NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — February 11th marks 18 years since a Luzerne County woman went missing without a trace. The family of 22-year old Phylicia Thomas of Sweet Valley says they now have renewed hope this cold case will one day be solved.
Her family says recent developments in the 1964 cold case murder of Marise Chiverella give them hope they too will have closure.
The Thomas family says they cried when they saw that State Police identified the killer of Marise Chiverella back in 1964. They firmly believe that in time, they will see justice.
“When I see that I thought yes if Chiverella’s if they can do this we can do this. We will find her. We have to find her because my family won’t rest until we do,” stated Pauline Bailey, Phylicia Thomas’s mother.
Bailey and her family say they will never give up searching for 22-year-old Phylicia Thomas. She went to a party on February 11th of 2004 and never returned home.
“I’m still having nightmares and stuff like last night even. It just doesn’t go away. There’s no relief,” said Thomas.
But she says they did get renewed hope as they watched the recent developments in the 58-year-old cold case murder of 9-year-old Marise Chiverella from Hazleton.
State police announced Thursday that James Paul Forte kidnapped and killed the little girl on the morning of March 18th, 1964. Forte died in 1980. Bailey says she hopes that they, like the Chiverella family, will see closure and justice.
“It’s just so heartbreaking. You just don’t know what to do. Like there’s no hope after a while you search and search and it just doesn’t happen,” explained Bailey.
But they say the Chiverella case proves it can happen, that answers can be found.
“Well, it gave me hope that it. 58 years goes by and we didn’t know anything and now we do. It gives us hope for Phylicia one day we will find her. We’ll get justice for her and the family will have closure,” stated Judy Lorah.
Bailey knows that there are big differences in both cold cases, for example, State Police knew they had a homicide in the Chiverella case from day one they found her body. Thomas has never been found but it is being handled as a homicide investigation.
However, the Thomas family says both have one big thing in common, families looking for answers, looking for justice.