Call it cautious optimism, those who investigate missing persons cases said the case is never closed until a body is found.
“I’m Amanda Berry,” said Amanda Berry on her 911 call.
It was the 911 call heard around the country. Berry, who had been missing for more than 10 years, was found less than two miles from her Cleveland home.
A neighbor, Charles Ramsey, rescued Berry, two other women and a 6-year-old girl Monday night.
The recovery gives hope to Indiana families still looking and longing for loved ones. Like the family of Shannon Sherill.
In 1986, the 6-year-old vanished from her Thorntown neighborhood during a game of hide-and-seek. The girl’s great aunt, Lois Cole has been hurting for almost three decades.
“Every time they find remains of somebody you think, ‘Maybe that’s her.’ And it’s never her so, there’s never closure,” said Cole.
Kimble Richardson with the St. Vincent Stress Center said when someone is missing, it’s an emotional roller coaster for victim and family.
“It would be torture, every day,” said Richardson.
Richardson said when families are reunited after a long, traumatic situation, getting back to life as they knew it isn’t easy.
“You have to really slow down your timeframe in terms of what you think is normal,” said Richardson. “You’ve been leading your life as it has been, but these folks, who knows how they were stopped in time.”
Time, it doesn’t stop for the people missing loved ones, or the people challenged with finding them.
“Information starts to surface, so our cases are never closed,” said Paul Scott with IMPD Missing Persons. “They’re always open. We are always seeking out information from individuals.”
Watching the Cleveland reunion meant mixed feelings for Sherrill’s family. They’re happy the four were rescued, but at the same time, they’re still hoping for their own tear-filled homecoming.
“I still hope so, but for 27 years, that is a long time and I am just hoping that could be us,” said Carlena Williams, Shannon Sherrill’s grandmother.
According to Indiana State Police, there are 964 active missing persons cases in Indiana. Of that, 539 involve juveniles and 425 involve adults.
Investigators said missing persons cases are driven by families – families not willing to give up, families hoping to one day have their own Cleveland reunion.