For those of you following this blog, you might remember this one: http://www.centredaily.com/2010/04/16/2397310/three-cases.html In that entry, I looked at three cases of missing people, one of which was, of course, former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar.
Another case was that of Michelle McMullen, a student at Grambling who disappeared after visit with her family in her hometown of Harrisburg, PA. While, on the surface, she was a hard working young mother, struggling to improve her life through education, she was accused of stealing from a church where she works and running from the law. Her family expressed doubts, even after mounting evidence.
Several weeks ago, Ms. McMullen was found, in California, living under an assumed name.1 She was arrested on the theft charges and may be facing additional charges for flight to avoid prosecution.
There are several points I would like to make about this case. First, while both were missing people from Central Pennsylvania, there is absolutely no suggestion that Mr. Gricar fled to avoid prosecution.
Second, while there were people, like her father2, who insisted that Ms. McMullen would never leave her son behind, she did.
Third, Ms. McMullen was identified by someone who saw her story the Investigation Discovery program Disappeared.1 Yes, that is the same program that will be running an episode on the disappearance of Mr. Gricar on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:00 PM.
Fourth, the reactions to Ms. McMullen’s arrest are interesting, but not entirely unexpected. Her mother, a minister, said, "We're excited and we're thanking God that's she's been found alive."3 We can expect that from a mother. Here is an exchange from the comments on a news story about the arrest:
A commentator named “kayp” posted, “Thank God she is alive!”
Another poster wrote:
Thank god ? She dropped her kid off with no regard for his future and has been on this self-imposed "run" for 2 years. Horrible mother, (stole from church) horrible person. Enjoy prison...you deserve it.
Like I said only knowing what I read and not all the facts of any individuals involved. Thank God she was found alive.4
Ms. McMullen is a woman accused of stealing from a church (not her mother’s), running for more than two years from the law, leaving he then six year old son behind, causing anguish to her parents. She still gets sympathy because she simply is alive (and yes, I’m happy that she is, too). Maybe she deserves prison, but she also deserves to be alive.
E-mail J. J. in Phila at firstname.lastname@example.org