http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2009/03/family_waging_desperate_search.htmlFamily waging 'desperate search' for missing woman
by Sally York | The Flint Journal
Sunday March 01, 2009, 1:10 AM
FENTON, Michigan -- Anisse Jawhari has been trying to wait patiently, but on Tuesday she broke down and called the Fenton Police Department.
"It's been two weeks," she told an officer, weeping. "I want my daughter back."
Randa Jawhari, 42, went missing Feb. 11. The 5-foot-tall, 100-pound woman was last seen wearing a blue bathrobe.
As police investigate, volunteers conduct searches and fliers offering a $1,000 reward are plastered all over town, the family's misery is palpable.
"We're broken. We're broken," said Diana Anderson, 37, of Argentine Township, Randa Jawhari's sister. "Our faith in God is the only thing that keeps us standing."
Normal life is impossible for the large, close Jawhari family. Anisse Jawhari constantly kisses a photograph of her daughter and prays for her safe return.
• Name: Randa Jawhari
• Age: 42
• Description: 5 feet tall; 100 pounds.
• Missing: Since Feb. 11 from her apartment in Fenton.
• Reward: $1,000 for information leading to her safe recovery.
• Information: Call the Fenton Police Department, (810) 629-5311. Callers may remain anonymous.
Randa Jawhari's daughter, Mattilynn, 6, who stays with her grandparents, left voice mail messages on the phone in her mother's apartment every day until recently, when the phone was disconnected.
The missing woman's five sisters and brother (a sixth sister lives in Ohio) find themselves looking for her wherever they go, even checking ditches along the road.
"I look in every car stopped at a light, in every store," said Anderson, spokeswoman for her family. "I don't sleep. I'm not eating well.
"I always have this big lump in my throat -- it's hard."
Did Randa Jawhari leave on her own, or was there foul play? Police say they don't know but believe Jawhari -- who has bipolar disorder -- could be staying with friends she made in Flint through Rainbow Connection, which provides services to mentally ill people.
Jawhari had refused for three months to be driven to a clinic for the medication she was supposed to take every 15 days for the disorder, police said.
But family members say they doubt Jawhari is in Flint. For one, she is believed to have no money. The day before she disappeared, she was panhandling at a local McDonald's. Police picked her up and drove her back to her apartment, on Shiawassee Avenue near U.S. 23.
For another, none of Jawhari's clothes appears to be missing with the exception of the bathrobe she wore on the night before family members discovered she was gone.
Also, a nearly full pack of cigarettes was found next to Jawhari's favorite chair. Anderson said her sister was a chain smoker who never would have left her cigarettes behind, much less her daughter, on whom she doted.
And there's this: Jawhari customarily called her parents and siblings several times every day. A recent phone bill covering less than a month lists 55 calls. They all stopped after 11:15 p.m. Feb. 10, when she last spoke to her sister, Fadia Jawhari.
It was a normal conversation, Fadia Jawhari said. Her sister said she was tired and going to bed. But by morning, she was nowhere to be found.
Finally, although Randa Jawhari had made friends at Rainbow Connection and taught an acting class there, she had not been to the facility for six weeks, Anderson said.
"I don't know what happened, but I do know she loves Mattilynn and would never leave her family," Anderson said. "We are asking people to look in their sheds or any abandoned buildings on their property.
"Just please continue to search for her. We are not giving up, and we don't want anyone else to give up, either."
Certainly, no one seems to have given up yet. The Jawharis said they are grateful for the tremendous support they have received from the police and the community. Groups of volunteers have twice searched the area near Randa Jawhari's apartment. The second time, 100 volunteers came, some of them strangers.
People have inundated the family with food, prayers and offers of help, Anderson said.
Jackie Weeks of Fenton, whose daughter is friends with Mattilynn, has transformed her Facebook page into a sort of online central command for the missing woman. The page shows photos of Randa Jawhari, a summary of what happened and links to news stories.
Regular updates are sent to more than 400 people, Weeks said.
"I see the family every day, and it just absolutely breaks my heart," she said. "I had to do something."
In their worried state, Anisse Jawhari and her husband, David, find it difficult to operate their eatery, Beirut Restaurant and Grocery in the Flint Farmers' Market, but hope they will be reunited with their daughter soon.
"We believe she's alive," Anisse Jawhari said. "We love her and miss her and want her to come home."