Our Missing Family
Four of our Board Members have Missing Loved Ones.
Here are their stories.
Jenna Wood, Aunt of "missing" Amber Wilde.
My name is Jenna Wood. My niece, Amber Wilde, has been missing since September 23rd,1998. My first choice for dealing with this unresolved loss has been denial. While denial can be useful for a time being, it had over-run its course.
In May of 2014, I was struggling with feelings of jealousy for other families who had found their loved ones, sometimes with the sad news of their passing. Instead of feeling compassion for these families, I felt anger that it was not my niece who was not found.
I suppose I had felt that way all along, but never recognized it, until remains were found off Hwy 29 in Shawano County, Wisconsin. We believe Amber may have been murdered along that highway, so I was certain this was our answered prayer.
With news that Amber was ruled out as a possible identification, I was overcome with years of waiting that turned into intense anger and jealousy. Of course, it is not wrong to want my niece to be found. What was wrong was that I did not care about another family going through the exact same thing as our family was going through.
As I watched Marsha Loritz on the news that day offering support for the family of this missing person, I realized that it was time to start dealing with this loss. I asked God to help me to deal with all the emotions I was struggling with. That prayer led me to contact Marsha. Which led to my first Missing Persons Awareness Event in 2015.
I made myself go to that event. If I had not talked my sisters, aunt, and niece into joining me, I very well may have backed out. It was very difficult facing my loss for the first time. I left that day, knowing that God is answering prayers for the missing. People do get found. Most of all, I knew that I needed to meet and know other families and to see that they are not just news stories, but real people going through exactly what our family is going through.
There were still so many emotions to work through. I did not know how to deal with them all. So, I went back to what I knew until the next Missing Person’s Awareness Event in April of 2016-denial. Again, I did not want to go to this event. I only went because I knew that I had to deal with this. At the 2016 Event, I met Jackie Kort and her aunt Joan. Talking with them brought me great comfort. There is just something about being able to share the same type of loss with someone that can bring great support. This time, I left the event feeling almost a happiness in meeting others who have a missing family member. Although I wanted to go home to denial, in May of 2016, the main suspect was named publicly, after Amber being missing 17 years.
This stirred a lot of emotions. I struggled with my relationship with God. I asked Him all the why and what if questions. I just do not understand why some people are found and others are not. I even went months considering my relationship with the Lord, altogether. I was not going to attend the 2017 Missing Persons Awareness event. I was done. Done with God, done with not understanding, and ready to stick with denial.
Then, I received a message from Jackie Kort that said something like, “Will you be attending the event? It brought so much comfort to me last year?”. With that, I knew I had to attend. It was through the 2017 Missing Persons Awareness Event, talking with Jackie and Marsha, the support of my family, and this need to find some meaning that helped me to embrace the possibility of dealing with this unresolved loss.
I felt God was leading me to find something that could be called good through something so heartbreaking, even if my prayer for Amber to be found is never answered. I kept thinking about the Scripture 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “
compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves receive from God.” With God wanting me to comfort others and new friendships with
Marsha and Jackie, who are able relate to what I am going through, I feel comfortable saying goodbye to denial and allowing God to use my circumstance to be of some good or comfort to someone else.
It is my hope that as a board member of Wisconsin Missing Persons
Advocacy, Inc., the circumstance of my missing niece will be used for
something I can call good.
Missing since September 23rd, 1998
Please call, with any information
Green Bay Police at (920) 448-3205 or contact
Crime Stoppers at (920) 432-STOP
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