At the beginning of May, I received a phone call from a police officer who told me that my mother had been located and was arrested on the outstanding warrant from her 1997 case in Grady County, Oklahoma.
I was absolutely stunned. I was relieved that she and my sister were alive. I was confused as to why my mother had been arrested. I was apprehensive as to whether or not she and my sister would want to reconnect with me. Mostly, I was upset that my efforts to find and reunite with my mother had seemed to result in her being arrested.
Ten days later, The Vanished Podcast posted a social media update stating a version of this information:
“...At the beginning of May, we received information that they had been found safely. They had not been seen since January 1997 and were located by federal agents whose hard work and dedication to finding them after more than 25 years out of sight came to a successful end...”
I began receiving congratulations from followers of this story. Suddenly, the community of well-wishing supporters I’ve been so grateful for seemed horribly out of sync with the challenging realities of the new situation. The worst part was, I couldn’t correct them. I’d been told that sharing additional information could potentially harm my mother’s case.
So I waited. I told myself that it was okay that I had wanted to find my mother and sister. I told myself that I hadn’t done anything wrong. But, I’d also begun to wonder if I’d made a mistake in bringing our story into the light. It was a difficult few days.
Then I received word that my mother had hired an attorney sympathetic to our story, that she had been freed from jail, was released on bail, and was headed somewhere comfortable and safe.
Around this time, The Vanished posted an official press release, which you can read here if you haven’t already:
Then I received a call from my mother. Her voice was breathless and shaky and sounded like a long-forgotten dream. Then my mom put my sister on the phone. She sounded exactly like me.
I would love to share more about what this experience has been like, but for now I’m still processing it myself. I am suddenly more unsure of what to say, feel, think, or share than ever. But I couldn’t go another day without posting an update.
If you are interested in our story, please feel free to continue following as I keep posting. But please don’t go searching for more answers or dig for premature updates. I ask you to trust that I will continue to update you in a way that is respectful of my newly-recovered family and protective of my mother’s legal case. If you want to do something tangible to help, please consider donating to my mother’s legal defense fund.