Emmilee Risling, the teen girl’s babysitter, mysteriously disappears, and police are worried that the teen girl will be next.
A babysitter for a teenage girl has been missing for 11 years, and now a police officer has revealed his fears that the girl herself will vanish.
All three women are natives of California’s Indian Country, where disappearances and murders are commonplace.
It’s been over ten years since the disappearance of Sumi Juan, a 32-year-old Native American quilter and mother of three daughters.
Many locals believe she was murdered, though the case is still open.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office told the Los Angeles Times that they have found no evidence of foul play, but that it cannot be ruled out either.
“It just seemed so unreal,” Aurelia Alatorre, Juan’s eldest daughter, who was a teenager when her mother disappeared, said at the time.
As she explained, “for as long as I can remember, that seems like something that only happens in the movies.” when she saw a missing-person poster featuring her mother’s face.
Never did I imagine it would be this convenient!
Charlene, Alatorre’s youngest sister, has struggled since their mother went missing, becoming involved with drugs and risky behavior at a young age.
Charlene’s mother died when she was six years old, and she was sent to live with distant relatives with whom she had a tense relationship.
Greg O’Rourke, now 49 and the police chief of the Yurok Tribe, was asked by human services to foster Charlene, and he and his wife agreed. Greg’s wife was a distant relative of Charlene’s.
Approximately ten years ago, Charlene’s mother employed a babysitter named Emmilee Risling, who also happened to have two children of her own.
The 32-year-old Risling has been missing for over a year.
In the middle of October of 2021, she was last seen in a heavily wooded area near the Klamath River, which is on the Oregon side of the border.
A FAILED SYSTEM
When Risling was in school, he was a top student who eventually graduated with a political science degree from the University of Oregon.
But, her parents told the outlet, she entered an abusive relationship and began using methamphetamine sometime in the new year.
After having her second child, she experienced postpartum psychosis, and her mental health continued to deteriorate as a result of her drug abuse.
Risling was well-known to police and residents for wandering around town shirtless, but he “was never offered access to mental health services beyond cursory interventions at best,” according to a tribal report.
“Every system had failed her,” Judy, the mother, said. For whose account is that?
The situation, according to Gary, her father, has been “a living hell.”
Like Risling, Charlene has battled substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health issues, and O’Rourke is afraid that she, too, could vanish.
As a result of white settler colonialism, the dysfunctional nature of the foster care system, and the forcible assimilation of Native American children in abusive state boarding schools, indigenous communities have struggled with these problems for a long time.
If you ask O’Rourke, “the system” is what “allows this to happen, and even encourages it.”
‘I FEEL BAD’
Charlene recalled the last time she saw Risling, which was not long before the babysitter vanished: “We were both doing really bad at that time.
“I’m just glad I got to see her,” she reflected gratefully.
To which Charlene chimed in, “I told her that I was using, and she was like, ‘That’s OK.'”
In spite of the fact that it wasn’t acceptable, she never made me feel guilty. She got it.”
“My heart goes out to her son and daughter,” she said. Since “I” was implying identity, “because.”
When Charlene was a teenager, she started reading about her mother’s disappearance and found it too upsetting to process.
Twelve years have passed and we still don’t have any answers,” she said to the media.
That we probably won’t find out what happened to her is something I’d rather not have to accept. If I accept that, I’ll feel like I’m giving up on her.
At age 12, she started drinking and smoking weed.
She started using methamphetamine at the age of 14, and by the time she was 16, she was dating a man who was 33 years her senior.
Charlene admitted to using drugs as a means of self-medication in an interview with the media obtained from an Arizona rehab.
“I’ve been running since I was little,” she said.
“Both figuratively and literally,” he added.
Charlene had a son when she was only seventeen years old. For the time being, the boy lives with friends of the family, but he will be returned to his mother eventually.
Also, she was in an abusive relationship, though with whom is unknown.
Charlene’s mental health began to improve after she checked into a clinic in Eureka, California, in the fall of 2016.
She was taken to a Santa Rosa, California, hospital for psychiatric care.
She has recently checked into a treatment facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she will likely remain until April.