A body was found in a suitcase in the bay.
They wore baby blue T-shirts with their mother's smiling face in the middle, framed by the words: "We Will Always Love you, Mom" in fancy cursive. And they carried flyers, lots of them, with her case number and tip lines to call.
They planned to spend the weekend canvassing the City, looking for answers.
But they said they also wanted to let whoever was responsible for what happened to their mother to know that they forgave them, and to tell the world that Pearla Ann Louis was more than a headline.
She had four children, ages 21 through 30, and two grandchildren, they said. She had a wicked sense of humor and a generous streak a mile wide.
"This was a mother, a grandmother and a daughter," said Kareem Marshall, Louis's 23-year-old son. "She had people who loved her."
Marshall, Louis's only son, stood with his oldest sister, Ayesha Louis, 30, to talk about their mother. But police allowed them to give few details. Lieut. Lyn Tomioka, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department, said detectives did not want their investigation compromised by disclosing too much information.
So where or whether Louis worked remained secret. All Tomioka would allow is that Louis, 52 years old, lived in the heart of the city, in the Duboce-Church Street area. That, and that she had lived near the Tenderloin.
Ayesha Louis said she last talked to her mother on Sunday, May 16, and reported her missing the next day. "I called her every day," she said. "And she called me."
Marshall said his mother believed in God, as he does, and that was why he could forgive the person or persons responsible. "When you have God in your heart," he said, "you can forgive anything."
But, Marshall said, the family was still seeking the answers to what he called his mother's "tragedy."
"The rule on the streets is 'no snitching,"' Marshall said. "But if anybody has any tips, it's not snitching."