Saturday, March 16, 2013

Worst day of my life....Jesse went missing.

The Christmas before Jesse went missing was one of the best I've ever had and the last one I would  ever have with my entire family. Sometimes I wish I knew and others I'm grateful I didn't. Jesse had been planning a trip to Kauai, Hawaii for a couple of months and was to leave for about 3-4 months and return in time to see the blessing of my baby in mid-march. Plans fell through with friends and Jesse decided to go alone. We begged him not to go because we had such a bad feeling about it but Jesse just stated, "Niki, nothing can happen to me. I'm invincible." smiling he just got us all laughing and he got away with it.
     Jesse was the life of the party, hilarious to be around, and surprisingly one of the most loving persons I have come in contact with. He is the person at the family gathering that if he is there then everyone wants to be there. His laugh was infectious and he is a huge missing piece in our hearts.
    Jesse went to Hawaii alone for 3 months and lived in an apartment there. He often went of on hikes on the kololoua trail in Kauai. It is a dangerous trail and meant for only experienced hikers. Jesse is a really good hiker so we weren't too worried about that but we were worried that he was going alone.
     So far he had been fine. About a week before he was to come home he called and told us he was going to go on one last hike and was to fly home for the blessing. We were all so excited to see him.
    Blessing day came and Jesse never showed up. We were in complete denial. That night, myself and a few family members had the same terrible dream about Jesse. He had died. I called mom and she reported him missing that day. We were numb. This was not happening.This happens to other people not us. Right? Or...... this only happens in the movies? Right??? We were at a loss. The police said they could do nothing because he was an adult. "He has the right to go missing". WOW.
     My dad immediately went over to Hawaii and searched for three weeks. He found his apartment full of all his things. His clothes were all there. Cleaned and folded, his bed made, and house well kept. It was as if he had just left to go to the store. I am so grateful to my dad and his efforts to find jesse. He handed out fliers both day and night all by himself. No one else could afford to make the trip. I often thought of this and how lonely and Hard it must have been looking for your son in a strange place not knowing what had happened to him. I am so grateful to him for his efforts in looking for my brother. It had to be the most difficult thing he'd ever experience. I often think of my boys. The thought of me going through this experience as a parent is excruciating. I feel my dad lost a part of his heart on that trip that he will never get back. How could you?
            As dad put up fliers, he put on the fliers that he would give a 5,000 dollar reward to whoever would give up any information leading to the discovery of Jesse. To everyone's shock and disbelief dad came home empty handed. No Jesse. No new information. No nothing. SILENCE. We were numb.
          The quote, "Its not about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to dance in the rain",  Meant nothing here. We'd been struck by lightning. The storm hadn't even hit us.
          2 more painful weeks passed and dad received a phone call from a hiker. He was on the kololoua trail saying he thought he was looking at Jesse's campsite. Dad flew straight back to Hawaii and hiked the kololoua to the assumed campsite and it was indeed Jesse's campsite.
       How do we know??? Jesse's ipod was found along with other personal belongings that positively identified him at this campsite. I still have his shorts and favorite cowboy belt he always wore that were also found at the campsite. No signs of foul play. No notes. Just a clump of clothes on the ground,  a back pack, tent, some wood gathered for a campfire, and a hammock. The pictures taken of the campsite are so eerie and troubling. My dad was able to find a pocket knife later in another search. He paid scuba divers to search the waters below. There are cliffs everywhere in Kauai, that if you fell off one it would be next to impossible to find you. If they did find you, due to the heat, depending on how long you had been missing, your body could be very hard, if not impossible, to identify.
       After all the money my father paid and even my mother taking a trip over, still silence is all we have. I remember my mom telling me the most heartbreaking moment she had over there. She was in Jesse's apartment and packing up all his clothes to bring them home to Utah. As she looked at each shirt she was reminded of each moment she saw her beautiful boy wear each shirt. Tears welled in her eyes and she just put all the clothes in a pile on the bed and plopped herself on top of all her sweet little boys clothes and pulled them close into her arms. I pictured her like she was me, and how I would feel if it was my little boy. How I would just want to scoop up all those clothes and pretend they were my baby. She told me she closed her eyes and cried until she had no more tears to cry and then cried some more. While crying she would take a deep inhale of the clothes she held close to her face. "Oh, my sweet baby. Come home. Please. Let me hold you just one last time." She never wanted to move. Moving meant a part of her was letting go. Packing these clothes meant they would loose their scent. "I need that scent", "I miss him so much". The tears that were shed in that apartment are almost unbearable for me to even write about. My mother is an amazing woman with an amazing heart. Her love for her children is one of the greatest beauties in this entire world. When the beauty of a mothers love for her child has been shredded by untimely circumstance, (tragedy, murder, kidnapping, death, a child going missing, etc.), It is truly THE most heartbreaking things to witness. A mothers heartbreak is an unspeakable horror. I wish it for no woman in any circumstance, because the pain can be unbearable without help.  
       There is so much more to this story and the five years that have passed and I will be filling you all in as I can. Why am I doing this??? Well This is the 5th year Jesse has been missing we have done nothing for him. No funeral, No vigil, No nothing. For awhile, it was easy to just pretend he was on vacation and coming back soon. But that hasn't happened. So in his memory I wanted to start a blog about him and people like him. People who have gone missing. But I also wanted it to be a place for the missing person's family to be able to go to, to be able to connect with others who are like them with similar stories or backgrounds.
       I would love it if you would like to tell your story just to me or if you wanted to, share it on this blog. I think we can make a difference in a lot of people's lives. I not only care about your story, I care about you and how you are dealing with it. This is not easy and we shouldn't be doing it alone.
       Even if you don't have someone missing that you care about, depression is and suicide is a big thing we are fighting in my family. Please. I want to be here as someone who wants to help. I 'm here to say that it can and it does get better. If we would all just reach out we could all be strong together. Please join with me and even help me stand against what I fight each day.
          In memory of my beautiful brother and his amazing life, lets choose to live our best life and not just survive it!!!



  1. Cole, I am so proud of you for doing this. I miss Jess every single day. I can't believe it has been 5 years...
    Jess is completely frozen in time in my memory. Ever since he left I have found myself forever changed and so has our family. And although I find myself changed and hurting much more often than I like when it comes to this particular topic to cope with it I remind myself of the pieces of him that I always get to keep with me.
    I still can see his quirky/awkward/"i feel stupid" smile when I close my eyes. I get to wear his camping sweatshirt that says "Don't fart near open flame." (That makes me laugh) I listen to his music and I imagine him rocking out on the piano and makes me happy.
    I won't tell anyone it gets easier because I really hate when people say that. I just know I miss him the same-but I take bits of him with me so it doesn't hurt as bad. Life moves on whether you are ready or not and that's okay. Roll with it.
    Jess was my best friend. I will miss him til the day I die and I know it. My heart breaks for all who knew him and for anyone who didn't. What happened I don't know and that is what drives all of us crazy. But that's what this blog is for and I am so proud of my big sister for doing such a brave thing and putting her heart out there.
    To anyone hurting, our hearts go to you.

    1. I love you sissy. If anyone needs love, support, or a friend, we are here 24/7. Depression is so hard ands having a loved one missing can drive you crazy. Please write us and let us help. We would love nothing more than to have Somone to relate to and help through a difficult time they are having. Love to all!! Please write!!

    2. What a tear jerker! Thanks a lot! In all seriousness, it's really something to think of our parents going through something so terrible as to lose a child. Now as a parent I can't believe how difficult that would be. The stories of Mom and the image portrayed of Dad are so vivid and heartbreaking. I hope you find peace Niki and I hope the rest of our family can find comfort. There will be bad days, but there is so much good in the world. Let's do our best to enjoy it each and every day. We don't have to wall up the pain and sorrow. Embrace the hardship but don't do yourself or your family the disservice of living with reservations.

      Love you Niki. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Oh my big brother!!! love you so much. How my world revolved around you when I was a child. You still amaze me to this day. It is different now that we have kids huh??? they were so brave. I would still be on that bed I think. I think I am living life to it's fullest now. This blog is helping me. I am finally able to vent. I love you so much. You make life fun and you are like jesse is to all of us. irreplaceable. each person in this family has a place and each person in this family would suffer greatly without the other. you are a huge piece to this family and I love you. Thank you for being my brother. I need you around. so keep in touch dang it!! I love you buddy!! niki

  2. oh my goodness, Nicole, i am so sorry. what a nightmare. i knew your brother was missing but i never heard the story and was afraid to ask about it. i am so sorry. i am proud of you for doing this blog and trying to reach out and help others. God bless you and your sweet family, Jesse sounds like such a great guy.

  3. He was holly:) Thank you so much for your kind words. I love and miss you tons.

  4. Nikki-

    It has been a long time my friend. What a beautiful family you have. I had no idea such a tragedy has struck you and your family's life. I am truly sorry. Your brother sounds like a wonderful person that loves his family and loves life in general. Wherever he is I am sure he knows how much you love him and how lucky he is to be a part of your family. Thank you for sharing this blog. Even though I never knew him (probably met him at some point ), I knew you and how loving and accepting you were of everyone, how your smile and laugh were infectious, and how I couldn't be anyone else but me around you. Those type of traits I believe come straight from having a great family, which is obvious from your posts here that you have one of those great families. The world needs more people like your brother, and it is a true tragedy that he is missing. I pray that you are able to find peace of some kind. I pray that he will be found. I pray that while he is gone, you can celebrate his life through living yours as full of joy as possible.


    1. susan---I love you! I miss your face!! I am doing great and so glad you wrote to me. We need to get together! I would really like that. I hope all is well in your family. thank you so much for your kindness. please spread the word. We just want to help others who are struggling with depression, suicide, or a missing loved one. I love you buddy! niki

  5. I found your blog through Facebook and read these posts about your brother. Words cannot even express how sorry I am for you and your family and that you've all had to go through the worst possible pain I can imagine. Death is hard enough but to not have the closure, to not see his body and have that final moment of acceptance. My brother's wife died last year after giving birth to her third baby and it was devastating for all of us. Having a death of someone close to you is really only something you can understand if you've experienced it and I'm sure that having someone go missing is even worse. Your brother sounds like he was an amazing person. XOXO

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. You have no idea what it means to me to hear from a total stranger and have them tell me such a personal heartbreaking story. Death is so hard. Closure is beautiful thing that I think a lot of us can take for granted. I am so sorry for your loss. I believe all of us have challenges in our lives and they seem so unbearable. Then I will hear a story like your brothers and think, "Oh my gosh. I don't think I could do that." It is selfish for me to say I would take some of my challenges over others because I just don't know if I would be strong enough for others challenges.
      You have no idea how much you have made my family's and I's day by taking the time and sending us your kind words. I pray you and your brother find peace through this difficult time you are going through. Thank you for your story. It made me feel like I wasn't alone in the world:)

  6. Sweetie, thank you for sharing this.
    I get the bits and pieces through the grapevine from Grandma or Aunt Diane and Aunt Caroline, but I am glad to now have some intimate details that help me deal with this tragedy and hole in my heart.

    Tim is going to Honolulu in August for a rotation and I keep thinking that somehow he will just see Jessie walking around and find greatest hope.

    The picture of his campsite IS eerie. It just looks like he stepped away for a moment to look at the sunrise. That is what I imagine in my heart. I can't accept that he is gone from this earth. Not yet. But I also find solace in our Eternal family and know that no matter what, we will see him again.

    The questions eat away at you and so I try to keep them at bay and just remember him for the wonderful, funny, talented kid he is. I love you.

  7. Livvy,
    I love you so much. I am just so sad it just took us so long to have the courage to put this all together. Ask any question you want and don't be afraid to talk about it. silence is the biggest killer. I have found through this entire process is is not just my immediate family who has suffered through this but that so many have felt lost and unsure of what to think. If I can provide any clarity I am here for you cuz. I love you so much and wish I saw you more. I'm so thankful for you and all my cousins. God has given me great gifts and a loving family is truly one of them. Thank you for being a part of it. I hope you and your family is doing well. love niki

  8. Well, just copy and paste what Liv said here, because she took all the words out of my mouth. :D Thank you so much for doing this blog, Niki. I'm proud of you for doing it and grateful to have it. Jesse definitely left a hole in us all...and it will be good for all of us to talk about it. You keep being the amazing woman you are. Hopefully my family will be able to visit everyone soon so I can give you a big hug.

  9. Awe! I"m gonna cry guys!! I love you!! Wow. I was so scared to do this!! I thought some people would hate me for doing this!! Thank you! I can"t believe the response I am getting from this. I love you. Save the date everyone: July we are finally ready as a family to celebrate jesse"s life. Come visit then. No funeral because of the unknown. Jesse would have eanted a party anyways!

  10. Hi Niki,
    I'm not sure if you remember me but me and Jess had a close connection. I miss him greatly. I remember the last phone conversation I had with him and all he wanted was to make sure that we were still friends and always would be. We had made plans to one day see each other but that time passed.... Then when your dad called me to see if I had heard from Jesse my heart broke. I knew in my gut something had happened. I wonder all the time what happened and I miss his family. You all were so great to me and anything I can do to help through this time, you just need to let me know. I am here for you all and love you all very much. I am sorry for everything you have gone through. Jenna, you are so amazing and I miss going to Village Inn and getting pie with you. My heart goes out to all of you.

  11. Ashley--
    I think this is the the ashley that was jesse's last girlfriend. if it is not this response is not going to make sense. WOW. I am so glad to hear from you. my family and I miss seeing you we really liked you. I'm sorry it didn't work out. Jesse had a lot of self worth problems and never felt good enough for anything or anyone. Relationships were hard because we have no idea what a good functioning relationship looked like. I am, and I know jesse told me how much he regretted the way things ended between you to. He even stated that he still loved you to that day. I'm so sorry for all who had to go through all of this, It is something I wouldn't wish on anyone. I'm so sorry if you of having a hard time too. this is a nightmare. Thanks for comtacting us! It means so much. You have no Idea!! There is one huge thing I need you to do of you can. I need your address. send it to we are doing a memorial at Noah's july 11, 2013 we want you there. Can you get some addresses from some of his friends as well?? I need them asap!!! just e-mail to me as soon as you can that would be huge help for me!! niki

  12. I like what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the excellent works guys I've included
    you guys to my personal blogroll.

    scott blake dds

    1. thank you so much for taking the time to come and look at our little blog about my cute little brother! I am so humbled you would take the the time to write a little note in support of our family:) Please if you know of anyone who has a loved one who is missing or who has gone missing and has been found but still suffers from the trauma of them going missing, tell them about this blog. They are not alone. Much love for you, and for you kind words of encouragement.

  13. Excellent p&X69;eces. Keep writing ѕuch &X6b;i&X6E;d of informatіo&X6e; &X6f;n уоur
    ρage. Im really іmpreѕsed &X62;y i&X74;.

    Hi there, Үou'vе don&X65; an incredible job.
    I'll cer&X74;ai&X6E;ly ԁig&X67; іt аnd indiviԁually гecomme&X6E;d
    to my friends. Ӏ am confiden&X74; t&X68;ey will be benefit&X65;d from thіs website.

    world's largest building

  14. I wanted to thank you for this very good read!!
    I definitely loved every bit of it. I've got you book
    marked to look at new stuff you post…

    click here to read this message ()

  15. Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you're
    working with? I'm going to start my own blog soon but I'm having a difficult time choosing
    between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most
    blogs and I'm looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    BOC Certified Orthotists

    1. I just use anything blogger had to offer. things just popped up and that's what I chose. I'm sorry I'm not much help!

  16. Usually I do not read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it!
    Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks,
    quite nice article.

    safeway job application - ,

  17. Good way of telling, and good paragraph to get facts regarding my presentation subject, which i am
    going to present in school.

    forex rebates australia ()

    1. Wow! Well I wish you the best of luck!! Will you let me know how it goes??? I am so curious now???

  18. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Extremely helpful information specifically the last part :)
    I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

    silver oak free no deposit bonus codes ()

    1. thank you so much for reading and glad that it helped! It is so humbling that you took the time to came to this site to read this thank you so much!

  19. Terrifkc article! That is the type of infto that are supposed to be shared across the internet.
    Disgrace on Google for not positioning this publish higher!

    Come on over and discuss with my website . Thank you =)

    forex rebates calculator ()

    1. Thank you so much! You are too kind. What is your website? I'm glad you like what I write. Thank you for your king words. Gives me new motivation to keep writing.

  20. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I'm impressed!

    Very useful information specifically the last part :) I care for such information much.
    I was seeking this particular information for a very long
    time. Thank you and good luck.

    how to play casino roulette payouts ()

  21. We know this valley well and in last 3 years have kicked out illegal live ins. Our ancestors come from this valley. We’ve seen places that looked like unmarked graves but have never disturbed area. I’m sorry for your loss. Kalalau is most beautiful but can also be very dark.

  22. My name is Megan wong for above comment

    1. Thank you so very much for your comments and taking the time to read Jesse’s story. It is a very beautiful place and you are so lucky to be from there. Kauai is my absolute favorite place. It is a second home to me now. Thank you for your kind words.


This blog is mainly written by Niki Michaelis. There have been two other co-writers so far: Jenna Pinegar and Sarah Cook. If you need help finding a loved one please contact me. I would be more than willing to put your loved ones picture up and story to get more people looking for your loved one. Email me at Will contact you as soon as possible.