People talk about having a bucket list, but for one Colorado mom, she has only one wish — and time is running out.
Gil and Bernice Abeyta's son, Christopher, was born on November 28, 1985 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was the youngest of the couple's six children.
Bernice told ABC News how much light he brought into their family:
“He really was a doll. He was very entertaining. He would do funny things and if we laughed, he would do it again because he knew he was getting some attention.”
Then on the morning of July 15, 1986, Bernice woke up to find the 7-month-old missing from his crib. In a 2011 interview with Fox 21 marking 25 years since Christopher's abduction, Gil explained that with so many kids coming in and out, their door was always open and they were “used to house sounds”:
“Whoever prepares for somebody walking into your bedroom and doing something like that?”
Every family member took a lie detector test — Bernice twice. Gil had his own suspicions about who was involved, citing his former mistress, whom he claims was upset Christopher's birth would keep Gil from her. Police interviewed her twice but found no probable cause for arrest.
In 2006, thousands of pieces of evidence were accidentally destroyed by police, including some from Christopher's case. Police said that all the evidence would have been documented, so it would only be “a hurdle” at a trial.
Christopher's abduction remains an active and ongoing case, and police gave consent for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to also get involved in the investigation:
The family has never given up the search, selling whatever they could to hire their own investigators who, along with the family members themselves, actively worked the case.
Throughout it all, they have believed they would one day find the truth about what happened to Christopher.
Now, 30 years later, Bernice is dying from a rare form of gallbladder cancer and with only four-to-eight months to live — and her only wish is for Christopher to come home to them, even if it's not the way the family hopes.
Daughter Denise Alves elaborated to ABC News:
“She is dying, she knows it, we know it. She's in the room as I'm talking and it's sad, but this is the reality. Maybe the answer isn't what we hoped for, that he's alive, but she'll leave knowing and we can be at peace and finally put him to rest.”
Bernice shared how because of Christopher, cancer has not had quite the impact on her some might assume:
“What these people did to us was beyond cruel. At this point [with my cancer] usually you'd be like, 'Oh my goodness, cancer, I'm dying,' but Christopher was the number one priority. I would reassure him that we love him no matter what, no matter who he is. We are still going to be looking. I was always positive that we were going to find him.”
KDVR reports that the police now have a person of interest in the case, and it is someone the family has long suspected. With a little luck, Bernice may finally get her wish.