It’s been 12 years now since a then 4-year-old Tristen Myers went missing from his Microwave Tower Road home.
And while there have been reported sightings, numerous leads and dozens of balloon launches, anniversary recognitions and other public relations events designed to keep the child’s name and picture in front of the general public, the young boy, who would be, if he is still alive, a young man of 16, hasn’t been found.
The searches for Tristen, better known by family members as Buddy, have long since ceased but law enforcement officers refuse to close the case and family members refuse to accept that the youngster won’t be found.
It’s an admirable way to look at a situation that seems, at least in the realm of common sense, to be beyond hopeless.
But we, like law enforcement and the Myers family, believe hope should not be dimmed simply because years have passed since Tristen was last seen.
John and Donna Myers, who were caring for Tristen when he went missing on Oct. 5, 2000, sent this message on the anniversary of his disappearance, a heartbreaking reminder that for family, giving up is not an answer they will ever accept: “Tristen, we miss you and will never stop looking for you. We continually pray for your safe return home. You are now 16 years old and we can only hope and pray you will one day learn or remember you have a family that loves and misses you so very much. Please contact law enforcement and let them know you are safe.”
Like the Myers family, we want to keep hope alive.
Giving up hope means relegating Tristen to the recesses of our memories, and that means less and less talk, less and less publicity and less and less chance of ever finding the young man.
Granted maintaining hope comes with pain for the family and continued work on a case that seems to be leading no where. But there’s always the chance that one person who hasn’t seen or heard about Tristen will see a billboard, recognize his face on a “missing” button, see his face in the newspaper or respond to a plea by officers or family members appearing once again at televised press conferences honoring the child’s birthday or the anniversary of his disappearance.
There could be someone out there who knows something today that hasn’t yet come forward. There may be someone out there who knows something relevant about a five-year-old case but still hasn’t realized that the piece of information that seems like nothing actually could be the one lead that could solve this heart-breaking mystery.
We applaud law enforcement officers for refusing to give up this investigation or relegate it to a cold case file in some storage room, just as we applaud family members for continuing their efforts to keep Tristen’s name and face in the public eye.
Sometimes it may seem like a non-story; sometimes it may seem like a futile attempt, but continued publicity, continued hope, continued prayers and continued diligence could be what resolves the mystery behind this young boy’s disappearance.
We hope the puzzle is solved by bringing the young boy home, and we hope it will be soon.
Anyone with any information regarding Tristen is asked to contact Sampson County Sheriff’s Dept. at 910-592-4141 or the National Center at 1-800-THE-LOST.