Zion, she just turned 17 in November. She shared her location with me everywhere she goes. She asks if she can go wherever, I would allow her to go. There are yeses and there are nos because, as a parent, you want to protect your babies.
I have six kids. Zion is my oldest. All of my children look up to her. We were supposed to be planning her prom, her dress and colors. I’m still getting emails from the school right now for graduation pictures and just graduation, and now I can’t do any of that because she asked me if she could go with Jaylin, and I said yes, because I trusted him and I thought he would be responsible.
But the fact is, is that it seems to me like he’s -- like he was hiding. He didn’t pull up in my driveway; he pulled up in my neighbor’s driveway, and he’s pulled up in my driveway before. We’ve given each other a hug. I’ve spoken to him. He came that night and he picked my baby up by pulling into my neighbor’s driveway and then parking in the front of my other neighbor’s driveway.
He called me. I didn’t call him. He called me on (Jan. 5), when my baby didn’t come home. He called me to say, ‘I don’t know why Zion would lie and put me into this. I haven’t seen her in years. I haven’t seen her in months.’ And I’m, like, ‘What? It wasn’t too long ago that I saw you.’
Even knowing that my baby has been in contact with him, I kept going to his house. I just wanted him to tell me the truth. I stayed up for nights, for days, panicking and being so fearful -- ‘God, please, don’t let my baby be dead. Please, God, don’t let my baby be just thrown away like she’s nothing.’ These are the things that I prayed.
I was fasting, my children not getting sleep, not eating, can’t go to work. I’m a single parent. Everything that I do is for my children. Every ounce of money and time or whatever, and energy, is for them. Just to make sure that they’re good, just to make sure that they’re surrounded by people who love them and protect them.
So yes, Zion, you can go with your cousin -- who you have in your phone as ‘Favo’ because he’s your favorite on that side of the family -- and to say you panicked? Then why didn’t you think about my baby?
What if you were so high you didn’t know she was alive and you just threw her in the dumpster in the cold without a coat? If that’s the case, then that means my baby was crushed in the process of how trash is taken and picked up and placed in a landfill where she will never be found. I will never know. I will never know. I won’t get to see my baby again.
As far as the many times that I went to his house during the search, Your Honor, he helped me post fliers of my baby in his neighborhood, on the corner of his house, the street that he lives. He told me, along with his mother, ‘I would not lie to you. I know this has got to be really fearful for you, but I’m telling you I have not seen her. I have not been around her.’ His mother said, ‘My baby wouldn’t lie to me,’ and so now everybody is suffering.
My children are suffering, and they have to grow up knowing that their cousin -- that their cousin did something this awful, and that their big sister isn’t there anymore. We have so many events and so many life changes that are happening now. My son came to his house, and he didn’t recognize him, but my son was so angry he just knocked at the door and was, like, ‘Is Zion here? Is Zion here?’
You could’ve came and said something. You could have called 911. You could’ve called your mom. You could’ve called relatives that are all around -- somebody could’ve helped. Somebody could’ve known something.
But it seems like more than just a panic. It seems like you did something or you gave something, because why -- if you love her, and she says that she loves you and she always does, and you say that you love her -- then why? How is it that someone who can love someone to just dispose of them in trash like she’s nothing? And then, come with me and post fliers and reach out to me and tell me, ‘I don’t know. I know you’re looking for Zion, but I don’t know. I haven’t seen her. I haven’t spoken to her and I don’t know why she would use me.’
Why lie? This is something that can’t be repaired. She cannot be replaced. This cannot be rectified, and we will never have closure, and as much as I love you guys, as much as I love that family, you have caused such (devastation) that it’s hard to trust family at all, and now my babies are even more isolated because how can I trust family when family is the one who did this?
I will never forgive you, Jaylin, and it may not matter, but I hope -- I hope that your children grow up without you so that they can be better.Ciera Milton