21st anniversary of the disappearance of 13-year-old girl

By Heartland News

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) - Almost 21 years have passed since Gina Dawn Brooks was snatched off her bicycle on the normally quiet streets of Fredericktown. The billboards and fliers seeking information on the disappearance may be down, but that doesn't mean that people forget.

Brooks had been at her brother's baseball game and had returned home around 10 p.m.

"Her mom was exhausted because she was taking care of her dying father- when she saw Gina come in the house, she was relieved to see all of her kids in the house all calm and good, so she went back to bed," said Fay Rowland, a family friend.

Brooks told her brother Christopher she was going for a bike ride and was never seen by her family again.

Brooks was reported missing around 2 a.m. said Keith DeSpain, Fredericktown's retired police chief and the officer on duty the night the search for Brooks began. They started by retracing her steps.

Brooks was spotted riding her bike through Fredericktown that night.

"She actually got off her bike and stood straddle by the door of her church.  She looked east and west," said DeSpain. "The station wagon pulled up and someone inside it said something to her. She got back on her bike and eventually turned south on Mine La Motte."

That is one of the first times witnesses reported seeing a station wagon pull up next to Gina. After pursuing her, investigators believe they eventually kidnapped her on High Street where they found Brooks' bike.

The bike was the last trace of her.  One witness reported hearing a scream and squealing tires. From there, witnesses reported seeing a speeding station wagon turn left onto Franklin.

Two of those witnesses were Brooks' boyfriend TJ Kennedy and his friend Chad Morgan.  They said they heard Gina scream 'Help TJ help' from the backseat.

Police say witnesses reported seeing that station wagon head out to Highway 67. From there the trail goes cold.

Over that past two decades there have been ups and downs with moments of hope, arrests that eventually led to no convictions, and yet the community yearns for answers.

"There is somebody out there that knows more than what they are telling, they just need to see it in their heart," said DeSpain. "They need to put themselves in the place of her family, how would they feel if their family disappeared?"

"One of our greatest desires is to bring her back home so that we can have closure for this family-celebrate her life and honor her in death," said Rowland.

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