Locals honor Cantonment teen missing for 15 years
The scene at Harvester Homes Community Park on Saturday had all the necessary items for a birthday party: food, family and fun. However, the most important aspect was missing, the birthday girl. That is because Danielle Bell has been missing nearly 15 years.
"It's just been a roller coaster nightmare," Susan Bell said. "Especially knowing what we know."
Danielle Bell would have celebrated her 29th birthday with family and friends this past Thursday. Instead, KlaasKids Foundation held a party on Saturday in hopes that it would reignite memories about what happened the night she vanished on September 28, 2001.
"Somebody out there knows something and they haven't said anything for whatever reason," Susan Bell.
The park in Cantonment is ground zero for what happened that night. Investigators at the time were able to determine that then then 14 year old left the park and went to a party at a home in 500 block of Cedar Tree Lane. She was never seen again and foul play is suspected.
"To me that should appall every single parent in this community and we should be demanding these answers and we should be demanding people to come forward," said Brad Dennis with KlaasKIDS Foundation.
Two years after her disappearance, KlaasKIDS Foundation formed. Her case was the first one that the non-profit took on. They have held search parties, vigils, offered rewards and played a pivotal role in the investigation as far as garnering leads. However, there has yet to be answers about what happened to her.
Some of the people of interest in her disappearance have seen charges, though not directly related to her disappearance. Alfredo Sanchez, who is believed to have been at the same party the night she went missing, is serving a 45 year sentence for sex crimes against Danielle Bell and other underage girls.
"For 15 years there has been a black cloud that has hovered over this community," Dennis said. "There has literally been no answers."
The organization is not giving up hope. In fact, with the 15th anniversary around the corner, KlaasKIDS will be launching new efforts. A newly created Facebook page will share stories about Danielle Bell and the events proceeding the night of September 28, 2001.
"I know this for a fact that there's people in this community that absolutely know exactly what happened to her," Dennis said. "They've been told this information, they have been afraid, they've been scared, listen, it's been 15 years."
He explains that while it might be labeled a "cold case" it is something that has been much present every single day.
"We're going to find the truth out," Susan Bell said. "That's what our new mission is right now."