SAN ANTONIO – When a loved one is missing, family members often hope for the best: A reunion.
The family of Susie Ruiz has long given up on that possibility. They believe someone killed her. Nearly 10 years after Ruiz disappeared, her family has a different hope.
They want to find her remains and give Ruiz a proper burial.
San Antonio police also want to know what happened to Ruiz. If she was a victim of foul play, they also want to know who was responsible.
Gone without a trace
In 2006, Ruiz was 36 years old. She was a single mother to five children -- four sons and one daughter. She worked as a respiratory therapist.
"She always did the best that she could for her children," said Dolores Diaz, Ruiz's sister.
Diaz spoke to her sister on Dec. 16 of that year. They discussed their Christmas lists for family members. Diaz said Ruiz planned to go to a child's party.
That was the last contact she had with her sister.
Courtney Weyrich works with SAPD's Missing Persons Unit, which has been investigating Ruiz's case. She said Ruiz had another stop that weekend.
"She had withdrawn some money to go buy a laptop from a gentleman apparently before heading to that party," Weyrich said. "She has not been seen since. We don't know for sure if she even made it to the party."
A week later, Ruiz's car was found south of San Antonio in a field off Interstate 35 near Luckey Road.
"There were no keys in the car. It was unlocked and the license plates had been removed," Weyrich said.
Her sister said Ruiz's purse wasn't found.
"Nothing was in the car. It had been completely wiped off," Diaz said. "Whoever did this to her, whoever caused this to her, did a great job of covering their tracks."
As San Antonio police have looked for clues that may either lead to Ruiz or explain what happened to her, they've also put Ruiz's name into a database that would identify her as missing if a law enforcement officer should find her and search her name.
Ruiz's family has organized search parties to comb areas where she may have been. They've put up fliers on street corners, made posts on social media sites and talked to the media -- anything to keep Ruiz's face and name alive.
"There has not been a day gone by that I don't think about my daughter," said Amelia Wilbur, Ruiz's mother.
She said the hardest part has been seeing Ruiz's heartbroken children cry for their mother.
"I had to sit up nights trying to comfort them," Wilbur said.
Ruiz has missed holidays, birthdays -- even becoming a grandmother.
Ruiz was always the life of the party, there to bring up the spirits of everyone around her.
"We're not asking for Susie to come back because we know that she is no longer here. We want to give Susie a proper burial. She deserves that," Diaz said.
If you have any information on Ruiz's disappearance, call SAPD's Missing Persons Unit at 210-207-7660.
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