Missing Marizela: Ten Years, by Michelle Malkin

March 5, 2011. I keep in mind the minute like it was the other day when my household called me in a panic to let me understand that my 18-year-old cousin and goddaughter, Marizela “EmEm” Perez, had actually gone missing out on.

“Help.”

It’s the text you get in the middle of the night that doesn’t appear genuine. 10 years ago today, EmEm disappeared from the University of Washington school in the middle of a bright afternoon. She was last seen leaving a Safeway supermarket in the U District and into the fear devoid of unpredictability. When once again, as I have actually done consistently and heartachingly for the last years, I should report that there is still no news on her location. Absolutely nothing. In 2019, I lastly got some Seattle Authorities Department files in action to a public records demand about her case. However absolutely nothing in the chest clarified any possible investigative leads.

In my office, I keep a bulging file called “Find Marizela.” There are handwritten notes of discussions with authorities, thoroughly built timelines, social networks archives and vacation pictures collected around the piano singing Christmas hymns and carols. There’s likewise a stack of missing out on individual leaflets emblazoned with the heading, “HAVE YOU SEEN ME?” detailed with screenshots from the Safeway security video. Pale and short lived, EmEm appear like a ghost—drained pipes of the gorgeous, bubbly energy she embodied as a kid who liked baking cookies and playing parlor game with me.

The description on the leaflet checks out:

“Asian female, 5’5″ tall, 110 lbs, skinny build, asymmetrical bob with short bangs and brown/red highlights hairstyle, tattoo on left inner arm with the words ‘lahat ay magiging maayos’ (all will be well), last seen wearing a dark jacket with hood over a light color sweater with hood, denim jeans, light brown suede laced boots, possibly wearing green eye contacts, carrying a denim drawstring backpack with rainbow butterfly screenprint, with a Macbook Pro laptop.”


10 years.

The very first weeks after she vanished are now mainly a blur, however a couple of memories are enduring. I keep in mind breaking down while a teenage woman sang “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry at my then-7-year-old kid’s skill program on the night prior to I flew out to Seattle to be with Marizela’s moms and dads:

If I pass away young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love tune
Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mom
She’ll understand I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors…
…Gather your tears, keep ’em in your pocket
Conserve them for a time when you’re actually gonna require them, oh

I won’t forget the compassion of complete strangers and old pals who offered to assist us browse regional parks and public streets. I keep in mind feeling lost and desperate in Discovery Park, looking out towards Puget Noise, hoping to God, asking: “Where? How? Why?”

For all the negativeness that surrounds the track record of the nationwide media, I have absolutely nothing however appreciation and thanks for the regional press reporters — Christine Clarridge at the Seattle Times and Shomari Stone at KOMO, in specific — who covered Marizela’s story with empathy and context. Clarridge highlighted Marizela’s case, in addition to the predicament of other households with missing out on young people, in a searing front-page function on what moms and dads go through in cases where the authorities have actually not discovered proof of nasty play. Suicide was a main presumption on the part of the authorities. EmEm did have a history of anxiety. However the case of young Joyce Chiang — whose death in 1999 was reclassified as a murder in 2011 by Washington authorities who wrongly firmly insisted the case was a suicide — reveals the risks of locking into presumptions without completely checking out all leads.

Ten years on, the investigation into Marizela’s disappearance has all but come to a halt. But if you live in the Washington area and have any relevant information about her whereabouts, please contact the Seattle Police Department at (206) 625-5011. And for those who have to go through this same hell, a hell I wish on no one, I leave you with five hard-learned lessons from a decade’s worth of unknowing:

1) Document everything.

2) Take an immediate and full inventory of your loved one’s internet footprint — every email account, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and social networking account.

3) Don’t assume the authorities are pinging cell phones, obtaining internet or phone records or obtaining surveillance camera video. Don’t assume anything.

4) Make sure your loved one’s info gets into the NAMUS (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System) database immediately.

5) Don’t be afraid to be a squeaky wheel.

If you don’t speak up for your missing loved one, nobody will.

Michelle Malkin’s e-mail address is [email protected] To discover more about Michelle Malkin and check out functions by other Developers Distribute authors and cartoonists, go to the Creators Distribute site at www.creators.com.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.