After 13 years, woman remains hopeful missing sister will be found

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MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. – A woman in Maury County is doing what she can to keep her missing sister’s case open more than a dozen years after she was last seen.

“She was funny, energetic; your typical 16-year-old teenager,” recalled Brenda James.

It has been 13 years, or 4,743 days of worry and hope, since Amber Cates was last seen in Columbia.

“It’s been rough, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of tears,” James said. “If I give up, she will never be found.”

Amber went missing on April 9, 2004. First, she was considered a 16-year-old runaway. Now, she would be 29-years-old and is the subject of a missing person case.

Over the last decade, James has done what she can to bring her sister home. She is also raising awareness for many families who are also worried about their missing loved ones.

“There’s some people that have been missing, like I told you earlier, 50 years,” she said.

James has a message for the family of missing 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas.

“Keep your hope and faith and keep praying. Don’t give up,” said James.

That exact faith is keeping her baby sister’s case hot instead of letting it go cold.

“I believe she is watching over me,” she said.

Friends and family will gather on Saturday at the Maury County Park for a candlelight vigil marking 13 years since Amber was last seen.

A poker run is scheduled for April 8 and then a candlelight vigil and balloon release at 6 p.m.

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