Divorce Debacle

For the last 10 years, I have dedicated my life to others. I have been a voice to those who couldn't speak. A beacon to those who felt lost. An inspiration to those who thought they were broken. I have been a poster child of triumph over adversity, but I am not perfect. I am a work in progress and constantly growing. I've always believed, and still do, that in order to inspire others you must not be afraid to show your vulnerable side because it is through that that others can connect to you and know they are not alone. We all go through hardships in life. But it's how we handle those hardships that show us who we are.

"Without our trials, we will never grow. We will never change."

I have gone through a lot in my life so far and I have learned so much because of it. Life is full of lessons. We can choose to learn from them or we can choose to let them defeat us. At times, I admit, I felt like I let them defeat me, but it's ok to feel lost at times, as long as we remember this is a temporary situation and things will get better.

My life changed dramatically last year when my husband and I ended our 24 year marriage. It was a difficult decision for many reasons. My ex-husband played a significant role in my life, not only because he was my husband and the father of my children, but because he was my rock. He taught me a lot about myself. He taught me how to be strong and to never give up. He taught me to always pursue my dreams, no matter how unrealistic they may seem. And it was through him and his family that I reconnected with my faith. Divorce isn't something often spoken about within the church. It's often a subject of shame and embarrassment, and maybe that's why it's taken me this long to write about it here, but like every setback in my life, I will persevere.

As far as divorces go, I'd say ours's has been successful. We are still good friends. We co-parent amazingly well together, and we still care about each other a great deal. Because my life isn't over, I know I still have a lot to learn, but I will continue to lean on my faith and know that God is in control.

"Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be."

♥ Diana

Just One More Song

           The front room of my house sits directly over the garage. There are two windows that face west and protect the room from the rising sun, which is important in Florida. They also face the road so it gets a little noisy at times. The walls are light blue and the dark blue curtains make the deep blue hues from the large painting stand out. Aside from the painting that my daughter picked up at an auction, the only other object in the room is a new futon my husband and I bought in case we needed an extra guest room. When he comes home he’ll wonder why I’m in here because we don’t use this room. This is our daughter’s room. We still refer to it as "Mary Lou's" room even though it’s been more than a year since she moved out.
            As I sit here, on what I’m discovering is a very uncomfortable futon, I can’t help but picture the room the way it used to be. It was never this clean. I always hated the way she couldn’t hang up her clothes or throw away her trash. Every time I entered I had to physically push things aside to make a path for myself. Sometimes I’d find my missing shoes underneath the rubble and make a mental note to reprimand her later for borrowing without asking permission. The walls used to be a horrible shade of orange that she insisted on having. I always suspected it was her way of reminding us how angry she was for moving her so far away from her friends and her beloved Syracuse University. The room looks better now. So why do I miss the clutter?
            When I look around this cold, empty room, I can’t help but compare it to my heart. It feels hollow and desolate. I’m reminded of all the childhood memories she’s gifted me with. I can hear her say, “Just one more song, Mommy.” I was once her entire world. No one was more important than Mommy. Sometimes I would watch her sleep as tears ran down my face because I knew she wouldn’t stay small forever and no matter how much we taught her and prepared her for life on her own, I would never be ready for that day. Nothing prepares you for parenthood. Sure there are books you can read and classes you can take but they cannot equip you for the array of emotions you will experience. It is incomprehensible how much you can love someone until you hold your child in your arms. It feels as if your heart will explode. Or the fear you’ll feel when you fully understand you can’t always be there for them every second of the day.
            Watching "Mary Lou" grow up has been an incredible experience. I think she taught me just as much as I’ve taught her, if not more. I’m so proud of the young woman she’s become and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here. She turns 22 in two days and she’s starting a whole new chapter of life with an extraordinary young man, and they seem harmoniously happy together. I’m still apprehensive for her, as I suspect I always will be, but I’m eager to see her start her new life. Perhaps one day when I come into this room I won’t be sad because I can imagine a crib against the far wall so the sounds from the road won’t be so obtrusive; or maybe a rocking chair and a music box. I can sing lullabies again and share stories when they ask me what their mom was like at their age. It would be nice if they could spend some weekends with me the way "Mary Lou" did with her grandparents. And maybe, just maybe I’ll get to hear children pleading earnestly, “Just one more song, Grandma.”

The Monster

My alarm is going off. That means its 6:30 and, once again, I’ve gotten no sleep. I can hear it but I don’t want to get up; not today. I’m just going to lie here a little longer and pretend that I’m a normal 17 year old girl again, except, I know I’m not. I look at the alarm clock and see that it’s May 17, 1991. This is the day I’ve been dreading all week. This is the day I must, once again, face the monster. The monster I’ve had nightmares of every night for the last two weeks. The monster I didn’t know could exist except in movies and big cities. This is the day I had to go to the city court house and identify my kidnapper out of a police lineup.
I reluctantly get out of bed and go about my normal morning routine of getting ready for school. I like normal. I just wish my mind was thinking about cheerleading and prom, instead of monsters and court houses. The police told me they would send an officer to school to pick me up at 10am and they said I could bring a few friends with me if I wanted to. That sounded comforting, but I wasn’t sure if I would. Lately, my friends have been different, distant, and quiet. I knew why and I didn’t blame them. It was because I scared them. Not me exactly, but my reactions to them. I wasn’t the same girl I was two weeks ago, and I don’t think I ever will be.
When I get to school, I walk absent-mindedly toward my locker where I see my boyfriend, Mark, my best friend, Danyelle, and another friend named Sarah, waiting for me. Tears fill my eyes for a few brief seconds and I realize I do want them with me today. Even if we don’t speak to each other, their presence warms me and makes me feel loved. It makes me feel normal. Sarah and I aren’t close friends so I ask Mark and Danyelle if they want to come with me today. I don’t have to tell them where. They already know. I bet everyone knows. I’m breaking news in this small town in rural upstate NY. Sarah surprises me when she asks if she can come too. At first, I think she just wants an excuse to skip class but when our eyes lock I know that’s not it. I finally see Sarah more clearly than I ever have before and I can see that she knows how I feel. I can see her pain and it looks like mine. I quickly look away to stop the tears I feel coming on again and I tell them to meet me in the office at 10am.
Class is a waste of time for me. I’m not paying attention to my teachers and I know from the way I’ve been treated the last 2 weeks that I don’t need to. They’re not going to call on me. They feel sorry for me. I see the way they look at me. It’s the same way everyone in this town’s been looking at me.  Their faces are always kind but I can see the pity in their eyes and I hate it. I stare out the window at the dreary, sunless day, and think about today’s events and wonder how I’m going to keep it together. It’s 9:55am. The teacher is still lecturing as I wordlessly stand up and leave the room. Nobody stops me. They all know. “Freak!” No one actually says that, but that’s what I hear over and over in my head. It’s a constant mantra, as of late.
As I round the corner, I see Mark, Danyelle, and Sarah already in the office. They’re standing with a uniformed police officer who introduces himself as Detective Harris. Everyone shakes hands and introduces themselves. Then we all climb into a marked police cruiser and attempt to act like this is completely normal. It would take 20 minutes to get to the court house. That’s a long time to pretend I was the old Diana again so I choose to stare out the window and not talk to anyone. They were talking to each other but I wasn’t paying attention. Their conversations sounded muffled, and it reminded me of those old Charlie Brown cartoons whenever an adult was speaking. This made me smile and make a small sound and I instantly heard the voices stop. “Freak!”
When we got to the court house, Detective Harris walked us into a small office that had a dark, oval desk in it with 8 chairs. He asked us to take a seat and then explained what was about to happen. “In a few minutes, I’m going to walk you down the hallway to a small room with a large window. The window looks into another small room where there will be 5 suspects. Don’t worry. It’s a two-way mirror. You can see them but they can’t see you. I know this will be hard, but I need you to look at each suspect carefully. It’s important we get this bastard.” His use of profanity made me feel like maybe he hated this guy as much as I did, and I liked that.
“Do you have any questions?” he asked. I feebly shook my head. My throat felt like it was on fire. I felt a familiar tightness there and I knew if I opened my mouth to speak I would start crying.
 “Are you ready?” he asked. I nod my head to indicate yes and we leave the room.
The short walk down the hall felt like an eternity. My heart was racing. My palms were sweaty. How was I going to react when I saw him? Will I be able to keep it together? I’m ushered through a door where I’m staring through a window into an empty room that has the numbers 1-5 written on the floor. I hear a buzz, a door opens and 5 men walk into the empty room, each one stops on top of a different number.  The suspects are barely in place before I point to the monster and say, “That’s him.”
“Are you sure?” Detective Harris asks.
“Yes! I’m positive,” and for a brief moment the monster looks my way before he’s led out of the room and back to his cell. A sense of relief fills me. I know I just positively identified my kidnapper. I know he is now being held against his will and this comforts me. Maybe I’ll sleep better tonight.

*This was written for a collection of short stories I am working on and a few details have been changed to either hide identities or add emotional depth.


An Unexpected Gift

My husband and I attend this marvelous church in the Central Florida area and we've been participating in this weekly class called MCU, which stands for Marriage Care University. I highly recommend it. It's helped us grow closer and more tolerable of each other. :) They gave us an assignment last week to rate about 100 different activities. Out of all of these activities we had to find 20 that we would start doing together. There were a bunch on there that we already do, like, go to the movies; go out to dinner; take a walk. But there were quite a lot that we just don't do together. We've discovered that we'd both be interested in taking ballroom dancing classes. Who knew?!? We've also discovered we'd like to attend more concerts and plays. But there were three things in particular that we decided we'd start doing first. My husband's more of an outdoor guy where as I'm more of an air conditioned loving, indoor kind of gal. This is Florida after all. Since he's always doing the indoor things that I like, I chose to start with outdoor activities. First, we'd start with tennis. I knew he wanted to play tennis with me because he sprang this on me in the middle of summer when it was 100* in the shade. I said I would but it would have to wait until fall/winter when it's only 80* in the shade. So today we played our first "game" of tennis. I say "game" because it only lasted 30 minutes and I was just so happy to hit it over the net and be able to return the ball to him once or twice. Baby steps people. Baby steps. The next thing we were going to do was buy new roller blades and go rollerblading together. This was something we used to do together 20+ years ago B.C...aka...Before Children. The third thing we decided to do was to buy bicycles and go bike riding. Now if you've followed my blog for sometime you're probably thinking, "Buy bicycles? Why would she need to buy bicycles? Doesn't she already own a bike from 2012 when she did that bicycle awareness thing?" Yes, I did own a bicycle. It was my pride and joy. Long story short...I was hit by a truck when I was a teenager while riding my bike and as a result of that trauma and the trauma that followed, I couldn't work up the nerve to ride a bicycle for the longest time. Finally, 20 years later, I bought a $100 cruiser bike from Walmart and that was the first bicycle I rode since that horrible, life altering day when I was a teen. I decked that thing out. I put a basket on it. There was a water bottle holder, a speedometer, and even a portable tire pump that hooked right onto the bike frame. I loved that bike. 

                           Look! Here it is! Oooh Aaah!

                   AND THEN IT WAS STOLEN!!!!!  

I was heartbroken. Whoever stole my cheap Walmart bike had to walk right past my way more expensive road bike to get to it. It was horrible. That happened 2 years ago and I've kept putting off buying a new one until this week when we decided we'd start riding bikes together. Now we just needed to find the time to buy 2 new bikes and 2 pairs of roller blades, which you wouldn't think would be that difficult, but if you knew my husband at all you'd understand. He can't just go to a store and buy something. He has to do hours, sometimes weeks of research to find out which ones got the best reviews and which ones are the best for the right price. I'm exhausted just thinking about how exhausted I'm going to be by the time we get these things. Lo and behold, not even 24 hours later, my mother texts me and asks me if I'd be interested in her bicycle. She said she doesn't use it anymore and it's just taking up space. Can you believe that?!? It's like she knew I decided to buy a new bike. Of course, I'm going to share it with my 20 year old who recently totaled her brand new car, but that's another story for another time.
So, thanks Mom for gifting me with your bicycle. We will definitely put it to good use.

"A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25

♫"On the road again..."♫ 


Letter to an Abuser

As you may know, I run a support group at my church for women who have been sexually abused or assaulted called Beyond the Silence. In this group, one of the many difficult things that we do is write a letter to our abusers. We don't give it to them. We write it for ourselves. We write it because while naming and describing the evil done to us does not ensure automatic personal healing, it does however provide clarity. If it is not defined, named or described, then it remains hidden. Telling the truth about sexual assault by acknowledging the traumatic experience is one important aspect of healing. The only way to move from denial, isolation, and self-protection is to look honestly at the assault that has been committed. Healing begins when the secret is disclosed and the shackles of silence are broken. I say this letter is for ourselves because, while confronting your abuser may seem like the right thing to do, it is different for each person. For some it might be a great thing to do. They may confront their abuser, receive an apology, and feel a sense of freedom or closure. However, for others, confrontation may only worsen the effects of the assault. For example, I wrote a letter to the man who kidnapped me but I didn't give it to him because I know that he isn't remorseful. Confronting him probably won't lead to an apology, but I don't need one from him. Would it be amazing if he suddenly was remorseful and sincerely apologized? Yes! But I don't need it to move on and continue my healing. That is something that every survivor must come to realize someday in order to continue their healing as well.

Writing this letter to your abuser is never easy. Many women find it too difficult to do. Even though they're writing it only for themselves to read, they're still reliving details from their pasts that they've desperately kept hidden for a long time. One of the women in my group wrote a letter to her abuser and she gave me permission to share it with you. I hope it touches your heart the way it did mine.

It has taken me 34 years to be able to deal with the pieces of broken glass you left me with. To be able to look in the mirror and not hate what I see; not hate how I feel; not be suspicious of everyone who tried to hug me, to love me or be my friend. It's sad to think that you may not remember what you did. I cannot fathom that a predator like you would forget the pleasure you found when you sexually assaulted my sister and I at the ages of 8 and 10. Now that I am a mother of four I have thought back to when they were 8 and 10 and it made me sick to the core of my being that someone could look at them in the perverse and unnatural way you looked at us. I couldn't bear the thought of what you did to us being done to them. But enough of that. This letter is to share some very important information with you. If you'll understand or even care is irrelevant, but I need to return to you what you left me with back in 1980; back in my sister's bedroom, on the bottom bunk of their bunk beds as you muffled my cries with your nasty hand.  
I return to you the shame, feelings of unworthiness, anger, bitterness, sexual dysfunction, fear of the dark, fear of intimacy, and self-loathing. These feelings have now been replaced. My spirit, my body, and my heart now speak a language that is foreign to you.....strength.
I return to you the 100 billion tears I've shed; the 100 billion sleepless nights; the 100 billion thoughts of hate towards you and replace them with steps towards being made whole and feeling free.
I also return to you the pain and angst that penetrated the core of my being every day. That made me question everything and everyone; which left me trusting no one and hating my future because I couldn't see anything but your face smirking at me.

I return to you that ache that sat in my womb at the thought of someone doing to my kids what you did to me.
Now that I've returned all these things to you, I am also going to give you something; something that isn't for you Emily, but for me.....forgiveness. Forgiveness because although I am working on being a better me, I cannot do this without exorcising this hate I have for you. It's been the cancer that has gone undetected and undiagnosed for years. It's the cancer which almost ended my life on many occasions. But I have found the perfect physician who offered me a cure. His name is Jesus Christ and His cure for my disease is forgiveness. You should make an appointment with Him and ask Him to forgive you too. Maybe then, when your time comes, you won't rot in Hell with the other pedophiles and sexual predators. Make no mistake, I would love to see you squirm and suffer; to hear you scream and know that no one is coming to your aid; to see what your life would be like after an experience like that, but, because of you, I've been brought to a place with some amazing survivors. With a group of women who have endured and who aren't willing to let people like you destroy our futures. I've learned that everyone isn't cruel; that I'm not abnormal; that I'm not meant to be a shell taking up space.
Writing this letter to you is me making the assumption that you're literate and capable of recognizing and admitting what you did to me and my little sister. But it is also my way of saying goodbye to your unwelcome existence in my life. I'm learning to pick up my mat and walk by faith, one step at a time.
Daughter of a King

Thank you Anne for letting me share your letter. And, yes, all that's dead inside can be reborn...even if you're worn.

"But you be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work." - 2 Chronicles 15:7


WORN by Tenth Avenue North

♥ Diana
(aka Jurney Eve)


Forgiveness-The Prisoner That it Really Frees is You

Forgiving someone who's done you wrong is one of the hardest things to do. I know because I've done it. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with my story, I was kidnapped by a stranger when I was 17 years old. It took me a very, very long time to forgive that man, but with God's help I finally did

Just to give you some perspective on how long it took me to truly forgive; I was kidnapped in 1991 and I didn't forgive him, I mean truly forgive him until 2007. It took me 16 years to forgive the man who kidnapped me, sexually assaulted me and tried to murder me. 

I must have said "I forgive him" about a dozen times before 2007 but the hurt was always there proving to me that I hadn't, even though I wanted to. I tried. Over and over again I would pray and ask God to help me forgive that man but over and over again I found myself bound up with all the pain of my assault that I hadn't dealt with yet. It wasn't until I started releasing that pain that I started experiencing forgiveness.

"Total forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling-at least not at first-but rather an act of the will."

I had made a choice to forgive and that's the first step. You've got to want to forgive the person who's wronged you. And maybe, like me, you'll have to forgive over and over again until you "feel" like you've forgiven. Maybe you're holding onto something that's keeping you from truly forgiving, like I was. I was holding onto my memories of my assault. I was keeping them locked up tight inside of me. But I've learned that you've got to let "it" out so you can let God in.

Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting. It doesn't condone that person's actions against you and it's never as easy as you think it's gonna be.

Today, I'm going to take my forgiveness one step further by praying for the man who kidnapped me. This is actually something I've been doing for some time now but today I feel led to really focus on him. Maybe this sounds strange to you but I know that only through God will this man be healed. Only by experiencing Christ's love will he be free of the demons that have ruled his heart for so long. So, if you feel compelled to pray with me, I ask that you say this prayer with me now.

"Dear Jesus. I lift up my perpetrator to you. I ask that you touch his heart; surround him with your presence and love. I ask that You extend Your grace and mercy to him. Let him know that I forgive him. For every wrong he's committed against me, I forgive him. I pray that one day soon he'll come to know and love You the way I do. I give thanks in advance for everything You're doing in my life and in his life and in everyone's life that has been touched by this sin. In Jesus' name I pray...Amen"


It's the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don't deserve

It's the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word...


It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It's always anger's own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It's the whisper in your ear saying 'Set It Free'

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

It'll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it's power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me


Thank you.

♥ Diana
(aka Jurney Eve)


Glee Tackles Sexual Violence

Glee, FOX's hit show, has done it again, tackling an issue important to teens: sexual abuse and assault. 

In this week's episode, two glee club members — one male and one female — disclose that they are survivors of sexual violence. Working with RAINN, Glee stars Becca Tobin and Blake Jenner filmed a PSA for the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which Fox aired at the end of the episode.

The episode, "Lights Out," is timely, with the Steubenville case still in the news and new reports about teens that have committed suicide following sexual assaults in Canada and Los Angeles. The recent spotlight on the correlation between sexual assault and suicide emphasizes the importance of survivors getting help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE or

Glee has been celebrated for taking on important social issues relevant to teens. Since its debut in 2009, the show has tackled topics such as bullying, mental illness, LGBT issues and now sexual assault. Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted; nearly half of all victims are under the age of 18. Survivors of sexual violence are at higher risk for suffering from mental health issues such as depression, PTSD, self-harm, substance use and eating disorders.
Glee, which has single-handedly made glee clubs "cool" again, has won a Golden Globe Award and a Peabody Award. The series enjoys critical acclaim, a die-hard fan base, two Grammy Award nominations, two platinum and three gold albums, more than 43 million songs and 12 million albums sold worldwide, two sold-out concert tours, a 3D movie, four Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes, including the award for Best Television Series — Comedy or Musical.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, it’s never too late to get help. Talk to someone who understands what you're going through. Visit to chat one-on-one with a RAINN staff member 24/7.

Learn how to help a loved one affected by sexual assault here.
“Like” Glee on Facebook and download the Facebook Fan Page app. Follow the series on Twitter @GLEEonFOX and join the discussion at #glee.

About Glee GLEE is a musical comedy about a group of ambitious and talented kids who escape the harsh realities of high school by joining a glee club where they find strength, acceptance and, ultimately, their voice.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. The hotlines have helped more than 1.8 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit


You Go Glee!
You make me proud to be a Gleek!

♥ Diana
   (aka Jurney Eve)


Diana Oakley's Story

God I Need You Now

 Are you struggling with something right now and you feel like you keep praying and praying but nothing seems to be happening? How many times have you cried out, "God please take this!"?

 Most of us are standing at a road we didn't plan but that doesn't mean we should give up. I know from experience that when we pray to God sometimes He answers with a 'Yes', sometimes He answers with a 'No' and sometimes He says, 'Not yet.' 

I don't know why God does the things He does but I trust Him and I know that He knows what's best for me...and what's best for you. Please don't stop reaching for Him. 

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
 Ecclesiastes 3:11

Need You Now - by Plumb


♥ Diana


Never Forgotten - Andrea Gail Parsons

I've always been a firm believer that the Lord works in mysterious ways. He brings people into our lives for reasons that sometimes only He knows.When I first heard Josette Howard's story, I knew she was one of those people. I felt an instant connection to her and I couldn't shake the feeling that we were meant to cross paths. 

I had known Josette for about a year before she told me that 19 years ago, her baby sister, Andrea Gail Parsons, who was 10 at the time, had gone "missing". She told me that even though it had been 19 years, her and her mom have never stopped looking for Andrea. They've never given up hope. 

Josette's story unleashed an array of emotions in me, some of which I wasn't expecting to feel. I still can't exactly describe them all to you but I'll try.

I feel sad, of course. I want to comfort her family. I want to hug them and do things for them, like bake cupcakes and dumb trivial things that probably wouldn't help them but would make me feel better for some reason.

Strangely, I feel like I've shared something with Andrea. Like, we shared the same fears.

I wonder what would've happened if I never escaped my abductor. Would my family have continued to look for me after 19 years? Would the police have given up on finding me or would they keep investigating, like they did for Andrea?

A part of me feels happy and comforted by the fact that no one gave up on Andrea. No one forgot her even after all these years. I imagine it must have been tempting at times to just close the book and accept that she was gone and move on with your life but no one did that.

Her body has never been recovered and they never arrested anyone for the crime...until this weekend. Someone has finally been arrested for the kidnapping and murder of Andrea Gail Parsons.  Here's an article that was written on Friday, November 30, 2012.


"Major questions about the 1993 disappearance of 10-year-old Andrea Parsons remained unanswered Friday after a judge denied bond for the felon charged with kidnapping and killing the girl — questions including how detectives cracked the nearly 20-year-old case and where Andrea’s body could be.

During the 3-minute bond hearing, Martin County sheriff’s Detective Yesenia Carde, the lead detective in the case, said Chester Duane Price, arrested on Thursday for Parson’s murder and kidnapping, partnered with Claude Davis, long the prime suspect in the case, to abduct the girl outside the Port Salerno store where she had purchased potato chips and candy on July 11, 1993. Parsons bit Price on the hand as he forced her into a van, Carde said. The next morning, the men disposed of her body, the detective said.

Carde offered no clues as to how detectives were able to link Price to the crime, and prosecutors were equally cautious. Chief Assistant State Attorney Thomas Bakkedahl, said the Martin County grand jury that indicted Price met five times in the last two months and reviewed over 22,000 pages of investigators’ reports and hours of videos. Most homicide cases take about a half-day to present to the grand jury, Bakkedahl said. “There was an extreme amount of information,” he said.

Bakkedahl confirmed that Price was not given immunity before he appeared before the grand jury, a request that many suspects make before testifying. Also on the grand jury witness list: Davis, 77, who was arrested in 1994 on a false imprisonment charge but never tried. Davis, who now lives in a mobile home park in Stuart, has never been charged with murder in the case, but his initial arrest raises questions now as to whether his constitutional protection against double-jeopardy would prevent prosecutors from charging him now.

Parson’s mother also testified, along with at least six detectives — some now retired — and William Snyder, Martin County’s Sheriff-elect. The grand jury also heard testimony from Price’s step-father, Billy Brewer. In May 2003 Brewer unsuccessfully tried to get a restraining order against Price, saying his step-son rarely worked and when he did, he spent the money on crack cocaine. Why prosecutors asked Brewer to testify before the grand jury remains a mystery for now.

Price, most recently living in Haleyville, Ala., has an extensive criminal history with arrests dating to 1991, the sheriff’s office said. He voluntarily returned to the area to give testimony to the grand jury, sheriff’s spokeswoman Rhonda Irons said. At a news conference Thursday, retiring Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder — also sheriff at the time of Parsons’ disappearance — said that a team of detectives was assigned last year to conduct a further review of evidence collected in the case.
“The resolve to find Andrea and get answers surrounding the circumstances of her disappearance has never wavered,” he said. More arrests are possible, Crowder said.

The investigation originally focused on Davis, a neighbor of Andrea’s, after he told investigators several stories of what happened. He initially told investigators that he saw several men stuff Andrea into a van the night she disappeared. Later, in secretly tape-recorded conversations, he told a close friend he had visions of Andrea being killed and dumped in the woods. Finally, Davis went to sheriff’s detectives and told them he remembered the truth – that Andrea died accidentally while collecting aluminum cans with him and that he left her body in a trash bin.

In 2000, Davis received a nine-year prison sentence in an unrelated case, but he was released from prison in 2003 and returned to Martin County. On Thursday, Crowder said Price and Davis knew each other, but declined to give more details. However, court records show Price was arrested in October 2009 and charged with assaulting Davis. The charge was later dropped.

Andrea’s disappearance on July 11, 1993 gained national attention. The case was featured on television shows such as America’s Most Wanted, and a Nancy Grace special episode “Nancy Grace: America’s Missing” that aired in February 2011.

Andrea was reported missing after she left her house in a mobile home community on Southeast Ebbtide Avenue shortly before 6 p.m. Her mother, Linda, was at work and Linda’s boyfriend at the time, Pat Daniels, was home with Andrea. Daniels told investigators that he was watching a program on The Discovery Channel and Andrea was bored. Andrea was given permission to go visit a friend and walk to the store.

Neighbors described how Andrea waved as she strolled along Commerce Avenue, then cut across the parking lot to Port Salerno Grocery. She bought two bags of potato chips and some candy. Daniels told investigators that he began to worry about Andrea as it grew darker outside. The family had no telephone and Daniels had no access to a car, so he scoured the neighborhood on foot.

Linda Parsons left work at Winn-Dixie at about 10 that evening and was stunned to discover he daughter missing. She drove through the neighborhood, stopping at the houses of Andrea’s friends. At 11 p.m., she called police.

As the 10-year-anniversary of Andrea’s disappearance approached, Linda said that she was still hopeful that her daughter would be found alive.

“I still think she’s alive out there somewhere. I have to believe that,” Linda said in a July 2003 interview with The Palm Beach Post.

Bakkedahl said on Friday he has no doubt that Andrea is dead but the fact that her remains have not been found should not pose any legal challenges. “I don’t need a body,” said Bakkedahl, who has worked on Andrea’s case for 18 years. “Trying a case without a body is mythically difficult but factually it’s not difficult.”

Neither Linda Russell Parsons nor her 31-year-old daughter Josette Howard or their extended family could be reached for comment. Linda Parsons posted stories about Price’s arrest on her Facebook page, which indicated mixed emotions about it.

“After 19 years, an arrest has finally happened in the abduction of my daughter. Everyone, please pray that this man tells us where Andrea is,” she wrote.

Bob Lowery, a senior executive at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said he hopes Parsons’ prayers are answered. But with the passage of so many years he said it wouldn’t be unusual if Andrea’s body is never recovered.

The center has worked on the case off and on for years. It prepared a photo to show what Andrea would look like as an adult. Both Russell, who lives in Niceville in Florida’s Panhandle, and Howard, who lives in the Orlando area, feature the photo of Andrea as a 10-year-old and as an adult on their Facebook pages.

In 2006, the center sent a team of retired police to Martin County to work with law enforcement officers, hoping to solve the case. Recently, it began collecting Andrea’s fingerprints, dental records and DNA so an identification could be made if her remains are found. The agency is collecting similar information about all of the children it is tracking, he said.

Center officials had heard rumors that an arrest was imminent, but nothing official, he said. “We’re very delighted to hear the news that there has been an arrest,” Lowery said.

While he said he can imagine Parsons’ desire to recover her daughter’s body, he said she can take solace that Andrea was never forgotten. “It’s got to be terrible that they can’t put the child to rest,” he said. “But I think she should be a bit grateful to know that even after 19 years you have a law enforcement agency that stayed engaged.”

And, he said, Davis’ arrest doesn’t change Andrea’s status for the center. Until her body is recovered, her photos will remain on the center’s web site.

“The search for the child continues even though law enforcement has made an arrest,” Lowery said. “She will always be a missing child until her remains are found.”

Staff researcher Michelle Quigley, staff writer Jane Musgrave and contributed to this story.

"Andrea's story just went global...It's your time Lil sis...we will find you...might not be the way we want...but soon baby." 

- Josette Howard

Here's my small attempt to help Andrea's story "go global".

♥ Diana
 (aka Jurney Eve)