Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Run, Run, Run, Run, Runaway..........

"I'm a-walking in the rain
Tears are falling and I feel the pain
Wishing you were here by me
To end this misery
And I wonder
I wa-wa-wa-wa-wonder
Why
Why-why-why-why-why she ran away
And I wonder where she will stay
My little runaway,
run-run-run-run-runaway."

I don't know that Del Shannon ever had a runaway in his life, but his words ring true. There are tears and pain and misery. You already know that if you've been reading here. These emotions apply to any missing person’s case and the people involved who love the one who is gone.

You'll never see us speak of a particular case as being a "runaway" case. To label them as such, whether it is true or not, creates an automatic prejudice, in my opinion. I believe that the typical person then places much less importance on helping to find a person labeled as a "runaway". I also hear stories in which law enforcement tell the family "He/she is a runaway, so we can't do much about it."

A very narrow-minded man sent me an email a long time ago, telling me that Project Jason should only feature children who have been abducted by a stranger, because all of the rest are "not really missing".

If I considered this faulty reasoning, then we would not include parental abductions, willful missing, ambiguous missing, and other cases where foul play is suspected. My own son's case would not qualify.

I don't think so.

In a case labeled "runaway", many times it is not known for sure what the circumstances are. If police do not have evidence that something else transpired, then it seems they use the label. I have been told by parents that the label then hindered action on the case because of prejudice. Why not just label them as missing unless you know for sure that something else has transpired?

Beth Vincent, mother of teen Ashley Vincent, told me "I KNOW my daughter is not a runaway, but they won't listen to me." Ashley's body was found not far from her home, buried under a pile of rubbish. Sadly, mom was right.

Carlie Brucia was thought to be a "runaway" until they found the videotape that showed the world that she was in clear danger. We all know her fate.

The worst doesn't happen to all of them, although unbeknownst to us, these missing persons may be living a nightmarish life, full of pain and uncertainty. I don't think I have to give a laundry list of the varied scenarios.

Young people often lack the maturity to make good decisions that impact their welfare. They also cannot discern between adults who are kind, and those who pretend to be kind, but only want to use them and cause harm. Once a missing person is out in the world, all sorts of things can happen and do happen.

It is imperative that we quickly locate the missing person regardless of why or how they came to be missing. We must do this before it's too late and something happens to them that cannot be undone. They are subject to both mental and physical harm the minute they are gone.

Don't let a label keep you from taking action.

Tonight we learned that a man accused of murdering missing Brooke Wilberger, is behind bars. If he did kill her, we hope he will not play cruel games and keep the family from knowing the location of Brooke’s remains.

We met Brooke’s siblings when we filmed a segment for the Montel Williams Show last Fall. Their love for Brooke shined through the tears in their eyes as they spoke of her. Let’s keep their family in our thoughts and prayers.

4 Comments:

Blogger Michelle said...

I absolutely agree with you, Kelly. Labelling a missing person as a runaway does so much harm. Likewise, considering a child safe because they are with a parent is also foolish. A non-custodial parent may have good intentions, but they may not. They may be healthy and prepared to make good choices, or they may not. The risk is great, and not being a part of the family makes us average folks bad judges... we must assume that the child is not safe.

Anything that encourages complacency during the search for someone's child (young or old) is dangerous. Until that loved one is home, they should not be considered safe. Anything less wastes precious time and energy...

10:11 AM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

You're exactly right on all points, Michelle.

One of our future stories will cover the issue of children abducted by their parents. We'll be helping the reader to understand why that's not ok, just because they're with mom or dad.

I liked your ending comments. If only everyone understood.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I look forward to your blog everyday now. I'm glad it is here, giving a new forum to the families.

When you do the article on abducting parents, won't you please mention Shania Supanich? I think of her pretty face every day.

Thank you for once again finding a creative and productive way to help people. You and your family are angels on this earth.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

Do I know you from another forum, Michelle?

Actually, the child who will be featured in the future parental abduction segment is Shania. We love her, too.

I am sure you are already, but if not, please be sure to spread the word about our blog.

Thank you.

Kelly

12:49 PM  

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