Sylvia Laroche

In the two months since my daughter went missing, we’ve done everything in our power to get her back. Yet today we are no closer to finding her than we were in the beginning. With no clues as to where Emily could be or who might have taken her, the police now believe she may be gone for good. Well, I refuse to accept that. I will never, ever give up if there’s even a 40 percent chance my little girl is still alive.

Mark my words: As long as the likelihood of her safe return doesn’t drop too far below the 50-50 mark, I will always hold out hope.

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To hear the media and even some members of my own community talk, you’d think the time had come for me to let go, to acknowledge that my sweet, loving 7-year-old is never coming home. But guess what? I have no intention of doing that. Not as long as estimates suggest that children in comparable sets of circumstances survive four times out of ten.

“No suspects.” “No leads.” What do you think words like these mean to a heartbroken mother who—provided there’s still a moderately decent shot she’s out there somewhere—would give anything to see her baby girl again? Absolutely nothing, assuming the numbers don’t make it seem too unreasonable to expect a positive outcome.

I realize that time is running out. I know that with each passing hour the trail grows colder and it becomes less likely the police investigation will turn up anything useful, bringing the chances of finding Emily dangerously close to that 40 percent cutoff point at which it makes sense for me to face facts and cut my losses. But honestly, what do you expect me to do? Just stop looking? I’m not going to let that happen as long as there are two-to-three odds in favor of her survival. I promise you that.

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To clarify, if the probability she’s still alive falls to 39 percent or less, I will indeed stop looking and move on with my life. I understand what the statistics have to say about the likelihood of recovery in child abduction cases—I’m not an idiot.

But supposing that the prospect of me once more holding Emily in my arms isn’t too much of a long shot, I will never abandon the search for her. She’s the light of my life, my everything. And that means it’s going to take more than just fairly convincing odds that she’s dead for me to throw in the towel. Not a ton more, but more.

If the people who have taken my daughter away from me are reading this right now, I have a message for them: Watch out. What you maybe didn’t realize is that the girl you kidnapped has a mother who, as long as she has cause to remain roughly halfway optimistic about the situation, as long as achieving her goal still seems relatively plausible, and as long as she knows she’s not just wasting her time, will go to the ends of the earth for her child.

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She’s not about to give up and turn her back on a little girl who could be out there waiting for her mom to come and rescue her. Not yet.