Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A sister's mission - Justice for Mikelle Biggs

Mikelle Biggs
Missing January 2, 1999
It has been 17-years since 11-year old Mikelle Biggs vanished from her Mesa neighborhood on January 2, 1999. Her disappearance sparked the largest search for a missing child in Arizona's history.

Mikelle would have turned 29-years old today. The day Mikelle vanished, her younger sister Kimber, now 26-years old, had been outside walking the family dog while Mikelle had been riding Kimber's bicycle. The girls had been waiting for the ice-cream truck and Kimber recalls becoming cold and going inside her home for only a few minutes.

In in interview on March 31, 2016 with Angela Schuster of Cronkite News, Kimber recalls the moment she discovered her sister was gone, "It's almost like a Twilight Zone kind of thing. It was gray and foggy, and all I saw was my bike in road."

Mikelle's disappearance has weighed heavy on Kimber's heart. Growing up, Kimber was trying to cope with Mikelle's disappearance and the impact it had on her family that no words can adequately describe.

While experiencing fear that is common to someone with a missing family member, Kimber was also plagued with guilt thinking it had been her fault her sister had been abducted - fellow students at her school had not made coping any easier, even asking Kimber why she had left her sister alone.

Reassurance Mikelle's disappearance was not her fault that she received from her parents Darien and Tracy Biggs had not really been understood by Kimber until years later.

The trauma and "suspended grief" associated with the disappearance of a loved one is not often understood. According to professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Pauline Boss, when a loved one is missing, the ambiguity is one of the worst traumas a family member can experience. "People suffering this kind of loss often blame themselves," says Dr. Boss. The majority of her work is to remind the family members that the situation is not their fault. Dr. Boss is also the author of Loss, Trauma and Resilience.

Mikelle with sister Kimber Biggs.
When Mikelle went missing, Kimber became the oldest child of her younger brother Nathan and little sister Lynelle While there is a an empty space in the Biggs family, Kimber takes her role as big sister very seriously, spending time with her younger siblings, as she knows the pain of losing her own big sister.

Even though it has taken years to process the trauma associated with the loss of her older sister, Kimber has grown into a remarkable young woman who now has a child of her own. She has also mustered every ounce of courage and strength, becoming the primary  - and very outspoken advocate for her sister, creating Justice for Mikelle Biggs and publicly speaking in news interviews to gain answers. Even Phoenix Police Department's Missing and Unidentified Unit and Arizona Missing and Unidentified Persons created by Det. Stuart Somershoe, reached out to Kimber to help with the first Arizona Missing Person's Day held October 24, 2015, at Arizona State University's West Campus.

Having known Kimber since she was a little girl, she is a young woman who epitomizes the word "strength" and needs the continued support of the community.

"Society is really rough on the families of the missing. They don't understand quite what to do, and unfortunately what people tend to do therefor is stay away, says Dr. Boss. "Please don't stay away from these families."

The greatest source of strength comes from the heart but also from an external support network. One of the greatest birthday gifts Mikelle could receive is the continued support of her little sister Kimber in her effort to find answers to ensure the Bigg's family receive the justice they are so deserved.

We can support Kimber's effort by sharing the Facebook site Justice for Mikelle Biggs 

Anyone who has information about the disappearance of Mikelle Biggs is asked to call Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.

Justice or Mikelle Biggs Facebook link: (https://www.facebook.com/mikellebiggs/?fref=ts)









Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Please say their names . . .

I read 'Please Say Their Names' today on the Streeter Family Blog . . .


Please Say Their Names
Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter and Sherrill Levitt

The time of concern is over. No longer are we asked how we are doing. Never are the names of our loved one mentioned to us. A curtain descends. The moment has passed. Lives slip from frequent recall. There are exceptions: close and compassionate friends, sensitive and loving family. Still look. Still ask. Still listen. Thank God for them. For most, the drama is over. The spotlight is off. Applause is silent. But for us the play will never end. The effects on us are timeless. What can be said, you ask? Please say “their names” to us.

Love does not die.

Their names are written on our lives. The sound of their voices replay within our minds. You may feel they are dead. We feel they are of the dead and still they live. They ghost-walk our souls, beckoning in future welcome. You say, “They were our loved one”; we say, ” They are”. Please say “their names” to us and say “their names” again.

It hurts to bury their memory in silence. What they were in flesh is no longer with us. What they are in spirit stirs within us always. They were of our past but they are part of our now. They are our hope for the future. Please understand we cannot forget. We would not if we could. We know that you cannot know, yesterday we were like you. Understand that we dwell in both flesh and spirit. We do not ask you to walk this road. The ascent is steep and the burden heavy. We walk it not by choice. We would rather walk it with them in the flesh, looking not to spirit worlds beyond. We are what we have to be. What we have lost, you cannot feel. What we have gained you may not see. Please say “their names” for they are alive.

We will meet them again, although in many ways we’ve never parted. Their spirits play light songs, appear in sunrises and sunsets. They are real and shadow, they were and they are. Please say “their names” to us and say “their names” again. They are our loved one and we love them as we always did. More each day.

PLEASE, SAY THEIR NAMES

~ Author Unknown

There are just no words but I do know know how important it is to their families they are not forgotten. Sending much love and HOPE to the families of Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter and her mother Sherrill Levitt (Springfield Three) who vanished June 7, 1992 from Springfield, MO. Someone knows . . . this is a reminder to them that it is not too late to come forward and the only 'right' thing to do.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Advocate Flashback with USA Network (The 4400 Show)


Flashback to about 2005. USA Network and the show '4400' PSA in partnership with my former agency Nation's Missing Children Organization & National Center for Missing Adults. A personal reminder that I was born to advocate BIGTIME!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Olivia Newton John's missing boyfriend reportedly found alive! Tell me what you think.

Good news? Finding someone alive always is the "best news" but there are other things we should also take into consideration with this particular kind of missing person case.

missing person caseA decade ago, I handled the missing person case of Patrick McDermott, Olivia Newton John's boyfriend. Daily Mail and MSN.com reports McDermott is reportedly alive and well living in Mexico. Hearing the new, I am sure it was nothing short of a miracle for his family and friends.

Originally reported on Dateline in 2010, the source appears very credible. Texas private investigator Philip Klein wrote a book in 2012 that detailed his investigation, Lost at Sea: The Hunt for Patrick McDermott. where he details his communications with McDermott and McDermott's legal counsel.

I have always waited until absolute confirmation from the FBI or investigating law enforcement agency before making comment. However, if it is true that he is in fact safe and sound and has requested his privacy, I do have something to say about that! 

Most might think that someone intentionally going missing for such a long period of time might be common, it is not. While I am grateful to hear such good news, I also have a problem. First, a case like this lessens the urgency and public concern for other missing person cases that "depend" upon ongoing dissemination of information. An individual selfishly vanishing without notifying friends and family only perpetuates the assumption that everyone that goes missing has left on their own, and n"no worries" because they are safe and sound. 

His family, his child, and his friends have suffered nearly eleven years of trauma "not knowing" if he was alive or deceased, reportedly even wondering if he committed suicide. In addition, immediately following his supposed fall overboard, law enforcement and the Coast Guard dedicated an enormous amount of investigative resources and search efforts . . .even my former agency provided assistance. We averaged 100 calls per day from law enforcement and families reporting new missing person cases throughout the country.

If Patrick McDermott is indeed okay, then welcome home buddy but in my opinion, you owe many a sincere apology because the resources that were expended on the search for you (while you were drinking Margaritas in Mexico), could have been used for someone who really needed help. One more thing . . . you should be required to fully refund the Coast Guard and investigating law enforcement agency. Just my opinion.

I would love to know your opinion. Do you think Patrick McDermott should "man up" and publicly apologize? Reimburse the extensive search and rescue efforts? Or both?