4.02.2008

missing

Over 1,000 volunteers came out to search for a missing girl, Hser Nay Moo, 7. She went missing Monday afternoon at an apartment complex about 10 blocks from where I live. Moo and her family were Burmese refugees, trying to get along in the states. I spent 12 hours near the apartment complex covering the search effort. It was unbelievable how many people were selfless enough to spend hours searching for this girl. They would be broken into teams and cover a couple block area, canvassing everything. They would look in trash cans, drawers, under sticks and in sewers.

At about 7 p.m. Hser Nay Moo's father spoke to the press at the command post for the search at an LDS church. He thanked everyone for helping in the search and begged for her to be returned. After this, I got my photos in and left since the search was winding down for the night. About a half hour later my photo editor called and told me that they had taped off the apartment complex, making it a crime scene. On the short drive back to the complex, I was trembling. I had become emotionally invested in this story and didn't want to see it end like this.

At the same time as the press conference where the father wiped tears from his eyes, blocks away at the apartment complex police found the tenant home in the only apartment they didn't search in the complex. The tenant, who was also Burmese, gave police consent to search the house. In the basement of the house, they found her dead.

The scene went from hopeful support with searches and ribbons to candlelight mourning. Search teams showed up at night outside the apartment complex as the news was breaking. A group of women on a team who never met before hugged each other and wept. Citizens prayed, created a small memorial of lights, flowers, stuffed animals and "missing" posters for Hser Nay Moo and her family.

Something like this always seems to show the dichotomy of human nature. Beauty and evil. It shows me how so many strangers can come together from around the state to show selfless support. How over a thousand can volunteer their time for people that don't even know. And at the same time, it just leaves me asking the question: "Why?"

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10 comments:

Daavidk said...

was there a motive?

Tim Hussin said...

not that anyone knows of. she went outside to play and that's when the guy kidnapped her.

J Rizzo said...

Your writing makes these photos so much more moving. Journalists seem to always be so worried about being impartial.. but is it always warranted?

Jason Henry said...

Very nice Tim. This seems like a piece that could be published from the view of the photojournalist, in something like NPPA as a mini news photo story. Although the story is a horrible one, you managed to get some great shots that really grab at the heart of the viewer.

andrea said...

goosebumps, yo.

seems like it was a heavy day, but you did great.

Tom McCarthy Jr. said...

The shots of the other children in neighborhood are the most powerful for me. Good job Tim.

Chris Detrick said...

really nice work Tim.

Tim said...

Thanks guys. It was a really tough day. Not only physically (running around with these people for 12 hours gradually digging blisters into my heels) but emotionally too. I'm not a veteran photographer, but nothing I've ever shot brought tears to my eyes like this. As a bystander, I just can't imagine how those more involved are dealing with this.

Tully said...

Hey Tim, really nice work and coverage. Really sorry to hear that it ended the way it did. You did a great job covering how it affected the community and your pics do a good job showing how the community pulled together to help. I like that you didn't just follow one person.

Tully

Melvin said...

Really.. Great Hussin!!!
these are great to see....

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