Next week will mark three years since Celina Cass was snatched from her home and killed. Her body was found a few days later in the Connecticut River, just a quarter-mile from where she lived, played, went to school and hung around with her friends.
I wanted to check on the latest developments in the case, so I went to Google, entered "Celina Cass," and clicked on the "News" option. Within a millisecond, Google responded: "Your search - Celina Cass -- did not match any news results."
That means there are no new suspects or developments to report. No remembrances that have caught the media's attention. No imminent arrests in the murder of a sweet, innocent little girl who should by now have been a teenager and a high school student.
A year ago, thanks to the efforts of an incredibly kind and thoughtful young man who lives in Celina's community, Justin Kennett-Gero, "Never Forget Celina Cass" ribbon magnets were distributed for townspeople to display on their automobiles. It was a worthwhile endeavor, and people scooped them up, eager to display them. Justin met Celina's mother at a memorial and she was touched by the effort. Clearly, there are people who care.
But another year has passed, and it seems that we're no closer to justice for Celina than we were when the crime first occurred. While the inclination to simply shake our heads while we think about the tragedy for a moment, then move on with our lives is understandable, it should also be unacceptable. Celina Cass represents every child out there who has been murdered or is missing. And there are far too many like her in America from every background and race.
In Celina's eyes was the unmistakable innocence and hope of childhood. I challenge you to look at her photo and not see that. I challenge you to look at her photo and not see your own child, every child. And I ask you to remember her. Always.