Saturday, October 12, 2013

Missing Person, One Month Out

Today is October 12th, and tonight marks one month since anyone has seen my mother. My brother and I very much want to thank all the wonderful friends and family who have been so supportive and loving, just giving support and thoughts and prayers and good wishes.

What we have to say is not easy, but all of you who knew her and all of you who are encouraging us and supporting us and there for us really deserve to hear it and need to know what's going on.

There has been a very strong tentative conclusion to the case. We and the police are just about as sure as anyone can be without a body. The investigation has revealed that when she left on September 12th, she left with the intention of taking her life and keeping her body from being found. It seems that she must have succeeded on both counts.

It's very difficult to make an announcement like this, not only because the truth is painful, but also because my brother and I are in this very intensely every day. We had a very strong hunch fairly early, and we had time to get over the shock of what it was looking like. And we had time to see the evidence as it came together, as the investigation progressed. And we had time to process the reality over the weeks.

For others who are a little further out in the circle, and not dealing with it every day, a lot of you may need more processing time. It may be very difficult for you to hear this at this time. You may just not be ready for this, and I want to apologize because we really can make this announcement only once. We can't wait till every person is ready, but I wish that we could.

But unfortunately, this is the reality that we're faced with and you deserve to know. We don't like to let day after day after day go by and say nothing or say just that they haven't found her yet and nothing more.

On Thursday, October 3rd, we received a letter from the Washington Police Chief. He said,

"At this point we have followed up on all leads that we have learned of, as well as tracking down the early sightings, all of which proved unrelated.  We did 4 searches with boots & paws on the ground." (That means professionally trained search dogs and their handlers.)

He goes on to mention a lot more investigation that was done, and some very specific details that would not mean anything to most of you. Then he he goes on to say,

"She is entered in the National Crime Information Center so she would come [up] if she tried to leave or enter the country, tried to renew her license or get a duplicate passport, got stopped by the police or had another official contact.  Her bank account has been flagged for notification should there be any new activity.  I'm not sure that there is much more I can actively do without new information.

"My suggestions for proceeding from here would be:

"I send out a press release as a reminder and get her picture out there again to see if she has appeared anywhere in the last 3 weeks.

"You should contact a lawyer versed in probate law to find out what you need to do about her assets and liabilities."

Based on that advice, we contacted a lawyer and he recommended that we pursue a conservatorship with the Sullivan County Probate Court. So we're going ahead with that.

Our police chief spoke with me this past Wednesday and with my brother on Thursday. He returned a few items that had been held while the case was active. A report has been issued. The case is not considered closed, but it is wrapped up as cleanly as can be expected until, in all likelihood, a body is discovered someday.

At this point the only reasonable thing that we can do is take some time individually and together to process this in our own ways.

We have to go with the premise that she is gone, because anything else would be unrealistic and not helpful. If we're wrong, and she does show back up alive, then that'll be really a very happy surprise. And if that happens, then of course we'll see exactly what her needs are, and do everything we can to meet them. But both the local and the state police have told us not to expect this.

Once again, my family and I very much want to thank everyone for all your wonderful support and words of encouragement. Just sometimes little Facebook posts or messages or text messages like 'Thinking of you. How are you doing?' make so much difference because they remind us that we're not alone. We're surrounded by love.

We haven't started any planning yet, but we are about to start making arrangements for a gathering so that we can all come together to show our love to each other and help each other through this difficult time of transition.

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