Ward Weaver: Like Father, Like Son
On March 8, 2002, exactly sixty days after Ashley Pond disappeared without a trace, Miranda Gaddis said goodbye to her mother as her mother left their apartment at 7:30 a.m. to go to work. With more than forty-five minutes left before her school bus arrived at the bus stop at 8:19 a.m., Miranda had at least half an hour to finish getting ready for school and to eat a light breakfast before heading out to catch her bus. Because of the school bus's scheduled time of arrival at the apartment complex, police later believed that Miranda likely left the apartment a couple of minutes past 8 a.m. Just like Ashley, however, Miranda wasn't at the stop when the bus arrived, and she never made it to school that day.
It wasn't until 1:20 p.m. that day that Miranda's mother learned that her daughter had not made it to school. A relative, after learning from several of Miranda's friends that she had not been seen at school, had called Miranda's mother at work. Distraught, Miranda's mother called the school and confirmed that her daughter had been marked absent that day. Frightened beyond belief, Miranda's mother went directly to a local police station and reported her daughter missing. Typically, a police agency will not take a missing person report until 48 to 72 hours have passed from the time that the person was last seen. However, in Miranda's case, in part because she was a child and in part because of the fact that Ashley had disappeared exactly two months earlier in exactly the same manner from the same apartment complex, the police took the report.
There were other similarities in the two cases, as reported on Unsolved Mysteries. For one thing, there was a remarkable resemblance between the two girls. Both were near the same age, both had brown eyes, and each girl was near the same height and weight. Both girls also took the same route to the school bus stop. When the inevitable question of whether they had been abducted by a stranger came up, Ashley's mother, as well as Miranda's, quickly discounted the theory — both didn't believe that it was likely. Both mothers indicated that their daughters would almost certainly have put up a fight if someone they didn't know tried to abduct them.
Miranda's mother described her daughter as "bubbly and outgoing," and said that she liked to talk to people. "She can't sit quiet for very long...."
According to Miranda's mother, Miranda had been on the Internet the evening before she disappeared. As a result, she provided the task force with the computer that Miranda had used, according to a report on CNN.
"They (law enforcement) just told me that they've found a lot of people that she chatted with and that they were checking into all of them," said her mother. "I'm not sure who they were."
"I don't think either of them would have gotten into a car with someone they didn't know," Miranda's mother told CNN. "Miranda was pretty wild and liked fighting and wrestling and I don't think she would have gotten into a car with someone she didn't know. I'm really worried that that is what happened....She was excited about her dance competition the next day and was telling me stuff she was going to do after school."
Nonetheless, whether it was a stranger who abducted them or whether it was someone they knew made little difference to the community. People were terrified for the safety of their children, and the community wanted answers — quickly.
Oregon City residents feared that a sexual predator was busy kidnapping little girls, to do only God knows what to them. In an effort to reassure terrified parents that their children would be safe while on their way to and from school, the school district issued orders that children in the area who took the bus would be picked up and dropped off in front of their homes rather than at a community school bus stop.
The police, meanwhile, conducted their investigation following the theory that the abductor was known by both girls.