Friday, February 20, 2009

Missing children and homicide grief

Many years ago, when I was a young mom, my mother-in-law made a comment that startled me. My oldest son was probably around 4 years old. She said "you better protect him" "there are crazy men out there that prey on young boys" etc........

I have to say I was pretty darned shocked. I guess I had grown up fairly sheltered. I grew up inside the Baltimore beltway less than a mile from the Baltimore City line. I didn't think I was sheltered but, yes, I was.

In any case, I thought my mother in law was being just a bit paranoid. I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined someone taking my child to satisfy their perverse needs. It seemed ludicrous. We were getting ready to move to the country and we were going to be isolated. My husband and I were looking forward to the peace and quiet. We were looking forward to the isolation.

Twenty years later my son and daughter in law moved to an isolated spot. They weren't moving very far away but the house was isolated. My mother in law was worried about Denise being out there alone all by herself with the two boys. In the same way she worried about me with my two boys twenty years before.

Again, I thought she was being just a bit paranoid.

Of course, we know what happened. A year after moving in Denise was taken from her home and separated from her babies in broad daylight. She was subsequently brutally raped and then murdered less than 5 miles from her house. The babies were left stranded in a crib. Denise, beautiful sweet baby at the age of 21, killed. Just like that. Gone. Snuffed out. Disposed of as if she was disposable. Not!

Our lives will never be the same.

Wow. Was I naive.

And all these missing children. I can't imagine the pain young parents must feel. The anger.

I never thought about missing children much. I figured they were usually taken by disgruntled spouses. And, I guess the majority of them are. Still.... what did I know?

And, wow. Was I naive.

Two stories over the years before Denise went missing moved me. Pilar Rodriguez and Shawn Hornbeck's stories for some reason.

Pilar mostly because we had just moved to Florida when she went missing and I felt at the time the police weren't doing all they could to find her. I thought it was because she was Hispanic. I could've been wrong. I hardly remember the details. I just remember the thought. I could've been way off.

Shawn Hornbeck because somehow he survived. His story is one of such hope.

I don't know why I'm writing this. Maybe I'm writing it for those readers that haven't gone through such a crisis. Protect your kids. Don't be paranoid but do be smart. It could happen to anybody.

I worry sometimes that my grandchildren will be kidnapped.

I wonder if I'm being paranoid.

I don't know. I answered the door the other day to strangers. They ended up being Jehovah's Witnesses. I thought afterward, "gee, maybe I shouldn't have answered the door." Was Denise taken simply because she answered a door? We don't know how he got in. We know the windows were open. Does that mean I have to lock my windows all the time?

What an insane world. It's really messed up. The questions why? why? why? I don't think I'll ever get past asking why. I know there are no answers.

I best stop thinking about it. I hope they find little Haleigh Cummings soon.

Sorry. Once again I'm crying on the inside not only for Denise and my family but for the Cummings family, for the Rodriguez's, the Lunsfords...... I cry for them all.

What's going on? What's wrong with us? These children (and I lump Denise in there at the age of 21) are our future?

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