Girl Goes Missing, Reappears 20 Years Later With Her Own Kids And Speaking Spanish

Published on 07/01/2020
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Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the whole world, yet the most rewarding one. Taking care and looking after your children must be tough and tiring. You work then come home and do more work. However,  at the end of the day, just a little kiss or hug from your little ones can already wipe all the tiredness away. Cynthia Haag must have felt this way, especially because she’s raising her children all by herself. What if one day, you come home, and find out that one of your precious children is missing? How will you deal with it? What will you do? This happened to Cynthia back in 1997. She was out for work one day, then came home and found out that her daughter, Crystal Haag, was missing and disappeared without a single trace. She was just fourteen years old back then. She strongly refused to leave her home of twenty years in Baltimore, with the slightest hope that her young daughter will come back.

Unanswered

One’s disappearance will leave a lot of questions especially if there’s no reason or any traces that can explain why. Crystal Haag, daughter of Cynthia Haag, left everyone shocked and confused when she disappeared back in 1997 in Baltimore. She was just a teenager who was advised to not leave their home for her safety yet later on found out that she was gone and nowhere to be found. Everyone that Cynthia knew that could find her daughter had already been asked about the little girl’s whereabouts but no one knew where or even had the slightest idea where she would go, even her friends and family. Cynthia and everyone who knew her and her daughter was left with so many questions unanswered. Where could she possibly go? Why did she leave without telling anyone? Was she abducted or she ran away from home?

Unanswered

Unanswered

Single Mom

Raising and taking care of children are tough jobs for working mothers. Waking up early, preparing and setting everything for them before leaving for work in the morning, doing your shift, then coming home to do chores and take care of your kids. It’s a tough job for a working mother, and even tougher for those mothers who do it alone. Cynthia, a single mother in Baltimore, with four children to raise and feed, tries to make ends meet every day. Ensuring her kids are safe, well dressed, and are fed daily is her priority. Well. I guess it’s the same for everyone who has kids to support. No one else and nothing else has to be your priority but your children.

Single Mom

Single Mom

Just Another Day

Back in 1997, it was just another day for Cynthia. Little did she know that that day will be the day she and her family will never forget all through their lives. One day, while Cynthia was working at the store, her fourteen-year-old daughter, Crystal, came by to get some milk and cereal before going back home. It was nothing special, just a normal thing for Crystal to do before heading back to their lovely home. Cynthia had advised her daughter to stay at home. “Stay around the house today” were the words she uttered. Crystal was just about to leave and she just responded that she would. She had no idea that it’s going to be the last time she’ll ever speak and see her daughter.

Just Another Day

Just Another Day

Nowhere

Cynthia was leaving the store as her work had finally ended and was going back home to her kids, didn’t know what was waiting for her back home. When she finally arrived home, she was welcomed with the news that shocked her. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Crystal, was missing, disappeared without a trace, and nowhere to be found. She called and reached out to her family, friends, and everyone who knew her daughter and might know where she was but to no avail. She tried reaching out to anyone but was unsuccessful to find her daughter’s location that time. She did not want to believe that it was really happening and that her daughter had really disappeared. However, she knew she needed help to find her lovely daughter. She finally called the police and reported that her daughter was missing.

Nowhere

Nowhere

The Baseball Cap

What can a mother do when one of her children went missing? She never stopped searching for her. Even with the police helping her in finding her lovely daughter, as a mother, she could not just sit back and wait for the police’s report. She was thinking of all the possibilities why her daughter left and what might have happened to her. Cynthia was searching for her everywhere she went. She looks at every brown-haired girl she sees and even the one’s wearing a baseball cap. But searching and looking for her daughter with only that basis is sure not enough and she knew that. 

The Baseball Cap

The Baseball Cap

Years Passing

After a long twenty years of non-stop searching for Crystal Haag, finally, the police had lost hope and discontinued the search for Cynthia’s daughter. She was just gone, with no explanation and nobody had ever known the reason why even after the long years that had passed by. However, one day, Cynthia was in her home in Baltimore, the one she refused to leave hoping her daughter, Crystal, will come back, and received a call from one of her children. Her other daughter claimed that she received a message from Crystal n Facebook. It was something that Cynthia did not believe easily until she saw the photos of Crystal on Facebook. Her long lost fourteen-year-old daughter is now an adult. Questions have started forming in her mind. What had been the reason for her disappearance? Where did she go? And most importantly, is everything okay with her?

Years Passing

Years Passing

News

What would be your reaction if your daughter, who was missing and disappeared twenty years ago, had just popped out of nowhere? Cynthia could not believe what her older daughter, Bianca, told her. Receiving a message from Crystal after twenty long years of searching is quite hard to process. Yet, after Cynthia saw Crystal’s Facebook account and went through her photos, she knew it was her long lost daughter. From her straight teeth, crinkled eyes and her smile, she knew right there and then that it really was her daughter. In just half an hour, Bianca was already on her way to New York where Cyrstal was living. Their whole family was stunned with the appearance of Crystal. 

News

News

Reunited

There’s no greater feeling than being with your family, complete and safe. Cynthia’s heart must be filled with pure joy knowing she’ll be able to finally see her long lost daughter. Her fourteen year old then daughter is now an adult. How exciting it must have been for her to finally meet her after longing for her for years. Just like that, Crystal was finally home! Her hair was short, her name was changed to Crystal Sanders, she already has children, and she speaks fluent Spanish. Not just that, she’s a 44-year-old woman and not 35 as what she’s supposed to be. “Still my pretty girl,” Cynthia said. For her family, those details did not matter. She was still the Cynthia that they knew and they were just happy that she’s finally back.

Reunited

Reunited

What Happened

Like in any other stories, there are twists and a whole lot more to it that sometimes people do not expect to know. A lot of questions are being asked with regards to Crystal’s disappearance and to answer one of them, Crystal was not abducted. She ran away. It was something that she needed to do for herself. She knew she couldn’t stay any longer. She was desperate to leave her whole life behind and there was a specific reason. What must be the reason for her to just leave everyone, even her family just like that? What made her do that? Where did she even go?

What Happened

What Happened

Making The Decision

Deciding to leave everyone and everything behind may be one of the hardest decisions that Cyrstal had to make in her entire life. How can a fourteen-year-old, with nothing, can live all alone, in a place she wasn’t familiar with? It may be hard, especially for her young age, but it was the only escape she sees for herself. She needed to do it. She needed to run away and leave everything behind even with no money and nowhere else to go and no one to reach out to. She was doing it for herself, she was saving herself from something horrible. She couldn’t stand what she was going through so she needed to break away from the situation and the person involved.

Making The Decision

Making The Decision

New Beginning

That horrible night for Cynthia, Crystal knew she was not going home. She stayed out with her friends until 12 midnight then took the bus going to New York. It was somewhere she was not familiar with, no one she knew lives there, and she had no money in her pocket. Her strong desire to leave behind her miserable life back in Baltimore brought her to New York. Despite the circumstances, she could not turn back. For her, being lost in New York is way better than staying in Baltimore and continuing to live her life there. The first thing she did was to get a fake driver’s license. She added 9 years to her original age. Who knew what she could do next?

New Beginning

New Beginning

Different Life

Crystal finally has a different life. It was a dream come true for her, running away from the horror of her life in Baltimore and starting a new life. Who knew it was going to be that easy for her? When she changed her age and name and got a fake driver’s license, she started applying for jobs. At first, she was cleaning houses to earn for a living. From then on, there’s no more sleeping in the streets as she found herself a place to stay in the Bronx. Still, it’s a mystery for us how she managed to disappear without anyone knowing and seeing her? It was proven then that she planned it very carefully.

Different Life

Different Life

Plan In Action

It was just like any other normal days for everyone except for Crystal. Staying out late night with friends is something a teen would normally do. Spending time with her friends, that specific night, was the opportunity for her to leave. And so she did. She took everything she has and left Baltimore. She took the bus going to New York and claimed her freedom from her old life. The long lost daughter of Cynthia Haag wasn’t really lost after all. She just wanted to live a new life, away from the horrors that her life in Baltimore was giving her and it was all carefully planned. 

Plan In Action

Plan In Action

First Child

Crystal leaving her in Baltimore and starting a new one in New York must have been one of the greatest things that had happened to her, another one is, well, having a child. It did not take long from the moment she started her life in New York when she had her first child. Since she was able to get a fake driver’s license and be able to change her identity when she first got in New York, she was able to get a Medicaid card for herself and her pregnancy. She also had another three kids after her pregnancy to her first child. Also, she became part of the Dominican community while living in New York.

First Child

First Child

Community

In the new life that Crystal found, she also found herself a family. When she was living in New York, she became a part of the Dominican community. In that community, she was able to meet new people which later on became a family for her. She has found someone whom she can call “grandma” and even “cousin”. She was lucky to have people whom she can reach out to and call family even though they’re not connected by blood. Although having a new life in New York seems to be going well, the trauma of her past life in Baltimore still haunts her from time to time. She may have changed her identity and given herself a new life but the mind and she do not forget.

Community

Community

New Language

With her new identity in New York, Crystal must have been living a good, simple and quiet life. She now has a new family she can turn to, she was blessed with four beautiful children and she even learned how to speak “Spanish” fluently. Things must have been sailing smoothly for her. But despite all this, and all the efforts she invested just to be away from Baltimore and leave her old life behind, she still kept an eye on her family she left on Facebook. Why do you think so? We can’t really blame her though, those people are still her family. With her sudden disappearance, it must have hurt her as well knowing her family will be in tears once they learned that she was gone without even saying anything.

New Language

New Language

Thirteen Years

It was the year 2010, and the efforts to look for the missing daughter of Cynthia Haag has been going on for thirteen long years. Still, the police have not found any evidence of anything that can be linked to Crystal’s disappearance in 1997. They have tried everything they could to find the missing lady but to no avail. In that same year, police have decided to stop looking for Cynthia’s daughter and said that all efforts to find her daughter were already exhausted. I just can’t imagine the heartbreak that Cynthia was feeling by that time, knowing that all she can do was just to hope and pray that her daughter’s coming back and is doing well. Cynthia, who lost her only chance to find her daughter that moment the police decided to stop, stopped celebrating Christmas from thereon. 

Thirteen Years

Thirteen Years

Life Must Go On

Cynthia, even after learning that the police had stopped looking for her daughter, Crystal, she never stopped believing that she is well and will come back one day. She held onto that hope of hers for twenty years, ten months and two weeks. She never stopped wishing for that day to come. Her refusal to leave home was because she strongly believed that her daughter will appear again and she will be able to be with her just like before. What if her hope was true? What if Crystal comes back and appears in their lives again?

Life Must Go On

Life Must Go On

Miracle

All the years she spent wishing and hoping that her daughter will come back to their home was all worth it. No one can really ever tell what can happen in the future. Crystal coming seemed to be impossible, with all the efforts made to find her, she just could not be found. In those long years, they did not find anything about her, even just a small detail about her disappearance. And then one day, Crystal was just in front of their eyes, alive and well. Cynthia and her family could not believe it. Was it really Crystal? Many questions must be circulating in their minds. If she’s doing okay, why did she contact them just now?

Miracle

Miracle

Adjusting

The Haag family was complete again after that long twenty years of hoping and thirteen years of searching. Having Crystal back in the family must have been great and amazing but things were really different. It has been twenty years, they lost twenty years of being part of her life. Crystal is a different person now as well. Even if she had returned home, and been filled with joy and excitement, still there are a lot of things to discuss and matters to settle. There are questions that need to be answered in order for everyone to heal.

Adjusting

Adjusting

New Relationship

After being away for twenty years, it is indeed to rekindle a relationship overnight. This is applicable even for families. Since Cynthia and Crystal were not separated for twenty long years, they both know that rebuilding their relationship as mother and daughter will take time and can’t be easily rebuilt. Especially if they still have misunderstandings that need to be sorted out. They are still complete strangers to each other anyway. A lot of things have changed since they last saw each other.

New Relationship

New Relationship

Curiosity

Everyone in the family was happy with the return of Crystal. Finally, their long lost family member is back, alive and well. When the joy and excitement of Crystal returning home in Baltimore dies down and everyone is calmed, Cynthia can’t help to think. She knew she had to know the truth behind her daughter’s disappearance years ago. She needed to know why she left, seeing that she was not forced to leave their home, and that she was okay ang living a good life in New York. She was thinking if it was her fault. Was it?

Curiosity

Curiosity

Changes

Even after Crystal’s return and finally her wish finally came true, she can’t ignore the fact that she was curious about her daughter’s decision why she left home. She can’t ask her daughter right away since she just came back after such long years and she knew that was a sensitive topic to tackle as it will bring the past that she didn’t know her daughter was trying to forget. She did not want her daughter to feel uncomfortable so she kept it to herself and just looked for the right timing to ask her such questions.

Changes

Changes

Unfortunate Statistics

Crystal Haag was considered a miracle by many. Who wouldn’t? For twenty long years of being away from her family, she must have lived the life she had desired when she ran away from them for some reasons. It was an incredible thing that she returned home as in each year that passes by, there are about 500,000 missing children that are being reported to police. Some of these kids that have been reported are either found right away or returned on their own just like what Crystal did but in a much shorter span of time. 

Unfortunate Statistics

Unfortunate Statistics

The Remainder

As mentioned earlier, in a span of a year, there are about half a million of children that are reportedly missing. For the rest of the children that were not found right away nor returned to their home, some of them take longer to be found. It can take about months or a year or two for others. It’s not an easy task for the police as they have a lot of children to look for and mostly with different cases too. Especially those cases where they could not just find any evidence or important details that can help them find the children.

The Remainder

The Remainder

The Rest

The other part of those missing children usually is never found. Just like the case of Crystal before back in 2010, when they considered Crystal as just the lost girl and can’t be found. Many of the reported children every year are never found again. Crystal’s case was extremely extraordinary as there are very few cases of missing children that were found after those long twenty years of nothing. People expect it to be a happy ending whenever a lost child returns after that long, but little did they know it’s not always like that. It’s not always like in the movies, reality sometimes is hugely and entirely different and the opposite.

The Rest

The Rest

Rebuilding

When someone goes missing and goes home after such a long time, it does not always end up in a happy family reunion and then returns to everything like in the past. It’s just different and even more complicated. There are a lot of things that needed to be discussed and settled. They can’t just go back to their normal lives back then and pretend like those long years that are passed by did not even happen. It doesn’t work that way. Feelings of both the missing child or someone and the ones that were left need to be reconciled and talked through in order for everyone to heal and somehow be comfortable with each other. So what happens now to the Haag family now that Crystal is back?

Rebuilding

Rebuilding

Time Period

Being away from your family without any form of contact for so many years will create a big distance in the relationship. The longer you are away, the harder it is to create a meaningful and happy relationship with them and I think it’s normal. Adjustments just have to be done and of course, it takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. For Cynthia, she didn’t care how long her daughter, Crystal, was gone. What was important for her is that she is finally back in her arms, safe and well.

Time Period

Time Period

Missing Children In The U.S.

Do you ever wonder how many children in the United States are missing? How many cases were reported each day in different states? These missing children are classified into four different types: the runaways, family abductions, lost or “thrown away” and the non-family abductions. Since the technology is advancing and improving as years pass by, there are now a lot of ways to report and alert the authorities when a child goes missing. 

Missing Children In The U.S.

Missing Children In The U.S.

Current Active Cases

It was then reported by CNN that there are 87,438 active cases of missing people in the United States and 35 percent of them are under the age of 18 which is 30,618. This information came from the records of missing files of the NCIC or also known as the National Crime Investigation Center of FBI. Imagine having this large number of active cases and it gets bigger and bigger as months and years go by. How can the authorities find all these missing people? What efforts are they exerting to find them?

Current Active Cases

Current Active Cases

AMBER

Innovations really help people to do their jobs faster and make it easier for them. Back in 1996, AMBER Alert was created. AMBER is short for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. This system has been in place since 1996 and is very useful until now. When a law authority agency has determined and detected that a child is missing and is in danger, alerts will be broadcasted including some details of the abductor and the abducted person. It includes a physical description of both the abductor and the abducted child and even the vehicle details of the abductor – which is a great lead to find the abducted child.

AMBER

AMBER

Alert System

Did you know why the AMBER Alert was invented in the first place and why it was called AMBER? It was named AMBER in honor of the 9-year-old Amber Hagerman. The kid was abducted in Texas and then later on killed by the abductor. Since then, all the 50 states have the AMBER Alert in place. As well as the districts of Columbia, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Island. This alert system has helped finding over 985 children that have been abducted and still continues to be a great help for the law authorities up to this day.

Alert System

Alert System

Federal Law

In the United States, it is a prerequisite of the federal law to include the reported missing child in the FBI’s National Crime Investigation Center. It is to monitor the number of missing children each year and keep a track. In 2019, the FBI confirmed that they have entered 421,394 missing children entries that year. Also for the year 2018, they confirmed that they have entered 424,066. That’s a lot! We just hope that each year it will decrease, just like the pattern for 2018 and 2019. 

Federal Law

Federal Law

Reports

The numbers reported and mentioned earlier were the numbers of missing children that have not been resolved or cases that are still ongoing. Numbers are affected by the status of each case. They are updated every time a case is withdrawn. As for the total each year, when a child goes missing a few times each year, she or he will be entered to the FBI’s National Crime Investigation Center a few times as well. His or her name will be entered again with different details of abduction. 

Reports

Reports

Children Missing

In the United States, it is reported that about 800,00 children are missing; that is about 2,000 missing kids per day. In those 800,000, 155 children reported cases of “stranger abduction”. This type of case is where a child is taken by an unknown and unidentified person. This type of abduction is hard to solve since you do not have any clue about the abductor’s identity at all. It will be an easy case though for the authorities if the abductor accidentally left some evidence that can help them solve the case and find the kid sooner.

Children Missing

Children Missing

Missing Persons

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Systems, over 600,00 people in the United States go missing. These missing people are a mix of adults and children. A lot of them are found quickly and safely, thanks to the efforts of the law authorities. However, those adults and children who remained missing for over a year are considered as “cold cases” by the agencies. 

Missing Persons

Missing Persons

Unidentified

It was stated that each year, around 4,400 unidentified bodies of people are found. After finding the bodies and having it go through under investigation, the remains of the bodies still left to be identified even after a year they were found. Read on to know more about the kids that are missing for years and find out their story. Still, the FBI and local authorities are actively looking for them just like the new ones that are reported daily.

Unidentified

Unidentified

Lisa Irwin

Lisa Irwin was reported missing on October 4th, 2011 in Kansas City. She was a 10-month-old baby girl then. She was in the crib asleep and just disappeared in the middle of the night as stated by her mother, Deborah Bradley. She also made a statement that she last checked her child, Lisa, at around 10:30 in the evening of October 3rd. That was the last time she saw her daughter. What could have possibly happened to the baby?

Lisa Irwin

Lisa Irwin

Overnight Shift

Jeremy Irwin, the father of Lisa Irwin, got home at around 4:00 AM on October 4th from an overnight shift the day before. He was the one who found out and discovered that their baby was missing. They immediately called the authorities and reported the situation. It was also found out that some of the cell phones owned by the couple were missing too. If robbery was the intention of the criminals, why would they take Lisa? Will the police find Lisa?

Overnight Shift

Overnight Shift

Suspicions Arose

After the police had investigated the house of the couple, they were asked to participate in initial questioning with regards to the disappearance of their child, Lisa. The police have quite become suspicious of a parent’s story of how Lisa disappeared. Deborah Bradley was accused of doing something to Lisa. She also failed in her polygraph test. But even with the suspicions of the police, no arrests were made. This is just one of the missing children cases that are existing. There are still other cases just like Lisa’s.

Suspicions Arose

Suspicions Arose

Taken From The Crib

Another baby abduction story was Ayla Reynolds. She was just 20 months old when she was taken in her crib on the night of December 16, 2011, in Waterville, Maine. Her case was the largest police investigation in history at that time. It was reported by her father, Justin DiPietro. Will this case be solved by the police? Will there be any suspect to be considered this time?

Taken From The Crib

Taken From The Crib

Bedtime

Ayla Reynolds was being taken care of by her father alone as her mother, Trista Reynold was in a rehabilitation center for substance abuse. The father, Justin DiPietro, clearly stated to the police that he put to bed Ayla that night only to find out the next morning that her daughter was nowhere to be found. The police reported that the night before Justin found out that his daughter was missing, he was not alone in the house. He was with his relatives and one non-relative. 

Bedtime

Bedtime

Open Case

According to the Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland, the case of Ayla Reynold remains an open and active case. Although the police have a conclusion that Ayla was not really abducted and there’s a chance that she was not alive anymore, still the case remained that way. There were also no arrests made ever since Ayla was reported. How accurate do you think the police’s take away in Ayla’s case is? Will they still continue searching for her since it’s not considered a cold case?

Open Case

Open Case

Spring Break

Spring break is one of the most awaited times of the year by the students. Parties everywhere and trips all over the world are so in demand. Normally, students will go out of town and explore the beaches with their friends. This was the case for Drexel. She traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C from Rochester, New York even though her mother did not approve. Little did everyone know, it will be the last time they’ll see Drexel. She was then reported missing on April 25, 2009. She was last seen in Myrtle Beach.

Spring Break

Spring Break

No Arrests

Ever since the case of Drexel missing was reported, there were no arrests made. There were no people that can be identified as suspects in connection to her disappearance. When she was falling out with the friends that she came to that place with, she then met with some Rochester men. This is where she was caught on the surveillance camera; leaving the BlueWater Resort to visit the group of men mentioned. Maybe her case was just like Crystal’s? Maybe she willingly went with them and just decided to never come back? We’ll never know for sure though until all efforts to find her were exhausted. 

No Arrests

No Arrests

Talking

At long last, Cynthia and Crystal had the chance to talk and discussed what happened back in the day Crystal disappeared. Cynthia remembered Crystal as the fourteen-year-old she had known, the one who was good in school and got along with almost everyone. Her baby who even won an award for always complimenting others in fifth grade. She remembered the good things about her daughter twenty years ago. But is it the same for Crystal? Will she tell the truth behind her leaving her family?

Talking

Talking

Different Memories

While her mother, Cynthia, remembered the happy memories she had back then, she remembered differently. She remembered how she always sneaked out of the house and how she does not get along with her siblings. These were the memories she had and remembered.  She was not the happy kid that existed in her mother’s memories. It was not anything like that, her life was not like that. She has different memories. 

Different Memories

Different Memories

Final Decision

That night of her disappearance, it was all planned. She knew to herself that there’s no turning back and she was not going back. It was late night and she was still outside with her friends. “And then it was 12 AM, and I wasn’t going back,” she said. She knew she had to find a way out of her situation. She was not just going to continue living her life like that. It had to change and only she can do that. There’s no one that can help her but herself.

Final Decision

Final Decision

Waiting Outside

When she got home, she immediately left and went to her friend’s house. When she arrived, her friend left her outside as she just decided to wait there. Her friend gathered their other friends and when they’re ready to go out, Crystal was gone. It was something her friend did not find alarming as she jumped into the conclusion that she just may be left. They did not realize that Crystal was already missing. A few hours later, Cynthia called this friend and asked Crystal’s whereabouts as she was currently looking for her daughter that was missing.

Waiting Outside

Waiting Outside

Disappearance

“At the time of her disappearance, Crystal was 5’4”-5’6” tall and weighed 140 pounds. She had light brown hair and brown eyes. She normally wore her hair pulled back into a ponytail. She was wearing a grey and red striped Tommy Hilfiger shirt, blue denim jeans, white footie socks, grey New Balance sneakers, and a gold C-shaped ring.” This was the statement and information gathered when searching for clues that can be in any way related to Crystal’s disappearance.

Disappearance

Disappearance

Common Occurrence

After all the searches and investigation made by the local authorities in hopes to find the missing daughter of Cynthia, they finally concluded that Crystal left willingly. She was then considered a runaway. During those times, children who ran away are very popular and common cases the police receive. About one million children each year are running away from their home. Well, at least, this was the case for Crystal. It was nothing like others that have been abducted and still nowhere in sight after how many years of searching.

Common Occurrence

Common Occurrence

Runaway

When Crystal was tagged as a runaway, the Haag family lost their only chance in finding her. It was a big mistake. However, several months later after her disappearance, the status of her case was changed into “Endangered Missing”. After the change of status, Crystal’s case became one of the cold cases that are existing. Will they ever find Crystal? What happens now that Crystal’s case had been turned as a cold case?

Runaway

Runaway

Search Change

With the change of status in Crystal’s Haag case, it meant that the local authorities are not looking for the missing person anymore. They’re just expecting to find the deceased body of the said missing person. However, everyone calmed down when Crystal’s story was turned into a regular case. How did you think her family felt when they were informed of the change of status in Crystal’s case initially?

Search Change

Search Change

Extra Ordinary

Crystal’s Haag case was really one of a kind. It’s actually a story worth telling. Online users even call it “unbelievable’. With 2 decades of being gone, with no races at all, and not even a single one about her whereabouts were found during investigations, she was back just like that! Over 20 long years, she returned home safe and sound. This was really something that will leave everyone who knows the story in shock. 

Extra Ordinary

Extra Ordinary

After The Disappearance

In 1998, just a year after her disappearance, she got into The City College of New York. She took up a bachelor’s degree in business management. While everyone was looking for her back home, she was in New York trying to build a bright future for herself. A completely different life from what she had back in Baltimore. She refused to let the horrible things that had happened to her hinder and stop her from having a good life.

After The Disappearance

After The Disappearance

College Graduate

Back in 2002, Crystal Haag finally finished her course in The City College of New York. A year later, her case was assigned to Detective Terrence Parker. Her case was considered as one of the 48 cold cases that are still being investigated. While she was living her life in New York, people back home in Baltimore never stopped looking for her. Her case was still being investigated, her family was still hoping for her return.

College Graduate

College Graduate

Information

“Usually in cases like that we would get something,” said Detective Parker. “Somebody would say, ‘Oh yeah we saw her here,’ or ‘You know she was with so and so.’ But, we really didn’t get anything.” Detective Parker said. Knowing that Crystal’s case lacks evidence and has insufficient information, Detective Parker decided to start from the beginning. He had to go back to start for him to analyze the whole story with his own perception and look at it from a different angle.

Information

Information

Brand-New

When the detective said that he will start from the beginning in handling the case of Crystal, he wasn’t kidding. “You have to start from the beginning like it’s a brand-new case,” he said. He started by interviewing the family and friends of Crystal. After that, he interviewed their neighbors. It was just like back to square one. He even asked for the help of NamUs and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, D.C.

Brand New

Brand New

Missing Children’s Division

“Up until about 1982, law enforcement wasn’t even required to enter a missing child into the database, although we were tracking stolen cars aggressively or stolen property through serial numbers or the NCIC database. We didn’t put children on the same wavelength as we did property.” This was what the Executive Director of the Missing Children’s Division, Robert Lowery, said pertaining to the organization’s work.

Missing Children's Division

Missing Children’s Division

Unrecognizable

NCMEC’s forensic artist, Stephen Loftin, made a sketch of how Crystal looks like at the age of 26. It will be such a big help in the investigation, knowing that years have already passed, and Crystal surely looks different already compared to her appearance when she was just fourteen years of age. Detective Parker said, in the year 2011, that Cynthia will not probably recognize her own daughter when she sees her.

Unrecognizable

Unrecognizable

Sisterly Bond

“They will continue to look and fight, doing whatever they can to bring Crystal home to her family.” Detective Parker promised that year. On the other hand, Crystal’s sister, Bianca Davis, is putting up her effort to find her missing sister. Every year, she will post Crystal’s photo on her Facebook wall on her missing sister’s birthday. She’s making her own fight to find her sister. Apparently, her efforts are not really wasted. What do you think her reaction will be if she finds out that her long lost sister is just 4 hours away from her?

Sisterly Bond

Sisterly Bond

New Identity

Crystal’s made up identity was an easy one. She did not change much, she just changed her last name and her age. From 14, she added 9 years and instantly became 23 years old. From Haag, she changed it to Saunders. Those were just the details that she added and nothing more in order for her plan to work. It was also convenient for her as it was just easy to remember.

New Identity

New Identity

Pulling It Off

After leaving Baltimore and starting a new life in New York, Crystal was able to add up 9 years from her true age when she got her fake driver’s license. But how? Did not anyone realize that her face is quite younger for her age? To answer that question, Crystal looks more mature than her actual age. This helped her get away with telling people that she’s a 23-year-old woman who just moved to New York. It did not take long when she got pregnant with her first child as well.

Pulling It Off

Pulling It Off

Family

Maybe you thought of how Crystal pulled off all her plans? Did the people around her ask questions about her life before she came to New York? How about her family, wasn’t she asked by people surrounding her about her family? Well, she was asked. But Crystal denied having a family being left behind. “It’s not a rare thing to not have a family,” she said. People around her did not ask further with regards to that after knowing that she did not have family. 

Family

Family

Learning

Her life in New York City helped her somehow forget the pain of the past she had left behind. In her newfound family in the Dominican community, she learned to speak Spanish fluently. She had people whom she considered as grandma, grandpa, and cousins. It was such a beautiful thing having people who treat you as one of their own and never look at you differently. This may be what Crystal was feeling. She found home.

Learning

Learning

Explaining

At long last, Crystal came out. She told the reason behind her disappearance more than 20 years ago that left everyone in shock and in despair to find her. She said that their neighbor started sexually harassing her and she was just 9 years old when it started. That act continued until the next few years. It happened countless times that she thought back then it was a normal thing to happen. She finally freed herself from the secret she was trying to keep for many years.

Explaining

Explaining

Unbelievable

After learning the truth behind her daughter’s disappearance more than 20 years ago, Cynthia was shocked. She couldn’t believe what her daughter just told her. She just can’t imagine the horror her little girl went through and she wasn’t even aware of it. Not even once did she have a hint that there’s something wrong going on. She couldn’t stop questioning how it went for so long without her knowing? Crystal was sure that her mother knew what was happening to her back then, however, that was not the case. 

Unbelievable

Unbelievable

Only Plan

Crystal was suffering so much back then and that her only choice for it to stop was to run away and never come back. And that’s what she did. She disappeared, left home, and started a new life. It was such a brave decision for a 14-year-old kid. Cynthia, was just silently crying after learning the abuse that her daughter went through with their neighbor back then. What kind of mother was she for now being able to protect her own child and for not knowing?

Only Plan

Only Plan

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