The Man Who Buried Himself
“What is the most unusual case you have ever encountered?” Brian replied to the reporter: “Well, the hunt for Gabriel is certainly the most disturbing, but if I am asked ‘unusual’, then it has to be the case of the man who buried himself”. PC Brian Wilkinson is a pseudonym of British singer/songwriter: Jonathan R, P. Taylor More
For it was during a BBC press interview (Scotland Yard; 2014) that Brian was asked: “What is the most unusual case you have ever encountered?” Brian replied to the reporter: “Well, the hunt for Gabriel is certainly the most disturbing, but if I am asked ‘unusual’, then it has to be the case of the man who buried himself”.
A missing person is one that has disappeared, and as their fate cannot be determined, we cannot confirm that they are alive or dead. But in most cases we have an identity, and somebody close to them believes they have disappeared. When someone is ‘missing’ it creates uncertainties, there is a lack of closure, painful and long lasting for those who love and seek them. And for those that are never found, there is no funeral or farewell. No goodbye for family and friends.
There may have been an accident, a crime or a death in an unknown location, perhaps out at sea or underground. But often people are missing because of their own decisions. Decisions they make inform the choices they take; many wish never to be found.
When a child goes missing, it’s different, we investigate, as it is our duty to protect them. Criminal abduction is common we believe, but not so. Crime accounts for less than 5% of such disappearances. And there are many organisations today who seek to share information and pictures of them, to find and reunite the children with parents and siblings. 8 million children go missing, worldwide every year.
But why do adults disappear? The ones who never ‘reappear’, particularly. ‘Vanishing Point’, a press release recently suggested; ‘4,432,880 missing persons have vanished without trace in the last twenty years’. To escape domestic violence perhaps? - Physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a spouse. Do they hide away somewhere else under a new identity for some other reason, or have they been the victim of a kidnapping? Perhaps some have been seized by dark forces operating beyond the due process of law, or have they merely run away to commit suicide, under an assumed name at a remote location, to spare loved ones at home the pain of discovery. These are the ones to be declared dead later, in absentia.
Have they been murdered? Are they mentally ill? Are they victims of crime, abduction, slavery, sexual servitude or are ‘they’ the criminals, hiding to avoid apprehension? Could they have joined a religious cult? Or are they suffering from a confusing debilitating illness that leads to their loss, such as Alzheimer’s disease. I wonder if many of the disappeared have gone out that day and simply forgotten where they live. It’s possible that they have now died in an accident, or of a natural cause, a long way from home and unidentified.
You can go mad thinking about it, looking for them, turning over every stone. But what do you do when the disappeared themselves never existed? Not only the person who has disappeared but their entire existence; everything. Wiped away like a classroom white-board cleaned by the teacher at the end of the lesson – Gone, as if they were never here.
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