MESA, Ariz. Four years ago 11-year-old Mikelle Biggs disappeared from her Mesa neighborhood, leaving only her bicycle by the road and two quarters with which she had intended to buy something from an ice cream truck.
Mesa Police have followed up on thousands of leads and actively continue the department's most expensive investigation. Mikelle's disappearance has been featured on the "Missing Children" segment of America's Most Wanted. She is listed on the Web site of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Web site www.MikelleBiggs.com. There is also a Find Mikelle Biggs Hotline at (480) 644-4940.
In the meantime there has been no trace of Mikelle and no one has been arrested in connection with her disappearance.
Her parents, Darien and Tracy Biggs, who have since moved into the Gilbert Arizona Stake, say that for them, as hard as it may be, they have found that "life goes on."
The Biggs, who have three other children, ages 5 to 13, say their family does all the normal stuff that most families do, but they also do other things, like call the police every week to check on the investigation.
They have found strength in the gospel to face each day and rely heavily on their testimonies to overcome their grief.
"That's what has gotten me though this," said Sister Biggs. "I've completely relied on the Lord to carry me through. There have been countless times when I've had a special something that has happened when I needed it; I know it was the Lord watching over me."
She recalls being given a picture of the Savior with the words, "You are never alone."
"Without fail, when I've needed to be reminded of it, I have been at the moment I needed it," she said. "By someone calling and saying it, or someone coming by and giving me a hug and saying those words. I don't understand how anyone without the gospel could cope."
Brother Biggs said the horrendous ordeal has made him re-examine what he believes in.
"It shook my faith and tried my testimony," he said. "It made me doubt what I've known for almost 40 years. But if it hadn't been for my testimony, I would be a basket case."
He also has felt the power of the prayers of others in his behalf. "Just today I had some girls in a parking lot looking at the picture of Mikelle on my truck and asking about her," he said. "Then one of them said, 'I'll pray for you.' I think that's the only thing that keeps me going. I know there is something beyond my own strength that keeps me running."
The Biggs also express gratitude for help their ward families have given them.
Immediately after Mikelle disappeared, members of the Silvergate Park Ward, Mesa Arizona Pueblo Stake, organized a search effort and copied and distributed fliers. Their home teacher served as an intermediary with the media to help keep them at bay when the family didn't feel like talking. The ward was involved in raising funds for the $75,000 reward that is offered.
The young women covered mailboxes in the neighborhood with yellow ribbons as well as covering a tree in the Biggs' front yard. "Those ribbons were on there until they faded and then they replaced them," said Sister Biggs.
"If it wasn't for the ward, I wouldn't have known what to do," she said.
"Everybody helped in one way or another," added Brother Biggs.
After they moved a year ago, they received love and support from their new ward family.
"Some were a little hesitant at first because maybe they didn't know what to say," said Sister Biggs. "But I got up in testimony meeting after we moved in and said that we talk about Mikelle on a daily basis and that it's perfectly fine to ask about her or say something."
"We're glad when people ask about her," said Brother Biggs.
"It's not necessarily what they say, but that they say something from their heart," Sister Biggs added.
"I guess the best thing is that they treat us like normal," said Brother Biggs.
Others continue to show love and concern, too. The Biggs agree they have received a lot of help from throughout the community and from national organizations. "There were so many things done I can't even remember them all," said Sister Biggs. "It was just unbelievable what people will do for you."
Still, their greatest support comes from the gospel, their family, friends and from each other.
"Usually when one of us is feeling weak the other one is strong," said Sister Biggs. "We take turns."
They also feel that they've experienced something personal and spiritual "to indicate peace and comfort." They will keep searching for answers and believe that the crime will be solved.
"We do have hope of finding who did it," said Brother Biggs.
They also have hope of helping to change some laws to protect children. Brother Biggs believes that the current sex offender notification law isn't enough because it was not retroactive. He also believes there should be restrictions where convicted pedophiles live.
"Some people tell me that isn't fair," he said. "But I tell them not to talk to me about fair. These are people who take away the innocence or life of a child."
The Biggs say that their other children are also coping with Mikelle's absence and have been taught not to live in fear. "They're strong kids," said Sister Biggs. "We've taught them to be smart, not scared."