Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Michaela Alive? What did she say about this?

Michaela with little brother and sister, Alex and Libby.
Someone sent me an e-mail recently saying she was going to spend the next three months searching for Michaela. Well, I didn't quite know what to make of this, since lay people really don't have the resources or information necessary to search for Michaela, and professionals who are working on the case generally go through the police department rather than me, and don't post blogs about it. She went on over the course of a couple of e-mails to explain that she was going to try to identify Michaela as one of the unidentified deceased.

Now I will admit that I myself am friends with a page on facebook that posts nothing but pictures of unidentified deceased, and I looked at those damn pictures for a long time, feeling that it was somehow my duty to do so. And on the subject of unidentified deceased, I first of all want to say that I don't understand how it could be possible that Michaela could be among the unidentified. Her fingerprints, her DNA, and her dental records have been in the hands of the investigators from day one ... or at least day three or four. I have given cheek swabs for mitochondrial DNA in more recent years. Is all this not in a database that is regularly checked if any unidentified deceased persons come up missing? Michaela is listed in the NCIS database and has been since the beginning, and is listed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I have to tell you that if she should turn up as one of the unidentified deceased in this country, I'm going to be one pissed off mom. Such a state of affairs should absolutely never exist in this country, and if it's even possible that it does then some changes need to be made. NOW. 

Personally, I consider it a very real possibility that Michaela could have been taken to another country. So what about the unidentified deceased all around the world? Is anybody checking them?

Well, yes, I do think about these things. How could I not? The person who wrote to me told me that she knew that I believed that Michaela is still alive and she hoped she did not offend me. It is not actually true that I believe Michaela is still alive. I do believe that there is as good a possibility that she is alive as that she is not, and I also believe that until it is proven that she is not alive, the only correct thing to do, the only loving thing to do, is to behave in every way as though I believe she is, because if that is the case then she needs our help. She needs my help. She needs me to never give up on her.

If she is not alive ... well, I don't know. It is true that if her remains are out there somewhere, unidentified, that I want to identify them. I don't want to know this, don't want to hear this is true, but I know exactly where I stand on this from the time that our police department was digging up the Garrido's back yard in the areas where the cadaver dogs and ground radar had indicated a body could possibly be found. I felt that I had to be there while this was happening, because if they happened to find Michaela, if the light of day were to fall on Michaela for the first time in decades, even if it were only here skeletal remains, I wanted to be there. If this were to happen, what I wanted to do was to gather her little bones into my arms and hold her. 

I apologize if I have made anybody cry here, but if it makes you feel any better I have made my own self cry pretty hard as well. 

I know I'd never have been able to do that. The Hayward Police Department went out of their way to be kind and caring toward me, but I wouldn't have been allowed to contaminate evidence, and if Michaela's remains were to see the light of day for the first time in years, we wouldn't know that for however long it would take to run those dental records or whatever they would need to confirm her identity. But this was how I felt at the time. And I can tell you also that when they confirmed to me that they had not found Michaela buried in any of those holes, I did not feel any disappointment that the case has not been resolved. I just felt a sense of overwhelming relief. 

Nevertheless, I know that the important thing is the learn the truth, whatever it is. If Michaela is not alive, me believing that she is will not raise her from the dead. Nothing I can do is going to change the truth of what happened to her. As I have said many times, whatever Michaela endured experiencing, I can endure hearing, whether I like it or not. The category of things I might like disappeared on November 19, 1988, at 10:15 in the morning, at the exact time that this man kidnapped her.

What Michaela Said

If you've read this blog in its entirety, or watched every interview I've ever done, you've heard this before, but about a week before Michaela was kidnapped, she wrote a poem. She'd been awakened in the dawn hours, she said, by noises coming from our attic, where were being made, she said, by people who had been kidnapped and were being held captive up there ... "you know," she continued, "like the people in The Peanut Butter Solution." This was a children's movie about an artist who kidnapped people and held them captive, applying a peanut butter solution to their hair, which made it grow unnaturally fast. He'd then cut off their hair and use it to make magic paintbrushes, with which he could paint pictures that came to life so that you could actually walk into them.

When I got up at 5 or 6, I found Michaela sitting at the coffee table with a piece of paper in front of her. She told me she'd written a poem about these people in the attic and asked if I'd like to read it. It was the most extraordinary poem, particularly coming from a nine-year old girl! It went ...

The people knock on doors of steel
The people knock, the people kneel
They think of things that aren't real
Outside the doors of steel
The people walk, the people know
That outside those doors, the people know
The people think that you may say
The people think that they, too may
They lack the confidence you have
They think it's real, the dreams you have
The dreams they feel

One of the striking things about this whole experience is that Michaela seemed to be so totally peaceful and relaxed around it. If Michaela woke up in the middle of the night while it was still dark, she'd be far more likely to be scared and come to my room than to go sit by herself in the living room. But she was so calm that morning, no fear at all in her. Of course, it was an astounding poem to have been written by a nine-year old, but while I was amazingly proud, I was also just a little concerned. So over the course of the next week, I continued to ask her about it. One day I asked her, "Michaela, are you behind the doors of steel?"

She'd smiled a little indulgent smile, like mom is so silly, and so peacefully answered, "No, I'm not."

But one week later to the day, she did become one of the people who had been kidnapped, and I have really had no choice but to believe that this episode in those early morning hours was somehow a premonition, and that this poem somehow contains a key to what happened to her. And if it does, it clearly says that she was not killed. She was held captive. I know this is not incontrovertible evidence. It would never hold up in a court of law. But it does seem to be a message that Michaela left.

There is much, so much, that I could discuss here, that has to do with destiny, fate, why bad things happen to good people, the meaning of it all, but this blog is getting long enough as it is, so I will leave that for another day. There is so much here whose meaning I don't understand, the reference to the dreams. What dreams? I don't know. Could it be the collective dream that says that children who have been missing longer than 72 hours are no longer alive? If the world dreams this, these children even while living become dead to the world. We cannot allow that to happen.

Whatever happened on that day almost 23 years ago, and in the days, weeks, months and years since then, I cannot change it. I probably cannot fix it. But I have to try. I just want to have the chance to hold my daughter again, my baby girl. 


7 comments:

  1. Sharon, I do believe MIchaela had a premonition, she was very gifted and children due to their age and innocence are much more sensitive than adults, I truly believe she had a premonition of what was going to happend.

    As far as the unidentified deceased I do not want to imagine this could have been the case! It can't be!
    In Europe for example I know that if someone is missing in a country the police of that said country needs to contact the police departments of the other countries asking for DNA records to be matched, this is a long process that in some cases takes more than 13 years as every single country needs to go through their unidentified deceased and match them to the DNA of the missing person. The last time I checked there is not a European unidentified deceased DNA date base. I want hope that here with a national base no mistakes are made. If that is not the case and indeed there's any cases were this happened all of us need to get together and demand change!

    With love,
    Clairebear

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  2. I couldn't agree more! There should be an international database of dna of unidentified remains. One data base that contains details for all unidentified deceased persons no matter where in the world they are. Every country in the world have hundreds of thousands of unidentified remains. How many unsolved murders kidnappings etc could not be solved by this? In so many countries? But is there a way to get this done? I have no idea how these things work...

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  3. I am pretty sure they can run fingerprints through a database of all convicts, so I'd think they could run DNA or dental records. Maybe I'm naive, but it seems as though it shouldn't be that difficult.

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  4. Sharon, I began reading Jaycees book the other day, and yesterday I stopped at some words....

    Garrido was threatening Jaycee that maybe he would sold her... That he knew he was not alone with this sexproblems of his and there were more people like him... Maybe he was going to sell her to them, because he could not bare her tears, and she wouldnt act the way he wanted... He told her that the new guys would probably put her in a cage ....(probably just an empty threat but anyways)

    I stuck on those words because that was so similar to the "theory" I had, that i wrote about in another post (about the men in line by the tent - according to neighbour)

    I know you allready read the book (at least im quite sure you did??) so this is not news to you... But i dont know, i just felt this urge to tell you,.... maybe maybe maybe these comments from Garrido actually is linked to the unidentified people in the backyard, standing in line for some suspicious activity......

    Im not done with the book just yet, so I dont know if anything more was said about this...

    I hope this neighbour would speak with your investigators again....

    hugs Åsa in Sweden

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  5. Hi Sharon,

    I am so angry with the person that sent you that email. If people want to do searches/research on anything to do with Michaela, then I say, good on them, go for it however, I do have to question their motives when they email you to tell you that they are going to spend 3 months searching unidentified deceased files. Why? Why would they say this to the mother of a missing child. No, I'm sorry but that to me is just plain cruel.

    Why would this person not just go and do their searching and then advise LE or yourself IF they happen to find something solid. What do they achieve by telling you what they are doing? Are they after a pat on the back for doing 3 months of searching? You have been doing it for 23 years.

    I'm sure that you have thought of every possible scenario of what happened to Michaela and don't need the more distasteful one's shoved in you face.

    I also do a lot or research but it is definitely not in the area of unidentified deceased as I believe that the professionals such as LE, NCMEC, The Doe Network and NAMUS, to name a few, have this well and truly covered. I do not feel the need to make my research public or to even send you an email about it. If I find anything that I think is relevant, you would be the first to know.

    I have said it before and I will say it again, people, think before you post or email. Think about what you are going to say, is going to help Sharon or cause more pain. Put yourself in Sharon's position and decide if what you are going to say is something YOU would want to hear if it was YOUR child that is missing.

    The last thing I want to say is, the person that sent that email is very fortunate that I do not have their email address.

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  6. Well, Chris, I'm sorry to say I didn't give her a very warm reception, but we've talked since then. I know she only wants to help, and she wanted to know if I wanted to be involved with her search. And I will. sigh. As I said, I've looked at those pictures as they come across here for a long time. If I have to look at a few more, they will be filtered to possibilities.

    When I thought back to how I felt about the search at the Garridos, I realized that even though she might not have been there, Michaela's little bones were precious to me. If they have been laying somewhere unknown and unloved for all these years, I want to find them.

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  7. Hello, I have read a lot of missing children cases, all of them very heart-breaking, but I have noticed something, that stranger abduction has decreased in these last years. I also saw a program about it. If the technology that is avaible now would have been avaible when Michaela was taken, everything would have been different. I mean nowadays we as parents are more aware of the dangers than parents in the 90´s, 80´s, 70´s and 60´s, we are even a bit more paranoid, and we are more aware not because we are smarter but because of the media. Now there are amber alerts, and news that travel super fast thanks to the internet. If you read the Charley Project page there are more endangered missing children from those past years than from the 2000 and up. From the 2000 and up the missing children are in their majority taken by non-custodial parents. I really wish all of this would have been avaible when Michaela was taken :(
    I have read a lot of stories of 5 and 6 year olds that were abducted while walking to school (Etan Patz for example) Nowadays I don´t think any parent would allow a kindergardner to walk alone to school.
    There are also a lot of stories of children who also disapeared while playing on the street with the neighborhood kids, and nowadays we know it is not safe for children to play on the street.
    A long time ago missing children did not make headlines, there disapearence was not that noticed, so people assumed those things didnt happen often. But they did, especially in the 60´s and 70´s.
    Now we also have access to internet pages like Watchdog, where you type in your address and it tells you exactly where a registered sex offenders live, if you have one on your block or not.
    Take Kienan Hebert´s story for example, thanks to all of this technology as soon as he was abducted the story got on the news and was all over the internet, the abductor must have freaked out with all the noise the abduction made that the little boy was returned unharmed to his parents house.
    The truth is we must not live in fear, but we must live with caution.

    I am very sorry for what you have been through. :(
    And sorry for all the rambling, I think I drank to much coffee and got carried away!

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