It was 8 p.m. and I was heading home from my son’s school. The sun had dipped its head beneath the retreating storm clouds, leaving faded orange streaks in my rearview mirror. It was a familiar path; one I’ve driven mindlessly more than 1,000 times over the past 16 years. I came to a traffic light at the intersection of Rice Road and Madison Avenue. As I stopped, I looked at the very familiar trees. But at that moment, everything was different. The woods seemed darker. More foreboding. And the world was tainted with sadness.
A body had been found in those same woods earlier in the afternoon.
Now the police and the TV trucks were gone. All remained was the darkness. And the pain of a family fearing the worst but desperately hoping for the best.
Sources told The Clarion-Ledger last night that a police investigator found the body and that they believed it was the missing young Madison resident Abigail Grace Bonner. The local and online community had rallied to try to find her. The coroner is supposed to confirm the identity today. I hope the sources are wrong. I pray they are wrong.
I don’t know Abigail’s parents. But as a parent myself, I can only imagine the hell they’re going through. I stopped my car at the traffic light and said a silent prayer for them. It was a parent’s prayer — a creed that all parent’s share as we silently wish for our childrens’ safety.
I know this community will step up and lift Abigail’s parents up during their time of need. We do that in Mississippi. But the world has changed a little this morning. Gray rain is pouring down outside. And the woods I’ve passed by 1,000 times will forever seem a little darker.
Update: Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland has confirmed that Abigail has been found. My prayers are with the family.