Missing Oregon Girl Found

A photo of Ashyln Wilson as a baby (left) and an age progression image of her (right) from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Ashlyn as a baby and in an age progression image (courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Please, please, please let this be a trend forming!

In early May, three young women in Cleveland, Ohio—Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight—were rescued after being held captive for a decade or more by Ariel Castro, a former public school bus driver.

And now it looks as if another young woman—missing for more than 18 years—has been found: Ashlyn Wilson of Oregon.

Ashlyn was abducted by her mother Tara in 1995, right after her father Dan won a custody battle with his estranged wife. Before he could even meet his new daughter, Tara kidnapped the child and kept her hidden for nearly two decades. Ashlyn has been on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children registry since her disappearance and despite working closely with law enforcement officials during her absence, Dan never knew what happened to his little girl.

At least not until this week, when Tara and Ashlyn walked into the Polk County Sheriff Department’s office in Dallas, Texas and turned themselves in.

“Both Tara and Ashlyn just showed up,” Sergeant Mark Garton told reporters recently. “Probably coinciding with Ashlyn now being 18.”

Tara Wilson abducted Ashlyn in 1995 (courtesy of KPTV)

Whatever the reason, Dan Wilson—who lives thousands of miles away in Iowa—couldn’t be happier.

“It gets me pretty emotional when I think of speaking with her and opening the door and giving her a hug,” the overwhelmed yet ecstatic father said as he clutched the only photo he had of his daughter, taken when she was just eight months old. “I’ve been familiar with the anguish roller coaster for the past 18 years, but that set a new high and a new low.”

The low being that deputies never took a picture of his now 18-year-old daughter. It matters little now since if things go according to plan, Dan will get to meet Ashlyn in the flesh very soon.

As heart-warming as this story is—and as exciting as the release of Amanda Berry and the other women in Ohio was earlier this month—my hope is that captors everywhere are starting to realize the error of their ways and to release the children they abducted years and even decades earlier.

In other words, let’s all hope that stories like these will continue to come at a more rapid pace than they have recently… if that’s even possible!

Posted on May 20, 2013, in Family, Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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