CLEVELAND - After almost two decades of silence, the Adkins family finally received an answer today but not the answer they were hoping and praying for.
Late Friday afternoon, authorities confirmed the remains found last week at the intersection of Interstate 90 and Interstate 71 were, in fact, the remains of missing 18-year-old Christina Adkins.
Adkins disappeared back in 1995 near the vicinity of West 25 th Street and Kinkel Avenue.
Her family, who lived nearby, never moved from that location and spoke with NewsChannel 5 Friday.
"It's terrible. I went all these years thinking she was alive and everything ... and she wasn't," said Christina's older brother Roger Adkins Jr.
Roger told NewsChannel 5, one of his last conversations with his younger sister was about her wanting to run away. Roger said that always gave him hope she was alive, a hope that resurfaced when Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were rescued from Seymour Avenue this past May.
Authorities said Thursday at an FBI news conference, it was the discovery that made investigators go back to the drawing board and revisit old cases never solved. Although Adkins' remains were not yet identified at the time, a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted 49-year-old Elias Acevedo on charges that included the aggravated murder of Christina Adkins.
What happens next?
"I'm going to go to court and every pre-hearing and every pre-trial I can go to of him. I am just going to watch. I want to see that justice is done," Roger said.
The Adkins family also released an official statement reading:
"While we are saddened to have lost Christina, we are thankful to have finally found her.
Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to find her, especially the Task Force, FBI, Cleveland Police, and the many family members, friends and neighbors who walked these streets searching for information and hanging up her posters.
Christina was a sweet, kind and loving angel who was never forgotten in the 18 years she was missing. Now we hope and pray for justice to be served.
We ask that everyone please respect our privacy as we mourn the loss of our beloved Christina."
Roger said the family will now be working on service arrangements as they continue to mourn.
"Take care of your kids. Watch them. Don't let them go to school by themselves. Walk them to school. You know, just take care of your kids," Roger said.