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Erica Baker's Family Holds Out Hope
KETTERING -- Fifteen years later, the family of a missing Kettering girl still has hope they can bring her home.
Nine-year-old Erica Baker disappeared while walking her dog in a park.
"We fight the battle, we still want to find her," said Pam Schmidt, Erica Baker's grandmother.
Schmidt has been fighting the battle since Feb. 7, 1999.
"There is no closure when you've lost a child or lost a loved one; you find a way to function," said Schmidt.
Fifteen years ago, Erica Baker disappeared from Indian Riffle Park, and today her family still prays that one day, she'll come home.
"Our knowledge of her demise is that she was thrown away as a piece of garbage, and she's not garbage, she's not trash, she's a little girl, a part of our family and we want to honor her by laying her to rest in the appropriate manner," said Schmidt.
Erica was apparently hit by a van full of people, who buried her body somewhere.
Last year, the family set up a memorial at David's Cemetery in Erica's honor.
But Erica isn't the only Kettering girl who went missing.
Nearly 40 years ago, 14-year-old Lori Jean Lloyd disappeared without a trace after taking a walk to the store on Wilmington Pike.
Her picture is also displayed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website.
"You don't see it all that often, especially from a smaller town," said Robert Lowery, Senior Director of Missing Children Division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The center says on any given day more than 2,000 kids are reported missing in the U.S.
But no matter how difficult the case, they see it through.
"At the national center we never close a case until the child has been physically found," said Lowery.
For Erica Baker's family, closing her case would bring a mix of emotions.
"Finding her would have a finality, but yet when we find her we can put her to rest," said Schmidt.
Christian Gabriel was the only person charged and convicted in connection to Erica's case, for gross abuse of a corpse.
He served time and was released in 2011.
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