Last Sunday evening the Mississippi Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert for two-year-old Myra Lewis of Camden.
Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said the toddler went missing around 10 a.m. Saturday, but his office didn't receive a phone call until 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon.
The local media reported that the family was too devastated to go on camera Sunday night, but Myra's mother did talk to them over the phone. I find it disconcerting that the family is not before the camera pleading with the abductor of Myra.
"I was leaving to go grocery shopping and I saw her walk back into the house with her sister," said Ericka Lewis, mother of the toddler.
Lewis said the child's father was inside the house.
Lewis described the toddler as 34" tall and weighs about 25 pounds.
"We just want her back home. We won't worry about pressing charges, we just want her back home safe," said Lewis.
If you have any information on Myra's whereabouts, please call 855-642-5378.
In order for me to have an opinion on this case, I need statements from the parents. Without statements, I am in the dark. I noted that the family did not make a public plea for the child. This is of a concern, unless, for some reason, law enforcement has asked them not to. This was not originally noted as an abduction.
I always question substance abuse in any case where a child goes missing and a parent is present. Substance abuse is behind much of the neglect of children in our country. Even as marijuana gains popularity and acceptance in society, children will pay the price.
As a dog lover, I note when households with small children have multiple dogs, and the "pack mentality" is in play. Often, people do not realize that a "pack" of dogs will act very differently than an individual dog, especially around small children. Supervision is key.
I raised my children around dogs, but even the most trusted of canine companions was not left alone with a child. Even rough play from a happy, safe, playful pup could physically or psychologically scar a child for life.
Having said this, my children always felt safe with a dog in the house and today, "C.K. Dexter Haven" is the family guardian today.
But what of deception in cases of missing children?
Here is where caution is needed.
There are cases in which a parent may lie to police and not have "done it" to the child. The deception, if in print, will be picked up in analysis (if in print), but precisely what the parent is being deceptive about is not always clear.
Drugs and children do not mix.
Neglect is the most common form of child abuse, and only takes inactivity to happen. Substance abuse can cause a parent to pass out on the couch, while a child wanders away. Even a toddler, today, is at risk from a sex offender, should said toddler wander down the block, as did Breanna Rodriguez did.
The parent may show sensitivity in language, even deception, due to substance abuse, and the desire to not be seen as intoxicated and neglectful.
Objection: The parent will only care for the child's safety and not protect himself or herself from drug charges.
Answer: Sadly, self interest is the result of the hyper-self-esteem philosophy that has been predominant in our generation. A parent can show deception, due to wanting to hide the fact that he was passed out on a couch while his child wandered off, yet still not have "done it" to the child; that is, have directly caused the child's disappearance.
A parent of a missing child, like the loved one of a suicide victim, may show guilt as he asks himself:
"What could have I done differently?"
"What if I had...?"
In analysis of a parent's statement, there are times when, due to a good journalist, questions are adequately directed to the parent and we can tell that the parent possesses guilty knowledge of the child's disappearance. In cases such as:
Hailey Dunn, Baby Ayla, Baby Lisa, Isabel Celis, and Dylan Redwine, we saw deception directly related to the disappearance, and not deception in general.
Yet we proceed with caution.
In the case of Myra Lewis, the pronoun "we" was used.
The pronoun "we" is used when a parent, for example, is speaking for both parents. We find this especially when the two parents are seated or standing next to each other.
The pronoun "we" can also be distancing language, as the parent, like a youngster in school, clings to the plural pronoun which may give a feeling of 'hiding' in a crowd, or the 'sharing' of guilt, much like, "Oh, mom, everyone was doing it..." from the school boy.
A missing child is very personal and it is the expected that the mother of a missing child will speak in this manner.
In the case of missing 2 year old Myra Lewis, I do not have enough statements to draw a conclusion.