In just a little over a month, it will be the 28th anniversary of Michaela’s kidnapping. Every year for a long while now I have gone to the market where she was kidnapped and have tied ribbons on the tree that is planted at the parking spot where she was kidnapped, and I have issued an open invitation to the public to come as well.
And every year I have wished that I didn’t have to do that, that I didn’t have to do anything, in fact, but if I had to have a missing child to remember, I just wanted to remember her, in my heart. Honestly what I have felt like doing was lying face down in that parking lot, in front of that tree with my eyes closed. Exactly what that would accomplish I don’t know, but it is what I see myself doing, year after year, just collapsing and lying there. My joints are a little cranky for that sort of thing, but in my heart I am prostrate. I am not standing up and trying to think of something to say, in a voice that is powerful enough to reach the few people who show up year after year. Nor do I really want to have to make nice to the members of the Hayward Police Department who show up. I am absolutely certain that there are wonderful people among them, who carry Michaela in their hearts always and would do anything to find her. But quite frankly, I don’t feel that the Department, with a capital D, cares anymore.
In June 2015 a team of search dogs from Texas came and located a couple of possible gravesites, led in their search by the detective who was then assigned to the case. After months and months they finally got around to investigating one of those sites, with a small, shallow dig, led by the FBI. I went and checked that site after they were there, and it was about a five-foot circumference, and according to the sticks we stuck in the earth, it was less than 18 inches deep. There were tree roots and compaction, our new detective told me, so they didn’t dig any further. Call me stupid, but it seems to me that in 27 years, an awful lot of root growth can occur, and an awful lot of compaction can take place.
The other locations were never investigated at all by the police department. Not only that, but they gave the okay for volunteers to go out there and dig in the ground looking for Michaela. Can you imagine that? I’d been reluctant for this to happen, because I didn’t want to be accused of potentially destroying any evidence, but what the hell, right? It has been 16 months and the police department shows absolutely no inclination to investigate these sites.
When our previous investigator took over the case, everything about Michaela had been shoved in a closet, including boxes filled with leads that were never investigated. For a few years he worked his heart out on it. He brought everything out of the closet, tried to organize it, go through the leads which came in before computerization. He was never really given the time to do it, of course. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offered to come out and organize and computerize those early leads. They sent a couple of people for a couple of days and then I guess they decided it was too big a job, because they left and never returned. Now those who really cared and were in a position to do something are gone.
I don’t know what there is left for me to do. Those people who write and tell me to stop looking for a living Michaela and start looking for her body, I asked if I should trade in my blog for a shovel. Well, we have done that. But the world is a big, big place, and a shovel is very small, and those who are willing and able to help are small and powerless, like me.
This is what I think. I think that the only way Michaela is going to be found is if she finds herself. If she is alive and aware enough to reach out to freedom of any kind, I am reaching out to her. Because at this point, if you called and gave the police department the location where she is, I don’t think they would do anything, because the gang members killing other gang members are more important that one little girl who has been missing for so long she will never be found.
Despair, that’s what I think is the feeling that makes me want to lie prostrate on the ground.
I will go this year and hang yellow ribbons on the tree. I will fill it up, as full as I can. And anybody else who wants to hang ribbons on the tree, please do so. Do it on November 19th, or November 18th or 20th or any old day you want. Please, please don’t forget Michaela. Just forget me.
And Michaela, I love you forever. I feel so deeply that I have failed you, that I have permitted others to fail you without ever having to answer for it. If you are alive, I am here, my arms are open, my heart is open. I love you. If you are not, if you are not alive, I hope that you were able to leave this life quickly, with angels at your side filling you with courage and love.
I don’t understand this. I don’t understand any of it. I don’t understand why we were chosen for this. I don’t understand how anybody in creation could ever feel that they had the right to do this to us.
I am so sorry, Michaela,
I love you, I love you. I love you.