(This is the second part of the case we brought you on March 28.)
Last week, we introduced you to Jean McCorkle, whose daughter Regina went missing from their East Moline home 40 years ago.
Regina, the mother of an 18-month-old son, was a college student. Divorced, she worked for a janitorial service at Rock Island Arsenal.
Every day, since her daughter went missing on Aug. 14, 1981, Mrs. McCorkle has wondered what became of her child.
Occasionally, authorities would find the body of a woman … and Mrs. McCorkle would wonder whether it was her daughter.
“They found a body of a lady … in a chimney,” she remembers. “She didn’t look anything like Gina. They found a body in California. I gave them Gina’s dental work, and that didn’t match.”
For a while, media reports would observe Gina’s disappearance on an annual basis. That faded with the years.
CJ, the baby left behind, grew up to be a smart, capable, man with a career in the Air Force who now works for the government. He coaches all kinds of sports and is quite involved in the activities of his two daughters.
Last year, Regina’s ex-husband contacted Mrs. McCorkle late one night. She asked him directly: “Did you have anything to do with my daughter disappearing?” “I swear I didn’t do anything to her. I loved her,” he said.
Still, to this day, she has no answers.
“Even the month of August is sad for me. Sad for him…. for CJ,” she said. “Every birthday he calls me, and we cry together.”
“CJ is such an awesome young man – very caring, sensitive. He’s always got these questions: ‘What if my mom was still here? What would I be like if she had been here?’”
Regina has not been declared dead, although the Church of God in Christ conducted a memorial service for her, Mrs. McCorkle says. There is no gravestone.
“I’ve not declared her dead in my heart,” Mrs. McCorkle says. “And I can’t bring myself to put a headstone anywhere.”
“I’m still hoping she is alive and will show up before I’m dead. I would never declare Gina dead.”
“I’m hoping somebody knows something.”
Once, someone used Regina’s Social Security number in Minnesota.
Last year, Mrs. McCorkle received two letters addressed to Regina. “One was trying to sell her a telephone,” she remembers.
Over the years, Mrs. McCorkle has talked with East Moline Police. She and CJ both gave their DNA to a national database, with no results.
“I pray every day about her and for her. Not knowing is awful,” Mrs. McCorkle said.
“I think about my baby every single day. I can’t get it wrapped around my head … how can a body just disappear and nobody can find it?”
Mrs. McCorkle did not raise CJ, who was brought up by his father, Curtis Campbell, and his father’s girlfriend. Every day, Mrs. McCorkle worries, and prays she will know what happened to her daughter and her grandson’s mother.
If you can help this family – even with the smallest bit of information – please call the East Moline Police at 309-752-1555.