I never met 19-year-old Alexandra Mills, but my husband Job told me that her mother bought my book from him a year or so ago. Turns out Aleigh, as she was called, was adopted as an infant. Her family moved to Maine so she could attend Kents Hill, a prestigious boarding school, as a day student instead of a boarder.
Job wasn't sure if the mother bought Fumbling Toward Divinity for her, her daughter, or both, but I vaguely remember signing the book to Aleigh. Perhaps her mother would read it first and then give it as a gift to her daughter. Perhaps Aleigh might have already expressed a desire to search for members of her birth family. Black people presumably from Texas. Her parents are Caucasian.
What does that matter? You might ask. With so many Black babies shipped to Great Britain because so few will adopt them in the states, it matters that anyone, much less two white people, adopted this African Queen as a baby.
Her father found her body. Her bright regal smile dimmed forever.
As of this writing, no one knows why she was murdered. But I have been haunted by it because there aren't many Black people in Maine, and certainly not many Black adoptees that I know of to boot.
We were connected.
I hope the mystery of her murder is solved. Small-town police are tight-lipped and may or may not have the wherewithal to bring to justice the murderer of a Black woman, but I hope I'm wrong.
My thoughts and prayers go out to her parents who must suffer the senseless death of their only child. I hope they don't blame themselves. Surely they don't deserve that burden.
Oh, the stupidity of loss.
UPDATED - 11:59 PM. Shortly after posting this entry, I had to run an errand. On the road, one of my closest friends called me to tell me he was on his way home from Wayne where he had just dropped off a meal to a close friend who'd just lost his adopted and only child to murder last week.
He didn't even have the call the man by name. I simply said, "I know them."
Yes. We're connected. Still.
Alexandra Leigh Mills obituary
Death of Wayne Woman Being Called Homicide (with video)
School fondly recalls their 'African Queen'
Man charged in slaying
Mills murder suspect enters no plea