A year after she went missing, Jamie Nichole Peterson's family still talks about her in the present tense, said her mother, Darlene Peterson of Bellevue. And they talk about seeing her in the future.
But for the past year, they've been coping with the disappearance of the 30-year-old mother of two by living "day to day," Darlene Peterson said Tuesday.
"Just going from day to day, trying to hold onto hope -- which we still do -- that she will come back," said Ms. Peterson, who has taken on the task of raising Daisy, her 13-year-old granddaughter, and Elijah, her 12-year-old grandson.
"She's been missed extremely. There's a big hole in our family."
Today marks one year since Jamie Peterson was reported missing after her son returned from school to find his Ross home locked and empty. His mother's car was still near the home, but some of her belongings, including her glasses and her purse, were missing.
Ross police, working with the Pittsburgh police homicide division and the Allegheny County district attorney's office, continue to investigate all leads, said Detective Brian Kohlhepp of Ross. Detective Kohlhepp declined to go into detail but said police "are still considering any and all possibilities."
The last time Darlene Peterson saw her daughter, it was a Sunday night and she was getting her children ready for school the next day.
"It was a normal day. No worries, No worries or anything," Darlene Peterson said.
There had been worries in Jamie Peterson's past, because of a drug problem, but they weren't in her present. She realized how important her children were to her, went through rehab and had been clean for two years, her mother said.
The Northgate High School graduate had attended Rosedale Technical Institute and worked as an auto mechanic, but a year ago she was on leave because of a knee injury. She had recently broken up with her on-and-off boyfriend, her mother said, and it was just her and her children.
That Monday morning, she saw her children off to school and ran some errands, Darlene Peterson said. Her father, Jim Peterson of New Castle, said his daughter's ex-boyfriend stopped by that morning to pick up some of his belongings. Neighbors reported seeing her outside her home that morning.
The family has not heard from her in a year. Mr. Peterson has organized a handful of searches for his daughter, but he called the last year "frustrating."
"I try not to let it get to me," he said. "There are days where I pace and pace and pace."
Her family and friends will hold a candlelight vigil for her return at 8:30 p.m. tonight outside her home on North Fremont Avenue. Anyone with information about Jamie Peterson's disappearance should contact the Ross Police Department detective division at 412-931-9070.neigh_north
Kaitlynn Riely: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1707.