Missing #Teen’s #Birthday Raises #Sex #Trafficking #Awareness

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A local family is planning to celebrate their loved ones’ 21st Birthday without her.

Now the family is looking into the possibility of sex trafficking as the cause of her disappearance.

“We’re coming back here to honor her birthday,” says Ebby’s mom Laurie Holman Jernigan. “We’re going to sell balloons at Little Rock Christian at the Cross.”

Invitations are out and family and friends are ready to honor Ebby Steppach’s 21st Birthday.

Ebby went missing in October of 2015, her car found in a west Little Rock park.

Laurie Holman Jernigan is Ebby’s mom and while she’s helping organize the party, it’s not her name at the bottom of the invite.

“We are honoring her birthday with a fundraiser for PATH, Partners Against Trafficking of Humans,” says Laurie.

PATH is hosting the party. Within the past year, Laurie says she believes her daughter was sex trafficked.

“Don’t know that’s what’s happened to her, but God revealed that to me for a reason to bring awareness to it,” says Laurie.

“I think its’ important to come out and support because it can happen to any of us,” says Casonia Vison.

Casonia Vison, Outreach Trainer for PATH says our community needs to be more aware of what sex trafficking is.

“It doesn’t just happen in the big cities, it can happen right here in the great state of Arkansas–right here in Little rock,” says Casonia Vison.

The family hired a private investigator five months ago, to take on Ebby’s case. Laurie says new evidence has been uncovered.

“People may not come forward, you may lie, you may not want to turn someone down, but it’s about to go down and you’re about to be caught because forensic evidence does not lie,” says Laurie.

So come to the birthday party on Saturday, there will be balloons.

“We’re going to release them at the end of the day,” says Laurie.

And some candles, all blown out with a birthday wish that the soon to be 21-year-old is found.

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