Sunday, August 31, 2008

Into the Abyss of the Missing

[Six-year-old Crystal Ann Tymich, dressed exactly as she was when she disappeared off the face of the earth]

From the files of the FBI’s Missing Persons website.

Into the Abyss of the Missing
by Robert A. Waters

Crystal Ann Tymich. On June 30, 1994, Crystal Tymich and her three brothers were playing in the yard behind their house. They lived in a middle-class neighborhood in the City of Angels. When their grandmother called them inside to watch the movie, “The Lion King,” Crystal stayed behind as the three boys ran toward the house. Her brother Jeff later recalled: “We were throwing peaches over the roof to see who could throw them the furthest. Then my brothers left, and I ended up following them. And then we noticed my sister was no longer behind us.” Just that quick, she went missing. A massive search ensued but the girl was never found. Ten years later, a tip led police to search the house across the street. Bones were found in the attic, but they turned out to be from animals. Jeff Tymich feels that someone who wanted a child took her. “I have a strong feeling she’s [still] alive,” he said.

Trenton Duckett. Trenton has been missing since August 27, 2006. At about 9:00 p.m., Trenton’s mother Melinda called police and reported that her two-year-old son had been abducted from her Leesburg, Florida home. Investigators discovered a slashed window screen and the child missing. Melinda’s behavior was suspicious. Trenton’s sonogram, toys, and photographs were in the trash. According to police, Melinda refused to take a polygraph and “lawyered up,” refusing to cooperate. Also worrisome was the fact that investigators couldn’t create a true timeline for Melinda or Trenton for the 24 hours before he was reported missing. Local and state police as well as the FBI spent months searching for Trenton. The search was further complicated when Melinda committed suicide. Two years later, no resolution seems to be in sight.

Asha Jaquilla Degree. One thing seems certain. Early on the morning of February 14, 2000, while the rest of her family slept, nine-year-old Asha Degree got up from her bed and walked out of the house. She lived on Oakcrest Street in Shelby, North Carolina, but was seen by two motorists at about 4:00 a.m. walking along Highway 18. She has never been seen again. Three days later, Asha’s pencil, a marker, and her Mickey Mouse hair-bow were found at a business on Highway 18. Searchers found nothing else. Then, eighteen months later and twenty-six miles away, Asha’s book bag was discovered near Highway 18. The bag was wrapped in plastic. Investigators concluded that Asha decided to run away, and was picked up by an opportunist who murdered her. Her parents, however, think she might still be alive.

Sofia Lucerno Juarez. Four-year-old Sofia walked out of her home sometime between 8:15 and 9:15 p.m. on February 4, 2003. She hasn’t been seen since. She asked her mother if she could go to the store with her mother’s boyfriend who was already outside and leaving. Sofia’s mother gave her a dollar and the child left. The boyfriend returned less than an hour later and said he had not seen Sofia. Her mother then called police. Her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and her natural father have all been eliminated by police as suspects. It is believed that she was abducted as she walked to the store. A convicted sex offender from her neighborhood was questioned extensively, but was never charged. No sign of Sofia was ever found.

Like so many others, these children fell into the abyss of the missing.

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