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Disclaimer: From a blogger in South Carolina. If anyone could tell me more about this case or has more info, post in the comments.
For those of you who don't know, the era of the 1980's wasn't the best time for a kid to grow up in America. Back then, there was a so-called "satanic panic" going on. Kids were going missing left and right, and everyone was convinced that the cults were to blame. This "blame-it-on-satanists-attitude" was especially apparent where I grew up, in South Carolina. Around there, blaming non-Christians for problems was as much a part of the culture as guns, sweet tea, and going to church on Sundays. I grew up in a small town in the Sunshine State, but the state soon proved to grow cloudier and cloudier around me as time went on.
Things began to go downhill for me when I was 12 years old. I grew up in a little, one-story house with my parents and my eight-year-old brother, Danny. It's safe to say that Danny could be pretty annoying sometimes. In fact, looking back, I'd say he was on my nerves more than he was off. Still, I loved the kid, deep down. Once in a while, he and I got along, and the moments that we did see eye-to-eye, well, they were truly memorable.
Our times together ceased on April 13th, 1984. That day seems like a dream to me now, a distant memory. Danny and I had just gotten home from school. Our father was still at work, and my mother was gone, too, leaving a note on the fridge for us: "Went to Jen's. Please run to supermarket and pick up eggs so I can make your cake!!!" The following day was my birthday, I had almost forgotten. Well, I told Danny to stay put while I ran to the store, but the little bugger informed me that he was coming along. Of course, I argued with him. I did not need him coming with me to the store, he'd been annoying me the entire walk home from school. As I argued with him, I knew in the back of my mind that I had to take him. I mean, come on, the kid was eight years old, I couldn't leave him home alone. My parents would kill me for that. I finally gave in, told him to shut his mouth and keep it shut, and set out the door with him.
Of course, the little annoyance bugged me the entire way. By the time we got to the supermarket, I was about ready to clobber him. All I did, however, was pull him to the side and scold him for about a minute. Looking back on it now, I wish I hadn't. I wish I just embraced his annoyingness. Well, I turned away from the brat and made a beeline through the store, toward the poultry aisle. Always having trouble finding things in the supermarket, I was overjoyed I was able to find the eggs. I found the aisle, opened the cold fridge door, and grabbed the eggs. All that was left to do was check out and... find Danny.
I couldn't believe it. I hadn't even kept track of my little brother after I had scolded him. I frantically searched the store, and after not being able to find him for several minutes, I began to ask customers if they had seen a short, blonde-headed boy. No one had a clue. I even resorted to getting customer service to call for him, but my little brother didn't come. The worst part was going home and telling my parents. I felt terrible. The next day was the worst birthday ever, as you can imagine. I still hate my birthday for this reason.
For weeks, the police searched for him. My parents frantically combed the entire town, always stopping to post missing person signs all over the place. I couldn't even think of what could have happened. I was scolded by my parents every night for it. My dad quickly slipped into depression, taking to alcohol as a means of escape. After a month, the search was called off. No one had any idea of where Danny was. He had disappeared without any trace.A couple of weeks after the search was called off, the police called in my parents, showing them a photograph they had found in the parking lot of an abandoned store. The case remains open to this day.