By Charlie De Mar

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s been nearly three years since Kierra Coles disappeared, and on her third birthday since she went missing, her family is still hoping someone might remember something and help lead them to her.

The table was set, the cake was there, but the birthday girl was notably absent Friday night on her 29th birthday. Kierra Coles went missing from the South Side in October of 2018.

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Kierra Coles was last seen on Oct. 2, 2018, near 81st and Vernon. (Credit: Chicago Police)

She hasn’t been heard from since, but her mom has never lost hope.

“She’s alive somewhere, just waiting to be returned home,” Karen Phillips said. “But I’m still hurt that my daughter is not here to celebrate with us.”

For years, a snipped of surveillance video was believed to be a key piece of evidence showing Kierra in her U.S. Postal Service uniform near her home, but her mother says that’s not Kierra in the video.

“We’re not going to give up,” she said.

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The FBI credited the online community for sharing valuable information in the recent disappearance and death of Gabby Petito in Wyoming. Her case and the attention surrounding it has raised questions about other missing persons cases, especially women of color

“There are Gabby Petitos in the Black and Brown community, and these families are desperate just to get their cases heard,” said Derrica Wilson, CEO of the Black and Missing Foundation. “Missing persons isn’t a Black issue. It’s not a White issue. It is an American issue

“You look for my daughter for a few weeks, and then it just, it died down,” Phillips said. “Y’all did everything possible for this other person until she was found.”

This month, the Cook County Sheriff’s office dedicated more resources to help find women who have been missing for 3 years or longer—about 170 cases in all. Women like Kierra Coles

“Every year I just pray this is our last year without her,” Phillips said.

The reward in this case has grown to nearly $50,000.

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Chicago Police said they are still investigating, and consider the case as a high-risk investigation.

Charlie De Mar