“She was only 12 with a strong love for life. Everyone still misses her and her mama still cries. (A) brown head girl walking down the street. Who knows where she could be. If anyone knows her whereabouts ... that would be the greatest thing…”
These are the emotional song lyrics of local singer Linda Lang that resonated throughout the City Park ballpark, Sunday, as the family, friends and loved ones of missing person, Kimberly Norwood, gathered for a balloon release, marking the 29th anniversary of the day the then pre-teen from Hallsville went missing.
“Kimberly Norwood … wherever you are. If you can hear this song please try to come back home. But if you’re trapped and can’t get away; well, just close your eyes and pray, that wherever you are, you’ll be found someday,” the song ends.
“We are asking for anyone that may have information on Kimberly’s whereabouts, to please come forward and help bring Kim home,” said Tammy Morton, a member of the Angels of Hope Relay for Life team that hosted the balloon release in support of Kimberly’s mother and member of the team, Janice Norwood.
The group gathered around Kim’s parents, Bobby and Janice Norwood, Sunday, praying for a miracle.
“As we release these balloons today, please say a prayer for Kimberly and her family,” Morton pleaded. “We are hoping these balloons would travel many miles and reach someone, somewhere that can give us some answers to bring Kim home.”
WITHOUT A TRACE
Kimberly “Kim” Rachelle Norwood vanished from the area of her Caney Creek Estates residence in Hallsville on May 20, 1989, at age 12. She was last seen walking with three friends around 5:15 p.m., approximately one mile from her residence.
“She and her friends split up (approximately) one mile from her home and she has not been seen since,” Morton told the crowd Sunday.
The balloons released on Sunday all had informational cards attached that included an age progression photo illustration of Kim as well as pertinent facts regarding the day she went missing in hopes that the information will help jog some memories that would lead to a resolve in the case.
“Today, she would be 41 years of age,” Morton shared, noting Kim was born Oct. 12, 1976.
“Investigators and people that love Kim still seek the truth of what happened,” Morton said.
“It’s been a long, hard 29 years,” added Kim’s mother Janice. “It doesn’t get any easier.”
Kimberly has been previously described as a white female with brown hair and eyes, an abdominal surgery scar and pierced ears.
According to the informational card that was attached to all balloons that were released Sunday, Kim was wearing a white T-shirt with the cartoon character, “Milk Dude,” and red and black cows on the front the day she disappeared. She also wore dark blue jeans and black Keds tennis shoes. Additionally, her hair was adorned with a black bow. She sported a SWATCH watch and a gold ring with an aquamarine stone.
Her disappearance made local and national headlines, grabbing the attention of renowned TV talk show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Montel Williams, who both interviewed Janice Norwood about the desperate search for her beloved daughter.
Lt. Jay Webb with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office told the News Messenger on Tuesday that the search for Kim is still an active case and that the sheriff’s office continues to partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in search for answers.
He also noted that the sheriff’s office continues to follow-up on every lead that may come to the office or the office of the NCMEC. The latest lead, stemming from information in Victoria, turned out to be fruitless.
“The two investigators went to Victoria, Texas, within the last four months, to investigate a lead that was sent to us,” said Webb. “The lead included a home where a few milk cartons were located in an attic of a rent house depicting Kimberly Norwood’s likeness on the milk cartons.
“Through discussions and assistance with Victoria PD investigators, they obtained permission from the renter of the property to conduct a search,” said Webb. “After they gained entry, milk cartons were discovered in an attic area that depicted other numerous missing children. It was determined that the milk cartons were printed at a local facility and the person that had previously worked there had rented the home. There was no connection with Miss Norwood.”
Although searches of the area surrounding the residence and exhaustive interviews have been conducted with numerous people throughout the years, to no avail, Kim’s family and law enforcement are not giving up hope.
“Our heart is aching. We still pray she comes home to us,” Kim’s aunt, Beverly Holloway, said.
“They,” Holloway said of Kim’s parents, “both pray this before they pass from this world, and I have the same prayer.”
Holloway said there are no words to describe the pain the family feels.
“We just don’t have any words to say how much we’re missing her,” said Holloway.
She shared how close-knit their family is. She reminisced how her niece would spend a lot of time at her house, playing with her children, who were around the same age.
“They’d just spend days together,” she said.
Holloway ensured her brother and sister-in-law that Kim’s case is still a significant one that still tugs on the hearts of so many.
“(You wouldn’t imagine) how many people that have reached out to us over the years from the time she went missing, asking about Kim and if we know anything yet,” Holloway said. “So there are a lot of people out there that are still praying and hoping about Kim and y’all; and there’s just no way we can heal unless we know what happened to Kim.
Holloway thanked the members of the Angels of Hope Relay for Life team for hosting the balloon release.
“We appreciate all these ladies and everybody going through all this time and expense to put this together,” Holloway said. “I just want to let Bobby and Janice know that we continue to love them, to hold them up.”
Kim’s mother, Janice Norwood, also thanked her teammates for their support.
“They are so awesome,” the mother said. “I haven’t known them for very long, but you see what they’ve done.”
Morton said the team was happy to support their friend.
“When one of us hurts, all of us hurt,” Morton said.
Janice Norwood asked all to continue to lift her family up in prayer.
“Just keep Kim in your prayers and keep positive thoughts, and for us. We all need them badly,” the mother said, breaking down as she touched her husband’s hand.
“It’s just been so hard,” Janice Norwood said.
Anyone with information on Kimberly Norwood’s whereabouts may call the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office’s main telephone number at (903) 923-4000, the National Center for Missing Children at 1-800-843-5678 or visit the website, www.missingkids.com. The public is also urged to follow the “Help Find Kimberly Norwood-Missing From Hallsville Tx” Facebook page and share how far the balloon released on her anniversary has traveled.