Joanne and John Lowitzer haven’t seen their daughter Ali since she disappeared April 26th of last year. She got off the bus in front of the family’s home in Spring and was supposed to walk to her job at Burger Barn down the street. Her boss says she never made it.
Stamps: "What does your gut tell you?"
"My gut tells me that something’s wrong. I know my daughter and I know that she wouldn’t just up and run away with just the clothes on her back with nothing and leave everything behind. Something is wrong."
At first authorities were hesitant to get involved, thinking she may have run away. They eventually began an investigation and questioned Ali’s friends at school as well as the owner of Burger Barn. Nine months later there are still few clues.
"Well I have to think that she ran away. Cause if I think about the alternative, if I thought about that all the time I’d probably go insane."
The Lowitzers say they can relate to what the family of Natalee Holloway went through not knowing what happened to her in Aruba. John says the Holidays have been the toughest.
"We got through Thanksgiving; we got through Christmas; we got through New Years, but her birthday by far has been the hardest. You know with the days leading up to it for the past week and a half two weeks. It’s been very emotional for me. There’s probably not a day that goes by that I haven’t shed a tear or two missing her."
I talked with John and Joanne as they prepared to celebrate Ali’s 17th birthday without her.
"We would always take her out to dinner for her birthday, and so we’re going to continue that."
Deep down the Lowitzers know there’s a good chance they’ll never see their daughter alive again. But the pain of not knowing what happened is sometimes too hard to bear.
"The birth of my daughter was probably the best day of my life ever, and to not have her anymore, for this one is just heart breaking for me."