WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The case of 3 missing girls re-appearing in Cleveland has sparked hope in many families that their loved ones could one day be found, too.
Deborah Smith's son, Dedrick has been missing for more than six years.
"It's torture. It's like somebody just took a knife and just grinding in your stomach. There's no release. You just, you can't let go," she said, trying to explain what it was like to be the mother of a missing person.
When Dedrick Smith was 26-years-old, he was a high school graduate who had moved on to college at Forsyth Tech and was studying to be an auto mechanic. He had a job and, according to his mother, loved his family more than anything.
"Not to know where he is, not to know whether someone holding him hostage, has someone hurt him, killed him," she questions.
"Where is my son?" she asked herself out loud, exhausted.
It's that question that haunts Deborah to this day.
She knew her son was missing on October 3rd 2006.
The details of the last phone conversation with her son are stuck in her mind forever.
"Over the night, he had called and said, 'Mama, I love you and I won't be home. See you in the morning.' He was with his girlfriend. The next morning, she calls me and asked me where is he? I said what do you mean where is he, he was with you! Immediately I panicked," she explained.
Dedrick was last seen at a home on Booker Street in Winston-Salem. Deborah still clings to a collection of pictures and missing persons posters featuring her son.
"Having a child missing is one of the cruelest things a parent can go through. Your days are just lonely. Your heart has a hole," she said.
For Deborah, hearing stories about other missing people found gives her renewed hope, even all these years later.
Deborah sighed, "I'm waiting on my turn. Waiting on things to turn and for my child to return."