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Editorial – No happy ending for Mystery Italy girl

12/13/16 – I have spoken with Embla’s father and he has started a GoGetFund for Emba for medical transportation for Embla.

“Embla can not be released, the the doctors told her that the only way is to a swedish hospital direct,” said Tahvo. “She don´t have a valid travelers insurance, it ended after 45 days. So she have to travel with doctors.”

Here is the link to the GoGetFund account.  Hopefully, enough money will be raised and Embla can return to her family and there will be a happy ending.

The mystery Italy girl whose photo (above) went viral has decided to not go home and to remain on the streets of Italy. The young woman, Embla was identified by her father, Tahvo a few days ago, after the photo of her in the streets of Italy went viral and he saw it and recognized her.

Embla before she ended on the streets of Rome  (Family Photo – Facebook)

Most of us living with a roof over our head can not even understand why someone would continue to sleep on the ground, when they have family that will take them in.  We explain it by saying they have mental issues and are not of sound mind, and pray every day that they will change their minds, and come home, but that rarely happens.  Others think the homeless person is running from an unknown threat and has no place to turn to, and has no other place to go.

Sadly, the family of a missing, likely homeless person never really knows if they are dead or alive.  Before this case went international, Tahvo spent 6 months not knowing where his daughter was and whether she was dead or alive.  I understand this very well as my mother went 10 years without knowing if three of her children were dead or alive.  Not a day went by did she not wonder where they were.  When they were found, it may be surprising to a lot of people to hear that it was not a happy reunion, just like Tahvo and Embla.

Although, Embla’s family now know she is alive, now they have to live with knowing she would rather stay on the streets and there is nothing they can do about it.  Just like my mom years ago, Tahvo has gone from one nightmare to another. What began as a rescue mission for one solitary young lady, has turned out to not be a happy-ending.

And because so many people were so invested in this story and a happy outcome, it was not the ending they were expecting either.  Many on social media hoped that Embla was Maddie McCann or Leela McDougall.  In fact, they wanted it so much so that when they found out she was not, they had trouble believing it, and was worried that Tahvo was really not her father and was a threleelamcdougallat to her. They were so concerned they flooded social media with photos and comments trying to prove their “gut-feeling” they were right, that Embla was still in danger.  Sadly, many still do not believe  that Tahvo is Embla’s father, and are believing he is actually Simon Kadwill AKA Gary Feldman, the media named cult leader, that disappeared from Australia with Leela and her mother.  Of course these people have Embla’s best interest in heart, but they should know that Italian officials know the whole world is watching and are doing their best to watch over Embla, by following the law.  Never in my experience have I ever heard of social workers going with an adult homeless person to meet with their family like the Italian social workers did.

Penny Ducey  posted on Facebook a prophetic and very fair observation.  “Tahvo Jauhojärvi is not Simon Kadwill aka Gary Feldman aka whoever he chooses to call himself. Tahvo Jauhojärvi has a prosthetic leg that he’s had since he was a child.  He accepted my friend request and there’s a lot of pics and statuses not shown publicly. He has pics of his daughter, Embla, on his Fb. I think the reason the son’s pics showed up public was because he was tagged in them but Idk. I’m not saying that the girl in Rome is Embla because I’m not 100% sure. But I am 100% sure that Tahvo Jauhojärvi is not the cult leading father of Leela McDougall.”

Sadly, most missing stories die within a day or two of debuting.  Sometimes they have an interesting by-line that keeps them circulating longer than others, but many times the story is old news and never reaches the one person that has the answer. In this case, Embla’s story did not ebb, like most stories and subsequently, her father was found.  It was the direct involvement of every single person that shared the story that brought it to this end.  I guarantee you, that if you have not shared Embla’s story, Tahvo still would not know where his daughter is.  Without you wondering about Embla’s real identity and hoping for her safety and sharing it over and over again, this story would had died quickly and a family would still be wondering where their daughter was.

But the story was also very close to tragedy.  As Embla’s story gained momentum, more people began to show up to talk with her.  Lorena’s concern, Lorena was the one that sent the photo of Embla to me and asked me to share it, was mounting that she may disappear before her family got to her.   I contacted Tahvo to let him know of the situation, but  I don’t believe that Tahvo or his wife were ready for the onslaught of media that awaited them when they landed in Rome, nor the criticism  from the public, that was still convinced he was not the father, or if he was, he was a bad one.  Regardless, Embla’s parents did their best under the circumstances.  Can you imagine how heartbreaking it is to hear your child is alive, but they don’t want anything to do with you.  This is what my own mom experienced.  Her children had been told for years that she had abandoned them and they did not know the truth that they had been parentally abducted.  It was as though believing the truth would have been a betrayal to their father.  In the end, they ended up not trusting anyone.  Embla, for reasons we do not know, has the same distrust for her parents and many read that as meaning they had done her harm in the past. But, we don’t know what happened years before.

Also, because Embla chooses not to go home, we can’t help but feel disappointed and maybe even suspicious of her reasons.   I would expect no less from people that have shown so much care for one young woman.  But, sadly, some have gone way overboard and are mounting a social media crusade to prove they are right, even going as far as dramatizing and twisting facts to prove their case.  At this writing, Embla has been hospitalized and I believe the Italian government made the best choice because after her notoriety, she really couldn’t go back to the streets.

Maybe what we can take away from this story and to understand the unbelievable attention it got is how much we all want everyone to find their way home.  Every homeless person, every lost child, every missing adult, we want them all home, with their family.  We want them to have what we have, the thing that makes us get up in the morning, and smile and brings us hope for the future; our family.

Nothing is more satisfying to me to know that another missing person has been found, and even though sometimes they are found deceased, it makes it no less satisfying, as I know they are no longer out there alone, that they are finally going home.

As time passes, I think we all will be in agreement that Embla has been reunited with her true family, and even come to terms with her decision to remain homeless.  But, deep down we will be hoping that one day we will get the ending that we all really wanted; for Embla to be home with her family.


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