Yesterday the mother of missing Sachem East freshman Ailsa Papik held a candlelight vigil and prayer session in front of the KK Athletics on Horseblock Road in Farmingville.
Christina Papik greeted friends and concerned residents with hugs and tears as those assembled lit candles and followed a prayer session from the Papiks' church pastor.
"They attend our church, the children are in our Sunday school, Ailsa was baptized there," said Pastor Ellen Lewis, of the Restoration and Revival Center in Patchogue. "So this is just extremely painful. To know the family so well, to know this beautiful young lady, and trying to figure out how this could happen with her."
Ailsa Papik disappeared from her home at around 3 a.m. on Sunday, September 16, and has not been heard from since. According to her mother, Ailsa got into a white taxi cab, and may have possibly met up with an older man she had met online.
Police would not confirm this information, and only offered that they are actively investigating the case. According to one area taxi company, they were contacted by police, but were unable to help with any viable information. After a lead surfaced yesterday that Ailsa may have caught a train from Ronkonkoma station, Patch called the LIRR. According to the MTA Police, they have not been contacted or asked to assist by local authorities.
"I think in the beginning [the police] were just treating her as a regular runaway," Christina Papik said. "But I think now they're taking it more seriously."
In a dramatic moment at the vigil, a rumor had spread that Ailsa was located in Brooklyn. All in attendance at the vigil began to celebrate, but as the family sought confirmation, the celebration turned out to be premature. Flyers with Ailsa's photograph and information were posted in Spanish throughout the KK complex.
"Somebody's seen her somewhere," said Pastor Lewis. "In a store, in a taxi, at the train station, somewhere. And if someone could give that tip...even if it seems small...if they could give that tip, it could be life-changing."