Editorial: Community prays for family

The community of Oak Harbor is united in sympathy for the family of 15-year-old Elaine Sepulveda who left her home the morning of Nov. 6 and has not been seen since.

Hopes were kindled Nov. 10 when firefighters near Arlington reported giving the girl some hot chocolate. Elaine’s mother and step-father, Mary and Juan Jiminez, immediately brought their search to the Snohomish County town, handing out fliers and giving painful interviews to the ever-present TV cameras.

This hope was extinguished by Sunday, however, when word circulated that the report from the Arlington fire house was incorrect, and that it was another young woman who had stopped by the evening of Nov. 10. The disappointed Oak Harbor family went home, no doubt heartbroken.

Events over the weekend put the family and Oak Harbor police back at square one, with a missing girl and little information as to her whereabouts. The FBI was said to be interviewing people in Texas near where her biological father lives.

Dozens of Oak Harbor residents, many of them Navy volunteers, have been active in the search for Elaine. Wooded areas have been inspected thoroughly and police, no doubt, have interviewed friends and acquaintances endlessly.

Mary Jiminez has been particularly courageous during this ordeal, doing everything in her power to get the word out about her daughter and patiently answering painful questions from the media. No mother should ever have to experience what she’s going through, but she’s handled it with great dignity.

Meanwhile, the Oak Harbor community is praying that Elaine is found safe and returns soon to her loving mother. This is one story that truly deserves a happy ending.

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