Family continues to seek answers 10 years after woman's disappearance

Published: Jul. 12, 2014 at 11:49 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2014 at 2:26 AM CDT
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Pictured: Jennifer Wilkerson
Pictured: Jennifer Wilkerson

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - After a decade of unanswered questions, the family of a missing Lubbock woman says they have not given up hope that someone will come forward with information that will lead them to their daughter.

Sunday marked ten years since anyone had seen or heard from Jennifer Wilkerson. Wilkerson was 26-years-old when she disappeared on July 13, 2004.

Originally from Hobbs, New Mexico, Wilkerson was living in Lubbock when she vanished. Friends said she had been in Lubbock for about two years when she went missing.

On Sunday, family and friends gathered in her hometown to remember Wilkerson and pray for answers.

What investigators and loved ones do know is that she reportedly left her boyfriend's house around 11 a.m. on July 13, 2004. 

She was expected to stop by her house before heading to work at Nothin' Butt Smokes, but she never made it to work. She also never picked up her paycheck. 

Her parents reported her missing and when police began searching, they found her car, keys and personal items at her house, but she was nowhere to be found.

Her parents said they had spoken on the phone the night before she went missing and everything seemed normal. They said she was talking about plans she had to come visit them in New Mexico in the near future, but never mentioned going out of town other than that. 

Now, ten years later, there are still a lot of questions and few answers.

Alison Wilson, one of Wilkerson's childhood friends, orchestrated the balloon release. She said while many years have passed, Wilkerson is still on everyone's mind.

Wilson said Wilkerson has missed out on a lot in the past ten years. Since her disappearance, Wilson has married and now has two children, a family she wants Wilkerson to meet one day. In fact, Wilson named her daughter after Wilkerson. She said while her little girl may not understand the significance of that now, when she grows up, she will tell her how wonderful Wilkerson was a friend. 

Kelly Johnson, another dear friend of Wilkerson's who attending the balloon release, laughed as she remembered talking Wilkerson into wearing a dress to her wedding. She said Wilkerson was not a fan of dresses, but since she was in Johnson's wedding, she agreed to wear one for the ceremony.

The laughter turned to tears though as Johnson talked about how much has happened since Wilkerson's disappearance. She said after Wilkerson disappeared, her husband passed a way. It is a tragedy she wishes Wilkerson could help walk her through, but with her friend still missing, Johnson is left to pick up the pieces without her. Johnson said she is still in communication with investigators and hopes to receive a lead that will answer the questions that have haunted her for years.

About fifty loved ones came from all over the state came to remember the woman they continue to pray for. 

"I always hope to find her alive. Realistically that may not be the case, but someone out there knows something and they've been holding it in their minds and hearts all of these years and people change over that length of time and we're hoping they'll come forward with the information that will help us with the direction we need to go," said Vikki Wilkerson, Jennifer's mother. 

"Somebody knows something and just that one person is all it's going to take to for a phone call or a tip online or whatever. We just need one little thing to bring her home and I feel like we are really on the brink of that and it's getting close and it's time for her to come home."

I know that we are going to get answers when we are supposed to, we are going to get them and it's not goodbye, it's see you later. You know? I have a good feeling about it," said Susana Arguello, one of Wilkerson's childhood friends.

Police and Wilkerson's family are encouraging anyone who might have information to come forward. They also want to remind people there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts. 

If you have any information regarding Wilkerson, you are asked to contact the Lubbock Sheriff's Office. 

SLIDESHOW: Balloon Release for Jennifer Wilkerson

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