1 year since Pearl Pinson's abduction, Vallejo family refuses to lose hope

A sad anniversary for the Vallejo family of Pearl Pinson, who was abducted on May 25, 2016 as she walked to her school bus in the morning.

Witnesses saw the screaming teenager and called 911, bur Pinson has not been seen since. 

Still, her loved ones refuse to lose hope.

They gathered at a Little League field, and released balloons in Pearl's honor Thursday evening.

Watching them fade into the distance brought Pearl's older sister, Rose, to tears.

Rose is eighteen, and has spent the past year dedicated to finding her sibling.

"The witnesses heard yelling, they heard screaming, and they saw him hit her in the face which busted her lip," described Rose, walking KTVU across the Interstate 80 pedestrian bridge where Pearl was kidnapped.

Rose has told the story many times, how 19 year old Fernando Castro dragged Pearl, kicking and screaming, across the overpass and drove away with her.

The next day Castro was spotted and killed in a shootout in Santa Barbara County, but by that time, Pearl was no longer with him. 

"Every tip we get is not the right one, that we want, or we need," Rose admitted.

She lives on social media, responding to contacts from all over the country, and holds monthly vigils for Pearl at the overpass.

She says she visits the spot often to feel Pearl's spirit.

"Whatever closure I or my family can get, is all we ask for," said Rose sadly.

"If she could be found alive, that's great. If we find her dead, at least we could put her to rest."

Thursday's gathering was held at the ball field because it's a place Pearl was happy, where she loved to hang out. 

Friends told funny stories about her, and shared many hugs.

They described Pearl as both quiet and feisty, a girl who was only shy at first.    

"Once she got to know us she opened up and had a good sense of humor," remembered family friend Vicky Francom.

"She really cared about animals and wanted to be a veterinarian."

Vallejo's mayor attended the vigil to support the family, along with the investigator on the case.

"Why did he do it? Why her? We just don't know," Detective Sean Mattson of the Solano County Sheriff's Department told KTVU.

Pearl and her kidnapper Castro had no previous connection.

Surveillance cameras on the day of the abduction caught Castro's car on the Sonoma coast, but subsequent searches there turned up nothing. 

Pearl's blood was found in the trunk of the car, but not enough of it to conclude she is dead.  

"I know everyone loves and cares about Pearl so much," Det. Mattson told the crowd, "and I care about her too and I want to find her."

Pearl's friends graduated freshman year without her, and now this year too. 

"You'll never feel alone. You are home with me, where you belong," sang classmate Melina Caprio, during the gathering.

A $10,000 reward is offered for information leading to Pearl Pinson's whereabouts.