Randa Jawhari still missing after 287 days

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Anisse Jawhari (center, front), the mother of Randa Jawhari, is surrounded by three of her daughters and her daughter-in-law.

This story is from Tri-County Times:

“Where are you, Randa?”

By Sharon Stone
Published: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:28 AM EST

Fenton — It’s been 287 days and there is still no sign of Randa Jawhari, a Fenton woman who vanished without a trace, sometime during the very late night hours of Tuesday, Feb. 10 and early morning hours of Wednesday, Feb. 11.

As families across the country are getting together for Thanksgiving dinners, the Jawhari family must cope with the fact that one chair at the dining room table will be empty.

Randa, 43, was reported missing Feb. 11 after her mother, Anisse Jawhari went to her Shiawassee Avenue apartment and found the apartment  empty. Randa had lived there for about five months. She kept in touch with her large family constantly by using her apartment phone.

Bracing herself for the upcoming holidays, Randa’s mother knows they will be difficult. “Anytime I’m by myself, I cry for Randa.

“I say, where are you, Randa?” Anisse said as she glanced at photos of Randa, on display in her Fenton home.

Anisse and her husband David will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at their home and will be serving traditional family favorites, dating back to their Lebanese heritage. Anisse and David, and seven of their children were born in Lebanon.

After the elder Jawharis married, they came over to the United States to be with relatives in Ohio. They brought three of their children with them, and sent for the other four 10 months later after they settled in. Their youngest daughter, Diana, was the only child born in the United States.

After a visit to an uncle in Holly, the Jawharis moved from the Parma, Ohio area to Fenton and have lived in town ever since. The Jawharis own Beirut Restaurant in Linden.

Some of the Jawhari favorites include Chicken Hashwe, adorned with rice and nuts. Homemade hummus, baked eggplant, Fatoush salad and homemade dressings are also expected to bring some comfort to the large, family get together. For dessert, Anisse said Baklava, a big one, will be served, along with some fruit salad.

Anisse said she contemplated canceling Thanksgiving dinner, however, her son, Sam insisted everyone get together for the sake of the children. As the prayer is said, Anisse said the entire family will pray for Randa’s return.

Coping with so many unknowns has taken a toll on the family. Anisse does not understand why her daughter does not show up on the surveillance video that monitors the apartment complex parking lot. She does not know why Randa left a coat, her ID and her cigarettes behind.

“If she was alive, she’d think about her daughter and call,” said Anisse. “She was beautiful, smart.

“You don’t want anyone to take your daughter’s life.

“If she’s dead, I want to know what happened.”

Recent news reports out of Cleveland, Ohio put the Jawhari family on edge. The Jawharis listened intently as they learned that a former U.S. Marine, Anthony Sowell, has been with charged with murder, rape and kidnapping after police recovered the bodies of 11 women, from his Cleveland residence.

Det. Ron Skarzynski of the Fenton Police Department has been in contact with detectives in Cleveland, however, there were no signs of Randa’s body being found. The detective said he reads every news report and makes contact to inquire about the cases.

If Randa is dead and it was due to an accident, Anisse said, “We’d forgive them.”

Frustrated that police have been unable to solve the mystery, Anisse said Randa’s twin sister, Ghada, who lives in Ohio, has been in talks with a detective to see if the family can get the detective to do some investigative work for them.

Despite these trying times, Anisse said she is thankful for many things. The mother of eight said she is most thankful for everyone’s prayers and the opportunity to stay very busy with the Farmer’s Market.

Skarzynski said on Monday that police are continuing to do everything they can. “We are looking for any information and using all available resources,” he said.

The detective would very much like to identify, and question, the unknown black male in the composite sketch that was done by a Michigan State Police forensic artist. Skarzynski has also been in contact with several agencies in the Flint area that Randa frequented. Fliers about her case have been posted at numerous locations, from Flint to Fenton.

No leads in the case has the detective frustrated. Since police cannot prove a crime has been committed, police cannot identify any possible suspects. Skarzynski said a male neighbor with whom Randa sometimes associated with, has been questioned, however, questioning, a search of his apartment and two searches of the lake he fished at the night of Feb. 10 revealed nothing. This individual, who has since obtained legal counsel because of his past criminal record, was advised against taking a polygraph examination.

Skarzynski confirmed that the garbage dumpster at Randa’s apartment complex was emptied the morning she went missing. He said he spoke directly with the garbage truck driver, who drove his truck to Venice Park landfill in Venice Township.

“They saw absolutely nothing,” he said. He added that employees of the landfill and the truck drivers watch as their trucks are unloaded and nothing unusual was observed.

If anyone remembers seeing anything the night of Feb. 10 or morning of Feb. 11, or has information about the unknown man in the composite sketch, they are asked to call Skarzynski at (810) 629-5311.

What we do know…

  • Randa Jawhari, 43, lived alone in a small apartment at 3464 Shiawassee Avenue, ¼ mile east of U.S. 23.
  • She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She was physically and mentally ill at the time of her disappearance.
  • A Fenton police officer responded to a fast-food restaurant on Tuesday, Feb. 10 on Owen Road to investigate a complaint of a woman, later identified as Randa, asking customers for money. The officer drove Randa back to her apartment.
  • Randa’s sister, Fadia Jawhari, was the last family member to speak to her by phone, at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10.
  • Randa was a chain smoker. Her cigarettes were found in her apartment on the table next to her favorite chair.
  • Randa was afraid of the dark and tended to be cold all of the time.
  • Randa’s apartment showed no signs of foul play. The first-floor apartment faced U.S. 23.
  • A Your Ride driver arrived at Randa’s apartment at 8 a.m. for a scheduled pick-up. The driver left when Randa did not answer her door.
  • Her mother, Anisse Jawhari, called Randa several times, beginning at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, but Randa did not answer the phone. Anisse stopped by Randa’s apartment at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 and found it empty.
  • A blue bathrobe and a brown coat were the only articles of clothing noticed missing. There were no signs of foul play.
  • The front door was unlocked and open.
  • Randa has a 7-year-old daughter, Mattilyn, whom Anisse cares for.
  • Anisse had obtained guardianship over Randa to ensure that she took her medication. Randa did not believe she was as ill as she really was.
  • A search of Randa’s apartment did not provide any clues as to her whereabouts. All neighbors living at the complex at the time of the disappearance, and the landlord have been questioned.
  • A garbage dumpster at the apartment complex was emptied that morning. Det. Ron Skarzynski contacted the landfill in Venice Township with negative results.
  • A video surveillance camera, triggered by a motion-detecting light, did not show Randa in the parking lot during the night or early morning.
  • Randa was seen visiting a dental office in Flint, with an unknown black male. Police have obtained a sketch of this individual and are still seeking his identification.
  • The Jawharis have several relatives in the Cleveland and Parma area of Ohio. Randa previously lived and did some modeling while living in Miami and Hawaii.
  • Police have entered Randa’s case into every available missing person database. At this time, Randa’s disappearance remains a “missing person” case, since police have so far been unable to prove that any crime has occurred.

2 thoughts on “Randa Jawhari still missing after 287 days

  1. I worked with Randa in Honolulu back in 1991 or 92.She was a good friend and always made me feel special.I’d think of her often throughout the years.This morning I woke up with her on my mind so I googled her name and found out about her disappearance.I haven’t been in contact with her since she left Hawaii.All my love & prayers go out to her family.My life was aways more interesting with Randa in it.I hope to find her sister whom I also worked with in Honolulu,so may years ago.

  2. Naheda,
    I just wanted to say that especially your words express such very real pain about Randa’s disappearance..while I know your entire family is devastated from this it is especially your words that cry out in raw pain for answers about Randa.. That evident pain has brought me eventually here, to this very site after searching&learning as much as I possibly could about your sister, Randa.. She deserves to have the truth known of what happened to her that night/morning now more than 3yrs ago..and equally you, her precious family deserve those answers as well as deserve to lay your precious sister to rest as you all so see fitting..RANDA DESERVES THIS.. YOU ALL DESERVE THIS.. AND MOST OF ALL RANDA’s BEAUTIFUL YOUNG DAUGHTER DESERVES TO HAVE CLOSURE&THE TRUE ANSWERS..
    Until that time it is as if you are stuck in February 2009&the fact that a very real part of each of you all’s souls are stuck&left literally dying&withering away from the pain, anguish&sheer misery of JUST NOT KNOWING!!..This just cannot continue, there must be relief granted&given to you precious loved ones..
    I am going to look into other possible avenues available you(what can it hurt&possibly could even help).. Naheda, it is your painfully raw emotion that is apparent in each of your words is what has drawn me in&lit a fire within in me to help in any way I can to get that which you all are long over due&deserve.. That my,friend is answers.. Answers to what happened to beautiful Randa that February day/night 3 long years.. Who/what took&extinguished her beautiful light from this world&stripped her from the arms from the so many who love her.. Gone too soon&Gone before her time.. Still so full of life yet to live&most importantly to love, nurture&mold her beautiful Matty into a beautiful young woman just like her mother, Randa..
    May God answer the so many prayers that continue to be sent in asking for Him to grant you, her precious family ATLEAST the peace&solace of having the answers to who/why she was taken from this world..
    I will get back with you with information of what I can do to help.. You have my personal email addy that I left In the email portion of this comment form feel free to contact me and let me know if there is a better or more direct way of contacting you..
    Hang on, Naheda!!.. The answers are there they just have not yet been revealed.. I believe we can reveal those answers and give you that peace/solace that your raw emotional words indicate you have been longing for more than 3 long years..
    Hope is always here, believe in it!

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