Home > Stories From Small Town > Last Seen Wearing Green

Last Seen Wearing Green

The biggest fear I have as an officer is being called to the scene of a missing child. It puts dread in my heart and a sick feeling in my stomach. It’s not just small children, I had a case of a sixteen year old boy who was thought to be a runaway but had been murdered. There was nothing I could have done because his death happened before we were told he was missing. The case will haunt me forever. His mother and I hug when we see each other. Her sadness reminds me that runaways are always in danger.

I have attended incredible trainings offered by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). They prepare me for the worst possible scenarios. I have our town’s sex offender’s addresses pinned on a map so I know who the biggest danger is in the area of a missing child. One hour, a one-mile radius, time is not on our side and the clock continues ticking. No matter how prepared I think I am, I know it may not be enough.

Non-family abductions are rare but it’s every parent’s nightmare and mine too. I worried about my own children but I’m more aware of the monsters in our world now. I share my fear with my grown children so they will be even more vigilant when it comes to my grandkids.

The 911 call for a missing one year old named Mickey came in at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was made by his six-year-old brother. I could hear the apprehension in the dispatcher’s voice. The radio transmission caused me instant anxiety. I immediately asked for a physical description and the clothing he was last seen wearing. I was told the description was fuzzy because of the age of the brother making the report but Mickey was last seen wearing green. The boys had been left home alone.

As I drove to the house, I looked up and down streets I passed hoping I would see the young child wandering along. I realized I was nearing a large pond where the local residents enjoy fishing as I pulled into the driveway. Even more dread filled me. I requested dispatch call in extra officers from our department or the county deputies. We help each other out in these situations.

The first thing you always do is search the premises inside and out. The front door was closed and I knocked announcing who I was. My heart broke at the sight of a small red faced boy sobbing his heart out. He looked through the curtained window and then let the cloth fall back into place as he opened the front door. My arms went around him and I felt his trembling. “What’s your name honey?”

“Bbbradnt.”

“Okay Brandt, tell me when you last saw Mickey.”

“He he was in the bed bedroom and he’s gggone.”

He took a long shaky breath and then continued with the words I didn’t want to hear. “He he likes the water and he might be in the the the pond.” This is when additional terror gripped me. I could hear sirens as several squad cars pulled up in front of the house. Two deputies arrived. I didn’t care about searching the house regardless of what my training dictated. They needed to get to the pond.

The deputies sprinted up the walkway. It was my call I was in charge. “It’s possible he’s in the pond.” I didn’t get any more words out as the two of them took off. The pond was about three hundred yards away.

I had my arms around Brandt and noticed a red compact car moving fast in our direction. It pulled into the driveway and the boys’ mother jumped out and ran the short distance to where we were standing. She immediately pulled her son into her arms. The look on her face was that of a terrified parent. She was gazing at Brandt with relief but the fear was still there. I wasn’t thinking about the fact she left a one year old at home alone with a six year old. It wasn’t the time or place. I was only thinking of Mickey.

“Brandt called the police because Mickey is missing. I’m sorry but he thinks he might be at the pond. The deputies are there now. I haven’t had a chance to search the house and that’s where I need to start.”

I’ve seen quite a few reactions when people hear horrible news. Brandt’s mother jerked him away from her and looked him in the eye. Her voice was stressed, “Mickey is missing?”

“Yyyes. I can’t find him.”

“And you called the police?”

I was getting angry at this woman’s response, she was terrifying Brandt. “We need to search the house first and I would like your help.” My voice was direct with a no nonsense air.

She gazed at me with an absolutely stunned look, “All this for a turtle.”

Thankfully dispatch took the brunt of the jokes for the mix up. The deputies heard the dispatched call go out but were further away than me so I was first to arrive. They told me they would have reacted as I did (at least this is what they said to my face). We average two missing youths per year. All but my sixteen year old were found safe and sound. In every one of these cases the parents wait until they call all their child’s friends and search around the neighborhood. Every minute counts. I would rather be notified immediately and find out grandpa picked up the child than encounter the worst case scenario.

To end this post on a lighter note, I stayed and helped Brandt find his missing pet. His mother was embarrassed but she joined in the search. It was actually Brandt who located Mickey. Before I left I gave my standard child lecture about what 911 is for. A happy smiling face looked back at me with Mickey in his arms wearing green.

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  1. April 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I was literally on the edge of my seat reading this. I just knew I had been holding my breath, because when I read, “turtle,” it all whooshed out of me at once, LOL… Love it! And was glad to see it! (We always want more!!!)

    • April 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

      Yeh, I should have been working on my next novel but the little stories seem to get in the way.

      • April 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm

        You know, I have been blogging my more than ample butt off, and am hoping to try my hand at a little non-fiction, and can’t seem to find a way to jump start that. I have to thank you for letting me follow you around on Twitter, as I’ve met some amazing women writers. 🙂 I love seeing everyone’s different style, and it makes me think I might actually be able to pull this off. 🙂 You are simply the best. 🙂 xoxo

      • April 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm

        I’ve spent the past hour catching up on your blog and you’ve been writing your tush off. I’m heading back there to leave a comment and suggest some women bloggers that are simply wonderful in case you missed them on twitter. I loved the vajazzel 🙂

      • April 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm

        You have been reading me for an hour? SWEET! That feels really nice to read. 🙂 (How’s that for an absolute mix-up of the senses…almost like tense confusion…LOL…) I’m about to do my Friday wrap up. It’s 4/20, after all, and while it is the stoner holiday, it is most importantly my eldest son’s 27th birthday, and it’s always been a HUGE joke, because he is so straight laced. 🙂

      • April 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

        I’m not at work so I completely forgot it was the stoner holiday. Happy birthday to your son and a little herb might loosen him up 🙂

      • April 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

        LMAO! THAT was a wine out of my nose comment right there. 🙂 Out of the three sons, three are brainiacs, two are stick straight (the eldest and youngest), and then there is my middle son. HE should have been born on 4/20. I know he’s grown, but I worry about him and some of his recreational activities, sometimes. Gotta be a mom-thing. 🙂

  2. cannotthinkofathing
    April 20, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Great post! Wish every missing child report wore the same shade of green.

  3. April 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

    So happy this ended the way it did. Too often these cases don’t. This left a good feeling for me today. Thanks.

    • April 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

      I agree, we felt pretty stupid but damn lucky.

  4. April 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I was so worked up by this story that I had to read the key sentence three times before I could understand that Mickey really was a turtle! Well, happy ending on this one, at least.

    • April 20, 2012 at 11:24 am

      If they could all be this happy!

  5. Suz
    April 20, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Holy crap!!!! I had to reread it before I got it! Who’da thunk your first question should be “Is he human?”

    • April 20, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Yes, it’s my first question noooooow!

  6. April 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    So what was the reason the mother left a six year old home alone? Did she receive a lecture for that I hope? Not a wise decision at all, among other potential scenarios she risked the child welfare dept stepping in.

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      No excuses here but. Think of latch key kids, they are everywhere in the city. I live in a small town of 3,500 people. No one locks their front door. They leave their keys in their cars over night. Is all this dangerous, yes. My biggest fear was the pond. It gives me chills even today. I’m a city girl and it took a long time to adjust to this life. Well, I’m still not adjusted.

  7. April 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Oh Suzie. This story had me on pins and needles followed by a huge sigh of relief! “All this for a turtle?” LOL But it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    I wanted to let you know I linked to your blog on my blog. http://www.gracepete.com. Your posts are always, always, awesome.

    • April 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Thank you for mentioning me on your blog and the link! That is so sweet 🙂 I’m going to add you to my blogroll.

  8. April 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for your story. Always a very good read.

  9. April 21, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I got so involved in this, it was almost mean of you! Almost. 😉

    Where was the little turtle, anyway?

    • April 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Under some dirty clothes. I wish I would have taken a picture.

  10. April 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I love this story! This little boy new what 911 was for alright! This WAS an emergency to him. LOL So glad it had a happy ending. And so glad that you didnt stop to ask questions, because next time it might really be a child in the pond. Good work on your part!

    • April 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Awe thank you. I live in fear of a child drowning. I lived too many years in Phoenix where it is so horribly prevalent.

  11. April 23, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Oh my goodness! You had my stomach in knots reading this! And then you had me in tears when I found out who Mickey actually was. Great story. I’m so glad it was a happy ending (for the family and the turtle).

    • April 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      I also love happy endings 🙂

  12. April 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Suzie, my Hero, you gave us a story with a happy ending, and for that I am truly grateful. But I would still come and read your posts, regardless. 🙂

    Much love, hugs, and blessings to you,
    ~Virginia

    • April 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      That’s because you’re my favorite cook and menopause writer 🙂

  13. April 24, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Wow! What an emotional roller coaster ride! I never really “enjoy” reading when kids are jeopardy (real or fictional). The dread becomes almost a physical pain. But I have to say this was a wonderfully written post!

  14. April 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    That is the funniest story! You should sell it to a worthy sitcom, we could use some more laughs from those.

    • April 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      I would give it to a sitcom if they wanted it 🙂

  15. crytzerfry
    April 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Wow. You know how to ratchet up the suspense, woman. My heart was in my THROAT. A turtle, thank God! Now that I’ve been to Small Town, I’m picturing ALL of this story. I will never read another of your posts the same way again!

    • April 25, 2012 at 6:17 am

      It’s great because you will always understand the crazies I write about. I’ll continue to keep the number of teeth to myself. BTW, Amanda, the mother of 3, her father died yesterday. I was the responding officer and it was truly sad. I checked on her last night and she was staying with the JERK.

      • crytzerfry
        April 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

        Ugh. NO… this poor woman doesn’t need MORE tragedy in her life. And she was with the JERK again? Double ugh. Poor thing. I think getting out of town MIGHT be her best bet. So sad all around. I honestly can’t stop thinking about her, the poor thing.

      • April 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm

        I ended up giving her my cell number. A big no no but I was too worried about her. She just sent me a text that she’s made it through the past 24 hours without beating anyone up. Sorry but I had to laugh and share with you 🙂

  16. April 29, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Oh my goodness… I wish you could have seen my face when you wrote that Mickey was a turtle… I didn’t see that coming!

    • April 29, 2012 at 7:16 am

      I wish you could have seen mine 🙂

  17. May 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Excellent story! You had me the whole time. Thanks for all you do to serve and protect… Even the turtles.

    • May 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      I will continue to protect those in flesh color and green, thank you!

  18. September 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I was sitting here reading with baited breath..I just finished your book “Bad Luck Cadet” and googled and found this blog. Love it!. However I believe this mother…seriously needs a smack up side her head for leaving a little boy home alone like that!

    • September 23, 2012 at 5:05 am

      It’s small town living. My neighbor’s three-year-old takes their new born around the block in the stroller all by themselves. Everyone thinks it’s so cute. We have no sidewalks and they take their walk on the street. CARS! KIDNAPPERS! Now I’m yelling, sorry.

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