CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cleveland kidnapping case is giving renewed hope to the family of Tionda and Diamond Bradley – the sisters missing from their South Side home since 2001 and other families.
It is the essence of bittersweet.
Sheliah Bradley Smith, the great aunt of the two missing sisters, has become an advocate for families of the missing since the girls disappeared almost 12 years ago.
She says she is thrilled the three Cleveland women were found after vanishing about a decade ago.
“If it had not been for that one man within his own community coming forward and stepping up to help, the story may not have turned out the way it had.
“And I am so happy that they were found. I am so happy,” she says, choked with emotion.
Now she wants her own prayers to be answered – and someone in the Chicago area who may know something to come forward – so the Bradley sisters can be found.
Yazmin Acree was last seen at her west side home on January 15, 2008. It was that day, police say, the 15-year-old disappeared.
“I just can’t give up hope because I want her to come back,” said Yasmin’s mother two years ago, when age enhanced photos of the honor student were released.
But from the beginning the acree family has pushed to keep yasmin’s name and face at the forefront of people’s minds.
Sheer desperation to find their now 20-year-old, and then last night, hope by way of Cleveland.
“My heart started fluttering and racing,” said reverend Ira Acree. “They’ve been missing for 10 years, Yazmin only been missing for 5 years!”
Reverand Ira Acree has led the push to find his cousin since almost day one and says the Cleveland story has reignited his family to find Yazminand given hope that one day — she will come home safe and sound.
“I think it’s a golden opportunity to light a fire,” said Ira Acree.
Chicago Police say they follow up on each and every tip that comes in, but declined to update us on the status of Yasmin Acree’s case.
They did tell CBS 2 that while most department’s wait 48 hours to investigate a missing person, Chicago’s police detectives start working on cases immediately.
Rachel Mellon disappeared in 1996. She was just 13 years old.
Jeff Skemp day started with a 5 a.m. phone call.
“This is gonna a rough day and at that point I hadn’t seen the news,” said Skemp.
He turned on TV to Cleveland with keen interest in the developing miracle slash horror story.
“It’s just all that stuff hits home with you. The most important part of my life, that’s my only child, is gone,” said
She stayed home from school. The Bolingbrook girl was last seen — when step dad went to walk the dog. Unemployed step dad Vince Mellon was eyed but never arrested.
According to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are a total of 95 people missing people in Illinois and all were reported missing when they were children. 31 are endangered missing people, 45 are endangered runaways, 5 cases are non-family abductions, 8 are abductions by family members.
For more information on missing kids in Illinois, visit www.missingkids.com.