Even though it's been a spell since I've posted, gears are still turning in the background. The US investigators are still looking for answers. We are still pushing the police in Panama to stay on the case (as much as they'd like to close it, call it cold and move on). Not having a body, or the car, or any blatant suspects is tricky, too. The estate is a messy mess of messes. That is the most I have to update right now. Hopefully this helps answer some standard questions (so I don't have to when I'm out enjoying life).
This week marks the one-year mark since my dad went missing. The US courts recently declared him deceased. Given those markers, and that it's Father's Day, I thought it important to have a memorial to him. I made this website in tribute to him, for family and friends near and far to celebrate his life. Please take a moment to celebrate Bob, the character we knew him to be, and add your own stories. Share the website with those who will want to know. Thank you. #findbob. (FYI: The investigation is still ongoing.)
#findbob The police and others in Panama are currently working to re-interview everyone and continue to look for more evidence now that the case is finally being considered a sincere missing person's case (versus him just on vacation, which the police wanted us to accept). Always still hoping for answers. Thank you.
Update on #findbob: there is nothing new to report on the case. I've had a few inquires lately from friends and family. If there is anything significant to report I'll let you know. Meanwhile, the case is still open and actively being investigated. The FBI and police in the U.S. have been very responsive and helpful, doing all they can on this end. I am involved weekly, often daily, with the investigation in Panama. Unfortunately things don't move as efficiently in Panama as they do in the U.S., much less as quickly as a snappy 45-minute TV show. That would be nice. The Panama police, investigators, and lawyers will attest that I've been relentless in this search. Thank you for your kind thoughts and suggestions. But right now, it's like asking progress on how the snail is doing in the frozen ice, "any new continents been explored yet?" Umm, how about 5 feet?
Heading home today. The trip was useful. Met with the US Embassy, in-country FBI (Legal Attache), ACS consul, Consul General (US), Panamanian Fiscalia 1era Superior (head DA), the Private Investigator, my local lawyer (even victims need lawyers there to get anything done), and a friend that has been helping in Panama the whole time. We are not even near to getting answers (as so many wished I'd get), which I didn't expect to get either. But, we have more people (and of higher authorities) working on the case.
It's a long journey. I was told by others with experience in missing persons' cases to prepare for a marathon, not a sprint. So very true. It's frustrating to keep hitting walls, but we continue to move forward, however slow, and hopefully someday we'll have those answers. #findbob
I am in Panama, keeping the investigation active. That's all there is to do at this point. A few other To Do items, but mostly here poking the authorities to keep the case active. The US Embassy & in-country FBI have been very helpful, but they can only advise, they can't take over the investigation. Fortunately, Panama is one of the more cooperative countries (with the US) in the region. #findbob
I am heading again to Panama tomorrow for a week to make sure the police haven't closed the investigation and meet with some others involved in the search. Hopefully working toward some answers and not more questions. (A friend will be going with me, so I won't be alone.) #findbob
Today marks six months Pops has been missing. I hope that his spirit is at peace. This has been a horrific journey searching for him; I hope some day we have answers. But for now, I know he would want us to enjoy loved ones, drink deeply, eat well, and be merry. I hope all those out there with missing family members find answers and, even more, find peace. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Much love, Mariah
p.s. Angel giver, thank you for the gift. I know you know how much that means. :)
Happy Thanksgiving, in America! Pops loved to spend Thanksgivings in Panama. He would bring the US holiday to his local friends and make a huge meal for everyone there. Pretty sure that was one of the annual Panama highlights for him. He loved to provide an abundance of food and cheer.
In other news this week, the US Embassy in Panama is keeping on top of the investigation and pointing out where the Panama police are slacking. It is very nice to have someone (authority wise) in my corner, versus having to continually follow up and pressure everyone to keep the investigation active (and point them in various directions!). Frustrating doesn't begin to explain the feeling I have over this aspect of the search. But, there are a lot of good people helping out and we continue to search. 5.5 months missing. #findbob Warm thoughts and full bellies to everyone. Love, Mariah
Help us find and bring home my father, Bob Ehlert. I'm absolutely heartbroken to make this request and to deal with the fact that my dad is still missing. My dad, Bob Ehlert, has been missing since June 21. $7000 is close to the current sum of the investigation. If I hire a PI, it'll be more, unfortunately.
He was last heard from in Panama (where he lives half the year). No one has heard from him nor have I been able to find any trace of him, yet. Through my family and friends, we have managed to launch a significant campaign contacting senators, urging them to push the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, State Department, and US Embassy in Panama to take action to help find my dad. We have managed to get the FBI involved. They, unfortunately, can't do more than the local Panama police will allow them. We are now looking at hiring a PI to do an independent search in Panama. At this point, the bills are quickly adding up. Lawyers, paperwork, travel expenses, all those little things you never think about are becoming a significant burden. (Because who EVER prepares for something like this?! See end for how you can!)
My dad is a very outgoing, gregarious man, has lots of friends, was enjoying his retirement part time in Panama and part time in Minnesota. He loved volunteering, gardening, sailing, and was a Vietnam War Vet. We are all worried and torn up by his disappearance. Some days I'm able to set it aside and address my daily life and job, but other days are not as easy. Many have asked what they can do to help. If you support me, and whatever that form takes, thank you. I am so impressed at how amazing my friends and family are. Times like these really shows the true colors of people, and there's a whole shiny rainbow around me of their beauty. The money donations, notes, hugs, last minute mountain trips, or simply understanding my current erratic behavior mean the world to me. Thank you.
My deepest and heartfelt: Thank You, Mariah
What I've learned we should all do, with every family member: prepare a living will and assign power of attorney. Do it now, do it for your loved ones, gods forbid anything horrible happened, at least you are all prepared.