A 9 yo autistic girl went missing, there were witnesses, and they did NOTHING…

by Jill Bender on May 31, 2011

protect children

At around 3:30pm on Monday night a 9 year old autistic girl, Kristina, went missing from her home in Arvada. I saw news reports, I saw the tweets coming from the local news stations (here is the news story)…

Tuesday morning at around 8:30am I was taking Jonesie to school and had Joe with me too. The DJ’s on Alice 105.9 were talking about the girl and the fact that she was still missing.

And then…

And then a woman called. And she said something along the lines of “I saw this girl last night at around 4:30ish at 58thand Kipling.” (Let me tell you, this is a very busy intersection.) BJ (radio DJ) asked her if she was wearing a red Mickey Mouse t-shirt, as the missing girl was reportedly wearing, and the woman said she was. She went on to say how the girl looked lost, and she was kind of in the street. AND THEN she said she honked her horn. You know… to get the girl out of the street so she didn’t get hit.

And she went on her way.

She noticed that the white Jeep behind her slow down a bit, but kept going.

BJ asked her if she called 911 or anything. She said that she had just now called and was waiting to hear back from someone.

Joe and I kind of looked at each other like “are we… did she… are we really hearing THIS?” I asked him what he would have done. He said, “Well, I wouldn’t have picked her up because I would be scared but I would have called 911 for sure.”

Fast forward 4 ½ hours and Kristina was found dead at a construction site less than ½ mile from the intersection of 58thand Kipling. (Cause of death isn’t confirmed just yet and no foul play is suspected, but early reports are that she drowned in some water at the site.)

When I heard the news I was devastated and angry. Devastated for the family that lost their little girl, and angry that NO ONE did anything to help her.

Let me not mince words when I say her life could have been saved last night. And NO ONE did a thing to help her. Clear choices were made not to do anything, but to let her “hang out in a street” per se.

What has happened to society that a 9 year old little girl that looks lost, who is “kind of in a busy road”, who causes cars to slow, who even prompts a honk….. gets passed by? Gets left to die? I cannot even wrap my heart or my head around this. How anyone can pass by a child. I am disgusted.

It is very difficult for me to not to point the finger at the woman who called the radio show, boasting that she had seen Kristina because she didn’t kill Kristina but she did have it in her power to save her life. And so did everyone else that drove right passed little Kristina.

Kristina’s death cannot be in vain. YOU all have a responsibility. No one is immune from providing our children with a SAFE environment no matter how busy you are or where you need to be.

It is better to make the call and be wrong than to have done nothing at all. Case. In. Point.

RIP Kristina Vlassenko. My thoughts and prayers go out to Kristina’s family, friends and the bus driver, Liz Garcia, that joined in the search. Clearly this has touched many lives and it DIDN’T NEED TO!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 By Word of Mouth Musings May 31, 2011 at

We have become such a society of ‘its not my problem’ … too sad.
I am sure that woman will feel guilt forever, just horrible news.

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2 Jill May 31, 2011 at

You are so right Nicole, society has become too much of “it’s not my problem” and it’s an awful society to live in.

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3 Angela May 31, 2011 at

Very well written. I am so sad to hear about this. I am confused at people’s indifference to wandering children these days!!!

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4 Chris Bird May 31, 2011 at

Very well said, Jill. I didn’t know for sure that she had been witnessed, but thought she had to have been. Now to read this and hear how many people must have passed right by her in their cars? I agree with you, may this story be a wake-up call to everyone who thinks they have better things to do than to worry about their neighbor. May they never be the one in need while others pass by and do nothing.

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5 Amber's Crazy Bloggin' Canuck May 31, 2011 at

This happened literally down the street from my house. Sickens me. :-(

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6 Jill May 31, 2011 at

Ugh Amber! My boys raced BMX at that track for years, which is now the construction site. And to this day he plays baseball at the field right there.

I just hope everyone hugs their kids a little tighter, and there is nothing more important than protecting their neighbor. (as Chris Bird said)

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7 Morgan B. May 31, 2011 at

This breaks my heart. We should all be treating other children as if they were our own. Where is the village? Why aren’t people looking out for each other? I can only hope that Kristina’s story will save other children from the same fate. Thanks for sharing!

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8 BigMamaCass May 31, 2011 at

Omg, I just heard about this story on an old dvd taping. I had no idea she had passed away. How horrible!!! I can’t believe that woman who passed her and ignored her can even live with herself!!!

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9 Kevin Cullis May 31, 2011 at

Part of the issue is the fear of legal issues, that if I as a man were to pick her up, I would be be labeled as kidnapping her. However, I could have called 911 and THEN grabbed her and put her somewhere safe to get the police there so there would be a “record” of what happened. But see what other legal issues and fears can cause others not to get involved? One erroneous comment from someone or the police jumping the gun and you get fingered for the crime and you end up in jail fighting for YOUR life. If I had seen her, I would have done something, but others may be too frightened to do anything. Sad

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10 Jill May 31, 2011 at

When you make a call to 911 they HAVE TO follow up. And how incredible of a tip would that have been since they were already looking for the child. Get over the fears of legal issues. And from the reports of the woman who called the radio station… the girl clearly caused alarm. I would much rather be interrogated for doing the right thing than doing nothing at all.

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11 Kevin Cullis May 31, 2011 at

Jill, while I agree that people need to get over their fears, but let’s play a scenario here. Had I picked up the girl up to carry her to safety and she became hysterical and you saw me with her and not knowing she was lost assumed that I was kidnapping her and call the police and I get arrested and charged. When it comes to kids and being a man I might take a few more steps to be cautious, but if her life was truly in danger, i.e. a car barreling down on her, I surely would have responded quickly to save her. My point is, most predators are men and men have to be more careful today when dealing with children than years gone past. Just saying.

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12 Jill May 31, 2011 at

I’m not saying that the steps to be cautious, even as a woman, aren’t warranted. I certainly wouldn’t have picked her up, even to move her to safety. But I would not moved from my spot until police arrived.

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13 Jill May 31, 2011 at

One more thing… I read a little more on this on CBS4 and the woman says it never even occurred to her to call last night. All liabilities aside; she made a bad decision.

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14 kia May 31, 2011 at

We are interconnected and cannot lose our humanity no matter how convenient it is. Even if you are scared to reach out there are ways to do it w/o being directly involved. Don’t be ruled by fear or laziness even though they seem easier. I am so sorry for her loved ones that are grieving tonight.

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15 NotJustAnotherJennifer May 31, 2011 at

Oh my gosh, I am in shock. That’s terrible! I can say that I have driven past cars that are stopped on the side of the road because a) I know nothing about cars, b) it’s dark and I’m alone or c) I have my kids with me. I have stopped under different circumstances, and I’ve called 911 when witnessing an accident. I would like to think I would never just drive by a child who is alone in the middle of the street! And I certainly wouldn’t just slow down and honk at her. Heartbreaking.

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16 Mimi May 31, 2011 at

Oh my goodness, that is horrible! I wonder what the people driving by her thought. What their mindset was. I’m trying to think of the autistic kids I know and wonder if I would’ve known they were autistic just by driving by them. Then again, it seems like they were pretty close to her. Yah, I can’t imagine doing nothing…

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17 Jill May 31, 2011 at

Mimi, I think the fact that she is autistic just makes the story more sad, and any passersby likely would not have noticed, but a 9 year old alone, wandering in a busy street? That alone warrants a phone call.

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18 Polish Mama on the Prairie June 1, 2011 at

There were so many signs that woman stated that warranted a call to the police.

1. She was 9. There should not be a 9 year old near an intersection alone. Let alone a busy one.

2. She looked lost. Hello?

3. She was kind of in the intersection to where the woman was afraid of hitting her. So, obviously the little girl was clueless about what to do in an intersection alone. I don’t blame the child. This is a VERY clear sign of a child in danger.

Autistic as well, well that is sad, yes. But in the end, she could just as well have not been autistic and could have as well been kidnapped by some opportunistic predator and viciously abused, raped, even killed.

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19 Dawana May 31, 2011 at

This is just so disgusting and it pisses me the eff off. You are so right, nothing, NOTHING was done. Someone could have saved this child’s life. We just do not care about each other at all as a people. A little girl. No one could’ve called the police? It’s just wrong.

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20 Polish Mama on the Prairie June 1, 2011 at

You are stronger than I am. I do not restrain myself from pointing my finger at that woman and others. I hope the DJ’s told that woman exactly that her being passive and doing nothing helped contribute to that little girl’s death.

I pray for my children because this is sadly just not shocking and different from what I have seen growing up in our society. We have a very strong mentality to do nothing, to mind our own business, that we are too busy.

It’s the same exact mentality that many say allowed the Holocaust to be perpetrated in the first place.

This is exactly a big part of why I married my husband. Because I know, I have seen him do so, he would stand up for the little guy, protect and get help for those smaller and less able than him. I think some men don’t realize how sexy this quality truly is.

When you see someone fall, you go to them, ask if they need help and if you can and they need it, give them that help. Call 9-1-1, stop bleeding, perform CPR, whatever you have to do, etc. When you see a child lost, if you are a woman, you go them, ask them their name, their parents names and telephone numbers if they know it, call 9-1-1, whatever. If you are a man, you stop, stay close by and call 9-1-1 but don’t touch the child because men are more dangerous than women, sorry but it’s the truth. When you see a woman get hit, you call 9-1-1 and if you feel you can, step in and stop it.

Because one day that could be you. Or your children. Prayers to God that never happens.

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21 Fiona @banteringblonde June 1, 2011 at

When I was growing up our neighbors were more neighborly – we knew every single family on the block and as much as people would complain about everyone being all up in each other’s business, nothing happened without someone else seeing or knowing. I have stopped to help people before, a few times just to make sure help was coming, once I sat with a woman until help came – she had hit another car and left the scene only to stop a few yards ahead because she was injured— she was stupid to keep driving but she was also confused and obviously disoriented…. people were mad at her but she was injured so I sat with her, because that was the right thing to do.
I have great neighbors now but it isn’t the same – maybe it’s because I live in town and there are just more people, maybe it’s different times? I’m not convinced that if something didn’t look quite right at my house, anyone other than my immediate neighbors would notice or do anything about it — there just isn’t that sense of community in neighborhoods anymore…. not mine anyway.

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22 Karen Heumann June 1, 2011 at

thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. thank you for your courage in using your blog as a forum to express so many thoughts on so many issues. I am sure you get criticism for some of your posts and I am grateful, yes grateful, that you continue to speak out. thank you.

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23 Jill June 1, 2011 at

Thank you Karen!

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24 Christy Skoronski June 7, 2011 at

Good blog Jill. I’m glad this wasn’t forgotton. :)

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25 Lorrie Servati June 21, 2011 at

I admire what you in how you provide such great resources to consumers. Thank you for wiriting this important article on Kristina’s disappearance. You have gotten a lot of comments and made me to want to do something in the future to help & protect those that need it.

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