The sisters are here.
They are wearing winter coats and shivering in the Nebraska chill.
It’s just after midnight, 20 years later.
Twenty years without the sister they sang with and shared a room with and ran through their north Lincoln neighborhood with.
The sister who disappeared before 9/11 and the Iraq War. Before the Great Recession and the Great Pandemic.
Oct. 17, 2000. That was the last night anyone saw Regina Bos.
If you were in Lincoln then, you know the story. A 40-year-old musician, a mother of three, walking to her car on 11th Street after playing her guitar and singing at Duggan’s Pub.
A woman wearing skinny black pants and low black boots, who parked her Saturn on 11th , just north of K Street, where her sisters are standing now talking into a video camera, holding a flyer with Gina Bos’ face on it.
“We’re just hoping, hoping and hoping this face gets in front of the right people,” Jannel Rap says, while her little sister Leann Smith signs.
”We need to know where she is.”
They will share the video on their own social media accounts and hope others share it, too.
The story of how the musical and talented mom put her guitar in her trunk and vanished.
How the trunk was ajar when her worried family found the car the next day. Another sign that something was wrong.
The police began investigating the next day, a Saturday.
There were posters and a billboard. And later, a missing persons nonprofit — GINA411.org — and a musical tour, The Squeaky Wheel, designed to bring attention to Bos and to the many missing people across the country and to bring their loved ones home.
This year, the tour is mostly viral, said Rap, the older sister who started it in those early years of waiting.
I talked to Rap on Thursday, as the California musician made her way to the airport.
We talk every year.
And every year nothing changes in the investigation into her sister’s disappearance. An open missing person case, but one that investigators believe is a homicide case committed by someone Bos knew.
Two years ago, former LPD Detective Greg Sorensen told NBC’s Dateline: “We don't have enough probable cause to arrest somebody. But do I think I know who killed her? Yes.”
Rap stays in touch with Lincoln investigators, but less frequently, after all these years.
The gravity of 20 years fell hard this past week, Rap said.
“It’s bringing out a little anger in me. Maybe it was always there and I didn’t know it.”
She’s been imagining the person who knows. The person who took her sister, who killed her sister or was with her sister when she died.
“And they actually thought it was OK to make us wait 20 years without knowing anything. I feel indignant. It’s enough that you took her and now you make us wait?”
And the waiting and wondering is constant, she says. Until her family knows where Bos is, there is no peace.
Bos came from a big family. Seven kids, five of them girls. Their dad was a traveling preacher. They sang together. Some of them wrote songs.
Her parents are still alive. Her three kids are grown.
All of them in limbo.
“I think about that person walking about. Living their life, eating, sleeping,” Rap says. “Let’s say it was an accident and they couldn’t deal with going to jail, they’d be out by now. Even if it was on purpose they might be out, but we’re still in jail.”
The anger took her by surprise.
But this trip is about bearing witness.
Showing people where her sister stood. How she walked across this street and opened her trunk.
Nobody saw anything, Rap says into the camera. Nobody heard anything.
After that midnight moment, the sisters went to bed.
They got up Saturday and came back.
More family came. Siblings and nieces and nephews and family friends. Bos’ daughter made a spray of flowers — fall grasses and sunflowers, her mother’s favorite, and tied it to a sycamore tree next to where that Saturn was parked. The tree with the plaque, up high under a canopy of leaves: Regina “GINA” Rap Williams Bos was last seen here October 17, 2000.
The family set up camp chairs and took turns holding up posters of the missing and telling their stories.
Over and over, they held up a poster of a missing mom of three from Lincoln with a tattoo of a yellow rose on her back and pierced ears. A woman with freckles who planned to pick up her boyfriend when open mic ended and go home to be with her three kids.
A woman who never arrived at her boyfriend’s house and was never heard from again.
They repeat the police department number: (402) 441-7204.
And a message they've repeated for 20 years: Help bring Gina home.
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Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @TheRealCLK
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