Despite the fact that it’s been more than three decades since her 7-year-old daughter, Amber Jean Swartz-Garcia, was abducted from her family’s front yard, Kim Swartz remains optimistic — thanks, in part, to DNA technology.
“I always feel hopeful,” Swartz says of finding her daughter. “I mean, it’s just a matter of time before something is going to happen.”
Amber went missing on June 3, 1988, when she was jumping rope in her Pinole, Calif., front yard. She was normally not allowed to play outside unattended, but on the day of her disappearance, her mother had reluctantly let her.
Minutes later, Swartz realized her daughter was missing and began going “door to door and screaming her name up and down the street,” Swartz recalls.
But Amber was gone. She would never be seen or heard from again.
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Since her daughter’s disappearance, Swartz has continued to keep her story in the spotlight and has assisted in helping pass legislature with AMBER Alert (named after a 9-year-old who went missing in Texas in 1996), as well as doing work with the Department of Justice to educate law enforcement about child abductions.
In 2007, convicted murderer Curtis Anderson confessed to killing Amber. However, he died shortly thereafter, and the girl’s body was never found. The police department formally re-opened the case in 2013, which Swartz considered a win for her daughter’s case because it would help keep the missing girl in people’s minds.
“I feel relief, dread, pain…All of it when her story is brought back up,” Swartz says. “But I would rather her story be in the media and people still remember … than for nothing to be done and people to forget.”
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This month, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released new photos of what Amber might look like today. She would be 39 years old.
“The mind goes wild with possibilities,” Swartz says. “But I’ll take her any way I can get her.”
Anyone with information on Amber’s whereabouts is urged to call Pinole police at 510-724-8950.