First off I want to say, to anyone that has ever had a child go missing, I'm sorry. Really, no parent should EVER have to experience that and the feeling that come with it.
May 31, 2013 around 1:00pm
I was inside working on laundry. Tim was outside mowing the lawn. Daniel and Chloe were playing outside with their cousin Carter. Everything was fine. I peeked out the window and saw all three kids jumping on the trampoline. I went downstairs and got another load of laundry to start, went up and switched the laundry and then started folding some clothes. Then, in walked Carter. I looked out the window and couldn't see Daniel or Chloe so I asked him, "where's Daniel and Chloe?" And he just said "I don't know." I didn't expect any other answer from a 4 year old really. Carter stood by the door for about 30 seconds and then said "oh look, there's puppy." And by this he meant Daniel. The like to pretend to be puppies and so he was kneeling down at the back door. Carter opened the door for him and I asked "where's Chloe?" He just said "I haven't seen here anywhere." At this point I'm think what do you mean you haven't seen her anywhere? She was just jumping on the trampoline with you about 5 minutes ago? So I went outside and asked Tim if he knew where she went (because I wasn't able to see her anywhere in the back yard), and Tim just said that he thought she had come inside with me. I was by the door inside and would have hear her come in, so I was pretty certain that she had not come inside. At this point THE PANICK STARTS TO BEGIN.
I run around to the front yard calling to her, and she doesn't respond at all. I look in the garage, and run around the other side of the house back to the backyard. I tell Tim, I really don't know where she is. He goes inside and starts calling to her and looking for her. We told Daniel and Carter to run upstairs and start looking in every room and closet. No response. And the weird thing is that if she hears us calling to her, she usually responds, so I just started assuming the worse. Absolute worse feeling EVER. Chloe was missing. I had no idea where she was, or if someone had taken her. She isn't really a wonderer, she does get distracted easily and can start walking off but she usually realizes it before she gets to far away from us, so I didn't think she had wondered off. So instead the only other thing that I thought really could have happened is that someone took her.
Tim went outside and started talking to neighbors to see if they had seen her. Our neighbors across the street have animals and we thought maybe she went to see them (never had before, but maybe?) We hoped. But no sign of her, and they hadn't seen her either. He looked through the front window of the car and didn't see her, the truck is too tall for her to open the door so she couldn't be in there. My parents camping trailer is also to tall for her to reach the door as well as my dad's truck. So Tim hops on his motorcycle to start driving around the neighborhood and look. He knocked on most of our neighbors doors that live on our street to check with them. No luck.
I had ran back around the house to look outback again. I looked in the neighbors horse field, barn, by their puppies, and then I cut through their driveway out to 400 east to check if she wandered out there and just prayed that she wasn't hit by a car. Still no sign of her. At this point I am bawling and terrified and don't know what to do, and feel like the biggest failure ever. It was horrible, and I was a mess.
I started walking on 400 east back home and Tim pulled up on the bike. He hadn't seen her and I just said "what do we do?" At what point do we call police? All of this had happened in about 5-10 minutes, so it had only been about 15 minutes since I had last seen her. Was that to early to call police? But then again if she was kidnapped they could be long gone at this point, and every minute would be critical. Tim just said that he was going to finish driving up 400 east so see if she went that way, because we know several people that live up that street. I walked back home and our neighbors were still outside. Suzee Jewkes asked if I had called the police, and I told her no. She said that we needed to do that next, because the don't wait when it comes to children. Every minute is critical. She offered to call which I was very grateful, because I didn't think I could talk through the tears. I checked on the boys again, and then decided it was time to call my in-laws to see if they could come and pick up the boys so that I could focus on looking for Chloe especially since the police had been called now. I then walked next door to the neighbors because we hadn't knocked on their door yet. We had looked in their backyard (because they have a fun backyard and she wasn't there), so I knocked on the door to see if she had gone inside to play with their kids. Shelley Schwarts said that she wasn't there and that she'd check with her mom in the twinhome next door. I went back with Suzee who had told police that we were missing a 2 1/2 year old girl. Told them what she was wearing, what she looked like, and how long it had been since we'd seen her (10-15 min.). I didn't hear the whole conversation that Suzee had with dispatch, but I'm assuming they said that they'd send someone out. I walk back to the front yard, and then Tim pulled up on the motorcycle.
As all of this was going on, I still had Daniel and Carter inside that I had to worry about, so I never felt like I could wander very far to look for Chloe. In between each time I ran outback or to a neighbors I'd come back and check on them. They were so good to look for her though out the house, and then I told them to sit on the couch and not get off so that I didn't have to worry about them disappearing as well. Daniel was such a sweetheart and everytime I'd come in and check on them, he'd ask why she was missing and would say "it'll be ok, don't cry."
When Tim got back I updated him that we called the police, and that I had also called his parents to come and pick up the boys. He said he had talked to everyone he saw outside just to see if anyone had seen a little blonde haired girl. He hadn't had any luck though. He just held me and at this point I think we both just thought that we needed to wait for the police and his parents to arrive. I didn't want to call any other family, because I didn't really want to say the words "Chloe is missing" and accept that. I wasn't ready for that. We were just standing in the front yard holding each other, and I see a shadow in the car. I said "Is that her in the car?" Sure enough there she was in the back seat. She had gotten in, but we have child safety lock on so she couldn't get out. It was the first time in my life that I hated child safety locks, and tinted windows. Tim had glanced in one of the front doors and didn't see her, but with the tinted windows and depending on if she was laying down or something, he couldn't see her. And the fact that we always keep our doors locked...and they had been locked that morning, but Tim had taken Daniel on an errand that morning and gotten his carseat out of the car and had forgotten that we had been inside the car earlier that day. We just assumed it had been locked so didn't open it up when we looked in.
Tim pulled her out and she was screaming, soaking in sweat. I was so relieved and terrified all at the same time. Chloe had been sick with a fever all week, so I was so worried about her health with being in the hot car. It was probably about 80 degrees that day and the inside of the car was hot. She was probably in there about 15 min, and I don't doubt that if it had been much longer then she would have passed out or could have serious health risks. Tim took her inside to take care of her, and Daniel had come out and just hugged me. He rubbed my back and said "we found her, it's ok." He was such a sweetie. I was glad we found her before police arrived, and Suzee called them back to tell them we had found her. Tim's parents still came and picked up the boys so that we could take care of Chloe. We took her clothes off her to help cool her down, gave her lots of water to drink as well as an otter pop, and then just held her close to us.
It took me the rest of the afternoon to really calm down and shake the uneasy feeling I had had earlier. Truly one of the worst experiences ever, and I never want anyone to experience that. The whole ordeal only lasted 15 to 20 minutes, but it seemed like forever. I LOVE my children. And even though we have to have trials that sometimes push us past what we think we can handle, I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that was a comforter and guided us to our little girl. It was a happy ending to what I thought only the worst had happened. I am extremely grateful for my family, and know that we can be together forever.
4 weeks ago