Operation: Keep Quiet NO MORE!

Sept. 12, 2009, my voice was heard, louder than ever.

It was 6:45 p.m., on Saturday, and time to head out. I finished clipping my dainty earrings into my ears, gave my hair one last "spray" of wax, and waited in the car for Jonathan in the driveway. He tends to take longer than me to get ready...but I'm not complaining, it's great to have a man by my side that cares about his appearance; although, sometimes...I secretly think he may care too much. Here it is 2 days later and he's still complaining about how his hair looked in the pictures we took that night. Anyway, we backed out of the driveway, made it a mile down the road, and of course there was traffic. We were supposed to be at the restaurant by 7:00 p.m. to meet some of Jonathan's family and a few friends to view my story debuting on AMW, so I started to feel an anxiety attack coming on. I hate being late, and I like to plan things out, and when they don't go as planned...I tend to freak out a little. As we weaved in and out of the traffic, I clutched onto the door handle and looked out the window, biting my bottom lip. Thankfully, with Jonathan's skillful driving, we not only arrived in the packed parking lot of the restaurant at 6:59, but we even arrived there still alive!

Did I mention the parking lot was packed? Yes, I did. Well, as we walked in, I realized why. A Mystery Dinner Theatre was taking place. Now, this would have been great ANY OTHER night..but not tonight. In one hour, my voice was going to be heard, much to my amazement, all over the World. This is the moment I've waited for...for 19 years, and I started to regret watching it at a restaurant, as there was so much hustle-and-bustle going on, I was terrified I wouldn't be able to hear the show as it aired. As friends and family arrived, we made our way through the slow-moving buffet line, and up the stairs. All I could think about was how surreal this moment was, the long wait I've waited, and how it was finally here...and then...the piano music started.

As we all talked and laughed and dined on a variety of delicious foods, we couldn't help but try to tune out songs from the movie "Titanic" and of course the ever-so-popular "Happy Birthday" being played on the piano downstairs. I repeatedly had the waiter reassure me that I would be able to hear the show when it was to come on in less than 30 minutes. I started to get so nervous about being on AMW that I couldn't take another bite of food. As much as I knew what a great job AMW had done on making sure my story would turn out as accurate as possible, I couldn't help but think more about why I was really doing this. Why I am using my voice...and then, as I sat there, looked around the table, and saw the love of my life and his family on my left side, and my closest, dearest friends on my right, I calmed down, and thought of all the little princesses getting kissed goodnight by their parents and falling asleep in what is supposed to be the safest place of all...their beds...and I was ready to have my voice heard, LOUD and c-l-e-a-r.

It was now 8:00. Showtime. I heard John Walsh's voice over the television, and my heart started to race. I thought of his son, Adam, and what courage and strength John Walsh has had to fight for justice for his son, who was murdered all those years ago. We moved our chairs closer to the television, and the waiter turned the volume up the loudest it would go. I watched in disbelief as I heard the story of Alexia Lopez, and wished I could hug her mom, Sandra and tell her how much I admire her for never giving up seeking justice for her daughter. About 16 minutes into the show, my story started. I clenched my sweaty palms together, and my eyes were glued on the television. Everyone was quiet...except for the bartender (she decided to start crushing ice for frozen drink orders during the show). As my story played out, and then ended, and a commercial break came on, I was crying tears of joy. I felt the stress lift off of my shoulders, and I could only hope I had made a difference in someones life by using my voice to tell my story, with the help of AMW.

The ride home was very calm, and I didn't know what to say, really. This time, I looked out of the car window into the darkness, and instead of biting my lip and clenching the door handle, I was smiling and the nervousness had subsided. My cell phone was going off what seemed like every few seconds with phone calls, e-mail notifications, and text messages. At this point, I started to realize the answer to the question I had earlier about how many people were watching AMW right along with me ...and I became pretty convinced that just about everyone in America had their televisions set to watch AMW that night.

Over the last couple of days, I've received e-mails from ALL OVER the World, from Massachusetts to Japan and what seems to be everywhere in-between, thanking me for sharing my story.

Wow.
What do I say to that?

If only you all knew how THANKFUL I AM TO YOU!!

Thank you for listening.
Thank you for watching.
Thank you for calling in tips.
Thank you for opening your hearts.
Thank you for spreading the word about my case.
Thank you for caring.
Thank you for sharing YOUR stories with me.

There are some people that I know personally, that could care less about what I'm doing. People that are very negative when it concerns my case, and I won't name any names because that doesn't really matter. People that don't want me to talk about what happened to me, and think I should just "move on" and don't understand how I can't "get over" what happened. (Yes, I've had people actually use those words)...Unbelievable, I know. Basically, there are those people still in this world that cannot manage to find happiness within their own hearts, much less happy and supportive of others, which is why I've learned to ignore the negativity, and keep up my fight for justice over the years. My promise to myself and to you all...is that I REFUSE to give up, and let this just be a case that gets swept under the rug, and forgotten about. If I did that, I would be no example to other victims that there is hope and that you can fight back and live and LEAD a normal life.

So, with that said, having such great, honest, heart-felt support from all of you wonderful people all over this World, is beyond amazing to me. I hope that I HAVE indeed been able to encourage at least one person out there that has been harmed by one of these worthless creeps to take a stand, speak out and fight back against these horrible crimes that are being committed in this World, and I also hope I scared the shit out of at least one predator out there that was planning on preying on a child. I hope that criminals will now be scared to seek out children. I think that criminals believe children are easiest to prey on because they think of children as being weak and too scared to fight back. I hope that I've shown criminals that they'd better think twice before committing senseless, disgusting acts against children and realize that I am using my LOUD VOICE to encourage others to not keep quiet and feel threatened by these sick criminals any more!

You all have given me even more motivation and drive. I feel like, with all of you behind me through my journey, we are now on a World-Wide Manhunt together!

If you have any information about my case, the FBI is now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest! Call the AMW Hotline at 1-800-CRIME-TV or submit a tip online.



And to the person that kidnapped me and attemped to murder me...I have one question..."Whatcha gonna do...When We Come For YOU?"

You Can't Run Forever...

Jennifer

14 comments:

Tara said...
September 14, 2009 at 4:18 PM

I was so upset when I realized that I missed your story on AMW. I pray that they find this horrible monster! I think it is awesome that you have the strength to keep looking and let your voice be heard!! You are in my thoughts and prayers!!

Anonymous said...
September 25, 2009 at 11:50 AM

I am so proud that you didn't "get over it" and instead use your amazing strength to bring justice! I hope you can look him in the eye one final time to help you close the book and begin a new chapter. You go girl!!

Jen said...
September 25, 2009 at 1:42 PM

OH MY GOSH, you are so awesome. I am blown away by your strength.

So very many of my friends (and I) have been victims of sexual assault. I am so proud of you, and so grateful to you for the way you've portrayed yourself. We *shouldn't* be ashamed of ourselves! We *shouldn't* keep quiet! I love the idea of "using your voice" and I am so happy I found your site.

I post at Websleuths -- I'm heading straight over there right now to find the thread about you and make sure everyone has the chance to see your site and read your story.

(By the way, I found you via the CNN.com story.)

Absolutely blown away by your strength. THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...
September 25, 2009 at 2:09 PM

I saw you on AMW and just read your story on CNN. Anyone who tells you to "get over it" needs to get over themselves and stop handing out stupid advice. You are an inspiration and a beautiful, amazing young woman. I am an "old woman" of 45 with a 5-year-old daughter, my first, last and only. I pray for her safety constantly and cannot tell you how thankful I am for YOU and what you're doing. I'm old enough to want to give you a big old momma hug and make it "all better" but no one can do that for you. Amazing that you have managed to channel your anger and pain into something POSITIVE. Keep fighting the good fight! You're an inspiration for anyone who's ever been abused or made to feel helpless. And you are acting as a voice for a whole lot of kids who don't have one. Don't let anyone tell you any different! God has blessed you with courage and beauty inside and out. May He now bless you with justice!
Janet Sorensen
Little Rock, AR
jpsscribe@sbcglobal.net

Anonymous said...
September 25, 2009 at 2:31 PM

Jennifer, You are amazing! I also found your story through CNN.

Never give up,

Angela

Anonymous said...
September 25, 2009 at 3:33 PM

I wish you all the luck in the world to find this creep. He deserves to rot in hell not some jail.

GO GET HIM!!!

Best to you.

Linda said...
September 25, 2009 at 5:10 PM

I am a mother of three little kids, who I worry about every day. I can't begin to imagine what you have had to go through. You are an amazing person. THANK YOU for your courage, for telling your story to stop this from happening to another innocent child!

Keep fighting!! :)

Anonymous said...
September 25, 2009 at 6:22 PM

I just read about your case. You're amazing... I admire you. Hope you can find this sick person and bring him to justice.

Anonymous said...
September 25, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Jennifer - I found your story on CNN and am amazed and proud of you for your continual efforts to find the monster and bring him to justice. I have 2 little girls and wish that if they were ever confronted by such evil, that they would show the same courage and fight as you. You're in my thoughts and prayers.
Sara
Gainesville, FL

Anonymous said...
September 25, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Wow. You are an inspiration. I don't know what words to use how I express about what happened to you, and what you are doing with your life and your voice and your mission, but know that you are loved and supported by a legion of people all over the world who go to bed at night praying for the innocent and defenseless to be protected.

thank you for being a part of that which protects them, and protects all of us. may you continue to use your voice for a long long time!

Christine said...
September 26, 2009 at 5:51 AM

Your post is amazing. You conveyed exactly how you felt on your way to the restaurant and your nervousness. I could feel it, too. And your relief. You wrote it perfectly.
I found your blog through your guestbook and am following you now. I don't want to miss it when you find the SOB who did this to you.
And to all the people that tell you to "get over it" and "move on", well I hope for their sake they never find themselves or someone they love in a situation such as yours. They'll always be those types. People that can't appreciate strength and can't appreciate a woman with a goal...mission. You are that woman!
I don't know you but I appreciate that you are a strong person, a survivor, that won't give up until she succeeds. Keep on keeping on.
Take Care,
Chris

Michelle said...
September 26, 2009 at 8:45 PM

I grew up in Dickinson and your case has always haunted my family. I just wanted to say CONGRATS on the DNA retesting...I really hope you guys get that jerk soon!! Big hugs, and we're sending you LOTS of prayers!!

Anonymous said...
October 13, 2009 at 2:32 PM

Oh Jennifer! I just want to slap the people who told you to get over it! How dare they?! Who knows how many predators you may have deterred with your bravery! Keep at it! God bless you girl!

Holly M
Louisiana

debbietheothermother said...
October 13, 2009 at 8:26 PM

your a very beautiful lady inside and out!

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