Thursday, October 17, 2013

All I know is son deserves to be found...Too.

As the mother of a missing child, I think about this issue every day, without fail, and I think of Damien.  I see and hear stories in the media about families like mine with a missing loved one.  We all handle things differently, but also the same.  Especially the emotions and the sadness and the ambiguous loss.  I can never pretend that I understand fully what they are going through as we are all different and our missing loved ones went missing in different circumstances.

What I know is that I had my son, Damien, in my life boy and man.  I nurtured that boy from a baby to a 6' 4" strapping teenager.  I liked very much the human being he turned out to be.  Loving, caring, intelligent and funny.  His life before him, full of promise.   He never got to reach the potential that he could see for himself.

What I know is that after 16 years, he was part of the fabric of our lives.  He was a brother, cousin, nephew, grandson and friend to many - he was dearly loved by all.

What I know is that we spent time with him so losing him was so very hard, impossible to comprehend.  The hole in our lives is just massive. How do you take 16 years of love and caring and suddenly it is gone in the blink of an eye? And, we don't know why. We know nothing and we imagine everything. It is torture.

We have tried the traditional routes appealing to people in power and we have not achieved anything.  I lack the resources to get the attention of politicians.  We tried the Home Office and the advice we received from that department was only what we had already done. Brick wall.  Just what does one have to do?  Because Damien was dual nationality, we even approached the American Embassy, but they did not want to know. We have struggled from day one to get his story out, past the south coast of England where he went missing.   The police were unhelpful from day one. There was a lackluster ambivalent distinct disdain shown to my family in the early days.The investigation has taken massive twists and turns and after lacking any direction for 14 years it was suddenly turned into a murder investigation.

We have appealed to police to get the movements of Damien reconstructed on the national crime program, but that has failed/refused.

We pushed for a reward for many many years and after 16 years they finally put up a reward that lasted 6 months.  Dont get me wrong, we were grateful.  It is a shame it wasnt offered earlier when it mght have done some good and when we originally pleaded for a reward.

My son actually went missing in ENGLAND but  he cannot get the same level of publicity shown to select cases that happened outside the borders of the UK.

Something is very wrong with this picture. But that is just my opinion. I would far prefer to see all our missing focused upon with intensity and with financial support. 


Sunday, September 8, 2013

I look back

and wonder 'could I have done this differently?'  Looking for Damien after he went missing was just a horrible nightmare.  It was and still is awful.  I cannot believe we have endured such a shock and emotional pain and still here to talk about it. It has made me stronger than I ever thought I could be.

Have I done everything I can to find Damien?  I think I have done what I can so far.

We are an ordinary family, with ordinary access to do ordinary things and there wasn't and still isn't easy cash available to get home and be more involved in organizing events and being more accessible.  I can do a lot via phone calls and email and social media.  There is no 'manual' handed out to the parents of a missing child. It has been a 'seat of your pants' experience! There was very little help available to us and we had no idea what we were dealing with.   We were totally vulnerable and alone, except for Missing People Helpline, thank god for them or I don't know how I would have coped at all.  They were and still are a fantastic resource and have come much further in recent years with all they offer to families like mine.  

But have I done everything? Have I missed something?

I sometimes think that we are up against a brick wall and that there is nowhere else to go and then something happens and off we go again.  It is like a roller coaster with periods of activity and hope and then periods when all goes quiet.

I never could have anticipated this new reward offer in a million years.  Anonymous businessman willing to offer 10,000 pounds sterling, but here it is and we are hoping that this will bring us some information about where Damien is.  It is not something I could pass up, could you?  So now we are in the phase of the reward being on offer.  If nothing comes from this we still have things to do.  When I say WE I mean me and my family.  We are not willing to say we have exhausted all possibilities yet.

The case was upgraded to murder and arrests and searches made and the police were unable to make any of it stick.  We were aware of the same information over the years being suggested over and over again.  Finally, police decided to act on it and thoroughly investigate that information and it proved interesting but not conclusive enough to convict anyone.  It also brought up new scenario's and new names who were implicated.  In my opinion I think certain people used Damien's name to threaten others that they would suffer a similar fate. This is how some of these individuals came to be implicated.  Some were thugs and petty drug dealers and sofa surfers who drain the lives of others while feeding their own.  Some of it was bad feelings between old enemies who were attempting to implicate someone out of revenge.  Nasty, petty, spiteful, harmful, wicked, evil and manipulative people - and you all know who you are.

There has been a handful of interesting and compelling information come to light that we are still feeling strongly about.  Despite the reluctance of the police to follow those through, we are not conviced that there isnt some truth to what we have been told.  This has nothing to do with anything paranormal.  This is about what I have been told by people who went out of their way to contact me even at their own risk.

I think that at this point some of the "I heard it in a pub" information has been filtered and identified for what it is and has led nowhere. I want to hear it all.   But some of what we know is enough for me to want to clarify it further and leave no stone unturned.  If the police wont - I will - and that's a promise and they can cuff me for it if they need to and lock me up because I WILL find my son with or without them.

It is my opinion that the police know full well that they failed in the very beginning to investigate this case thoroughly, professionally and with the sincerity and severity that it deserved and they did the minimum. What they did was very far from what could have been done to find Damien when they had a better and more realistic opportunity to do so. Consequently, we are all suffering this life of loss and looking and searching and sorrow.  So again in my opinion, they have done a lot in the last two years to help tie up the loose ends from the previous 14 years of neglect, thus hoping to sew up this case neatly to put it all away.  They tell me it will never be a 'closed' case.  But we all know that they wont look at it again, unless Damien's remains are found.

I was hoping by now to have received the results of the latest police review  which began in April this year,  and has been promised to me on several occasions as 'next week' but as of today, September 8, I still have no knowledge of this review or when I will hear or what the outcome might be.  Therefore, I have to assume it is not a positive review and that my police are waiting for the right time to tell me which is not while all eyes are on a reward being offered by an anonymous businessman.  I am just guessing though, again, how would I know what they think?

If this current reward does not give us the answers we seek  then what do we do next?

 What I do know is that I will keep looking for Damien. What else can I do? Giving up is not an option.  A rest and a normal life would be nice.

 But how does one do that when all you see in your head is your beautiful son's lost and lonely soul alone in some limbo waiting for us to find him and bring him home to those who truly love him and who will not rest until he is at rest.

10,000 pounds sterling, no questions asked, no police intrusion, just 10K for the person who can tell us where Damien is.  Email this specifically created email address and if your information is accurate, you will be informed how to retrieve the money.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why do we do what we do?

Why do we do what we do?   Why do we search and ‘hope’ for the return of our missing family member?
My son is out there somewhere and until I find him and bring him home I will continue to hope and search for any and every clue I can.  I won’t give up.  He needs me now more than he ever needed me and I won’t give up.  We have been doing this for 16 years.
People ask me what I hope to accomplish after all these years or is there a time to move on and get some closure?  I am always a little frustrated with these questions.   Why would anyone wonder why I am still looking or what I hope to accomplish?  Surely everyone would be doing what I am doing if they were in my shoes? Right?  There is no such thing as moving on or finding closure, as one is not an option and the other is not a word that reflects the prospect of finding my son, regardless of how he is found.   My son is not a lost puppy, he is not a case number and he is not a poster and he is not disposable, he is a son, brother, cousin, friend.   He is missed.  He was full of life and promise and he is a human being with rights.  He deserves to come home to his family.
There is, unfortunately, a large international community of families like mine who are searching for missing loved ones.  I have met some incredibly strong people in this circle who, like me, also are not giving up the search.  We are not alone or unusual in what we are doing.  We are members of this exclusive community and membership is not something anyone would desire.  The first 48hours are the most important in the recovery of a missing person.  If the police delay searching, then crucial evidence will be lost which will ultimately impact the recovery of the missing person.
Last week three young women were found alive after being held captive for 10 + years.  I remember seeing two of these girls photo’s on posters for several years in the missing circle.  Two faces among hundreds of others that are shown by families and organizations dedicated to finding missing loved ones.  Their families and friends of these young women never gave up looking and that faith was rewarded last week when their daughters came home.  One mother did not live long enough to celebrate the return of her child, and my heart hurts that she never got to see her daughter return.  There were several lost opportunities by the authorities to find these young women and questions have been raised which will need to be answered to learn from this case.
That is why we do what we do – we hope for answers no matter where that may take us.
The missing issue has suddenly become the news story of the week.  Families of the missing are on  prime time television and everybody wants to help find a missing loved one.  For a moment our families are the focus of the world and we hang onto the hope that this issue will stay in the public eye.  But as time moves on, other stories are covered and inevitably we will see the interest slowly diminish.  We often see this flurry of interest when someone goes missing or less often when someone is found.   It also depends on gender and race as males and people of color are seldom seem to rate in the public eye.  Soon this subject will be just an uncomfortable prospect in the back of parent’s minds as they reassure themselves it won’t happen to their child.  It happened to my child, so it can happen to anyone.
If there is any lesson to be learned from this case it has to be this – listen, be vigilant, listen to your inner voice and trust your instincts. Teach your children safety measures for when they are out on their own and to trust their instincts.  If something does not feel right, then it is probably not so listen to that inner voice.  Stay away from drugs and alcohol as this makes you vulnerable. If you  see something that does not look right, be the one to make the call and report what you are seeing or hearing.   Be involved.  Watch out for each other.
If it happens to someone you know, there are organizations that tirelessly work in this field and are qualified  to help; Missing People & ForeverSearching are two that have been a constant support from day one along with several other organizations/groups/friends & family.