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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Madyson, Gone

On Sunday, July 26, 2015, an eight-year-old girl, who lived at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, went missing without a trace.  It seems she was riding her scooter one moment, and then she was gone.  Around eight p.m. the next day, her body was discovered in a dumpster, located inside a garage area at the Tannery.  One source stated that law enforcement had thoroughly searched the dumpster and trash containers at the Tannery on Sunday, and so it is very likely her body was placed by the killer after that search.  A fifteen-year-old young man has been arrested in the case and is being questioned.  He is a resident of the Tannery. No charges have been filed so far; they are still questioning him. 

For those of you not in Santa Cruz, the Tannery Arts Center has been an astounding focal point for our community.  It was built on the site of a real tannery (Salz Tannery) and now hosts art studios, dance spaces, and a big living complex for artists, writers, etc.  It hosts amazing events and has a great little cafe, the Art Bar.  I am at the Tannery often; I take two dance classes there and Thistle also has a class there.  It has been a very wonderful place for our community to gather.  It also is located in a sketchy area, but that had nothing to do with Madyson's disappearance.  I theorized to people around me and privately on Facebook that it was likely a "stranger" abduction, though what I meant was that someone had observed her playing around the Tannery, or knew her, and got her trust somehow to lure her off.  Indeed, Madyson must have know this young man, and probably for some time before he took her away.

I am sickened into my deepest heart over this.  I suppose it is an eternal question, never to be adequately answered: why do these things happen?

 There is no answer.  There are only our voices asking this, and hearing our echoes back.

The sad truth is, we can never identify all the potential killers among us.  Ted Bundy was an extremely charming, brilliant, and personable man, malignant and destructive at his core.  Michael McClish helped take groceries out to people's car, greeted people in the Ben Lomond Market where he worked with Asha Veil, and was described by many people (who probably didn't know him as well as people close to him) as kind person; to this day, some in our community feel that "such a nice guy" didn't kill Asha (despite that he was found guilty through irrefutable evidence).  Even the Unabomber had friends when he lived in his wilderness shack. He frequented the library to order and check out books, and befriended the librarian, whose son he tutored in German.  The mother was aghast to find out that this "nice man" who was her good friend and had an interest in helping her son was the Unabomber.  Killers who, in the course of daily life, seem personable and relatively sane are the norm, not the exception.

So what do we do with this ocean of destruction and grief, which never ceases rolling in and overwhelming everything, all over the world?  I do not know.  I do know that for myself, it again consolidates my resolve to write about Asha and Anina and the effect it had on everyone around her, to show how courageously she lived--the courage of a young woman determined to give birth to her child and raise her alone, if necessary--and how courageously those left behind carry their sorrow.

I think the best we can do at times is to wear grief like a tattoo on the heart and be aware of its presence, because grief never really goes away.  There is no "moving on." There is no "putting this behind us."  There is only scar tissue that covers a perpetual wound.  Though the grief is not actively felt, in time, it is still there and can roar back if the right circumstances are present.  For myself, this sort of grief is an honoring: I carry it in my heart and in my life, a scar to show that someone lived among us, and was a part of us, and that person is now gone.

Note: there is NO vigil at the Tannery tonight nor the town clock. There is supposed to be a candelight vigil at 9  on West Cliff Drive, meeting at West Cliff and John Street.

Please hold this little child and her family in your hearts or light a candle in her honor if you cannot attend the vigil.  We tried so hard here in our community to bring her back safely to her loved ones.