After almost 30 years, the Heidi Search Center is officially closing its doors. The nonprofit helps families of missing children and adults in their efforts to find their loved ones.
The executive director says that the center is closing because of funding issues and high property taxes. The center has helped more than 4,000 families of missing people since 1990 with searches, resources, and emotional support.
Today, the families they’ve helped are heartbroken at the news that the center is closing.
"If you ever visit their offices, they have a ‘wall of hope,’ and they have all of our missing loved ones’ pictures up there and I'm thinking to myself, ‘we're no longer going to have that,’" said Margie Llamas, whose mother Maria Llamas went missing in November 2016.
Maria had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and was last seen at the Poteet Flea Market outside of San Antonio. Llamas' case is one of the many open investigations the Heidi Search Center has been working on.
"It's nonprofit organizations that come out and help families that face unexpected tragedies, so now my heart breaks for all the other families that are going to need the same help that we needed," Llamas said.
The center is named after Heidi Seeman, an 11-year-old who disappeared from her northeast San Antonio neighborhood in 1990. More than 8,000 volunteers searched for Heidi for 21 days covering 1,200 miles.
Her body was later discovered in Wimberly, 60 miles away from her home.
Margie Llamas says that she hasn't spoken to anyone from Heidi Search Center or the families of the other missing people she met through the center about the closing. They're hoping to get more information in the coming days.