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Ann Gotlib's family still hopeful she'll be found

Published: Jun. 2, 2008 at 10:51 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2008 at 12:09 PM EDT
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By Lindsay English

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) - Still so many questions and so few answers for the family of Ann Gotlib 25 years after she disappeared. Ann vanished June 1st, 1983 on her way home from a friend's house on her bike. Her bike was later found outside Bashford Manor Mall, but Ann was never found. As WAVE 3's Lindsay English reports, her family still hasn't given up hope.

Ann and her parents lived in an apartment across the street from Bashford Manor Mall, so it wasn't unusual for her to be riding her bike in the area.

Years ago, when the Ann Gotlib case was still new, her family planted a tree at her school in her honor. That day a poem was read. "He who plants a tree, plants hope," went the line.

That is still true for the Gotlib family a quarter-century after losing her daughter. "People are still looking, they are still searching, there are still investigations. It really gives us hope that someday, hopefully in our lifetime, everything will be solved," said Ann's mother, Ludmilla.

Although the case remains unsolved, the investigation into Ann's disappearance continues and Ann's father, Anatoly says that "helps me to keep hope, and that's important."

The decades-long absence of their daughter is something Ann's parents carry with them every day.

"We learn to cope and we learn to live with it. We live with it everyday. I'm teaching Sunday School at the temple and the teachers who teach there used to be in the same class as Ann. So I encounter it all the time," said Ludmilla.

On the 25th anniversary of their daughter's disappearance, the Gotlibs added a plaque in front of the tree at Meredith Dunn Elementary School as friends, family and members of the Exploited Exploited Children's Help Organization or ECHO, looked on.

Ann disappeared about a month after ECHO was formed, and its members worked tirelessly to find her. Without the Internet or an Amber Alert system in place, they sent out postcards with Ann's picture.

"We're making a statement to the family that the Louisville community remembers. And when we remember, we are compelled to look, to search, to try our best to find Ann, to keep the investigation going," said Rosie Norris, an ECHO volunteer.

Even as another anniversary passes, the Gotlibs say they still believe someday they won't have to mark this painful day anymore. "We still hope for a miracle," said Ludmilla. "Because nothing short of a miracle can help solve all this and bring her back."

The Gotlibs say they keep in contact with investigators about once a year, usually close to the anniversary of her disappearance.

Ann would have turned 37 this year, and police recently released an age progression photo showing what she might look like now.

Online Reporter: Lindsay English

Online Producer: Michael Dever