Hope is renewed for families of missing people in Chicago area

May 7, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Along with experiencing the joy of finally being home, they are dealing with emotional scars from being in captivity, according to Stephanie Love-Patterson, the Associate Director for Connections for Abused Women and Children, a social service organization.

"One of the things that we know about women who have experienced extreme levels of trauma as these young girls is that their emotions span the spectrum and they can run their course through the period of a day," Love-Patterson said.

The case has captured the nation's attention and the attention of local families with loved ones who are still missing. Sisters Diamond and Tionda Bradley were last seen at their South Side home in 2001 before they disappeared. Their relatives are struggling to hold on to hope they will be found.

"You want to believe they're still alive then there's that small part of you that thinks they may no longer be alive," the girls' great-aunt Shelia Bradley-Smith said. "But then you get a story like this that just renews your energy."

John Spira went missing six years ago in West Chicago. His family has been trying to keep a spotlight on the case and hoping to generate new leads.

"When you don't know why they left and how they left and what they went through, it's torturous," Spira's sister Stephanie McNeil said.

Yasmin Acree was 15 when she disappeared from her North Austin home five years ago.

Her cousin, Reverend Ira Acree, says he's been trying to keep his family united and focused on finding her. He says all they can do is pray and try to keep communicating with her.

"Keep being hopeful. Be vigilant and do not quit," Ira Acree said.

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