This is a story about my cousin Kristen.
Basically, my cousin disappeared in October of 1997. She had been a bit of a wild child for a bit and was currently out and about on her own-I don't think her parents knew where she was staying, but she would call them and stay in touch. She had some issues with drugs and breaking the law, but she wasn't a bad person. She was my cousin - we all loved her. I have very vague memories of her, we weren't together that much. Her family lived in Florida, mine was in Illinois. I remember she was funny and got along with all of us, even though my sisters were mean and older, she was just older. She was a kind person and had a great smile.
Anyway, so she disappears and in mid-1998, they read of a body found in the county nearby. The police published a Jane Doe picture and they were certain it was her, but the police insisted it was not.
They never stopped holding out hope and looked for her as much as possible. They even posted happy birthday postings in the paper, just in case she was hiding out from them, she would know they still thought of her and loved her.
And they revisited the police dept with the Jane Doe body and were continually told that it was not Kristen.
Until 2006-when the police came to them and said ---oh, yeah, it IS her.
So the pain and anguish and the unsettling feelings they had for the last eight years , were for nothing. They could have laid her to rest eight years ago. Eight years of not knowing. Eight years of sadness and hope. Eight years of an unsolved mystery that wasn't really that hard to solve.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a strong advocate of the police. I know that there are bad cops and I know that there are bad laws, but I still hold out hope that the police department is overall a good system.
This was absolutely the fault of the police department. They did not do their job. They did not help this family. They were negligent and with such a horrifying outcome at hand, they didn't go above and beyond to make sure they were right in dismissing sweet Aunt Elsie and Uncle Larry. AND even beyond returning Kristen to her family---they haven't done anything (from what we can tell) to find the person who actually killed her!!
Shame, shame, shame on you, Apopka Police Department.
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