In October 2016, 2-year-old Rainn Peterson vanished from her great-grandparents’ home in Ohio. After a tireless weekend-long search, a volunteer discovered Rainn sleeping in a field, alive and well.
“Last week, I ran into an old friend at the nail salon. I hadn’t seen her in 18 years. ‘Kerry, is that YOUUU?!’ She gestured to sit next to me. I obliged. With every question, she tried to one-up me. ‘My son is studying at YALE. The other is on the honor roll again! Isn’t that just WONDERFUL?’ Then, she asked about my son. I completely froze up. Half my brain wanted to lie, the other half wanted to say ‘Shame on you.’”
“We began frantically looking in the houseboat, in cupboards, under beds. I called out his name, begging him to stop playing games, hoping he was just playing hide ‘n’ seek. Looking over the river, it was so calm, but you couldn’t see a thing under the surface – it was just too murky. My mom came to the realization that my father needed to be called, to be told his son is missing. ‘It’s going to be okay; we are going to be okay,’ my mom repeated, trying to put on a brave face.”
“The mom was gathering an unholy ton of luggage, and had turned away for just a moment. She looked up with absolute horror. People were suddenly shoulder to shoulder, crammed like sardines. I bent down to a sweet, terrified girl. Quiet tears fell before the shaking of her small sobs could be heard. There was no police. No security guard. No one, but her.”
“After years of searching for my sister, my stepdad asked me, ‘How long are you prepared to keep looking for her?’ She was gone, without a trace.”
“I looked in every bloodied towel, piece of clothing, and bathroom for a sign of a precious life to bury. I whispered to myself, ‘Why are you doing this?’ In a fog of confusion, I quietly sobbed.”