The disappearance of Ümmü Şimşek would have remained an unsolved case if it was not for her daughter Aleyna Gökçe. Gökçe, who was three years old when her mother suddenly disappeared 14 years ago, helped police to solve the case, which concluded with the grim discovery of Şimşek’s body in the central city of Konya.
A recent investigation revealed that the then 27-year-old woman was strangled by her relatives in a so-called “honor” killing.
Gökçe, now 16, was apparently the only one in her family who was determined to learn the fate of her mother, after spending most of her life with being told that her mother “abandoned” the family while she was an infant.
Raised by her grandparents and her father in jail, the young girl decided to file a missing persons’ notice to the police for her mother, as no one in the family had done before.
Investigators who were looking into cases of unidentified bodies found near the area where she disappeared, found that a woman of Şimşek’s age was buried in a cemetery for unclaimed bodies.
The exhumed body matched the description of Şimşek, and suspecting foul play, police questioned the family members.
Eventually, her elder sisters confessed that the young woman was strangled to death with the help of her nephews when the family found out she was having an extramarital affair.
Family members were arrested for the crime that put a bitter end to Gökçe’s struggle to learn her mother’s fate.
“At least I proved that my mother did not abandon me,” Gökçe told reporters after the case was concluded. “I was angry at her for a long time. I always wanted to confront her and ask why she left me.”
The young girl would have also been killed by the family but her aunts decided not to do it and instead allowed her to live with her grandparents.
“I don’t remember much about my parents. My father was in prison and my mother was gone. I didn’t have any photos of my mother and I finally found one two years ago. I was very emotional then. I couldn’t leave home for two days when I found it, I was crying,” she recounted.
She now awaits the outcome of the trial of her aunts, who lived next door to her grandparents, even though Gökçe did not know until recently.
“Nobody told me that they were my aunts and they never introduced themselves. I couldn’t believe it was them who killed her but I am somewhat glad that at least I found closure to this [case],” she said.