Family remembers missing relative on birthday, Thanksgiving

Christopher Abeyta, born in 1985, taken from home at age 7 months

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Thursday was more than just the Thanksgiving holiday for the Abeyta family.  It also was the 28th birthday of Christopher Abeyta, who disappeared from the family's home in the summer of 1986.

Gil Abeyta, Christopher's father, said despite his son's absence, the family feels more optimistic than ever about authorities finally determining who abducted Christopher, and why.

"Things are falling together slowly, but we're happy with what's going on," said Abeyta.  "Our biggest enemy is time.  We can't continue this forever, so we're trying to speed up the process.  We may not be here next Thanksgiving."

On Friday, the Abeytas plan to present a petition containing 2,400 signatures to District Attorney Dan May's office.  The petition asks May to convene a grand jury that would identify and charge a suspect.

"A grand jury will bring all the players together," Abeyta said.  "Especially people who may have information and are afraid to talk.  The police are better than they were, but the district attorney is still reluctant."

Abeyta said another goal is for the family to find Christopher.

"We want to believe he's alive, but we also have to be realistic," he said.  "If there is only one person involved in his disappearance, that person holds all the answers."

Dan Corsentino, a private investigator working for the Abeytas, said he expects "developments" and "progress" in the case soon, but wouldn't elaborate.

"I think you're going to see movement on that case," he said.  "The case is evolving.  There's enough for authorities to continue to validate what they have.  They have one shot at this.  They're still trying to assess if they have probable cause for an arrest."

Gil Abeyta wants to end nearly three decades of uncertainty for his family.

"It's time to get this over with," he said.

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