Family keeps hope alive for Cleveland teen now missing 8 years

Annual vigil set for Monday evening

CLEVELAND - A 14-year-old girl vanished eight years ago Monday while walking home from school. But her family has not given up hope they will find her alive.

Gina DeJesus would be 22 years old on the eighth anniversary of her disappearance: April 2, 2004.

Gina left Wilbur Wright Middle School in the afternoon that day in 2004. She walked to West 105th St. and Lorain Avenue, and then vanished without a trace.

Monday evening at that very spot, Gina's parents will hold a heart-wrenching annual vigil to keep their daughter's name in the news, and give her family another opportunity to show Gina's photo to the public. The vigil is set for 6:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Gina's parents often have talked with NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com about their daughter's disappearance. Gina's mother, Nancy Ruiz, said not knowing what happened to her daughter never gets easier, despite the passage of time.

"It gets harder each day, each week, each month and each year," Ruiz said last year, on the seventh anniversary of Gina's disappearance.

Over the years, several people and organizations in the region have committed to helping find DeJesus, including the Akron Aeros. Her photo was featured on the minor league team's photos last year .

Another Cleveland teen vanished from the same area as Gina, one year before Gina went missing. Moreover, Amanda Berry was last seen just blocks away from the last place Gina was seen. Amanda left the Burger King at West 110th Street and Lorain Avenue and was never seen or heard from again. That was on April 21, 2003.

Anyone with information on Gina DeJesus or Amanda Berry is asked to call the Cleveland FBI office at (216) 522-1400.

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