Holidays difficult for families with missing loved ones

November 24, 2011 8:14:42 PM PST
Two area families spent the holiday giving thanks and praying for answers as they search and hope for any clue of their missing loved ones. They mysteriously disappeared nearly two months ago, and this day just isn't the same without them.

Their grandmother mysteriously disappeared nearly 2 months ago, and this day just isn't the same without her. Lillian High, 82, hasn't been seen since October 3. She and the vehicle she was renting disappeared. Despite a big reward, there have been absolutely no substantial leads in the case. While families across the country sit down together to give thanks, this family just wants to know what happened to their mother.

Every day Earl High wears a button with his mother's picture.

He said, "God will tell us what's going on in his time."

So far it's been 52 days since 82-year-old Lillian High went missing. Every day is a struggle for her son between faith and patience.

Earl said, "The other side of me says I want the answer now, and I fight that battle."

Lillian High vanished after leaving her southeast Houston home last month. She never made it to work at a Chase bank. The rental car she was driving also disappeared. Police have been unable to figure out what happened. Her family has asked the FBI for help.

"I'm not giving up," Earl said. "We are never giving up. We will look until we find her."

On this Thanksgiving Day, Lillian's daughter Amy McClure wears a blue scarf because that was her mother's favorite color.

"We're asking people if they'll just put a blue ribbon on their car, wear a ribbon on their shirt, anything to say, 'Hey, they haven't found her yet," Amy said.

They won't and can't forget. They concede that their mother is not likely alive but still, they want to know what happened to her. For that, they would give infinite thanks.

"Not knowing where she is and what happened," Amy said. "It's just difficult."

They'd give anything not to wear these buttons one more day.

There is still a $20,000 reward offered for information leading to Lillian High.

In a separate case, another family is struggling with the loss of their loved one. TJ Murray went missing from a Spring sports bar back in October. On Wednesday, the Murray family held a vigil for TJ's 24th birthday, and they spent the Thanksgiving holiday with still no word of his whereabouts.

You could see the pain in the eyes of TJ Murray's mother. Like so many who love him, she wants to see him come home.

TJ was born the day before Thanksgiving 24 years ago.

"Today was hard," said his mother Janelle Murray. "Today was hard."

Janelle's son has been missing now over a month.

She said, "I didn't want to get out of bed. I laid there and cried some more and I thought, 'OK, it's Thanksgiving."

She got out of bed because she thinks TJ is still alive.

"I do believe that. I have to believe that," Janelle said. "I'm not ready for the alternative."

TJ Murray was last seen leaving a Montgomery County sports bar on Sawdust Road during the early morning hours of October 19. There were no signs of foul play. But his cell phone was located in a ditch nearby. His father's truck was still parked where he left it.

In the weeks since, searchers have scoured the area for clues that might lead to Murray. So far, they've had no luck. Even sheriff's investigators have struggled to figure out what happened.

Janelle Murray says the hardest part is when she is alone with her thoughts and fears.

"Then it gets quiet and you think can you do this," she said.

Janelle just cleaned out TJ's apartment at Sam Houston State University, finding his cherished Sunshine Kids pin that he received after beating leukemia at age five. She wears that now -- a symbol of his strength, giving her hope that one day she will know what happened to her son.

"We just plead, plead with anyone that has any information," Janelle said.

If you have any information about TJ Murray's disappearance you can call Montgomery County Crime Stoppers at 800-392-STOP. There's a $5,000 reward for information that helps find him.


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