Oct 12, 2009

Aisling Symes

This week I've been deeply affected by the disappearance of Auckland toddler Aisling Symes.

Aisling's family were tidying up a relative's house, to get it ready for sale, last Monday afternoon. Both parents were there. Both kids playing happily. Aisling's Mum was doing something with the washing machine, saw Aisling watching her, turned back to turn the tap off, turned around again and Aisling was gone. She hasn't been seen since.

Every parent's worst nightmare.

Police searched the neighbourhood for 2 days, including nearby waterways, but have since concluded that she must have been abducted. But there are no leads, and no ransom request, and absolutely no clue as to where she might be.

They are hoping that she has been taken by someone who has a desperate urge to have and care for a child, and that she is alive.

We can only pray that this is the case, and that this person will have a fit of remorse and drop Aisling off somewhere safe to be returned to her family.

This has struck particularly close to home as we have children the same age as the Symes' kids. Miss2 even looks kinda like Aisling - blonde, cute, round-faced.

We even know what it's like to have a child vanish (as do most parents, at some point). Miss5 wandered out of church one Sunday when my back was turned for a minute or two (she was three at the time). We found her half an hour later in the pet shop at the corner.

That was without a doubt the most frightening half hour of my life.

I spent the whole time telling myself it was OK, she'd be just around the corner, or inside playing with the bigger kids and then I'd feel silly for being so scared. Trying not to think of all the terrible things that could have happened. Trying to walk, not run, to stay calm and not to panic because that might actually make it real.

I simply cannot imagine living for a whole week with that icy cold terror settling into a certainty. It would drive me absolutely over the edge and into the abyss. To know that even if she is now found 'safe and well', that the scars of this experience will never leave the family. That I would never really know everything that had happened to her while she was away.

That sometimes, monsters do exist, and our fears are fully justified.

If you, or anyone you know, is in the North Island of New Zealand, this little poppet may be near you.

Do you know anyone who has had a young 'cousin' come to stay 'for a while'?
Any new toddlers in the neighbourhood?
Anything just not gel, or that feels wrong?
Keep an eye out for wandering kids - if she was snatched that way, she may be released that way too.

And, of course, pray.

'cause only a miracle will give this story a happy ending.

Note:Update post here

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