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9:53 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

Column: Hope has no limits for parents of a missing child

Left, Mikelle Biggs at age 11 when she was abducted in 1999. Middle, age-progressed as a teenager. Right, age progressed at age 25. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

Left, Mikelle Biggs at age 11 when she was abducted in 1999. Middle, age-progressed as a teenager. Right, age progressed at age 25. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

This is a personal message written with a heart full of concern for a little girl who vanished 19 years ago this week.

On Jan. 2, 1999, 11-year-old Mikelle Biggs and her younger sister thought they heard an ice cream truck in the distance and asked their mother for some money. The two girls waited in their Mesa, Arizona, neighborhood but the younger sister became cold and went home for a coat. When she returned Mikelle was gone. Her bicycle and two quarters where found near the street where she had been standing.

Mikelle was abducted four doors away from her own home.

I know children are abducted each year and parents around the world shudder, but after nearly two decades my heart still aches for Mikelle and her family. Perhaps it is because I have a daughter who was the same age, and I have had the privilege of watching her blossom into a beautiful young woman, get married, have children of her own and enjoy all the wonders life can hold.

With each passing year the odds build against ever knowing what happened to Mikelle. On the fifth anniversary of her disappearance Mikelle’s family held a funeral for her with an empty casket. They believe she was murdered shortly after being abducted.

On this 19th anniversary I wanted to publish Mikelle’s photo. I don’t know exactly what I hope to accomplish by doing so — perhaps in part to remember her. Perhaps I am too much of a dreamer, reaching for that billion-to-one chance that someone in Arizona might recognize her age-progressed photo and play a part in her safe return, or in providing closure to her family.

If I am just an absurd dreamer, I am also a parent, like many of you, and I believe any parent would want that billion-to-one chance for their child.

This is a precious soul we are still looking for. Who can say how much effort is too much or what time is wasted time in such a quest?

Please look at the photos and may we all be dreamers together and pray with unified hearts for this child and all the little ones that deserve a life of safety and love.

If you have information about Mikelle’s whereabouts, please call the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211. Richard Haddad is News & Digital Content Director for Western New&Info, Inc., the parent company for Prescott Newspapers, Inc.