She was 8. The last time she was seen she was doing what an 8 year-old should be doing, riding her scooter with her helmet on around the courtyard where she lived, waiting on her friend to come play. A courtyard with surveillance cameras.
There's a photo, a little blurry, from that surveillance camera of her. Helmet on to protect her if she should fall. It didn't protect her...
This little 8 year old girl was reported missing Sunday. According to the Police Chief she was last seen a little after 5pm. At 6:08pm she was reported missing. By 8pm the news was spreading the word and social media took it from there, spreading her photo far and wide. That night and the next day people were canvassing, putting up flyer's, desperately looking for this little 8 year old girl -the police, the sheriff, the FBI, locals, friends, family. The river, the beach, the woods, the neighborhood, the apartment complex it was searched over and over and over again. Her disappearance soon made national headlines...or at least Yahoo news. Where had this 8 year old gone?
On social media the comments started coming in - "She lives across the street from a homeless shelter", "has anyone checked the homeless shelter", "don't forget the homeless shelter". The homeless shelter was searched. She wasn't there. (I was amazed at how quickly blame was placed on those who don't have a building they call home. That type of reaction seems as wrong to me as racism.)
By 8pm last night, 24 hours later, the news was reporting again, this little 8 year old girl had been found, dead, in a recycling bin. The person under arrest, a 15 year old boy who lived in the same apartment complex. Someone she may have seen or known before. The police are reporting that it seems she went willingly into an apartment with the boy. The Police Chief at today's news conference, when asked, said "We don't know the exact time of death at this moment but my feeling is that she was dead before we got the call that she was missing." I watched his face as he made that statement...there was a soul deep weariness there...the search had been lost even before it had begun.
She died at the hands of someone she probably knew. Not someone from the homeless shelter across the street. Not a stranger. Not the unknown bad guy that we all fear but someone she probably knew. The alleged bad guy is a neighbor.
Praying tonight for a Mom and a Dad and extended family who are dealing with the unthinkable.
Praying tonight for a Mom who watched her son be arrested for allegedly doing the unthinkable.
Praying for my community that is in mourning...that is angry...that has questions...that is stunned.
Praying for a boy who has been accused of the unthinkable. (That is admittedly more difficult than the other three prayers.)
The last photo of this little 8 year old girl is a blurry surveillance photo of her riding her scooter, helmet on her head. How I wish it could
have protected her.
Praying tonight for Maddy.