HOUSTON, Texas (FOX 26) - Young Ryan Esparza walked into Houston City hall wearing a t-shirt that held a picture of a man he has never met, his father. Back in June of 2007 Ryan Esparza, who was 17 years old, went missing. His mother Gloria describes what happened that day, "well he went to the park to go play basketball and we never heard of him after that". At the time Esparza's girlfriend was pregnant with their son. "It's hard because I never got to see him like most people and it's hard for me", says Ryan Esparza Jr.
The Esparza's hold just one of many stories throughout the Houston area of families that have missing loved ones. "Ten thousand children are reported missing in the greater Houston area every year in about 16,000 if you can adults so it's a huge issue", says CEO of the Texas Center for the Missing and Amber Alert in Houston, Beth Alberts.
JoAnn Lowitzer's daughter Ali also went missing many years ago. It was a Monday, April 26th of 2010. Lowitzer says her daughter stopped at the corner to send a text message to a friend, shortly after she disappeared. Lowitzer says, "with me my missing person is my child you know with other families it's the brother of the cousin or the uncle or their mom and dad and sometimes a best friend I mean when a missing person touches your lives you know it's like a piece of you has gone missing with them".
Many families gathered for National Missing Person Day, showing picture after picture, in hopes one day someone may recognize them and be able to give them answers. Founder of Texas Equusearch Tim Miller says, "all we can do is try to make a small change in this troubled world".