Renewed effort to bring Vanessa Smith back home


Beverly Smith is a mother on a mission to find her daughter. Vanessa Smith went missing 16 years ago, but Beverly is hoping fliers will bring nationwide attention to the case.

"Some days are harder than others," said Beverly. "Like those girls that were found in Cleveland, they were found after ten years that renews my hope."

On May 31, 1997, Vanessa went for a walk near the family's Winton home and disappeared. Based on evidence, the Merced County Sheriff's Office believes, the then 15-year-old girl was abducted.

Every year on the anniversary of Vanessa's disappearance, deputies help put fliers up. This year, they were printed with an image of what Vanessa could look like today.

"Stuff like this shouldn't even happen," said Larry Grantham. "And that's why I put that on there, anything I can do to help."

This unsolved case has left an impact on deputies.

Corey Gibson with the Merced County Sheriff's Office said, "This case weighs heavily on Beverly and her family, as well as the sheriff's office. It's an unknown case."

The sheriff's office say there is still an active investigation underway. Beverly says not a day goes by that she doesn't think of her sweet daughter, who would now be 31.

Beverly said, "It still does have an effect when you see mothers and daughters real close and I know what I could've had with my daughter."

And 16 years later, she still holds onto hope they will one day be reunited.

"I just want people to know that she still is missing," said Beverly. "She still wants to come home. I am her voice."

Although the years have passed, those close to the Vanessa Smith case say they hope someone will see one of these flier and call in with a tip. A tip they hope will bring answers and closure to everyone.

An account has been set up at Travis Credit Union to help the family.

The California governor's office is also offering a $50,000.00 reward for information leading to Vanessa's whereabouts or the arrest of her abductor.

If you have information, you are asked to call the Merced County Sheriff's Office.

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