Sierra LaMar: Anatomy of a Search Day 16


Everything is relative.
Last night I dreamt about my own death. I was old: much older than I am right now. My face had not been shaved in several days and I still had a full head of hair. I was in bed surrounded by loved ones and I was holding Violet’s hand. I was neither desperate nor afraid. I didn’t have regret and was at peace with the world. It must have been sad, because unless you are evil, death is always a sad occasion.
 Of course, this dream was a direct result of my immersion association with Sierra LaMar’s disappearance. I have been thinking of little else these past weeks and each day that passes is more ominous than the day before. I am struck by the fact that thousands of searchers and hundreds of search parties have revealed very little about the mystery surrounding her disappearance. As much as I hope that she will be recovered alive, I dread the alternative. I am a pragmatist and must fall back on my experience and knowledge of what we are doing in the field every day. Death invades my thoughts.
 Given that Sierra LaMar is still missing and that we will be searching for her again tomorrow, today was an excellent day. Earlier today I received a phone call from Brian Miller, who has emerged as one of the Sierra Search Center volunteer leaders, regarding another missing child in Morgan Hill. This time it was a 4-year-old girl. She had been missing for an hour by the time Brian and I talked. Obviously, Morgan Hill is very sensitive to child safety in the aftermath of Sierra’s disappearance. The little girl had disappeared during a slumber party after an adult had left the room full of children for a few minutes. Brian told me that upon being informed by a friend of the family he had logged onto the  KlaasKids Foundation Missing Child Page to ensure that proper procedures had been followed in reporting the missing girl to the police. Fortunately, relevant entities were notified in a timely manner.
 After Brian explained the situation he asked me if he could conference in the friend of the family who had notified him so that she could provide more detail on the case. My instinct and sense of dread was such that I wanted to tell him that one missing child in Morgan Hill at a time was enough. Instead, I told him to make the call. When she got on the line she was obviously overcome with emotion. The first words out of her mouth were, “She’s been found. She’s safe.” It turns out that the child is excellent at hide and seek. The first thing out of my mouth was laughter. Sometimes it’s just a good day.
 At 4:00 p.m. I picked up Violet for a quick trip to Berkeley. We had last minute shopping to do for a home improvement project. We were on the verge of exceeding our budget and preliminary research indicated that we would exceed it by hundreds of dollars within the next hour or so. We arrived at our destination and singled out the item that we had only seen through a window on Easter Sunday. It was not only perfect for our project, but cost much less that we had anticipated. We made the purchase and remain under budget. Upon leaving the premises we saw two little girls, one white and one black, tentatively kissing each other on the lips. It was precious.

Sometimes it’s a great day!