Don't let the brightly colored balloons or gathered crowd mislead you. When the friends and family of Pearl Pinson gathered next to a Little League field in Vallejo Thursday afternoon, it was hard and painful.
"I thought we would have found her by now," Pearl's sister, Rosey, said.
Rosey did. Her father James and mother, Joyce Mitchell, did as well. But as a sign on the walkway over Highway 780 reads, where is she? Is their daughter dead or alive?
When asked how she deals with not knowing, Joyce said, "I try not thinking about it. I don't know."
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One year ago, 15-year-old Pearl had been walking to school when witnesses say they saw 19-year-old Fernando Castro attack her and drag her away screaming.
Surveillance cameras traced his car to Jenner, then to Santa Barbara where, the next day, he died in a shootout with police. Detectives never found more than traces of Pearl's blood in the car and no sign of a body.
"We don't know where he took her, what he did with her or why he even took her. The question is why or where she's at," sister Rosey said.
"They know the importance of getting him alive, but they still took the guy's life," James said.
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One year later, the overpass above Highway 780 remains a memorial. It's impossible to miss when walking through, hard to ignore when driving beneath and, for family members, let's just hope that the rest of us never know such pain.
"I will always have hope. Until I have proof that she's not, I'm always going to believe she is alive," Rosey said.
When asked if she has anything to say in the chance that Pearl is out there watching, Joyce said, "Pearl I love you. Please come home."
"Baby, we have not stopped looking for you," said James.
If you have any information about the case or Pearl's whereabouts, please call the Solano County Sheriff's tip line at 707-784-1963.