With lit candles, family members, friends and community members stood side-by-side in the first vigil held for Christina Adkins since her remains were discovered earlier this month on Cleveland's west side.
CLEVELAND - Authorities said Christina Adkins was about five months pregnant and 18-years-old when she was last seen on Cleveland's West Side in 1995. Her family has been searching since but three people said Friday that Adkins' family members are not the only ones suffering.
Those three people were Christina Adkins' former boyfriend, Jose Rivera, and his two sisters Sonia Baez and Copelia Acosta.
All three spoke to NewsChannel5 exclusively Friday saying, while they hope Christina Adkins is still alive, they're also praying for an end to the investigation for more personal reasons. The family claims Rivera is still being blamed for Christina Adkins' disappearance and that they've all be harassed for the past 18 years.
Acosta told NewsChannel5, "She was a sweet young girl, really, just quiet, beautiful person, had nothing bad to say about her. When she became missing you know, of course, we always hoped and prayed that she would be found, especially to prove my brother's innocence."
Acosta described of how her brother was a person of interest in the case early on. Jose Rivera told NewsChannel5 he was questioned and released but their property was searched several times over nearly two decades.
"Every time there's a new lead, of course they come in here. They've come in the house, they've come in her backyard [turning to her sister] doing searching and they've never found anything," said Acosta.
Rivera's other sister, Sonia Baez said, "Somebody called and told them that I had her in my house and I let them search my house because I didn't have anything to hide."
In addition, the three told NewsChannel5 people close to Adkins would come to the house yelling and screaming profanities.
Rivera said he and Adkins were dating for about a year and a half around the time she became pregnant
"I lost my baby. I loved her. She did everything for me and I did everything for her," said Rivera.
When he heard of Friday's discovery he told NewsChannel5, "Well my emotion, my tears just came down. I just hope, I pray to God it's not her."
Talking about her more, Rivera began to choke up in the interview and later said, if the remains turn out to be that of Christina Adkins', he hopes peace will come for both families, "Let this close and be it to let it rest."
But the frustration doesn't end there. The man sources named as a person of interest in the case is a relative. The family told NewsChannel5 they don't and didn't keep in contact with the new suspect.
Rivera changed his tone telling NewsChannel5, "He's an enemy. I don't like him. He's a murderer, and if it's him, pray to God that he will rest in peace. "
After almost two decades of silence, the Adkins family finally received an answer today but not the answer they were hoping and praying for.
The Cuyahoga Medical Examiner has positively identified the remains discovered near Interstate 90 and the Jennings Freeway as Christina Adkins, who went missing in 1995.
A contractor working in the former home of murder suspect Elias Acevedo, Sr. found a box of underwear hidden in the ceiling of the home Friday, NewsChannel5 has learned.
Authorities have been called back to the former home of Elias Acevedo, Sr., who is charged with the murders of two women including Pamela Pemberton and a yet-unidentified woman believed to be Christina Adkins
Authorities have charged Elias Acevedo, Sr. with 293 counts including the murder of Pamela Pemberton and an unidentified woman they believe is Christina Adkins.
The sister of a 1994 murder victim is speaking out for the first time since the 20-year-old murder case was reopened.
Some Cleveland cold cases are getting renewed attention because of DNA testing and new information.
Sources connected to the investigation of human remains found Friday say that the skeleton was fairly complete and that DNA is expected to be used to confirm the identity.
Investigators are still trying to determine the age and gender of the remains found on Friday near Interstate 90 and the Jennings Freeway.