Monday, October 26, 2009

Haunting Message

I got this e-mail over the weekend.  It is very long, but I have read it now many times.  I get a lot of e-mails, and many of them are wonderful, compassionate, full of feeling, and I love to read them.  But this one is haunting me.  It is full of empathy, for certain, but just something more that keeps drawing me back to it.

Dear Sharon


You are an amazing writer, perhaps its where you daughter got her own talent as we can see from the hauntingly beautiful poem. When I heard about Jaycee I found it to be such an incredible miracle and I started searching the net for more information. I somehow ended up on your website dedicated to Michaela and your words truly shook my soul. I felt like I just wanted to get up, run out my house and somehow find Michaela myself and bring her home to you, if only it was that easy. Michaela was a child when she was so cruelly ripped away from her family, why did God let this happen? Why does he let any child suffer? I know that they are not suffering because of God's actions but because of the actions of evil humans but sometimes you wonder how does the All powerful, All mighty Lord let these evil people get away with thier crimes. I am not daring to question God; I am simply putting across the questions which are usually asked by so many people. I believe there is a very good reason for this which we may not understand as humans, and maybe we will one day but of course we have to realize that God knows better than us and we have to trust him that one day, goodness will prevail. In your daughter's case I believe she was a chosen one, she was the epitome of pure goodness as are all children and she was chosen by God to fight this particular form of evil in the world. God knew her inner strength would overcome any evil thrown at her; her faith in God would never subside. Therefore the devil will never win and God has nothing but pride Michaela, he told the devil, 'do your worst but she will always love me'. In the same way God loves Michaela he is proud of her; he chose to show her off in front the devil because through Michaela the devil will never win. In any war, you choose your strongest fighters and God chose Michaela just like he chose Jaycee, and just like Jaycee survived through her darkness and made it to the light with radiant smile on her face, showing the world her incredible strength and that miracles really do come true, so will Michaela too.

God will never give a person any burden greater than they can bear, he won't give you any more pain greater than you can take. Each person has a limit and God never allows any person to exceed their limit. You may get to the point of breaking down and screaming 'I can't take it anymore' but remember God knows better than us, he knows how much you can take and how strength you have within you. It can only mean that God knows that like Jaycee, Michaela was strong enough to take this pain and bear this burden. There is evil in this world because of the devil, and we have to fight this evil, and overcome the devil and being chosen as one of God's fighters can be nothing but an honor. When faced with my own personal crisis and I realized this. I thought to myself, God believed in me this much? He had so much trust in me? So much belief in my faith in him? God knew that I had this strength in me when I didn't even know myself. Perhaps the day Michaela was taken, the devil sent his worker to take a child, but that child wasn't strong enough, that child didn't have that inner-strength, this child's mother couldn't bear the pain that came with this and so God sent Michaela to take this child's place. Not because he loved that child more than he loves Michaela but because he loved them both so much but he knew out of the two of them just like any mother knows the difference between her two children, he knew Michaela was the strongest. This decision of God's would have been so very hard for him but he had faith in Michaela and he has pride in the strength she has shown. He knew that other child would not survive this ordeal but Michaela would; exactly like Jaycee and so many others, Michaela was and is a survivor. Out of all the innocent children it could have been that horrible day God knew Michaela was the only child at that time and place that had the strength to survive it.

Perhaps God already asked Michaela's soul if she would be willing to help that child by taking her place and Michaela's soul agreed to help. Perhaps it was the week before she was taken, the morning when Michaela heard the 'people in the attic' and she felt the sudden conscience urge to write the forewarning poem.

God will reward Michaela for the strength and patience she has shown, I am positive God has a special place waiting for her alongside him in heaven. I see Michaela as a beautiful white rose so stunning and so pure. But she’s currently trapped in a garden full of thorns and you’re pushing your way through these thorns trying to get to her but you’re buried so deep you can't actually see her. You don't know how close you are to her or which direction to go in, your scratched and torn, bleeding and feel like you've been ripped to pieces and you have no idea how you’re going to get to her although you do know one thing, she's there. One day I'm positive you'll get to her where you'll be able to pick her up and replant her in your garden of love and happiness, in fact I believe you a very close.

I truly believe its this hope of yours, this ever lasting, never fading, ever burning hope and faith you have that you will one day be reunited with your daughter is exactly what is keeping your daughter alive and not only alive but well. I truly believe this energy and passion and desire of yours is reaching her and is giving her the strength to carry on.

I don't believe your crazy for thinking that Michaela is alive out there somewhere; I believe it is very possible for many reasons. First of all I think it would a lot easier to keep a person hidden for 21 years in comparison to keeping a 'body' hidden for that long. You can't exactly carry around a 'body' with you every where you go so you would have to hide it somewhere. But where could someone have hidden it in order to avoid it being found by now. No matter where, no matter how well you may have hidden it, somebody would have discovered it by now.

It is much easier I believe, to take a child and change their identity and present them as your own child, maybe not straight away when the kidnapping is fresh in everybody's mind, but a few years after. Meanwhile you would keep them so cut off and so hidden from the world for so long that they eventually submit themselves to you. By this time their appearance would have changed so much as well as thier will and personality. As would focus on the case in the media and therefore the public's memory of it.

So many cases of kidnap victims being kept hidden for so long have come to the light recently and in the past that it really makes you wonder how many of them are out there. How many children who simply disappeared are adults now and are living somewhere with someone and have no idea they were taken. Or have a full understanding that they were kidnapped like Jaycee obviously did and Michaela probably does too, yet still stay with thier captors. If Michaela has been with her abductor for 21 years its likely that she, like the others has had the chance to try and escape but there is something keeping her there. Amnesia? Emotional ties- Children? Fear? Stockholm syndrome? Who knows? It comes back to the others, what kept Jaycee there? Remember she too was taken in similar circumstances as Michaela- she was kidnapped at around the same age but what stopped her from seeking help when she had so many opportunities? No doubt whatever it was that stopped her, is also stopping Michaela from running away too. Remember Jaycee was found by accident, it wasn't because of any conceited effort she made herself to get help. It was because her captor made a mistake, he got lax and he thought after 18 years off getting away with his crime, taking Jaycee out with him and presenting her as his daughter would be easy enough. We just have to pray that Michaela's captor makes a similar mistake. But if it hadn't of been for that mistake would Jaycee still be living with the Garido's as she has done for the past 18 years? Most likely, I don't think she would have ever run away, if she was going to do that she would have done so by now. I am not blaming her, I am sure there was nothing more she wanted than to be free, but I think somehow she got stuck in a rut, she became so accustomed to her life there it felt safe to her, I think running away into the big, bad world seemed like the scarier option to her, its probably the same case with Michaela too.

When Jaycee spoke to her mother after her rescue reportedly she told her, 'I remember everything' meaning her childhood. Yet something still stopped her from getting help and returning to this childhood. Amongst other reasons it was probably also because of her kids.

What then can be said of Shawn Hornbeck? His was an even more unusual case, he had so many hours free and away from his abductor when hi abductor was at work, he apparently had friends, a girlfriend, a cell phone, he was allowed to drive his abductors truck by himself, so what stopped from running away or telling someone. There were even two occasions when he had contact with the police, once when he was alone- the abductor was at home and another time when he called them himself over a lost bike. He had internet access and even wrote on the website dedicated to the fact that he was still missing, he asked his own parents through this website 'how long do you plan on looking for your son', it was almost like he was saying 'stop looking for him, your wasting your time'. He had seen on TV. and on the internet his parents extreme distress, his parents who he obviously loved and missed very much yet once again he didn't feel the need to stop this distress by letting them know he was still alive, why not? If not for himself for them. He was only found by coincidence, so what kept him there? The shame of being sexually abused? Perhaps, but it must have been something else that even his abductor knew too or else why would he allow him so much freedom. What gave him so much confidence that Shawn wasn't going to run away? At what point did his abductor realize that this young boy was completely under his control enough to leave him by himself with out him worrying that he would to police or his parents. There is obvious some sort of power these people have over their victims, that no one can understand unless they are in that situation. Often when the victim is taken out of the situation, they too can not explain why they didn't run away, Shawn described it as going in to 'autopilot' and becoming kind of like a robot under the captors control. Steven Stayner said he simply 'didn't know' why he didn't escape sooner.

Over all I believe the more cases that are coming to light, it is defiantly something that psychologists should investigate- what stops these victims from running away? It goes way beyond the Stockholm syndrome theory. I don't think any real research has been conducted on this so far because it has been such an uncommon thing to find a person in this situation. I don't believe it is uncommon that it happens, I believe there are thousands of missing children out there being kept this way, I just believe they are not being found because if you think about the ones who have been found, they were found by coincidence, Shawn Hornbeck, Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Fritzl etc, they were essentially 'rescued' by accident, the police weren't looking for them in that moment, they just happened to come across them. Who knows how long more they would have been hidden for otherwise? And like I said how many more of them are out there?

Children are different to adults in that they seem to accept sudden changes easily. If you have ever seen a child from a foreign country who can't speak English put in an English speaking school, in an English country, they soon pick it up very quickly, usually quicker than most adults. They are very malleable and adapt to thier surroundings very quickly. One report that particularly striked me was of a man who believes he spoke to Jaycee as a child through his garden fence not long after she was kidnapped. He asked whether she 'lived there' or was 'visiting' to which she answered that she lived there. This was maybe only a few months after she was taken.

You mentioned once, that this was maybe because of Jaycee's laidback nature and perhaps Michaela wouldn't be as complacent as someone like Jaycee and for this reason she may not have survived. I think that's not true, if you read about Natasha Kampusch, she was a very feisty young girl and still is, yet she stayed with her kidnapper for so long. She even says it was very obvious that her kidnapper regretted picking her because of her strong willed attitude but it was this strong will which allowed her to build up the courage to eventually run away 8 years later although she had missed some previous opportunities. Similarly, Shawn Hornbeck's captor had every intention of killing Shawn when kidnapped him and it was actually at the point of being strangled that Shawn managed to somehow talk this very obviously determined man out of killing him. What a smart and brave child and once again it just proves that you don't have to be 'laid back' to survive.

Michaela was 9 and seems like she was very smart. She was also very aware of the situation she was in, as she had been educated about what to do in kidnappings, she would have realized the dangerous situation she was in so I am very sure survival instinct would have kicked in. I think she would anything to survive the situation even if that meant not running away or getting help and I think because of this she is still alive. If she had been killed (which I don't believe she has) like I said previously I have no doubt that in 21 years her body would have been found along time ago. In the same sense, if her kidnapper had killed her than I am also sure he would have kidnapped another girl to replace her for his sick urges, maybe he would then kill this child and gotten away with it again and then he would grab another and this pattern would have continued BUT I am absolutely positive this couldn't have carried on for 21 years without this evil person being caught. Someone that distinctive (acne pockmarks are very distinctive, can be seen from far away and can never be hidden) and grabbing children in broad day light, most likely in the same area (unless he was traveling all over the country and grabbing kids in which case where exactly did he put the bodies which would have piling up by now?) either way, no doubt been caught by now. If the person was caught then ultimately the Michaela connection would have been established (a pockmarked kidnapper). The only thing that makes sense to me is that this person, they 'retired'- stopped kidnapping and avoided the police or anything that would put them on the police radar after they grabbed Michaela. I believe once again there was no reason for them to kidnap again, why? Because like Philip Garido had Jaycee- this person has Michaela. If we had heard about another child being grabbed by a similar looking person then we could assume that Michaela was no longer with us and she was being replaced but as far as I am aware, this never happened. Like Michaela this person was never seen again, they simply disappeared somewhere. Why haven't they been caught? Because they stopped doing anything that would allow them to be caught. Even if they had, let’s assume, done his crime and left the country to carry out his crimes somewhere else, there’s still the point of where he put the body. As far as I can think, there’s nowhere he could have really put it without it being found by now. So it’s most likely because there is no 'body'.

Perhaps he left the country with Michaela? Is that possible without a passport? That’s doubtful, although he could have gotten a fake passport, but wouldn't have somebody at the airport recognized Michaela? I don't know we are talking 21 years ago with out any of the technology we have these days. Plus it’s very easy to disguise a child, perhaps he dyed her hair? Cut it short? May be even presented her as a boy? He may have been with a woman and they could be presenting themselves as a normal married couple with Michaela as thier child? And because of this nobody had any reason to suspect. Perhaps he is still in America and has been passing Michaela off his child for the past 21 years?

Please forgive me if I am making assumptions as I am not aware of the details of the investigation. And I have only recently learnt about Michaela and her story the reason for all my passion and why I have written such a long email.

My final point I would like to express to you in another email as I am sure you must be sick of reading my message by now.

I want you to know that I am praying for Michaela to return home safely in my every prayer, everyday. You are a good woman Sharon and you deserve your happy ending.

23 comments:

  1. Sharon, I just want to say like this person writing you a long e-mail pretty detailed about their thoughts on Michaela's disappearance is just that I think people out there learn about Michaela and try to wrap their head around everything and makes a person kinda crazey about the situation themselves trying to understand why or how this could of happened. I know you just got to wonder about everything good or bad as Michaela's mom.

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  2. I just want to say, in response to some messages I've received, that I have found this e-mail to be overflowing with love and tenderness. That is what made me cry.

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  3. Wow...pretty intense stuff. The writer seems to make some very valid points. I'll continue my daily prayers for Michaela's return, and I'll also pray for her captor to become lax and the public to become observant.

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  4. I think the reason this email has haunted you is because this person has voiced some of your own thoughts and fears. However, it was not a very tactful email. It is being read by the mother of a missing child and it would have been kinder not to say some of the stuff the way it was worded.
    This person is very passionate about Michaela though, and if anything is to be learned from this, and ideas gathered by this person's words, then I hope for that.
    I would recommend you showing this to your investigator, Sharon. You never know..
    Allison, from Texas

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  5. What he or she wrote makes a lot of sence!

    I also think there would be a body shown up by this time, if she wasnt alive,

    Everything the writer wrote I believe as well....!! It isnt far fetched - it is just reasonable!!!!And posts like this makes me believe the good in this world... (thx 4 sharing) The majority of the humanbeings on this earth are good people with loads of sympathy....lets just pray that one of these people soon will see something out of the ordinary...something suspect..and contact the authoreties....that will lead to her recovery...(and/or any other missing child) by the meantime, thank you to all good people out there :) By reading Sharons blog my spirit is truely lifting..(im sorry if my english is poor)

    Lets all agree to keep our eyes open, where ever we are!!

    Hugs Åsa in Sweden....

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  6. It is interesting to me how many of us are following these cases so closely - and pondering them in such detail.

    It is as if, when a precious child goes missing, a whole group of us are impacted so deeply that we become unofficial profilers, examining every detail, wishing that our minds could figure it out.

    This morning, once again, I found myself thinking about the details of several cases, similar to the author above, desperately wishing to help somehow. After that, I ended up back at the throne of grace, deciding that prayer is still the best thing I can offer.

    Then, I came here, because the next thing that came to mind is that I could keep coming here, just to say that you are not alone. There are so many people out there who care about Michaela and care about you.

    Grace and peace to you!

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  7. Sharon, you are definetely not alone. This was a very nice email and I agree with the writer in lots of points. I think Michaela is alive somewhere, I come here everyday thinking today will be the day I see a happy post you wrote about Michaela coming home. It will happen. I will do whatever I can to help. I am in Boston and I am keeping my eyes open for you.
    I have a question, how are your other children doind? how do they deal with this?

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  8. Sharon,
    Way too deep and painful to read......lets focus on lifting you up in prayer.....

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  9. God doesn't chose to send a child out for a mission.....to show the devil His power over the kidnapper...........scripture warns of any suffering we cause a child. Gods scripture states he will deal with those who do.

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  10. The haunting e-mail is from an angel.

    NJ Insight

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  11. That was a very nice blog. Thank you to whoever wrote it. And to Sharon...I think you are one awesome person. I also hope to come on here one day (I check everyday) and see that there is a lead or that Micheala is safe at home with her mommy. Cause at 23 years old, I still like to be safe at home with my mommy:) I just know she is ok. Cause whoever that was made some very good points! Just so you know, you inspire me. You remind me a lot of my mom.

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  12. Sharon, Is it just me or does this person sound suspicious? Maybe I'm becoming jaded but it was almost like a reassuring taunt. I feel like Micheala is alive to but it seemed as if the writer knew something we all don't. Just wondering. Cheryl

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  13. Dear Sharon,

    I am one of those many (it seems) that came to know of you and Michaela only recently after reading internet articles relating to Jaycee.

    I have been deeply moved by what you have written and return to this site daily to see if there is any news on Michaela. I too have begun to include you and Michaela in my prayers.

    I think the writer above has made some amazing points. He or she is obviously spiritually elevated if I may say so. He or she writes in a way a philosopher and great thinker would write, it's just all very profound and a lot to take in at once, so I can understand why you have to read the letter many times over to get a full understanding of what is being said.

    In reference to the extract "They are very malleable and adapt to thier surroundings very quickly. One report that particularly striked me was of a man who believes he spoke to Jaycee as a child through his garden fence not long after she was kidnapped. He asked whether she 'lived there' or was 'visiting' to which she answered that she lived there. This was maybe only a few months after she was taken", I would like to point out that the incident between the then 9-year-old boy and Jaycee through the fence in fact occurred just one month after Jaycee was kidnapped, in July of 1991. And, yes, Jaycee said she "lived there" and this was barely one month after her abduction! So again, this writer makes a very valid point re: the vulnerability of abducted children and how they can very easily adapt to their new surroundings if necessary, even if these new surroundings are extremely uncomfortable. I guess it's all part of the survival instinct that the writer alludes to throughout her letter to you.

    Thinking about you. Take care.

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  14. Like cheryl, I also felt as if this person knows more and is trying to tell you something but is testing the water, so to speak. I even wondered if Micheala herself could have written this...

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  15. Sorry to disappoint folks but I am the writer of that email and I can assure that I know nothing about Michaela's disappearance and I am not Michaela so please don't give Sharon such a false hope.

    My email was written to be optimistic, not upsetting. And I was also trying to give an explanation as to why God might of let this happen.

    I was going in to so much detail using other kidnap victims as an example because I was trying to prove that she is not crazy to believe that theres a chance Michaela is living. Perhaps I got carried away.

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  16. Zara, I think that your email was wonderful and I think it could have been prophetic in a sense. Sometimes that has happened to me you are using your hands to write but it is not your mind I can see that you may have been led by God to help write this. This is just my opinion but I found it to be encouraging and it was a good point about Michaela being a strong person and perhaps she was able to handle this situation better. I know that she also got a prophetic message before her kidnapping that could have helped her understand. I don't believe that God wants anything bad to happen it just does because Evil exist in this world but it is how you handle the evil. God is with us through all of our trials and tribulations and I know that he was with Michaela when she was abducted because I am a nurse and I have seen people suffer with illness and there is a presence of God when people are sick or are in trouble I call it God ANESTHESIA God is capable of doing that because he is a comforter and a Physician. He was there to provide for her needs in that difficult time he would have never abandoned her at this time rest assured. So anyway I like what you wrote and found it comforting.

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  17. What a nice email to recive. It was so heartfelt and thought out. I don't feel like the person who wrote it is suspicious, but it is never a bad thing to look at all angles either I suppose.
    Keep your head up and stay strong for Michaela Sharon. You will have her home one day.

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  18. Im visiting your blog daily to see if there is any news.... I cant stop wondering if Jaycee remember the 2 other girls that was seen at Garridos? and if she knows who they were and how long they stayed and where they went!

    Im praying this is happening as we speak "behind the scenes", and obviously I understand that you wont share this information with the public even if she has told everything.... But still, i cant stop thinking, and wondering about it and most of all praying and hoping.... Big hugs...

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  19. You do not have to approve this comment because I do not want it to seem like I am 'advertising' my blog but I wanted to let you know that I wrote about Michaela and you on my site. Forgive me if my words do not do you justice but I felt compelled to speak nonetheless. As I write this it is my third most recent entry.

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  20. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6904207.ece

    jaycee Lee Dugard repeatedly tried to mislead parole and police officers as they tried to unravel the relationship between her and the man accused of abducting her almost two decades earlier.

    An official report into the handling of the Phillip Garrido case said, as she was being interviewed alone by officers, Ms Dugard gave her name as Alyssa and told officers that she was the mother of the two other girls, Angel and Starlet.

    "The parole agent believed that Alyssa looked too young to be the mother and asked her age. Alyssa said that she was 29 years old, laughingly explaining that she often gets that comment and that people believe she is the girls’ sister," the report said.

    While Mr Garrido was being questioned in another room, "Alyssa" initially refused to cooperate with the agent questioning her, who then called the local police department.

    Alyssa said she was sorry that she had lied. She explained that she was from Minnesota and had been hiding for five years from an abusive husband," the report recounted.

    "She was terrified of being found, she said, and that was the reason she could not give the parole agent any information.."

    In the other room Mr Garrido had given another story: that the three girls were sisters whom he was looking after for his brother, from nearby Oakley.

    According to the AIG account, Ms Dugard maintained her story but Mr Garrido admitted under police interrogation that he was the father of the two girls.

    "Eventually, Garrido admitted to kidnapping and raping Alyssa," the report said. "During further questioning, Alyssa identified herself as Jaycee Dugard and confirmed that she had been kidnapped and raped by Garrido.

    "Police officers subsequently arrested Phillip and Nancy Garrido on numerous felony charges."

    Ms Dugard has now been reunited with her parents.

    The report revealed that Ms Dugard had known he was a convicted sex offender but told officers this summer that he was a "changed man and a great person who was good with her kids".






    jane fleming wrote:
    Those brainwashed from the age of 11, denied their own identity, suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome.

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  21. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6904207.ece

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  22. Wow i came by to say hello and saw the email. I think the writer says what many of us want to express but may not be be able to. I agree Sharon you are a wonderful author and i did see the poem your daughter wrote and it just tore at my heart, i have never seen anything like that comng from a child of that age. Sharon you are amazing so strong, if something is haunting you just listen to your inner voice. You do deserve a happy ending. All my best wishes to you Sharon as always. I have had your business card in my purse since i got it, i see your daughters face often and it will stay there untill she is home, i pray every night for her.

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  23. Anonymous said....

    What a very touching email from Zara. I agree to all that she wrote about Michaela. I pray too that she will be found someday...one day she'll be back to her loving family. Keep up your hopes Sharon. God is with you always. Remember that. He never abandoned you all those years and He's still with you. Just like Jaycee, any kidnapped victim at a young age do adapt to their new situation and easily become controlled by their kidnapper, I'd say mentally. I'm sure that they don't want to be with their kidnapper but they're at a very vulnerable young age to fight against their kidnappers. I'm very happy for Jaycee's return back home and I look forward to Michaela's return to you and your family someday...God bless you and we'll keep you in our prayers.

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