Hopes for a breakthrough in the decades-old Christopher Abeyta investigation appear to have been dashed once again.
A man who believed he was the long-missing Colorado Springs boy came forward this week for DNA testing to prove his identity. Police, however, are casting doubts.
“Unfortunately at this time it does not appear this will be credible information, however, we are working to confirm,” Colorado Springs police cold case Commander Jeff Jensen said in an email Friday. He declined to provide specifics about why the person’s connection seems unlikely before DNA test results are returned.
The news was a crushing blow to Denise Alvez, who was 15 and sleeping in the next room when her brother was snatched from his crib in Colorado Springs in 1986 when he was 7 months old. But the family has been through disappointment three times before, and it doesn’t change their resolve to find Christopher, she said.
“You want it so bad,” Alvez said, her voice shaky with emotion. “It doesn’t stop. Regardless of the outcome, if it doesn’t turn out to be him, we’ll keep seeking answers.”
The family was notified earlier in the week that a man had come forward and presented his DNA to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for examination. The results “could take some time,” to be returned, police said.
A spokeswoman for CBI could not be immediately reached for comment.
In the meantime, Alvez said the family was encouraged by a photo of the man as a toddler that resembled Christopher’s baby pictures enough to “make someone take a second look at it.”
Those older photos can be a better indication of a person’s credibility because age-progression photos released every few years updating what Christopher might look like today may not be accurate, she said.
“This individual believes that he’s Christopher,” Alvez said, declining to discuss specifics about the man’s upbringing that made him believe he may be the abducted child.
Still, the family is trying not to get their hopes up, another of Abeyta’s sisters, Linnea Abeyta, told Gazette news partner KKTV.
“Your brain is telling you not to but your heart is saying this might be it,” Linnea Abeyta said.
The “roller coaster ride” of emotions and the waiting for answers is the worst part, Alvez said.
While awaiting testing results from previous persons who came forward, Alvez said the siblings didn’t tell their mother to avoid disappointing her when the men turned out not to be her son. Bernice Abeyta died last year at 73 from gallbladder cancer.
Christopher’s disappearance, the family wrote on Facebook after Bernice’s death, left “a hole in her heart that was never filled.”
Bernice Abeyta was known for traveling the U.S., vetting tips that came in about her son. She and her husband, Gil Abeyta, had their own DNA tested to show Gil is 32 percent Native American and 55 percent European and Bernice is Scandinavian and British.
Last year, hope flickered when police said they identified a person of interest in Christopher’s abduction, but no name or charges have followed.
Alvez said the person suspected is a woman who is well known to the family and would have been motivated by “revenge” to take Christopher. That information “diminishes hope that he’s alive and he is out there,” Alvez said.
Regardless, family members will keep searching until they get confirmation either way, she said. There remains a $100,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
“We plead to the community in Colorado Springs that if someone does have information that they be compelled to come forward,” Alvez said. “We just want some peace or some closure.”
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