I wanted to share a little bit of news with you, at least as much as I can. First, regarding the Garridos, their property has been searched, they have been interviewed by our investigators, and now they have both been polygraphed, and I believe we are able to conclude that they had nothing to do with Michaela’s kidnapping. So what that means is that it is even more imperative that we find the someone else who did. Whatever they may have done in their lives, the Garridos are in prison and will remain there for as long as they live. They will not be in a position again to hurt another child.
As far as we know, the person who kidnapped Michaela is likely still out there, free, and as long as he is, other children remain in danger.
I did meet with Inspector Rob Lampkin this week, and we discussed some of the things he feels need more investigating. Believe me, there are some excellent, excellent leads in this case. What we need is the opportunity to thoroughly investigate them. Unfortunately, that opportunity is difficult to come by. The police department has its policies, including a rotation by which our investigator is regularly assigned to new cases, which can take days, weeks, or months of his time away from Michaela’s case. And as someone recently said to me, “Something new is always going to come up. A decision needs to be made as to whether or not Michaela’s case is going to become and remain a priority.
Obviously, it should. But nobody is able to guarantee that it will. Even if every single person who has any say right now were to agree to this, one of the problems with police departments is that there is a constant changing of the guard, and there is no telling where this case might be shoved into the background. There are so many levels … the detective, the sergeant, the lieutenant, the captain, the chief, and the process can break down at any link in this chain.
So what can I do? I can ask nicely. I can complain. I can hope and pray and trust. Or I can do something.
I have learned recently that a number of positions in the police department are not paid for by the City, but rather are funded by grants. So I have this idea that has just begun taking shape in my brain to form a nonprofit organization for the purpose of raising money to assist police departments in the investigation of cold cases. Of course, my motive is to solve Michaela’s case. I have been nice and polite and relied on the goodness of others for too long. I really need to be more proactive, to be the strongest advocate I possibly can for my daughter.
And after that, I need to give back. I was really touched recently when the remains of a missing nursing student from Michaela’s hometown were found, because they were actually found by Carrie McGonigle, the mother of another formerly missing child. Amber Dubois disappeared at age 14, and it was over a year before her remains were found. In the aftermath, Amber’s mother became involved in canine search and rescue. She and her dog found Michelle Le, who had been missing for four months. I can’t imagine the emotions of that moment. None of us want our children to be found deceased, but if that is what happened, we need to know. We need to bring them home to rest. For a mother to had been denied that for such a long time to help bring that resolution to other families is, I’m sure, at once heart wrenching and deeply satisfying.
The purpose of the nonprofit organization I would like to start, therefore, will be to provide the resources to help solve Michaela’s case, and then to help solve whatever long-unsolved missing children’s cases that can be solved — it will be to enable those investigators to be able to make the case a priority and keep it a priority. There are a thousand missing children’s organizations dedicated to getting the word out about missing children. This one will be for the purpose of helping find them.
There are a lot of questions that I need to answer. I’ve had some encouragement from some fine folks, but I know I will need more than encouragement … I will need a lot of smart people who are willing to help make this a reality. But the first step is to gather my courage to take the first steps.
Seriously, you would think that with Jaycee having been found alive, the paradigm would have changed completely. I don’t know the statistics, but I’d say the number of long-missing children who are found alive is probably not that much less than the number who are found dead. How dare anybody assume that their cases are any less important than any other cases, just because they happened years ago instead of last week? Yet this is what happens. And this needs to be changed.