By Som Lisaius, KOLD News 13
Looking at the words engraved on this monument at Children's Memorial Park, Pat Hinkle can certainly relate. "They are," shy says, "they are part of us as we remember them."
Five years ago, On August 20th, 2000, Hinkle lost her niece Linda Watson. The 35 year old, single mother was violently abducted from her Tucson home and never seen again.
"She'd went to church that Sunday," Hinkle recalls, "and her bible was laying there...her pager on the bible. And she never, never went anywhere without that pager."
Over the next three years, Hinkle and her sister Marilyn Cox devoted their lives to finding Linda. Marilyn was Linda's mother. She moved to Tucson from Ohio to help raise her grand-daughter. But on May 7th, 2003...the unthinkable happened. Marilyn Cox and friend Renee Farnsworth were gunned down outside their midtown homes.
"I feel it was just a continuation of what happened to Linda," Hinkle says. Speculation about Linda's ex-husband and a former love interest surfaced just as it had following Linda's disappearance. But authorities could prove nothing. And to this day, nobody's held responsible for Watson's kidnapping or the May 7th murders.
"I know in a time like this, usually, we should say I want to get the people who did this," Hinkle says. "Right now, that's on the back-burner." That's because it's been five painful years for Pat Hinkle. She's not forgetting about justice; she's simply trying help her family heal. That's why she's pleading for Linda's remains...so they can be buried along-side her mother in Lancaster, Ohio.
"There was somebody who came forward at one point...and said they thought they knew where her body was. If that person would just have the nerve to come forward, we'll ask no questions. We just want Linda so I can take her home."
A headstone bearing Marilyn and Linda's names has already been erected. Though Marilyn was cremated after her death. And her family doesn't plan on burying her ashes until Linda's body is found.
Says Hinkle, "If there's any decency left in the people who did this, any kind of humanness, surely they will see our pain--and help us get a little bit of closure."