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WHEN YOUR 20-SOMETHING CHILD GOES MISSING

Typically I don’t write about my family and all of its dysfunction, but today I am beside myself with worry because my 22 year old niece Savanna has been missing…for 3 weeks.

My sister and I have had a rocky rollercoaster of a relationship throughout my entire life, due to horrible family history and circumstances between us. Right now, none of that is important, because her daughter is MISSING.

In today’s world of 20-somethings and teenagers, there are so many more dangers and concerns than it seemed we grew up with. My niece got involved with the “wrong crowd” and over the past 2 years has made some very bad decisions and has disappeared into the pit of drugs such as meth and Fentynol. It’s frustrating, terrifying, heartbreaking and deadly.

Two years ago, Savanna had a break up with a boy, and in her words, her life became “derailed”. She had a future planned with him, her own car, a great job, and hope. She had a great relationship with her parents and siblings, but that would all change when she was “dumped” by her guy.

Within months, she was missing work, was fired eventually, sold her car, was drinking ridiculous amounts of alcohol and smoking weed. She made friends outside of her regular circle, and then she became a stranger to everyone who knows her. She started to steal from her parent’s home, taking whatever she could pawn for money, and stole alcohol from their cabinets. She stole money out of her brother’s room, and became impossible to have a rational conversation with; lying about everything she did and becoming violent. She was finally told that she was NOT ALLOWED to return to her home. The home where she was given a life of opportunities and freedoms and lacked for nothing as a child. She was a musician, singing and playing multiple instruments, she had horses and the freedom to drive herself everywhere, and the world at her feet. Now she had NOTHING. And not even a home.

The final straw that made her parents disallow her entrance to their home, was one evening an argument started between my sister and Savanna. After yelling and swearing at her mother, Savanna took a knife out of a kitchen drawer and pointed it at her father. This was the breaking point. Locks went on all the doors and windows and Savanna was told to leave and not come back until she straightened out.

Savanna lived on the streets and in shelters over the next year and eventually was arrested and in jail for breaking into her parent’s home to steal her mother’s car. She drove the car, IMPAIRED to go and purchase drugs from a dealer. After her short time in jail, was then sent to rehab in the hospital where she would spend 3 weeks trying to detox her body of the chemicals that changed her life and the lives of those around her.

While she was on the streets, barely surviving, Savanna started sleeping with a young man, who my sister felt had a “dark side”. They dated for a few months and after Savanna’s detox, she became aware and alert enough to break it off with him and try to move on.

This was the last anyone has heard from her. She broke up with him and left the house that they were “Squatting” in together.

Over the past two and a half years, drama such as this has been the “norm” in my sister’s world, and I just cannot comprehend how she is dealing with it. I have 1 daughter who is 24, and I would be spending my days out searching for her if she ever went missing. Is it because my sister is so detached from it all that she cannot feel the way that we all expect her to? Or is she hiding in denial thinking that Savanna is “fine” somewhere on the streets or in another flop house.

Yesterday, the police went searching for Savanna and provided information to my sister regarding her ex boyfriend:

He was arrested and put in jail yesterday for an assault and kidnapping, as well as attempted murder from a 2012 altercation with his boss at the time! So, this changes EVERYTHING! The last time anyone reported seeing Savanna was at the same time that she broke up with this maniac! And YESTERDAY the police find this out and do some searching for her??? It was 3 WEEKS AGO!!!

I am losing my mind, thinking that my sister will be identifying the body of her child who was murdered 3 weeks ago, or that Savanna is out on the streets freezing, or that she is somewhere doing drugs that will eventually be the cause of her death! My sister just reported that she has been missing for almost 3 weeks! I just don’t understand. Is our society and our world so messed up that this is NORMAL?? Her photo is shared all over facebook and other social medias in hopes that SOMEONE will have information.

I understand that Sav is an adult. She has made choices. She has to live with the choices she has made, but at what point do you refer back to parenting your children, even if they are in their 20’s and help them to be safe and help them to get back on track? At what point do you remember the children you raised and hope that the values you raised them with are still in them? At what point and after how long, do you go searching for your child, no matter what you may discover when/if you find them?

Drug use and addiction is rampant in the lives of young adults. When that part of our world becomes a part of your LIFE, how do you handle it?

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Writer of relationships / early childhood and mental health . Poetry and fiction dabbler

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