you to help cover travel and lodging expenses for us three children so that we may visit Mom’s final resting place and say goodbye. We are also in the process of coordinating transportation and donation of the remains across state lines, and we need your help to cover associated costs. Any amount, no matter how small, will make this difficult situation easier to bear.
The estimated costs are broken down below:
Travel costs for three people: $2,000
Paperwork and transportation of remains: $2,000
If you have also lost a loved one to homelessness and/or mental illness, and have a story you would like us to share on this page, and elsewhere as we continue to write about our story and hers, please send it to us at [email redacted].
Any donation above the amount requested will be used to establish a fund to help other families and individuals in similar situations.
-- Persephany, Chris, and Maria
Pictures of Mom:
And finally, some wise words from our childhood:
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