Sunday, January 31, 2010

Porch Lights Burning...

Every mother's nightmare has come to vivid, awful life for a Belleville mum. Her 27-year-old daughter, Jessica, has gone missing and as the days pass, I can only imagine her heart-clenching fear.

Jessica texted a friend around 10:30 on Thursday and hasn't been seen nor heard from since. She didn't show up for work Friday and all attempts by friends, family and co-workers to reach her have failed.

On Friday night, my husband and I made a quick trip to Walmart - giddy with the pleasure of buying for our new home and with the long-forgotten freedom of an evening without the Reds. Wandered the aisles happily, glancing down the ones not travelled, idly watching strangers.

Saw a girl with long, dark hair bending to show her companion a video game she wanted - I don't remember much of what she wore, my eyes drawn instead to the large and intricately-drawn tattoo that covered her lower back.


 I stepped past the next aisle and the girl disappeared from view and my mind - until we returned home.

An FB (Facebook) friend had posted a plea for information about a missing Belleville woman - Jessica Elizabeth Lloyd. I quickly tabbed another page and brought up our local newspaper, where dark-haired Jessica smiled out at me. Missing.

The article described her as 5'5", weighing 125 pounds with a large tattoo across her lower back. My jaw dropped open as my mind's eye flashed on the girl I'd just seen. I hadn't seen her face at all, but called the number anyway - hoping against hope that I was passing on something useful.

Alas, three days have passed and Jessica Elizabeth Lloyd is still missing. Her family and friends have scoured this city and beyond, plastering her face on every available surface. Their efforts have taken them as far north as Bancroft, as far east as Kingston and into the Greater Toronto Area. A Facebook group called "FIND Jessica Elizabeth Lloyd" has already garnered more than 10,000 members and yesterday over 400 people gathered in the frigid weather to search for Belleville's missing daughter.

In the meantime, I gather my own sons closer - grateful to have them home and safe. Most nights the porch light here burns for their father, often trudging home long after night has draped our city in a blanket of darkness. But since Friday and until Jessica Elizabeth Lloyd returns home to her family and her mother's arms - our light burns for her.

Please pray that she finds her way home.

*** If you have any information about Jessica's disappearance or think you may have seen her, please contact Belleville Police  -Sgt. Jeff Green at 613-966-0882 ext. 2224. ***

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