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The Lost & Found

Sep 30, 2014

A couple weeks ago I was clearing my dining room table off.  Through out the day it doubles as a school table, craft center, an actual dining table, and my office.  Nestled among the various artifacts of our chaotic life, I found a ziploc with clippings from the coupon mailers we get every couple weeks.  Without examining the contents, I knew instantly that it had been my oldest son.  It’s not something most parents would even think twice about,  but he’s autistic, and autism makes people do funny things.   Sometimes, these things make no sense but indicate other troubles lurking. In our house, baggies, boxes, and bins full of cut up paper are the first sign.

I felt my heart rate quicken as the tears filled my eyes. I was not ready for another round of “guess the problem.” Things have been so great lately.  That’s when he says, “can you find those kids? I don’t think anyone is looking for them.”  I looked again at the bag.  He’d cut out a dozen little ads for missing children from the mailers.  This was quite a moment for us.  The pride I had in him was tremendous.  Then came the burden. He was so certain that his mom, the private investigator, could find these missing people.

He was so certain that his mom, the private investigator, could find these missing people.

The past couple of weeks have brought this very sentiment to the forefront of our lives.  Hannah Graham’s disappearance, so close to us, has illuminated so many missing persons cases in the region. Cold cases, many of which never saw local coverage, much less national are getting much needed scrutiny.  Our team has been pouring over old cases from through out the state and traveling to different regions to gather new information.

The other day, when we got back from Charlottesville, my son asked how it went.  I was dreading this.  I didn’t want to corrupt his faith that we could do anything.  Resigned, I told him that we hadn’t found anything but had learned a lot that the news hadn’t said. His response blew me away and ensured that I will never stop looking.  He said, “at least you looked, most people are probably just watching TV.”

“…at least you looked, most people are probably just watching TV.”

Today we are reserving judgement on the validity of all the claims and accusations that are coming up, and examining the facts. More than that, we’re hoping that the intense scrutiny of the media and all our combined efforts will help solve more of these cases; and one day, take a few names out of that ziploc.

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