Michelle Le Memorial Comments

It was a summer of conflicting emotions and fast paced events.

When I first met the Le family they seemed isolated, desperate, and hopeless. Their precious Michelle had disappeared. The Hayward police said that she was a victim of murder, yet she was nowhere to be found. Ultimately, the family led by brother Michael, cousin Krystine, and uncle Eric rejected that premise and promised to spare no resource in rescuing or recovering Michelle.

What began in isolation quickly morphed into collaboration: first with KlaasKids and law enforcement; ultimately with the Buddhist Temple, Safeway, Websleuths, countless local vendors, media representatives and a dedicated cadre of volunteers. One might wonder what drove these diverse groups and individuals to reach out to this family that had gathered in solidarity from all over California and whom most of us had only just met.

Was it their refusal to go quietly into the night? Was it their willingness to unblinkingly look the devil in the eye? Or, was it the face of a seemingly lost soul smiling angelically from missing flyers on telephone poles, storefronts, and media reports. Perhaps it was all of these things, but maybe it was something even more. Maybe, just maybe we were nurtured by the grace of angels.

Events were scheduled and searches were organized. Michelle’s family found strength in fellowship and resolve in the solidarity of purpose. Timelines were established, evidence was analyzed, and strategies were devised. Search teams were dispatched, time and time again, with little regard for personal comfort as a larger purpose drove us all. We looked and looked and looked yet again, but try as we might the angelic face that smiled from billboards and late night dreams continued to elude our grasp. But it mattered not, for we had climbed onto the wings of angels as the bright light of informed choice overwhelmed the darkness of despair.

Searches continued and an arrest was made. The Hayward PD provided us with new information, fueling hope, but the truth continued to elude our grasp. And then, seemingly, another angelic intervention. On the last afternoon of the last scheduled search for Michelle, a dog with the namesake of another stolen child owned by the mother of that child, led us to a tragic conclusion. The search for Michelle was over. She can now be put to rest with the dignity and respect that all good people deserve.

It is now autumn, and soon the leaves will be falling from the trees.

Son, my heart breaks for you, because I understand the agony of losing a child to the forces of evil. However, I am here to tell you that time will give you the gift of being able to recover a life of purpose, meaning and love. Eric, your leadership and intelligence positioned you perfectly as an interim Incident Search Commander. I would follow you anywhere. Michael, when we met you were a boy, but today you view the world through the eyes of a man who has experienced more than his youth would suggest. And Krystine, you put a promising career on hold to hold onto a promise you made to your beloved cousin, and you can always take solace in the knowledge that it was a promise kept, though not as you would have wished.

The experiences that you have recently suffered have the ability to sharpen your focus and make you stronger, better people than you otherwise might have been, because now you are guided by the spirit of angels.  

You might ask how I know these things to be true. The answer is simple: the angle on my shoulder has told me that the angel we were seeking was guiding us all along.

Big Reward for Bad Behavior

The other day I sat in a satellite uplink studio in San Francisco with an earpiece in my ear and a microphone clipped to my lapel, staring at a camera lens during a taping of the Nancy Grace Show. 2,854 miles away in Orlando, Florida Drew Kesse, the father of Jennifer, a 24-year-old woman who has been missing since Jan. 24, 2006, was sitting in a similar room, wired up in a similar fashion, during the taping of the Nancy Grace Show. The Topic of the program was Dr. Phil’s interview with Casey Anthony’s parents George and Cindy.

A week earlier Drew Kesse came out swinging. He called the Anthony’s “a disgrace and an insult to every missing person and their families,” and Dr. Phil “a pimp for (airing) this garbage”. I was looking forward to supporting Drew’s position on the program, but alas the opportunity was never presented. Therefore, I’d like to take a moment to explain why Drew is right, why Dr. Phil is wrong, and why the Anthony’s have outstayed their welcome.

Drew and I have some things in common with George and Cindy. Like the Anthony’s, we both experienced the loss of a loved one. My daughter Polly was missing for 65-days before her remains were recovered. Drew still doesn’t know what happened to his daughter. However, he does know that she was taken against her will and remains missing to this day.  That’s pretty much were our commonalities with the Anthony’s end, because from the moment that both of our daughters disappeared we had only one goal: to pursue the truth in recovering our girls. We didn’t pursue celebrity or wealth. We were willing to do whatever was necessary, including turning in members of our own families to get our children back.

On the other hand, the Anthony’s wouldn’t know the truth if it kicked them in the butt. Their daughter Casey is apparently unable to tell the truth, and even if she did, how could you believe her? George and Cindy, as was demonstrated again in the Dr. Phil interview, are not only unable to acknowledge the truth, but continue to excuse and justify their daughter’s narcissistic, homicidal behavior.

During the interview Cindy said that grand mal seizures, a brain tumor and possible postpartum schizophrenia could potentially explain Casey’s behavior. I’ve never heard of seizures prompting murder, and according to the Psychologist on the Nancy Grace Show postpartum schizophrenia is a mental disorder that doesn’t even exist. No, the similarities that Drew and I share with the Anthony’s begin and end with the disappearance of our daughters.

Generally, the families of missing or murdered children struggle financially. In our single minded determination to recover our lost children we put other worldly considerations aside. Families give up incomes, or become too depressed to work. Medical and psychological costs can devour huge amounts of our savings. Failure or inability to attend to mundane bookkeeping can result in home foreclosures and or mounting debt. I am not complaining; I am simply stating the truth as I understand it.

According to all credible reports Dr. Phil did not pay the Anthony’s for the interview. Instead he donated nearly $500,000 to a “charitable organization currently being formed to honor their granddaughter called Caylee’s Fund.” Truth be told, Caylee’s Fund does not yet exist, therefore it is not a charitable organization, and therein lies the rub.

The Anthony family is handsomely rewarded for abysmal behavior. Casey gets away with murder, George and Cindy lie and parry and deny the truth, yet they receive a huge payoff from a daytime TV program seeking sky-high ratings. Caylee is still dead and the truth be damned.