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Sighting of missing East Bremerton woman brings hope, heartache to mother

Kara Lynn Radabah, 19. - Courtesy photo
Kara Lynn Radabah, 19.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Friday marked 15 days since Kara Lynn Radabah checked her Facebook profile, sent an e-mail or spoken to her parents.

Cheryl Radabah, Kara Radabah's mother, said she's waiting for a clue to surface, anything to let her know that her only daughter, 19, is safe.

"There hasn't even been a whisper of her," she said.

Kara Radabah disappeared from Illahee State Park near her house May 13.

Despite a reported sighting of her daughter in Bellingham earlier this week, the unknowns continue to cause heartache for Cheryl Radabah and her family.

"It is hopeful to me as her mom, it's also tough," she said of hearing about the Bellingham tip. "It puts me in find mode. I have not given up hope."

Doctors told Kara Radabah in April she had schizophreniform, a version of schizophrenia, and she recently stopped taking her medication, said Cheryl Radabah.

Coming to terms with the diagnosis and her medication regimen, and the stigma metal illness carries with it, had been stressful, Cheryl Radabah said.

Most of the time Kara is an everyday college student, but occasionally she slips into delusions. The delusions, which often focus on her helping others, can make her vulnerable and confused and her mother believes that may be what caused her to run off.

Cheryl Radabah described the delusions as "visions of grandeur."

She said that she began noticing the delusions during a conversation the afternoon her daughter disappeared.

She said Kara Radabah was confused and began repeating phrases over and over.

"She kept saying, 'Mom, I think I can go to school and cure cancer. Mom, I think I can cure cancer,'" she said, adding that her daughter admitted to her that she had not been taking her medication for the past week. Following their conversation, Kara Radabah changed clothes and headed toward Illahee State Park, Cheryl Radabah said.

Hours later, her parents found her sitting on a park bench. What they didn't expect, was their daughter to flee as soon as she saw them.

"She wouldn't do that unless there was something really, very wrong," Cheryl Radabah said.

Described by her mother as an avid reader, compassionate and religiously devoted, Kara Radabah

Cheryl Radabah said her daughter struggled with the news of her condition but surrounded herself with friends and tried to make the best of it.

"She's been an incredibly brave, very brave, young lady through this entire thing," she said. "(She has) shown courage I couldn't even imagine."

Kara Radabah's Facebook profile has become a catch-all for prayer requests, words of encouragement and volunteers asking how to help find her. Another Facebook page was created to help get her picture out and now has nearly 2,500 members.

"Now is the time you have to get very smart," Cheryl Radabah said of using the web as a tool to find her daughter. "We're using social media, getting word out there as fast and quick as I can."

She said she's comforted by the amount of support from the community. She said childhood friends of her daughter have called and offered to help post fliers and drive around looking for her. Some volunteered to drive to Bellingham to search.

"Bremerton has been canvased," she said of the amount of fliers posted around the area. "No stone has been left unturned."

The Radabah family is offering a $25,000 reward for her return.

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