Yesterday I got an e-mail from somebody who said she had been a kidnapping victim and had been kept by her kidnapper for a long time. She talked about the brainwashing that goes on, and how the kidnapper convinces you that your family doesn’t want you anymore, and even that you aren’t who you once were…. I told her that you know about those things, that we had talked about that in our conversations about child safety, and that I had told you that you should never, ever believe anybody who tried to convince you of those things. And yet I know that under the pressure of the circumstances, it is possible for all that you knew so certainly to come into question, for you to forget that you believed me, and for you to believe something else….
More than that, I am writing to you because there is something that happened a few years after you were kidnapped which is haunting me. Shortly after the second anniversary of your kidnapping, a man came forth who wanted to help find you. He called the Hayward Police Department, actually, and the detective there gave me his phone number. He wanted to do your astrology, to see if he could figure out what happened to you. So he did your chart … your natal chart, your transits, your progressed chart, your return charts … anyway, he would come over once a week and we’d go over this, and it took a lot of weeks. Then once your astrology was done, he offered to do mine, which took some more weeks. Then he offered to teach me astrology, and I accepted the offer, and that created a relationship that could have lasted for forever, because there is a lot to learn in astrology … and he knew it all, even the most minute scientific and mathematical details which I never quite mastered.
During all this very long time of doing astrology lessons, we became friends. The once a week lessons became dinners and weekend trips to Berkeley to visit the bookshops. He got to know my kids. And on one occasion, he brought a camera — quite a fancy camera, as I recall — and took photographs of your brothers and sister, and maybe of me as well, although I can’t remember. The pictures were taken at Hillview Crest, your school. People didn’t have pocket cameras or cell phones in those days where they were taking pictures all over the place. Anyway, he’d said he would give me copies of the pictures, and eventually I asked him about them, and he just brushed it off and said, “Oh, they didn’t come out.”
Eventually, it turned out that this guy was not really what he seemed to be. There were a lot of things about him that I was able to eventually question — no things that were really terrible, but just odd things that all put together caused me to ask question. And some other things happened as well. It turned out that he was more like a spider spinning a web, an endlessly patient spider. What his ultimate ends were … well, we don’t know.
In all the time I knew him, I had never suspected him of being involved with your kidnapping. We have an eyewitness, and a description of the kidnapper, which has allowed me to rule out a lot of people. I’ve always been thankful for that, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to trust anybody … and yet perhaps that has been a problem as well. After I had cut off contact with this person, he kept trying to contact me. Mostly he would send me things in the mail. And I had a friend he would call. All these things were presumably connected with his continued work on your case. Finally, my friend said to him, “You’d better leave her alone. She considers you a suspect in Michaela’s kidnapping, and she is going to report you.”
His response was the weirdest thing of all. Here we were, years after your kidnapping — at least three years, maybe four, and he tells my friend, “Well, I have an alibi. I know where I was on the morning of Michaela’s kidnapping. I was at the bank, and I have the receipts to prove it.”
That was a red flag if ever there was one. I mean, who except a potentially guilty person would even know they had been at the bank on the morning of November 19th three or four years earlier, much less still be in possession of a receipt still, in order to prove it?
This guy lived on the other side of the Bay, and I now work on that side of the Bay. A few weeks ago, I saw a man walking down the street, and my immediate thought was, that is a bad man. Specifically, I looked at this guy and thought, he is a pervert, maybe a pedophile. There was another man with him, and then I looked at the other man, and I couldn’t tell for certain, but the other man could have been the spider man who had invaded my life. He looked a lot older, but he would be a lot older.
And suddenly I started thinking … I started thinking about how he had come into our lives and had learned things about us. And I started thinking specifically about the photographs. I thought, what if he had taken those photographs, and had taken the things he had learned about us, and he (or someone else) had shown them to you, to prove to you that these people who had you knew us, and that we were okay with them taking you.
Just the thought of that absolutely breaks my heart. Michaela, one thing that kept haunting me over and over again after you were kidnapped was the thought of you feeling abandoned — the moment when you realized that help was not coming. That I wasn’t going to save you. The thought of you giving up hope was crushing to me. I have said it now in a million ways in a million places, but the one thing you can count on always being true, Michaela, is that I love you, and I have never stopped loving you. If anybody took you and told you any different, they are lying. This is the truth, these words here. No matter what stories they may have come up with, no matter what proofs they may have concocted — none of it is true.
I know that you were a fighter, Michaela. I know that you were smart. If these people invaded my life in order to help control you over two years after your kidnapping, that just proves it. But if so, it was a lie. And if you are out there, that fighting spirit is still there inside you. You were able to fight for the truth, because you knew the truth, and you still do. I love you. I have never stopped loving you. I have never stopped longing for you. If you are out there somewhere, COME HOME. You can leave a comment at the end of this blog, and it will come right to me, but it will not give me any way of answering you personally or getting in touch with you. But if you leave your contact information, I will contact you. Or send me an e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You remember that book I used to read to you guys? It was about a mother and son, and through all the stages of the son’s life she kept loving him? Remember the words? They are for you … “I love you forever, Michaela. I like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
Please … come home.
Love you forever,