Renewed Hope for Missing Teens Family

Fresno, CA Vanessa's mother Beverly Smith said, "She liked trinkets, you know, she liked to collect different things."

Beverly Smith of Winton has kept her daughter Vanessa's room intact since the day the 15 year old disappeared ... she hasn't even emptied the trash can. She believes in her heart that someday her daughter will turn up alive ... but the waiting hasn't been easy.

Beverly said, "I get discouraged too ... my candle gets a little dim ... I know she's out there somewhere and I know she's alive ... but it's really dramatic sometimes."

It was on a rural road that Vanessa went out for a walk just after seven o'clock. It wasn't unusual for her to go out walking ... and she usually went with her mom ... but this time she went alone."

There has been no trace of Vanessa since that May of 1997. Beverly Smith puts up posters at truck stops up and down the central valley one to two times a month hoping a tip will lead to her daughter.

Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin says his investigators check out every tip that comes in ... including a possible link to Phillip Garrido ... which he says is unlikely.

Mark Pazin said, "At this point in time probably not ... but I use the word probably because you just never know. This character, this pervert that abducted the one young lady from South Lake Tahoe he could have been anywhere."

Beverly Smith is happy for Jaycee Dugard's family ... in fact, she says she feels a connection to them in a way ... they've shared the same pain ... but they also never gave up. She said, "You know they can hug her and love her and kiss her ... I miss all of that."

Even though Vanessa would be 27 years old ... Beverly says she would put her daughter on her lap. Anyone with any information about Vanessa's whereabouts should contact the Merced County Sheriff's Department.

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