A 16-year-old girl has been found, dead, just a week after her parents reported her missing. The parents of Emylee Lonczak thought their teenager had run away. But after Virginia authorities found her body in an affluent neighborhood, they've launched what has been labeled a criminal investigation.
Wait. Back up a second. Affluent neighborhood?
Isn't that code for "safe place to raise kids," aka "place where your 16-year-old isn't going to end up in the shrubbery between two homes"?
According to the reports, this poor girl's body was discovered between fences that separated two million-dollar-plus houses in Vienna, Virginia, a place where the crime rates are extremely low.
How Emylee Lonczak died or even when she died is still up in the air, but cops say they are "looking into any potential criminal acts that may be involved." Something clearly went horribly wrong between August 21, when her parents reported the 11th grader missing, and the discovery of her body on Friday.
Living in a "good" neighborhood didn't stop that.
Sadly, it rarely does -- no matter what the real estate agent will tell you when she's pushing you to buy that one house.
Bad things happen to good people and in good places.
I live in a sleepy little town where the teenagers complain that nothing ever happens (I should know, I was once ONE of them). My husband and I decided to raise our daughter here in part because it's a "safe" place to raise kids, a good place for kids to have a childhood.
But stories like Emylee's drive home why we can't get too comfortable, why we always have to remind ourselves that it's not enough to pick a good neighborhood to keep your kid's safe.
Even in our sleepy little town, we have murders. We have pedophiles. We have bank robberies. We have children who go missing and end up dead. It doesn't happen nearly as often as it does in a big city or even in small towns with higher crime rates, but still, it does happen. And it's every bit as devastating to families.
My heart breaks for Emylee's family and for the entire community of Vienna. Hopefully the police can give them the answers they need to find closure.
Do you find tragedies like this more shocking when they happen in "good" neighborhoods?
Image via police