Family hosts vigil for woman missing since 1996

Published: Dec. 27, 2008 at 3:10 PM EST
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By Andy Jenks - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (NBC12) - It's been an emotional 24 hours in Chesterfield.

Last night, close to 50 people gathered, hoping to generate new clues about a missing woman.

Linda Lunsford vanished 12 years ago yesterday.

Family members and friends, desperate for answers, decided to do something they've never done before.

On December 26, 1996, Linda Lunsford seemingly disappeared.

And as a dozen holiday seasons have come and gone, the family came together and said Friday night, was finally the time, to do this.

Lunsford, was 38-years-old the night after Christmas, 1996.

She left work and went to a grocery store.

Her car was found in the parking lot.

Linda, was never seen again.

For the first time in twelve years Linda's ever expanding family held a candelight vigil, in Linda's honor.

Her grown children and their children together in a mystery that is impossible to ignore.

"It's like a neverending nightmare that you never forget," said Linda's son Jimmy.

Two years ago, a decade after the disappearance, the family and police acted on a tip that Linda's remains might be buried in Amelia.

But an excavation, turned up nothing related to the case, which has lasted so long that the original detective, is now retired.

He says, it's not over.

"I never stop thinking about it," said Chesterfield Police detective Dave Stehlar. "It's one that I speculate different things all the time."

Is it murder, or a missing person's investigation?

Questions that are second only to the family asking when their wondering, will all come to an end.

"We don't know," said Linda's sister Kathy Rose. "It could be any day. We just want to get it back out in the open."

Until that day comes, Linda's family takes comfort in their warm memories in a case that has run cold.

"This made me feel good," said Linda's mother Sue Evans. "Everybody cared, they haven't forgot her yet. I haven't forgotten her. Nobody will. Nobody has."

A fresh team of detectives is now working on this case, and the family suggests that if anybody knows anything about the 12-year-long case of Linda Lunsford, to call Chesterfield Police.

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