Gilmer community gathers to remember teen who vanished 31 years ago

Gilmer community gathers to remember teen who vanished 31 years ago
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 10:33 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2023 at 10:51 PM CST

GILMER, Texas (KLTV) - People in Gilmer gathered to remember Kelly Dae Wilson, who vanished 31 years ago Thursday.

Wilson’s friends say they are still looking for answers.

“God and you know what happened to Kelly. And God, Jesus you are a God of revelation and we are gathered here today to cry out to you to reveal to us the truth,” prayed Rev. Mike Kessler, pastor of First Baptist Church in Gilmer.

Wilson was 17 when she disappeared in 1992. The vigil was held outside the video store where she was last seen.

Michelle Davis says she hopes the vigil will bring answers to questions that have haunted the family and community for years.

“The thirty year mark has really hit home and hit hard for a lot of us in the community, and we’ve decided to pull together and pool all of our resources and see if we can get some answers,” she says.

Jennifer Dean says she was the same age as Wilson and they would have graduated together in the class of 1992. She says they were close and had been hanging out a lot prior to her disappearance.

“She was fun, she was friendly, she was beautiful, she was smart, she was not afraid, she was brave.”

The friends said they’ve dealt with misinformation connected to the investigation.

“It’s been crazy. If anybody has followed the case, they’ve seen it move towards one group of suspects and then nothing panned out, another group of suspects and then nothing panned out,” says Dean. “Then it’s like things just fizzled out and there’s been nothing. I don’t feel like we know anymore than the day she went missing, really -- a little bit, I do feel hopeful though, I feel new things are coming out.”

Lorrie Stanley, who hosted the vigil, says she lived in Gilmer at the time of Wilson’s disappearance.

She says it was easy to step into her place and think, ‘that could be me.’

“There was so many rumors and there were so many non-answers that we were scared to death to go anywhere because we didn’t know who to trust and who we couldn’t trust as a teenager growing up in this town with this happening to somebody with no answers,” Stanley says.

For now, they hope anyone who knows anything about what happened to Wilson will share it, because it could lead to answers.

“I want people to be burdened, you know, I think that, I think it’s a small town, I think that there are more people that could share some things that haven’t, and we need that,” says Dean. “You know, it’s been thirty years, I’m 48, her mother is probably about 70, and it’s time.”

Anyone with information that could provide answers should contact their local authorities.