hmmm..where to start?
Here I go staring at a blinking cursor again....
12 days ago a little girl went missing in my small-ish town. Eight year old Sandra Cantu just seemed to have vanished into thin air. Hundreds and hundreds of people began looking for her. Her picture posted on every lamp post and every stop sign in the city. We all prayed she would come home safe and sound. The police searched several homes and issued search warrants, but never seemed to indicate any real knowledge of what might have happened to this little girl. Ten days after her disappearance, her tiny body was found in suitcase dumped in a near by irrigation pond. I'm still getting goosebumps and a lump in my throat every time I think about it.
We all remember the names Polly Klaas, Elizabeth Smart, Steven Stainer and more recently Caylie Anthony. But never ever have I felt so disturbed, so bothered by, or just so affected by a child abduction. Maybe because this happened literally right on my own turf. Maybe simply because I'm a parent. I guess it's both. I've heard these stories like this many times before. But it's always someone else, somewhere else. It's very scary to think there is someone, a monster, out there right now living among us. Not to be naive...I know there are bad guys everywhere. But what happened to this girl.....it's just....not supposed to happen. To anyone.
I can not now, nor will I ever understand how anyone could do something like this to a child. Right now they are not saying whether this is a pedophile case or not. They aren't saying what happened to her, but one can only guess. But still....to be stuffed in a suitcase and thrown in a pond??! FOR WHAT?! I am so sad and I am so, so angry.
What I've been so moved by in the past few days is the real outpouring of support from the community here in Tracy. When the authorities scaled back the search for Sandra, volunteers went out posting signs and searching for her anyway. There have been nightly prayer vigils in front of her neighborhood. And since the announcement of the discovery of her body, the size of the make-shift memorial for her---I've never seen anything like it.
All this recent news has sparked a greater awareness of "stranger danger" among all of us here in Tracy, I think. I've always felt safe here in my neighborhood, but I never let my kids go anywhere without me, or without an adult. Jake isn't allowed to play outside unless there are other kids out to play with and I always have my windows open so I can hear what's going on outside. I have two sets of neighbors who are firemen. Yesterday one of them organized a party for her son and all the kids on our street to watch a "stranger danger" movie. It was a great idea. I know it seems silly to do it just because something bad happened, but if not now, then when? You know?
Well, here I am again...written all this but don't seem to know exactly how to end it. I guess just make sure you hug your kids tight and make sure to teach them about strangers. And say a prayer for Sandra Cantu's family. I can not even imagine what they are going through right now. I pray they can find some comfort knowing their baby girl is with Jesus. And I pray they find the person that did this.