Kids & Family

Help a Young Man's Mysterious Death Make a Difference

Dakota James Foundation hosting 5K and Gateway Clipper Cruise to raise awareness and funds

A lot of people know Dakota James' story.

Dakota disappeared on January 25, 2017 after a night out with friends. He was last seen on surveillance video, walking through downtown Pittsburgh's cultural district. His body was found 40 days later in the Ohio River. While the medical examiner ruled his death an accident, his family continues to believe something more sinister happened, and there's even speculation he was a victim of the so-called "Smiley Face Killer."

Dakota had strong ties to Pittsburgh as a WVU grad and a Duquesne grad student

While his family fights to keep the investigation alive, they formed a non-profit to keep Dakota's name alive. The Dakota James Foundation aims to make sure what happened to the James family doesn't happen to anyone else, through an improved network of surveillance cameras, better police procedures when it comes to cooperating with victims' families, and support for families of missing persons.

Dakota's mom Pam was in town this week to finish planning two events set for next weekend to raise awareness -- and funds -- for the foundation:

Here's more information on the events, which are scheduled for the morning and evening of Saturday, April 27:

North Park Boathouse

10301 Pearce Mill Rd

Allison Park, PA US 15101

8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Click here to register

Gateway Clipper Fleet

350 W. Station Square Drive

Pittsburgh, PA, 15219

6 p.m. - Until

Click here to RSVP

While she was in Pittsburgh we talked to Pam James about the foundation, why she founded it, and what they've already accomplished. Stay tuned to Sparkt for her story in the next few weeks..

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