Watch CBS News

Amber Hagerman's Family Not Giving Up, 20 Years Later

Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - Wednesday will mark 20 years since the abduction and murder of Amber Hagerman, the young Arlington girl whose brutal murder led to the creation of the nationwide Amber Alert system for missing kids in danger.

Hagerman's mother held a special news conference on Tuesday morning, looking back at the two decades since her daughter's disappearance. She was joined by the girl's younger brother and detectives who had previously worked on the case, along with investigators assigned to the case now.

"I'm not going to give up," said mother Donna Norris on Tuesday morning. "I still have hope that he will be caught one day."

The 9-year-old girl and her 5-year-old brother were riding their bikes to an abandoned Arlington grocery store. Jim Kevil, now a 78-year-old retiree, witnessed the child's abduction. "I saw her riding up and down," Kevil recently recalled. "I saw this black pickup. He pulled up, jumped out and grabbed her. When she screamed, I figured the police ought to know about it, so I called them."

Four days later, a man walking his dog near the Forest Hill Apartments in Arlington, just a few miles from where the child was snatched, spotted a little girl's body at the bottom of a creek bed. It was Hagerman.

Norris still questions the killer's motive. "Why did you take my little girl?" she asked Tuesday. "Why did you terrify her? Why did you kill my little girl?" Throughout the news conference, Norris and her son fought back tears, and took a moment to hug each other.

Amber Hagerman News Conference
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

The Arlington Police Department has received around 8,000 of leads since the case first started 20 years ago, but nothing has directed authorities to the young girl's killer. Detectives still believe that someone out there has knowledge that will help them bring closure to the Hagerman family.

"I think about her every day, every second," said Norris. "I miss my little girl. It hurts."

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact Det. Ben Lopez at 817-459-5373. Oak Farms has offered a $10,000 reward for details that lead to the arrest and indictment of the suspect. Tipsters may also remain anonymous by contacting the Tarrant County Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS.

"We treat every lead as if it is the one that will break this case," said Lt. Mike Hollier with the Arlington Police Department.

"There's no doubt in my mind at all that this case will be solved," added retired Sgt. Mark Simpson, the leader of the task force that was established to find Hagerman's murderer. "What we're looking for is just the right piece of information that can push us in the right direction."

Shortly after the Tuesday news conference, Gov. Greg Abbott proclaimed January 13 as Amber Alert Awareness Day across the State of Texas. "Please don't forget Amber," the girl's mother said. "Always remember her."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.