COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A mother is running out of time to get the answers she desperately needs.
For nearly 30 years, Bernice Abeyta has been fighting to find her son Christopher. But now she is starting a new fight, and this time it’s for her life.
Christopher Abeyta disappeared July 15, 1986. He was taken from his crib in the middle of the night at the Abeytas’ home on Ashwood Circle, in the southwest part of Colorado Springs.
He was just seven months old.
Not a day has gone by that his family hasn’t been searching for answers about his disappearance, but time is running out.
“I always have a picture in front of me of what it’s going to be like, the day I see Christopher,” Bernice said.
At one point Bernice and her husband Gil’s biggest fear was running out of time to find their son, and now that fear is becoming a reality.
Just a few weeks ago Bernice was diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer of the biliary tract, cholangiocarcinoma.
“We were in shock, just it was unexpected,” said Bernice’s daughter, Denise Alves.
Bernice was told she had just six to eight months to live.
“Everybody has to die. There are babies that get cancer. There’s little children that get cancer. I’m 73 years old,” said Bernice.
Bernice said the news gave her a new perspective on her life.
“I’ve been angry about Christopher. I’ve been angry and that’s why I forgot the very happy life we had before, happy life after,” she said. “And I started thinking, wow, it was a good life. It was one very very horrible, horrendous thing that happened to us, horrendous.”
Still, she wants answers and her son back.
“I feel he’s out there. I’ve been talking to him more lately and we’re going to tape something for him in case I’m not here when he comes back,” Bernice said.
And she wants those that know what happened to finally come forward.
“All parents of missing children, including me, we definitely go through hell, and if they’ve been part of that there can’t be anything good in their future. Nothing,” she said.
“We do believe that there are people out there that may have information that they have been hesitant to come forward and we just hope that they find it in themselves to submit that tip that we need to hopefully give my parents answers and my family answers,” said Denise.
Bernice said she is hopeful other parents of missing children can learn from her experience.
“I would probably try to tell them, don’t lose sight of the happiness you had. Just try to keep it. There’s grandchildren, there’s great-grandchildren, there’s things happening in life. Don’t lose sight of those things, even though it’s a huge big thing and we know it’s huge and maybe they aren’t going to be able to do it,” said Bernice.
As Bernice’s fight switches from one for justice to one for her life, the rest of her family is picking up right where she left off.
“Both my parents have, they never gave up, and they worked literally three decades since Christopher disappeared and they knew that time, as time went by, time was working against them, but they did everything they could to find their son,” said Denise. “And so no doubt, even without my mom’s presence we’ll continue to search for our brother and get answers.”
“I want to plea with them to come forward with what they know now before my mom passes so that she can have some sort of peace,” said Denise.
Bernice plans on donating her body to science and continues to search for the good in her situation.
Anyone with information about Christopher’s disappearance should call Colorado Springs Police at 719-444-7000 or 1-800-THE-LOST.
A $100,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.