KILLEEN, Texas — Danydia Thompson was last seen April 30, 1997. The 7-year-old was on her way to school in Killeen when she went missing.
After her disappearance, descriptions of a man were released, and the community launched searches for the girl.
“The last thing I heard my sister say was ‘I love you,'” Danydia’s sister, Danyell Martin, said.
Eight days after she said those three words, Danydia's body was found in a trash bag on the side of a rural highway south of Killeen.
Fred Harris, the current detective on the case, said Danydia's family had nothing to do with her death, but that didn't stop the rumors from flying around the community.
Harris said he depends on reports from former detectives who worked the case to help in the investigation.
“The reports were phenomenal," Harris said. "Had it not been that way, we wouldn’t be where we are right now as far as in the midst of developing a person of interest in this case."
Despite the person of interest, Harris said he has tried to avoid giving the family false hope since he took over the investigation. In the past, the family has been disappointed.
“We have had a lot of false hope a lot of you know empty promises,” Martin said. “I can honestly say... everyday that goes by I feel closer.”
Harris said he is not ready to make an arrest in the case, but both parties have refused to give up until justice is served.
“No matter how long it takes we'll never give up. We'll never, never stop looking for this guy, ever,” Martin said.