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The Mystery Of
The Missing Women

by Cheryl Lakes

Each year, hundreds of women are reported missing by their families, and the numbers are growing nationally.

Several years ago, after attending a friend’s college graduation party, a friend split from our group to catch a ride with a gorgeous guy she had just met at the party and had spent the entire evening talking to.  Two of the women in the group tried their best to talk her out of getting in a stranger’s car, but she was too giddy and excited to heed their warnings.  The next day she came up missing and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.  When the police later questioned us, we all felt ashamed that we had not even bothered to get the license plate.  No one had ever seen the guy before, and as far as I know, he was never seen again.

Two years ago, in New York, a friend’s younger sister left a club with a stranger she had been dancing with all night and was never heard from again.  Ironically, her sister had the presence of mind to jot down the license number, after she argued with her sister about leaving with someone she didn’t know.  The police found the guy, who claimed he had dropped her off at another club.

I also had my own experience of trusting a stranger, and it’s one I will never forget.  Several years ago, when I wasn’t as smart as I am now, I took a cab alone to a popular club, on a night when I was feeling especially blue.  I had a need to get out among the noise because I had just broken up with my boyfriend, and I couldn’t get one girlfriend to go out with me. At first, I was apprehensive about going out alone, but after I got there, I received so much attention, I felt better.  And I really began to enjoy myself when this good-looking soft-spoken stranger sat down next to me and told me that I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

He claimed to be an architect, as he ordered drinks and we talked the night away about everything including his divorce and my recent breakup.  He seemed kind, mature, and genuinely interested in getting to know me.  Therefore, when the club announced it was closing, and he offered to give me a lift home, he didn’t feel like a stranger.  In fact, I remember thinking that he seemed to be a Godsend to take my mind off my troubles.

However, that notion was dispelled after fifteen minutes of riding in his car.  When he didn’t turn in the direction of the address I had given him, I asked why.  He smiled and said he wanted to show me one of the homes he designed.  I felt tense but dismissed it as paranoia.

But, my tenseness turned to panic, when he suddenly swerved into a very dark forest preserve and parked the car.  My heart raced with unbelievable fear when he pulled out a gun, pointed it at my head, and snatched my blouse open.  I began to cry hysterically.  I pleaded for my life and told him I had a young son, who was without a father.  Suddenly, he put the gun down and ordered me to button my blouse.  He said he was taking me home.  He didn’t say another word until we got to my door.  When I got out of his car and thanked him for bringing me home.  He told me to stay home with my son, and stop going out to the clubs.  I was lucky and I never went out alone again.

The bottom line is that women need to be more cognizant of trusting strangers they have no knowledge of.  There are just too many stories out there about dangerous encounters with strangers.   My story could have certainly had a tragic ending, and when I think of it, I still thank God for the outcome.


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