So, when does a “child” stop being a child? When does a missing person stop being “missing?” When does society’s obligation end, to the little child that goes unsaved or unfound or suffers in silence year after year after year?
My answer as a mother, is the same as the ICRC/Geneva’s answer, only a little stronger: never; when rescued and repatriated to the parent or home the child loved, who made an ICRC Tracing Request or other international plea or registration; and never.
My child was kidnapped at age 9 from northern Virginia. Witnesses were hysterical and could not stop crying. In 2013 the Pentagon and London Met PD told me he was a “cold case.” That was about 8 years after his kidnap. If he had survived and tried to run away to find me, or to find home, I had moved many times by then, always spending all I had on his search, and from one coast to the other following leads .. and there was no more “home.” That he would recognize. This is pretty common for kidnapped child families. They often lose or spend everything. And the siblings suffer too, because the money saved for their university or other needs is quickly drained for the search. Private investigators start at $2,500 / day .. good luck getting anyone to do anything for less than $700 / day — that’s several hundred thousand a year, if you searched every day. Our government “should’ do this work, but well, I don’t really think children are a priority for most law enforcement or government agencies. If they were, CNN would not cite 800,000 missing and kidnapped children each year, in the US. It is a horrible tragedy. It is unbearable suffering and grief for the mother, it destroys most siblings, and the child kidnapped, if kept alive, is said to face unbearable grief, terror, desperation for his family and home. I cannot imagine. My child was only 9.
He would never understand, because I do not understand, how God could let such a thing happen. When he had done everything he could to be a good child and live a good life- pray each day, brush teeth, study hard, be kind and nice, earn straight As, etc. I cannot imagine my child praying to God to save him, and God not doing that. If I think about him too much, even now, I understand the roots of radical Islam — anger and loss and suffering. And horrible police or others who do nothing. Or worse, who obstruct. Or lie, to save themselves. To cover up amber errors. Or just out of petty sexism. I think thinner females do much worse with law enforcement, than fatter ones, and I think most law enforcement secretly hate females, don’t care about children, and love to harm us.
My child’s case was reopened last summer — on Mothers Day, in another state, the National Center for Missing and Exploited, after two hard months of arguments and witness accounts and phone calls and waiting and waiting, after new tips came forward — called to tell me the good news. They were so happy, and I was so excited. And then … my “home state,” of Virginia, cancelled the case. Without even asking me. It did not have the right to do this, but then, Virginia has a long history of corruption; the law enforcement in the venue involved are under PERF violence and taser monitoring, and seem to be always under US Attorney investigation for corruption, or crimes against minors, or something. Virginia is after all, the venue that let Sept 11 happen. Where the country’s largest slave trading dock was (Alexandria), and where most of the civil war battles occurred. It is pretty, but if you look closely there are cemeteries every few blocks, and much historical suffering and evil. In the upper income areas it is an ok place to live; in the lower-income areas it is violent, full of MS-13 and other gangs, dismal, and decaying. Police last month, or the month before, killed a female who was already handcuffed and not resisting.
When I received the White House merit recognition for Sept 11, 2001 intelligence work, and was then illegally exposed as CIA all over the country, Virginia was where I thought my child and I would be the most safe. But it was in fact where we were the least safe. Since I returned to Virginia in July (2015) after his case was again re-opened in another state venue, the retaliation and harm against me has been very severe and I have lost just about everything — car, new office, every single executive or technical interview (about 23), even at salaries of $150k — $200k; a $20M govt bid in July, every subsequent teaming or bid opportunity since. I can barely walk down the street in Virginia, without males driving by and yelling things — usually child porn or trafficking or threats, and sometimes the local females warn me against police who are joining in the stalking. The venue that has the most to fear if my son’s case ever progresses to trial and/or he is found alive and allowed to testify to harm, will not return my calls. And they are openly referenced in some of the lost jobs or contracts that suddenly “ran out of money.” It is like a giant black-listing, here in Virginia.
I wonder what is going on in my child’s life, if he is still alive? If he is being pressured as much, or in the same way, to shut up or do nothing, since his case has been on, off, on … since July? Does he know his mother is looking for him? Does he know of all of the conflicting reports? Does he know I think about him every day and many times each day and pray all the time for him to be safe and not harmed? Or does he think, as many child kidnap victims do, that he is totally abandoned… or worthless, or that there is no hope? His step-sibling dropped to 70 lbs, as a young teen, and straight Fs, after the kidnap — I had to leave him with a caregiver to go look for my child, with no family to count on, and his future was ruined too that day. He had been a straight A honor student. Wanted to be an ambassador. I see him sometimes now, and I do not recognize him. He does not even admit to ever having had a “brother.” No one admits to my child ever existing. He is like some deep dark secret to be ashamed of.
The police “failure” that Virginia does not want to see surfaced. The Sept 11 screw up of the century .. the first child on US soil in US history to be hurt, maybe killed, I do not know, over a parent’s CIA affiliation or work. Last month, a key witness finally confessed / admitted that he was “incorrect” about the child thought or claimed by some to be my child .. and that it was not my child, again. I had said this already — wrong hair colour, wrong other facts. No maternal dna match.
So then, WHERE is my child? WHEN and WHERE can I go to live, and how shall I get there, where locals or the local environment is not so afraid of a case being reopened that nothing is done? Any suggestions? Ideas? Success stories with other cases? Immediate short-term projects of a technology or innovation nature that a mother might have to fund more searching?Or a move to a different venue?
Please let me know. My child was a wonderful child.