The time my daughter went missing

The story of Jaycee Lee Dugard is tormenting me.

I must watch or listen to every drip of news coverage I can find. My husband seems to be avoiding it.

Once we were in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and a woman went past us in the hall looking frantic and calling a child’s name. My husband took in a steadying breath, went glassy eyed and dropped my hand to join the search.

He was emotional when he came back. He told me he can’t handle seeing a parent looking for a lost kid. He said it puts him right back in the moment when he lost our daughter.

She was 2.

I had gone to a party at Kevin’s house. Kevin had been one of my closest friends before I left the Sink and had a baby. We ran into each other in town after my plans to move back to California were set.

He told me he was having a to-do at his parents’ house. It was a reunion for us, and an unusual kid-free afternoon for me.

I came home before evening. Everything seemed normal.

Later my husband and I were watching TV. He hit the mute button suddenly, and told me he had had to look for the baby while I was gone.

He said he had tried to call me on Jer’s cell phone, which I had taken with me for some reason.

I hadn’t kept close to my purse at Kevin’s. This was before caller ID and cellular voicemail. This is one of two times I had had Jer’s cell.

My husband put the sound back on the TV and the night went on.

When it was time to go upstairs, he turned the set off and put his forehead on my shoulder. “My God, I was so scared,” he said. He started sobbing.

This was uncharacteristic. I became scared.

He told me he had realized the baby wasn’t there, and checked around the house. The yard was empty, so he walked our quiet block calling for her. Ultimately people all over the neighborhood were searching.

She had wandered next door and was trying on another little girl’s roller skates in a garage.

It was the worst suffering my husband has ever known.


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One Response to “The time my daughter went missing”

  1. roberto Says:

    In the old days, parents didn’t seem to mind so much that their kids had gone missing for a few minutes or hours.

    I used to go off all the time on day trips around the neighborhood and beyond. Me and my friends were free-range children. We always showed up by suppertime.

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