When the sun rose Thursday morning, a mother could be seen running away from darkness and toward the light.
“When we feel the wind on our face, we know it’s her,” she said.
That mother was Pamela Foster. “I’m heartbroken all over again,” Foster said.
It’s been three years since Pamela Foster’s 11-year-old daughter Ashlynne Mike and 9-year-old son were kidnapped on the Navajo Nation just miles from the Shiprock peak.
“That was the last place where her little footprints were left behind, and knowing that she never made it home, I had no energy in me to visit that place,” she said.
Until now. “That day that we will never forget,” she said.
Ashlynne was murdered by her kidnapper that day. It was May 2, 2016. Her little brother escaped. That’s what brought foster back to the same place that’s caused her so much heartache.
“It’s too long that I’ve been waiting to do this,” Foster said.
On this journey, and in her suffering, Foster is not alone. With her sister, nieces, nephews and her other children by her side, Foster decided she would run.
“We’re doing it,” she said. “We’re going to run for her non-stop.”
So for nearly five hours and 23 miles, Ashynne’s family ran toward the peak where the 11-year-old took her last breath.
“It breaks my heart knowing that when she needed me, that I wasn’t there,” Foster said. “It breaks my heart knowing that she was alone.”
When asphalt finally ran out Foster whispered, “I love you Ashlynne,” to her daughter and hugged her loved ones still here with her.
“One day we’ll be reunited with her again,” she said.
With the loss of her precious Ashlynne, the darkness is never too far behind, but today she stands in the light.
“Today’s all about healing and to know that she’s in a peaceful and wonderful place where she’ll never be hurt again,” Foster said.
Foster said she plans to make this an annual run.
In 2017 Ashylnne’s killer, Tom Begaye was sentenced to life in prison.