Hoping for Mike
By biconews On 8 Feb, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By Lauren Hanna

Every day we hear about children being abducted from their homes or inner-city kids disappearing. “They were on drugs,” we tell ourselves. “They were had kids; that’s why this happened.” No one ever expects that one day it will be someone they know.

Last Thursday, I was standing in Stokes avoiding frostbite while waiting for the Blue Bus when a flyer on the bulletin board caught my eye. I just happened to see the name “Michael (‘Mike’) Negrete.” I thought, “Hmm, I went to school with a Mike Negrete.” As I stepped closer to the bulletin board I saw a picture of a familiar face - Mike’s face.

At first, I couldn’t believe it. I just stood there perplexed. The sign read, “$5,000 Reward for information regarding missing UCLA student.” As I read through the physical description of the person, I couldn’t be more sure that this was Mike, but it was as if someone were playing a cruel joke on me. Yet, who in their right mind would joke about a thing like this? All I could do was write down the web address and check it out for myself.

I guess I couldn’t believe it because I never thought it would happen to someone I know. I mean, who expects the person who sat next to them in their ninth- and tenth-grade math classes to disappear? When Mike moved to San Diego and I moved to D.C., I knew we wouldn’t see each other in the immediate future, but there was also the possibility that I would see him somewhere along the line. Now that might never happen.

As soon as I got to my room, I tried to busy myself with my laundry, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about Mike. My roommates walked with me to the laundry room, and I told them what I saw. When I got back into my room, I pulled out my LB Poly Jazz A CD and there was Mike, leaning over the railing smiling down at the camera. How could he be missing when he was right there?

I still had to make sure that this wasn’t a horrible prank, so I went to my trusty computer and typed in the URL. Sure enough, Mike’s face popped upon the screen. I read and re-read the information: “Last seen at 4 a.m. Dec. 10 in Dykstra Hall wearing a blue plaid shirt and khaki shorts.” The facts swirled through my mind. As I looked through the pictures on the website, I realized how long it had been since I’d seen him; he had grown up so much. Yet he was still Mike, the same big smile, the crew cut that was just growing out. I was confused, so I did what any 19-year-old girl does: I called my mommy.

My mom answered the phone, and asked me how everything was; I said OK. Then I told her, “Mom, I just found out the weirdest thing. Mike Negrete’s missing. He’s been missing since Dec. 10.” I told her how I had seen the sign in Stokes, and then I read her the info from the website. We just talked about Mike for so long. My brother walked into the room and my Mom said. “Matt, remember Mike Negrete, that really good trumpet player? His brother was on your pee-wee soccer team? He’s been missing from UCLA since Dec. 10.”

The more we talked about it, the more unreal it seemed. I mean, Mike was not the kid that this would happen to. He was an accomplished trumpet and steel drum player. He could solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than two minutes. He was a whiz at math. He was an honor student in one of the most highly recognized college prep programs in US public schools. He was going to UCLA on an academic scholarship. I knew him. Someone like that doesn’t end up on a missing teenager poster. I guess I was wrong.

Mike’s friends and family have been vigilantly searching for him since his disappearance almost two months ago, and somehow I feel that I should be doing something even though I am 2000 miles away. I’ve missed the jazz concert fundraiser at my old high school. I couldn’t go to the fundraising concert in Solana Beach Jan. 30. So I’m going to try to plan a fundraiser of sorts for the Michael Negrete Search Fund, as money is needed for a reward, private investigator and publicity. So many people in my old hometown have come together to help, despite the fact that the Negretes no longer live in Long Beach, that I feel doing my part is necessary. III do just one thing then I will have done something to help bring him home.

We like to think that we are invincible, that these things can’t happen to us, that because we are young we have some sort of protective shield surrounding us. But consider the Wellesley student who was stabbed while jogging, the Texas A&M bonfire, Mike Negrete. These are all examples of what can happen.

Please keep Mike and his family in your hearts - make a wish on a star or say a prayer for him to come home.

For more information on fundraising for the Mike Negrete Search Fund or making a donation to the fund, contact Lauren Hanna at , or the Mike Negrete Search Fund website at

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