Testimonial by John Salinas
Missing Daughter Leahlani Salinas found in Mexico by AAFLC
Dear Team AAFLC,
I have been trying to find the words to properly express the level of gratitude I feel towards each and every one of you for what you have risked for me and my daughter. I don’t know that even now I will be able to properly thank you- as there really are no words that adequately relay it.
Honestly, every single day that my daughter was missing I felt such a deep and painful loss and fear. I was afraid for her, and I knew she was suffering at the hand of her mother, who is a sick and delusional individual. I literally felt powerless every single day. It was further disempowering that the various agencies I worked with from the District Attorney to our local detectives refused to assist me in the way I needed assistance and treated me as a suspect of something rather than a victim. No matter how much I painted a picture for them about the possibility of my daughter’s abusive situation, there was no empathy, no human connection… Just a cold response, with a ‘get in line’ kind of attitude.
When Mark contacted me about finding my missing child, a whole new world of hope opened up, it was literally a life changing day. I was losing hope before the American Association for Lost Children came to lift me back up. What you do for parents is REMARKABLE and brave. There is no other organization that finds missing children for parents, and thank God for you.
The fact that you all rallied around me and Leahlani, and believed in this mission made the outcome possible. It was literally like a dream come true when I saw my daughter- I may never fully recover from that amazing miracle! You all made that miracle a possibility, you all made Leahlani’s future brighter, and changed the course of a little girl’s life. Your bravery, your deep sense of philanthropy and your amazing empathy and human connection is what gives me hope about the world! I wish I could give you a window into Leahlani’s life today. She is so very happy. She has her room back, and care from myself and my girlfriend, she started school in September, and she will have the opportunity to know her little sister who will be born any day now! Just this weekend we threw her a birthday party, and she was crying out of happiness. She has expressed numerous time how very happy she is to finally be home.
I also want you to know you saved a child that was being abused. Leahlani has expressed to me on a daily basis that she was being physically abused by her mother constantly. Her mother was hitting her all the time with belts, sticks, slaps, any time Leahlani would defy her. She has asked me to please not allow her mother back into her life. She practically begged me. She is 6 years old! To have that kind of awareness and clarity at 6 years old is amazing and sad. Your actions, and choice to be a part of this mission, took a little girl out of a horribly confusing, abusive situation where she was terribly neglected. It breaks my heart to even think about. It angers me as well, that this woman is walking free right now as we speak, after what she has done to my child, and my whole family.
Each one of you will always have a special place in my heart and my life. You are responsible for creating a miracle for me, and making my deepest wish come true! How do you thank someone for that? All I know is I will do everything in power to alert the media of this amazing organization and its members, I will try and assist in financial support in any way I can, and never forget or take for granted this amazing gift you have all given me. I can genuinely say I love each and every one of you and you are a part of my family.
Please always remember what you have done for me and my daughter.
With the deepest gratitude and love,
I thank you all.