Reading Bible Girl... and Relating It to the Brianna Maitland Case

I am almost done with E.C. Stilson's book Bible Girl and The Bad Boy (her work The Golden Sky was fantastic). The book is an excellent read--characters are unique and interesting, and the story kept me guessing.

It is about a traumatic time in the the author's life when she was 17 years-old, graduating high school early, juggling three part-time jobs, and trying to find herself.

In one part of the story, she had just finished her waitressing job at midnight.  Exhausted, she focused on getting home and going to bed--as school started in a few hours.

As she went to her car, a guy friend suddenly appeared and invited her to go sand jumping.

He had brought her a large coffee (her favorite blend) and was charmingly persistent.

Eventually, she decided against sleep, and joined the boy and several others for sand skiing at an old gravel pit.  It was the kind of thing that young people do--make quick and sometimes irrational decisions and find themselves playing under the stars.

She had told no one about her change in plans.

Anyway, this scene from Elisa's book reminded me of an aspect of the Brianna Maitland missing person case. Between guest blogger BobKat and I, we have probably written more than anyone on the Internet about Brianna's disappearance.

In sum about the case, the 17-year-old Maitland was seen leaving her job at a Vermont bed breakfast around midnight.

Early the next morning, she was scheduled to work at a second job, but did not show. Unknown that anything was wrong, her vehicle had been found abandoned less than a mile from the bed-and breakfast. It had been backed into a deserted farm house (depicted in the image below).

  Brianna Maitland's Abandoned Vehicle (as photographed by a citizen)

Brianna has never been found.

So what does the excerpt from Bible Girl... have to do with a missing woman from Vermont?


Logically, one would think that Brianna would go straight home and get some sleep before starting her second job a few hours later; that she would contact her roommate or someone else if there was a change in plans.

I would--that is me thinking like an old guy.

But, perhaps a friend suddenly appeared with an appealing offer. Something that would not take long.

Brianna had lots of friends.

What is a few hours of lost sleep for a young person?

E.C. Stilson changed her mind and her plans. It is certainly possible that a spontaneous Brianna Maitland did the same.

Unfortunately, Brianna's case remains unsolved.

You can read more about the Brianna Maitland case by clicking here, or visit Elisa's blog, The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom,  by going here

NOTE: Just a reminder to readers regarding any of the books that I mention in my posts--I only review or discuss books that I have purchased and have read (or am reading).


Ciara said...

I remember that case when it happened. It was so strange. I guess I'm old now, too. There is no way I wouldn't tell my husband if my plans changed. It's so important someone knows where you are.

Momma Fargo said...

Yep. Makes you wonder what kind of dialogue her closest friends had with her in the last hours. At that age, they know almost every minute of each other's schedule or know when something excited happened to change the plans. Usually.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah Elisa's books are great, agreed. Hmm you just never know I suppose, interesting comparision.

BobKat said...

You've presented a haunting perspective here between Bible Girl and Brianna Maitland.I read it with chills down my spine. Eerily similar indeed to what may have transpired the night Brianna disappeared.

A lime wedge was found on the trunk of her car backed into the deserted house, with cups on the ground like she'd had a drink with "friends". When I examined her car months later at her parent's house, after the police returned it, there was a styrofoam box on the passenger side floor with a fossilized, half-eaten burrito inside, a picture of a race-car glued to the outside of the container. No one knows where it came from, except she didn't get it from the restaurant where she worked.

Like yourself, the thought that she would spontaneously change her plans that night seemed preposterous - yes, me thinking like an old guy too. But I spoke with her best friend who laughed and said Brianna could easily go to work the next day with little to no sleep. Ah, to be young again!

The thing I liked most about this post is the image of Brianna as a typical teen, like her peers and not as an exceptional misfit as the media initially portrayed her to be. She was as her friend put it different in one distinct way - being perhaps the most attractive woman among her peers, and very popular.

Excellent post - thanks Slam.

EC Stilson said...

I remember when I first read about this case on your blog. My exact thoughts were, "How terrifying. That girl had so much in common with me."
It is interesting, remembering the teenage years. Now I like going to bed at 8 lol
Thanks for the plug. That was so nice of you :)

Jess said...

This is so creepy and sad. And very scary for parents. I will be giving my daughters a big lecture on this kind of thing when they get old enough...then again, maybe that won't be necessary since their father plans on having a tracking device implanted somewhere harmless on them when they reach dating age.

Kay G. said...

I don't know if you read "Between A Rock and A Hard Place", where the young man had to cut off his own arm when he was hiking and it got stuck between a rock.
For him, if only he had told someone of his hike (Can't remember what he called it, it was odd to me, almost between walls of rock) then, someone could have gone looking for him, and he would not have been forced to make the decision that he had to make.

messymimi said...

Well, i must be a cat of a different color. As a teen, if my plans changed in any way, even to staying a bit longer at the mall to catch a matinee movie that would still have me home before dark, i would call my parents and let them know. And that was back when you had to find a pay phone to make the call

Somehow, i've always believed in spontaneous with a bit of notification on the side.

Anthony said...

I'm sure I did my share of spontaneous things as a youth. Heck, I still do irrational things from time to time (like staying up til 6 a.m. playing video games).

Anthony said...

Nonetheless, a sad (and probably tragic) missing person story.

Christina Lee said...

Damn, my stomach dropped reading that! Off to click on the links!

terri said...

I guess that's why we (as parents) worry so much about our kids. They are spontaneous and it doesn't occur to them to worry about consequences or danger.

ladyfi said...

Sounds like a good book.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I'll read pretty much anything. :-)

Mia Celeste said...

Interesting and sad. I'd like to read the book. Thanks for sharing.

Tess said...

Sounds like a good read and one that would send shivers.

Diane Estrella said...

My husband lived near a sand/rock mounds and kids would go jumping there. It is actually quite dangerous due to getting buried under it all and crushed. Sad story.

Brian Miller said...

interesting...will look up this book and give it a try...kinda scary how that spontenaity can back fire on you....

lisa said...

And our kids wonder why we worry about where they are......A chilling story, book or reality. And it's not just "old guys" that think like this! Old gals do too. ;-)

Shauna Nosler said...

Glad to see you are still at it! That's a great book title - sadly, I wish I could find the time to read something right now ... I miss reading ... but I've been reading so many darn press releases etc. that when the night time rolls around all I want to do is watch mindless TV :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Had I been that age, I wouldn't have phoned to tell my roommate of the change of plan. I would have just done it.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

That sounds like a good book, and I love the point you make. I make spontaneous decisions all the time, and sometimes don't tell anyone about it. I guess it's just what young people do sometimes.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Excellent points! I hope, for her family's sake, that there are answers in Brianna's case.

I'm too old for that kind of spontaneity too but I remember those days.

BobKat said...

A few comments to make after reading your comments.

But the "who am I" to comment about the comments may arise... so a very quick note for background.

In late fall of 2004 after reading about Brianna's story in the news, I felt compelled to get involved, and with 20 years experience metal detecting I called her parents and offered my services to help locate her missing car keys. After searching for 3 - 4 hours in a icy cold drizzle, her father invited me to a local restaurant to talk.

Although I'd just turned 50, he realized I had a way of communicating with people of all ages. He asked for my help. I spent all the free-time I had for the next 3 years doing that.

It is important to understand Brianna was an emancipated woman. She was legally on her own at 17. She did call and visit her parents often, however they were visits - she wasn't checking in.

Although it is true she could make spontaneous decisions, there is no proof she did so the night she disappeared. The letter to her housemate was considered to be explicit, in that there was an urgency about it. But her housemate didn't see it until Sunday. Her parents didn't find out about the car as I recall until Monday.

As adults, as Brianna legally was, we have no obligation or requirement to notify anyone if we make a decision different from what our original plan was. In many cases doing so would be considerate and welcome, but we are not required to do so.

Around age 44 I was living alone and a new tenant invited me to go to a club in Boston, where I was living at the time. He was a serial killer. By some miracle, Boston PD intercepted him - with me in the car on the way to my death.

The story Slam Dunks used to provide a comparison to Brianna Maitland's disappearance to me provides not a lesson to be learned but rather, enlightenment on how us humans act. It was an experience Bible girl learned something from. And to me that is the key to this post - that bible Girl learned something from her experience that night.

Miranda Hardy said...

Scary story to read about. Interesting perspective to the case and something to ponder.

Arlee Bird said...

The fact is that often many young people get so caught in the moment and experience that they don't take time to logically think something out. I know this to be true because I was younger once and fortunately I survived that crazy time of youth.

Wrote By Rote

Rachelle21 said...

Until you mentioned it, I would not have made any connection between Bible Girl and the missing girl. It is very true that teens do spontaneous things and don't think to tell others. It does help to have a caring adult in your life.

I was 21 and staying with a relative in Florida. When I returned after being out on a date, they were very upset that I had not called when I was late getting back. At 21, I did not think about calling as I was "an adult" but they felt responsible for me.

They made me re-think priorities. Hopefully, your blog and E.C..'s memoirs will help others re-think their priorities and perhaps help someone else.