Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Missing Child: Deysi Cisneros

On the site for the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, twelve-year-old Deysi Cisneros is listed as an "endangered runaway." The listing further notes that Deysi might be traveling with an adult male.
But is that the whole story? It's hard to tell.
All we know is that, on the morning of April 6, Deysi disappeared from her home in Oregon, taking only a backpack, and leaving only a note to her parents saying that she would be okay. In the note, Deysi claimed that she was leaving with her boyfriend. (The police say that Deysi's "boyfriend" is a 22-year-old man from a near by apartment building.)
However, some people, including Deysi's mother, believe that Deysi didn't leave voluntarily.
Deysi's mother says that, in the weeks before Deysi's disappearance, Deysi began to change. She seemed very nervous a lot of the time, lost her appetite, and insisted that her bedroom curtains be kept closed. When Deysi's mother asked her what was going on, though, Deysi assured her that nothing was wrong.
Three days after she left, Deysi called her parents. But it was a strange phone call. Deysi's parents said they could hear a man in the background, telling her what to say, and she repeated everything he said. Her parents asked her where she was, but Deysi would only say that she was okay, which is what the man in the background was telling her to say.
About a week later, Deysi's parents recieved another strange phone call from her. Again, the man was instructing Deysi about what to say. Deysi then told them (on the man's instructions) that she was heading for Colorado.
As far as I know, she has not been heard from since.
Deysi is listed on the website for the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children, but an Amber Alert was never issued for her, because, since she had left a note, the police decided she was not in any immediate harm.
This story is sort of personal to me, because as a teenager I was allegedly "abducted" by a 38-year-old man and his girlfriend. I did leave completely willingly. I did leave a note for my parents saying not to worry about me, because I was okay. And some people did assume that I had left willingly with this man because I was romantically involved with him. (I was NOT, by the way!) I had had problems at home in the past, and felt that I was unwanted at home, which was why I had left... to try to make a new life for myself. I was found three months later, and taken home involuntarily. To this day, although I am sorry for the pain I put my parents through, I am not sorry that I ran away. I went through a lot of bad things, but also some good things, and I feel like it was an experience I had to go through.
But let me point out that, first of all, I was sixteen... a whole lot older than Deysi! I was also a pretty tough little cookie. Used to being shunned by kids my own age, and used to trying to escape from my home where everyone seemed to hate me, life on the street was pretty normal for me. I knew all about what went on on the street, and I was pretty stubborn in my ideas about what things I would and would not do. Still, even though I was older than Deysi and fiercely independent, I ended up being assaulted by the man I had left with. This man, who I had thought of as a very close friend of mine, an adult who had taken an interest in me, sort of an older-brother or father figure, quickly turned our relationship into one of abuse. And even though I was sixteen, and tough, I didn't try to "escape" from this man, because... I don't know... I just thought that things would get better, and that no matter what, it would just work out better if I didn't go back to my parents.
So, whether Deysi left "voluntarily" or not from her home in Oregon, I feel like I have a special understanding of what she might be going through. And just in case Deysi or the man she is with happen to Google their names, I'd like to leave some personal words for them... in case she really is staying away of her own free will.

Deysi - When I was a runaway I left home thinking I didn't care whether I ever saw my parents again. I had a vague plan of coming back to visit them when I turned eighteen and was legally free, but other than that, I didn't care. At least, that's what I told myself. But in the back of my mind, I was always regretting what I had done. I wanted to be free, and I wanted to be happy, and I felt like I couldn't have either of those things when I was with my parents... but I did miss them. I did love them, and I knew they loved me, in their own way. Families aren't always functional, but they're still your family! And now that I am 27, it breaks my heart that I put them through that experience of not knowing where I was. There was even a time when an unidentified teenage girl's dead body had been found, and my mom had to call up the police to tell them that the dead girl might be me. (Obviously it wasn't... but imagine a mom having to make that call!) Even if you feel like you hate your parents' guts, or that they hate yours, please at least let them know that you are safe. If you don't feel like you can live with them again, right now, there are other options. The important thing is to let them know you are still alive. If you don't want to call them directly, you can leave a message for them at the Runaway Hotline, which is 1-800-RUNAWAY. And seriously, if you're still with that guy, and he has done anything to hurt you, the truth is he's probably never going to change. Its a sad truth, but its a truth! Believe me, I KNOW THIS!!!!! If you have the chance to move on from him, then please do move on from him.

And a message for the man who is allegedly with Deysi: She is just a little girl! There are people who are worried about her! It is not okay for a twelve-year-old girl to have a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship with a grown man. She may feel that she loves you romantically. But you are the adult, and it is your responsibility to be the bigger person, and keep that child safe. If you care about her at all, in any way, the best thing you can do for her would be to take her to some sort of runaway shelter, where she can get services to help her. If you and her are somehow meant to be together, even just as friends, then she will remember your name and you can find each other in a few years, when she's finished growing up. But if you are holding her against her will, and if you are afraid to let her go, because you think you'll get in trouble... Man, just drop her off at a runaway shelter anyway, and then leave town or do whatever you have to do! The important thing is for you to be the bigger person in this situation, and make sure this kid is safe. Even if you have already hurt her, if you put a stop to it now, and let her go, things will be a lot better for both of you. Please, get Deysi to a safe place, now!

That's all I have to say, for now.

P.S. Guess what... I have had the honor of being interviewed by Matthew, who just may be the world's youngest bonafide blogger! Matt is a very smart little boy who has Asperger's Syndrome and also dysgraphia... but he tries not to let his learning differences slow him down! In fact, he's working on writing his own book! It's going to be a book of 100 interviews with regular people (mostly people he's met through his blog.) And he's going to donate the proceeds to the ASPCA! Is that an incredible kid, or what? One of these days, I swear, he's going to be featured on Oprah! Anyway, be sure to check out his blog!

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