Public Perception


I can’t stress enough how hard it is to have a loved one go missing. Most people don’t realize part of the battle of having a missing loved one is the public’s perception of the missing person. When my cousin went missing, my aunt and uncle were very careful to stress that she was a veteran of the Marine Corps and she had 1 child Thomas. They did not mention she had a history of mental health problems and they did not mention she had suffered a severe head injury or that she actually had 2 children Thomas and younger daughter we’ll call Paula.

At the time, I remember thinking it was unfair that they hadn’t mentioned her daughter Paula… and then I took my sister to the hospital. I told you about 1 incident there, the woman in the waiting room who said flippantly “The boyfriend killed her.” I didn’t mention the incident with one of my relatives on my dad’s side of the family (remember Natalie is a first cousin on my mom’s side). So one of my aunts said to me “I don’t know why you’re all looking for her, she had issues, she probably just ran away.”

Natalie did have some issues. She was mentally ill, she had suffered head trauma, and she had done a few things that made her lifestyle high risk. None of these things meant my aunt and uncle loved her less. We all knew and admitted to ourselves it was possible Natalie wandered into the woods and intentionally took her own life. We knew it was plausible that one of the shadier people from her life had killed her for whatever reason.

Those things didn’t mean my aunt and uncle loved her less. It didn’t make it easier to sleep at night. It didn’t lessen the emotional turmoil we experienced. All those things did was allow the public to dismiss Natalie’s disappearance as “probably deserved.”

I even heard someone say; “well, if her parents had raised her better…” Her parents raised her younger brother the same way and he didn’t go missing nor did he have Natalie’s mental health issues. So, no, I don’t think changing how her parents raised her would have impacted whether she disappeared.

Also, it’s been 8 days since Angie was last seen and I have checked the local papers as well as the local TV news outlets and it has gotten zero coverage. A 45 year old mother of 3 adult children with grandchildren is not newsworthy, especially when people go missing all the time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s