Elizabeth Ennen Murder: Family spreading message ‘Missing until PROVEN runaways’
LUBBOCK, Texas — Elizabeth Ennen’s family is spreading the word that children ages 10-17 should be classified missing until proven runaways. They’re handing out free “Justice for Elizabeth” bracelets and taking their message all the way to Capitol Hill.
Elizabeth Ennen is the 15-year-old Lubbock, Texas teen who was misclassified a runaway and who police later determined had been kidnapped and murdered.
Her family says kids should be: “Missing until PROVEN runaways.”
When Elizabeth went missing she was quickly classified a “runaway” even though her mother insisted she had not run away.
Even after waiting for 24 hours, as instructed by the first responder, Elizabeth’s mother, Virginia Ennen, could not convince police to change her classification to missing.
She’s not the only one who tried – Elizabeth’s aunt Lily Huckabee and her cousing Ricky Wallace also tried to have the classification changed. Police told them they needed evidence to prove she was missing before they could reclassify her.
The “runaway” classification lost this family precious time. For 16 days they were unable to get help from police, missing person’s organizations, or search and rescue teams.They don’t want what happened to them to happen to other families. Read: Runaway status impedes family’s efforts.
The family says it’s time for change. Kelly Garrett and this hornface.com National Missing Persons news writer are working with the family to assist them in achieving their goal.
Garrett is working with state lawmakers who will draft a bill that would list children missing until they’re proven runaways, and I am working the family and the missing persons organization Bring Them Home to draft the E.M.E. or “emmy” form, which stands for Elizabeth Marlene Ennen.
The E.M.E. form will provide information to first responders with a list that will help them assess whether the child should be classified missing or a runaway, and will provide follow-up information for supervisors and investigators.
What the family proposes would, as local news reporter Stephanie Berzinski said, increase response efforts in the critical first 24 hours when a child goes missing.
Berzinski met with Virginia and Lily last week to discuss their determination that Elizabeth’s death will not have been in vain. You could not help but hear the pain in this mother’s voice, a mom who says she’s lost her “baby girl.”
While needing time to grieve and to cope with the greatest loss a parent must endure, Virginia knows she must also be strong for her two sons who, too, are having a difficult time coping with the loss of Elizabeth. And she must be strong in seeking justice for her only daughter.
In an effort to spread their message the family is giving away free bracelets that read “Justice for Elizabeth” and working with authorities to help better classify missing children.
“I’m gonna fight. We’re still gonna fight until it’s the last thing I do that she will get her justice,” Virginia told Berzinski.
Berzinski said on her blog, “For now Virginia takes Elizabeth’s loss one day at a time. The agony of this mother is clear. She’s suffered the greatest possible hurt, having to bury a child. Each tear she sheds during our interview is difficult to bear. I wish there was a way to comfort her, but what can one say ? So instead I hug her and just as she vows ‘Justice for Elizabeth’, I vow to help Virginia make her mission known the best way I know how: through media.”
Garrett responded, “Thank you Stephanie for taking the time to talk to this wonderful family. This tragedy has affected many people. We hope for justice for Elizabeth; and a change for future teenagers. We will press forward with the family to get legislation passed to change the current standards. Missing until PROVEN runaways! That is our ultimate goal.”
If you’d like a bracelet visit the Elizabeth Ennen Family Support Facebook page. Then send a private message with your name and address to the administrator of the page, Lily Huckabee.
Interested in learning more about Elizabeth? Read: Elizabeth Ennen murder: Her story begins to unfold.
hornface.com will continue covering Elizabeth’s story. Click on the SUBSCRIBE button above to receive email notifications of this National Missing Persons news writer’s articles as they are published.
Rest in peace, Elizabeth, you will never be forgotten. Your story will help change how missing children cases are handled. That’s a promise from your family, from Kelly Garrett, and from me. I may not have had the honor of knowing you in life, but I do have the honor of being a voice for your family. ~ Isabelle Zehnder