Sunday, January 10, 2010

Home for the Holidays: Randa Jawhari 1/10/2010

Randa Jawhari, missing from Fenton, MI since 2/10/2009

I come from a large family. There are 8 kids in our family, 7 girls and 1 brother. Randa is 3rd from the youngest born, and has a fraternal twin sister. This has been a very difficult year, since Randa has been MISSING since February 11th, 2009. It’s been almost 9 months now, without any clues left behind of her whereabouts.

I’m finding it very hard to celebrate any occasion; I have not celebrated any birthdays, holidays or special days since Randa’s disappearance. Since Randa’s disappearance the days that seem to bring joy to so many people, are the days that bring grief for my family and I.

When Mother’s Day came around, I was weakened by the day. I just couldn’t face my mother or Randa’s daughter. How do you comfort someone, when you need comforting yourself? I called my mother and apologized, but I was grateful to know my mother’s sister’s came from Ohio to spend the day with my mother. My mother still cries every time I see her. I can only imagine what my mother is going through.

Randa’s daughter Mattilyn, turned 7 in April, which is the same month as my birthday. Although my mother did have a birthday gathering with Matty’s friends, I went there to help my mother. It was a very sad day for my mother and me, because we tried hard all day to put our best face on for Matty. Matty’s birthday was considered a huge holiday for Randa. I think Randa thought it should have been declared a national holiday. Randa would immediately start thinking of Matty’s next birthday celebration after Matty’s birthday.

It was difficult on my birthday as well. My family and I agreed not to buy birthday gifts for each other, since our family was increasing. We decided we would only buy gifts for the children in the family, but not the adults. Randa didn’t agree to it, because every time our birthdays came around, Randa would still buy gifts, even though she lived on a minimal income. Randa’s heart was a giving one; that is my sister; that is my friend; that is the person I want to scream to the people that don’t know her.

Easter came around as well. Randa had so much faith. I believe she had more faith than my whole family did. She was a prayer warrior. I have not been back to Church since her disappearance. It’s not that I don’t believe anymore, but I had prayed for Randa the morning of her disappearance, before I had known she had disappeared. I just believe no matter how much you pray for someone, God is still going to allow things to happen anyway. I do know I still love Him, and I don’t want to live without faith, but I can’t understand this. I hear it all the time that everything happens for a reason, and it is always for the best, it is for something we need to learn, but you have to believe. I don’t know what I need to learn, but I do know whatever it is I need to learn, it is not worth the pain, it’s not worth losing my beautiful sister.

We celebrated Randa’s and Ghada’s birthday in June, by having a prayer vigil for Randa. That day just didn’t seem right, a day always meant to be celebrated, and was celebrated by a vigil. It was a good reason, to have the news media come, just to get my sister back in the news. Now we look for reason to get Randa back in the news. We have one billboard in Fenton, on the expressway, and hopefully we’ll have another one up on another expressway. It is the billboard that is still keeping the public aware my sister is still missing. As many times as we have posted and reposted flyers, people still bring them down. The billboard and flyers are difficult for my family and me to see. It feels like a stab in the heart every time we pass them, but it is something necessary when you have a missing loved one disappear.

Holidays are difficult. When someone you’ve loved your whole life is missing. My family and I have not celebrated anything. I don’t want to celebrate anything. I don’t ever want to take another family picture again, I just can’t do it. The prayer vigil for Randa was the first and last time my family has been together in one place. That was appropriate, I could handle that, but I can’t handle a family gathering right now with Randa still missing.

My favorite holiday memory that I have of Randa, is New Years Eve. We had a family member that had been struggling with drug addiction who was in rehab at the time. Randa and I dedicate that night to her, and said we would not drink any alcohol all evening. While everyone in club was drinking and acting stupid, Randa and I stuck to our plan, and had more fun than everyone else in the club. I think we were the only two straight people there. I miss her!!! Randa loved the holidays because she always looked forward for any reason our family would get together. She just loved hanging out with the family.

My favorite present that I had given Randa, and my favorite present Randa has given me, is the love that we had for each other. I love her so much. Randa is a beautiful jewel in the midst of our family. I have had a history of painful events within my lifetime, but if I added all my painful events that have happened in my lifetime, it would not equal to the pain of not knowing where Randa is, or what happened to my sister. This is different than anything I have ever experienced. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Life still continues to go on. Sometimes I wish the world would just stop to catch my breath. I am still working; I just started to go back to school, which I was in the process of doing before Randa’s disappearance. I had to put it on the back burner for a while. I am trying to keep myself as busy as possible, I think being busy is good for me, but no matter how busy I may be, my sister is always on my mind and in everything I do. Sometimes I can do nothing but feel the pain of Randa missing. This is pain that is indescribable, I can’t explain it, I can only feel it.

I know tragedy happens where people don’t always have an opportunity to say good-bye, with sudden deaths, but they have closure in knowing what happened to their loved ones. I consider people to be blessed in having an opportunity to say good-bye to their loved ones. I have a need within me to let Randa how I feel. I have regrets in wanting Randa to know how sorry I am. I miss her voice. I miss her face. I miss hugging her, I miss our talks, and I miss her phone calls, which I received almost every day from her. I miss everything about her, I feel as though there is a void within me that Randa can only fill. I feel as though I’ve contracted an incurable disease, and Randa is the only cure to save me.

Where I find strength to continue to search for Randa is the fact that we haven’t discovered the worst case scenario. She is still missing and anything is possible. I find strength in every time I am doing something in her search. Whether posting a poster, calling on the media, writing this letter, or anything else I can do in helping in the search for my beautiful sister. I don’t feel good in doing nothing. I have to answer to myself, to Matty, my mother, my family and to Randa, to say one day that I have done everything in my power in trying to find Randa. I will never give up, no matter where I go; I’m always looking for my sister.

Yes, the holidays are among us. What do I say about that? I have nothing to say to that, my sister is missing.

To all those that have missing loved ones, I feel your pain. May we all find the answer to the question of what happened to those we’ve loved our whole life. May God give us the strength in knowing the truth!!!


Naheda Jawhari

Learn more about Randa

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Home for the Holidays: Pam Biggers 1/7/2010

Pam Biggers, missing from 1/28/2008 from Panama City, FL

The holidays are upon us once again, and once again my sister, Pam, isn’t here to share in them. The lives of Pam’s family have a huge hole in them on a daily basis though the holidays are even more difficult.

Pam was always the one that took charge and planned for the family holiday dinners and events. This year would be especially full of treasured holiday moments for Pam and her husband, Don, if she were here.

This past year our family was blessed with two beautiful gifts. Their names are Braylen Cody Biggers, born to Zachary and Brittney Biggers on December 17th, 2008 and Jesse Dylan Biggers, named after Pam’s dad, Jesse Pendley, who passed away 6 months after his daughter went missing. Jesse Dylan was born to United States Marine Cpl. Jacob Biggers and his wife, Brittany on October 6th, 2009.

Each of Pam’s sons now have sons of their own. They are sunshine to our grieving hearts. They are a sweet relief from the nightmare that became a part of our life when Pam disappeared. I want so very much for them to know Pam and to know the love that she would have for them. There is nothing that would bring Pam more pleasure than to know that she is a grandmother.

I don’t want to give up the hope that Pam will be found and the hope that she could sweep those two baby boys into her arms and love them and know them and feel the joy that they bring. I desperately want that for them and I want it for Pam.

Pam is my big sister, two years older than me. I have shared holidays with her my whole life until last year. I miss her deeply. My mom, my brother, her husband, her children, her friends and family, we all miss her more than words can tell.

It is difficult to go on not knowing where Pam is or if she is safe and not knowing if Braylen and Jesse will ever know the sweet love that their Nana Pam would bring to their lives.

Written by Paula, Sister of Pam

Learn more about Pam

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Home for the Holidays: Joshua Smith 1/5/2010

Joshua Smith, missing from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL since 11/4/2000

Christmas and Joshua

Written by Vicki Smith, mother of Joshua

Out of all my children, the one who loved Christmas the deepest was Josh. He seemed to feel that true Christmas mystique and magic as a child…..the excitement often drove him to total distraction.. Each and every Christmas throughout his childhood, Joshua was the one who provided us with the glimpses into Christmas through dreams dancing with sugar plums. Oh only a few lucky ones of us have those kinds of dreams!

Once, on a Christmas Eve that seems so long ago now, Joshua came wandering down the stairs well after we knew him to be sound asleep. “What’s the matter, Josh?” his daddy asked. “I don’t know, Dad”, Josh said. “I just couldn’t sleep. Excited I guess.” Then he sat beside me.(happily Santa had not yet paid his visit) So, Josh sat there on the floor watching the fire and then he decided to sing a Christmas Carol. No lights were on....just the glow of our tree and the fire dying down in the fireplace. We all remember those little boy voices that sound so innocent and carry throughout the house like a beautiful little angel had swooped by to pay us all a visit, right? And then, one by one, the other two drifted into the room, pulled to us by that clear and sweet little voice softly singing, we think.

But who really knows what really woke all three of them on the Christmas Eve night? Joshua might have told you that one of Santa’s reindeer pawed too loudly on the roof..or shook it’s head and the sleigh bells were a little too loud that year. And again, one by one, each of them joined in and there we were having a moment that couldn’t have turned out more beautifully if we had planned it.

Josh led his “choir” the rest of the time choosing each song and coaching the little ones with the words....his excitement, as always, carrying us through that night! And finally, sleep seemed to creep in and each one fell into slumber once again. Their daddy carried the boys and I picked up the baby, my daughter, and up the stairs we went. And this is when we think the distraction part joined the Christmas party...Josh woke up just enough to walk into his room and - Gasp - shut the door, which had a broken latch on it and could not be opened from the inside!

When Christmas morning rolled around, and Josh tried to open his door to come and see the gifts....he was panic stricken!! He just knew that Christmas would pass him right on by and he’d miss it all, but good old dad eventually saved the day and took off the door knob so that Joshua could join his siblings for the great reveal!!

Later we commented on how he calmed down after his initial panic at being trapped, and he said: ”Yeah..I got to thinking about it and looked over at my manger scene I made a church and got to thinking about how Christmas really is suppose to be about Jesus being born, not about me getting stuff and I just stopped being afraid!”

So, that even today when I think of Joshua being gone from us for so long now, I remember his faith, his joy at that Christmas time, and I remember to express my own gratitude to God for not only His Son, but for mine as well. Merry Christmas Josh, where ever you are. We love you. Even though no celebration will ever be alright without you here, those special Christmas memories carry us along each year as we dream of your return to us: The greatest gift we ever could receive.

Learn more about Joshua

Friday, January 01, 2010

Home for the Holidays: Amber Dubois 1/1/2010

Amber Dubois, missing from Escondido, CA since 2/13/2009


The celebration of Christ’s birth has always been a special time, but the blessings of Christmas filled me with renewed appreciation of life when my granddaughter, Amber Leeanne Dubois, was born 15 years ago. My own Mother had died just before Christmas the prior year, and Amber brought back Christmas Joy to our entire family.

It became a tradition that Amber spend the week before Christmas with me, and, by last year that included Amber’s little sister and her two cousins–4 lively granddaughters aged 14, 11,8 and 5. I live in a very small house and every square foot is decorated and filled with presents by the time they arrive for the holiday.

Usually, I take dozens of photos during this week, but the appearance of my camera on the first day resulted in a chorus of “no pictures”, with Amber leading the revolt by covering over her face with a pillow. I put away my camera, knowing that I was gifting Amber with a great camera and she would use it to the fullest once the gift was opened.

It rained that entire week. Torrents. The girls had planned to ride but the mud was too thick for the horses and could not be considered. The girls wanted to take the horses their Christmas carrots so we waded through to the nearby stable to give the treats to Rojo and Sally on December 23rd. Returning home, wet and muddy, required showers and robes and pj’s.

Amber’s favorite robe is an old one of mine. The royal blue color makes her lovely eyes shine even bluer. The robe has a jolly frog on the front and back. She loves to snuggle into it. All cleaned up, we all settled down to read, play with hand held electronic games, or,with Ariel, Amber’s Labrador who lived with me in her old age.

The younger girls rearranged the Christmas manger scene still another time. The statutes have been chipped by the hands of my three daughters and now by the grand children over these past 46 years, but, their little hands have always been gentle with baby Jesus and there is not a chip to be found on Him.

As I sat looking at these beloved children, my blessings seemed larger than I could express. I wanted so much to take photographs to keep these precious images forever fresh, but, I did promise to put my camera away. Being a teenager and extremely bright, Amber was quick to point out possible alternatives to situations. I decided to do the same having noticed my phone was on the table next to me. I set it for a photograph and quietly said “Amber.” She turned her head towards me and I took the photo as she exclaimed “Oh, Grandmom!” We had a good laugh after that but I had to promise no phone photos either, and I did so.

It never entered my mind that this might be the last time I would be able to take a picture of her? I hope and pray that it is not.

Amber’s Grandmom

Sheila Welch

Paramount, CA

Note: Amber has been missing since February 13, 2009, from Escondido, CA

www. HelpBringAmberHome and www. BringAmberHome

Home for the Holidays…

When I first received an e-mail which asked me to write a letter about our home during the holidays, I paused for a moment to think back on the last few holiday seasons. For about a minute or two I had a smile on my face which very quickly turned into about an hour or two of nonstop tears.

Since the morning of Friday, February 13th, 2009 everything in our life got turned upside down. On that Friday morning, our daughter Amber, while walking on her way to school, went missing. Amber was last seen about 200 yards from the front gate of her school by two adults who know who she is. Unfortunately, she never made it that final 200 yards.

It has now been over eight months that our precious angel has been gone. There are no words that can describe the sadness and utter frustration that a family goes through when they don’t know where their loved one is. During the past eight months we went through Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, the entire summer, and we are now 2 days away from Amber’s 15th Birthday. It feels like each of these difficult days is harder than the last. As we reach the final months of the year we are going to be dealing some of Amber’s favorite days of the year. Her birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course there is Christmas.

Over the last few years as the kids in the family all became teenagers, Christmas time has changed from being all about the presents to being about the enjoyment of having the family together. Our family enjoys the fun and laughter centered on the games we play every year and of course the great food we always have. One game we play every year that everyone loves is the 7/11 game. In this game you need a present which has been gift-wrapped about 7 or 8 times, 2 dice, and something like a shoebox to roll in. You pass the box and dice in a circle with each person rolling the dice when it’s their turn. When someone rolls a 7 or 11 they jump up and put on a scarf around their neck, a beanie on their head, and 2 large oven mittens on their hands and attempt to unwrap the present. As the dice continue to go around in a circle, whenever a 7 or 11 is rolled, that person jumps up and takes the props from the last person and takes over the un-wrapping of the present. Whoever finishes unwrapping the present gets to keep the present. Sounds simple, but it is not easy to open and everyone has a great time playing. We have several of these types of games that we play and it truly makes for a fun day.

I can’t even begin to imagine what this holiday season will be like if Amber is still missing and not home with her family. The neighbors all know when we are playing our games; they can hear the screams and laughter from the street. This year all that will be heard is an uncomfortable silence that will echo the sounds from the last couple of years and of the sound of a certain missing laugh from our precious Amber.

Written by Amber's parents, Maurice and Carrie

Learn more about Amber

Snohomish County Jane Doe 1/1/2010

Posted at the request of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

They state that DNA, dentals, and fingerprints are entered in the appropriate national databases.

Please visit our site at
for more information.

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