Dying mom makes final plea for information on son taken from crib 30 years ago

(ABC NEWS) -- A Colorado mom dying of cancer is sharing her final plea to locate her son who was taken from his crib three decades ago.

"Of course, I would like to have him back," Bernice Abeyta, 73, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, told ABC News.

"I've always felt very positive that even though it's been 30 years, it would happen. I think that's what kept me going in trying to find him. There's no way we were going to forget him."

She continued, "I'm trying to put vibes his way and say, 'OK Christopher, maybe it's time for you to find us.' "Maybe it's more convenient for him to find us than us find him. I believe that all of us parents need justice. There's a lot of forgiveness going around, but ask a parent if they'd forgive."

Christopher Abeyta was born Nov. 28, 1985, in Colorado Springs to Bernice and Gil Abeyta.
Abeyta described her son as a smart, happy baby who enjoyed making his family laugh.

"He really was a doll," she said. "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."

On the night of July 15, 1986, when he was just 7 months old, Christopher disappeared from his crib.

Christopher was the youngest of seven children.

Abeyta realized Christopher was missing the following morning, Abeyta's daughter Denise Alves told ABC News.

Alves, now 45, was 15 years old when the incident occurred. On the night of his disappearance, Alves recalled her family sitting in the living room while Christopher laughed at his sister who was smelling a bouquet of roses, while pretending to sneeze.

Alves said she gave Christopher his bottle before she and her mother laid him down in his crib. The next day, he was gone.

"It changed her forever," Alves said of her mother. "It makes me sad to remember seeing her the days after Christopher went missing when she was curled up crying saying, 'I need my baby.' After the days turned into weeks and we still didn’t have Christopher back, I saw her get up every single day and follow up on leads searching for answers. She was so desperate, and even with the seemingly limited results of her hard work I never heard her say she would quit searching."

The Colorado Springs Police Department investigated Christopher's disappearance while Abeyta worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She would also pass out flyers with Christopher's photo across her community.

"When I look at everything she did, it is absolutely amazing," Alves said. "One time, a sighting came in from another state and she got in the car and drove to the state. By the time the police had started to investigate, she had already checked it out and confirmed it was not Christopher. I am a mom now, and I can’t even imagine not knowing. She awoke to an empty crib and her baby was gone, then suspicion swirled around her. Through it all she continued to search for her son, even when it appeared local law enforcement had given up. She never once passed up an interview about my brother."

Tips came in over the years, but none lead to any breakthroughs in Christopher's case, Alves said.

Lt. Howard Black, public information officer of the Colorado Springs Police Department, told ABC News that the case of Christopher Abeyta is an ongoing, active investigation that is being worked through the cold case unit of homicide and missing persons. A person of interest has been named in the case, he said.

Today, Bernice Abeyta is fighting a rare gallbladder cancer.

In May 2016, Alves said her mother was told her life expectancy was four to eight months.

"She is dying, she knows it, we know it," Alves said. "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."

Abeyta said her one wish is for any person who has information about the disappearance of Christopher to come forward.

"What these people did to us was beyond cruel," she said. "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," she added. "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."


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