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Posted: 8:05 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, 2013
PINOLE, Calif. —
A decades-old child abduction case that gripped the Bay Area was back in the headlines Monday night as the mother of Amber Swartz-Garcia solemnly marked her daughter's 33rd birthday.
Swartz-Garcia disappeared from her home in Pinole in 1988 at the age of seven. Even though police consider the case closed, Amber's mom Kim Swartz is not giving up.
Spending another year without a cake, candles or balloons, Swartz spent her daughter's birthday where she has spent much of the last 25 years: at the Pinole police department.
"I'm trying to keep hope alive," said Swartz.
Amber Swartz-Garcia was last seen skipping rope in the front yard of her family's home on June 3, 1988.
In 2009, Pinole police announced a major break in the case, saying the man who kidnapped and killed Amber was convicted killer Curtis Dean Anderson.
Anderson was on death row for the murder of 7-year-old Vallejo girl Xiana Fairchild and the kidnapping and molestation of another Vallejo girl, Midsi Sanchez.
Anderson also claimed to have killed Amber, but died before investigators had the chance to ask more questions or give him a polygraph.
"So many people believe that Anderson did it. I don't," said Swartz. "I don't at all. Someday, I'm hoping that we can prove that."
While police closed the case, Amber's mom says without physical evidence, she isn't convinced that Anderson's confession is true.
"As long as we haven't found anything negative – no bones – then we should proceed as if she is still out there," said Swartz. "We should still be looking for her."
On Monday, Kim Swartz showed KTVU a new computer generated image of what Amber might look like as an adult. Decades after Amber's disappearance, Swartz is still longing for answers.
"Maybe they have some information they are ready to come forward with that they were afraid to say anything about before, said Swartz. That's what I'm hoping for."
Also giving Swartz hope is the recent rescue of the three women held captive for a decade in Cleveland. She said if they managed to stay alive, maybe her daughter did too.
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