Thursday, October 18, 2012


On October 5th a 10 year old girl vanished from a nearby town. On October 7th, her backpack and water bottle were found in my neighborhood, just a few streets over from our street. That set off a flurry of activity around our house, including putting our neighborhood on surveillance, checking ID's, and only allowing residents in and out that day. The following Wednesday, her body was found about 6 miles from our house, closer to her own, in an desolate open space area. It's been heartbreaking.

At first, people didn't want to tell their children what was going on. I never got that the choice. The kids were in the car with me, on the way to a birthday party, when I was ID'd and questioned for 10 minutes while trying to leave the neighborhood. They were full of questions that afternoon. We talked honestly about what was going on, and hung up the fliers were were given. For the next several days, all my outings and walks were accompanied by police combing the streets and the fire department combing the parks and open spaces. I can't tell you how upset I was to learn a few days later that her body was found and, as the police detective said, not intact. The days following that were filled with more door-to-door police interviews, DNA sample requests from white males in our neighborhood, and drive-by FBI wireless activity surveillance (which has been simplified now, but the way. It involves two people slowly driving by in a sedan using a smart phone). Luckily the FBI has no problem showing you a badge an explaining what they're doing when you ask why they're parked in front of your house. Otherwise I'd probably be calling the tip line to report suspicious behavior!

Last night there were 6 or 7 police on our street again, going door-to-door taking information and asking questions. They were from the girl's town, not ours. The kids were outside, as was I, so we all talked. The man I spoke with told me how nice, and how unusual it was, to see a bunch of kids playing outside in the streets. Brandon once again wanted to know why we talked about what we talked about, which lead to another honest discussion about what's been going on.

I realized today that the weight of all of this is crushing. And I'm just an outsider! Although I desperately want her killer to be caught, talking to the police is becoming unnerving. I'm starting to recognize the plain-clothes cops, the detectives, the FBI, and the different styles of unmarked cars they drive! Talking with the police last night left me with an overwhelming sense of dread, which in turn lead to yet another sleepless night.  The traffic on the way to Bible study was unusually heavy. I realized too late that my route takes me right by the open space where the body was found! All day today I was an emotional mess. Nothing about my Bible study made me feel that way, so the only conclusion I could come to was this child abduction. Brian's been gone for the better part of almost two weeks, so I've really got no one to talk to about all of this. I feel like I'm walking this journey alone, answering all the kid's questions and shouldering the burden solo. This morning just about every sad thing that someone said set me off internally into a shadowland of darkness.

Our town has been up to it's eyeballs in fear and frustration. People want cameras on houses and at every intersection. The message boards and Facebook are alive with suspicions and ideas, most of which boil down to how comfortable people would be living under surveillance. Every new car is under scrutiny. Every person that's never been seen before is a threat. I've been walking the thin line between a responsible parent and a fearful parent. My children still walk home. They still play outside. I can hear them, but I'm not there at all times watching them. Yesterday, when they didn't arrive home at their allotted time, I was more anxious than I should have been. All they did was walk home on the street with other kids instead of heading up the walking path right behind our house, which takes a few minutes longer. But still, I let my anxiety get the best of me.

My thin line might have cracked this morning, though. A mother at school asked if I was walking home with them. She'd been told at a recent town forum (that I couldn't attend) that police had told the parents not to let their children walk home alone. When my kids walk home, they are with many other kids that live on our street or in our neighborhood. The police that have been coming door-to-door have told me how nice it is to see kids outside, and to be watchful, but not worried. The mother I spoke with hasn't experienced any of this. Even though she's walking distance from our house, she's enough streets over that the police aren't combing her neighborhood daily. My motherly instincts are on high alert now. Why are the police from different town saying different things? I don't want to live my life fearful that bad things will happen to my children any time their alone. How does this prepare them for adulthood? How does my fear accomplish anything?

Studies on abductions have shown that most abducted children are taken by people they know. But sometimes that's not the case. What no one knows right now is who took this little girl, and where that person is. That's the hardest for me - knowing that he's out there right now, seeing all the same news reports that I am. Right now I'm just praying, asking to God to watch over my children, and stepping up the parental vigilance that seems to be required at this time.

**Update - the killer was caught on October 23rd. He is a 17 year old boy from the little girl's neighborhood. His mother made the call for him to turn himself in. While this is heartbreaking on so many levels, the heaviness surrounding watching our kids like eagles, at least in our neighborhood,
 has been lifted.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


mmmmm.... crab spread.