These two beautiful young girls vanished without a trace. Lauren on June 3, 2011 and Mickey on May 19, 2012. Both cases have drawn national attention as the searches continue. Twitter feeds and facebook pages reach out for help and answers. And the media. Oh the misleading, misguiding media.
Yesterday a headline read "Grisly discovery in missing co-oed case". It was accompanied by two pictures; one of Lauren Spierer and one of her father. I almost fell over. I have been following the case since day one, written about it regularly and thought finally - there is a break in this case. Yet the story was only possibly related (remotely possible) as a skull was found in a river 50-60 miles from the Indiana University campus. This may or may not be the skull of Lauren Spierer.
In the Mickey Shunick case the media reports there has been an arrest made. Arrest for the kidnapping and first degree murder of Mickey. We don't know what led them to this, why the suspect, Brandon Scott Lavergne is under arrest. The media has provided no details as to the concrete connection between them. Family and friends continue the search and prayers.
Other than filling space, what value do these stories have? A skull was found. It was reported as "near" the University. I don't consider 50-60 miles "near". And the last thing I would want, if I were her parents would be to spend possibly weeks wondering if that skull belongs to their daughter. There have been other bodies found that were thought to possibly be Lauren's and were not. A parent doesn't "hope" to find a body. They don't "want" police to find a skull.
The parents want answers however, possibilities are not in fact, answers at all. They lend false "hope". There's that "hope" word again. Hope in a case like this is to somehow end the living nightmare they are in by finding out what happened to their daughter. It's not like waiting to see if your child got into a certain college or made the cheerleading squad. This is a parent waiting to hear if their child is dead. Wouldn't it make more sense to examine the skull first? Then report the findings when they are certain?
Lauren's parents have reached out to the person responsible for Lauren's disappearance on many occasions. They are clearly holding onto the hope that someone will come forward. If it were my child, I would not want to spend weeks imagining how her skull may have ended up in a river. Their agony is deep enough. No one knows if it belongs to Lauren. Why connect it before we have the facts?
Unfortunately, people go missing everyday. Bodies are discovered and families are delivered dreaded news. The family of Mickey Shunick has an arrested suspect yet no body, no trace of Mickey. There is more concrete evidence of foul play in this case yet still, media reports seem to fill space with repetitive details and information that leads us nowhere.
It's important to keep cases alive and make people aware therefore, keeping the names of these girls in the media is important. This is truly understood. My objection is to filling space and time with exaggerated facts that lend false "hope". In the Spierer case, they have stated that the longer Lauren remains missing the less likely she is alive. This is a heartbreaking thought but until she is found dead, they can still "hope" for a positive outcome. The same goes for Mickey.
Let's wait until a fact is a fact. Let's let these parents hold onto their hope, even if it's only a small possibility. It's their child and that's all they have.