Desert Search Yields No Clues
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 7Jan99; Page B1,3
By Jim Walsh
Mormon Stake Responds Quickly to Call for Help
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 7Jan99; Page B3
By Judi Villa
Approximately 100 Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies searched
a desert area northeast of Mesa in vain yesterday, looking for
11-year-old Mikelle Biggs. Mikelle disappeared late Saturday afternoon.
She had been waiting with several children for an ice cream truck that
apparently never came. The other children tired of waiting, and Mikelle's
younger sister became chilled as the sun started setting so she left
Mikelle alone for a few minutes while she went to their house four doors
away for a sweater. When the sister returned a few minutes later, all
she found was Mikelle's bike and the 2 quarters Mikelle was saving for
the ice cream.
An immediate search was implemented, involving local authorities and
members of the Biggs' ward. Neighbors and ward members have been
passing out fliers, convassing neighborhoods, and tying yellow ribbons
to their mailboxes. Each day that Mikelle is gone, prospects get bleaker
for her safe return, but her parents remain hopeful.
The role of the LDS Church organization has been highlighted, not only
for its assistance in looking for Mikelle, but for its support of Church
members in general. Amber Mennenga, a Church member, said, "It's
automatic. We're all God's children and we're here to help each other.
It's compassion. It's almost like having something happen to yourself."
Jolene Griffin said, "You say you're in need, and it's there. If
somebody's hurt, you go and help. If somebody's lost their job, we find
out and we try to help. We bring food. We might be able to find them
a new job. That's the kind of thing that just happens. This is family."
Because of its strong organization, the local wards and stakes are perfect
for addressing emergencies. A simple phone call in Mesa made it possiple
for one church member to call seven people and end up with 500 volunteers
to help search for Mikelle.
A nondenominational prayer service will be held for Mikelle at the Mesa
High School auditorium at 7 p.m. Friday night. The Nation's Missing
Children Organization has asked drivers everywhere to turn on their
headlights while driving Friday, as symbolic "Search Lights for Missing