ARLINGTON -- Fifteen years after Amber Hagerman's slaying, her memory lives on in her grandmother's east Arlington home.
Photographs of the 9-year-old still dot the wood-paneled walls. Glenda Whitson can still picture her granddaughter helping her bake cookies in the kitchen. Donna Norris still vividly recalls the Christmas carols that her daughter used to belt out in the small one-story house.
"We feel closer to her here," said Norris, sitting in the living room while visiting her mother one recent evening. "We know she walked these floors, and she was happy here."
But to get to the house, Norris must pass by a painful reminder: the parking lot where her daughter was riding her bike on a sunny afternoon when a man threw her in a dark pickup and drove away. Amber's body, her throat cut, was found four days later in a creek about two miles away. The man was never identified.
Tonight, on the anniversary of her abduction, the family will gather in that parking lot, light candles, sing some of Amber's favorite songs and have a moment of silence as a reminder that justice has not been served.
"Part of me hopes he is dead or is behind bars so he won't do this to another child," Norris said. "Another part of me hopes he's out there somewhere, and maybe he'll brag about what he did or tell somebody so he can be put behind bars. So that Amber can get justice."
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