It's been nearly 12 years since Crystal Soles' disappearance, but her family hasn't given up hope for a reunion day.
Family and friends will gather at Blount Furniture Store, 501 W. Main St. in Andrews, Saturday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m. for a remembrance celebration and the unveiling of a new poster of Soles they hope will help lead to information to the mystery behind her case. Soles disappeared from Shaw’s Corner Store Jan. 24, 2005.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t worry and wonder about where my daughter is,” said Gail Soles, Crystal’s mother. “I’m very thankful for all the hard work that our local law enforcement agencies have done, but all of the leads that have come in so far have not turned up anything that gives us a clue of what happened that day, or where my daughter might have ended up. …
“She was 28 when she went missing. She would be 40 now, and we just want to know what happened to her. I think it would help give us some closure.”
Gail Soles said Crystal called her father, Buster Soles, from the corner store Jan. 24 because she wanted him to give her a ride home. Buster Soles was unable to give his daughter a ride, and that is the last time anyone heard from Crystal.
“That was it ..." her mother said. "It breaks my heart because a lot of people don’t know this, but my daughter had a 5-year-old child that she loved very much when she disappeared."
After her daughter's disappearance, Gail Soles adopted her grandson, Mitchell.
“We went through quite a few dark years after Crystal’s disappearance” she said. “Her daddy died the year after she went missing and then the next year my son, who had multiple sclerosis, passed as well, so adopting Mitchell has put a lot of love and hope back into my life. …
“I am so proud of that young man because he has grown up without his mama who he loves very much. He will graduate from Andrews High School this year, and I am very proud of him.”
Gail Soles credits a great deal of her strength to an organization that she says is always willing to step forward and keep the search for Crystal alive.
“I can’t say enough wonderful things about Monica Cassen at the Cue Center for Missing Persons,” Soles said. “She has been there for us from the beginning, and she keeps probing and making sure Crystal’s case stays open.”
Cassen said she agrees with Gail Soles that local law enforcement has done a good job with the few leads they have received, but she would like to broaden the awareness surrounding Crystal’s disappearance.
“It just seemed like to me that when Crystal very first disappeared – barely anyone knew she had gone missing,” Cassen said. “We want to get this new poster out there in the public and hopefully more people will notice it and someone might come forward with a new tip that we can follow.”
Andrews Police Chief Melvin Garrett said he applauds the Soles family and the Cue Center for keeping the information surrounding Crystal’s disappearance up to date.
“I was working for the Georgetown County Sherriff’s Office at the time Crystal disappeared, and I didn’t have any involvement in the case,” Garrett said. “I think what the family is doing by releasing a new photo and poster is great because we welcome new information and the case is open and active. And we will continue to try and find out what happened on the day she disappeared.”
Garrett said several persons of interest have been identified throughout the investigation, but there was never enough evidence, he said, to make an arrest.
“We had enough evidence to obtain some search warrants in Georgetown and Williamsburg counties, but we didn’t find any evidence that would warrant an arrest,” Garrett said.
Garrett said anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Crystal Soles should contact the Andrews Police Department at 843-264-5223, the CUE Center for Missing Persons at 910-343-1131, or the tip line at 910-232-1687.