VALLEJO (CBS13) — A year ago, on May 25, 2016, 15-year-old Pearl Pinson was kidnapped on her way to school in Vallejo.
Witnesses reported seeing Pearl bleeding and screaming as she was dragged off a pedestrian bridge by an armed man. That man was later identified as 19-year-old Fernando Castro. But Castro was killed in Southern California in a police shooting, days after the kidnapping. He may have been the only person who knew what happened to Pearl, thereby, his death leaving many unanswered questions for the Pinson family.
To mark the one-year anniversary of Pearl’s kidnapping, family and friends gathered for a prayer vigil Thursday afternoon at the Vallejo Little League field, said to be one of Pearl’s favorite places to hang out.
“Since Day One, we’ve all had hope that she is alive out there somewhere. We won’t give up,” said Rose Pinson, Pearl’s older sister.
For Rose, the vigil just another way to keep Pearl’s memory alive in the hopes that it will help bring her home. “Her name is still out there. People still remember her,” she said.
The small group who came out, held prayers and sang in memory of Pearl, along with words of hope and inspiration.
But even then, this year has been struggle for many of Pearl’s young friends.
“It’s been too long and too hard. It’s a daily struggle for most of us, actually, to even get out of bed since this happened,” shared Melina Caprio, who was Pearl’s best Friend.
The mayor of Vallejo was in attendance as well. He says his biggest frustration is that the family still doesn’t have answers to some very important questions. “Somebody out there knows. There has to have been a friend or acquaintance of the suspect that knows what has happened,” he said.
A balloon release ended the vigil. The family says it was their way to send a message to Pearl – that wherever she may be, they’re not giving up.
“We did a balloon release and a prayer vigil for her, so she can be found, so her name is still out there,” said Rose, as she wiped away tears. “We never giving up on her.”
The Solano County Sheriff’s Department is the lead investigator in the search for Pinson. Though they continue to get tips, they say they haven’t gotten any substantial leads in the case since December.