Community prays for safe return of Olson


By Anne Marie Amacher

Supporters of the family of Carrie Olson hold candles during a vigil for the missing 29-year-old Feb. 23 at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport.

DAVENPORT — St. Paul the Apostle Church was full of concerned people praying for the safe return of 29-year-old Carrie Olson, a graduate of the parish school. St. Paul’s pastor, Father Tony Herold, led the candlelight prayer vigil Feb. 23.
Fr. Herold extended a welcome to people of many different faiths who attended to show support for Olson and her family — her parents, Dave and Karen, and her sister, Jacklyn Crisci. “We extend our prayer for guidance and strength.”
Her family last saw Olson on Dec. 28. She also was seen that day on video filling up her car at a gas station in Rock Island, Ill. No activity has been recorded on her cell phone or credit cards since that time.
“We pray for Carrie today and for strength for her family,” Fr. Herold said.
Following the first reading and proclamation of the Gospel, Fr. Herold paused to look at the Easter candle in the sanctuary and at an enlarged photo of Carrie before he began his homily.
He said he has been working with the family to plan the vigil for several weeks. “We want to keep Carrie before us. Look around every corner. There is a hole in the community. We will continue to pray until we find answers. We gain strength through our faith.”
He prayed for the safety of Carrie and for her to be comforted — and for comfort for her family. “The lights have not gone out and the days don’t get easier. We can offer you the support of prayers from this community.”
Fr. Herold said hope and resurrection exist even in the darkest moments of life. He pointed to the Easter candle, saying it is a sign of resurrection. “Let us never give up hope … and keep the light of faith alive.”
Julie Delaney, principal of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School, presented the family with a spiritual bouquet of flowers made from paper with prayers written on them. Delaney taught Carrie science in junior high at St. Paul’s. Carrie graduated from St. Paul’s in 1999 and from Assumption High School in 2003.
Delaney said the school continues to pray for Carrie.


Two altar servers lit tapered candles off the Easter candle and then lit the first candle in each row of the church. Participants lit their neighbors’ candles until the whole church was aglow with light. Deacon Bob Shaw read a Litany of Hope.
In closing Fr. Herold spoke on behalf of the family, thanking everyone for their care and support. “Keep those candles burning in our hearts and keep up the search.”
Robert Larson of K-9 Specialties in Westchester, Ill., attended the service with his dog, Captain Dexter. Larson learned of Olson’s disappearance through requests for his help on the social media site Facebook. K-9 Specialties assists in finding missing persons.
“I had five cases last year and I found all five people,” Larson said. “God gave me this gift to do this.”
For the past month he and Dexter have searched the Quad-City area looking for Carrie. “I won’t give up until I find her. As people start to lose their hope and faith, that’s when I find them. Giving up is not an option.”
Carrie’s parents traditionally spoke with her each day. When she didn’t show up to work at the family business Dec. 30, they attempted to call her at home to see if she was sick. When she did not answer, they went to her Davenport home. Her car was gone and the house was empty. “We immediately called the police,” Dave said.
Because Carrie was an adult and it was the holidays, police did not consider her missing for four days, Karen said.
The family started looking for Carrie immediately on Dec. 30 and searched her bank and cell phone records. They called phone numbers from most recent on backwards. “This has been a nightmare,” Karen said. “We are never going to stop searching for Carrie until we find her. Where there is light, there is hope.”
A Facebook page called “Find Carrie Olson” has been established with updates and organized search dates.
Anyone with information on Olson’s disappearance should call the Davenport Police Department at (563) 326-7979.

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