http://www.hannibal.net/news_local/x1682942374/Whittaker-s-mother-praying-for-a-miracleWhittaker’s mother praying for a miracle
She has been missing since Nov. 13
Nov 28, 2009
Hannibal, MO — .“I knew from the first day something was very, very wrong,” said Cindy Young, whose 21-year-old daughter, Christina Whittaker
, has been missing from downtown Hannibal since Friday, Nov. 13.
“They found her phone on the ground on South Seventh Street,” a few blocks from the bar where she was last seen, Young said.
“She has a 6-month-old baby,” she added. “I know she did not run off. She has never did it in her life.
“She called me constantly during the day - she wouldn’t go half a day without calling me,” Young said. “I cannot remember one day in her lifetime I have not talked to her on the phone or in person. There have been time she’s had two phones, texting on one and talking on the other.”
As news about Whittaker’s disappearance continues to spread - including informing the Nancy Grace show on CNN - Young is asking for prayers from the public, along with tips from anyone with information that might help find her daughter.
At the request of Wesley Neff, leader of the NEMO K-9 unit, a candlelight vigil took place Tuesday night, Nov. 24, outside Rookie’s Sports Bar at 611 Broadway, where Whittaker was last seen on Nov. 13.
“We prayed for her return and for a holiday miracle that she would make it home by Thanksgiving,” Young said. “I know if there was any way possible, she would have.
“We have prayer lines, and I put her in God’s hands,” Young said. “I had to. I know He is watching over her.”
She said a search for Whittaker was done door-to-door, along with a search of the riverbank and Bear Creek.
The family did not celebrate Thanksgiving. “I have her turkey she bought in September, and when she gets home, we will cook her dinner then,” Young said.
The family is accepting donations for a reward, with details on the Web site, findchristina.com. She is described on the Web site as being 5-foot-6, 130 pounds, with blue eyes and red hair. It also has a copy of the poster about her daughter, which she offered to e-mail anyone requesting it.
“We have $2,000 toward a reward and have a bank account set up at the Bank of Hannibal,” Young said. It is in the name of her husband, Alex Young, whom Christina considers her dad, she said. “Her dad has been with us since she was 2 years old. We have always been there when she has needed us.”Police following all leads, no new information to report
“I have to give them credit,” Young said of the Hannibal Police Department, which has been investigating all leads since Whittaker’s disappearance was reported on Sunday, Nov. 15.
“They have all worked on this case and worked hard on it,” Young said. “There is only so much they can do. What we need is people to come forward. If there is anybody in the bar that said anything, it could be something. Everybody needs to call all those tips in.”Anyone with any information regarding Whittaker is requested to contact the HPD at (573) 221-0987 or by using the crime tips link at www.hannibalpd.com. Tips may be posted anonymously.
Capt. Jim Hark, HPD assistant chief, explained that Whittaker was last seen at about 11:45 p.m. Nov. 13 leaving the bar in the 600 block of Broadway. “We know from witnesses that evening that she was told to leave the bar,” he said.
It was not unusual that the family waited until Sunday to report her missing, Hark said. “It’s not uncommon to have a person gone for a day or two, but after that, we start taking a hard look at what is going on.
“We have not had any new information,” Hark reported. “It is still the same situation, and we will continue to investigate any new leads.”
Regarding rumors about vehicles being involved, Hark said “we have had so many different leads - cars mentioned and trucks mentioned - but none of those leads has been successful in locating her. ... Her mother has worked with the detectives. The family and police have worked together quite a bit.”
Hark explained that when a missing person is reported the details are immediately posted on NCIC, a nationwide computer system, “so if anyone outside this area would stop her, it would show her identified as a missing person.”
This is the first case of this type the HPD has had in some time, Hark said. “Not in recent history have we had someone gone this long. Usually they end up being located. They contact family, and they have left town. This is a little bit out of the ordinary.”
Still, he added, “there is nothing that can point us in the direction of foul play or in any other direction. We don’t have any clear evidence to lead us either way right now.”
Young explained that Whittaker talked to her boyfriend at about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and said she had a ride and would be home about midnight. “She told him she was going to stop by a restaurant and bring him something to eat.” That was the last time the family heard from her.
Whittaker loved holidays and was excited about Thanksgiving, her mother said. “And she had plans to go to a birthday party that Saturday, the day after she was missing.”
Some people have been reporting rumors to the family, which has been very upsetting, Young said. “I wish people would be sensitive. It’s a heart-breaking time. ... I would not wish this on any family.”