Kim Nelson wants more than flowers for Mother's Day. She wants her daughter back.
Ashburn resident Bethany Decker disappeared on Jan. 29, 2011. She turns 23 today. Families and friends in Ashburn and throughout Northern Virginia plan to hold their own personal vigils for Decker's safe return.
"We want Bethany to know if she's out there that there isn't a moment that goes by that we don't think think about her and miss her," Nelson said. "We believe in a big God who knows where she is and has her in His hands. There is power in prayer!"
Nelson created a Facebook fan page and group with the help of those searching for the man who killed Morgan Harrington and raped a Fairfax City woman. Together they're working to keep Decker's disappearance in the media and in the minds of those who might help find her.
"I have such a connection with [Harrington's parents]. Everyone accepted me as part of the group," she said. Nelson attended a rally at the Fairfax City Giant with Dan and Gil Harrington in April. She's kept in touch with them ever since.
Decker's mom hopes to receive good news from Loudoun County law enforcement soon. That gift would be better than any other Mother's Day trinket.
"Bethany would give me cards that were encouraging," Nelson said. "One time she recorded on her cell phone her singing, 'Don't worry, bout a thing... cause every little thing, will be alright.' I was going through a hard time and she said 'don't be sad, mom you're too good for that.' She was always trying to make things better for others."
Details About the Case:
- Decker has a 2 1/2-year-old son. She was expected to her deliver her second child last August.
- She was last seen Jan. 29
- Decker’s family reported her missing on Feb. 19
- She worked at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Centreville
- She lived in an apartment on Orchard Grass Terrace, where her car was found.
- It is known that Decker did not leave the country.
- There has been no activity on her bank accounts, cell phones or e-mail.
- She was registered as a student at George Mason University, but has not attended any classes since this incident was reported.
- Decker had about three classes left after GMU's Spring 2011 semester to graduate. She graduated from Stafford High School with over a 4.0 GPA. Nelson said her daughter was looking forward to completing her degree in Global and Environmental Change.
Investigators released a timeline that places Decker in Columbia, Md., on Jan. 29 with family members, including her grandmother and her husband, Emile Decker. Decker’s mother, Kimberly Nelson, said she communicated with the gathering by speakerphone.
“That was the last time I had spoken with her,” Nelson said during a press conference last year.
Later in the evening on Jan. 29, Decker returned to her apartment in Ashburn, where her boyfriend, Ronald Roldan, told investigators he saw her. Capt. Kenneth A. Pratt, an investigator with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, described the last time she was seen as “arriving home and going to her apartment.”
On Feb. 2, Emile Decker, who has been described as Decker’s "estranged" husband in court documents, departed for a tour duty in Afghanistan. Bethany Decker did not see him off.
Over the course of the next three weeks, family members did not report Decker missing, in part, they said, because she is a 21-year-old adult leading her own life, as well as a college student. But on Feb. 19, Bethany’s grandparents decided to check her apartment as they traveled to see their great-grandson. When they found her car, but not her, they contacted authorities.
Read more about Decker and Harrington: