there’s this little girl, pictured above, who disappeared from her home a few mornings ago. sadly, her body was found very close to the home that same morning. her name was sierra newbold.
it’s a rare and sad story. there was ‘evidence of sexual abuse’. she is gone.
this story is like some others you might know about, but this one is especially disturbing to me, and gnawing at me, because the little girl lived, and her body was discovered, maybe 100 yards from my house.
the day she was killed i woke up at 10 am or so. it was the morning after i ran the camera on my friend’s awkward hour podcast, where he interviewed chalk artists and quasi-sideshow freak hippie girls.
we had to drive them home and so we were up quite late.
i woke up that morning and edited photos and worked on some writing stuff. i didn’t leave the house until about 3 pm that day.
as was usual, i was walking out to my little truck with a lot of crap. i had a shopping bag with my work clothes for my night job, a camera bag which contained my dslr and my zoom sound recorder. i also had my skateboard, skate shoes and my tripod, which i had removed the night before because of cramming all these people in my truck to drive them all home.
as soon as i was in my driveway i saw several police cars in a row on the street adjacent to mine. i thought there must be a tremendous automobile crash and dropped everything but my camera bag, because i have a strange fascination with car crashes. this is probably due to the fact that i have to drive a great deal more than the average person, and some part of me really does think i’ll meet my final and accidental end out there on the road some day. perhaps it’s my way of dealing with that queer, likely possibility.
but as i got to the corner, not 100 feet away, i saw that it was no car wreck. there was no wreckage, no ambulances and no sirens.
i saw the driveway that goes through a wooded lot to a canal. i saw police cars, both marked and unmarked, parked all the way down that drive. and near the end of the drive, which i could hit with a rock from my front door, i saw gazebos set up.
i know what police and gazebos usually mean. it usually means a complicated crime scene and often, a body.
i remembered back when the salt lake city police were searching for the body of lori hacking, who had been shot in her sleep by her husband. he disposed of her body and the mattress that she had been laying on in various dumpsters and only after long weeks of searching did they find her in the landfill
i have to go to the landfill a lot in my daytime work. i was there with my dump trailer dumping some construction debris when i got word. the police in the gazebos off in the distance had made a discovery. they were strangely quiet over there, where they had been active for a couple weeks before. one of the landfill guys told me to watch the news that night.
maybe this is where my loathing of anything involving gazebos came from. as it is, i loathe festivals and events that are essentially collections of gazebos where people linger or spend money.
anyways – tuesday afternoon, upon seeing the gazebos, i knew something bad was happening.
i quickly found out on twitter what the deal was.
a little girl’s body had been found. the other details came a day or so later.
immediately i was oddly comforted by the idea that she was probably killed by someone close to her. she disappeared early in the morning – like 7 am, and was found a half an hour later not 100 feet from her home.
it sounds odd to say but i thought ‘well, she was probably killed by someone close to her and her family, and that’s…. pretty standard. it’s not as egregious as some anonymous monster, which seems inconceivable.”
it’s now late thursday night, friday morning. this afternoon, the police finally opened the road where she lived and drove their giant rv, which serves as a mobile crime lab, away. after i noticed they were all gone, i wandered down that lane. i looked at the canal where she was found.
it seemed a crummy place to have to die. a stagnant water canal whose water doesn’t seem to move until it nearly disappears in the winter. there weren’t even ducks or birds – just still green water and an eery feeling.
i was struck by the fact that, though we live less than 100 yards away, our house has not been visited by any police.
this makes me think that the police already have a focus for their suspicions and that it isn’t a random stranger. otherwise – i’d have expected them to knock on ours and everyone else’s door around us to ask us who we are, what our history is, and did we see anything that morning.
instead, the police have said little publicly. no sketches of people of interest have been released, no real precautions anyone should take have been outlined – very little details.
this too leads me to think it’s a family member or someone close to the family.
and i find this strangely comforting when compared to the idea of some random killer of children stalking my neighborhood. statistics tell us that people are much more likely to be killed by someone they know than by a stranger. and unfortunately, children are more often killed, either accidentally or on purpose, by someone close to them or even their parents.
time will tell.
the day of the killing the purple ribbons started popping up all around. on the outskirts of where the police forbade cars and pedestrians, people left animals and stuffed animals at the feet of signs.
ribbons and stuffed animals. they don’t help the poor dead girl. they can’t. i guess they are for those of us who are left sad and appalled that such things can and will happen, from time to time. that they can happen on streets that surround us, on terrain that is so familiar, and in a place that seems so stable, unremarkable and frankly, dull, reminds us of the evil that is possible, the sadness that is always at the end of a moment’s violence, the unfortunately frequent darkness of our own hearts and the senseless cruelty that can be visited upon the most sweet and helpless.
the ribbons are our self assurance that isn’t us that did this. and the idea that she is somehow in a better place makes the unfathomable awfulness of it all and the nature of our tenuous existence palatable. i think without these cheerful assurances, many people would be ruined. i myself cannot be assured by them – so maybe i already am ruined.
below is a collection of items at the intersection near the little girl’s house that i took with my iphone today. i hope they find out and tell us what happened soon, because even though i’ve assured myself it’s some out of hand domestic thing that turned horribly ugly, i find it hard to sleep at night, this close to such a gruesome, awful scenario.
still, i don’t think that knowing ‘what’ happened makes anything any different, or better – just less mysterious.