STOCKTON –- A 23-year-old woman was last seen at a Stockton bar on Aug. 7, and she hasn't been heard from since.
Tuesday night, friends and family gathered for a candlelight vigil, determined to let the community know that Dalene Carlson is still missing -– and still very much in their hearts.
She'd only lived in Stockton for a few months, but Dalene has many who care about her.
"It's been tough. We are just keeping our hopes up and taking each day by each day," said her cousin Cesilee Baker, who lived with Dalene.
She remembers the last time she saw Dalene, right before Dalene headed out to Finnegan's Pub and Grill.
"I was sick with bronchitis so I was on pain meds so I was dozing off and I didn't get to say goodbye to her before she left," Baker said.
Tony Mannor, the owner of Finnegan's, saw Dalene that night more than three weeks ago and attended Tuesday's vigil.
"We don't know what happened, but there is an element of responsibility that I feel for everybody who comes here," he said.
After she left Finnegan's, Dalene was spotted on surveillance cameras at Food For Less in Stockton.
Then a week later, there was an arrest in connection to her disappearance.
Jason Gilley was behind bars, but prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence to press charges against him, so he walked out of jail as free man.
That created only more questions for loved ones, already grieving as investigators continue to search for the missing 23-year-old.
"We just want her … we want somebody to say something, let us know where she is," said another cousin, Beth Azarcon.
Family and friends say they will continue to hold vigils as long as Dalene is missing, hoping it will bring answers sooner rather than later.
Stockton police officials say they continue to investigate and follow up on several leads in the case.
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