Cynthia Haag did not want to leave her home in Baltimore, where she resided for 20 years. She was determined to stay in their place, hoping that her daughter would return to her. Cynthia missed her daughter so much that the mother did not know what to do at that time. Crystal was the name of her daughter that was missing since she was 14 years old. The mother prayed that she would see her lovely daughter again and expected that she would not leave at her side again. We might ask what had happened to her daughter, but we should keep reading to know why her daughter disappeared.
Is She Coming Back?
We wanted to know more about Crystal’s disappearance. What would be the reason why she left her mother’s side? Where did she plan to go? Did she properly eat when she left her home? Was she fine when she decided to leave her mother’s side? And the most crucial question that we were thinking of was if she would come back home with her mother. Her mother, Cynthia, prayed that her daughter would return to their family. However, she did not expect what happened next.
In the year 1997, Cynthia was the only one who supported her daughter. She would try her best just to feed and give her children everything they needed. The mother would try to work for most of the day, and then Cynthia would take care of her kids when she got home. It was a difficult time for Cynthia in that year, yet she would do anything to make sure her family was doing okay. Her kids were also her inspiration for making this possible.
A Regular Day
On the day that Cynthia was working on her job in the store, she would usually eat cereal and drink some milk before returning to her home. However, she did not expect what would happen next, even though it was a regular occurrence. The mother said to her daughter Crystal, “Stay around the house today,” and her daughter replied that she would stay in their house. It was also the day that her daughter disappeared, and she was shocked when she could not find her daughter in their home.
Not In Their House
The time that Cynthia returned to their home, She could not find her daughter anywhere in the house. The mother was worried and in a panic state, and she called all the people she knew, like her friends, family, and anyone who knew her daughter. The mother could not accept what happened to her daughter. After trying everything she could to find her daughter and still did not get any result, she thought that it was time to ask some help from the authorities. It was her last hope to find her daughter.
She’s Wearing A Baseball Cap
Cynthia thought plenty of terrible things when her daughter left their home. She could not stay calm after what happened. The mother always asked herself if something terrible occurred with her daughter. Later, Cynthia decided to search for her daughter from every brown-haired girl she would see. The mother of the missing daughter shared, “She always wore a baseball cap.” However, the panicked mother knew that it was not enough information to make people recognize her daughter. She only hoped that her daughter was safe from harm.
Years Are Passing By
After looking for her daughter for 20 years, the authorities decided to stop looking for the missing girl. They did not get any information or tip that would pinpoint Crystal’s location. However, Cynthia was called by one of her daughters on the phone. The daughter had an important thing to say. The daughter, who called her, told that her missing sibling had messaged her on Facebook. The mother could not believe that after 20 years that her daughter was missing, she suddenly talked to one of her siblings.
They Got Some Information
Cynthia could not think that they got information about her missing daughter. After the mother looked on her missing daughter’s Facebook profile, she knew that it was her daughter Crystal. Together with her older daughter named Bianca decided to go where their missing relative was living. It took half an hour before she got in New York City before the family came into the house where Crystal was located. That night, the family did not expect what they saw in place of her missing daughter.
The family looked at Crystal and realized that her hair was short, she could understand and also speak Spanish, and the most surprising of all was that she had kids of her own. The missing daughter was even married, and her name became Crystal Sanders. The family had an issue with her age, but it did not bother them as long as they could see their missing relative. The mother stated, “still, my pretty girl,” while hugging her. It might be the good news that they reunited, but it was only the beginning of the problematic part of their life.
Why She Left Home?
They confronted Crystal on what happened on that day and asked why she left their home. There was a reason she had done all of this, especially why she ran away from her family. It also was the reason why she was determined and decided to act that way. Crystal thoroughly thought that she could not take what was happening in her life. The question was, why would she choose to do those things, and where did she go after she left their home.
Escaping From Trouble
Crystal said that after she left their residence, she had no food, money, and did not know where to go or stay. She only brought the things she could grab. The daughter knew that she must overcome everything because of the consequence she ever made. However, the daughter of Cynthia was escaping from something or someone terrible. It was also the reason why she considered leaving her mother. The reason was something horrible that she could not stand for another second in her life.
Trying To Survive
At night Crystal decided to leave their home. The child thoroughly planned everything just to survive. The first thing she did was to get to New York by riding a bus. When she exited the transportation, The daughter decided to change everything. Crystal Sanders was the name she chose to use while she was running away, and her age became nine years above her age. To prove all of her identification was correct was because of her false driver’s license. Later in her life, she did something that would surprise us.
After Crystal got her new identity to cover herself, she did various strange jobs like cleaning houses. After her hard work, the daughter had her place to live. However, we did not know how she got out of the house without people realizing that she was leaving, or did someone ever find out that she left their home? How did no one, even her neighbor, find out about the unusual behavior she had done? She planned everything before she escaped from her home.
A Typical Night
It was a typical night when she decided to leave her home. She was just having fun with her friend as she would typically do. The group did hang out until midnight. After they parted with each other, it was the time she executed her plans and left her house. She grabbed everything she could while she had the time and took a bus to New York. It was the start of her new beginning in life. It was a gamble if it would work or not.
She Was The First Child
After all the trouble and hardship in her life, she got pregnant with her first child. The daughter was known as Crystal Sanders, got herself a Medicaid card, which helped her in the hospital. After her first child was born, she also gave birth to three more children. In New York, where she was living, she got a new life, a big family to live with, and became a member of the Dominican community. It all happened in the year of her disappearance.
Crystal began to get accustomed to her new community, where she was glad that she knew them. She also became close to the people around her. The daughter would usually call the members of the community as “grandma” and “cousins.” The missing daughter for 20 years was happy in her new life and family. However, she could not escape the memories of why she ran away from her past. It always haunted her even though she was happy in her current life.
Later on her story in her life, she was now living peacefully with her family. She got four kids to take care of, and she now had a family to live with. The daughter also knew how to speak and understand the Spanish language. She always looked at her family on Facebook. We might think she did not try to talk to her family even though she knew their Facebook account, but there was a reason she had left their home.
Thirteen Years Of Disappearance
In 2010, Crystal had disappeared for thirteen years. The people and authorities did everything to get a lead, but they still did not find the missing girl. After with so much effort, they had done to locate the missing daughter, they decided to stop the search and should tell Cynthia that they could not pinpoint their lost child. After the authorities reported to Cynthia, the mother could not believe the news, but she could not do anything about it. It was the time when she would not celebrate Christmas anymore.
Life Must Go On
The mother had looked for her daughter for twenty years, ten months, and two weeks with the people and authorities. She hoped that she would find her as soon as she could. The mother of the missing daughter did everything she could to reunite with Crystal, even though everything was falling apart because her daughter was missing for a long time. The mother did not want to sell their house because she thought her daughter would return to their home—everything she just wanted to see her daughter back at their family side again.
The Return Of Her Daughter
Cynthia did not expect it would still happen. After several years had passed, she did not know that she would even see her daughter again. It’s now the time to end the waiting game for her daughter as she had finally come home. On the day her daughter finally contacted her, she contained the emotion to see her daughter once more. However, after meeting her daughter in New York, she had doubts about her daughter Crystal. Cynthia wondered what the daughter thought that she contacted her sibling.
They Wanted Answer
Crystal might be reunited with her family, but there were still some problems. It did not change the fact that the girl was missing for many years and it was not yet solved, Many questions were still lingering on the day she had gone missing, even though the family was glad that she was okay. We could not deny that the family wanted answers from Cynthia’s daughter. They wanted to know the truth about why she ran away from their home.
Building Their Relationship Again
Cynthia and her daughter Crystal understood that they had to build their relationship once again. They knew that her daughter did something terrible that made the mother worried about Crystal’s situation when she was making her own decision. The two knew that they had many things to do because even though they were mother and daughter, the two still felt that they did not know each other. They did not know how to begin their conversation with each other.
The Mother Wanted To Know More
After the family’s excitement when they saw their relative after disappearing for many years, Crystal had calmed down. However, Cynthia wanted to ask many things to her daughter. The mother wanted to know more, especially the reason why Crystal left their home. Cynthia thought about every possibility, but the only person who knew the reason was her child. It might be the best time to ask Crystal, but she did not want to ruin their happy reunion. The mother also could think that she had done something terrible to her daughter that made Crystal leave their house.
It Might Scare Her
On the day of their reunion, Cynthia was glad to see her daughter, but she could not ask everything she wanted to know at that moment. The mother knew that it was not the best time to question her daughter about why she left their home. Cynthia could not gamble, asking her about what happened because it might scare her. She also was not sure what her daughter was scared of. To make sure that her daughter was not terrified of her, she made sure to treat her light so she would not frighten her child.
We could say that the Crystal contacting her family was an unbelievable fact because after several years she had disappeared, she finally wanted to be known that she was alive and well. We could say that it was a miracle and also we were glad that her daughter was found. According to the statistics, almost five hundred thousand children disappeared every year and authorities were having a hard time finding these missing kids. However, some of them returned on their own free will, but not all of them were the same. What might happen to the rest of the missing children?
Too Many Were Missing
There were reports that some of the missing children were located after a few months of searching and looking for these missing children. However, some of these kids needed to be searched for several years before they were seen. It would depend on how the progress or the clues that they would find while looking out for the children. Sometimes it was hard to find a lead that would pinpoint these missing minors. However, not all youngsters were lucky. There were still young ones who were not yet found.
There was information that the rest of the missing kids that were not found after several years had never been seen again. We could tell that Crystal’s case was unique because she disappeared for twenty years before she decided to contact her family. We would expect that after the daughter was reunited with her mother, we would see a “fairy tale ending,” but it was not always applicable, notably if the daughter was missing for a long time. It would be difficult to see the person after several years had passed.
Became Too Complicated
We could tell that after the kids who left their home for a long time then decided to come back to their family was too complicated. It would be easy to get along with each other. They needed to rebuild their trust, and also required a lot of patience to be with that person. Many had changed after several years. It would be hard to pretend that nothing happened in the past years. We did not know what would happen to Cynthia’s family, especially when she was reunited with her missing daughter for many years.
After A Long Time
We knew how difficult it was to see a person after they disappeared after a long time. We would need a lot of patience to know that person again. Time would be required to know or get along with each other after they had reunited. However, Cynthia did not care as long as she saw her daughter again. She wanted to be with Crystal once more. The mother of the missing daughter just hoped that Crystal was okay, and she would be reunited with her daughter, who disappeared. However, what did the mother and daughter do next?
Reasons Why They Were Gone
If we would search for the cases of children who disappeared in the United States, we could tell that there were many types of why the kids were missing the whole time. The youngster had vanished because of family abduction, lost, thrown away, non-family abduction, and also a runaway. The advanced technology we are using today in our current era, we have various ways to warn the authorities when our child vanishes. However, many kids were living in the US and made it hard to track if those minors disappeared.
Too Many Active Cases
In the information gathered by the FBI’s National Crime Information Center Missing Person File or the so-called NCIC, there were eighty-seven thousand four hundred thirty-eight people that seemed to be missing. Thirty thousand six hundred eighteen were all minors. It was 35% of the number that was missing. We did not expect that these many individuals were still missing in this current date, yet we knew that the authorities were doing their best to pinpoint every person on the list. However, how did the officials find every single person that was still missing?
We had a specific system that was used for the missing children. It was called AMBER or America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. It was an emergency message broadcast when the officials stated that the kid was taken over by a stranger or that child was at risk. It would broadcast every information about the minor and also the person who took the youngster. It also included every detail of a person and vehicle that was involved in the abduction. It would help them to recover the abducted child to safety.
The AMBER Alert System
The AMBER alert system was established in 1996. The name used in the system was to honor the 9-year-old child named Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped in Texas and later was killed. After the incident, they created the AMBER in fifty different locations, like in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Island. Since the use of the system, 985 children have recovered from danger. We could say that it was an effective way to find missing or abducted children.
If the minors were informed to the officials that they were missing, the federal law needed to enter the child details in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. In the FBI data, there were four hundred twenty-one thousand three hundred ninety-four missing children in the year 2019. However, if we compared it to the year 2018, four hundred twenty-four thousand sixty-six children disappeared, which we could say decreased a year later.
It was the total number of missing children in the data of the authorities. It meant that if a kid ran away from their home numerous times and reported to the officials in that current year, all the running attempts would be recorded in the NCIC separately. All would be counted in the total of missing kids in that year. It would also affect the total value if the person were withdrawn or updated. The reports would help us determine if there were still many children who were still missing every year.
According to the reports, there were eight hundred thousand missing children in the US. If we would compute the numbers, two thousand children disappeared and did not know where they would be found. However, one hundred fifteen of these cases were “stranger abduction,” which happened every year. It would mean that the child was taken by a person that they did not know and was taken to the place where the officials or the parents could not reach. We could say that it was a large number of youngsters that were missing every day.
At the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System data, six hundred thousand people were missing in the United States every year. However, we were glad that the authorities immediately founded most of the minors and adults. Those people were safely recovered, and we were happy that nothing happened to them. However, there were still many individuals that were still missing, which were estimated to be tens of thousands every year. The agencies named the cases as “cold cases.”
There were estimated to be four thousand four hundred unknown bodies recovered in different places every year. A thousand of those people still did not know even a year later. We could say that the story of Crystal was one example that they were still missing after a long year, yet the FBI and officials were always looking for her. We could say that it was very fortunate that Cynthia’s daughter was well and safe during those years, where she disappeared. There were other stories similar to the experience the mother had lost her daughter for twenty years.
Lisa Irwin was an only 10-months-old baby that was residing in Kansas City. Her parents did not expect that she would disappear in the middle of the night. According to her mother, Deborah Bradley, the last time she saw her daughter was in her crib. She did not expect that her baby would get out of her crib. The mother did not know what to do after she learned that her daughter was missing. Her daughter was sleeping since 10:30 p.m. on October 3, 2011. The next thing that happened would surprise us.
Father Of The Baby
Jeremy Irwin was the father of the baby, and he was also the first person who realized that their baby was missing. The father got home at 4 a.m due to his overnight shift. The tired father did take a look into his daughter’s crib. However, he did not see his daughter inside of it. As soon he realized that he was not at their home, he immediately called the authorities to report that their baby had disappeared.
After the officials asked them about everything they knew about the incident, the officers doubted the story of Lisa’s parents. The father stated that the police accused the mother because she might be the reason they lost their daughter. The mother of the baby also did not pass the polygraph test, even though they did not take the mother into custody. In 2012, it was the year when Lisa would turn to 2 years old. However, the authorities still did not find the child.
Ayla Reynolds was only 20-months-old when she was gone missing. The child was living in Waterville, Maine. The incident that happened to Ayla’s was the most massive investigation that the state police had ever made. The child was taken away from her crib on the night of December 16, 2010. The father also immediately contacted the officials after learning her daughter was missing. It was the statement that the father named Justin DiPietro had told the officers. We could not think about how the child was taken from their home.
Disappeared At Night
DiPietro shared with the authorities that he had let his daughter sleep on the bed on the night she had disappeared. On the next day that the father woke up and checked Ayla on her bed, he could not believe that his child had disappeared. According to the officers, there were several adults in DiPietro’s home when Ayla was gone missing. One of them was not a relative of their family. Ayla’s mother, called Trista Reynolds, was undergoing rehabilitation because of substance abuse.
The authorities thought that Ayla was not taken and had a possibility that she passed away during the time she was missing. However, there were no charges, and the person was taken to custody for the time being. Stephen McCausland of the Department of Public Safety spokesman said that the case was still “open and active.” We could not tell if she was still alive, but we were still hoping she would be found soon. Ayla was not the only child who had been in the same situation.
Last Spring Break
Drexel was a teenager in New York who had gone missing on April 25, 2009. She went for a spring break trip, but it did not turn out to be her plan. At the age of seventeen, the last time she was seen was in Myrtle Beach, SC her mother did not want her to go for a trip, yet she did not listen and traveled all the way from Rochester, New York just to reach Myrtle Beach. No one expected that it would also be her last trip.
Together With Friends
After some investigation of Drexel’s case, there were no arrests that happened to the persons related to the incident. According to the reports, the last time she was seen was leaving the BlueWater Resort. The surveillance video recorded that she was with a group of Rochester men after all the incidents happened. We could think that this event was similar to Crystal. The teenager might not be forced to come with them. Crystal might have a plan to go and her friend took care of their baby before the day she had disappeared.
They Finally Talked About What Happened
After Cynthia and her daughter Crystal finally reunited, they talked about what happened in her life while she was missing. The mother recalled that her fourth kid was an adorable girl who brought home an award during her fifth grade. Other people also complimented her fourth daughter. They also talked about how her daughter liked going to class and was also friendly. We could not tell what Crystal was thinking at the moment she was talking with her mother.
Cynthia recalled sweet and fun memories with her daughter, but it was different from what Crystal was thinking. The moment she remembered was, she was not happy with her siblings because they could not get along with each other. The daughter planned out how she could escape their home in her everyday life. Her mother did not know that she did not enjoy living in their own home. The two had a different perception, and the mother did not see the hardship that her daughter was facing.
The night when Crystal wanted to escape their home, she understood that she needed to plan everything. The moment she was hanging out with her friends, she thought it was time to make a move. She said, “And then it was 12 [a.m.], and I wasn’t going back.” The daughter was determined to leave. Crystal thought about every situation she could to escape. Until she got the best time to execute her plan, it was a gamble if she could escape or not.
Decided To Wait Outside
Crystal decided to go to her friend’s house, and later, she “decided to wait outside,” to wait for an opportunity. It was the moment that her friend and relative would see Crystal. When her friend returned to the location, Cynthia’s daughter was not there. Crystal’s friend could not find her in their place, so they thought that “she just decided to leave.” The group still did not know that their friend decided to run away. After a few hours, Cynthia called her daughter’s friend, asking if her daughter was there.
The information that the authorities got was “at the time of her disappearance, Crystal was 5’4”-5’6” tall and weighed 140 pounds. She had light brown hair and brown eyes. She normally wore her hair pulled back into a ponytail. She was wearing a gray and red striped Tommy Hilfiger shirt, blue denim jeans, white footie socks, gray New Balance sneakers, and a gold C-shaped ring.” it was only their clue to find the missing girl.
Immediately, the officers thought that the case of Crystal was a runaway because she did not unwillingly leave the house, but instead, she wanted to leave where she was residing. The situation was favorable by the authorities because it was an ordinary case which they usually tackle. According to the date of the officials, there were at least one million individuals who decided to leave their homes. They thought it was an easy job, but they did not expect the girl to plan.
The Authorities’ Mistake
The authorities’ greatest mistake was thinking that Crystal had run away. They missed the most significant chance to locate the location of the missing daughter. If she was not written as a runaway, for only 48 hours, she might be found. However, numerous months had passed, and they still could not find the girl and changed the officials to change the status as “Endangered Missing.” Later, there was still no lead to pinpoint Crystal’s location, which made her case cold.
Search And Rescue Operation
The meaning of Crystal’s status was that the officials or people were finding a body and not a missing person. The authorities might consider that the missing daughter was not alive and had passed because they had no lead or clue where she could find her. It might have a chance that she was also abducted that needed a thorough investigation. However, after reading or hearing Crystal’s case, it was a common occurrence that could happen to every one of us. People began to understand and began to calm down.
Not An Ordinary Case
We knew that Crystal’s case was not an ordinary case, and the daughter was missing for twenty years. However, she decided to return from her family after those past years. The daughter had her new identity, got a big family, living with a new community, and was content in her life, but she still contacted her relatives. People thought that it was “unbelievable.” We might think that it was impossible that the girl could survive the difficulties she would face when she ran away from her home.
After She Went Missing
After the year she went missing, Crystal was enrolled in The City College of New York in the year 1998. The missing daughter was studying to get a degree in business management. We might wonder how she got enrolled in college while the authorities were looking for her. The officer searched for her every day just to pinpoint her location. We might wonder how she did not get caught by the police, even though her identity was needed when enrolling in a school.
She Even Graduated From College
Crystal graduated from The City College of New York in the year 1998. After a year had passed, Detective Terrence Parker was the person who was investigating the case of Crystal. The detective looked for information and any lead to know the missing girl was. In that era, according to an ABC2 News article, “one of 48 cold cases was actively being investigated by the Baltimore City Police Missing Persons Unit.” Crystal’s case was one of those 48 cases that they were working on.
Detective Parker stated that “Usually in cases like that we would get something,” in addition to her statement was, “Somebody would say, ‘Oh yeah we saw her here,’ or ‘You know she was with her so.’ but, we really didn’t get anything.” The case lacked information, and they did not have any lead with the missing girl. At that point, the person who was holding the case chose to start his investigation from the beginning.
A New Beginning
Detective Parker said, “you have to start from the beginning like it’s a brand-new case.” After he asked several questions to the family and friends of the missing daughter, he also questioned the neighbors and all the people near the family’s place. It did not end there with his investigation. He also asked help at NamUs and even the Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington DC, hoping that the detective would return the missing back to her family.
Missing Children’s Division
Robert Lowery was the Executive Director of the Missing Children’s Division and shared what they did when the girl was still missing. He said, “Until about 1982, law enforcement wasn’t even required to enter a missing child into the database, although we were tracking stolen cars aggressively or stolen property through serial numbers or the NCIC database. We didn’t put children on the same wavelength as we did property,” as he discussed their organization’s work that was related to the missing girl.
Can’t Be Identified
Stephen Loftin, known as the NCMEC’s forensic artist, had drawn Crystal’s appearance when she was the age of 26. Detective Parker tried to talk to Cynthia about the matter. The detective would try to ask “about her hopes and fears,” and according to the mother, she said, “she probably wouldn’t even recognize her if she saw her.” The mother was honest about the conversation with the detective. If we were in the same situation, we could not also recognize the person who we did not see for a long time.
Detective Parker promised to the mother that “they will continue to look and fight, doing whatever they can to bring Crystal home to her family.” When they were looking at the missing girl, Bianca Davis, known as Crystal’s sister, was trying to find her lost sibling through social media. Bianca would post the picture of Crystal on the wall of Bianca’s Facebook. However, she did not know that her sister was just 4 hours away from where she was residing.
Crystal planned it thoroughly, and the daughter changed everything she could in her identity. She altered her surname and age. She might have only changed the small details of her identity, but it was effective because the official did not locate her. Cynthia’s daughter was also enrolled in a school using those false identities. We could say that she was executing her plan well. Making a fake identity would help her to escape from authorities or people who were looking for her.
Increasing Her Age
The daughter also decided to add nine years in her age. We might think that how she would ever pull off increasing her age or what method she used to alter it. However, she looked older than her actual age was. She made it possible, and her age was changed from 14 to 23 in an instant. Not long after her identity was changed, she got pregnant with her first child. It was the start of her new life and family, which she was satisfied with.
No Family Members
We might ask ourselves what she would answer if someone asked her about her family? People around her usually did not question her family. Crystal would respond to those curious about her family that she did not have anyone anymore. After they heard what she replied, people would not ask another question. The daughter stated, “It’s not a rare thing to not have a family.” It was why she was believed by her new community.
Learning New Language
When she was in New York, Crystal resided in a Dominican community where she began to use it. The daughter was fond of the people in the community. Later while she was living among them, she got to know how to speak and read the Spanish Language, which the whole community was using. Crystal also got her own family to be with. We could say that she was happy with her new life and identity. However, up to this day, her mother did not know why she left their home.
She Finally Decided To Open Up
After the conversation with her mother, Cynthia finally decided to talk. The reason why she left their home was because of their neighbor. According to her, she was sexually assaulted by their neighbor, and it continued for several years.
Horrible Things Happened To Her
Cynthia was so shocked that she froze on her seat. The mother could not believe that she was unaware that such a horrible thing happened to her little girl. Cynthia could not help but wonder why it went on for so long. Crystal was confident that her mother knew about the situation, but as it turned out, the parent had no idea.
She Wanted To Escape
As it turned out, Crystal had been suffering for a while back then. The only solution the daughter could come up with was to run away and simply disappear from there. No other solution she thought of made sense except for this one. Cynthia had been stuck on her seat while listening to her daughter, weeping. All she could do was blame how horrible a mother she was.