It was a year ago today that Marizela Perez slipped away from her family and friends and went missing after having last been seen leaving a convenience store in Seattle. While the case remains open, there has been almost no change in the investigation in months. In part, that is because so many young people go missing, but also in part to a strange lethargy among those who might help solve the mystery of what happened to Marizela.
My former boss and good friend Michelle Malkin is Marizela’s cousin and has been in anguish for this entire year. Today she shares with us a letter she sent to Google two months ago, explaining the family’s frustration with the police investigation and literally begging Google to work with the family instead:
My message to Google’s legal department:
from Michelle Malkin firstname.lastname@example.org
to [name redacted]
date Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 12:24 AM
subject From relative of Marizela Perez
Hi [name redacted] – Belated New Year’s greetings. I don’t know if you remember me, but we communicated by email last spring about my missing teenage cousin, Marizela Perez. Tomorrow, January 5, marks the 10-month anniversary since her disappearance. Our family is very grateful that your company cooperated with the Seattle Police Department in responding to their very limited subpoena request for some of Marizela’s Google-related information.
Here is our dilemma. While the case remains open, the Seattle police are for all practical purposes treating it as a closed and shut case. They will not share the information they obtained from the subpoena — which our family pushed for in the first place. If we had access to that information, we could continue the search for Marizela on our own that the SPD has neither the time, resources, or inclination to pursue. As a fellow parent, I hope you understand our despair and our refusal to give up. My question is this: What are the chances that Google would release the info in the search warrant return to us if we pursued it through legal means? My understanding is that federal electronic records privacy law has done very little to take into account unique situations like ours.
If you have a chance, could you ring me at [redacted]. If you can’t, I understand. But I’m at wit’s end — especially knowing the information we seek is perishable — and running out of ideas. Appreciate your time and consideration.
Google’s corporate motto is “Don’t Be Evil.” How about trying to “Be Good” and accommodate desperate customers who are actually begging you to make privacy exceptions?
Someone out there knows what happened to Marizela, or they have some information that will point the family in the right direction. Google is one of those entities, but there must be more. I’ve featured Marizela’s case almost every day in my show posts, hoping that the infinitesimal chance that it might prod one or more of those someones to respond would pay off. The family has posted Marizela’s missing persons flyer, photos, videos and more at http://findmarizela.com/. The tip line number for citizens who may have any information that might aid in the search is 1-855-MARIZEL.
It’s time to bring Marizela home. Tell that to Google, and spread the word. In the meantime, keep Marizela and her family in your prayers, and be sure to read all of Michelle’s post.