That’s the kind of attitude that I’d encountered in my search for my husband, Steve.
“How could anyone abandon their child?”
“Are you two having problems at home? He has probably taken a time out. Just wait for him, he’ll eventually come home.”
“Is he happy with her?” (Someone asking my relative)
“He had taken a gun with him? I hope not but it looks like he did it.”
“A lot of people searched the mountains for him, he’s probably not there (Verdugo mountain).”
“Apparently he doesn’t want to be found, just let it go.”
“Just take care of your child instead of looking for him. He’ll get around.”
“He’s depressed? Anyone can get depressed.”
“Problems at work? That’s normal. I get problems at work, too.”
“There are no signs of foul play.”
“So, he just walked out.”
“You just have to wait until someone finds him in the mountains.” (Meaning due to decomposition)
“It’s a waste of time putting up flyers.”
“So, there are sightings. People had found him then.”(Meaning there’s no need for any more searches)
“He’s FBI. He can take care of himself.”
“He’s FBI. He’s on a mission.”
This is not the kind of prejudice that talks about race, religion, etc. This is the preconceived ideas that people have that is quite detrimental in finding Steve. It’s there with any people that I’d talked to even with people that I know. I understand that people have a different take on any situation whether they have or don’t have the full information and people try to make sense of any situation. It’s my hope that people’s compassion for another human being will rise above this prejudice on a situation.
But if you’re in law enforcement and if you think this way, this will hurt us deeply – the families of the Missing Person. This will hurt us in a sense that there will be only one direction in finding Steve and not even considering about other possibilities that can be also valid. And with that thinking, we are losing time.
And there’s a lot of misconceptions about depression. You don’t know depression until it hits you right smack in the face. It’s not just sadness. Depression is a serious illness. That’s one of the reasons why I’m moving heaven and earth to find him. He needs medical attention and every single second counts that he’s gone.
Because of this thinking, people have set their minds even if I briefly tell his story. There are people along the road that I talked to who doesn’t seem to get my urgency. Yes, Steve is an adult male. But his case should still be taken as important as when a child or a teenager or an adult woman is MISSING. Steve is his mother’s son, too.
What if your own husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, male best friend is missing? What would you do? We never thought this would happen to us but it did.
To those people I’d met on the road in this journey and showed compassion, thank you. To those people who are unshaken with their views on this case, I also thank you. Because of you, my resolve to bring Steve back home safely is unshaken as well.