The Impact Of Child Abduction On Families

Etan Patz, Madeleine McCann, Phylicia Barnes, and Jaycee Dugard are all children who were declared missing and whose cases have all had different endings. One child was declared dead, one might still be alive, one child was found dead, and one was found alive 18 years later. For families with missing loved ones, hope doesn’t die. To describe the loss these families feel, Pauline Boss, a professor and marital and family therapist, coined the term “ambiguous loss”. Because their loved ones are out of reach, their loss is unresolved.  When a loved one is found dead, their loss is resolved and becomes absolute. Mourning can take place and closure is finally possible.

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