http://parispi.net/articles/2009/03/02/news/local_news/doc49ac1abf9d2de059985554.txtDaughter yearns for closure in case of missing mother
March 2, 2009
Her favorite color was green.
She was a lover of Mexican food and country music.
She was a collector of ceramic frogs and liked to sing along with songs on the radio while riding in the car with her daughter.
Rachel Conger, 30, was a woman who loved to laugh, loved life and most of all loved her little girl, Amber Simmons, who is now 14 years old.
Amber took a break Saturday morning from preparing food for about 200 people who were searching for her mother to reminisce about their time together. The searchers were with Community United Effort (CUE) Center for Missing Persons. As of this morning, some of the searchers have left Henry County while some have stayed to continue searching. The area they are searching has not been disclosed.
It has been almost a year since Conger was last seen on March 13, 2008. Her husband, Paul Conger, 50, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound three days later in a wooded area near the couple’s home in the Como area.
“She could draw, and she used to draw me little pictures,” said Amber. “She loved going to amusement parks and water parks and she liked hiking. Every year the carnival came (to Paris) we would ride rides together.”
Amber and her mom used to snuggle up on the couch, eat popcorn and watch movies together - her mom’s favorites were Lifetime movies and scary movies.
When Amber was a little girl, her best memories of her mom were when they would swing together at the park.
“And she’d push me on the merry-go-round,” she said. “She was always fun to be around. A really kind, understanding person - I could tell her anything in the world and she would understand and help me through it. She would always hear my side of the story.”
“She thought some of the most random things were funny, and it was an argument killer,” said Amber. “When we argued, we’d either end up laughing or talking about something serious that was bothering us.”
“A few days before she went missing, she was scared to sleep alone so I’d sleep with her in her bed,” she said. “We laid on her bed and talked forever, and it was just a good memory.”
“I do have hope that my mom will be found,” she said. “I do have hope for that.”
Amber said those who would like to help can go to the Web site, www.bringrachelhome.blogspot.com
to donate or help with more searches. There also will be fundraisers this summer for the search effort.
“We need donations to help with the searches,” said Amber. “And if the searches are not successful, we’ll have to pay for a burial. Also, I would like to raise awareness for domestic violence.”
“(When she first went missing,) I really wanted to know where she was, and I wanted to know what happened and I wanted to know why,” she said. “I want to tell (my mom) how much I love her, and that I’ll love her no matter what and I miss her so much.”
A silver lining to this horrible tragedy is that Amber has a closer relationship with her father, Jody Simmons, with whom she now lives.
“I would like to give a big thanks to everyone who has helped us,” she said. “It means so much to me what the community has done, especially Yoder Brothers who has hosted searches.”
“My friends and family have helped me through this,” said Amber. “My mom would want me to be strong for her. The stronger I am, the more I can focus on getting my mom found.”
With a maturity beyond her 14 years, Amber said, “(This has) made me realize I took life for granted and I didn’t cherish life enough, because you never know when it’s going to be taken from you.”