Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

Missing Her

Posted October 26, 2007

Maria Soledad Ponce-Perez went missing Tuesday afternoon, but she wasn't missed by anyone until Thursday.  The young jogger was hit and killed by a car along Reedy Creek Road, an undeniable tragedy.  But what may be even more tragic is that in the two days following the woman's death nobody came forward to claim her as their family member, their friend, their loved one.

Finally, Cary Police thanks to a lot of due diligence on their part discovered the young woman's identity through prints on file with immigration officials and located her family who claim that they too had been looking for her.  It's hard to imagine they were looking that hard considering the fact that she died not far from her apartment and the story was plastered on every television news program and in every local newspaper for forty-eight hours.

The plight of this computer engineering student from Mexico who was working her way through school by waitressing at a local restaurant made me think about how easy it is for someone to disappear in today's chaotic world.  We would all love to think that subtracting ourselves from the universe would topple the earth on its axis, but clearly life goes on.  As we covered the story I kept asking myself:  "Isn't someone missing her?"  I wondered how long it would take for someone to notice my absence, would it be minutes, hours, even days?

I think in the end we all hope that someone would notice our absence if not immediately ,within just a few hours.  After all we all have places we're supposed to be.  If we don't show up, wouldn't someone notice?  I'm not so sure.  Ponce-Perez lived in an apartment with several brothers and sisters.  She went to school, held down a job and had many friends.  It sounds like she had a full life, a life in which she should have been missed, but  for some reason she wasn't.

I think in this double tragedy there is a lesson.  Maybe we all need to slow down and pay closer attention to the people in our lives, present company included. 

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.