The Pinole Police Department announced late Tuesday it has reopened a high profile missing child's case, citing in part, that new technology will allow them to better process age-old evidence.
The department said it no longer considers the 1988 disappearance of 7-year-old Amber Swartz Garcia closed.
The department's decision also comes after Lea Duel, a family friend, started an online petition at Change.org last month asking authorities to reopen the case, which has more than 1,300 signatures.
"I'm ecstatic," Amber's mother, Kim Swartz told the Pinole City Council Tuesday evening. "Thank you. The whole conversation has changed.
Amber disappeared forever from her front yard while skipping rope on Savage Avenue on June 3, 1988.
In November 2007, convicted child molester and murderer Curtis Dean Anderson confessed to killing Amber. He told FBI agents he dumped her body off Highway 10 near Benson, Arizona. Anderson died a month later before he could be re-interviewed by Pinole investigators. And Amber's body was never found, and agents could never find corroborating proof that Anderson was the kidnapper.
Kim Swartz has never believed that confession; she reiterated to the city council that she'd rather have her daughter listed as a missing person forever than have the wrong person be fingered for it.
Even though a search of the area came up empty, on July 6, 2009 the Pinole Police Department and the FBI announced that the case was formally being closed based on Anderson's signed confession. Both agencies said they were confident that Anderson’s confession was truthful.
In the release announcing the case had been reopened, Pinole police said:
"No information or evidence has been received that would dispute the confession made by Curtis Dean Anderson. However, Amber Swartz has not been located and consequently, effective immediately, the Pinole Police Department is modifying the status of the Amber Swartz case from closed to open."
Investigators now say they hope reopening the case will bring out new tips that could give Amber's mom the closure she has been waiting for for more than 25 years.
Anyone with information regarding Amber’s disappearance, or location is encouraged to call the Pinole Police Department at 510-724-8950.