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)