Wherever I go and whatever I do things and events are in a constant state of change. Hopefully they are evolving, growing and getting better. Sometimes they are in decline or seemingly dormant, but even majestic mountains and ancient glaciers change with the season and over the ages. However, when I am at the Sierra Search Center progress seems to be stuck in time. The faces of the volunteers are the same, although they may reflect heightened levels of grim determination. The search assignments become redundant although the lush green hills that were searched in April now glimmer golden in the sun.
This case is getting inside people’s heads. As improbable as it may seem, they dream about Sierra returning home, even walking through the big double doors of the Search Center. They struggle with their own emotional well-being as a child that most of them have never met is somewhere out there. They feel guilty that her best possible scenario has her distressed, hopeless and afraid. Some volunteers have taken to dark moods; some to drink. However, there are no social services available to these good men and women, so they put their heads down and try to move inexorably forward.
The arrest of Garcia-Torres, the punk who victimized her, had a positive vibe despite the Sheriff’s contention that she was dead. It reenergized Sierra’s troops, suggested new search sites, and seemingly brought us that much closer to the truth. However, that was 10-days ago and nothing further has happened. That’s the nature of professional criminals. They know how to work the system; when to talk and when to keep their mouths shut. In other words, if it isn’t self-serving there is no reason to talk. If Sierra is alive and under his control, then it must be assumed that she has been alone since his arrest which means that she is hungry. we still don’t know where the vivacious 15-year-old cheerleader is.
People who are not already invested in this case are avoiding it like the plague. We got our first taste at a Giants game about a month ago. As volunteers were handing out flyers at the ticket gate, they were being blown off by fans who said, “Why bother she’s dead,” or “I’ve got no time for this.” Even now, as saturated as this case has become in this community, there are still those who profess to know nothing about it. They must live under rocks.
By 10:00 a.m., more than 80-volunteers have been dispatched to search for Sierra. Somebody dropped off breakfast burritos, and as always the kitchen ladies have laid out a spread of bagels and other pastries, loaded with carbs, to provide the energy burst that is so needed in these dog days.