By all accounts, Whitney Heichel wasn't the type of woman who would go "missing" on her own. She wanted children and loved her husband and her family. When the pretty Starbucks employee disappeared last Tuesday, it seemed almost certain that something awful had befallen the young wife from Oregon.
Her commute was only five minutes and her car was found later in a parking lot with a window smashed in, abandoned and alone. Now police are searching the woods nearby and no one is really expecting good news.
The missing young women cases -- Laci Peterson, Lori Hacking, and Stacy Peterson -- always go viral. People are interested because it scares them. But those three also have something else in common -- the husband is under heavy suspicion or is eventually convicted of murder.
The reasons for the suspicion are always the same. "The husband didn't act like he cared" (or some variation of that). He acted weird. He acted distant. He didn't cry. He talked about her in the past tense on hour two of her disappearance. On and on it goes. Time and again, this is the same story.
Heichel's story is different. Her husband is visibly shaken. He cried at the press conference as soon as he said her name. He is devastated. And finally, it seems obvious how a person "should" behave. I always said there was no "should." Turns out? There is.
When a person disappears, it would be understandable to be in shock. Maybe you wouldn't cry or grieve right away. But to do nothing? To talk about her in the past tense? That's fishy all right.
Heichel's disappearance is frightening and awful in so many ways. Somehow it's easier to "rest easy" as a viewer or news reader when you think it was the husband. But when the husband is just as clearly broken up and terrified, it seems clear that this was even scarier and possibly completely random.
Any case like this is tragic and awful. But somehow this is even scarier.
Do you think there is one right way to "act" when someone is missing?
Image via Find Whitney Heichel