Seven years after disappearance, family of Amanda Berry still waits and hopes

Rally held on anniversary of disappearance

CLEVELAND - When 16-year-old Amanda Berry left her part time job early in the evening of April 21, 2003, she had reason to be excited.  It may have been a Monday, but the next day was her 17th birthday.

Her older sister Beth Serrano remembers that night vividly. 

"I called her she was leaving out of work, she said 'my ride's here' and she'd call me when she got home," she said.

Three minutes later, Beth tried to call her sister back, but she didn't get an answer.  She would never get an answer... her sister was missing.

Seven years to the day of that call, Beth gathered with family and friends outside that Burger King at West 110th and Lorain Avenue in Cleveland to mark the anniversary with hope that their presence this night would prompt someone to finally come forward.

"I feel somebody did see something, maybe they're scared," she said. "They could be anonymous because maybe that one piece they hold can pull it together."

Keeping it together for this family hasn't been easy, almost two years after Amanda's disappearance, her mother Louwanna Miller died. 

Here for support this night, as always, was Nancy Ruiz, whose daughter Gina DeJesus disappeared almost a year to the day following Amanda just a few blocks away.

Together these families have led an effort to not only search for the missing teens, but change the way Cleveland Police handle missing persons cases.

It's an action the city is moving on in the wake of the Imperial Avenue murders, when the bodies of 11 women were discovered in the home of Anthony Sowell in the fall of 2009.

A panel recommended the city create a missing persons unit in a 900 page report issued in March. For Nancy Ruiz, it's a first step, but until it's created that's all it is. 

When asked if she thinks her daughter's case would be handled any differently today, she said "no, because nothing has changed it's still the same and it had to change."

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